State finds a way to beat highway booze ban

State finds a way to beat highway booze ban
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With the deadline for the closure of bars and wine shops within 500 metres periphery of the National and State highways is fast approaching, Telangana State government has found a solution to escape from the mandatory shifting of liquor outlets.

The State government is planning to denotify some stretches of National and State highways in Hyderabad so that wine shops near them can continue their sales
Hyderabad: With the deadline for the closure of bars and wine shops within 500 metres periphery of the National and State highways is fast approaching, Telangana State government has found a solution to escape from the mandatory shifting of liquor outlets.

The government has commenced exercise to denotify some key stretches of National and State highways where liquor outlets are in more numbers. It may be noted that the Supreme Court has asked State government to shift all wine shops and bars abutting National and State highways by September first.

Taking cue from the denotification of some highways passing through the Hyderabad by the Centre recently,State Roads and Buildings department launched a search of some stretches which can be denotified across the State.

On the request of State government, Union ministry of Roads, Transportation and Highways denotified 14 km stretch between LB Nagar and Assembly on NH- 65. Another 19 km stretch between Assembly and Miyapur on the same highway, 8 km stretch on Afzal Gunj- Aramghar on NH - 44 and 14 km stretch between Boinpally and Assembly have been denotified from National highways.

As a result, all the wine shops, bars established on the above mentioned highways were exempted from closure. Nearly 500 wines shops and 100 bars are not required to shift other places.

Officials said that more than 60 per cent of the total 3000 liquor outlets (including 2200 wine shops and 800 bars) have been established within 500 meter periphery of the highways. Nearly 300 liquor outlets alone have been established on National Highway- 44 connecting Adilabad and Mahbubnagar on the stretch of 519 km. Another 200 wine shops were opened on NH -65 connecting Zaheerabad–Kodad at AP border on 300 km stretch.

As many as 150 shopshave been identified in the Greater Hyderabad area alone on the particular stretch; 200 wine shops were opened on five other national highways – NH - 63 ( Nizamabad to Chinnur covering 235 km stretch) , NH – 167 ( Karnataka border to Jadcherla on 112 km stretch), NH – 163 ( Hyd to Chattisgarh border -302 km), NH- 30 and NH – 61 in the State. When it comes to state Highways, licenses have been given to run 150 wine shops on State high way number – 1( Rajiv Rahadari) connecting Hyderabad and Ramagundam on 200 km stretch. Two hundred more shops are located on 24 other state
highways.
The only option before the government to save revenues generated through liquor sales is to denotify some stretches on national highways. The Roads and Buildings department and State Excise and Prohibition Department, are identifying important stretches where the number of liquor outlets are high.

Once identified, those stretches will be denotified by getting the ministry nod. Government is studying every possibility of the denotification national highways to protect the interests of both state and liquor traders.

By Patan Afzal Babu

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