As many as 3,178 establishments selling alcohol in Goa stand the risk of being affected by the Supreme Court order that bans sale of alcohol along highways. It came into effect on Saturday. While some establishments remained shut on Saturday, it is not clear how many will be ultimately affected, considering the Supreme Court’s clarification on Friday where the bench exempted Himachal Pradesh, Meghalaya and Sikkim, and places having populations of less than 20,000. The court said the exempted states can have shops selling liquor within 220 metres of highways.
However, the excise department had identified 3,178 establishments before Friday’s clarification. The administration will have to re-access the situation keeping the court’s directive in mind now.
Meanwhile, shop owners said the state was not properly represented in the case. “Goa has not even been represented before the Supreme Court to present its case”, Travel and Tourism Association of Goa spokesman Ralph de Souza told Scroll.in. “Goa is so small that the impact will be tremendous. Half a kilometre on either side of a state and national highway is a big chunk of Goa.” The state has the third-highest density of roads, including national and state highways that pass through its towns.
Newly elected Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar told Scroll.in that his government has no time to look into the matter. “Effectively we began functioning after 24 March when the budget was passed,” he said. “We will call an all party meeting and examine the issue.”