New Delhi: Reacting to concerns over flouting of social distancing guidelines at liquor outlets, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in Delhi launched an e-token system on Thursday for sale of liquor in Delhi.
"The decision has been taken in view of crowding at liquor shops so that social distancing can be maintained. A web link has been issued for the same,” government officials told ANI.
Customers will have the option to log in to the online portal (www.qtoken.in) and generate a unique e-token for a particular store, which will remain valid for a duration of one hour. Buyers will also have the option to choose from the available one-hour windows of their preference.
The portal will only generate 50 unique tokens for a single one-hour slot for a particular liquor store, to avoid unwanted rush and crowd at liquor stores.
Moreover, it has been proposed that at the shops, there will be separate queues for buyers with and without a token.
Vinod Giri, director general of Confederation of Indian Alcoholic Beverage Companies (CIABC), welcomed the government’s move and said that this will help manage the crowd to an extent.
"We welcome this move. This was one of our suggestions that we submitted to the government. But we also believe it's a short-term solution. You have to take people away from the outlets for a long-term solution and for that, a robust online home-delivery system is the best option," Giri told News18.
In a letter submitted to the deputy chief minister of Delhi, Manish Sisodia, on Wednesday, the CIABC had suggested the Delhi government to, among other things, consider an e-token system for liquor sale in the national capital as one of the measures to manage the crowd at stores.
“An online/app-based token system may be introduced for the customer to place an order and pay in advance for collection at a pre-specified time later from a shop,” it stated.
The letter had also asked the government to open more stores to disperse the crowd and balance out the pent-up demand for alcohol.
“The primary reason behind the rush at the outlets is the less number of open shops. In the first two days, barely 50 of [the total] 800 retail outlets in Delhi were fully operational. Besides, bars are shut. In our view it is vital to increase the number of shops immediately,” the letter read.