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Kerala: Catholic Church wants permission to produce more wine

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

A Catholic Church named Syro Malabar Church in Kochi, Kerala, which earlier had supported the government to prohibit the sacramental wine, has recently been drowned in controversy by asking for permission to increase the production of sacramental wine.

The church is grabbing all the attention of different news channels since last week after the news came up floating that the church authorities had applied for a permission to increase the production of wine.

“Yes, we had applied for increase in production of sacramental wine used during our mass. Our diocese currently has an annual production of 1,500 litres of wine, which was last increased over 20 years ago. This time we have applied for 5,000 litres,” said Paul Thelekat, spokesperson of the Syro Malabar Church at Kochi.

When asked about the reason for increase in proportion, Thelekat said, “Look, the number of churches in our diocese has gone up dramatically in the past two decades. Hence, there are more members, which lead to more religious functions. So it is natural that our requirement of wine will increase.”

Sacramental wine is used in many different occasions including Eucharist. While most of the catholic churches use these wines in their sacred communions, the Thiruvalla-headquartered Mar Thoma Church is absolutely against it.

An official of the Mar Thoma Church who did not want to disclose his name said that they use dry raisins and pour a little water and keep it overnight.

He added, “The next morning just before the service, it is mashed and the liquid is used as wine and is given to our laity. The rest is equally shared by the priest and his assistants. Now-a-days, in many of our churches, to make things easy, we use grape squash.”

Excise department officials have also verified that they have received an application from the members of Syro Malabar Church, and they have also accepted their plea to increase the production from 1,500 to 5,000 litres annually.

The Catholic Church believes that Oommen Chandy government will totally prohibit the use of sacred wine in holy gatherings as they want to prohibit the wine in all the churches by 2023.

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UAE Expats Worry Over Resurfacing of Nipah Virus in Kerala

A total of 311 people from Thrissur, Paravur in Ernakulam district, and Thodupuzha in Idukki were also under observation

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UAE, Expats, Nipah Virus, Kerala
A fruit and vegetable vendor in the UAE, on the other hand, decided to stop importing produce from Kerala until the scare subsides. VOA

UAE-based Malayalis have expressed concern for their loved ones back home, as a Kerala youth tested positive for the Nipah virus, leading to a number of traders and travellers taking precautionary measures, the media reported.

Besides a Kerala youth being treated for testing positive for the Nipah virus (NiV), state Health Minister K.K. Shailaja on Wednesday revealed that three nurses who treated him, a friend and another person have been kept in isolation.

A total of 311 people from Thrissur, Paravur in Ernakulam district, and Thodupuzha in Idukki were also under observation.

Sharjah resident Sridevi Rajendran, who is from the same town as the infected victim, told the Khaleej Times: “He was in the same school as my son. We are very worried about the situation back home, and my son is there as well. Since there is no clarity as to where the virus has originated, people are generally tensed.”

UAE, Expats, Nipah Virus, Kerala
UAE-based Malayalis have expressed concern for their loved ones back home. Wikimedia Commons

The Nipah virus is transmitted from animals to humans; through contaminated food; or directly between people. It infects a wide range of animals and causes severe disease and death in people, making it a public health concern, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

In 2018, a Nipah scare resulted in a temporary ban on Kerala fruits and vegetables in the United Arab Emirates, and a travel advisory to the South Indian state was also issued.

A fruit and vegetable vendor in the UAE, on the other hand, decided to stop importing produce from Kerala until the scare subsides. However, no official ban has been implemented yet.

“We have temporarily stopped the import of fruits and vegetables from Kerala, which make up 25 per cent of our total produce,” said PC Kabeer, founder and CEO of FarmChimp, a company that sells source-traceable produce.

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Kerala-bound travellers told the Khaleej Times that their trips would go as planned, but they would be taking “extra precaution”.

Marketing professional Anand Rajiv, who is flying to Kochi, said: “As long as I am not having local water or food from outside, I should be okay. Of course, I am worried about my health as it is not a joke.” (IANS)