Chennai: Expressing concern over the rise in attacks on liquor shops across the State and opposition barbs, notwithstanding the government efforts to close down the TASMAC outlets in a phased manner, Electricity Minister P. Thangamani who holds the Prohibition and Excise portfolio, averred that the Tamil Nadu government's policy is to phase out liquor shops gradually.
The number of the state-run liquor shops has been halved to about 3,866 and “prompt action was taken to close down the outlets near schools,” Mr. Thangamani told the Assembly on Thursday. Replying to the debate on the demand for grants for his department, he said despite the government's initiative to wind up the liquor shops in a phased manner, he was unable to comprehend the “ulterior motive” behind unleashing violence on the TASMAC outlets and the opposition criticism.
“I have won the election with a hefty margin of 48,000 votes by invoking Amma's name. I have not displayed Rs 20 note from the hawala money to the voters, to win,” he said indirectly referring to the victory of T.T. V. Dhinakaran in the R. K. Nagar Assembly elections. Without naming anyone, the Minister said those with “such background” have no locus standi to criticise him.