CHENNAI: TO tide over the cash crunch, State-owned TASMAC is planning to introduce point of sale (POS) machines to enable tipplers to swipe their cards for purchases.
This comes in the wake of demonetisation, which has led to a 15 per cent dip in TASMAC sales. As such, POS machines are to be introduced at select outlets in upmarket areas in Chennai and expand the same in the coming weeks to other tier-II cities, including Coimbatore, Madurai and Tiruchy.
Demonetisation has had a cascading effect on liquor sales. TASMAC, which has a monopoly over retail and wholesale vending of alcoholic beverages, witnessed a sharp decline in revenue.
With nearly 6,300 outlets across Tamil Nadu, the corporation sells IMFL worth `85 crore. Ever since the demonetisation announcement, daily sales has come down by 15 per cent on an average. Two-and-a-half weeks down the line, the exchequer suffered a loss of `216 crore.
TASMAC is the major source of revenue for the State and reportedly more than a quarter of tax revenue is from liquor sales. Fearing that if left unattended this could cause a serious dent in the State’s income, authorities have decided to introduce POS machines.
Speaking to Express on condition of anonymity, a senior official said initially these would be installed on a rental basis at shops were more customers come with credit or debit cards.
“Rather than North Chennai, we will be having POS machines at stores in South Chennai and in all upmarket places in other tier-II cities,” the official added.
Since one per cent of the Maximum Retail Price (MRP) goes as commission to banks which rented out these devices, the corporation is contemplating over total cost associated with expanding it. At present, such facilities were available at 26 mall shops (popularly called Elite TASMAC stores) and a few, which turned dysfunctional this week affecting daily sales further.
Though TASMAC has fixed the rate for various brands, a common allegation is that employees sell liquor at a higher price. Authorities are confident that once POS is put in place, this practice would be brought under control.
Employees on the other hand argued that this was not going to boost revenue, but would consume more time. “The `500 and `2,000 notes were already out and the fake currency detectors which the government promised 10 years ago haven’t reached the stores and nearly three-fourth of shops don’t have billing machines in place,” said K Thiruselvan from CITU-affiliated TASMAC Employees’ Union. He added that even at mall shops MRP violation was rampant and without placing basic electronic infrastructure in place this move was not going to help.