The West Bengal government will soon introduce branded liquor in tetra packs in a bid to stop sale of adulterated liquor and its duplication.
A well-placed source in the secretariat told PTI that the introduction of tetra packs of 180ml and 90ml for branded liquor would be done anytime.
"Duplication and adulteration of alcohol have been a big problem. Suggestion for tetra packaging of branded liquor has been on the government's agenda for a long time," a senior government official said.
Besides being light-weight and more hygienic, the tetra packs would have six protective-layers to keep the liquid safe, he said.
"It'll be next to impossible for anybody to tamper with the tetra packs and replace the alcohol. If anybody tries to do that, the tetra pack will be damaged permanently. So there is no question of reselling a tetra pack with spurious liquor inside," he stated.
Also duplication of tetra packs would be an 'expensive' proposition, he pointed out, saying "it costs around Rs 10 crore to install a new machine to manufacture tetra packs".
The government, he said, had first proposed to launch tetra packs in the districts and then slowly expand it to the urban areas, but considering the demand of the Kolkata market and that of the manufacturers, they would likely be sold here first.
Talking about pricing of tetra packs, he said, "Tetra packs are aimed at economy and non-premium segment, so pricing will likely be done keeping this factor in mind as well as the ad-valorem tax factor and the duties. But it's again the manufacturers' discretion."
Asked whether there was any plan to use tetra packs for country liquor, the official said they planned to do it too, but that is unlikely before the end of the year.
The state in the previous financial year had suffered a loss of around Rs 600 crore because of the sale of spurious liquor.
"Around 750 litres of adulterated alcohol was seized from various legal and illegal liquor outlets across the state last year. The state government has incurred a huge loss because of the sale of adulterated alcohol for several years. Introduction of tetra pack in liquor will definitely arrest such loses," he said.
Alcohol in tetra packs is already sold in states like Karnataka, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Goa among others.