THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: BevQ app, launched for selling liquor through virtual queue system, developed technical glitches for the second straight day, leaving consumers as well as sellers high and dry and forcing the state government to go for damage control. As many as 2.25 lakh tokens were issued on Thursday, but the number slumped to 1.37 lakh on Friday against the expected 4.5 lakh. As liquor distribution went haywire after the app failed to generate tokens, some bar owners, who had signed an agreement with Bevco for selling liquor at MRP rates, cashed in on the confusion by selling off their stock to customers who did not have tokens.
Sensing public anger, Excise Minister T P Ramakrishnan convened a meeting of officials and sought a report from the IT secretary as well as the Kerala Startup Mission CEO. He also asked them to check the app developed by Kochi-based startup Faircode Technologies and look into the possibility of retaining its service.
The startup, meanwhile, has stopped responding to queries, reportedly closed its office in Kochi and removed the updates about the app from its Facebook page. The officials who checked BevQ’s functioning have reportedly communicated to the government that there was no need to include a QR code in the token which complicated the process.
Govt gives app developers time till Tuesday morning
Later, after stringent direction from the state government, the company fixed the glitches in the app temporarily by 6.30pm and restarted issuing tokens for Saturday. The liquor outlets in the state will remain closed on Sunday and Monday. The service provider has been asked to rectify all complaints related to the app by the time the shops reopen on Tuesday. According to sources, the next three days will be crucial for the service provider.If the startup fails again, the state government would explore other options, including starting liquor distribution without tokens by ensuring social distancing.