Scores of shops and commercial establishments in Alanganallur remained closed on Friday, seeking the closure of three TASMAC liquor shops to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Based on a request from the village committee, traders abstained from opening the shops for a day.
Meanwhile, Revenue officials have called for talks with local representatives, in which officials from the Department of Police and TASMAC will also take part, at the Vadipatti Taluk office.
Ever since the State government announced a partial lockdown in Madurai city and some rural areas from June 24, thousands of people from the city and other areas under the lockdown have flocked towards Alanganallur and Melur to buy liquor.
“Right from early morning till late in the night, people come here on hundreds of motorbikes,” complained a local youth.
J. Sundararajan, another local resident, said that the people felt intimidated with the large-scale movement of outsiders to their small residential area.
The outsiders neither wear masks nor maintain physical distancing norms while waiting in the queue outside the TASMAC shops. Besides, they create lot of nuisance by haphazard parking of vehicles on the road. “Residents fear that the pandemic might spread fast with so many people coming. The outsiders do not stop with going to the TASMAC shops, but also go to other shops to buy water bottles, glasses and snacks,” he added. These people do not follow any of the rules put forth by the police or other authorities, Mr. Sundararajan said.
With the local residents having already petitioned the district administration and the district police asking them to close down the wine shops, the traders and all political parties have now shown solidarity with the villagers.
Stating that Gate Kadai area in Alanganallur has three shops meant for Kallanai and Palamedu, Mr. Sundararajan said that all the shops should be moved out of the Alanganallur town panchayat limits.
“Let the shops be located outside the town limits so that local people do not suffer due to the presence of these shops,” he said.