Liquor ban: Shops, bars down shutters on NH-8 after Supreme Court’s order
The Supreme Court had ordered to close liquor vends falling within 500 metres of the state and national highways. According to the Delhi excise department, about 50 restaurants and hotels serving licensed on and around NH-8 liquor have been shut.delhi Updated: Apr 04, 2017 10:35 IST
Tucked away in a corner on National Highway-8 near Mahipalpur is a small and popular liquor shop. Its shutter is now down. On a wall near next to the shutter is the menu on a metal sheet that lists down the varieties of whiskey, rum, vodka, gin and wine that were sold here earlier.
On the other side is a large white cardboard with a message in Hindi — “Kal se theka nahi khulega (The vend will not open from tomorrow).”
“Woh daaru bechne wala bhaag gaya do din pehle (the man who sold liquor here went away two days ago),” says a nearby grocery shop owner to every hopeful customer who has been coming to the liquor shop and going back dejected throughout the weekend.
Locals say that those who were operating liquor shops on NH-8 shut their outlets a day after Supreme Court decided to uphold a previous order prohibiting the sale of liquor within 500 metres of state and national highways across the country. The ban came into effect on April 1.
According to the Delhi excise department, about 50 restaurants and hotels serving licensed on and around NH-8 liquor have been shut. Similarly, about 70 liquor vends across the city have also been sealed.
Managers of the restaurants operating on the highway said that they closed their bars immediately after the apex court’s order. Also, at least three liquor shops in Mahipalpur closed down over the last two days.
Locals who used to regularly buy liquor after sundown from these shops said that they were shocked this weekend when they came across the closed shutters.
“A visit to that corner shop had become a routine. I don’t know where else to go for buying liquor ever since it closed down. It provided the cheapest alcohol that I could afford,” said Arnav Kumar (42), a resident of Mahipalpur.
Locals claimed that the liquor shop owners, who have shifted from NH-8, are now operating secretly and illegally in the inner lanes of Kapashera and Mahipalpur, where there are less chances of getting caught by authorities.
Also, several misconceptions exist among liquor buyers. Though everyone knows about the court’s order, most believe that the ban is only on liquor sold in Delhi, not on the Haryana-made liquor. So buyers claimed that since the ban, they have been travelling to Kapashera on the Haryana border where “a couple of shops sell Haryana brand liquor which is not banned.”