Closure of liquor shops ups demand for military alcohol

Chennai: There has been a sudden increase in demand for military liquor in the city and its suburbs, especially after the closing of TASMAC shops following a recent order by Supreme Court against liquor outlets on highways.

As tipplers were making beeline outside a TASMAC shop in Tambaram, just before it was opened, one of them went to a nearby petty shop and asked the shopkeeper for something and it was given to him in a cover.

When approached the shopkeeper, he said that it was Military Sarakku.

Explaining, the shopkeeper said if someone needs military liquor they have to know which petty shop to approach and ask them what they want.

“The shopkeeper then makes a call to someone who brings the liquor or they go get it themselves,” he added.

He said that the demand has increased by manifolds in the past one month. “As far as I know, earlier on an average, 300 bottles were sold per month, but now, almost 1,000 bottles are being sold.

Since this brings more revenue, a few people working in the Defence don’t mind selling the extra bottles. A considerable share goes to the petty shopkeeper. There are also people who directly approach the servicemen to eliminate middlemen,” he said.

“Usually a full bottle of liquor was sold at Rs 500, now it is being sold at Rs 800,” he added.

It is learnt that at times the police personnel warn offenders and get a lumpsum as ‘fine’. However the process continues without any hindrance.

An official from the Chennai unit of the Defence Ministry said that selling defence products outside is an offence and strict action will be taken against those who are found guilty.

“The main reason for the sales is that military alcohol is pure and is of standard quality. Recently, following such allegations, a canteen was closed and enquiry has been initiated,”he said.

“It is not easy to sneak canteen goods outside, however defence personnel with cards can get the items and these products that are sold,” he said.

The official said that not everyone will get the same goods, it depends on their rank and there will be a track of goods they purchase and there is also a certain limit on the number of alcohol bottles.

“There have been a few incidents where canteen officials were alleged of selling the extra liquor bottles outside, however installing of CCTV cameras in the canteens have curbed the problem,” he added. The official strictly warned people who indulge in such activities.
Between Rs 150 and Rs 200
Sold outside before the removal of TASMAC shops: Rs 300 to Rs 450
Sold outside after the removal of TASMAC shops: Rs 600 to Rs 800
If an officer is found selling liquor/ goods outside, his card will be blocked for two years. If he is a continuous offender, his photo along with the reason for blocking the card will be posted in the canteen.

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