Western UP: Nearly 500 liquor shops near highways face closure
The excise depart anticipates a loss of ₹85.9 crore if licences are not renewed as a result of the Supreme Court ordernoida Updated: Feb 27, 2017 01:43 IST
The excise department officials have identified nearly 500 liquor shops along national and state highways in the six districts of Meerut division, including Ghaziabad and Gautam Budh Nagar, which need to be relocated as per a Supreme Court order in December last year.
The apex court has banned liquor shops within 500 metres of the national and state highways across the country. The aim was to reduce instances of drink driving and road accidents.
“As per our estimates, we have nearly 500 shops that would need relocation in the districts falling under the Meerut division. Since the court order was only for state and national highways, we did not include the Yamuna Expressway,” said Jainendra Updahyaya, deputy commissioner (excise), Meerut division.
The division also includes districts of Bulandshahr, Baghpat, Hapur and Meerut.
In Ghaziabad, the officials identified 59 shops, including 35 on NH-24, seven on NH-91 and 17 on state highway – 57.
The officials said they did not include NH-58 and NH-58E stretch from UP-Gate to Kadrabad (near Meerut) as these were denotified by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) and are no longer NH stretches.
RP Singh, project director (NHAI), confirmed that the stretch was no more a national highway as “It was denotified last year due to the proposed construction of the Regional Rapid Transit System corridor. In case it falls under the state highway category, the notification should come from the state government.”
The 59 shops that need to be relocated after March 31 in Ghaziabad district include 24 countrymade liquor shops, 13 Indian made foreign liquor (IMFL) shops, 15 beer parlours and seven model shops.
“These shops do not include any bars attached to hotels. The NH-58 and NH-58e (UP-Gate, Ghaziabad to Meerut) stretch have several high-end hotels which have bars. But since the stretch is already denotified , it has not been included in our survey report,” said Karunendra singh, district excise officer, Ghaziabad.
The excise department officials the relocation of shops will result in loss of nearly Rs 85.9 crore if the licence holders don’t apply for a renewal. The department has already issued notices in compliance of the court order but there has been no response as yet.
The district has a total of 436 liquor shops, which include 200 countrymade liquor shops, 95 IMFL, 92 beer and 50 model shops. However, under the state government’s excise policy, nearly 502 shops have already been registered for financial year 2017-18.
“Since the time the case was heard at Supreme Court, there have been directions that no shops will be allowed near national highways or the state highways,” Singh added.
The Supreme Court directions as per December 15, 2016 order:
All states and union territories shall forthwith cease and desist from granting licences for the sale of liquor along national and state highways,
The prohibition above shall extend to and include stretches of such highways which fall within the limits of a municipal corporation, city, town or local authority,
The existing licences which have already been renewed prior to the date of the order shall continue until the term of the licence expires but no later than 1 April 2017,
All signages and advertisements of the availability of liquor shall be prohibited and existing ones removed forthwith both on national and state highways,
No shop for the sale of liquor shall be visible from a national or state highway; directly accessible from a national or state highway and situated within a distance of 500 metres of the outer edge of the national or state highway or of a service lane along the highway,
The chief secretaries and directors general of police shall within one month chalk out a plan for enforcement in consultation with the state revenue and home departments,
Responsibility shall be assigned to district collectors and superintendents of police and other competent authorities.