Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, April 4
To circumvent the Supreme Court order banning the sale of liquor within 500 metres of all national and state highways, the Punjab Government’s Public Works Department today denotified certain stretches (1.70 km to 5.50 km in length) on state’s seven highways that run through the state’s 25 cities.
The move will benefit commercial establishments, including restaurants and bars, located along state highways. The notification was issued this evening after the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, intervened in the matter when approached by the affected parties.
The government clarified that as per the Union Government policy, roads bypassing cities such as Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Amritsar, Patiala and Phagwara were already exempted from the list of national highways.
Bypasses on five national highways, that are expected to become operational during 2017-18, would also be out of this purview. “Stretches on state highways, totalling 31 km, are no longer highways following the construction of Hoshiarpur, Balachaur, Garhshankar, Moga, Rajpura and Pathankot bypasses. The same have been denotified,” said a top functionary.
Officials in the Excise and Taxation Department said the notification regarding the state highways would benefit 15 per cent of the establishments as a majority of liquor vends, restaurants and bars were located along national highways.
“If all bypasses, both on national as well as state highways, are included, at least 25 per cent of the establishments will benefit,” said a senior official. Of the total 1,600 establishments, including 400 restaurants and bars, most were located on national highways, he said.
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