No liquor shops will be shifted to residential areas: UP minister

The Supreme Court's order on liquor ban is likely to result in a huge loss of revenue to the Uttar Pradesh government, which is desperately looking for funds to fulfil its promise of waiver of crop loans of small and marginal farmers. The government will also have to grant licences to two clubs.

" For the time being, the state government will also waive the license fee for the shops that are located within 220 and 500 metres of the state highways".

After Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh has reportedly denotified 16 state highways and have declared them as roads to circumvent Supreme Court's order of banning alcohol on the state and national highways.

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In a circular issued on Thursday, the ministry has elaborated the directions of the apex court, which include prohibition of sale of liquor along highways which also fall within a "municipal corporation, city, town or local authority".

The Mamata Banerjee government has already denotified a stretch of 277.3 kilometres as "Arterial Road".

Now after downgrading 16 state highways almost 250 liquor shops are likely to be saved from the closure, an official with the state Excise and Taxation Department told IANS. Among the 277.3 km road that has been denotified, the North 24 Parganas has 69 km while Hooghly has 40 km.

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According to the statistics collected from the state government, there are around 5,600 liquor shops in and around the state and national highways in West Bengal.

The exercise commenced a day after the department received an official communiqué from the State government in connection with a set of options offered to the affected liquor traders in a bid to protect their livelihood.

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) said this decision showed lack of concern towards the lives of the people and more interest towards generating revenue from the liquor sale.

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