Bar owners and the workers of the Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation (Tasmac) blocked and besieged the residence of Electricity and Excise minister Senthil Bhalaji on Monday.
Around 1,000 workers and bar owners lay siege to the minister’s residence at Dinakaran Salai this morning claiming that the contracts to run the bars were given to a select few at the insistence of the minister. The protesting people also said that there were irregularities in awarding the tenders to run the bars attached to Tasmac outlets.
The protestors held posters ridiculing the minister.
N. Anbarasan, President of the Tasmac Bar Owners and Workers Welfare association said that the minister and his brother had intervened in awarding the contract of bars attached to the Tasmac shops. Speaking to IANS, Anbarasan said: “We have been running this business for the past two decades and now tenders are awarded to a few people at the insistence of the Minister.”
Secretary of the Tasmac Bar Owners and Workers welfare association, Balamurugan also lashed out against the minister saying that the tender process must be made transparent.
Balamurugan, while speaking to IANS, said: “There should not be any political interference and the officials have to be fair and transparent in the tender process. All those who have been in the business all these years should be allowed to participate.”
The Minister later held a meeting with the representatives of the association but they continued the protest stating that the talks were not productive.
The protestors were then arrested and lodged in nearby wedding halls.