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Tasmac shops reopen in Tamil Nadu, opposition parties slam CM MK Stalin and DMK

Government points to smuggling and rise in illicit liquor while AIADMK brings up visuals of MK Stalin protesting against its decision to open Tasmac shops during the first wave of Covid.

Tasmac shops have been allowed to operate in 27 districts from 10 am to 5 pm. (Express Photo)

Tamil Nadu has reopened Tasmac outlets, the state government-owned liquor shops, after a gap of more than a month as part of several relaxations of Covid-19 restrictions and the move has created a political storm with opposition parties accusing the government of double standard.

Tasmac shops have been allowed to operate in 27 districts from 10 am to 5 pm. In 11 districts, including Coimbatore, Salem, Thanjavur, Erode, Tiruppur, with high Covid-19 caseloads, they will remain closed.

While the ruling Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) under Chief Minister MK Stalin cited smuggling and rise in illicit liquor for reopening Tasmac, the opposition All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) questioned the move. AIADMK said DMK had opposed the decision to open liquor shops when it was in power during the first wave of the pandemic and that too when there were far fewer cases in the state. AIADMK tweeted a video of Stalin holding placards and raising slogans like “whether Tasmac is required when people are dying of infections, do not open liquor stores that will cause law and order problems” and asked the chief minister what his answers to these slogans are now.

On Sunday, BJP state president L Murugan staged a protest in Chennai against Tasmac reopening. He said liquor shops should be closed forever.

BJP leaders opposing TASMACs. (Express Photo)

Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) leader S Ramadoss, who had been calling for total prohibition in the state, condemned the decision to reopen Tasmac shops. He said the government is providing Rs 2,000 as Covid-19 aid through one hand and then taking the money back by reopening liquor stores.

Meanwhile, in a video statement on Monday, Chief Minister MK Stalin said the decision was taken despite knowing that there will be criticism. He said the shops need to follow Covid-19 guidelines.

As per the guidelines, wholesale purchase of liquor is not permitted. A maximum of five persons will be allowed to enter a shop at a time. Tokens are provided to the customers with the date and time. The shop managers have been instructed to make sure there is social distancing among the customers. Sanitisers are kept at each store, masks have been made mandatory for both Tasmac workers and customers to buy the liquor. Shops are instructed to spray disinfectant around the premises before opening and after sales every day.

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The Chennai police commissioner Shankar Jiwal on Sunday chaired a meeting with the Tasmac director and other senior officials to review the preparatory measures taken by the department ahead of the reopening.

First published on: 14-06-2021 at 15:29 IST
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