New Rule In Rajasthan Will Partly Detour From Highway Liquor Ban

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New Rule In Rajasthan Will Partly Detour From Highway Liquor Ban

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Rajasthan designates highways passing through populated areas as urban roads

Jaipur:  Amid a debate and protests over the ban on liquor shops along highways to reduce drink driving, an order in Rajasthan may enable the state to skirt the Supreme Court ruling.

The popular tourism state is set to designate sections of highways passing through populated areas as urban roads if they are connected by a bypass. The move will make stretches of highways immune to the court order banning liquor shops within a range of 500 meters from highways.

The order will apply on roads passing through limits of cities and towns, say officials.

Thousands of liquor outlets along national and state highways have been shut after the Supreme Court order kicked in on Saturday, April1.

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

The court extended the ban to pubs, bars and restaurants near highways. It also reduced the distance from 500 to 220 metres in areas with a population of up to 20,000.

"The objective is to check drunken driving and so there is no dilution of the original order passed by this court. Drunken driving as the objective is a major cause of road accidents in the country," a bench headed by Chief Justice of India JS Khehar ruled.

Last year, the court told the government not to renew licenses after March 31 and banned fresh licences.

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

India has a network of 250,000 km of national and state highways. Nearly 150,000 people were killed in road accidents in 2015, according to the ministry of road transport and highways.

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