Thiruvanathapuram: The Kerala High Court has cleared the opening of five beer-wine parlors in Thiruvanathapuram district, after the judges accepted the argument of bar owners that these are located on a district route rather than a national highway. The location is near National Highway 66.
Excise officials told Manorama Online that beer parlors at Xavier's Hotel, White Dammer, Mourya Rajadhani, MV Tourist Home and Chanakya will be opened. Twenty-four beer and wine parlours are located on the route. Permission has been granted to those who approached the court.
NH 66 originates in Panavel, Mumbai and runs through Goa and Karnataka, reaching Kerala. It touches Kasargod, Ernakulam districts and ends in Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu, passing through Kazhakoottam and Kesavadasapuram in Thiruvananthapuram district. NH 66 also has a stretch in front of the state Secretariat.
The Karod bypass from Kazhakoottam to Kanyakumari via Technopark is also declared a highway like NH66. The bar owners raised the question as to how it could be possible that two national highways can run together to the same destination.
They also presented before the judges a National Highway Authority order that disallows two national highways to the same destination. Their demand was that if both are national highways, the one from Kazhakottam to Kanyakumari via the Secretariat and Thampanoor should be notified as a district route. The judges have accepted that argument.
The state Public Works Department (PWD) Deputy Chief Engineer (National Highways), however, told Manorama Online that the route running to Kanyakumari from Kazhakottam via the Secretariat is a national highway. The PWD also states that no one including the government lawyer has sought its explanation. The department asserts that there had been no error in notifying highways.
Government sources clarify that the government as well as the Excise department has a soft approach on the dispute over highways. The decision is that the arguments of bar owners need not be challenged. Five bars were reopened in Thodupuzha the other day after a High Court order. More bar owners could approach the court in the coming days.