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Odisha renames highways as urban roads to beat liquor vends ban

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Bhubaneswar, April 13 (IANS) In a bid to avoid closure of liquor shops in the state in the wake of a Supreme Court order, the Odisha government has renamed the state highways passing through cities and towns as ‘urban roads’.

The roads passing through the municipal corporations, municipalities, notified area councils and sub-divisional headquarters have been re-designated as "urban roads", said an official on Thursday.

Besides these, the Works Department also classified all road sections falling within the limits block headquarters and tehsil headquarters as "urban roads", said a government notification.

However, the notification did not cover national highways passing through the urban areas.

Following the Supreme Court ban to remove all liquor shops within a distance of 500 metres from either side of the national and state highways by March 31, several states, Maharashtra and Rajasthan to name two, have denotified state highways as city roads to facilitate sale of liquor.

Meanwhile, Odisha Excise Secretary Bishnupada Sethi said the olfficials would examine the notification and take steps accordingly.

He said that the Excise Department has sealed liquor shops located near the state and national highways in the state following the Supreme Court order.

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