Bengaluru, Aug 18, 2017 : The Centre has rejected the state government’s request to denotify stretches of national highways to enable liquor outlets to reopen in Bengaluru and other parts of the state.
At least 3,000 bars and pubs have remained closed since July 1, following a Supreme Court order in December 2016 directing states not to renew licences of liquor vends within 500 metres of national highways.
The Centre has now written to Karnataka that it can’t consider favourably its request to denotify 147 stretches of the 609.65 km national highway network in the state.
Bypasses have not been completed or commissioned for any of these stretches, and so they don’t qualify for ‘deemed denotification’ under the ‘extant policy,’ the ministry of road transport and highways said in a letter dated August 14 to the Karnataka public works department
Policy bars it
The ministry also said if the stretches were denotified, it would amount to permitting isolated discontinuities in national highway corridors within the state.
Such an action would not serve the objective of having continuous well-developed and well-maintained corridors offering uninterrupted and seamless long-distance movement, and a safe and comfortable journey, the Centre said.
The responsibility for the development and maintenance of such stretches needs to continue with the Central government, it explained.
On Thursday, the Centre submitted a copy of the letter to the High Court of Karnataka, which is hearing petitions filed by liquor licence holders seeking directions to renew their licenses.
Justice Vineet Kothari adjourned the hearing to Friday.