The Telangana government has de-notified 10 stretches of national highways around Hyderabad in order to save around 500 bars, liquor serving clubs and restaurants, all of which yield the exchequer good revenues. The de-notification followed a recent Supreme Court verdict that said no liquor shops should be located within 500 meters of the national highways.
Sources in the Excise and Prohibition department told The Sunday Guardian that with the current de-notification of several stretches of national highways, not a single liquor selling establishment would face closure in Telangana.
The apex court had ordered in a December 2016 ruling that not a single liquor serving or liquor selling shop should be allowed within 500 meters distance on either side of the national highways in the country beyond 31 March 2017. Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, where liquor licenses are valid till the end of September, had sought time till the expiry of the permits and had been given relief by the apex court. But the situation was that as and when the SC order was implemented, 500 of the 1,400 bars and other liquor serving and selling shops in Telangana had to be either shifted or shut. As some bars and clubs are located on prime locations, they cannot be shifted elsewhere and it seemed that they will have to wind up their business, causing huge loss to the government.
The famous Nizam Club in Hyderabad, which is the hub of the rich and powerful in the city, is located in front of the state Assembly, a junction of at least four National Highways—Hyderabad-Bangalore, Hyderabad-Pune, Hyderabad-Vijayawada and Hyderabad-Nagpur. Hotel Marriot and Amruta Castle are some other star hotels that faced the same fate. But the Telangana government, which earned revenues around Rs 9,200 crore in 2016-2017 and is planning to increase it to Rs 12,000 crore in 2017-18, was not ready to implement the SC order.
The government issued notifications de-listing all national highways within the limits of Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHCM), with a total distance of around 45 km. With this all major clubs, bars, and wine shops located within the city limits were taken off the purview of the SC order. The state government removed the status of national highways for another six stretches of roads on the outskirts of Hyderabad on 30 June. The total distance of the six new stretches of highways is around 105 km and the grand total distance of the highways the state has foregone is 150 km.