Odisha seeking to denotify NHs to escape SC liquor ban

About 70 per cent of the liquor shops would be opened in Odisha if the State government succeeds in its plan to re-classify National Highways

Bhubaneswar: After re-classifying all road sections under the Works department to escape the Supreme Court ban on liquor shops, the State government is likely to approach the Centre seeking denotification of the parts of National Highways passing through urban areas as Urban Roads.

The State government, in its efforts to circumvent the order of the Supreme Court to shift all liquor vends located within 500m of National and State Highways, seems to leave no stone unturned.

A high level meeting in this regard was held on April 11 to approach the Centre to declare the parts of NH passing through urban areas as Urban Roads.

“After the denotification of the National Highways passing through the urban areas, decision will be taken on the re-opening of the liquor vends,” said Excise minister Damodar Rout.

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As many as 1,712 liquor shops across the state were shut after March 31 midnight, which would see the State lose about Rs 1,100 crore as excise revenue.

The notification will help reopening of 70-80 per cent wine shops in the State and boost revenue,” said Pravat Kumar Dash, President, Wine Merchants Association, Khurda district.

If the government succeeds in its plan then about 70 per cent of the liquor shops would be reopened in the State. However, the State would stand to lose NH fund – the monetary assistance that it gets from the Centre for the NH passing through urban areas.