Ranchi: From today, residents of Jharkhand can easily identify ‘genuine’ liquor. The Jharkhand excise department has hit upon an excellent idea to root out spurious liquor, especially the hooch from the infamous Namkum stills.
The state excise department has introduced holographic adhesive labels on each bottle of liquor being sold across Jharkhand from February 1.This, officials claim, will curb the manufacture and sale of spurious liquor and black marketing of booze.
“From February 1, only those with authorised excise labels on wine/beer bottles will be considered legal. The labels will have specific colours based on the drink and an inscription of JH followed by a 10-digit special alphanumerical code, much like the vehicle chassis number,” assistant excise commissioner Rakesh Kumar said, adding that given the spate of illegal liquor business rampant in Jharkhand, this move was necessary.
The decision was taken three months ago. A sticker company based in Nashik was selected to provide the special labels. Distribution of labels is being done through the Jharkhand State Beverage Corporation.
The labels, 75mm long and 15mm wide, are of different colours for different types of liquor. “It’s blue for Indian-made foreign liquor (IMFL), red for beer, yellow for country-made liquor, green for spicy country liquor, and pink for imported foreign liquor,” an excise official said.
Apart from the colour of the label, the inscription JH and the numbers, to verify the authenticity of the bottle on sale, each label carries the printed signature of the excise commissioner, the authorised signatory, visible in ultraviolet light.
“This is to ensure that the labels can’t be copied,” assistant excise commissioner Kumar said. “Duplication can easily be spotted and if detected, permits will be cancelled or hefty fine imposed.”
However, the liquor lobby of Ranchi is not convinced.
“I don’t think it will have an impact in restraining the illegal liquor sale. Roughly, there are around 1,800 registered sellers across the state, 32 in Ranchi. But go to any dhaba at any highway, and you’ll find everyone selling liquor with the connivance of the police and excise officials. So, label or no label won’t make any difference. In the villages, hardly anyone will bother to check labels. ” a liquor Baron scoffed in a local paper.
Assistant excise commissioner Kumar admitted that the unorganised sector was huge considering the frequency of raids and seizures from across Jharkhand state.