Chennai: Tamil Nadu government is all set to lose a revenue of Rs 5,000 crore due to the closure of 2,700 shops in response to the recent Supreme Court order. Already, the state has recently closed 500 Tasmac liquor outlets and with this closure almost 45 per cent of Tasmac shops are now closed. This will hit the revenue earnings of Tasmac for next two months until the shops are relocated, said an informed source with Tasmac.
The closure of shops on Saturday had made about 10,000 staffs go temporarily jobless and the impact is more in tier one cities like Chennai, Coimbatore, Madurai, Vellore and Salem, where the number of liquor shops and consumption is high. As on date, there are 7,204 retail shops with 3,139 bars attached providing jobs for 26,000 employees.
However Tasmac authorities have also started looking for out new places to operate the shops. In his recent circular to the department regional managers and district managers, Tasmac managing director R. Kirlosh Kumar instructed the managers to look out for alternate sites, so that the closed shops can be opened in the nearby areas. He also insisted the regional managers to send proposals for shifting the shops and the get the proposals cleared from district collectors. Managers were also asked to send a compliance report on April 1.
“For shop supervisors instructions were given to shift the stocks to nearby shops and not to return the liquour bottles to government depots. Even if, Tasmac finds alternate places to open the closed shops it will take at least two months for the sales to normalise and this means a revenue loss of about Rs 5,000 crore to the Tasmac that attained a revenue mark close to Rs 26,000 crores”, another Tasmac source said.
How can we close bars overnight, ask owners
A communication from R. Kirloshkumar, prohibition & excise commissioner on Friday night said that all the FL2, FL3, FL3A and FL3AA licensed bars and pubs located on highways should not operate beyond Friday midnight and should not function from Saturday onwards.
SC order says that bars and liquor shops are allowed to function only if their gates are located beyond 500 metres away from the highways.
While hotels located on Anna Salai are asked not serve liquor, hotels located on interior roads managed by Chennai Corporation are found serving liquor. “It is not fair. There is no level-playing field. Just because our hotel is not located on a corporation road, we are not allowed to sell liquor. Hope the government would look into the issue,” noted a general manager of a star hotel on OMR.
“There is no specific instruction to close down FL2, FL3 licensed bars. I believe the SC order applies only to Tasmac shops and attached bars of highways. How can the government overnight ask us to close the bars? We have invested a lot of money for the clubs and bars. More than 2 lakh people working in this industry will be affected,” noted ‘Benze’ Saravanan, founder of Tamil Nadu Bars and Clubs Owners Association.