Pubs, bars near MG Rd face closure by next weekend

Pubs, bars near MG Rd face closure by next weekend

Pubs, bars near MG Rd face closure by next weekend

The excise department has started slapping notices on pubs and bars and in the MG Road area to enforce the Supreme Court’s order against liquor vends near highways.

MG Road is officially a highway, connecting Bengaluru with Chennai via Old Madras Road. Swanky liquor joints around MG Road and Church Street have received notices to move out or shut down by the end of the month.

The court recently ordered the closure of all liquor vends within 500 metres of national highways in urban areas and 250 metres in rural areas. Restaurants serving liquor in posh Indiranagar are also in jeopardy, as they are close to National Highway 4.

No renewal
Acting on the court’s directions, the excise department has decided not to renew licences. July 1 is the beginning of a new excise year in Karnataka, and licences expire on June 30, an official said. Santhosh D, manager of Chugg Pub, told DH, “Yes, the excise department has issued notices to some outlets.’’ He was hopeful the government would find a workaround.

“In case the verdict is implemented, we have no option but to shut down or relocate,’’ he said.

An excise department survey says 2,708 shops on national highways need to be shifted. A similar survey found 2,509 liquor vends near state highways.

The state government is awaiting the Centre’s approval to denotify 858 km of national highway passing through city and town limits across the state. The government is worried over the huge loss of revenue if liquor vends close down. The Cabinet has referred to a letter from the Union road and surface transport ministry in 2015, asking state governments to take over maintainenance of national highway stretches within city and town limits.

If the Centre gives its approval, at least 1,500 of the 2,708 shops will remain open, said a senior official.

How many closing?
An estimated 200 pubs and bars are located within 500 metres of highways in the heart of the city. Liquor vends on Ballari Road, Sankey Road, Tumakuru Road, Hosur Road, Mysuru Road, K R Puram also face closure.