Hit by liquor ban, Daman, others seek NH denotification

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Hit by liquor ban, Daman, others seek NH denotification

New Delhi, Apr 4 (PTI) Concerned about a likely hit to their revenues following a Supreme Court ruling that banned liquor sale within 500 metres of national and state highways, a few states and Union Territories have approached the Centre to denotify their NHs.

The request comes at a time when the Centre plans to take the length of NHs to 2 lakh km from the existing about 1 lakh km.

“The Road Transport and Highways Ministry has received several requests from states to denotify some of their national highway stretches so that they could convert them as district roads,” an official said.

The official said the ministry has received a request in writing from the UT of Daman to denotify some of its NH stretches as liquor contributes a major part to the state revenues.

Others like Punjab, Telangana, Kerala, Goa and Haryana have also put in such requests, but that is still to come in writing, the official said.

The Centre has given in-principle approval to upgrading 57,500 km of state highways to NHs, subject to outcome of their detailed project reports, to augment the existing 1.13 lakh km of NHs across the country.

Liquor vends within 500 metres of national and state highways will have to shut down from April 1, the Supreme Court said in its verdict on March 31, exempting hill states of Sikkim, Meghalaya and Himachal Pradesh and areas with a population of up to 20,000.

In a significant order passed on pleas of various states seeking modification of the court’s December 15, 2016, verdict, a Bench headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar also made it clear that the judgment will also be applicable to bars, pubs and restaurants as drunken driving leads to fatal road accidents.

The verdict had come on a PIL alleging that nearly 1.42 lakh people died per year in road mishaps and the drunken driving is a major contributor.

Sources said some of the state governments, including Andhra Pradesh, are in the process of declaring some of their state highway stretches as district roads.

Keeping in view the requirements to enhance road safety, reduce congestions and improve road connectivity, the transport ministry has taken a decision to augment the NHs.

The ministry has also reduced the threshold traffic for four-laning of NHs to 10,000, 8,500 and 6,000 passenger car units (PCUs) a day, from 15,000, 11,000 and 8,000, for plain, rolling and mountainous terrains, respectively.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.