While the states keep busy considering options to ‘bypass’ the Supreme Court’s order banning liquor sale within 500 metres along national and state highways, a video has gone viral on social media which shows a liquor shop purportedly set up on a tractor-trailor to circumvent the ban order.
According to a Hindustan Times report, the exact date and location of the video could not be known, but the trailer has the name of the town Shahbad -- purportedly the one in Haryana close to the Punjab border — on a side.
The man shooting the video of the liquor shop speaks in Punjabi, in which he takes a jibe at the Supreme Court’s liquor ban order, and also blames Punjab finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal for it.
“I had found such ‘theka’ on wheels along the highway in Haryana, close to the Punjab border, in 2013 too. They even advertised that the booze with them was cheaper than that in Punjab. Complaints about these did not yield much result as the officials say they could not find these moving vends,” social activist Harman Singh Sidhu, who was one of the petitioners in the SC for the ban, was quoted by Hindustan Times as saying.
The states are faced with a perilous situation. On one hand is the SC order which needs to be implemented and on the other is the huge loss of revenue and jobs that the move will cost. Flummoxed, state governments are looking to find a way around the apex court’s order.
Denotifying highways appears to be coming across as the most preferred option for several states hit by the ban. According to officials, a state has the powers to denotify the state highways within cities and towns in the state, although it needs to approach the Centre for national highways.
Hoping to diminish the impact of ban on liquor sale along national and state highways, the state administrations of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and the Union Territory of Chandigarh have reportedly begun denotifying state highways and declare them as ‘roads’.