CCTV cameras to be must in liquor shops

CCTV cameras to be must in liquor shops

The state government has finally initiated measures to check errant liquor shops that are fleecing customers by charging exorbitant rates.

The state Excise department has decided to make it mandatory for all liquor shops in the state to install CCTV cameras. Installation of CCTV cameras at shops, both CL2 (retail outlets) and CL9 (bars and restaurants), is one of the conditions laid down by the department for renewing their licence.

All the 10,051 liquor shops in Karnataka must get their licences renewed by the end of this month to continue running the business, the process for which will commence from Friday. Nearly 80% of these shops are into retail sale (CL2), while others are bars and restaurants.

“We will renew the licence only if CCTV cameras are installed. The shop owners have to store the footage and have to produce them whenever they are asked to do so. Officials will go through the footage and take action on receiving complaints against them. This is expected to prevent liquor shops from taking the customers for a ride,” Excise Commissioner Munish Moudgil told DH.

Overpricing and running shops beyond permitted hours are common complaints against liquor shops.

There are instances where liquor shops display fake
pricing charts to dupe customers. This is rampant among retail outlets. The department was, however, not able to take action against errant licence holders in the absence of evidence to prove the charges of misuse.

EAL to make way for QR code
Besides, the department is planning to replace hologram-embedded excise adhesive labels (EAL) with QR codes in order to prevent ‘seconds’ sale (evading
excise duty) and prevent tampering.

“A unique QR code will be assigned to every liquor bottle while packaging at the distilleries. The QR code will not only prevent ‘seconds’ sale but ensure quality for the customers,” Moudgil said.

He said the QR code can store up to a hundred times more information than a conventional EAL.

The customers can also easily verify whether a liquor bottle is genuine by using a QR code reader, which can be downloaded and installed on a smartphone free of
charge.

Moreover, the government can save Rs 300 crore being spent on EAL every year if the QR code system is adopted, he added.

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CCTV cameras to be must in liquor shops

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