Tamil Nadu: sale of alcohol restricted due to polls and festivals

The government of Tamil Nadu has announced that the sale and transport of alcohol and the opening of bars will be restricted in the nine districts due to surveys of local rural organizations soon. The restrictions also apply to 28 districts where random elections (to fill vacancies) are scheduled to take place on October 9.

Rural local polls are expected to take place in Kancheepuram, Chengalpet, Vellore, Tiruppatur, Ranipet, Villupuram, Kallakurichi, Tirunelveli and Tenkasi in two phases on October 6 and 9.

According to the statement from the Tamil Nadu Electoral Commission, in view of the first phase of the October 6 elections, the sale of alcohol, the opening of bars or the transport of alcohol in the voting areas or in those located in a radius of 5 km from them will be prohibited from 10 am on October 4 to October 6 midnight.

In areas where the second phase of the election of rural local bodies is due to take place on October 9, the same restrictions will be in place from 10 a.m. on October 7 until midnight on October 9. The alcohol restriction would be in effect on the day of the vote count as well (October 12).

Police have been tasked with taking strict action against offenders.

According to data released by the state electoral commission, 79,433 candidates are running for the 23,998 positions of rural local bodies. Regarding the fortuitous elections, 1,386 candidates will be vying for the 418 vacant positions.

The state election commission has asked district collectors to form flying squads for the elections. Squads should include an executive magistrate at the rank of tahsildar and divisional revenue officers alongside police personnel. They must follow up on complaints of violation of the Model Code of Conduct, anti-social activity, threats, intimidation and bribery of voters with alcohol and money.

“District collectors should form flying squads to operate 24 hours a day. Squads with eight-hour shift duty should be formed,” a statement said.

Meanwhile, the state government declared October 2 and 19 “dry days” because of Gandhi Jayanti and Eid Milad-un-Nabi. In a statement, TASMAC said all IMFL retail stores and adjoining bars will remain closed on October 2 and 19.