CHENNAI: For the residents of TG Anna Nagar and KK Nagar in Ayapakkam, the nearest government school is more than three km away and the nearest ration shop is located at a similar distance. If for any unfortunate reason a person falls ill, he or she needs to go all the way to Ambattur for the government hospital, which is five km away.
While all the above essential services are available at faraway distances, liquor supply is abundant and only set to further increase with new TASMAC shops. While there are two existing outlets, residents complain two more are set to be added. All of them are separated by just 500 metres.
According to sources, one of the two new shops was allegedly shifted from another place due to recent Supreme Court order which banned liquor outlets within 500 metres of highways.
There is so much angst about the TASMAC shops that S Kaniammal sarcastically said, “Soon we will be able to offer only alcohol to our visitors.”
But in the face of strong and united opposition from local residents, that development is likely to be threatened. Standing under a concrete bus stop on the Ayyapakkam Main Road, five women from TG Anna Nagar did not mind the sweltering heat. All of them, housewives, listed out reasons for their opposition. The safety of women and kids and public nuisance especially during night time were their prime concerns.
The fear among residents is quite palpable with anxiety over children and men getting addicted to the vice.
S Kaniammal’s husband is a heart patient and they are dependent on the income of her son who earns around ` 10,000 as a mechanic. “He is 26 years old and married. I am afraid that he will be drawn towards drinking,” she said. The four other women agreed that the possibility was real, while expressing their concern for the children as they are deemed to be easily influenced.
Another reason why they are against the shops is the never ending traffic flow through Ayyapakkam Main Road which carries a risk of road accident.
When contacted, the District Manager of TASMAC (Thiruvallur East) told Express there were several proposals for shops, but refused to confirm about the ones at Ayapakkam Main Road. “I am new to the job. Please contact me on Tuesday.”