Liquor ban: Karnataka

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Broadly indicating that the state government too might follow states like Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Goa to protect the interests of bar owners, law and parliamentary affairs minister, T.B. Jayanchandra on Tuesday asserted that the next state cabinet meeting will deliberate on the “necessary requirements” to meet the Apex court’s order banning sale of liquor on highways within a specified distance.

Speaking to reporters here, Mr Jayachandra was not clear on how the state government would tackle the Apex court’s order but dropped enough hints that de-notifying state highways (SH) has been suggested to overcome the Supreme Court order banning liquor outlets within a 500-metre radius of National Highways to save the hospitality and tourism sector.

“We have not made up our minds yet. We will take everything into consideration before implementing the court order,” he added.

The minister maintained that it was the Karnataka government which had gone on a revised appeal before the Apex court and based on the state plea, the Supreme Court had now reduced the distance for allowing bars from 550 metres to 220 metres. But this too will cause a major dent in the state exchequer, he said.

It may be recalled that several states like Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Goa have de-notified their respective state highways as district highways in order to circumvent the apex court’s order. The steps have been taken to save the livelihood means of thousands of liquor bar owners and workers who would be affected by the Supreme Court ban.

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