Close bars along NHs, Centre tells states

Alarmed at 82,807 highway accidents across the country due to drunken driving between 2009 and 2011, the Centre has advised states to remove liquor shops along national highways (NHs) and refrain from issuing new licences to vendors.

“Remove existing liquor shops along NHs and (do) not issue fresh licenses to liquor vendors for operating shops along NHs,” the Road Transport and Highways Ministry has said in a recent advisory to Chief Secretaries of states.

It said licensing of liquor shops is covered under Excise Policy of the states, exhorting them to act.

The ministry has advised the states that they must review cases where licences had already been given in the past to open liquor shops along NHs and take corrective action.

“Intake of alcohol/drugs by drivers resulted in 24,655 road accidents and 10,553 fatalities in 2011,” it said, adding that 82,807 accidents occurred between 2009 and 2011.

Road accidents occur due to the complex interaction of a number of factors which also include intake of alcohol and drugs, it said.

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