The Mamata Banerjee government had devised unique projects like – ‘Duare Sarkar’ (Government at the Doorstep) and ‘Duare Ration’ (Ration at the Doorstep) bringing the government projects and the ration at the doorsteps of the people.
Following the line, the state government is now mulling to develop an e-retail system of wine so that alcohol can be delivered to households. The new proposal has been mocked as ‘Duare Mod’ (Alcohol at the Doorstep) by the opposition.
According to the state excise department, the process of e-retailing system of alcohol started in August last year when the ‘West Bengal State Beverages Corporation’ (BEVCO) invited applications for the interested companies and accordingly many companies applied with the guarantee money of Rs 25,000. The BEVCO also had a condition that alcohol should be supplied only to the customers who are above 18 years old.
Asked how the companies will be determining the age of the customer, a senior official of the state excise department said: “We will definitely devise a mechanism and the companies will have to follow the process. This is one of the main criterions of the supply”.
After careful consideration BEVCO finalised four companies – one from West Bengal and three others from Mumbai, Chennai and Bangalore. “The negotiations are at the final stage and after that BEVCO will be signing a Memo-of-Understanding (MoU) with these companies. The conditions will be framed and the distribution area will be fixed. We hope to start the distribution by the beginning of the next financial year,” the official said.
The sources in the excise department also said that four companies – ‘Bajimat Drinks, Nature’s Basket’, ‘Dunjo Digital’ and Platinus Analytics have been finalised. “BEVCO will be organising a meeting with all these companies by the first week of February and the MoU will be signed. The companies would be buying alcohol from the retail shops and then they would be supplying it as the desired location. Initially the supply will be restricted to the Kolkata and Greater Kolkata area and depending on the popularity and success the supply would be made available to the entire state,” the official said.
This is not the first time but during the lockdown period in 2020 BEVCO had tried to make similar attempts and the e-retailing system was made available through the portal of the mother-body but it was not popular because there was no proper distribution system. So, this time BEVCO decided to start to hire professional companies that will be capable of making the supply effectively.