New Delhi: In the wake of growing number of coronavirus cases in Tamil Nadu, the Madras High Court on Friday ordered the immediate closure of all state-run TASMAC liquor shops across the state. The court has permitted only online sale and door delivery of alcohol till May 17 when the general lockdown comes to an end. Also Read - Nearly 8,000 COVID-19 Cases in Last 24 Hours Take India's Tally Past 1.70 Lakh; Death Toll Nears 5,000 | Key Points
The development comes after court found violation of social distancing norms at several stores. After watching the video clips of TASMAC shops of 2 days, the court agreed with the petitioners that MHA guidelines went for a toss at liquor outlets. Also Read - Leicester City Manager Brendan Rodgers Tests Positive For Coronavirus
Reacting to the court order, Kamal Haasan said it is not a victory for himself but a victory to be celebrated by Tamil Nadu. “It is a victory for the voice of Tamil mothers.”
Notably, DMK president MK Stalin, had claimed that opening of liquor shops would bring disastrous result in the state. Yesterday, the liquor shops were opened in the state after a gap of over 45 days.
On Wednesday, the Madras High Court had ordered in favour of opening the shops in a case filed against the state government’s decision to throw open the shops. The government had ordered social distancing of six feet to be maintained between two persons standing in the queue.
Meanwhile the opposition DMK and its allies had reacting strongly against the government’s decision to open liquor outlets when the state is seeing an increasing number of Covid-19 patients.
On May 6, the Tamil Nadu government had also announced a hike in the excise duty by 15 per cent on Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) resulting in a price hike of Rs 10-20 for the tipplers.
Liquor retail in Tamil Nadu is a state monopoly run by the Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation or popularly known as TASMAC. As a result, the maximum retail price (MRP)of an ordinary variety of 180 ml bottle will go up by Rs 10 and that of the medium and premium varieties of IMFL increase by Rs 20 per 180 ml bottle.
There are over 5,300 TASMAC liquor outlets in the state contributing about Rs 30,000 crore of tax revenue to the state exchequer.
The revenue from the liquor bottle sales was bottled up during the lockdown period.