Chennai, May 23: In an effort to fulfil her poll promise of phased implementation of liquor prohibition in the state, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J.Jayalalithaa, soon after being sworn-in on Monday, announced closure of 500 liquor shops.
She also ordered reduced the working time of the liquor outlets by two hours.
A statement issued by the government said liquor shops will be now open between 12 noon and 10 p.m. Earlier, these shops functioned between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m.
Reacting to the announcement, PMK founder S.Ramadoss said the government should have curtailed the liquor shop working hours in the evening when the sales peak.
He said the government has not said when the 500 outlets would be closed.
Pointing out the existence of around 7,000 liquor outlets in the state, Ramadoss said it will take 14 years to implement full prohibition in the state if 500 shops are closed per year.
"Since a policy decision on closure of liquor shops has been taken, the government should close down a specified number of outlets per month so prohibition is implemented in the state by this year end and the society benefits," he said.
He also demanded that the government should also come with an announcement on the alternate employment to those workers in the liquor shops.
Liquor is retailed in Tamil Nadu by a state government undertaking popularly known as Tasmac outlet.
The government generates a revenue of over Rs.26,000 crore per annum from liquor sales.