JAMMU, Jan 9: Governor N N Vohra today advised the Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti to immediately implement Supreme Court’s order whereby ban has been imposed on liquor shops on highways.
In a letter to the Chief Minister, the Governor has advised the latter for immediate implementation of the Supreme Court’s order dated December 15, 2016 which requires all the States and Union Territories to ensure against licenses being granted for the sale of liquor in shops located along the State and National Highways and ensure its effective and time bound compliance.
The Apex Court has set April 1, 2017 as the deadline to ensure that all such shops on highways are shut and licenses of liquor shops on highways are not renewed thereafter.
The Governor has observed that the Supreme Court order provides the State Government an excellent opportunity to take immediate action for strictly enforcing the envisaged restrictions which shall, inter-alia, also result in reducing the number of fatal road accidents in the State.
The Governor has further observed that it would be useful to also involve all stakeholders to make them aware of the Supreme Court order for building a strong societal movement against road side sale and consumption of liquor. He has noted that the advertisement, sale and consumption of liquor through shops located along the District, State and National Highways has been one of the factors which has contributed to the growingly increasing number of fatal road accidents in Jammu and Kashmir.
In this context, the Governor has recalled that the Road Safety Policy, which was notified last year by the State Government, lays down the enforcement of prohibition on the advertisement and sale of liquor on the road side.
The Raj Bhavan spokesperson stated that the Supreme Court order provides that all States and Union Territories shall forthwith cease and desist from granting licences for the sale of liquor along National and State Highways; the prohibition shall also extend to and include stretches of such highways which fall within the limits of a Municipal Corporation, city, town or local authority; the existing licenses which have already been renewed prior to December 15, 2016 shall continue until the term of the license expires but no later than April 1, 2017; all signages and advertisements of the availability of liquor shall be prohibited and the existing ones removed forthwith both on National and State Highways; no shop for the sale of liquor shall be visible from a National or State Highway; directly accessible from a National or State Highway or situated within a distance of 500 metres of the outer edge of the National or State Highway or of a service lane along the highway.
The order mandates all States and Union Territories to strictly enforce the directions; the Chief Secretaries and Directors General of Police shall within one month chalk out a plan for enforcement in consultation with the State Revenue and Home Departments; responsibility shall be assigned, inter alia, to District Collectors and Superintendents of Police and other competent authorities and compliance strictly monitored by calling for fortnightly reports on the action taken.