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Government needs to distinguish between restaurant and theka

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What has been the impact of the Delhi government denying new liquor licences to restaurants?

  • The liquor licence has been a major problem over the past few months. There has been no policy change. People have invested crores to set up a place and have been paying lakhs as rent every month but waiting for a liquor license, as far back as July in some cases. And that after having paid the fee. Delhi tourism minister Kapil Mishra promised ease of doing business to us. We were hopeful of many hurdles being removed but nothing has happened.

What has been the response of the government?

  • We have met the tourism minister and deputy CM Mulish Sisodia to apprise them of the problem. We have also sent a proposal to the chief minister. Over the past year the number of liquor licences given to restaurants has gone up by just 4 per cent. The government needs to distinguish between a restaurant licence and a theka permit. In order to close liquor shops, they have delayed licences to restaurants as well. Their liquor policy is dictated by the upcoming Punjab elections. All this is leading to a loss of business, employment opportunities and tax revenue for the govt as well.

What are the practical operational problems faced by restaurants in Delhi?

  • We need to get 36 licences and NOCs just to be able to sell a sandwich in Delhi. It is a time-consuming process. All these have to be renewed every year. To avoid these hassles, many operators go under the radar and finiction without licences. This causes a loss of revenue to the government. There is no ease in our business. Our industry among the highest revenue and employment generators, needs support. Seventy per cent of this industry is unorganised. just because it is impossible to get licences.

Bars and pubs being kept open till late is one of the reasons cited for spurt in crime in the city. ?

  • No thought is being applied Riyaaz Amlani, president of National Restaurant Association of India and head of Impresario Hospitality that runs Smoke House Deli and Social, speaks to Amin Ali to a vision for the city. People today would pay a higher rent and stay in a smaller apartment, just to be next to a bustling food hub. Eating out and socialising is a necessity rather than just a rich man’s indulgence. A bustling food scene and a safe nightlife add to the city’s image. People “While we are hoping to provide safe drinking spaces, the authorities are pushing people to drink in dark nooks and corners nowadays are working late hours or at times working night shifts. You need more places to stay open till late as more places opening at night will mean a safer city While we are hoping to provide safe drinking spaces in the city the authorities are pushing people to drink in dark nooks and corners.

The terraces of many restaurants are being shut. How big a loss of revenue have those been?

  • World over, the most poplar tourist destinations are known for their open cafes where people can drink coffee or wine by the road. If a restaurant has its own open space, it should be allowed to serve there. M I said, the restaurant industry needs to be looked at as more than a rich man’s indulgence. It is not just a few rich men getting together and opening spaces where only rich can dine. We are seven times the size of the hotel industry. We have the potential to generate five laid’ jobs and add Rs 10,000 crore to Delhi’s revenue if the government eased business for us.

Have some states been open to your suggestions?

  • Maharashtra and Karnataka are taking their food and beverage industry seriously. Bengaluru has extended the timings of bars and restaurants and Maharashtra has made it possible to renew licences online and brought down the number of permits needed to 20 from 36.
Source: Times of India

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