Residents of Manimangalam Village Panchayat are waging a battle against the State government liquor outlet that opened in their locality a few days ago.
More than a year ago, the residents, after prolonged struggle, had managed to get an outlet on Pound Street in the same panchayat shut down. But a new outlet was opened all of a sudden along the Manimangalam Main Road. The shop, No. 4002, was earlier functioning in Chengalpattu and it was decided to shift it to Manimangalam, an official source said.
Work is currently on to install temporary steel fences on all its sides. “We were completely taken by surprise. We had no clue that a liquor store would come here,” said Jayamani, who along with several other women, were angry about the development.
The women, who were employed under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, recalled the struggle they initiated to shut the shop on Pound Street as many of the men in their families, including the younger ones, had become adducted to alcohol.
The closure of the shop had served as a deterrent as many of the men were not keen on travelling as far as Mannivakkam, or Padappai to procure liquor on a daily basis.
“Our relief seems short-lived now.” said Sulochana, one of the women in the group. The women said that many of the men were involved in daily wage jobs due to the decline of prospects of agriculture in the area but very little of the wages would reach their households earlier. Many of the men neglected their families and this was also having an impact on the children who were losing interest in their studies.
The opening of the liquor store, that too in the midst of houses and very close to a private arts and science college, was bound to shatter peace and order in the locality.
The women said that when the earlier shop on Pound Street was closed down, the women in the locality and most elected representatives, cutting across political affiliations, were united. The women made it clear that they would mobilise support and appeal to the Kancheepuram District administration and the State government to close down the shop.