The Kerala government has made it clear that the state won't denotify national and state highways as a move to circumvent the Supreme Court order to shut down liquor shops within 500 meters along highways.
Denotifying state highways was adopted by some states like Maharashtra and Karnataka to bypass the Supreme Court order.
Minister for Public Works G Sudhakaran told the Assembly on Wednesday that the government has taken a decision that it will not denotify the status of national and state highways to circumvent the Supreme Court order.
It was in December last year that the court ordered closure of liquor shops operating within 500 metres of national and state highways.
The direction to the states was to cease and desist from issuing licenses for such shops after March 31.
"The state has not changed the status of any roads to overcome the Supreme Court order," Mathrubhumi Online reports the minister as saying.
Sudhakaran also said that when new national highways become operational, the National Highways Authority of India decides on the status of old ones.
The minister's response came while replying to a motion moved by Congress legislator M Vincent.
The legislator pointed out that Karamana- Kaliyikavila national highways connecting Kerala and Tamil Nadu has been converted as a district road to enable operating of liquor shops.
Minister for Excise TP Ramakrishnan told the Assembly that 66 out of the 1126 toddy shops, closed after the court order, have been relocated and reopened.