Liquor stocks run low; wine merchants blame it on software glitches

Federation of Wine Merchants’ Association Karnataka to stage a protest today

April 05, 2022 10:32 pm | Updated 10:32 pm IST - Bengaluru

Liquor stocks across the state have been running low over the past two days, much to the chagrin of wine merchants. The wine merchants blame the new software that has been put in place by the Karnataka State Beverages Corporation Ltd. (KSBCL) for the situation.

According to Karunakar Hegde from the Federation of Wine Merchants’ Association Karnataka, the wine merchants would earlier place indents at the depots in the respective taluks and districts for IML and beer and procure the same. Since April 1, the KSBCL has put in place a new system that allows wine merchants to place the indents online, apart from making the payment online itself. A new software for the same was also developed.

However, he alleged that without properly testing the new software, the old system was removed. “Over the past two days, there have been glitches in the new system. Over 11,500 wine merchants in the state have been affected, as they are not able to raise new indents,” he charged.

Mr. Hegde said that indents, under the new system, could be placed only between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. Several merchants from across the state have been complaining about depleting stocks. “We did good business over the two festival days – Ugadi and Varshatodaku – over the weekend. However, after that, we have not been able to place indents to replenish the stock,” he said.

Meanwhile, excise officials, who spoke to The Hindu on condition of anonymity, said the department was working on fixing the software glitches. “There has been some slowdown, as many merchants have been placing indents. These are initial implementation issues that will be set right soon,” the official said and added that the new system would benefit the wine merchants and the department equally.

The federation has charged the KSBCL of putting in place a new system without properly testing it or fixing bugs that could arise due to increase in indents being raised/ placed. KSBCL should have at least allowed the merchants to place indents under the old system until the new system has stabilized. With the sudden implementation of the new system and the software glitch, the wine merchants have incurred a loss of over ₹600 crore over the past two days, it claimed.

The federation is now planning to stage a protest against the new system in front of all KSBCL depots in the different taluks and districts of the state on Wednesday.

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