Parts of state highways named arterial roads in Bengal

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Kolkata, April 5 (IANS) The Mamata Banerjee-led West Bengal government has re-classified 277.3 km of state highways as arterial roads, a measure that could allow some liquor vendors to resume selling, after being forced to close down shop following last week’s Supreme Court order.

“The state government has classified some stretches of state highways as arterial roads. The notification has been issued superseding all previous notifications related to the alignment of state highways in West Bengal” an official said on Wednesday.

The apex court on March 31 said vendors, hotels and restaurants falling within 500 metres on either side of national and state highways cannot serve liquor.

A bench of Chief Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar, Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and Justice L. Nageswara Rao, however, relaxed the ban to 220 metres in respect of municipal bodies with 20,000 or less population falling along the highways.

“As many as 2,140 outlets across districts were affected after the Supreme Court order and about 650-700 outlets could be able to resume operations after the state government notification,” said an office-bearer of the All Bengal Excise Licensees Association.

According to the government official, the state “may bring changes” in nomenclature for more stretches of state highways.

The notification, which declared some stretches of state highways as arterial rods is dated March 16, 2017, a fortnight before the apex court’s latest order reaffirmed its earlier decision on December 15, 2016 to ban liquor vending along national and state highways in a bid to curb accidents caused by drunken driving.

–IANS

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