Panaji: The Goa government on Saturday admitted that licenses of as many as 3,210 liquor shops have not been renewed by the Excise department in keeping with the Supreme Court order. However, the government assured the agitated liquor traders that it would try and save at least one-third of these outlets, give others an option to shift\dispose their stocks beyond the 500m set by the court, and see that livelihood of affected traders is not compromised.At a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, attended by Secretaries, and top excise, law and finance department officials, a possibility of relocating liquor businesses from near the national highways to interior areas was also discussed. But that would have to be the call of the businessmen and within the framework of Excise Rules and Act. “A proper policy will be worked out for relocating affected businesses,” a senior official told The Hindu requesting anonymity. He pointed out that for now existing excise law and rules allow bar and liquor store owners to shift or transfer their unsold stock to new premises after seeking appropriate permission.The state government is also considering filing a revision petition against Friday’s SC order, which banned bars from close proximity from highways.Implementing ordersExcise Commissioner Menino D’Souza said his department was implementing the SC order by visiting the outlets slotted for closure.Speaking to reporters after a meeting with Mr. Parrikar, Amit Palyekar, lawyer for the Goa Liquor Traders Association said the CM had assured to resolve the issue with least possible damage to affected liquor traders. Speaking to presspersons after meeting the Chief Minister, Dattaprasad Naik, president of Goa Liquor Traders Association said on Saturday evening that they were satisfied with the CM’s decision. The number of affected traders has come down from 3,200 to 2,100. This is because in the case of towns with a population of 20,000 or less, the distance applicable was 220 metres from the highway, he said.Liquor outlets in Panaji, Margao, Vasco, Mapusa, Ponda, and Curchorem municipalities and three panchayats with 20,000 or more population are affected as per the main order. Mapusa, Mr. Naik said, does not have a national highway. The port city of Vasco has been totally cleared of liquor outlets. ‘Sneaking in Prohibition’Meanwhile, the Congress lambasted the State government for failing to file a review petition to claim relaxation from the SC order. The party said the BJP-led coalition government is trying to sneak in Prohibition. “Wearing a suit and downing a drink in the evenings is part of Goan culture,” senior Congress MLA Aleixo Reginaldo told reporters. “The Congress will fight shoulder-to-shoulder with thousands of bar owners to save their livelihood. The government did not even make an effort to seek exemptions or a relaxation from the ban when the case was being heard.”Leader of Opposition Babu Kavlekar said, “[The BJP-led government] did not even plead to make the Goa government a party in the case. This looks like a plan to impose the Gujarat model in Goa.”Former Chief Minister Digambar Kamat pointed out that several non-BJP States, like Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, and Sikkim, among others, had filed review petitions.