Ghaziabad The district excise department has identified 59 liquor shops situated along highways that will be closed down from April 1 as per the directions of the Supreme Court. The shops are presently located on national highway (NH) 24, NH91 and state highway 57 in Ghaziabad district.The directions by the apex court were aimed at reducing drink driving and road accidents. In its directions on December 15 last year, the court had directed all states and union territories to cease and desist from granting licences for sale of liquor along national and state highways. It had also directed that no shop selling liquor shall be visible from a national or state highway or be directly accessible from said highways or situated within 500 metres of their outer edge.“Of the 59 shops to be closed down, 29 may be relocated while 30 are located in an area where relocation is not possible. So they will have to close down,” said Karunendra Singh, district excise officer, Ghaziabad.Of the identified shops, 24 sell countrymade liquor, 13 sell Indian made foreign liquor (IMFL) and 15 sell various beer brands. Besides these, seven model shops will also be shut down.The court had said that such shops will not operate from April 1. It also said that all signages and advertisements of availability of liquor shall be prohibited and the existing ones removed from national and state highways.“We have not considered the NH58 or NH58E section as it was already denotified from being a highway. The state public works department has already sent a proposal to the state government to take a decision about the two stretches. If the government declares them state highways, we will act accordingly,” said Singh. These two stretches house around 80 liquor shops.Ghaziabad has a presence of around 436 operating liquor shops that include 200 shops selling countrymade liquor, 95 shops selling IMFL, 92 beer shops and 50 model shops. However, under the state government’s excise policy, around 502 shops have already been registered, including renewals of licenses, for financial year 2017-18.