Not sigh, but a huge heave of relief, that’s what was the reaction the hoteliers, pub owners, liquor vends owners had yesterday when the recommendations made by the 4-member committee to suggest ways to deal with December 2016’s SC judgment were made public.
The committee (comprising UT chief engineer (chairman), MC chief engineer, chief architect and additional excise and taxation commissioner) recommended to change the nomenclature of state highways as district highways.
The Committee’s Reasoning for the Recommendations:
The members were of the view that Chandigarh is a city not a state. So, it was not right to declare roads in the city state highways. They said, “Except the National Highway No. 21, which passes through the city, all roads may be declared district highways as the city is not a state.”
Final decision on the recommendation would be taken at a higher level.
For those who had missed the news, revising it from the top…
- In the wake of growing accidents cases due to drunken driving on highways, the Supreme Court passed a judgment in December 2016 ordering closing all liquor vends within 500 metres of state and national highways by April 1, 2017. In addition to this, the the bar licence of restaurants, bars and hotels on these roads would also be not renewed.
- Most of Chandigarh roads have been notified state highways from the past 20 years. In 2006 itself, the Administration had issued a notification in 2006 declaring all V1 (fast roads connecting Chandigarh to other towns), V2 (arterial roads) and V3 roads (fast vehicular sector-dividing roads) state highways. Even a National Highway 21 passes right through the city.
- Since liquor in Chandigarh is cheaper than in adjoining states, Punjab and Haryana, the city has been a preferred shopping destination for booze lovers in the region.
- The Chandigarh Administration stares at annual loss Rs 250 crore if the order is executed in Chandigarh.
The hoteliers, liquor shop and pub owners and booze lovers in the city are hoping the committee’s recommendations are accepted and state highways denotified well in time.
Source: The Tribune
Image Credits: Google Images