Little India alcohol ban to be in place during Thaipusam this week

The alcohol consumption ban in Little India will be in effect leading up to, during and after Thaipusam, said the police in a statement on Tuesday night.

This is because "large crowds are expected to gather at Little India where the procession will pass through", according to the statement.

Currently, alcohol consumption in public areas of Little India is banned on weekends, public holidays and their eve, as part of a slew of measures put in place after the Dec 8 riot.

The annual Hindu festival procession will begin on 11pm on Jan 16, and end 11.59pm the next day. The procession will start at Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple in Serangoon Road and end at Sri Thendayuthapani Temple in Tank Road.

The ban, which will commence from 6pm on Jan 16 to 6am on Jan 20, comes under the Public Order (Preservation) Act (POPA) proclamation. Alcohol consumption in public places within the areas covered by the Act will not be allowed during this stipulated period. Shops holding retail and wholesale licences can sell alcohol only from 6am to 8pm daily during the stipulated period. Shops holding public house and beer house licences can continue to sell the various types of alcohol as permitted by their respective licences during this period, but consumption must be within their premises.

Police said that both the Hindu Endowments Board (HEB) and the Little India Shopkeepers and Heritage Association (Lisha) were consulted and they support the move aimed at ensuring that the procession takes place smoothly. In a separate statement, both HEB and Lisha said that they will assist in disseminating the information on the sale and consumption of alcohol to shops in the area. The statement added that the Thaipusam procession guidelines issued to all participants have stated clearly that consumption of alcohol and smoking is not permitted along the procession route and this has been the case in previous years as well.