After 5 months, bars along highway in Chandigarh to reopen today

After 5 months, bars along highway in Chandigarh to reopen today

Finally, after five months, hotels and bars on Madhya Marg and Himalayan Marg will be able to serve liquor again from today.

The ban on sale of liquor within 500 metres of highways, which was imposed on April 1 on the apex court’s order, has been relaxed within municipal limits after the court issued a clarification. The ban had led to the closure of more than 100 bars in the city, located mostly in Sectors 26 and 35, including those at JW Marriot and Hotel Taj. An estimated 2,000 people had lost their jobs.

The UT excise and taxation department has started accepting applications for liquor licence from hoteliers. The department will start issuing permits after charging Rs 6 lakhs fee from them.

Deputy commissioner Ajit Balaji Joshi, who is also the UT excise and taxation commissioner, said the decision on opening 22 liquor vends affected by the ban will be taken later. Earlier, the UT had issued 99 licences to vends, which were later reduced to 77 in the 2017-18 excise policy.

The Supreme Court had clarified on July 11 that its December 2016 judgement was aimed at curbing sale of liquor in proximity of highways that connect cities, towns and villages. “The order does not prohibit (sale of liquor) by licensed establishments within municipal areas,” the SC later said in the detailed judgement.

Until now, the administration was thinking of denotifying these stretches as major district roads which would then permit hoteliers to allow consumption of liquor at these places. The belt of hotels and restaurants stretching across sectors 26, 35 and 43 is lying deserted because of the ban. There are 88 bars in the city which were affected by the ban before the clarification given by the court. The hotel owners had started obtaining the new liquor stock the moment SC in the resumed hearing of the case had stated that the ban didn’t apply within MC limits.

Leave a Reply