With the Centre giving a go ahead to reopen liquor shops, the Tamil Nadu government is likely to take a call today about reopening Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation (Tasmac) liquor outlets.
A cash cow of the Tamil Nadu government, closure of Tasmac outlets during the lockdown has already caused revenue loss of Rs 3,500 crore to the exchequer.
Quoting official sources, a TOI report said the state cabinet which will meet on Saturday will decide on reopening the shops. “The opinions of the health department and police would be sought before arriving at any decision,” a government official reportedly said.
The Indian government on Friday stated that liquor stores can open with certain restrictions, starting on May 4.
Liquor shops will be allowed to open in these areas with certain restrictions in place. “Sale of liquor, paan, tobacco to be allowed after ensuring minimum six-feet social distancing; not more than five persons at one time at shop,” guidelines issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs stated.
Though the guidelines did not mention zones, a clarification was given later that liquor shops will be allowed to open in green and orange zones. With liquor shops shut since March 25 and black market rates being three times the regular price, alcohol-thirsty tipplers have been hunting for their daily fix.
At least a dozen attempts to break into TASMAC shops, especially those located in villages or less-populated suburbs, have come to the notice of the police. In Thiruvallur district near Chennai, two people were caught sneaking out of a TASMAC shop with a haul of liquor bottles.
Three men in Chengalpattu died after they were unable to procure alcohol due to the lockdown and ended up drinking paint and varnish. The three were rushed to Chengalpattu government hospital after they were found vomiting and in a serious condition. All three of them collapsed one after the other.