No relief for state in bid to denotify highways

No relief for state in bid to denotify highways

No relief for state in bid to denotify highways

The state government’s request to denotify and declare some stretches of national highways (NHs) passing through cities as district or municipal roads will not materialise in the immediate future as the Centre is yet to a take a decision on the issue.

“The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) has received requests from several state governments, including Karnataka, to denotify certain stretches of national highways as either district roads or city municipal roads. However, the ministry is yet to take a call on this issue,” a senior official in MoRTH told DH.

“As denotifying certain stretches of NHs requires a policy decision at the highest level, we are still discussing its pros and cons,” the official added.

This could make the task of the state government to renew licences of bars or liquor vends on NHs beyond June 30 difficult, which in turn could result in their closure.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had plans to meet Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari on Wednesday to press for the state's demand to denotify some stretches of NHs as over 5,000 bars/liquor shops in Karnataka were staring at closure on June 30.

Siddaramaiah was in New Delhi to second Meira Kumar’s nomination for the Presidential election.

The Supreme Court has ordered the closure of all bars, liquor shops and restaurants selling liquor up to 500 metres from national and state highways. Though the state government can denotify state highways as district highways to avoid closure, for declaring NHs as district or municipal roads, the MoRTH has to take a call.

“Since Gadkari himself is aggressively pursuing closure of liquor shops to curb accidents, the ministry is in a piquant situation whether to denotify the highways to circumvent the apex court order,” said another official.

Earlier this month, the state government had written to the ministry to denotify 858 km of the total 6,578 km of NHs as district or city municipal council roads.