The Goa Liquor Traders Association on Saturday threatened to block the highways in the state to protest against the Supreme Court’s order banning liquor sale within 500 metres of national and state highways.
Speaking to reporters after chairing a meeting attended by around 800 members of the association, GLTA president Dattaprasad Naik said the ban is not acceptable to them as more than four lakh Goans would be affected directly due to the ban.
“If we do not get relief from this SC order banning wine shops along the highways then we will be forced to come on the highways blocking them. We don’t want such a situation to occur, and therefore we request the Supreme Court to grant us relief from the order,” he stated.
Stating that due to the prevailing election code of conduct the government has not been able to take any steps, Naik said, “The order to shut down the liquor trade is wrong and this order of the Supreme Court is not acceptable to us. We demand to provide us relief from the order. We will also demand from the government to take appropriate steps to save the trade.”
He further said the association has formed a 12-member committee to prepare a list of all the Goans who would be affected by the implementation of the SC order.
“There are more than 2000 wine shops which have licences issued by the excise department and around 13500 bars and restaurants in the state apart from the distribution network,” he added.
Naik said that it is the duty of the transport department and the police to ensure that the persons driving do not drink and drive.
Speaking for the GLTA, High Court lawyer Amit Palyekar said that liquor being a state issue, the Supreme Court ought to have heard the states before passing the judgment.
“The state government will have to take a call whether it wants to challenge the SC judgment. If you see the judgment state government has not been heard in the matter. In a substance, it amounts to violation of natural justice. It will be apt that the state challenges the order not only considering the economic aspect but also applicability on its subjects,” Palyekar added.
The GLTA will have meetings with Bardez Bar and Restaurant Owners Association and All Goa Hotel and Restaurant Owners Association apart from seeking mutual support from liquor traders associations of others states in fighting for justice for the liquor traders.