While civic bodies in Maharashtra have taken steps to denotify state and national highways to give relief to the liquor serving establishments, the Pune Municipal Corporation is yet to take any such steps. State Minister of Energy and Excise Chandrashekar Bawankule said the government is yet to receive any request from the civic body for such de-notification.
After the Supreme Court’s decision to ban sale of liquor within 500 metres of national and state highways, many civic bodies have started the process of denotification of such roads to escape the ban. The Public Works Department (PWD), on the instructions of the state government, takes up such denotifications.
Following the apex court’s decision, 1,600 of the 2,500 liquor vending institutions, including some star hotels in Pune district, had to cease their operations. Estimates say that the district will see a 50 per cent dip in its excise revenue collection of Rs 1,600 crore per year post the ban.
Bawankule said that according to the Road Development Plan 2001-2025, state and national highways can be denotified as the civic bodies through which they pass request for it and are ready to take up their upkeep. “The civic body stands to gain in terms of relaxation of development control rules and in this case, the liquor ban will not be applicable to such roads,” he said.
Municipal bodies of Jalgaon, Katol, Yavatmal, the minister said, have recently denotified such roads.
“The state government is yet to make any request for denotification,” he said. An apex planning body like the Pune Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (PMRDA), can take over upkeep of the road post the denotification.
In case of the Pune, the matter is compounded as many of the arterial roads in the city are still notified as major state highways even though the civic body is spending from its pocket for their upkeep.
The city has 35 minor and two major state highways which, for all practical purposes, are being maintained by the PMC for several years. These roads are treated as development control (DC) roads by the PMC and substantial budgetary allocations are made for them. Establishments along these roads had to cease operations since the liquor ban came into effect.
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