After the Supreme Court’s (SC) judgment of banning liquor shops within 500 metres of state and national highways, in Maharashtra, 13,000 beer bars will be shut down from May 1.
According to a Maharashtra excise department circular, the government will not give permission to open liquor shops adjoining state and national highways. “The earlier permissions for liquor shops at highways will be valid up to May 2017. After that, there will not be any renewal of liquor shops. This order will also be applicable for the liquor shops whose adjoining road goes through villages, towns and districts,” stated the circular. The copy of the circular is with DNA.
The circular also reads that the advertisements which contains liquor signs and pictures will not be permitted to be displayed along state and national highways. “If there are any such advertisements, they have to be removed immediately. People should not see any liquor shop near the highways. Liquor shops will not be permitted within 500 metres of service road of highways. Besides, one day permits will not be given to hold parties and functions,” stated the circular.
Senior government officials said that the apex court has said that more than revenue, the life of the person is most important. “Maharashtra annually earns over Rs 20,000 crore from the sale of liquor. More than 50 per cent revenue is generated from highways only. We may lose Rs 10,000 crore if the SC order is implemented in totality,” said a senior government official.
Arrive Safe, an NGO had filed the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in SC with the aim of ending drunk driving. In its December 15 order, the SC gave the judgment that no liquor shops on national or state highways from April 1and existing licences of liquor shops won’t be renewed after April 1.
“We will lose our livelihood with the implementation of this apex court order. The 60 per cent wine and other licences will get affected. We are trying to explore the legal remedy,” said Dilip Giyanani, Chairperson of the Maharashtra Wine Merchant Association.