The Kerala government has initiated measures to reduce crowding at the outlets of the Kerala State Beverages Corporation (BEVCO), where liquor is sold, said Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Saturday.
Among the steps launched in this regard is arranging facilities to make advance payments.
Customers will now be able to choose their favourite liquor brand on the BEVCO website and make purchases through online payment mode.
One needs to reach the liquor outlet with the e-receipt of the payment. The system has been implemented on an experimental basis in nine liquor outlets of BEVCO in Thiruvananthapuram district.
The authorities have also initiated work for upgrading the corporation website. A full-fledged online payment system is expected to be in place within a month.
The corporation website would have details of the stocks and liquor prices of each outlet. After entering the website, the customer needs to provide their mobile phone number to choose the outlet of their convenience.
The price of brands available would also be displayed. The customer can make his choice and move straight to the payment gateway. The payment can be made through net banking and other payment methods.
Subsequently, the customer would receive the e-receipt on his mobile phone through an SMS. The information is received at the outlet concerned simultaneously and the customer can reach the counter any time during the working hours on that particular day.
There will be a special queue for those making online payment. The receipt number or mobile number needs to be conveyed to the staff at the counter for cross-checking the payment details on the website.
The BEVCO authorities believe that the online system would help in avoiding big queues and chaos at the outlets and save the time of customers.
The government action follows widespread complaints regarding big crowds in front of BEVCO shops across the state. Moreover, the Kerala High Court had registered a suo motu case on the matter and came down heavily on the government.
"BEVCO has failed to arrange basic facilities at its outlets even when it enjoys a near-monopoly in sales. Moreover, BEVCO compels around 500 people to queue up for purchasing liquor while the state government has restricted the number of people at weddings to 20," observed the court.
(This article was first published on onmanorama)