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Gurudatta Joglekar Co-Founder, O2, Breathing Brains! A Training and Placement Institute

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Alcohol Ban – Good intentions missing the mark?

Supreme Court has directed that there will be no liquor sale in hotels and restaurants, or liquor outlets, within 500 meters of state and national highways (with few exceptions of course). I wondered if this decision, though with good intentions, is missing the mark.
There are two sides on this decision.
1)    To curb drunken driving killing many every year (effect – marginal)
2)    Revenue loss for the state, loss of jobs, injustice to those who drink responsibly (Effect fair to heavy)
Without numbers, I claim that the former side of the decision is having a marginal weight over the later part.
I would rather argue to improve the quality and nature of policing & usage of Breathalyzers. Further, strict enforcement of laws & punishment for the drunk & drive cases. Personally, I was never checked by a breathalyzer (and I claim to be a fair traveler) till date.

I have the following arguments:
1)     Banning the sale of alcohol within 500m from SH & NH will really reduce drunk & drive accidents?
2)     I have a valid license to sell alcohol (either retail or bar) and suddenly, I am told that your license will not be renewed just because my hotel is within 500m from the highway. Why should I suffer?
3)     Though less, but I have traveled a bit in Delhi, Gurgaon. I fear about the impact of this decision as most of the hotels & restaurants are along the highways. Even about the hotels along the Eastern/Western Highways in Mumbai, Thane. The big establishments/chains like Taj/Le Meridian, Oberoi, The Leela, The Lalit, etc which generally are along highways must be taking a big hit.
4)      What about the effect on this decision on tourism industry (though the impact may be marginal)?
5)      Why should the people who drink responsibly or take drivers with them suffer?

I have the following suggestions:
1)     Increase policing along highways and equip them with breathalyzers
2)     Perhaps, checking on every toll plaza as the travelers are in the queue, most of the times. At least on national highways.
3)     Stricter enforcement of actually existing laws. E.g. If there is a printed receipt directly from a handheld machine for crossing speed limit, why not for drink & drive?
4)     Why not link Aadhar to license and have a record of all the cases against the Aadhar number. If the drink & drive cases, exceeds a limit, say twice, license suspended for a specific duration, say 6 months.

I would like to remind the honorable Supreme Court that Salman Khan is a citizen of India.

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