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TASMAC Workers Threatened to Overcharge Liquor Bottles

Sruti MD |
Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation staff fears they will be sacked and their outlets closed if they refuse to overcharge customers or give commission to brokers

Representational use only.Image Courtesy: Livelaw

Employees of the Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation (TASMAC), the sole retail vendor of alcohol in the state, have accused officials of forcing them to collect extra cash for bottles sold from its outlets and have demanded the state government’s intervention.

Supervisors and salespersons complained of being forced to raise a ‘commission’ of Rs 500 daily per every Rs 1 lakh worth of alcohol sold.

The Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), Thanjavur, alleged that a team of brokers identified as the ‘Karur Gang’ collect commission citing minister of electricity and prohibition and excise Senthil Balaji’s name. The gang allegedly raises up to Rs 5 lakh everyday.

According to CITU, Karur’s TASMAC manager verbally instructed its employees to collect Rs 10 more than the fixed price per bottle and threatened to sack them and close outlets if opposed.

The CITU is concerned about the growing conflict between TASMAC staff and customers over the extra charges with employees fearing trouble.

Notably, Balaji assured in the Assembly last week that 500 TASMAC outlets would be closed this year. Students and women have been demanding the closure of TASMACS in residential areas and around schools for decades.

Simultaneously, unions associated with the CITU and the All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) have demanded the regularisation of TASMAC workers and the implementation of labour laws.

The announcement to shut TASMAC outlets has not gone down well among workers, who fear that outlets whose workers refuse to overcharge or give commissions to brokers would be closed.

The CITU has urged the state government to act against the ‘Karur Gang immediately’ and the district manager. It has also called for a protest in front of TASMAC shops if action is not taken.

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