FestivalsAuthorities keen to reduce road toll by banning booze.

Water but maybe no beer for Songkran festival

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Events during the annual Songkran festival include the ritual bathing of Buddha images.
Events during the annual Songkran festival include the ritual bathing of Buddha images. Photo Credit: panom/GettyImages

A ministerial panel on alcohol control wants more time to consider the implications of a ban, especially for the soaring number of road accidents during Songkran between April 13-15.

The jury is still out on whether this year’s Songkran festival in Thailand will be booze free.

A ministerial panel on alcohol control wants more time to consider the implications of a ban, especially for the soaring number of road accidents during Songkran between April 13-15.

In 2018, the accumulated number of accidents during April 11-14 was 2,449, causing 248 deaths and 2,557 injured. 

Events during the annual festival include water throwing, the ritual bathing of Buddha images, processions and performances. 

Dr Nipon Chinanonvej, a director at the Public Health Ministry, said Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha had instructed that the laws be reinforced in order to decrease road accidents during the water festival.

Dr Nipon also indicated that his department would intensify restrictions on the sale of alcohol beyond the allowed period and offenders could face a prison sentence of up to six months and a heavy fine. 

Police have already been ordered to strengthen the use of laws to help decrease road accidents during the Songkran festival.

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