Liquor ban along India highways kicks in

NEW DELHI • Thousands of liquor outlets along India's national and state highways closed after a Supreme Court order kicked in yesterday in an attempt to reduce drink driving on the world's deadliest roads.

The top court set the April 1 deadline in December, barring liquor shops from operating within a range of 500m from India's highways, where 17 traffic accident deaths occur every hour.

Last Friday, the court dismissed a slew of petitions seeking a reprieve on the ban, including from state governments which had sought more time to implement the order.

Also, the court extended the ban to pubs, bars and restaurants near highways.

Last year, the court told the government not to renew existing licences after March 31 and banned issuance of fresh licences in the prohibited area.

It also ordered the removal of all liquor banners and advertisements from such routes.

India, which has a network of 250,000km of national and state highways, tops the world's deadliest roads.

Nearly 150,000 people were killed in 2015, according to the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways. Of those, 6,755 deaths were due to drink driving.

India owns just 1 per cent of the world's vehicles but accounts for 15 per cent of global traffic deaths, according to the World Bank.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on April 02, 2017, with the headline 'Liquor ban along India highways kicks in'. Print Edition | Subscribe