Highway liquor ban: Goa govt introduces cluster town concept to bypass SC order
Hundreds of liquor outlets along highways in Goa that are facing closure in view of a Supreme Court order may get relief, with the BJP-led state government on Wednesday coming up with the cluster town concept.
“The government has decided to recommend to finance department that the (liquor) outlets falling in the areas contiguous to municipalities or those which are sufficiently developed be notified as cluster towns,” state town & country planning minister Vijai Sardesai told PTI.
Once notified as Cluster Towns, the outlets falling under the specified areas will be automatically excluded from the ambit of the SC order, he said.
Sardesai (Goa Forward Party) is a member of a committee comprising his cabinet colleagues Francis D’Souza (BJP) and Rohan Khaunte (Independent).
The committee was formed to provide relief to liquor outlets affected by the 2016 order of the SC which banned sale of alcohol within 500 meters of state and national highways.
The apex court had clarified that the ban does not apply within city limits.
“A total of 1332 outlets faced closure due to the court order. However, at least 1,021 out of them would get a relief due to the cluster town concept,” the minister said after attending a meeting of the committee in Porvorim.
He said the issue of remaining 300 outlets would be taken up case wise.
“By and large, almost all the outlets will get relief as there are some areas in North Goa, including Dhargal, Patradevi and Virnoda, which will be covered under proposed Mopa Planning and Development Authority,” said Sardesai.