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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

TASMAC elite bars – women power stalls opening at Ariyalur.

You would have seen this many a times – as you travel from Velachery Railway station towards Madipakkam, suddenly you would find lot of two wheelers parked on the road side…. People would be crowding a small shop – for a moment, one might wonder whether anything is being distributed free ! – there would be such crowds irrespective of the time of the day and more crowds on Sundays, holidays and festive occasions.  Replace the area name with something else, perhaps the situation may not be different.  [read the last para as well]

From its official website, the Capital structure of this Organisation is 15 crores of authorised capital and 15 crores of Paid up capital – fully contributed by the State of Tamilnadu.  Can you imagine its turn over ?   In its initial years of operation it was 140 crores and it increased to 7335 crores in 2005-06.  The expected sales turnover for the year is a whopping  Rs. 1,78,10,00,00,000/-  [yes – 17810 crores]

One need not be an expert to guess what it is ?  and with such a high income, prohibition of alcohol can only be dreamt of.   The figures represent the success story of  Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation Limited (TASMAC),  a company incorporated under the Companies Act, 1956 on 23.05.1983 with Registered Office at Chennai. TASMAC is vested with the exclusive privilege of wholesale supply of IMFL for the whole State of Tamil Nadu.  It has taken over the wholesale distribution of Indian Made Foreign Liquor from the Private Sector in the whole of Tamil Nadu during May 1983. TASMAC has  41 depots all over the State.  Initially there was only wholesale supply by TASMAC but later it took upon retail vending division – at that time the move was stated as a step of complete elimination of sale of contraband, spurious and non- duty paid liquor in some licensed premises under the system of retail vending by private persons, which can affect the public health of the liquor consuming public and wide spread violations of Maximum Retail Price (MRP) of liquor fixed by the Government.

You have heard the term ‘Elite’  (Latin, electus - "chosen") refers to an exceptional and/or privileged group that wields considerable power within its sphere of influence.   Elites require special attention and do not mingle with commoners – they deserve preferential treatment

For long for choice alcohol drinks of scotch, vodka, cognac, people depended on those arriving from abroad or on bottleggers who would sell them at higher rates after smuggling them inside.   Now a policy decision seems to have been taken to take care of their interestes as well.  . The Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation, the state's arm that markets liquor, has decided to open up a new chain of retail outlets that will have all premium brands of your choice on the racks.   Going by the newspaper reports, the 'elite' shops, as they are being described, would cater to people who "have a taste for quality".  A proposal to have eight shops set up in vantage locations in and around the city is being spoken of.  The locations reportedly include one outlet on the East Coast Road in Mamallapuram, Spencer Plaza and some other Mall.  The elite shops are to sell a range of brands that are popular in the international market. Top brands, including Johnny Walker Black Label, Remy Martin and Smirnoff Red Vodka, besides several Indian Made Foreign Liquor brands, are expected to be available for the city's tipplers.
Whilst this is rampant in the City boasting of educated public, read a news item in today’s ‘New Indpress’ Chennai edition -  It was women power to the fore at the ‘opening’ of a TASMAC shop at Silakall village in the district of Ariyalur on 20th Nov. 2011.  Women came in droves for the inaugural function and dared the officials to launch the shop. Many of them even carried kerosene in cans, much to the discomfort of the officials present. Of course, the women had the support of men.  Over 50 women and hundreds of men came to the location and threatened the officials as they felt the shop would promote alcoholism. Womenfolk maintained that their family members were not into drinking now, but the opening of the TASMAC shop would probably make many of them drunkards.  They even threatened to set themselves on fire by pouring kerosene if the officials inaugurated the shop, the police added.   As the situation became tense, T Pazhur Police Inspector Gunasekaran held talks with the agitators, but without much success. Subsequently, Jayamkondam Deputy Superintendent of Police Chellamuthu and Ariyalur Tahsildar Ponmudy visited the spot and tried to pacify the residents. But that also did not work out.   Later, the officials asked the public to submit a petition to  Collector Anu George to take a decision on whether the TASMAC shop should be opened or not.  It is said that the villagers had, in a similar fashion, prevented the officials from opening a TASMAC shop in the area some seven years ago.

There is also news that there are many illegal liquor outsets posing to operate under TASMAC and in Tiruvallur district alone 76 bars have been reported to be operating illegally.   The State President of AITUC is quoted as suggesting that these bars should be taken over by the Govt. to resolve the menace !

In places the shops are near bus stops, schools and other places that commoner frequent. In Triplicane High Road, women are afraid of standing in the bus stand as one can see so many people drunk and not in their senses loitering ! –  again replace Triplicane High Road, with some other road, the situation is more likely to be similar.   This being the view of a teetotaller how an alcoholic would feel can be otherwise but there cannot be any denial of the fact of the trouble it causes to the families of those alcoholics and other public who are always put to inconvenience.  And here is a photo from dinamalar which says it all.
Regards - S. Sampathkumar

PS :  A post made in Nov. 2011 ~ kept in draft ; could not contain myself when I saw a group drinking in the early morning @ 0545 am.........

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