Had the UT administration not dragged its feet over the issue of changing the route of the National Highway-21 for more than two years despite the Union transport ministry’s nod, more than 40 hotels and bars in Sectors 35 and 43, including five-star JW Marriott, would have escaped the Supreme Court ban on serving liquor within 500 metres of state and national highways.
Over 2,000 people are employed in these establishments, with most of them now staring at an uncertain future as many hotels and bars may resort to massive layoffs.
The NH, while coming from the Zirakpur side, passes through Tribune Chowk till the Sector 34-35 roundabout (near JW Marriott Hotel) on Dakshin Marg, turns left to Sector 43.
The Union ministry of road transport and highways had expressed its desire to redesignate the NH, taking left from Tribune Chowk itself till the Sector 47-48 roundabout on Purv Marg and then taking a right till Sectors 39/56.
In June 2001, the ministry had sanctioned around Rs 50 crore under the central road fund to develop NH 21 towards Purv Marg. However, the project was delayed as a portion of a gurdwara on the stretch was located in the middle of the road. The wall was removed later and work was completed in March 2015.
UT chief engineer Mukesh Anand said, “I am not aware of this but will look into the matter.” A senior officer from the road transport ministry said, “We have been following up with the UT administration to change the NH route to Purv Marg as this provides load transportation with uninterrupted road communication, which is not possible on the current route.”