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Karnataka government to move review plea in SC if no highway relief from Centre


BENGALURU: With six national highways crisscrossing the city, spanning a length of 45km within city limits, Bengaluru faces an undeclared prohibition as the Supreme Court order banning sale of liquor within 500m of a highway comes into effect on July 1. With the Centre mum on a state proposal to denotify these roads, the state government said it would file a review petition.

Around 340 outlets, including 19 star hotels, are set to lose their licences when their term lapses on June 30. National highways (NH) 44, 75, 209, 275, 4 and 7 branch out in six directions from the General Post Office in the heart of the city, making it virtually impossible for outlets to relocate and retain their licences.

More than two months after the apex court’s March 31 order, the state government wrote to the Centre asking it to de-notify national highways passing through the heart of the city .There is no word yet from the Centre.

“A team led by a senior official from the finance department will leave for Delhi on Tuesday to pursue the matter with the ministry of road transport and highways,” law minister T B Jayachandra told TOI. “We will exhaust the option of moving the Centre for denotification of national highways first. If that fails, the next step would be to approach the Supreme Court with a review petition.”

The minister said he was hopeful of the Centre agreeing to Karnataka’s request. “We have even told them that these stretches crisscrossing Bengaluru are being maintained by the local body for several years now,” he said.

The minister said the state government would not go for a Punjab-like amendment to allow serving of liquor in hotels, restaurants and clubs on the highway. “The government wants to follow the SC order both in letter and spirit and we do not propose to make such amendments.”

According to information accessed from the excise department, NH44 and 75 run along 4km each in Bengaluru East, while NH209 and 275 run 13.84km in West. Bengaluru North has NH4 (5.6km) and NH7 (9.64km) while South has 8.3km of NH44.

“We had these lists ready as early as April. It was the government’s prerogative to act and as long as these roads continue to be national highways, we will refuse renewal to all licences around 500m of these roads as per the SC order,” a senior excise official said.

Source:  Times of India

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