liquor ban

  1. On December 15, 2016, the Supreme court directed to remove liquor vends/liquor shops located within 500 m distance of national, State highways, associated roads and service lanes.
  2. A little doubt prevailed on whether the ban was confined only to the liquor shops or was to be imposed equally to  other pubs, bars or hotels serving liquor.
  3. On march 31, 2017, court clarified its December 15 judgment and said the ban extends not just to retail liquor outlets but also to bars, pubs and restaurants located on the highways. Thus the last hope of the travellers was also lost.
  4. The chief purpose of this ban was to reduce the menace drunk driving and therefore no such relaxation ought to be given to establishments like pubs, bars and restaurants.
  5. The order has wide ramifications and following data may be considered before judging the order.highway
  6. Indian roads have approximately 5 lakhs accidents per year out of which 1.5 lakhs happen to be fatal for the victim.
  7. The major reasons include dangerous/reckless driving, drunken driving, over speeding, physical fatigue of the driver, animal crossing, and weather conditions.
  8. As per National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data, only 1.5% accidents happen due to drunken driving.
  9. On the other hand, the maximum accidents are due to over speeding, amounting to 43% of the total.
  10. Reckless driving, overtaking etc amount to 31% of the total accidents. Weather conditions amount to 3.7%, contributing more than the drunken driving.
  11. Thus the sole emphasis on the drunken driving seems an easy and little deliberated move to curb road accidents.
  12. The over speeding, reckless driving needs more focus than the issue of drunken driving.
  13. The order may have contained serious penalties on overspeeding or the court may have directed the automobile companies to lower the upper limit of speedometer along with ordering the states to work on proper lightening of the roads, illuminating speed breakers, planting trees etc.
  14. The order has also overlooked severe economic consequences to the already debt ridden country and it’s states.
  15. The hospitality industry estimates that about 1 million employees could be hit and it is claimed that Rs 65,000 crore of revenue would be lost. States derive a major part of revenue from excise on alcohol, which is now reduced to a large extent.
  16. Had drunken driving been the most serious reasons for road accidents then, Gujarat, a dry state should have the lowest number of road accidents. But it is not so.
  17. In fact, Gujarat recorded the 3rd highest number of deaths, due to road accidents in India. Maharashtra  and Tamil Nadu took the first two spots on the list. Gujarat has recorded 7,857 deaths in all in road accidents in 2014.
  18. The objective behind the order is undoubtedly noble but the ways to seek remedy creates more and serious economic problems for the state revenue, tourism industry and the people employed in the same.
  19. It seems that the honorable court has taken separated view of the problem of drunken driving. First it ordered the ban of sale vehicles which are not BS IV compliant, and then banned the alcohol along the highways. Ban on vehicles means no to driving and no alcohol means no drinking, together it means no drunken driving and safer roads!