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TN government’s reported move to open standalone bars draws flak

Chennai, June 10(BPNS)

The Tamil Nadu government’s reported move to open standalone bars in the state has drawn flak with the PMK youth wing leader and former Union Health Minister Dr Anbumani Ramdoss condemning the move.

The youth leader said that this is a move that is against the basic principles of DMK which had even brought out an election manifesto in 2016 assembly elections advocating total prohibition in the state. The PMK leader also said that if the DMK government under Chief minister MK Stalin moves ahead with this, the PMK would be forced to conduct a slew of agitations against the government.

In a letter written to the state government on Thursday, the PMK leader said that this step would lead to new standalone bars being opened even in residential premises leading to a major issue for women and children. He said that this may become a serious law and order problem for the state government and would get out of its hands. He demanded the DMK government not to move forward with this.

It may be noted that the Tamil Nadu state government had conducted a series of meeting with TASMAC officials to elicit their views to shut down bars attached to the TASMAC liquor shops and instead to open new standalone bars.

This, according to senior officials privy to the meeting was to increase the revenue from the sale of liquor to support the state economy which is reeling under the impact of Covid and a slowing down economy.

The state government will have to allow special licenses to open these liquor shops. Tamil Nadu already has several private bars functioning throughout the state but attached with the hotel rooms as per the Tamil Nadu liquor license rules.  It may be noted that the government of Tamil Nadu gets an annual revenue of Rs 440 crore from private bars attached to TASMAC outlets.  The stand-alone bars if opened would bring more than three times the revenue which the state is eliciting at present. This would mean a minimum amount of Rs 1200 crore and the DMK government is eyeing this revenue which could increase manifold if more relaxations are brought forward in the state in the licensing system.

A senior officer with TASMAC told BPNS on conditions of anonymity that the state government had brought forward this proposal during the regime of the previous AIADMK government but the proposal did not take off owing to several reasons.

Trade union leader and state president of Tasmac Employees Union affiliated to the AITUC,N Periyaswami while speaking to BPNS said, “ We have been demanding for the past several years that the state government shut down all TASMAC bars attached to liquor outlets and allow standalone bars. Several bars attached to TASMAC outlets have become hubs of various other violations and getting away owing to the political clout of the people running these outlets.”

Swadeshi Jagaran Manch Tamil Nadu state joint secretary, Mahesh Krisnhamoorty has also come out against the government move to allow Standalone private bars. While speaking to BPNS the SJM leader said, “The private standalone bars would create law and order problems in the state. SJM has always been against promoting liquor and now the DMK government is planning a free flow of liquor which would lead to major anarchy in the state destroying the lives of several people. Government of Tamil Nadu must come out against this.”