Published: 12th September 2018
We use profit from liquor sales to build schools, pay teachers, says TN Minister at school event in Vellore
The Minister was speaking at a government school in Vellore sometime last week and the video has now found its way to social media
Tamil Nadu's State Minister for Commercial Taxes, KC Veeramani put his foot in his mouth at an event organised at a school in Vellore district recently by saying that "government schools are funded by profits made from TASMACs". Veeramani, a former School Education Minister himself, made the offhand remark while inaugurating a new building at a Government Primary School in the village of Chinnamookanur, and he was interrupted by a drunk party member. Veeramani was voted to power from the Jolarpet constituency, which is why he was attending the function. Though the incident happened almost a week ago, the video has recently surfaced on social media and is being shared profusely.
TASMAC is the state-run agency that handles the procurement, distribution and sale of liquor in Tamil Nadu. For years now, the AIADMK government has been widely criticised and accused of raking in crores through TASMACs, now with the minister's statement it seems like the AIADMK is acknowledging the truth of these statements.
Veeramani, was heckled by an elderly man who was clearly drunk. In response, the minister said, "I cannot even stop this man from talking because he is the reason why our TASMACs are making money and it is with this money that we build our schools." The minister followed it up with a sardonic laugh and all the others on the stage behind him also seemed to join in the laughter. But since then, there has been some awkwardness.
After the event, the "drunk" person in question is shown trying to approach the minister repeatedly but seems to be getting pushed away. The video is finding its way through social media but neither the minister nor the party has said anything about the incident.
In the year 2016-2017, TASMAC made a net profit of Rs 26,995.25 crore — this was after the government was forced to shut down at least 3000 outlets due to incessant protests by the public. Interestingly, the budget allocated for school education this year comes close to the same amount — Rs 27,205 crore.
How the money is actually spent, that Veeramani and the AIADMK alone know. But what he has said is sure to cause at least a few ripples.