In spite of resistance from Kovilambakkam residents, another government liquor store opened on Saturday, the eighth in the locality.

Six months ago, a proposal had been initiated for starting the liquor outlet of Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation which was earlier functioning at Medavakkam, in a commercial complex in Kovilambakkam. The complex is located at the intersection of Medavakkam Main Road and the road linking it with Kovilambakkam and Sunnambu Kulathur.

In the past week, members of women self-help groups from Kovilambakkam village panchayat staged a protest on two occasions against the decision of the government to open the liquor store.

The women had pointed out that there were already seven TASMAC outlets in the village panchayat — three on Medavakkam Main Road and four on Pallavaram – Thoraipakkam Radial Road.

The State government, instead of improving access to fair price shops, quality healthcare and drinking water among other essential commodities, was making it easier for people to have access to liquor outlets, said members of the self-help groups, who belong to the panchayat-level federation in this village, which is part of St. Thomas Mount panchayat union.

As the complex was located on the main road, and in the centre of Kovilambakkam market, it would cause severe problems to the free flow of traffic towards Sunnambu Kulathur. Several hundred children from Eachangadu, Vellakkal, Nanmangalam and other pockets have to cross the stretch to reach the government higher secondary school in Kovilambakkam. Under such circumstances, the government should not open a liquor outlet in such a location, the women said.

After their protest, earlier last week, the members were pacified with an assurance that their grievances would be looked into.

Posters have come up at various places in the locality, condemning the government agencies for opening the outlet. The residents are questioning the issue of a No Objection Certificate by the police and the move by Kancheepuram district officials of TASMAC and officials of excise and revenue departments in opening another liquor outlet.

The residents said they would not give up and would resort to other democratic methods in seeking a shut-down of the outlet.

Residents of Tambaram Sanatorium have been urging the closure of the liquor outlet (shop No. 4376) that is located under the road over bridge, near the railway station. Visitors to the shop cause a lot of embarrassment and harassment to commuters, especially women, arriving at Tambaram Sanatorium railway station and on their way home in the evening, residents say.

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