KOCHI: After two months of ‘dry days’, sale of liquor resumed in Kerala on Thursday. Booze sale, stopped in the last week of March due to the nation-wide lockdown, has been restarted, with the government-owned Kerala State Beverages Corporation (BevCo) enjoying a monopoly.
BevCo has introduced virtual queue mobile app BevQ for booze sale and only those who made online booking through the app and received an e token will be able to buy beverage. The state government has decided to introduce the app in order to ensure social distancing at BevCo outlets and other liquor shops.
After the announcement by excise minister TP Ramakrishnan on reopening of beverage outlets on Wednesday, the BevQ app was made available on Google Play Store. Despite technical glitches, over 1.8 lakh people downloaded the app.
Technical glitches hit liquor sale in many places when the bars, BevCo, consumer-fed outlets, bars and beer and wine parlours opened by 9 AM on Thursday. The app provided to the liquor shops to verify the buyers’ e-token were not functioning in many places. Those who had booked their spot online had to also wait for more than an hour due to technical issues.
Hundreds of people gathered outside the shops violating Covid-19 protocol, with the police having a tough time in managing the crowd. Many people who had not made an online booking also joined the crowd outside several shops.
Representatives of the Kochi-based startup firm Faircode Technologies Private Limited, which developed the BevQ app, said that technical issues will be resolved soon. In addition, there were complaints against unavailability of the app on Play Store as well as delay in getting the OTP....