CHENNAI:Demanding the shutdown of a TASMAC shop (No 492), which is located barely four meters away from Sri Goudiya Mutt, local politicos cutting across party lines staged a protest at Royapettah on Friday.
The members belonged to almost all the leading political parties in the state — the ruling AIADMK, the Opposition DMDK, DMK, BJP, CONGRESS, VCK and PMK. All the protesters raised slogans against TASMAC officials for giving permission for selling liquor near the Goudiya Mutt. The protesters even rushed towards the shop in a bid to seal it, which was prevented by the policemen deployed at the spot. The protesting members were picked up by the police for violating prohibitory orders.
“In 2008, the BJP staged a protest against the same TASMAC shop. Subsequently, the shop was shifted by the officials. But, after an interval of two years, the shop seems to have made a comeback. We will continue to protest till the shop has been shut down,” said Dr Tamizh Isai Soundarajan, state vice president, BJP.
The protesters pointed out that the Gowdiya Mutt and a Vinayagar temple were situated very close to the TASMAC shop and complained that opening a shop there was an absolute violation of the stipulated norms. There should not be any TASMAC shop within 50metres from an educational institution or religious structure, as per norms. However, the protesters showed City Express a clearance letter signed by the TASMAC district manager (dated March 31, 2011), in which the manager claimed that there was no religious structure situated within 50 metre distance.
“One-way traffic is allowed through Goudiya Mutt Road and this is a vital road for ambulances to reach Royapettah Government Hospital from the south of the city. People who are drunk are lying on the roadside all through the day. It is difficult for ambulance drivers to negotiate this stretch and reach the hospital on time, not to speak of the problems faced by the local residents,” said A George, one of the protesters.
When contacted, the TASMAC district manager said, “We only take temples, churches and mosques in to account while selecting places to open shops. We are not considering Mutts. I gave clearance for that shop because the nearby place is only a Mutt and not a temple. However, we are looking for a new place to shift that particular shop. Soon it will be shifted.”