TN On ‘High Spirits’ This Pongal: TASMAC Records A Whopping Rs 735 Crore Liquor Sale During The Festival

Swarajya Staff

Jan 20, 2019, 04:56 PM | Updated 04:56 PM IST

People lined up outside a TASMAC outlet.
People lined up outside a TASMAC outlet.

The lure of liquor has raked in huge lucre for the Tamil Nadu government as the state-owned Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation (TASMAC) recorded a whopping sale amounting to Rs 735 crore during the recent Pongal festival in the state, News Today has reported.

According to the state officials, the daily sale of liquor is typically around Rs 60 crore to 70 crore but during festivals it increases by 20 to 30 per cent. But, this Pongal, the sale almost doubled.

This year, during the five-day Pongal festival holiday, the TASMAC is likely to have raked in close to Rs 750 crore. Based on information provided by TASMAC officials, News Today provided a daily breakup of the sale.

  • Rs 108 crore on 12 January
  • Rs 129 crore on 13 January
  • Rs 139 crore on 14 January (Bhogi day)
  • Rs 209 crore on 15 January (Pongal day)
  • Rs 150 crore on 17 January (Kaanum Pongal day)

Brandy seems the most preferred drink accounting for 60 per cent of the sale. Various types of whiskey, wine, vodka and beer accounted for 40 per cent of sales. Madurai zone had the maximum guzzlers.

The sale peaked on Pongal day (15 January) and dipped slightly on Kaanum Pongal day (17 January). The liquor shops were shut throughout the state on 16 January marking the occasion of Thiruvalluvar Day. Sage Thiruvalluvar, one of the greatest Tamil poets and philosophers is best known for authoring the Thirukkuṛaḷ. Thiruvalluvar dedicated one full chapter of his work against liquor consumption.

The state run TASMAC has a monopoly over wholesale and retail vending of alcoholic beverages in Tamil Nadu. It controls the Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) trade in the state. It operates over 4,800 liquor outlets which usually sell about Rs 75-80 crore worth of liquor on an average day and this goes up to Rs 95 crore during weekends. But the major jump in sales happens during festivals like Deepavali, Pongal, New Year, etc.

Diwali in 2018 was also particularly bountiful for TASMAC . According to sources in the TASMAC employees union, the state had consumed four times more alcohol than usual during the extended Diwali weekend in 2018.

In a span of four days from Tuesday (6 November) to Saturday (10 November) the government-owned TASMAC reportedly sold over Rs 600-crore worth alcohol when the average on a regular day would be Rs 50-crore. An astonishing Rs 180-crore worth alcohol was sold on Diwali, which was celebrated on Tuesday with the sources attributing it to the rising association of alcohol and festivals among the youth.

The total revenue from sales of Indian Made Foreign Liquor through outlets of state-run TASMAC in FY 2017-18 stood at Rs 26,794.11 crore as against the Rs 26,995.25 crore in FY 2016-17. Rs 200 crore dip in revenue was attributed to closure of 1,000 liquor retail outlets operated by TASMAC (ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam promised it as part of its 2016 election manifesto) and reduction of working hours of the liquor shops were reduced from earlier 10 am to 10 pm to the current noon to 10 pm.

Tamil Nadu's own revenue heavily depends on taxes on petroleum products and the sale of liquor.

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