Supreme Court order shut 30% of outlets, says Goa liquor traders body

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Some 30 per cent of liquor outlets in Goa have shut down since yesterday following the Supreme Court's order, a liquor traders association said on Sunday.

"The order has impacted 30 per cent of liquor vendors. But the state government is working out a solution which would save many of them," said Dattaprasad Naik, president, All Goa Liquor Traders Association.

Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar met representatives of liquor traders and officials of excise and PWD departments last evening to study the court's order of March 31 which said the ban on liquor sale along highways would also apply to pubs, bars and hotels.

All the outlets which are within 500 metres of highways were awaiting renewal of licences which expired on March 31, said Naik, who is also a state BJP leader.

The Supreme Court on Friday also said that in the local body-governed areas with population of less than 20,000, liquor outlets can operate beyond 220 metres from highways, instead of 500 meters.

Naik said this relaxation would save almost 1100 of the 3200 outlets affected by the original order.

Excise Department's Commissioner Menino D'Souza said the department will start renewing licences from tomorrow.

"Now we will renew the licences of outlets which are more than 220 metres away from the highway in local body areas with population of less than 20,000," he said.

Naik said cities like Vasco and Ponda, where the national highway runs through markets, would be affected badly. "Steps would be taken to ensure that impact is least. We are taking local MLAs into confidence," he said, adding that the government would call a meeting of local MLAs on the issue.

Tourism industry fears that the SC fiat will hit the tourist footfall.

"Many stand-alone restaurants and famous hotels will be affected. Tourists are going to suffer as restaurants and bars are easy to spot on main roads and in major towns," said Savio Messiah, president of Travel and Tourism Association of Goa.

The state Assembly should pass a resolution against the SC order, Messiah said.

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