Diwali alcohol sale triggers row in Tamil Nadu
According to an official in the Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation (Tasmac), who asked not to be named, a sales target of Rs 385 crore has been for this year, but Tasmac’s managing director Kirlosh Kumar denied that this was true.Updated: Oct 22, 2019 03:26 IST
The Communist Party of India (CPI) has criticised the Tamil Nadu government for allegedly fixing liquor sales target for the Diwali season at a time when an economic slowdown has dampened the festive mood.
According to an official in the Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation (Tasmac), who asked not to be named, a sales target of Rs 385 crore has been for this year, but Tasmac’s managing director Kirlosh Kumar denied that this was true.
“We ensure that our shops have sufficient stock, but we do not fix any targets. No one is forced to achieve any sales figures. It is not our policy to fix sales targets,” he said.
The government has a monopoly over the sale of Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) and runs retail outlets through Tasmac.
“Rather than addressing the issue of massive job losses and ensuring that the essentials are available to the poor under the Public Distribution System, the government is setting wrong priorities like fixing liquor sales target,” CPI state secretary R Mutharasan said in a statement.
An official from the state’s revenue department was not immediately available for comments.
Tasmac operates nearly 4,600 liquor shops across the state with Chennai accounting for 300 of them. As per the state budget, the government earned ₹26,000 crore revenue from the sale of IMFL in 2018-19. Its overall turnover stood at ₹31,757 crore. During last Diwali, the liquor sales stood at ₹300 crore, while it was ₹245 crore in 2017 and ₹265 crore in 2016, according to the government.
“The staff...have been advised to keep the stock required for 15 days for sale for three days — Diwali and two days preceding it. Further, they have been told to be punctual in opening the outlets without taking any leave,” a Tasmac employee said.