Dashing hopes of owners of hotels, restaurants and bars in Sectors 35 and 43 and those located along the Dakshin Marg from the JW Marriott roundabout to the Tribune Chowk, the UT administration has refused to change the route of National Highway-21 to the Purv Marg.
Outlets along this route have not been serving liquor since the Supreme Court order banning sale of liquor within 500m of national and state highways came into effect on April 1. If the route of the highway is not changed, around 40 outlets that serve liquor will have to down their shutters, rendering nearly 2,000 people unemployed, industry insiders claim.
Last month, local MP Kirron Kher had written to UT adviser Parimal Rai requesting him to direct the authorities concerned ‘to take immediate action to resolve the issue’.
She said as per as per information procured by a hotel representative under the Right to Information (RTI) Act from the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), the NH-21 has a different route (from Tribune Chowk to the Sector 47-48 roundabout on Purv Marg and then taking right towards the road dividing Sectors 39 and 56).
UT chief engineer Mukesh Anand said the NHAI had clarified that the information provided under the RTI, of the proposed route, was shared inadvertently and nothing could be done in this regard.
Chandigarh Hospitality Association president Ankit Gupta said, “We request to change the route of the highway since heavy vehicles are not allowed on it from 6am to 11pm as per a UT administration notification. Seamless traffic flow is the need of the hour on NH-21 and re-routing will be the right move in that direction as well.”
Surprisingly, in June 2001, the road transport and highways ministry had sanctioned around ₹50 crore under the central road fund to develop NH-21 on the 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.
A senior official from the road transport ministry said, “We have been following up with the UT administration to change the route of the national highway to the Purv Marg as this provides vehicles carrying heavy loads with an uninterrupted route. This is not possible on the current route due to smaller size of roads and restrictions on the movement of heavy vehicles.”
40 outlets to close, 2,000 to lose jobs
If the route of the highway is not changed, around 40 outlets that serve liquor will have to down their shutters, rendering nearly 2,000 people unemployed, industry insiders claim.