De-mon steals ‘spirit’ out of tipplers’ lives in TN

Huge strain on State coffers likely as TASMAC reports steep fall in sales; officials hope things will brighten up as crunch eases.
Image for representational purpose only.
Image for representational purpose only.

CHENNAI: Cash crunch, in the wake of demonetisation of Rs 1000 and Rs 500 notes last month, seems to have affected tipplers too.

Tasmac, the State-run monopoly liquor seller in Tamil Nadu, witnessed a steep drop in sales by about Rs 1,000 crores in November, when compared to October, said the company sources. Things still are not bright as liquor sales totalled nearly Rs 603 cr in the first 15 days of this month – a sharp drop  from usual levels.

Officials are worried that the dip in sales could cause a huge strain on the State government’s coffers.
Tasmac’s liquor sales from its 6,200 outlets is a major source of revenue for the State government. In 2015-16 financial year alone, sales totalled Rs 25,845. The company  just had a splendid month in October this year with total sales of around Rs 2,620 cr, partially aided by Deepavali season. This was a gradual increase from the sales in August (Rs 2,150 cr) and September (Rs  2,260 cr). Officials were jubilant that they would be able to meet the expected annual sales of Rs 29,000 cr for 2016-17 financial year.

But, demonetisation of high value currencies and the cash crunch that followed seem to have resulted in a big drop in sale of liquor. In November, sales dropped to just nearly Rs 1,665 cr.
A senior official of Tasmac said, “Usually, the average daily sale would be around Rs 65-70 crore on weekdays and it goes up to Rs  90-100 cr on weekends. But, since last month, the weekday sales is just around Rs 40 cr and weekends only a maximum of Rs 60 cr.”
The three-day closure of shops (Dec 6,7 & 8) following the death of former Chief Minister J Jayalalaithaa, and cyclone Vardah further worsened the situation. Total sales in the first 15 days of this month was just about Rs 603 cr.

The only day which defied the trend was December 11 – the day preceding cyclone day and a Sunday – with sales of around Rs 80 cr. Officials feel this could have been due to tipplers stocking up liquor fearing cyclone Vardah may hit Chennai.
Officials hope that sales would pick up in the coming days when cash shortage eases.

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