The Maharashtra government has approved proposals from three municipal corporations seeking to change the status of the highways passing through their respective areas to city roads, in a bid to get around the Supreme Court order on liquor ban. State PWD Minister Chandrakant Patil on Wednesday told reporters that the government had received proposals from Jalgaon, Latur and Yavatmal municipal corporations seeking de-notification of the highways. The government has approved these proposals in the last two to three days, Patil said.
The Supreme Court had last week ordered banning sale of liquor within 500 metres of highways which applies to pubs, bars and restaurants too. Notably, in many parts of the country, de-notification of highways is being used as a way to get around the ban.
As per the procedure, a municipal corporation passes a resolution de-notifying the part of highway passing through its area, and the commissioner sends it to the state’s Chief Secretary for approval. It is then forwarded to the PWD. A similar resolution was introduced in Akola municipal corporation on Wednesday where Shiv Sena shares power with BJP. But Sena objected to the resolution and it could not be passed.
In 2001, the PWD had issued a circular which said a municipal corporation/council can acquire a part of highway passing thorough its jurisdiction. Before the SC verdict on liquor sale along the highways came, the state hadn’t received any resolution seeking de-notification of highway, a senior PWD official said.
“One of the major reasons was the civic bodies do not find it economically viable to maintain the highways,” the official said, adding that the situation is likely to change now with the SC verdict.