Ahead of the government’s order on three-day dry period came into force on Tuesday, outlets of the Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation (TASMAC), the sole agency to carry out retail business in Indian-Made Foreign Liquor, on Monday touched another high in sales.

The outlets in Chennai witnessed a milling crowd and chaos, with liquor lovers picking up as much as they could. There were instances of tipplers taking home handful of bottles on Monday night.

That day, the outlets across the State recorded Rs. 173 crore in sales. Ordinarily, their daily sales ranged from Rs. 65 crore to Rs. 70 crore. Though the value of sales on Monday is about two-and-a-half times the daily average, an official says this is not a record.

On some occasions in the past, the sales went beyond the Rs. 200-crore mark.

Normally, liquor sale was to be allowed till the last day of campaigning. This time, the period of dry days was advanced by a day, on a request from the Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation Employees’ Union, which said its members had to undergo enormous pressure from both customers and the poll authorities.

The enhanced restriction has already made an impact on tipplers in Chennai and its suburbs who have chosen to stock enough liquor.

On Monday night, Arumainayagam, a workshop employee, was seen taking more than a dozen bottles in a carton box on a moped from a shop in Triplicane. The administration’s announcement on the closure of liquor shops as a matter of precaution came in handy for habitual drinkers, says A. Selvyn, a private employee who says he used to take beer only during summer. 

In many shops, favourite brands ran out of stock by 6 p.m., says Harikrishnan, another private firm employee. Vinayakamoorthy, an auto driver, says a liquor bottle of 180 ml, which used to be priced around Rs. 90-Rs. 115, was sold at Rs.200-Rs.250 on Tuesday, and even that was not available on Wednesday.

Unlike the other dry days, this time high end-bars (permit rooms), too, had to remain closed.

Keywords: TASMAC sales