Motels turn dry after SC bans liquor sale near Highways

RSTV Bureau

road-highway-400x265Pubs, restaurants and hotels, located within 500 metres of highways will not be able to serve liquor starting Saturday. The Supreme Court had on March 31 directed that no liquor shop shall be visible and directly accessible from the highways nor it should be situated within 500 metres of the outer edge of the national or state highway or of the service lane.

After the order, while pubs and restaurants will be going dry, at least 65 vends will be sealed, according to the government sources.

A senior excise department official said several teams have been formed to ensure that outlets – pubs, restaurants and hotels – most of them on NH-8, stop serving liquor. Some of the major restaurants and hotels located in Aerocity near the IGI Airport will be affected by the ruling.

Officials said strict action will be taken against violators.

As per the top court’s order, licences of existing liquor shops on national and state highways will not be renewed after March 31.

The SC bench had expressed displeasure over the alleged inaction by various states in removing liquor shops along the roads which give rise to drunken driving and consequential fatalities.

In its order on December 15 last year, the SC had noted, “The expressways witnessed 4,208 accident cases, 4,229 injured and 1,802 deaths. Figures are also available of the distribution of road accidents by causes during 2014. 1.38 lakh persons were injured in road accidents involving dangerous or careless driving and 42,127 deaths occurred.”

“Injuries caused in accidents due to over-speeding stood at 1.81 lakh while there were 48,654 deaths. 7,307 accident cases involving driving under the influence of drugs/alcohol were registered resulting in 7,398 injuries and 2,591 deaths,” the court had noted.

On Friday, CJI JS Khehar-led bench modified its order banning liquor vends within 500 metres on national and state highways, reducing the distance to 220 metres in areas having a population of up to 20,000.

The 220-metre criterion for allowing liquor vends along highways will also be made applicable to hill states like Sikkim, Meghalaya and Himachal Pradesh.

(With inputs from PTI)