Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Great Transition There

Disclaimer : The article does not advocate ANYthing.

TASMAC (Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corp) controls the sale of any kind of alcohol in Tamil Nadu. Anyone who wants to set up a business of selling liqour will have to obtain a license from tasmac, including pubs. Every drop of booze is marketed by the board.

TN went from banning alcohol to regulating booze by tasmac. Great transition there. The projected objective for this action was to reduce deaths n alcohol related fatalities by consumption of untested / country alcohol. But the picture is very different indeed.

The turnover of tasmac as estimated in 2007-2008 was 10,000 crores INR. Yes, i do appreciate the heavy taxes levied. But no price tag is too unaffordable for a man who guzzles down booze like water. One can see tasmac retail outlets in the most inappropriate of places. These include Bus Stations, pedestrian infested roads, etc.

And let me not get your imagination to go too far. These stores look so horrid that one wouldn't even touch a bottle bought from there. Their boards are a discreet dirty green. The shop houses really cheap-looking alcohol. I'd want to paste a pic of one typical store just so u get the idea .. But then i'd dare not go anywhere near a store ! One of my friend once described a tasmac-run bar. He said,"The place was so damp, eery .. I was scared when some drunken bastard would come hit me!!!" ..

Wondering why ? Cos tasmac caters only to the low-income group. People who can hardly or not afford alcohol. Men who consume booze to show how manly they are by later beating up women in their home. Tasmac was handed the alcohol regulation in order to help the stinky situation of the poor. But no, all it has done is increasing profits by over a half - By achieving monopoly. If at all their aim was to control alcohol-induced harassment cases, then why allow a "wine shop" by every street corner ? .. LOL .. Misunderstood intentions ..

One section of the society who suffer a disadvantage are those who are rich enough, provide for their families, drink responsibly. Purchasing premium liquor in Tamil Nadu is virtually impossible. Though good liquor is served in select hotels, it is priced manifold times ! This almost clearly shows what tasmac aimed at was not "regulation" but just more money.

Yes, I've heard a few few shops have opened in Chennai which sell good liquor ("good" by tasmac standards), But then well-to-do people live outside Chennai too. Sigh ..

Says someone in a forum--"There has been news about making some of the TASMAC shops more comfortable. Well, comfortable, even --- currently they are just road-side counters without even a chair. But I think they will continue to be places for a heap of guys to stop and get drunk before driving their bikes home to beat their wives..."

Is it Sad ?