State govt to 'denotify' more stretches on state highways
The state government is planning to "denotify" stretches on state highways which came up after bypasses were laid connecting the national highways in different districts.
Sources said that the matter has been discussed in a high-level meeting of the Finance department where district Excise Superintendents were present. This comes after the Public Works Department (PWD) gave a notification denotifying 277.3 km stretch of roads on 18 state highways to "arterial roads" in Nabanna on Friday. It is learnt that the state PWD is taking up the matter to denotify the roads as early as possible.
Denotification of 277.3 km stretch of different state highways allowed reopening of 1,200 of 2,140 liquor shops which were closed after the Supreme Court banned liquor sales within 500 metre of national and state highways. Thus, more shops would be opened with the denotification coming into effect as discussed in the meeting.
Sources said around 60 to 70 percent of the closed shops will reopen if the stretches on state highways, which came up after bypasses were laid connecting national highways in different districts, are denotified.
It is learnt that the denotification of the stretch would be complete soon.
At the same time, a decision has been taken to simplify the process of issuing licences to run liquor shops which are getting shifted out of the 500 metre arena of the state and national highways. Sources said, earlier, the shop owners had to apply to the District Magistrate (DM) for licence and the concerned DM used to send it to the Excise Commissioner. Now, the shop owners can directly apply for the same to the Excise Commissioner. The step has been taken considering that it will take much less time. April 15 has been set as the deadline by when the entire process of getting licences has to be completed.
The district Excise Superintendents have also been asked to identify the liquor shops which are situated within 500 metre of highways but the population around the area is not more than 20,000.
Sources said that the revenue collection from liquor shops has gone up by 30 percent in 2016-17 fiscal.