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Liquor coding yet to take off in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh

DC | Sudheer Goutham | July 21, 2014, 02.07 am IST
Picture for representational purpose   (Photo: DC archives)
Picture for representational purpose (Photo: DC archives)

Hyderabad: The move of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh governments to make 2D bar coding hologram mandatory on liquor bottles has failed to kick off, with distillery companies and liquor shop owners protesting against the additional financial burden caused by the measure.

The hologram measure was proposed to prevent circulation of illicit liquor, non-duty paid liquor and increase state revenues. The hologram was meant to replace the paper labels.

But the cost, estimated at an additional Rs 70 lakh per day, has been pushed on to distillery companies, which are already are decrying the additional excise duties being imposed after the state bifurcation.

The 15 distillery companies in Telangana were paying 10 paise per paper label. The hologram label costs 30 paise per bottle. As per the system, distilleries will seek a bar code sequence number before scheduling a lot. The liquor bottles will be scanned when sent to government warehouses, from there they are sent to retail outlets.

As per the announcement the bar coding system was meant to be implemented from July 1. An estimated three crore liquor cases and 3.75 crore cases of beer are in circulation every year. Each case holds 12 full bottles, 24 half bottles or 48 quarters.

“At a time when we already are mandated to pay the inter-state tax duties between Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, for the 2D hologram we are forced to pay an additional Rs 10 per case. When it is supplied to Andhra Pradesh the bottles need to have another hologram of the state and another Rs 20 has to be paid per case extra. In addition, unless we pay a bribe to the officers of Rs 6-7 for each case at the depot level, our products are entered in the supply list,” said Umesh Natarajan, member of Association of Liquor and Distilleries.

Meanwhile, retail liquor outlets have approached the government to push back the hologram system to the next year. “We do not have trained staff for scanning the bottles and also the scanners and applicators will cost each of us an additional Rs 1 lakh,” said State Wine Dealers Association General Secretary D. Venkateswar Rao.

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