Safety should be our first priority. The story of Harman Singh Sidhu, the man behind the Supreme Court order  banning liquor sales on all state and national highways.

His real life started from the day when he was almost killed.

It was cold evening of 1996, when Sidhu and three of his friends were driving home to Chandigarh after a visit to the Renuka Lake in Himachal. They spotted a leopard cub and choose country road, hoping to see more wild animals. Suddenly, the car skidded and they lost control resulting in the car tumbling down the hill.

“I was sitting in the backseat and the car spun in the air many times before it landed around 70 ft downhill on its wheels. I can still see myself spinning with the car in slow motion, in great clarity and detail,” remembers Sidhu.

After spending 2 years in and out of hospital, he found his mission, aim of the life – road saftey.

“All I wanted was that people returned home safely, that they didn’t meet the same fate as me.


“The figures were and still are really alarming. One person dies every four minutes on Indian roads — the highest in the world. As many as 1,46,133 people died last year. According to several studies, alcohol is a major culprit.

A WHO study states that 30 to 35% accidents are due to drunken driving. Another study by NIMHANS found 44% of crash victims seeking medical treatment to be under the influence of alcohol. And a PGI Chandigarh study found that 40% of 200 drivers with serious head injuries had alcohol in their blood.

In 2012, I conducted a survey on liquor shops along national highways. Other than this, I also filed several RTIs with the Excise Department and the National Highway Authority of India for more information on the same. I was shocked to find out that there were 185 liquor vends on the 291 km National Highway 1 between Panipat and Jalandhar. That’s one liquor vendor every 1.5 km!”

“You tell people not to drink and drive. But you allow liquor shops along highways making it easy for people to buy and drink. How can any awareness campaign have impact?” he asks.


“We travelled for over 50,000 km, checking for violations and wherever we found one, we immediately told the government concerned. For instance, in Ludhiana, we found 70 liquor vends in a 32 km stretch of the national highway,” says Sidhu.

“I will continue my mission to make roads forgiving instead of punishing. There’s is still so much to be done!”