Officials from state head for Delhi to save watering holes

With only three days to go for the closure of bars and pubs near “highways” within the city, a team of officials from the state government will meet officials of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) in Delhi on Tuesday to save the watering holes in the city.

Law Minister T B Jayachandra said a team of officials from the Finance and PWD departments will visit Delhi. “If the officials do not succeed in getting the highways in the city denotified, then we will explore legal options,” the minister added.

Govindaraj Hegde of Federation of Wine Merchants Association said the state government had written a letter to the NHAI back in 2015 seeking denotification of roads in city limits but did not follow it up. “We could have avoided with this needless worry had it not been for the officials’ negligence,” he added.

“Many roads at taluk and district levels have already been denotified… Officials thought highway tags of city roads will also be removed eventually. Nobody foresaw this situation,” he said.

Asked about any interim measure, Jayachandra said the Supreme Court had allowed Telangana to extend the deadline till September 30. “Though Karnataka’s chances are very slim, we will see if we can plead for some time after taking a legal opinion,” he said.
The Supreme Court extended the deadline for bars in Telangana considering that the validity of many licences extended beyond the June 30 deadline with some running till September. Considering that the licences in Karnataka expire on June 30, the state government has less chances of getting the extension.

Bar owners are meeting on Tuesday to decide on their next step. “We are banking on the state government. We can’t move the Supreme Court at this stage. We will take a decision after consulting other stakeholders,” said Ananth Narayanan, a core committee member of National Restaurant Association of India.


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