As many as 175 liquor shops in Ghaziabad will be affected by the Supreme Court’s ban on liquor shops within 500 metres of national and state highways. Officials said that a survey for identification of shops within a 500-metre range is going on.
Officials said that the latest physical inspection of liquor shops adjacent to the highway was done in August 2015, on the directions of the state excise department to assess the revenue.
“We had identified 111 liquor shops located on roads near the highways and state highways. However, after Supreme Court directions, we have initiated another survey to identify shops in the distance limit set by the court. We are yet to receive the court order,” Karunendra Singh, district excise officer, said.
“It is estimated that these 111 shops earned 25% of the district department’s revenue. Now, the present survey is expected to identify nearly 175 shops located on NH-24, NH-91, NH-58 and state highway – 57. The survey will be completed in another week,” he said.
The district officials have already implemented the 2017-18 excise policy, well ahead of the start of the next financial year. Under the new quota, nearly 32 more liquor shop licences have been given, while the limit of 4.75 litres of countrymade liquor has also been increased.
There is a total of 502 liquor shops in the district, including those for beer, Indian made foreign liquor, countrymade liquor and model shops. This financial year, the district department is trying its best to achieve an assigned target of ₹890 crore, officials said.
“Once such liquor shops are closed, the issue of illegal sale of liquor may arise on highways. The respective departments will have an added responsibility to check illegal sale of liquor on highways,” Sudipta Pal, a Supreme Court lawyer and Indirapuram resident, said.
Last week, the apex court had banned liquor vends near highways and state highways across the country and directed that the licences of the existing shops not be renewed after March 31, 2017. The move is aimed at reducing drink driving and road accidents, which claim hundreds of lives every year.
“We would not like any vend, advertisement or signage about the availability of liquor on national and state highways. All signboards should be removed. Roads should be absolutely free of distractions or attractions. Visibility is the first temptation,” Chief Justice TS Thakur had said.