Liquor drives State Highways to turn local

  • Back ground information: Supreme Court recently banned sale of liquors within 500 m of National and State Highways in order to prevent accidents caused due to drunken driving.
  • Circumvent the orders: States are now re –classifying State Highways into local roads.
    Eg: The Rajasthan government passed an order to convert a portion of their State Highway roads passing through populous areas into urban and district roads.

De-notifying Highways:

  • State government can issue a notification to convert State Highways into district roads.
  • De-notification of national highways can only be affected by the Union Road Transport and Highways Ministry.

Implications of De-notifying National Highways:

  • Maintenance of National Highways burden will be passed on to state government.
  • Few states lack the capability and financial resources to take additional burden on them.

Key Governmental bodies and Reports supporting the ban:

    1. National Road Safety Council: had earlier in its meeting pitched in for banning granting license to open liquor bars along the national highways.
    2. Parliamentary mandate of zero tolerance for drunken-driving.
    3. Ministry of Road Transport and highways: In its various advisory notes to the states had advised to prevent accident happening due to drunken driving.

Basic information:

National Road Safety Council

  • Advisory body.
  • It was established under section 215 of Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 with the objective of improving road safety aspects in road transport sector.

Members

  • The Council is chaired by the Hon’ble Cabinet Minister of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MORTH).
  • The official members of NRSC include the Ministers of State for MORTH, Minister-in-charge of Road Transport in States/UTs, representatives from Ministry of Home Affairs, Human Resource Development, Railways, Department of heavy Industry, Ministry of Environment and Forests, Secretary of MORTH, Chairman of National Highways Authority of India, Director General of Roads Development of MORTH and Joint Secretary (Transport).
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