The Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation (Tasmac), the monopoly agency for selling liquor in the State, says it doesn’t have enough stock to meet the consumer requirement either at retail liquor vending shops or in its depots.
The reason being attributed for the possible crisis is the huge surge in liquor sales that the State witnessed in the run-up to the lockdown and the closure of manufacturing units following the prohibitory orders.
As of now, the available stock is only a little more than one-third of what the tipplers in the State gulp down every day. A senior Tasmac official told DT Next that about 1.57 lakh cases of hard liquor (including brandy, whiskey, rum, vodka, and gin) were being sold every day. “Besides, more than 65,000 cases of beer are also being consumed every day,” he said.
“However, at present, we have only about 60,000 cases of hard liquor and just over 25,000 cases of beer in both liquor shops and as well as in our 43 depots across all districts,” he said adding “Of the total, the stock in about 5,200 liquor shops is much less and even if we transfer the stock from the depot, it could be sold in just two to three hours.”
Pointing out that the production of liquor by various distillers have also come to a standstill due to the total lockout, the official said “Many liquor companies have stopped production from March 17 itself soon after Tamil Nadu government imposed total shutdown till March 3.”
Stating that TASMAC procures hard liquor from 11 liquor manufacturing units, beer from seven beer-producing units and wine from one company, he said, “Even if all the companies start production, it will take at least four to five days for the liquor stock to reach the shops”.
The TASMAC official also said since the availability of liquor stock is quite low, the authorities were also discussing whether to open liquor shops once in two or three days.
“We are anticipating huge crowds to purchase liquor once the shutters are open,” he said adding: “We have requested the government to provide security personnel to control the crowd for social distancing during the purchase of liquor.”