Karnataka reclassifies 1,400km of state highways as urban roads
The Karnataka government has reclassified 1,476.69 km of state highways as urban roads that will henceforth come under the purview of the urban local bodies (ULBs).
In a government order, dated June 13, the Public Works Department (PWD) has said this change has been necessitated as the stretches that pass through the jurisdiction of ULBs require their cooperation. Stretches of state highways have been reclassified across all 30 districts in the state. This decision comes just over two months after the Supreme Court mandated ban on sale of liquor along highways was to come into force. The apex court had ordered the closure of all such outlets by April 1.
However, officials at the PWD here said there was no connection with the ban. “This decision has been taken to ensure better maintenance of roads passing through ULBS,” Principal secretary of the department, M Lakshminarayana, said. He added that the decision was not take to bypass the Supreme Court’s order.
Sources at the department said the Centre had also been asked to look into reclassification of national highways and that a decision in this regard was pending.
According to officials at the excise department, there are around 3,800 liquor outlets located on state highways and another 2,200 on national highways across the state.
“There are no exact figures of how many outlets will come under the purview of these reclassified roads,” said Rajendra Prasad, joint commissioner of the department. “We will take a call on renewing licences of such stores once we know how many stores are located on the reclassified roads,” he added.
Liquor store owners welcomed the move. “It is a welcome move, but we have to see what this means on the ground,” said S Guruswamy president of the association.