Thiruvananthapuram: Despite court directives to shift retail liquor outlets from highways, the authorities are finding its difficult to find alternative locations owing to local objections as well as distance regulations. Only 21 out of the 136 outlets along highways could be shifted even an year after the High Court directive came.
The Kerala State Beverages Corporation sources said they were finding it difficult to identify an alternative locations to shift the outlets on highways. "It is difficult to identify a suitable location with is free from various distance regulations for liquor outlets. Once an ideal spot is located, the local people would come up with stiff opposition. Hence only 21 shops could be shifted from highways beverages corp MD Mr. Jeevan Babu.
Of the 136 shops that were working along highways, 67 were on National Highways and 69 along State Highways. Of this, ten along NHs and eleven along State Highways were already shifted. Many shops along highways were closed down as part of the government policy to shut ten percent outlets every year. According to an affidavit filed by the government at the High Court recently, about 103 outlets were still located along highways.
As per regulations, liquor outlets could not be set up in around 200 metres from worship centres, educational institutions or residential areas. Beverages corporation sources said that the court had not prescribed any specific conditions or time limits forshifting the shops. The traffic chaos caused by rush at liquor outlets had prompted the court to direct that the shops on highways should be shifted.
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