THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The government has not taken any steps to denotify the Karamana-Kaliyikkavila stretch of the National Highway in the capital as a district road to facilitate the reopening of bars and liquor outlets on the route, Public Works Minister G Sudhakaran clarified in the Assembly on Wednesday. The minister was responding to a calling attention motion of M Vincent. The Congress MLA cautioned that moves were afoot to reopen closed liquor shops by downgrading the Karamana-Kaliyikkavila stretch as a district road.
Sudhakaran said the notification regarding the stretch was issued by the Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways on August 28, 2015, when the UDF Government was in power. Prior to the notification, the stretch was part of the National Highway, he said.
The Union Government had entrusted the stretch to the state government and given it the mandate to assign it to PWD or local bodies. But the previous UDF Government and the present LDF Government have not taken any decision in this regard, he said. “The present status of the stretch is that it is neither a state highway nor a district road,” Sudhakaran said.
“No affidavit has been presented in court by PWD regarding the status of the stretch of road,” Sudhakaran said. He said despite many other state governments taking the de-notification route to facilitate reopening of bars and liquor outlets, the state government chose not to adopt such a stand.
However, Vincent flayed the state government’s alleged attempts to wash its hands of the matter by stating the status of the stretch was yet to be decided. He said such a contradictory stand adopted by the government would only lead to the reopening of bars and liquor vends on the stretch. He said steps to downgrade the key stretch linking the capital to the Tamil Nadu border would hamper its development in future.