Thiruvananthapuram: The death of an eight-year-old boy in Kerala, apparently after consuming liquor, has shocked the state and triggered debate about stocking liquor at home within reach of children.

Early reports indicate that the boy had consumed a lot of alcohol, thinking it was a lemon-flavoured soft drink.

The boy had consumed alcohol on Sunday evening, following which he was admitted to the taluk hospital at Kottarakara near Kollam. The boy was a native of Manjakala near Pathanapuram in Kollam district.

His father, Lajan, had reportedly bought the bottle of liquor and kept it at home and the child is believed to have consumed it when his parents had gone out. When they returned, they found the boy in a critical condition and rushed him to hospital. He reportedly succumbed to a high level of alcohol content in the blood and dehydration.

The Kunnikode police have taken a statement from the parents, and police are expected to register a case against the boy’s father.

Kerala’s high level of liquor consumption has been a cause of worry for authorities even as the state rakes in significant amounts of tax money from liquor sales.

In the last fiscal year, the state government earned roughly Rs70 billion (Dh4.1 billion) from its liquor retail arm, the Kerala State Beverages Corporation.

Even as anti-liquor activists have highlighted the dangers of widespread alcohol consumption in the state, liquor sales have shown no signs of decline. On the contrary, a mobile app was launched late last year, which helps locate the nearest liquor shop in the state, as well as provide the prices of various brands of liquor.

The app, named “Kuppi”, which is the Malayalam for bottle, lists the various brands available in the state and also indicates the dry days on which retail liquor outlets will stay closed in the state.