New govt app to log alcohol sales sparks row in Goa

Panaji, Oct 12 (IANS): A newly introduced app, launched by the state government's excise department to streamline data of sale of alcohol, by liquor outlets in the state has become the object of political controversy in Goa.

While the opposition has alleged, that the app would create a hassle for small businesses dealing in alcohol, the mobile phone app has found the backing of the Goa Liquor Traders Association, which has said, that retailers and bar owners need to be given some time to get used to the new mechanism.

On Friday, Goa Forward party general secretary Prashant Naik told a press conference, that the app was resulting in harassment of small liquor store and bar owners, who were not technology savvy, as purchase and sale of alcohol needed to be loaded to the app on a daily basis.

"It is not feasible for small liquor store and bar owners to log all the data on the app on a daily basis. Some of them do not have smartphones, others have these phones, but make limited use of it," Naik said, adding that the app was leading to unnecessary harassment by excise officials, if the data was not keyed in every day.

Goa is known for its liberal excise regime and the state has nearly 10,000 bars and retail and wholesale stores in the state.

The Goa Liquor Traders Association, which represents a sizeable number of the liquor traders, however said, that the app had helped to streamline data collection, but has also asked Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, who holds the Excise portfolio, to give more time to the industry to get used to the new technology.

"We have spoken to the Chief Minister and has asked him for time to be given to wine shops and bars to implement the upload of daily sales and purchase on the new Excise App," president of the Association, Dattaprasad Naik said.

He also said, that the Chief MInister has assured that liquor traders and bar owners will not be harassed by excise officials.


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