Hyderabad: The Prohibition and Excise department seems to be in quandary over the proposed move to de-notify highways in the State and bring them under the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) to enable liquor shops and bars to continue with their business in the background of a recent Supreme Court order.
While liquor shop owners currently have permission to continue operations till October 2017, officials were planning to de-notify highways in the State so that the apex court’s order on banning liquor shops and bars alongside highways would not hit the business.
However, the department is now in a dilemma as indications are that the proposed move could land them in legal complications. In Chandigarh, the administration had issued a similar notification, de-notifying some highways, but the same was challenged in the Supreme Court by an NGO. The matter is posted to be heard after the court’s summer vacation.
Officials are apprehensive over facing a similar situation if they de-notify highways in Telangana, with the idea being to bring them under the jurisdiction of GHMC. Sources said officials in the Law Department have already cautioned Excise officials from taking any decision on the issue and invite legal problems unnecessarily.
Law officials have reportedly advised the Excise department to take legal opinion before coming to any conclusion on the issue. When contacted, Excise Additional Commissioner P Rajasekhar Rao said, “As of now, no decision has been taken on the issue. We have ample time till the new liquor policy comes into force after October.”
Telangana Wine Dealers Association State president D Venkateswara Rao said the court had given a major relief to shop owners till October. “We are also waiting for the decision to be taken by the Excise department on the issue,” he added.