The Delhi high court has sought the response of the state government on steps taken to remove liquor shops along national highways to bring down road accidents caused by drunken driving.
The court was hearing a PIL, which complained that the government and traffic police had not taken enough steps to implement the national road safety policy and advisories issued by the transport ministry to reduce accidents.
As per a circular issued by the transport ministry to all states on December 1, 2011, no liquor shops could be allowed along the national highways.
There is also a ban on issuance of fresh licenses, as drunken driving was found to be the reason for most accidents every year.
The other guidelines included deployment of additional traffic policemen, compulsory reflective tapes on public transport vehicles, trucks and tractor trollies, ban on use of high beam during night, ban on illegal modification of body of trucks and ban on extra fittings (lengthwise and breadthwise) on trucks, to carry additional load.
The PIL also said that the state had not constituted a safety committee as suggested by the transport ministry.
“Despite clear-cut instructions issued by the Union ministry of road transport and highways (Road Safety Cell) for the removal of liquor shops along the national highways and disallowing opening of new ones, there was no action on the part of the state government,” petitioner Amit Maihan told a bench headed by chief justice D Murugesan.
“Regardless of jurisdiction, the Central and state governments have joint responsibility in reducing the incidence of road accidents, injuries and fatalities,” Maihan submitted.
He said RTI replies revealed that the state government was not filing annual compliance report (of advisories) with the transport ministry.