Excise Minister Senthilbalaji, Oppn lock horns over reopening of Tasmac outlets

Electricity cum Prohibition Minister V Senthil balaji and Leader of Opposition Edappadi K Palaniswami on Wednesday locked horns in the Assembly over the issue of reopening Tasmac liquor shops during the pandemic.
Excise Minister Senthilbalaji, Oppn lock horns over reopening of Tasmac outlets
File photo.


Participating in the debate on the Governor’s address, Palaniswami set the tone for a heated exchange by alleging that liquor shops were reopened when the state had 580 COVID cases and two deaths during AIADMK rule, whereas the incumbent DMK regime has reopened the liquor shops when 15,000 cases were reported per day.
Intervening, Senthilbalaji said the test positivity rate of the state was 4.1 per cent when the then AIADMK government reopened Tasmac outlets on May 7, 2020 before the Madras High Court ordered the closure of the shops. “Subsequently, you moved the Supreme Court and reopened the shops on May 23, 2020. The TPR was 6.8 per cent two days later on May 25, 2020. It rose to 9 per cent on May 31 and 10.4 per cent on June 8, 2020. You had opened the shops when COVID spread was increasing,” he pointed out.
Clarifying that the government led by Chief Minister MK Stalin has categorised districts into three categories and Tasmac shops were opened only in 27 districts with low COVID caseload, the Minister added that the TPR fell from 5.4 per cent earlier to 2.8 per cent on Tuesday. Asserting that the liquor shops were not opened in the remaining 11 districts despite the decrease in coronavirus spread, the Minister asked the former CM to not project as if the virus spread was increasing owing to liquor shop reopening.
When Palaniswami drew the attention to the peak caseload only being 7,000 per day in the AIADMK regime, Senthilbalaji said the TPR was 10.2 per cent when 14,982 RT PCR tests were done on June 8, 2020, whereas the TPR was only 3.6 per cent for 1.70 lakh RT PCR tests on June 18, 2021.

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