Covid safety protocol: Kerala to try Sabarimala-model virtual queue for liquor sales

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Published: May 12, 2020 12:30 AM

The Kerala government is readying a customised version of Sabarimala temple-model virtual queue to fine-tune liquor sales from Bevco outlets following the Covid safety protocol.

The state will cull inputs from start-ups and the cyber division of state police and put those to use.The state will cull inputs from start-ups and the cyber division of state police and put those to use.

The Kerala government is readying a customised version of Sabarimala temple-model virtual queue to fine-tune liquor sales from Bevco outlets following the Covid safety protocol. The state will cull inputs from start-ups and the cyber division of state police and put those to use.

“Kerala Startup Mission has invited applications from start-ups to come out with mechanisms to run the vitural queue effectively,” says Sparjan Kumar, MD of Bevco. State-owned Bevco is the monopoly distributer of IMFL (Indian Made Foreign Liquor) in Kerala. “We do not want to have a replay of the situation of large crowds before liquor vends, as it happened in many states,” he said.

The state police had successfully tried a similar model in the case of Sabarimala by pre-allotting pilgrims a specific time to visit the temple.

The basic plan is to distribute tokens through mobile phones for buying liquor. Tokens would be specified for different hours. Bevco liquor outlets will need to scan the token QR code before allowing sales. There will be provision to facilitate sales through SMSes to the liquor buyer, who doesn’t have a smartphone. The quantity of IMFL, too, will have to be pre-booked.

“The new arrangements are to calm liquor addicts, who may lose stability after being deprived of their regular drink,” said industry minister EP Jayarajan. But, the fact is that the resource-strapped state government cannot do without Bevco’s Rs 14,505-crore annual revenues. About 7-10.5 lakh people visit Bevco’s 300 liquor outlets every day.

Bevco has been losing about Rs 40 crore per day because of closure of liquor shops. The kerala government is keen to open them at the earliest, without jeopardising efforts to curb the Covid-19 spread.

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