Uttar Pradesh: Online liquor shop allotment fails to take off
The first ever e-lottery system for online allotment of nearly 27000 liquor shops in Uttar Pradesh ran into technical glitches forcing the government to postpone the e-tender on Thursday.
The online tender site was being maintained by the National Informatics Centre whose officials failed to fix the glitches resulting in repeated postponement of the e-lottery before it was eventually deferred amid protests.
UP’s excise minister Jai Pratap Singh confirmed the postponement and said he would look into the reasons that led to it.
Excise department officials, however, said it was due to NIC software crash.
The minister has summoned a review meeting to discuss reasons for the embarrassment and to fix a fresh date for the e-tenders that were being opposed by the state’s liquor lobby.
“I wouldn’t like to hazard a guess on the reasons for the glitches. We will check up,” said the minister even as liquor merchants, who had made online bids under the new ‘two shops per district’ policy, resorted to sloganeering against the e-lottery system.
The government, however, claimed that the e-lottery concept was very well received by the liquor sellers. “About 67,067 applicants registered with the e-lottery portal. We received a total of 3,67, 419 applications or bids and 2,44,737 applications were by those retailers who had submitted the requisite fees with banks by March 6,” a government official said.
Allotments of 27000 liquor shops, including countrymade, foreign, beer and model shops, in the state were made online on the upexciseelottery.gov.in, the UP excise department website designed and maintained by the NIC.
Those who had missed out making bid for first round allotment through Thursday’s e-lottery were scheduled for the second round on March 17. With first round unable to take off, the second too has been put off, confirmed Santosh Tiwari, the district excise officer.
Of the 904 liquor shops in Lucknow, around 150 were those that found no takers in round one. Similar was the case in other districts.
“That was due to the tedious online process. But even those who made online bids despite the problems also suffered,” said Kanhaiyalal Maurya, general secretary of the Lucknow Sharab Association.
The allotment so far was done through draw of lots at either the local excise department offices or those of the district magistrates.
“It was supposed to start at 11 am but kept on getting delayed and eventually crashed. Till 9 pm we were assured that e-lottery would take place. It’s a complete failure,” an angry SP Singh, the treasurer of the Lucknow Sharab Association said.