The centre said that the maintenance of the national highways has to be within its purview to ensure continuous, well-developed corridors.

Liquor ban Setback for Bengaluru pubs as Centre says no to denotification of national highways
news Liquor Ban Friday, August 18, 2017 - 08:33

The once bustling MG Road and Brigade Road pubs are now lying dormant and the Centre’s submission to the Karnataka High Court might have ensured that it stays that way for a while. On Thursday, the Centre told the HC that it cannot consider the state government’s proposal to denotify the national highway stretches, whilst citing the Supreme Court order, the Times of India reported.

“Due to the apex court dismissing the application filed by NGO Arrive Safe Society of Chandigarh on July 11 and the court's order (December 15, 2016 order banning sale of liquor on either side of highways) not being reviewed or modified by any subsequent orders, we are constrained to observe that we are not in a position to consider proposals of the state government for denotification of NHs at this stage,” the Centre told Lakshminarayana, Additional Chief Secretary Karnataka of the Public Works Department in a letter on Tuesday.

The letter, which was produced to the court by the Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, also said that considering a proposal of denotifying 609.65 km of national highways would be tantamount to permitting isolated discontinuities in national highway corridors within Karnataka.

“Denotification will not serve the objective of having continuous, well-developed and maintained national highway corridors offering uninterrupted and seamless movement of long-distance traffic and safe and comfortable journey,” the Centre’s letter stated.

It told the High Court that the responsibility for the development and maintenance of such stretches needs to be with the central government alone.

The Union Ministry also said that the construction of bypasses have not been completely commissioned for any of the national highway stretches in the state.

“None of these stretches qualify for denotification as the national highways, at this stage, as per the Ministry’s policy,” the Centre said.

It also pointed out several flaws in the Karnataka government’s submission, which was a part of a plea to denotify a few stretches of National Highways in the state to facilitate reopening of liquor shops and pubs.

The State had submitted its request to the Centre on July 31 and had requested denotification of 147 isolated stretches of National Highways of 609.65km.

On Karnataka's proposal for denotifying 17.25km of service roads on either side of elevated NHs developed on BOT projects, the Centre told the Karnataka high court that it cannot be considered as service roads are part of NHs.

According to the TOI report, the petitioners moved court citing that though NH-4 and NH-7 have been bypassed by development of Ring Road by BDA in the city limits, in the absence of any appropriate notification denotifying the said stretches, their licences are not being renewed.

On Friday, the court will hear petitions filed by bar owners.