Total liquor ban in Chandigarh from April 1

Liquor Shop In Chandigarh
Supreme court to hear petitions against prohibiting liquor outlets along highways.

Chandigarh, Feb 27: Each liquor shop in the Chandigarh — whether in a star hotel, a restaurant or a vend — is staring at closure from 2017 April 1, when the judgment of the Supreme Court in December on closure of liquor shops on state highways and national highways takes effect.

The main reason for the closure is nothing other than, all major roads in the city are state highways and fall within the ambit of the judgment.

The road categorisation was done around 20 years so that the Union Territory administration could maintain these roads, with the municipal corporation short of funds at the time.

As of today then, apart from the one national highway that passes through the city, all major roads are state highways.

“It was decided to declare all major roads as state highways so that their maintenance could be done by Union Territory’s engineering department, instead of the Municipal Corporation,” an official said.

Over time, the maintenance passed on to the Municipal Corporation, but the roads are still, officially, state highways.

Now, the Union Territory administration has set up a four-member committee to suggest definite solutions, within a week, to wriggle out of the unprecedented situation.

According to a report published in Hindustan Times today, Chandigarh home secretary Anurag Aggarwal said, “In Chandigarh, Sectors are 1.2 km long and 0.8 km wide. With all vertical roads being state highways, 500 metres on either side of the road covers the whole of the city. Thus, all sectors come within 500 metres of state highways.”

“If nothing is done, the city entire will not have any liquor vendor bar in any hotel or restaurant. All of them will have to close down,” Anurag Aggarwal added.

Are there any solutions?

Anurag Aggarwal says that at this moment he can’t say what the solution to this predicament is. “We expect that the committee brings a solution. We will take a call after that,” he said.

The panel comprising Union Territory chief engineer, Municipal Corporation chief engineer, chief architect and additional excise and taxation commissioner will give its report within a week.

Bar and Restaurant owners in Panic

The Chandigarh city bar and restaurant owners are in a state of anxiety and are taking up the issue with different authorities.

“We are in a gaze situation at the crisis,” says Vipul Dua, owner of a famous bar and restaurant here. “We are hoping that the UT administration is able to find out some solution to this. We are also waiting till tomorrow, the next date of hearing the case in Supreme Court.”