Liquor ban on highways is about to hit Bengaluru in a few day putting a lot of bars and restaurants under the heat. The ban sale of liquor within 500 metres of highways directed by the Supreme Court is set to affect Bengaluru’s famous pubs as it is declared that the arterial MG Road and some other roads are part of national highways passing through the city.
A circular has been given out by the excise department issuing notices to establishments deemed within 500 metres of MG Road and Old Madras Road asking them to close the joints by July 1. As many as 140 such establishments are set to be affected near MG Road alone.
“We have received a notice asking us to stop serving alcohol,” said Srinivas Gowda, manager of Pecos, which has long been one of Bengaluru’s iconic pubs.
“This establishment has been here for about 29 years now and we are famous as a place to enjoy beer… How can we suddenly change to being an eatery,” Gowda said.
The decision has further stirred the owners of liquor stores, bars and pubs especially because the state reclassified stretches of state highways passing through urban local bodies as urban roads. However, the Public Works Department’s letter to the central government asking for a similar reclassification of stretches passing through cities has not found a response.
“This order was not issued recently. For them to give us just a week’s notice is completely unjust,” said Madhukar Shetty, president of Karnataka Hotels Association. Residents of the city, too, feel the order is very harsh. “These pubs have been an intrinsic part of Bengaluru’s culture…” said Sandeep Jayaram, an advertising professional.