Chennai: PMK founder Dr S. Ramadoss on Thursday termed the Supreme Court order to remove all the liquor shops and bars along the national and the state highways before March 31 next year and not to issue any new licenses for opening liquor shops after April 1 as his party's victory.
In a statement here, he said that since liquor has been prime cause for all the social degradation, his party has launched a two-pronged fight against it through public protest and legal action. As part of the legal approach, he said that Advocates Forum for Social Justice president K. Balu moved Madras high court seeking closure of liquor shops in the state and the national highways in Tamil Nadu and got a favourable order in 2013. However, the state government appealed against the verdict in the Supreme Court, which directed to close the shops in the NH, he said, adding that state government closed 504 shops along the NH. “In continuation of that case, the Apex court has ordered closure of all the liquor shops and bars before March 31,” he said.
Dr Ramadoss said that his party has emerged victorious by placing public interest and truth in the Apex court even as the liquor companies engaged leading advocates in the country to safeguard their interests. He demanded the centre and the state not to file review petitions against the SC order and instead should implement the order.
Roadside Tasmac shops to be closed or shifted?
After the Supreme Court verdict to close the shops near the national and state highways, the major question in government circles is if the shops will be relocated or closed. The Supreme Court verdict on Thursday stated that shops within a distance of 500 metres from the national or state highways should be closed before March 31, giving an opportunity to state government officials to move the shops further by a few metres.
However, closing the shops could not be discounted as the state government had begun the closure of shops following former Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa's assurance that prohibition would be introduced in phases. The state government had closed 236 shops after the Madras high court verdict, besides closing 500 more shops. Adhering to the Supreme Court and closing shops near the highways would ensure continuity of its policy of introducing prohibition in phases.
However, Tasmac employees demanded that when the liquor shops are closed, those who were working in them should be shifted to the existing vacancies in the state government. Tasmac employees union (AITUC) general secretary D. Dhanasekaran said when the government shut down the liquor shops earlier, the workers were shifted to other shops which make a sale of over Rs 3 lakh, besides giving jobs to them in Tasmac godowns and district offices. We took up the request of placing the employees of closed Tasmac shops in the vacant posts in the state government with high level officials.
No seniority was followed in the appointments, but no action was taken against the erring officials. For example, we gave a complaint against an official of Tiruvallur west district of Chennai zone, that he did not follow seniority in appointments, he was transferred to revenue department, which is not a punishment....