Tamil Nadu

Liquor shops near temples, schools may be the first to go

Some of the State-run liquor outlets functioning near places of worship and educational institutions are likely to be among the 500 outlets that would be closed down as part of the Government’s phased prohibition policy.

On Monday, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa also signed papers truncating the working hours of the outlets—instead of 10 am, the shops would now open only at noon. A Tasmac official said that apart from shops that are situated near temples and schools, those that do relatively “dull” business would also be closed down. “This closure would translate into a loss of around Rs. 2-3.5 crore per day. This may not bring about a drastic transformation (in liquor consumption pattern) unless the government closes at least 50 per cent of these shops. Maybe one year later, we can see the difference,” an analyst, who has been tracking the market for over a decade said. Currently, Tasmac, the cash cow of the State, sells liquor worth Rs. 68 to Rs. 75 crore a day through its 6,720 outlets.

Some Tasmac employees say that deferring the commencement of business hours may have little impact since the peak sales hour is between 6 pm and 10 pm. “We see a spike in sales from 7 pm to 9 pm,” says a worker at a liquor outlet in T. Nagar, adding, “our turnover is around Rs. 1.6 lakh per week day and Rs. 2 lakh on weekends.” In Thousand Lights, a liquor shop employee said people crowd there from 8 pm to 10 pm.

“People did not stay away from consuming liquor even when the prices were hiked in 2014. Ideally, the Government should have reduced the business hours in the evening,” said a retired managing director of Tasmac.

‘Rehabilitate staff’

Meanwhile, unions have urged the Government to rehabilitate staff of the 500 outlets that would be shut.

Periyasami, president, Tamil Nadu (AITUC) Tasmac Employees Association, said while the reduction of business hours was a welcome move, bars attached to the shops too must be closed to make it more effective. He urged the Chief Minister to provide government jobs to those employed in the shops that are to be closed according to their educational qualification.

D. Dhanasekaran, general secretary of the AITUC-affiliated Tamil Nadu Tasmac Employees’ Union, also said that a majority of Tasmac employees are graduates and they could be given government jobs. Hotels and pubs that were keeping their fingers crossed seem to be heaving a sigh of relief.

Arasu Dennis, who has been instrumental in setting up many pubs in the Chennai, said, “As of now, there is no impact on pubs. The clientele coming here are completely different. They come here to socialise. A lot of analysis is done before issuing licences to pubs,” he added.

“We have to wait and watch what the new government has in store for us. But if we are asked to shut down our bars, it will take a toll on industries and tourism here,” said another hotelier who did not wish to be quoted.


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Printable version | Nov 25, 2021 10:32:02 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/Liquor-shops-near-temples-schools-may-be-the-first-to-go/article14336796.ece

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