VISAKHAPATNAM: With the Supreme Court imposing a ban on the liquor outlets on State and National Highways, around 60 liquor shops running on the NH-16 passing through Visakhapatnam city will be removed.
Taking a serious view of the increasing number of road accidents on NHs, majority of them owing to drunk driving, the Supreme Court on Thursday said that no liquor shop would be allowed to function on highways from April next year and the licence of the existing outlets would not be renewed.
Observing that generating revenue cannot be a “valid reason” for governments to allow liquor shops along the highways, the apex court said that the liquor shops must be at least 500 metres away from the highways and no advertisements regarding those shops would be displayed.
The city alone has around 55 liquor outlets along the NH-16 and another five to 10 on the outskirts. The city traffic police opine that the decision will definitely bring down the drunk drive cases, especially the deaths on the NH.
Last year, around 17,000 drunk drive cases were registered in the city. This year, as the traffic cops say, the number has increased.
Besides, the number of complaints have also increased over the menace created by the inebriated persons on the NH.
Anandapuram, Kaparada, Kancharapalem, Akkireddypalem, BHPV, Visakha Dairy area, Parawada and a few other hotspots on the NH in the city limits are said to be danger-prone in terms of drunk drivers creating nuisance. Many accidents were reported in these areas, say police.
Responding, ADCP (Traffic) K Mahendra Patrudu said:”With this move, not only deaths, even the number of non-fatal accidents due to drunk driving will also come down. Many a time, due to negligence of drunk drivers pedestrians are also injured, even lose lives.”
Meanwhile, prohibition and excise officials say that it is too early to predict whether there would be a drop in liquor revenue with the SC order. “We are yet to receive the written order. We will inform the liquor outlets on NH to shift. They have plenty of time as the deadline is March 2017,” said a senior prohibition and excise officer.