Thiruvananthapuram: The state-owned Kerala State Beverages Corporation (Bevco) is likely to bring an online booking system to prevent overcrowding at its outlets across the state after lockdown.
Bevco chief Sparjan Kumar has reportedly sought assistance of the state-run Startup Mission to identify companies that can provide a virtual token system to the customers.
The Bevco outlets have been shut as part of the nation-wide lockdown to tackle the spread of COVID-19.
The online booking system will distribute virtual tokens to customers, who can visit the Bevco outlets at their allocated time. They can purchase liquor by scanning the QR code of the token received on their smartphones.
Bevco has 267 outlets across the state which sees a customer base of 7 lakh on normal working days. On rush days, the number of customers go up to 10.5 lakh. The Corporation used to make an average of Rs 40 crore as revenue per day.
The cash-strapped state exchequer has been reeling under lack of revenue and last month all what the state government could garner from various sources was a mere Rs 250 crore.
Revenue from liquor and beer is one of the biggest cash cow for Kerala government and, in the last fiscal, it recorded a total of Rs 14,504.67 crore and hence the devolution of IT into Bevco, would be a big relief for the state's finances.
In the aftermath of the partial breakdown of law and order in and around the liquor outlets in some states, after it was recently opened, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had asked State Police Chief Loknath Behera to find out how best can security be maintained in case the retail outlets open.
The profile of liquor users in the state in an earlier study reveals that around 32.9 lakh people out of the 3.34 crore population in the state consume liquor, which includes 29.8 lakh men and 3.1 lakh women.
Around five lakh people in Kerala, consume liquor on a daily basis. Of this, around 83,851 people including 1043 women are addicted to alcohol, according to state government statistics.