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The no-alcohol rule on highways will come into effect on June 30, and it has left the hospitality folk in a quandary.

The pub city might as well kiss their late-night life goodbye. With 138 pubs and restaurants facing closure or the option of turning into eating spaces with the Supreme Court order banning liquor within 500 meters of National Highways kicking in from June 30, there are a whole lot of owners miffed.

Shutting down or losing business is a cause of great tension among pub and restaurant owners, and many are criticising the move even though the judgment was passed in 2015.

“I don’t understand the concept behind banning pubs and restaurants that serve alcohol in these areas out of the blue. It is a regrettable decision from the state government as they did not act fast enough though the Supreme Court had given the order more than a year ago,” says Collin Timms, managing director at Pecos.
It is estimated that around 98 to 110 pubs and bars in and around MG Road, Brigade Road and Church Street will shut down if the excise department enforces the ban and there is also a huge possibility of many being unemployed.
“We are talking to a few organisations that will help us file a petition against this. But along with this, we are also waiting for the government to re-evaluate the stretch of highway along MG Road,” says, Sharavan, owner of Smaash Pub on MG Road.

Besides owners, even the youngsters in the city are frowning at the decision. “It’s an absolutely ridiculous decision. These areas have been serving alcohol for many years. The roads in the heart of the city are highways only in record books. It is absolutely unnecessary to implement such a rule,” says Abhinanda Paul, a 24-year-old techie.

This decision has angered the National Restaurant Association of India, and they claim that nothing has been done to help business owners. Ashish Kothare, committee member, National Restaurants Association of India says, “We have gone to the excise department and met with people from the PWD department, but they have not been of any help. They have suggested that we relocate, but how is that going do any good? It is not an easy job to do in the first place. What about the investment that has gone into building a pub or a restaurant? What about that manpower? We have met with several people but all of them have failed to provide us with a solution.”

Source:  Deccan Chronicle

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