MARGAO: Is the Supreme Court order on the closure of all bars and liquor establishments in 500 mtrs proximity of Highways going to affect the iconic joints like Longuinhos in Margao? Margao, with its unique location, is likely to bear the worst impact of the order.
The commercial town of Margao, sitting in between two National Highway bypasses and one passing right through it, is also an historic town which has liquor joints like the Longuinhos Restaurant, Dias Wine store and a few age old places on the way to the flyover towards Navelim. The road passing through the town even if it doesn't have heavy vehicular traffic is classified in the National Highway 17 bracket. This is going to have adverse impacts on the all kinds of liquor selling establishments in and around the town.
The heritage houses of Margao are also revered and the town has historic places which people come to see from all around the world. One of the places is the Longuinhos bar and eatery which is a time capsule for Margao. Since 1950 almost all the Margaokaars have some day in their life enjoyed a drink and chilled at Longuinhos, including the legend Mario Miranda. However, this historic place has now come under the cloud of the SC order. Ilio Coutinho, the proprietor of the Longuinhos Bar and Restaurant, maintains that the situation of liquor joints especially the ones on the line of Longuinhos may be stirred but not shaken. "We may be coming under the purview of this order but I feel it can be a temporary cloud for us. But we are really not sure," said Ilio.
"The SC may have not gone through the entire situation and it is a sad thing that if they want to keep the tourism of Goa alive the Government should do something to protect the interests of Goans," added Coutinho.
Along with these touristic attractions several men are worried of losing their daily bread due to the order. Ramesh Nerurkar, a wholesaler and retailer of liquor from Margao while speaking to Herald, said "Margao has a unique problem of being situated in the middle of several highways and the servicing of the order in real sense will mean death knell to almost 80% of the liquor associated businesses in Margao.”
"We are being affected from all three directions in Margao and now we have learnt that the denotification of the old highways will be a solution. The road passing through the town is also a Highway from pre-liberation era and need not be going under the axe now," said Ramesh.
He also urged the Government to take a humanitarian approach towards the issue. “Even if the Government thinks of saving the establishments, the future lies in the decision of the new Government,” he added.
Navin Naik, a owner of a bar and restaurant at Power house junction, is solely reliant on his business and is the sole bread winner for his family of five. Navin says: “Every passing day brings stress of losing our livelihood. We respect the SC order on the establishments but it will need more of a humane approach to avert the big tragedy which is going to result due to closure of liquor establishments."
Retailers and wholesalers and even the hotel owners in the commercial town have vehemently opposed the abrupt decision and said that if an entertainment sport like Jalikattu can get a review then the livelihoods of thousands can definitely get a more human approach.