Rajasthan has denotified certain sections of state highways that pass through heavily populated towns, days after the Supreme Court passed an order banning liquor outlets within 500 metres of national and state highways, PTI reported on Tuesday. There are nearly 450 liquor shops along the denotified stretches.

However, Shivlahri Sharma, chief engineer with the Public Works Department, said the process had nothing to do with the Supreme Court’s directive. He added that the state highway tag had been removed for only those sections for which bypass roads had been constructed.

“When a bypass is constructed, the old section [of the highway] that passes through a city or a town becomes left-out stretches. Since there cannot be two highways of the same number at the same location, the left-out sections come under the local body and lose the status of a highway,” he explained.

Sharma also said that the same provision existed for national highways. “This process has no connection with liquor shops,” he reiterated.

On March 31, the Supreme Court had ruled that liquor shops within 500 metres of national and state highways would have to shut down from April 1. The top court has only exempted the states of Himachal Pradesh, Meghalaya and Sikkim and places with populations less than 20,000. These states can have shops selling liquor within 220 metres of highways.