The traders in Goa, who are affected by the recent Supreme Court verdict banning the sale of liquor along the national and state highways, have decided to adopt a wait and watch policy till the new government is formed on March 11. “We want to know the views of the State government on this issue. It is better if State government approaches the Supreme Court and makes the association of liquor vendors party to it,” Goa Liquor Traders’ Association President Dattaprasad Naik told media on Wednesday.
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The SC has ordered that liquor outlets within 500 metres of State and National highways be shut down after March 31, 2017. The State Excise Department has began to survey the outlets which would be issued closure notice. Naik said the current situation in Goa is unique as there is no government in place at present. “We will have to wait till March 11 when the new government will be in place. Only once we have new government then we will approach them asking for their stand on the issue,” he said.
Naik said the traders who are affected by the judgment have come together under a single banner to put up a fight against the verdict. “Goa Hotel and Restaurant Association, Bardez Bar Owners Association and Goa Liquor Traders’ Association have come together to form Goa Highway Affected Liquor Vendors Association,” Naik said.
He stated that the newly formed umbrella association (Goa Highway Affected Liquor Vendors Association) may even move to the SC, if State government fails to do so. Naik said SC order is going to deal a blow to the liquor selling business and the families dependent on it.
“A total of 70 per cent of roads in the State are covered by National or State highways,” he said, adding that around 5,000 outlets would face the brunt. Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar had said that the government is willing to extend all necessary support to the liquor vendors’ associations if they are approaching the Supreme Court.