October 4, 2017
Chennai: The state government-run Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation, popularly known as TASMAC, that controls the Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) trade and monopolises wholesale and retail vending of alcoholic beverages is an evergreen news churner.
One one hand, prohibition campaigners have been insisting that the government to do away with TASMAC, a major money spinner for the government, and enforce liquor ban. On the other hand, its staff have been seeking job regularisation. As for the residents, especially women, they take to streets on and off when nuisance caused by alcoholics frequenting liquor vends in their locality becomes intolerable. At times, they go on a rampage if the state administration refuses to shift the wine shop or relocates it to their area to bypass the Supreme Court’s order that mandates closure of the outlets located within 50m distance from the highways, state or national.
Apart from these three categories, there is a major group of stakeholders that has started making noises of late. Yes, we are talking about tipplers. They have a charter of demands too to press for. Wanting to be heard, these alcoholic addicts have floated a forum – Tamil Nadu Tipplers Welfare Association, as well. Using this forum, they even went to the extent of petitioning the local tahsildar to get the administration establish a wine shop at Sengathurai near Sulur in Coimbatore district. This they did after the residents forced the administration to remove an outlet there.
The tipplers would get on the nerves of the prohibition campaigners and women protesting against TASMAC if they were to hear their demands.
So, what does the association have to say? P Chellapandian, its president, says state government should give 60 per cent discount to tipplers over 60 years of age. Voicing for the senior addicts who by now would have got their health spoilt, he says, “At a young age, tipplers are self-dependant. When they grow old, they bank on their uncooperative family for money to buy alcohol. That is why we are asking for liquor at subsidised rate,”he says seriously.
When groups like Alcoholics Anonymous are helping alcoholics stay sober and recover from addiction to liquor, this association has urged the transport department to provide its members separate vehicle number plates that can stand out from the rest in order to avoid meeting with accidents and getting caught by the police.
If compensation is given by the state to genuine victims, this group of tipplers that falls prey to alcohol out of their own will and becomes subjects of self-victimisation without bothering about their families is shamelessly asking for solatium – Rs 5000 for married man’s family and Rs 3000 for bachelor’s family – in the event of their death due to alcohol consumption.
The authorities may brush aside their demands, but the activity of this association is sure to please one segment – the IMFL manufacturers. Who else?