TASMAC faces protests from women

Police inspects the demolished TASMAC in Senthil Nagar on Thursday |Saptaparno Ghosh

Swapnajit Kundu

Chennai, March 7 :​The residents of Senthil Nagar, an area situated between Avadi and Ambattur railway stations on Friday protested against the construction of a Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation (TASMAC) outlet within their locality, demolished the under construction shop, and threatened against any such activity in the future. The protest comes seven days after a woman named Kavitha in Anna Nagar locality of Tirupur district protested against the TASMAC business in the area, according to the Tamil Indian Express. Co-incidentally, the protest in Senthil Nagar was also headed by a group of women. 

Rangan, the society secretary of a housing complex in Senthil Nagar said, “We are residents here for the last 40 years. The owner who bought the land (for the new wine shop) said he will use it only for some personal use. We already have three TASMAC shops in our locality. Another one will only increase the problem. We have written to the concerned authorities about this.”

Safety of women

One of the main reasons why the residents are wary of the wine shop is the safety of women and children in the locality.According to them,it will be difficult for the women to walk around freely, with people drinking openly on the road outside the TASMAC. Even the police is unable to take any step against the wine shops because TASMAC itself is a government authorised chain. And the wine shops will lead to an increase in illegal parking spaces, congesting the traffic of the locality. It is also baffling for them why the wine shops are being set up so near the residential areas when there are a lot of free space in the nearby BajanaiKoil street.

The Women takes charge

According to Savitha, who is believed to have ledthe protest, the wine shops are having an adverse effect on the behaviour of people in the locality. “The more there are wine shops, the more there will be drunkards roaming around in the street. Many people here drink right from the morning,destroying their family life and hampering professional activities. Also, the safety of women is something we are very much concerned about. There have been cases of drunkards harassing women. It is time to put an end to all these.” 

Gayatri, a 64 year old woman and resident of the Senthil Nagar echoed the same concern. “Wine has destroyed many families here. And it also puts the safety of women and girls in jeopardy. Almost daily, we see someone sleeping in front of the house. We have to throw water to wake them up,” she said. When asked about whether the men in their households are comfortable with women leading the protest, Gayatri said, “If a problem arises, everyone comes forward to solve it irrespective of their gender. Women are facing the most problem with these wine shops, so it is only natural that we will come forward.” 

The local Station House Officer (SHO), Ajith Kumar assured the local residents that he will look at the matter. “But these TASMACs are government projects. So there is very little I can do,” he added. 

The MLA of Senthil Nagar,PandiaRajan also came to the protest to give assurance to the women residents that their issues will be tackled and resolved soon. 

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