Three national highways pass through Mormugao taluka; almost all liquor outlets face closure after Supreme Court order
VASCO: The SC judgment clarifying its earlier order that there will be no liquor sale in hotels and restaurants, or liquor outlets, within 500 metres of state and national highways has left Vasco town ‘Dry’ forever with almost all the liquor outlets facing closure from Saturday.
As per data obtained from the Vasco Excise Department premises in Mormugao Taluka, there are three national highways passing Mormugao taluka under which wholesale, retail and packed bottles, retail sale and consumption (bar and restaurant) and country liquor premises are operating.
Under National Highway 17, which connects from Cortalim junction to Hotel Maharaja in Verna it is expected that about over 15 to 20 Liquor outlets will face closure. Similarly under the NH17 A which connects Cortalim junction to Mormugao via Chicalim and Vasco city, approximately 140 odd liquor outlets are likely to be closed. Similarly under NH17 B road, which connects Birla cross junction to MPT via Varunapuri-Baina-Headland sada, approximately about 125 odd liquor outlets that directly fall under 500 metres of National Highway will be closed from Saturday as their licence will not be renewed following the SC order.
But the worst affected will be Vasco city as two national highways pass though the port town of Vasco, and it is likely that Vasco city from Saturday will be a ‘dry’ city with about 100 odd liquor outlets in Vasco town closing down its shutters. Also those hotels and restaurants which have been serving liquors will henceforth be permitted to continue only with their restaurant business and no more sale of liquor.
“It is the biggest shock ever received by all of us. We were expecting that at least restaurants would be exempted but the SC order included all liquor selling premises which is a heavy blow for all dependents on liquor business,” said Vasco-based Sanjay Shetye, co owner of ‘Anantashram’ Vasco.
He further said that, “SC order will also have severe impact on tourism in Goa since none of the restaurants serving liquor in Vasco will have a tourist and we will have to depend on local populace. Also if the Excise Department tries to apply 220 metres rule for Vasco city, even then all the licensed bars and restaurants and other licensed wine shops will have to be closed as we have two national highways passing through the city,” Shetye opined.
Like Shetye, even other liquor traders from Vasco feel that the economy of Vasco city will be largely affected. They were all anxiously waiting with the hope that they would get some relief but finally received a major shock that put all of them under distress and mental depression.
“It is a big blow that left all of us disappointed. The SC order will now convert Vasco into a dry town of Goa from Saturday. I feel that the state government should either pass an ordinance or do something else to help locals who are involved in liquor business or else tomorrow we will have large scale unemployment with everybody involved in liquor business from Vasco hunting for alternate livelihood,” said Vasco based Joaquim Rodrigues, owner of Rodrigues Wines stores.
Not only people from Vasco but even others who have bar and restaurant as well as wine shops situated within 500 metres from National/state highways in Mormugao taluka feel that Goem and Goenkarponn will vanish if state government makes no effort to get some relief for liquor outlets in Goa.
“Goa is the only state in the country to produce legalised country liquor and now with the SC order our culture and tradition will be killed. I am more disappointed today because I left my well settled job in a foreign country only to continue my family’s Bar and Restaurant business and now with SC order I am confused about the future as though we were popular for serving best Goan food but without liquor my business will have severe impact. Overall Goem and Goenkarponn will vanish if some relief is not given to liquor serving outlets in Goa,” said Silvester D’Souza, owner Sheela Bar and Restaurant, Vasco.