Officials are finding it hard to find alternative accommodation for them

Throwing to the winds the Madras High Court order, TASMAC retail outlets continue to function along the National Highways, in Karur district with official blessing and inducement.

Taking note of the fact that many accidents on highways were caused because of reckless driving by inebriated motorists and crew of heavy vehicles, the court had slammed liquor shops functioning on the roadside that lure the drivers to have a swig before proceeding.

The court had directed the Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation (TASMAC), to shut down all outlets along the highways and subsequently relocate them to interior places.

Relocation difficulties

The TASMAC authorities took time to comply with the order as they found it difficult in getting alternative accommodation. Public opposition to presence of liquor shops in their vicinity coupled with general animosity towards tipplers who spoil the tranquil environment made relocation difficult.

They had to contend with the sales target set forth by their superiors for increased sales month-on-month in every district.

Some errant TASMAC shops removed the highly distinguishable green sign board of the shop and the supervisors and salesmen operate on the sly with official knowledge.

They ensured that they circumvented the court order, avoid finding alternate sites for the shops and most importantly continue to show increasing sales.

The Karur TASMAC officials perfected the move by allowing certain shops (with higher sales) along the National Highways 67 and 7 to function surreptitiously.

The offending TASMAC retail outlets are functioning at Mayanur and Vengakkalpatti (along the NH 67), as also at Manmangalam, Opposite to Periyar Arch, near the road over bridge on the Salem bypass at the entry to the Karur and six shops (all along the NH 7).

While some flaunt their TASMAC identity, others are camouflaged like the outlet in Mayanur where the officials have shifted the entrance of the outlet and added a restaurant to boot. Official sources said thisshop No. 5039 was relocated, contrary to court order, from a nondescript location to the crowded Mayanur bus stop.

When asked, the sales personnel claimed that the shops will be relocated soon, but concede that they were functioning under the full knowledge of their superiors.

Same is in the case with the shop at Vengakkalpatti that is located at a vantage point off the NH 67 intersection. Discretion is the last thing in mind as they openly parade their sign board and perform a very brisk business, even beyond business hours.