India's highways run dry after court liquor ban

2017-04-02 10:15


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New Delhi - Thousands of liquor outlets along India's national and state highways closed after a Supreme Court order kicked in on Saturday in an attempt to reduce drunken driving on the world's deadliest roads.

The top court set the April 1 deadline in December barring liquor shops from operating within a range of 500m from India's highways, where 17 traffic accident deaths occur every hour.

The court on Friday dismissed a slew of petitions seeking a reprieve on the ban, including from state governments which had sought more time to implement the order.

However, the court extended the ban to pubs, bars and restaurants near highways, with the government estimated to lose billions of rupees in taxes.

Deadliest roads

The court last year told the government not to renew existing licenses after March 31 and banned issuance of new licences in the prohibited area.

It also ordered the removal of all liquor banners and advertisements from such routes.

India, which has a network of 250 000km of national and state highways, tops the world's deadliest roads. Nearly 150 000 people were killed in 2015, according to the ministry of road transport and highways.

Of those, 6 755 deaths were caused due to drunken driving, the ministry said.

The government has launched renewed initiatives to make roads safer, including revamping infrastructure and proposed stringent laws.

Read more on:    india  |  liquor laws

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