Haryana's Excise and Taxation Department has allowed 43 liquor shops to resume business after relocating beyond a 'motorable distance' of 500 metres from the highway, in the wake of the Supreme Court ban.
Dismissing news reports that the process of measuring the motorable distance of these outlets from the highway would be started again from Wednesday, Aruna Singh, Gurgaon Excise and Taxation Commissioner told PTI that officials have already carried out the process for all 289 bars and pubs in Gurgaon.
Of them, 115 pubs were found falling within the motorable distance of 500 metres from national highway and have been temporarily closed, she said.
'Motorable distance' refers to the actual distance travelled to the location as against making the measurement in a straight line from the highway .
Singh said two committees have been formed by the district administration to enforce the apex court order which will also look into disputes that may arise with owners of the closed establishments.
“The lands for installing liquor vends were to be chosen by the owners, not by the department. Now we have ordered 43 liquor vends which were closed from 31 March to relocate beyond the motorable distance of 500 metres so they can resume business,” she added.
The Supreme Court in its 31 March order had said that liquor vends within 500 metres of national and state highways would have to shut down from 1 April. It, however, did not specify how the exercise of measuring the distance should be carried out.
Several pubs and bars located in Cyber Hub, Sector 29, and premier hotels like the Leela, Trident, Oberoi and Westin have not been able to sell liquor because of proximity to the NH-8.
Many hoteliers whose pubs have been closed have alleged that measuring techniques employed by the Haryana Excise and Taxation department are not reliable.
They have demanded that the district and town planner measure the motorable distance of their properties from the highway.
Meanwhile, a delegation of hoteliers from Haryana headed by Manbeer Choudhary, President of Haryana Restaurants and Hotels Association, met with Haryana Chief Secretary DS Dhesi on Tuesday, to seek his intervention to resolve the issue.
"We met chief secretary DS Dhesi to urge him to help us and give some relief to hoteliers whose pubs are located in Cyber Hub and Sector-29. We also urged him to restart the process of measuring the motorable distance of all hotels of Haryana including Gurgaon," Choudhary told PTI, adding that they were assured of all possible help.
"We have also planned to meet Union minister for Road Transport and Highway, Nitin Gadkari," he said.