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  India   All India  03 Apr 2017  Hotels, bars across highways left high and dry as clampdown continues

Hotels, bars across highways left high and dry as clampdown continues

PTI
Published : Apr 3, 2017, 9:16 pm IST
Updated : Apr 3, 2017, 9:23 pm IST

Nitish, who has banned alcohol in Bihar said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should implement it as a tribute to Mahatama Gandhi.

A liquor shop being shifted following the directive of the Supreme Court banning liquor sale along highways, in Mumbai on Sunday. (Photo: PTI)
 A liquor shop being shifted following the directive of the Supreme Court banning liquor sale along highways, in Mumbai on Sunday. (Photo: PTI)

New Delhi/Mumbai: The drive to close down liquor outlets along highways continued on Monday across the country evoking divergent views, even as restaurant and hotel owners who are staring at losses looked towards state governments for support.

The clampdown continued across major cities while long queues of tipplers were visible outside vends still selling liquor.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar supported the Supreme Court order barring the sale of liquor within 500 metres of national and state highways, found appreciation but added that such "piecemeal attempts" would not serve much purpose and sought a total ban on alcohol in the country.

Speaking to reporters, Nitish, who has banned alcohol in Bihar said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should implement it as a tribute to Mahatama Gandhi.

BJP MP Kirron Kher differed as she questioned the logic of not allowing liquor sale in five star hotels. It is a question of "more than a million jobs", she said pointing out that the hotel industry is a major job generator.

Kher's party colleague and MLA from Indore Sudarshan Gupta however demanded the Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan a complete ban on liquor in Madhya Pradesh.

In Delhi, several bar and restaurant owners contested the 500 metres distance as measured by the excise department and made representations. Their claims are being verified.

Over 100 liquor bars and outlets have been told not to serve liquor in the capital, most of them located on the National Highway 8 stretch between Airport and Mahipalpur.

In Mumbai, the Hotel And Restaurant Association of Western India (HRAWI) has decided to take up the issue with Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis.

"We will be meeting the Chief Minister tomorrow to discuss the impact of liquor ban on employment and other issues related to the industry," HRAWI President Dilip Datwani said.

Around 9,925 restaurants and bars in Maharashtra have been impacted after the Supreme Court order, including nearly 50 star rated hotels, according to industry estimates.

In Punjab, the wedding season is in full swing and marriage palaces owners claim that the excise department's action asking them not to provide liquor is not in the right spirit.

"In the SC order, there is no mention of marriage palaces which have been barred from serving liquor. Moreover, there is a ban on sale of liquor in the order while marriage palaces do not sell or purchase liquor.

"Customers who organise functions in palaces serve liquor to their guests. Therefore, marriage palaces should not be barred from serving liquor," said Sukhdev Singh Sidhu, president, Punjab Marriage Palace and Resort Association.

The Excise department in the state has now sought the opinion of the state Advocate General on the matter, officials said.

The Odisha government has estimated that it is likely to incur a loss of revenue to the tune of Rs 1200 crore per annum as 1167 liquor shops in the state were barred from serving liquor.

Tags: liquor vends, highways, liquor sale, supreme court
Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi