03/04/2017 9:46 AM IST | Updated 03/04/2017 10:20 AM IST

'They Goofed-Up': Man Behind Liquor Ban Blames Chandigarh Administration For Dry Bars And Pubs

This wasn't his intention.

The India Today Group via Getty Images
International Road Safety Awards-2005 Presented to Harman Singh Sidhu.

Harman Sidhu, the 47-year old Chandigarh-based activist wanted people to stop drinking and driving. He filed a plea seeking a ban on sale of liquor along state and national highways. It led to the Supreme Court order shutting down liquor shops and bars within 500 metres of highways across the country.

Now, half of Chandigarh's pubs are reportedly dry.

"I love to drink and I have to go that extra mile to fetch my stock. I can't accept that a large part of Chandigarh is going dry," Sidhu told Times Of India.

The 47-year-old's intention wasn't this. He wanted to make sure that, like him, people don't suffer after drinking and driving.

Sidhu has been confined to wheelchair since October 1996 after he met with an accident when the car he was travelling in fell into a gorge in Himachal Pradesh leaving him paralysed from the neck down. He wanted to put an end to reckless driving.

"Until then, I was just another 26-year-old. I liked driving at high speed, be it a car, scooter or bike," he told Indian Express in an interview. The idea about campaigning against liquor vends adjoining highways came to him about five years ago.

However, he is not happy with how things have turned out.

"Highways are supposed to be outside cities and to be used only for long drives," he said. According to him, there are many highways within the city because the authorities goofed-up.

"Now everybody, including me, will have to suffer," he said.

A large part of Chandigarh's pubs and bars fall within the 500-metre rule, forcing at least 91 bars, pubs and restaurants to go dry.

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