Dehradun: The Uttarakhand government Friday decided to denotify State highways falling in the area of local civic bodies and categorise them as other district roads. This has been done to overcome problems authorities were facing as highway specifications were coming in the way of their maintenance and expansion.
“Highway specifications are posing practical problems in the maintenance, development and expansion of State highways. Hence those falling in the area of local civic bodies will be denotified as State highways and classified as other district roads,” an official release said in Dehradun on Friday.
The decision was taken at a meeting of the State Cabinet that met in Dehradun chaired by Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat. This was the second Cabinet meeting of the Rawat government that came into power last month.
Uttarakhand has 64 State highways out of which 63 are located in local civic body areas.
The decision is being seen as a breather for many liquor vends located near State highways. The decision will save the State government the trouble of relocating the outlets following the Supreme Court order banning the sale of liquor within 500 m of national and State highways.
There are an estimated 420 liquor shops that would have needed shifting to other locations. In the case of closure, it would have cost the exchequer substantial revenue losses. Out of around 420 shops, the decision is said to provide immediate relief to 150.
The Uttarakhand government had estimated that revenue through the sale of liquor would go down by of over 40% if all the liquor vends were shifted following the apex court order. Uttarakhand depends on a large scale on income from tourism, which is not all religious tourism. A ban on liquor shops along these popular roads could have impacted tourist flow to some extent.
The cabinet also decided to give stamp duty exemption for five years to farmers who take loans after mortgaging their cultivable land.
The reason for denotification of the state highways was population pressure, heavy construction along them, presence of sewer, drainage lines, transformers and electric poles which obstruct their development and extension, the release said.
With inputs from agencies