After six weeks, despite severe opposition, the Tamil Nadu government today reopened the doors of its 3,850 Tasmac outlets across the State, barring Chennai, with full police protection.
As expected, ‘kudimagans’, or tipplers, thronged liquor outlets in large numbers and they were regulated by police personnel and volunteers. Only medically fit employees of Tasmac (below 55 years of age) have been called for work and tipplers walking in to purchase liquor should carry Aadhaar cards and wear masks.
With a surge of booze lovers expected to hit the state- run TASMAC outlets on Thursday, police announced age-specific time slots for the sale of liquor, which will however, be not available in Chennai and three of its adjoining districts.
The DMK-led opposition bloc decided to oppose the government’s move by asking its cadre to wear black badges and raise slogans against the ruling AIADMK, as well as the Centre on Thursday.
On Wednesday, with the help of district managers, Tasmac moved its stock from godowns and depots to shops through lorries. A few weeks ago, people broke open Tasmac shops to steal liquor, after which the State government had decided to shift stock to nearby godowns and deploy additional security.
“Since the Tamil Nadu government has hiked the excise tax levied on the Indian Made Foreign Liquor by 15 percent, the retail price of ordinary variety of liquor (180ml) is being hiked by Rs 10 while the price of medium and premium varieties (180 ml) will go up by Rs 20 from May 7,” an official release here said.
Tamil Nadu enjoys monopoly over liquor sales through the Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation (TASMAC), which is also a major revenue source for the state exchequer. A day after this announcement, the Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC) issued a notice stating that TASMAC stores that fall under its limits shall not be opened.