PUDUKOTTAI: A tipplers’ movement has rushed in where many political parties are fearing to tread: The electoral arena for the June 12 Pudukottai by-elections. Naming its president Chella Pandiyan as the candidate, the ‘Liquor Imbibers’ Awareness Revolutionary Movement’ has started a spirited campaign through pamphlets, listing its demands that include appointment of a qualified medical practitioner at TASMAC outlets to recommend the appropriate alcohol intake quantity for customers, based on their health.
Chella Pandiyan said that over one crore habitual drinkers in Tamil Nadu helped generation of Rs 18,000 crore through liquor sales. Though the revenue was diverted for welfare schemes, under which most people get freebies, tipplers did not enjoy respect in society, he said.
When organisations like Blue Cross were there to take care of stray dogs, boozers have no outfit to protect their rights with even consumer laws not bringing cheers to them, he said. So, among their demands is the issuing of sales bill at TASMAC shops and bars, an exclusive hospital for drinkers in every district, a Rs 5 lakh insurance cover for those drinking liquor for five years, a monthly pension of Rs 5,000 for young widows of boozers and Rs 3,000 for elderly widows and 50 per cent subsidy for aged drunks.
But then, the movement has issued a caveat that their demands would hold good only till total prohibition was ushered in. They also want the legal age for liquor consumption to be raised to 25 and preference in government jobs for teetotalers.
The objective of the Chennai-based movement, launched in January 2011, was reforming the TASMAC system and not encouraging liquor consumption, Chella Pandiyan said.