Goa liquor traders threaten to block roads

Panaji, Feb 11 (IANS) Liquor traders in Goa have threatened to block highways and major roads if the Supreme Court’s direction to ban all selling of liquor within 500 metres of major roads are implemented by the state administration.

Speaking to reporters on Saturday after a meeting of the Goa Liquor Traders Association, its president, Dattaprasad Naik, said the traders will have to take the extreme step as lakhs of people involved in the liquor industry would be affected by the ban.

“We will be forced to block the highways and major roads because the ban will put thousands of excise licence holders out of business. This ban is not practical in Goa, with all due respect to the Supreme Court. The government should come up with a way to save our livelihoods,” Naik told reporters after the meeting held near Panaji.

Goa is a popular tourism destination and has a liberal excise regime, making alcohol available at cheap rates here as compared to neighbouring states.

While there are around 11,000 excise licence holders in the state, officially selling alcohol, almost a third of them are expected to come under ambit of the direction of the apex court, which has banned bars and liquor stores, within 500 metres of state and national highways in order to rein in drunken driving.

The state excise department has already started an exercise identifying liquor vends within the limits specified by the Supreme Court.

–IANS

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