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TASMAC closes 32 unviable outlets in Cuddalore

By A.V. Ragunathan

CUDDALORE, FEB. 17. The Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation has taken to retailing in Indian-made foreign liquor as a business proposition, and hence closed down 32 unviable outlets in Cuddalore district.

TASMAC sources told The Hindu that efforts had been made to relocate these outlets in places where the business prospects were bright. These shops were earlier run by the cooperatives in rural areas, and following the court directive these had been subsequently taken over by the TASMAC on November 29, 2003.

The performance of these outlets were quite dismal, as they were registering a daily sales of hardly Rs. 200, and with such a frugal revenue, it would not be possible to run these shops. The sources said each outlet should do a daily business of about Rs. 800.

With the prospects of improving the trade bleak in those places, the TASMAC deemed it fit to shift these outlets to suitable places. It took up the matter with the District Collector and prevailed upon him to concede its demand to relocate the shops. Accordingly, six of these outlets had been shifted to Vridhachalam and two to Panruti and the remaining would also follow suit.

Asked for reasons for the poor sales in those outlets, the sources said the cooperatives in their eagerness to set up the shops in rural areas did not pay adequate attention to their feasibility.

(However, unofficial sources assigned two reasons for their poor show: first, the free flow of illicit arrack in rural areas and half-hearted measures taken by law enforcing authorities to root out the menace of illicit distillation. Secondly, the proximity to Pondicherry, where the price differentials in the IMFL were quite marked).

Therefore, the TASMAC decided to move them over to other spots that held out promise. The TASMAC sources said a total of 271 IMFL shops (188 in rural areas and in town panchayats, and 83 in urban areas) had been allotted.

Of these, it had already opened 81 shops in urban areas and two more would be started soon. To start with, it had set up 15 bars (with one supervisor and two bar-tenders) and by March-end all the outlets in the urban areas would have this facility.

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