Bengaluru: Come July, Bengaluru may have to shed yet another moniker and no longer be called Pub City! If you are heading towards one of the many bars and pubs, in and around M.G. Road, Brigade Road and Church Street you may be greeted with closed doors. Yes, that’s what will happen if the State Excise Department goes ahead and implements the SC order banning the sale of liquor within 500 metres of the National Highway.
A National Highway in the heart of the city? The stretch starting from Basaveshwara Circle till Raj Bhavan is part of a National Highway. Even the stretch from M.G. Road till Trinity Circle is very much part of the NH.
Clearly, the move by the Excise Department will be disastrous for the hundred-odd bars and pubs in the Central Business District.
There are no exact figures on the loss to the exchequer once the SC order comes into force, but Mr Rajendra Prasad, Additional Commissioner of Excise, said, “Our department won’t entertain any application for the renewal of licences of pubs and bars,” unless they relocate 500 metres off the NH.
Expressing their anger over the order that all pubs and bars should shut operation by June 30, a owner of a leading pub on Church Street, on condition of anonymity, criticised the state government's lethargy in getting the national highways denotified. “SC gave the order on March 30 and till now the state government is not taking any big step to denotify national highway streches in the CBD."