Maharashtra to use hologram tech to check spurious liquor

Mumbai: In order to check sale of spurious liquor, the Maharashtra Government has decided to make it mandatory to have a hologram on every alcohol bottle manufactured and sold in the State.

The Government has decided to paste "polyester base track and trace" hologram, to be supported by a mobile app, which will help consumers find out whether the liquor is fake or genuine, Minister for Revenue Eknath Khadse said today. He said besides checking sale of spurious liquor, the technique will also help prevent loss of revenue due to cheap liquor being imported into Maharashtra from neighbouring States.

Talking to newspersons at his Mantralaya office here, he said a recent Excise Department survey found that while the liquor production in the state was two lakh bottles, the sale figure stood at 6 lakh bottles.

"The Government is developing a free of cost mobile app, which when brought in contact with the hologram, will immediately generate a green or red mark indicating to the buyer whether the liquor, wine, country made liquor, Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) is fake or genuine," he said.

"If one holds the liquor bottle against the mobile app one will get a green tick mark indicating it is a genuine product. A red tick mark will indicate the product is fake."

Twenty-one states are already using the hologram technology, the Minister said. Khadse said the State earned excise duty worth about Rs 18,000 crore, inclusive of VAT, from liquor sales last fiscal. There are 159 liquor manufacturers in the State.

Henceforth, no liquor bottle will be allowed to be sold in Maharashtra without the hologram, he said.

"The decision will be implemented either from July 1 or August 1. The decision was taken keeping in mind the last year's tragedy at Malwani where about 100 people died after consuming spurious liquor," he said.

Replying to queries about providing water to liquor industries at the time of drought, Khadse clarified that the District Collectors and Revenue Commissioners have been instructed to allocate water on priority basis.

First priority should be given to drinking water followed by other purposes depending on the availability, the Minister said.

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