Looking forward to the weekend to hang out with your friends in one of the famous pubs in Bangalore? This weekend may be your last chance to do that as hundreds of high-end pubs and bars in the city's central business district may be shut down, Friday, June 30 onwards.
The Supreme Court had earlier banned the sale of liquor within 500 metres of a highway. And with only a few days to go before licenses expire, the excise department has refused to renew the liquor licenses of many pubs, restaurants and even star-hotels located on Brigade Road, Church Street, MG Road and Indiranagar.
"We cannot renew licences unless they relocate more than 500 metres from the national highway. Or stretches of national highways have to be denotified, which has not happened as yet," the Times of India quoted additional excise commissioner Rajendra Prasad as saying .
While on the record books, Old Madras Road and MG Road have been tagged as highways, they are not used as highways and are maintained by the BBMP.
"These roads in the heart of the city are highways only in the record books. All maintenance work and development is carried out by the BBMP. The state government is in talks with NHAI to convince them to hand over the roads, but there is no official communication in this regard," BBMP mayor G Padmavathi told the daily.
While the government is waiting for the Centre's decision on the matter, restaurants and pubs facing closure on a short notice aren't pleased with the way the order is being handled. "The government should have taken measures to denotify these stretches soon after the Supreme Court's order.They wasted valuable time and are now pointing at the Centre," G Honnagiri Gowda, president of Karnataka Wine Merchants Association, said.
Even though the Supreme Court had earlier said that starting April 1, all liquor shops within 500 metres of national and state highways will have to down shutters, it had exempted Sikkim and Meghalaya from the directive due to its unique terrain and small population.