The Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation (TASMAC) liquor shops reopened on Saturday and witnessed long queues of people. However, most shops ensured physical distancing. This was ensured through a token system that set a limit of 70 buyers an hour. The TASMAC outlets provided only 500 tokens a day for people to purchase alcohol.
TASMAC shops reopened on Saturday following a Supreme Court stay on a Madras High Court order that directed the Tamil Nadu government to shut liquor shops and permit sale of liquor only through online platforms.
According to a TASMAC employee, the functioning of TASMAC and sale of liquor went smoothly. “We are providing colour coupons so that a person who purchases alcohol on Saturday doesn’t use the same token to buy liquor on Sunday. So far, there is no problem. Also, people are maintaining physical distance and we are providing more liquor bottles unlike before as all the guidelines issued by the Madras High Court has been stayed,” said a TASMAC employee. As Aadhaar card was not mandatory, people could buy liquor without producing the identity card, he added.
However, liquor was not sold in Chennai and Tiruvallur, two districts that have high number of COVID-19 cases.
Reacting to the SC judgment allowing reopening of TASMAC shops, Makkal Needhi Maiam chief Kamal Haasan said, “The mothers of Tamil Nadu congratulated the Tamil Nadu government for closing the TASMAC shops. The same mothers will soon react to this judgment opening the TASMAC shops. During that time, you cannot disguise yourself by saying that you are the children of Amma (former CM J Jayalalithaa) and escape.”
Chellapandian, president of Tamil Nadu Madhukudippor Vizhipunarvu Sangam (TN tipplers awareness association said, “Before coronavirus, there was no one to lift a drunk man lying on the road but now the people purchasing liqour are going to stand in lines to uplift the economy of the state.”