The Home, Prohibition, and Excise Department’s decision has come against the backdrop of increase in the number of illegal bars operating without following any SOPs.
At present, Tasmac, has 2,808 bars attached to its retail vending shops. However, though bars were allowed to open for a brief period after the first wave, they were again closed after the second wave. A senior official from Tasmac, seeking anonymity, told DT Next that the licences of almost all the bars attached to the liquor shops have expired. “Due to the pandemic situation, the tender for renewing licences could not be floated,” he said, adding, “the move to open the bars officially is being taken due to so many illegal bars that have mushroomed. In addition, many people have been seen consuming liquor on roads, causing inconvenience to others,” he said. The official said, “Soon, tender will be floated to renew the licences of the bars after government permission,” adding, new guidelines on SOPs will be issued once the tender process is finalised.
Tamil Nadu Government Tasmac Workers Association president A D Balusamy alleged that local politicians have taken over the premises of all Tasmac liquor shops to operate illegal bars. “No SOPs are being followed here,” he claimed. “It is high time that the State government takes a decision either to close all the illegal bars or open keep them open following all the safety measures,” he said.