Biz as usual in 4 other Maha cities as Mumbai struggles to cope with highway liquor ban
Liquor sale uninterrupted in Latur, Jalgaon, Jalna and Yavatmal as civic bodies denotified stretches of highways passing through their jurisdiction...mumbai Updated: Apr 04, 2017 23:54 IST
While Mumbai is struggling to cope with the Supreme Court (SC) directive of banning liquor sale within 500 metres of state and national highways, the business of serving alcohol by establishments in four other cities of Maharashtra remains uninterrupted.
The civic bodies of Latur, Jalgaon, Jalna and Yavatmal have already denotified stretches of highways passing through their jurisdiction. The decision as taken after the state government decided that the liquor ban will not apply to those parts of highways that are being denotified and were handed over to municipal corporations for maintenance.
The state government has already decided to study the apex court order, which has also affected luxury hotels in the city operating along the highways. The state excise department officials said they are currently busy with implementing the apex court decision.
The SC had ordered a ban on all establishments serving liquor within 500 metres of state and national highways . On Friday, the court said the order also applied to restaurants, hotels and bars, and not just liquor shops.
Around 500 establishments, including restaurants, bars and liquor shops are affected in Mumbai and had to shut their operations completely. However, the state government has allowed restaurants to continue their operations on the condition that they don not serve liquor.
“We are currently busy implementing the apex court order. In the next stage, we will see what can be done to minimize the effect of the ban,” said a senior official from excise department.
Sources said four cities and three tehsils of Nagpur district did not face consequences as the municipal bodies denotified highways passing through their limits for maintenance. This has brought relief for 566 establishments operating along the highways in these areas.
Besides, the excise department will also issue a notification to provide relief to the establishments serving liquor that falls within 220 metres in areas where the population is less than 20,000. It will be based on the apex court March 31 directive, in which it had reduced the limit for liquor ban for highways passing through small villages.
“Not more than thousand establishments will get relief, as there are few such villages in the state. We have to start the survey for such establishments. Once it is completed, notification for the same will be issued,” said a senior official requesting anonymity.
The SC’s latest order become as a major embarrassment for the state government, which had on March 24 decided to allow restaurants and bars to operate in the prohibited area citing the opinion of Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi.
Taking precautions this time, the state government will seek opinion from the state law and judiciary department over its decision of allowing denotified highways free from liquor ban.