It’s like killing two birds with one stone — with Amma coming back to power, Chennaiites are heaving a sigh of relief. Though many have taken to social media to discuss the pros and cons, the biggest talking point among pub-hopping youngsters seems to be the fact that liquor prohibition is no longer imminent. DJs, pub and brewery owners and socialites say in unison that they are happy with the TN election results. We talk to the people concerned, whether the prohibition in a phased manner would eventually affect them.
Arasu Dennis, a name synonymous with the party scene in Chennai and the man behind some of the most popular pubs in the city, appreciates the decision of AIADMK to ban liquor in a phased manner. “I appreciate AIADMK’s decision to prohibit alcohol step-by step; but complete prohibition will negatively impact many people associated with this industry. It’ll affect business and tourism, which are two of the biggest revenue-earning avenues for the government, even though the whole idea is to reduce the massive alcohol addiction in the state.”
DJ Arjun, on the other hand, is worried about unemployment — “There are a lot of DJs and musicians who work in pubs across the state. Nobody is going to come to pubs if they don’t serve alcohol. There will be a dip in business and it will affect our jobs,” he says. “Rather than closing the pubs, they should shut down the TASMAC shops, which have attached bars, that are in public spaces,” he stresses.
Singer Shilpa Natarajan who performs often in pubs, says, “An alcohol ban will lead to lot of repercussions — people will go crazy and get depressed! The solution for helping alcoholics is not by banning it; providing them rehab and counselling may help. I am glad that the prohibition of liquor will be in a phased manner. At least, it gives some time for alcoholics to control their intake,” she says.
When quizzed about how it will affect the party scene, she says, “People come to pubs to unwind, socialise and have fun. They don’t want entertainment without alcohol. If there is a ban on liquor, there will be bootlegging of alcohol.” When asked about the state of people who work at the pubs, she says, “It is definitely going to affect business. Also, there are many bartenders, musicians and stand-up comedians who work at resto-bars. If there is no alcohol served, there will be lesser crowd and in turn it will affect business.”
MP Purushothaman, chairman of Empee Distilleries Limited, is happy that the AIADMK is back in power. “People like me have invested crores in this business. Banning liquor within a short span of time is ridiculous. There are 11 distilleries, seven breweries and more than 6,000 TASMAC shops all over Tamil Nadu. Nobody is bothered about the thousands of employees working here,” he says. But, the entrepreneur recommends that people should control their drinking habits.
Shiv Ranjan, one of the pub owners, says, “A liquor ban will definitely affect business. It will be really great if there is some relaxation given to the licensed bars in the state.”