While Western and Eastern Express highways have been given to MMRDA control, NH-4 is still under PWD control, meaning bars from Sion to Panvel cannot operate off the highway
The Sion-Panvel highway is part of the NH-4. FILE PIC
While the eastern and western express highways may soon be spared from the Supreme Court's highway liquor ban after the MMRDA proposed to take over their maintenance from the Public Works Department (PWD), hotel and bar owners on the Sion-Panvel highway might continue to suffer under it, as the stretch falls on the National Highway 4, which is being maintained by PWD.
Confirming the suspicion of liquor vending establishments along the Sion-Panvel highway suffering the ban, Pradeep Pawar, deputy commissioner (Excise) said, "The Sion-Panvel highway is a National Highway, so it [will] still suffer the ban. The state government doesn't usually look after National Highways."
TR Deskmukh, Excise Department inspector from Vashi said, "It is confirmed that the western and eastern express got a green signal [to be spared from the ban]. But for the Sion-Panvel Highway, we have just received a notification from the authorities and so, all the bars under 500 metres [of the highway] have been closed for selling liquor."
Bar and hotel owners along the highway are hoping to meet the CM and local municipal bodies to discuss a solution. Dayanand Shetty, president of the Navi Mumbai Hotel Owners Association said, "We are happy that the MMRDA took over the western and eastern express highways. But what about Sion-Panvel highway, which is claimed to be National Highway? We will meet the CM and suggest him to hand over the Sion-Panvel highway to CIDCO."
Vittal Shetty, owner of Amber Hotel in Vashi Plaza, which is 30 m from the highway said, "There were 40 workers in my hotel and around 20 of them left as there is no work. MMRDA or CIDCO should take over so we can be relieved [from the ban] after the highway is de-notified."