On the lines of the move of its counterpart in Delhi, West Bengal excise department is considering bringing “on” and “off” India Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) shops in the state under CCTV camera surveillance.
If implemented, 896 off-shops and 966 on-shops in the state would be covered under CCTV camera surveillance. According to sources in the state finance department, the move is aimed at curbing the growing tendency among certain sections of the consumers to consume liquor outside the off-shops, which is highly illegal.
Sources said that often there have been complaints from local residents about rowdy and drunken behaviour after consuming the liquor outside the off-shops.
“Not only consumption of alcohol outside the shops is illegal, the consumers are even not allowed to mix the liquor with water or soda in public places. The complaints of such mixing in public spaces, especially out of the off-shops are rampant in certain pockets and hence we are considering curbing the menace though CCTV surveillance,” an official aware of the planning said. At the same time, in case of on-shops, where consumers are allowed to consume the liquor at the shop adjacent closed area, CCTV cameras would also be installed so that in case of drunken and rowdy behaviour, the offenders can be identified easily.
As per initial plans each shop should have at least two CCTV cameras, one inside the sop to monitor the activities inside and the other outside. The one to be installed outside the shop should have a minimum coverage area around. According to state government sources, although initially only the on-shops and off-shops in the IMFL category would be brought under CCTV camera surveillance, the country spirit shops too might come under its purview.
The shop owners concerned would have to bear the expense of installing the CCTV cameras and the state government might help them in procuring them at cheaper rates.
Recently, the Delhi government has brought 530 liquor shops in the state under CCTV camera surveillance with the aim of checking drunken and rowdy behaviour outside the shops. Under the rule, the CCTV cameras installed outside the shops should cover at least 50 meters of area on all sides outside the shop.