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Highways liquor ban: Exploring legal remedies, says FHRAI

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Hospitality sector body FHRAI today said it is exploring legal remedies against the Supreme Court order banning sale of liquor near national and state highways as over 1 lakh establishments have been hit.

Stating that over 1 million jobs are at stake, the Federation of Hotel & Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI) said the ban would also result in loss of Rs 2 lakh crore to the exchequer.

"Rs 2,00,000 crore loss to the exchequer and closure of more than 1 lakh establishments is not a small thing," FHRAI Vice President Dilip C Datwani said in a statement.

Stating that the ban would not serve the intended purpose, he said: "We would not have minded being sacrificed if the ban were to yield results but reality is that all the job losses and other damages would be wasted. The object sought would not be achieved."

The apex court had ordered a ban on sale of liquor at establishments which fall within 500 metres range of state and national highways.

Datwani said the judgement may "in spirit" be good but it did not cohesively look at other related issues.

"Statistics prove that there is a correlation between drunk driving and enforcement, but not between drunk driving and existence of hotels or restaurants," he added.

No country has ever banned hotels and restaurants to curb drunk driving, he said.

The Supreme Court verdict had come on a PIL claiming that nearly 1.42 lakh people died every year in road mishaps and that the drunken driving was a major contributor.

FHRAI Vice President Garish Oberoi said the order will negatively affect the entire MICE industry, including weddings, corporate events.

Hitting out at the apex court order, FHRAI Vice-President TS Walia said, "There has been an unprecedented blanket ban on all national highways across the country without seeing the practical aspect of the topography and terrain of the cities..."

He further said it has affected hotels and restaurants, which have "invested crores of rupees towards the development of the tourism industry in the country".

Founded in 1955, FHRAI is the apex body of the Indian hospitality industry and represents nearly 4,000 members, including hotels, restaurants and associates.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, April 11 2017. 19:03 IST