The state government has been requested by the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) to hand over the responsibility of repair and maintenance of the Eastern Express Highway (EEH) and Western Express Highway (WEH).
According to a report by Hindustan Times, this move comes as a possible respite for nearly 500 establishments that serve liquor along highways in Mumbai and Thane. If the government agrees and hands over these highways to the MMRDA they would be de-notified, hence allowing restaurants, bars, pubs and liquor shops around them to serve alcohol again. But, the de-notification is in the hands of the Public Works Department (PWD).
According to PWD sources, the MMRDA has agreed to bear all the expenses for repair and maintenance of both the EEH and WEH.
Liquor-serving establishments in Thane city have a chance getting exempted from the prohibition is the PWD would hand over the repair of Kharegaon toll naka in Thane, as far as the EEH is concerned.
The state government has already de-notified state highways in Latur, Jalgaon, Jalna and Yavatmal.
The SC ordered a ban on all establishments within 500m of highways that served liquor, owing to an increase in drunk driving accidents on highways. This led to the closure of about 15,699 establishments in Maharashtra alone.
It is believed that the government would incur losses of about Rs 7,000 crore due to this ban.
Government sources also confirmed that major cities like Pune, Nagpur, Aurangabad and Nashik would also possibly have their state highways de-notified.