Despite substantial earning TASMAC, which has earned a net profit of staggering Rs. 18,081 crore for 2011-12, spends a meagre 1.33 per cent of its total earning as wages and other fringe benefits on its 30,000 and odd workers who run its shops across the State.
These workers who were recruited through employment offices some nine years back took up the unenviable job of selling the state-marketed Indian Made Foreign liquor (IMFL) with the fond hope of getting their jobs regularised. But according to them till today they are retained on contract system with consolidated wages.
“The wages varying between Rs. 2,500 and Rs. 4,000 for supervisors, salesmen and helpers are meagre. We are struggling to run our families,” says a worker.
They claim that the job carries neither the expected monetary benefits nor social dignity. “We have no other choice and in the bargain have lost our youth in the dingy shops where we daily deal with raucous tipsters. We should be compensated with adequate benefits,’ says a senior functionary of Joint Action Committee of All TASMAC Employees Unions. They say that it is TASMAC, a major revenue churner apart from taxes for the State. Major free social welfare schemes are being run on the money earned through TASMAC shops.
“But even basic amenities such as toilets and drinking water are not available for us in the shops,” they point out. “Besides senior officials are harassing us for silly mistakes. Each shop has to spend a minimum of Rs. 12,000 per month to meet the overhead expenditures for running a shop,” they claim. The expenditure, according to them, includes daily transportation to bank and TASMAC office, unloading labour charges, damages for broken liquor bottles, stationary etc.
However, a senior official alleges that in many shops popular brands of liquor are being sold on higher prices despite strict instructions. “We are vigilant against many malpractices,” he says. Denying the allegations, the employees urge the Chief Minister to consider their requests of making them full-fledged government employees with better wages ‘sympathetically.’
They also submitted a petition in this regard to Salem District Collector K Maharabushanam.