An attempt to revive an abandoned effort to open a Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation (TASMAC) liquor outlet on Nanjundapuram Road near the electric crematorium resulted in protest by residents living on either side of the road with the women in the fore-front.
The protest resulted in tense moments and commotion which lasted for over two hours. Initially, the administration shifted a TASMAC outlet from the 80-ft road near Ramanathapuram. The residents of Thiruvalluvar Nagar and 80-ft scheme road objected to the presence of the shop and it was removed from there. A move was made to locate the shop near the police check post adjacent to a gated community.
Residents protested against the shop since it was a thick residential locality and the stretch from the police outpost/check post to Podanur was a lonely stretch and they feared safety of women, added Rukmangathan, president of another gated community. Then, another move was made for shifting the TASMAC outlet near Ramanathapuram Junction to the said place.
On Sunday, the officials in the afternoon made arrangements for opening the shop and brought in the stocks and commenced the sale immediately.
This triggered protest from the residents, as their earlier protest and representation had just been ignored by the official machinery, says Premanand, a resident of the gated community.
“It was unfortunate that for the sake of revenue, administration was only facilitating the opening of the shop unmindful of the people living in the area”, Mr. Premanand added.
Demanding the immediate closure of the shop for the day and its removal from the area, residents largely women remained on the road. Police reinforcements were rushed and Revenue Divisional Officer S. Shanthakumar held talks with the residents. But, the residents made it firm that the shop should be shifted at any cost and the stalemate continued into the night.
Finally, the shop was closed following protest and it was assured that the shop will not be opened on Monday and Tuesday. Residents have been called for talks with the RDO at 11 a.m. on Monday and after which a decision will be taken to open the shop or to get it shifted.
Residents petition Collector
A section of the residents of Ward 97 of the Coimbatore Corporation have petitioned the district administration against the TASMAC establishing a liquor outlet in the area.
According to Susi Kalaiarasan, District Secretary, Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi, the move to set up the liquor outlet with an attached bar at Kamaraj Nagar will trouble the residents.
There was a government middle school, a private higher secondary school and four temples in the locality, which was thickly populated. If the TASMAC management were to set up the shop there, not only students but devotees going to the temples could be troubled by tipplers. There was a high chance of trouble brewing in the area because of the shop.
He had also told the Collector that there were chances that customers to the shop could misbehave with women in inebriated condition. Given the apprehension in the minds of the residents, the district administration should intervene in favour of the residents and ensure that the TASMAC administration did not go ahead and start the liquor outlet.