Meet the man who got highway liquor banned

New Delhi: After Supreme Court ordered banning of liquor vends within 500 metres on national and state highways, you must be curious to find the person who is behind it and made it possible. 

47-year old Harman Sidhu is the man whose campaign led to the Apex Court order shutting down liquor shops and bars within 500 metres of highways across the country. 

According to a report in 'The Indian Express', He has to change his posture every few minutes, pop painkillers through the day. Declared almost 90 per cent disabled from grievous spinal injuries, 47-year old Harman Sidhu, confined to a wheelchair for more than two decades, is the man whose campaign led to the Supreme Court order shutting down liquor shops and bars within 500 metres of highways across the country. For Sidhu, it is a victory for a cause he adopted after his own disabling accident in 1996. On October 24 that year, he was in a car with two friends, returning to Chandigarh from a trip in Himachal Pradesh. Sidhu was in the rear seat. On an earlier trip, they had spotted a leopard on the road in Chandni in Sirmaur district. Sidhu said they decided to drive off the road to see if they could spot the leopard again. Their vehicle fell into a gorge instead.

That incident, he said, changed him. Not just physically, but also as a person. “Until then, I was just another 26-year-old. I liked driving at high speed, be it a car, scooter or bike. I imagined I was the king of the road. But everything changed after the accident. We survived but I received the maximum injuries though I was on the rear seat.”

“During my two-year long treatment at PGI, I observed that most injured persons being brought to the emergency section were in the road traffic injury category. That was when I decided to do something constructive.”

He formed ArriveSafe, a road safety NGO, in 2006.

“The idea about campaigning against liquor vends adjoining highways came to me five years ago, a year before I actually moved an application in the Punjab and Haryana High Court in October 2012. I did lot of ground work, went through excise policies of different states, read the pattern of road accidents on highways and decided to take the matter to court,” Sidhu said.