FHRAI exploring legal remedies against liquor ban on national, state highways

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New Delhi, April 12 (IANS) Unhappy with the Supreme Court order banning the sale of liquor at establishments which fall within 500 metres of national and state highways,

the Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI) says it is “exploring legal remedies” on the issue

“The Rs 200,000 crore loss to the exchequer and closure of more than 1 lakh establishments is not a small thing. We would not have minded being sacrificed if the ban were to yield results. But reality is that all the job losses and other damages would be wasted. The object sought would not be achieved,” Dilip C. Datwani of the FHRAI, which claims to be the world’s third largest hotel and restaurant association.

While agreeing that the judgment may “in spirit” be good, he also emphasised that it does not cohesively look at other related issues.

“Statistics prove that there is a correlation between drunk driving and enforcement, but not between drunk driving and existence of hotels or restaurants. Otherwise, there would be no drunk driving cases or resulting accidents in Bihar and Gujarat where we have total prohibition and yet there are innumerable accidents due to drunk driving. No country has ever banned hotels and restaurants to curb drunk driving,” he added.

Banning sale of liquor within 500 metres of the highways, according to FHRAI, has affected at least 1,000 star Hotels in Maharashtra, including the VIP Lounge at the domestic airport. Maharashtra is expected to lose an estimated yearly revenue of Rs. 7,000 Crore, FHRAI claimed.

“The judgement has affected those establishments that operated legally and we are not takeaways and serve for consumption in premises only . Many entrepreneurs who have taken loans will be placed at a disadvantage. It will make their properties non performing,” said another FHRAI member, S.M. Shervani.

–IANS

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