Rajasthan has denotified certain sections of state highways passing through populous towns, days after the Supreme Court order banning liquor vends within 500 metres of national and state highways came into effect. The chief engineer of the Public Works Department, however, said that the process of denotification has nothing to do with the apex court directive.
Shivlahri Sharma said the status of state highway has been revoked for only those stretches passing through populous areas where bypass roads had been constructed.
“When a bypass is constructed, the old section (of the highway) which passes through the city and town become left-out stretches. Since there cannot be two highways of the same number at the same location, the left-out sections come under the local body and lose the status of highway,” he said. As per an estimate, nearly 450 liquor shops were located on such stretches.
“The status of state highway has been relinquished only for those stretches which are passing through the limits of
local bodies and are connected through a bypass,” Sharma said. He said that the order was issued recently for such roads on approximately 20 locations in the state and the same will be done in case of such left-out sections of state highways where bypasses have been constructed.
The officer said the same provision exists for national highways as well. “This process has no connection with liquor shops,” he claimed.
According to the state excise department, close to 2,800 shops were located on national and state highways.
The Supreme Court in its March 31 order had said that liquor vends within 500 metres of national and state highways would have to shut down from April 1.
Recently, the apex court also reduced the distance from 500 meters to 220 meters in municipal areas having population less than 20,000.