Temporary relief for liquor vendors on highways

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They have until the end of their licence period, or September 30, to relocate

Owners of liquor shops, who were waiting for the Supreme Court’s direction on Friday with bated breath, heaved a sigh of relief late afternoon after learning that they had time till September 30 to relocate if they received a notice.

An official in the Excise Department said, “The establishments have time until the end of their licence period, or September 30. Karnataka’s excise year is from July 1 to June 30.”

The apex court, on Friday, granted the relief to States in which the annual excise period extends beyond April 1, which was when the December 15 judgment would have come into force.

However, owners of liquor shops said it was only a temporary relief. “Instead of closing down on Saturday, we will have to close down a little later,” said Manjappa, whose shop is in K.R. Puram.

Pradeep. A, who manages a 40-year-old bar at T. Dasarahalli, said, “The Supreme Court order confirms our worst fears — we have to close and there will be no relief. However, as we have six months’ time, we can start looking for alternative locations.”

Pubs and restaurants too

Significantly, the Supreme Court clarified that the ban covers not just retail liquor outlets but also bars, pubs and restaurants.

Gopal. R., who owns a bar-cum-restaurant on Old Madras Road, said, “Initially, I thought I was not in any kind of trouble because mine is a bar-cum-restaurant. But now, I will have to shift once I get a notice. I will have to scout for another place for the bar, which is not going to be easy as there is always objection (from someone or the other).”

Leading cause of accidents

Drunk driving is attributed as one of the leading causes of road accidents and deaths. According to ‘Road Accidents in India, 2015’ data of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, 16,298 accidents were the result of intake of drugs/alcohol wherein 6,755 people lost their lives and 18,813 were injured. As for share of accidents, injuries and fatalities on highways, trucks, tempos, tractors and other such vehicles accounted for most (25.6%) of the total number of persons killed in the country in 2015.

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