The Supreme Court has passed order to ban States and Union Territories from granting licences for the sale of liquor along National and State highways across the country, noting that drunken driving was the main culprit behind a large number of road accidents in the country. If we go through the statistics of road accident data 2015 reveals that around 1,374 accidents and 400 deaths take place every day on Indian roads, resulting in 57 accidents and loss of 17 lives on an average every hour. The apex court has also expressed its concern at the high number of road accident fatalities – 1.5 lakh – every year in India, indicating that it was in favour of a ban on liquor vends along highways.
Though the Supreme Court has banned many wine contractors who are running liquor outlets along national and state highways no law-enforcing authorities seem to be concerned about stopping them from setting up their shops. The license of such shops should be cancelled if they do not comply with the directives. No doubt, Goa is a popular tourism destination and has a liberal excise regime, making alcohol available at cheap rates here as compared to neighbouring states. The local economy depends heavily on liquor tourism. Easy availability and affordable rates are the major attractions. But the presence of too many liquor outlets makes youngsters addicted to liquor. It is a huge headache for government as there is atleast one drunken death case every month and most of them die of dehydration or in accidents.
Liquor remained one of the foremost evils of Indian society. Liquor should be banned not only on highways, but across the country. Since the national and state highways are more prone to accidents it is the stringent laws against drunk and rash driving, proper and effective enforcement of the laws and the tough and sincere judiciary in dealing with the accidents alone could ultimately have a positive effect in dealing with the ever growing accidents.
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)