The hill station of Kangra region, McLeod Ganj, will not serve liquor to the visitors as the excise department has cancelled the bar licenses of all major restaurants here. Officials have taken action following the orders of the Supreme Court to ban sale of liquor within 500m of the national highways.
The national highway extends to the bus stand of McLeod Ganj, which is adjacent to the main square of this hill town where all major restaurants are located. But now they were forced to shut down bars.
Restaurant owners have said that this is going to hit their business badly. “McLeod Ganj falls in the municipal corporation area of Dharamshala. There was no major road leading from McLeod Ganj, but the road ends here,” said Deepak Kumar, a restaurant owner.
Players of this tourism industry are also of the view to move court. They have asked for the written orders regarding cancellation of their bar licenses to approach court. “We have not been provided written copies for the same and we are waiting for this,” said Pankaj Kumar, another restaurant owner.
Requesting anonymity, one of the bar owners said he had raised a loan to construct his restaurant and bar. “Now, I have been refused the bar license. My entire investment would go waste and I do not know how to return the loan,” he said.
The 22-km road from Mataur to McLeod Ganj was declared as a national highway in 2014 by the Union ministry for surface transport. “The road has now been transferred in the name of national highways department and process of tendering the work for laying the road as per the specifications of national highways,” said Vijay Choudhary, executive engineer of public works department here.
However, a few people have supported the move, stating that McLeod Ganj was the hub of Buddhist pilgrimage and not a place for revellers to drink and create ruckus.