Holograms, barcodes to reveal fake, illicit liquor in Maharashtra

Mumbai, April 18 (IANS) All liquor bottles in Maharashtra will henceforth carry a hologram and barcode to ensure the contents are genuine, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said here on Monday.

A decision to this effect, which will cover country (desi) liquor, major locally manufactured brands and Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL), was taken by the state cabinet at a meeting presided over by Fadnavis.

“This will check illicit or spurious liquor sales in the markets which cuts into the excise revenue of the state,” Fadnavis said.

The decision assumes significance in the wake of the spurious liquor tragedy of June 17 last year which claimed 106 lives — the worst in the state’s history.

The excise department had proposed these mandatory features of hologram and barcodes to curb the menace of spurious and illegal liquor in the state.

With the barcode, it would simply require a scan from a mobile phone to check the genuineness or otherwise of the liquor bottle, through a special app that will be developed.

The measure will also enable a ‘track and trace mechanism’ of the bottle right from the manufacturer to the retailer and also make public its authenticity.

The barcode scan will provided details of the date and place of manufacture, its route from the distillery to the wholesaler and to the local retailer, among other things.

Retailers shall also be required to provide special lenses to buyers to enable them to read the covert security features of the hologram that are invisible to the naked eye to confirm its authenticity.

To be positioned near the lid/mouth of the bottle, the polyester-based hologram — which cannot be duplicated or reused — would also reveal if the bottle is smuggled or not.

An official from the Chief Minister’s Office said the move will be implemented “very soon” after the relevant formalities are completed.

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