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Centre offers no cheer to pubs, bars


The Centre on Monday refused to give any assurance to Karnataka on its request to reclassify 704.5 km of national highway running through its cities.

As a result, Karnataka’s efforts to bail out pubs and bars, closed on July 1 to comply with a Supreme Court order, met with no success. The order has resulted in the closure of all liquor vends within 500 metres of roads classified as national highways.

Pubs and resto-bars near MG Road have not been serving liquor since.

Senior officials from the Public Works Department, including Principal Secretary Lakshminarayana M, met Union Road Transport and Highways Secretary Y S Malik in Delhi to pursue a request they had made last month.

“It was an informal meet. Central officials told us they need to discuss the matter further. Nothing has changed as of now. I will explain the outcome of the talks to the government,” Lakshminarayana told DH.

The Centre has received requests from several states to denotify certain stretches, but the ministry hasn’t taken any decision, Malik is learnt to have said. Sources in the government said the Centre may take time to arrive at a decision.

“Various states have applied for denotification. If they come together, the ministry may take a decision to amend the National Highways Act,” a source said.

In 1956, the act had declared parts of the highways “situated within the municipal area” as “urban roads/local authority roads”, but a 1997 amendment removed the exception.

“This was done to maintain the continuity of the highways,” a National Highways Authority of India official said.
Confusion over liquor in clubs
Confusion prevailed over serving of alcohol in clubs as some shut their liquor section on Monday due to delay in renewal of licences.

Source: Deccan Herald

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