Tipplers all over the country are being haunted by doomsday visions. The happy memories of clinking glasses, shouting cheers, diving into the hole of crazy, meaningless boozy talk, sharing pegs, breaking into out-of-tune songs and driving crazy the friend, who has started seeing in triplicates, are beginning to fade away.
You may not get booze to celebrate Team India’s win nor can you drown your break-up woes with a tall glass. Ah, the simple joys of life, that we took for granted!
NO MORE BOOZE ON THE HIGHWAYS
What with the March 31st order of the Supreme Court banning the sale and serving of liquor within 500 metres from the State and National Highways, tipplers in various parts of the nation have been reported moaning the loss of their drink, sans the regular drink in their hand.
Yeah, we totally get it, that the Supreme Court passed the legislation to curb road accidents on highways that were caused by drivers influenced by alcohol.
Yet, despite the ban, a truck or a taxi driver can still pick up his booze before his journey or can get it from a shop that is just 500 metres beyond the highway. The ban has no effects whatsoever on an irresponsible driver, who is determined to lay his hands on his favourite drink.
“What the ban actually does is to spark some ingenious ways to sell and serve liquor.”
LET’S MAZE OUR WAY TO THE LIQUOR
Yes, we are referring to those entrepreneurs behind the resto-bar in North Paravur, a district in Kerala. This bar just like thousands of others all over the country falls under the 500m rule imposed by the Supreme Court. The bar owners instead of just closing shutters and packing their booze away have come up with a truly mind-blowing plan to circumvent the ban.
What did you think they did? They built a maze around the entrance to the bar. Now, technically to reach the shop from the highway you have to wade through a sci-fi style maze that lengthens the distance taken to reach your liquor. Now, they are no longer 500m from the highway.
Freaking genius right? We have to wait to see what the SC says for this. We, Indians are well-known for our herd mentality. Someone does, we follow ba-ba. Following this tiny bar in Kerala, several malls in upscale Gurgaon and other metros have altered their entrances, so that they are no longer within the 500m radius 😉
DIAL FOR YOUR BEER
And, do you know that some enterprising booze sellers who are outside the radius of the ban have capitalised on this ban by running an illegal booze delivery system to highway truck and taxi drivers? Yes, all you have to do is ring up the dealer while you’re cruising on the highways and the dealer sends his minion to deliver the booze at your rendezvous. Makes getting a drink easier than before the ban, right?
LET’S DISGUISE OUR HIGHWAYS
If you think it’s only shrewd privately owned bar owners who have bypassed the Supreme Court’s orders, then you are totally wrong! Did you hear about the UP Government’s sneaky manoeuvre to escape the wrath of the SC? Yes, the UP Govt rebranded a few state highways that ran right smack through cities to additional district roads. Problem solved! One can’t but marvel at the ingenuity of our administrators.
With that said, it’s only several unfortunate bars and restaurant owners who happen to have their premises within 500m of the state or national highways who are facing the brunt of this ban. No matter whether the restaurant is right in the smack of a city, at a mall or a suburban residential area, they just have to close shop.
Regardless, whether the customer is a young professional who catches up with drinks over the weekend or the mature adults who engage in the occasional drink, these bars and restaurants can serve drinks to none. This has resulted in the loss of several crores of rupees to the industry and the cutting down of tens of thousands of jobs.
A DRY PARTY
Even tourist hubs like Goa are facing the problems of the ban. No, you can’t drink even while on vacation, if the restaurant or bar, you frequent is anywhere close to a highway. That’s what the SC implies.
We believe that instead of imposing this ludicrous ban, stricter control on highway joints, regular breath-analyser checks for highway drivers, serious action on defaulters like penalties or impounding of the license of the driver is what needs to be done.
Hope our lawmakers realise the impracticalities of the ban that has led to cropping up of several issues like bootlegging of liquor along highways and endangering the livelihood of thousands of bar and restaurant owners all over the country and restore equilibrium.
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