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Indiranagar restaurant downs shutters with bitter posts, residents say they are victimised



BENGALURU: A fresh round of tussle broke out between residents of Indiranagar and pub owners, with Take 5, a popular restaurant in the area, announcing its closure by thanking the government for ‘killing the music culture’ and Indiranagar residents for ‘getting the job done’.

Take 5, which would host musicians, comedians and artists, downed shutters on Tuesday after it failed to source occupancy certificate (OC) from the owner of the building. To carry out business, OCs have been made mandatory by police. The restaurant operators lamented that the government was stifling art and posted online — “It is amazing that they cannot differentiate between dance bars and live music.”

The post, however, disappointed Indiranagar residents, who have raised their voice against commercial establishments for flouting rules in residential areas. Residents say they have been victimised.

“We have nothing against pubs, we are only asking business establishments to comply with rules. We have been victimised for no reason. Basic rules have been flouted during the construction of many buildings, leading to safety concerns. It’s the police who are finally acting as per a Supreme Court verdict. What should have been initiated in 2005, is being done now,” said Swarna Venkataraman, member, I Change Indiranagar, a resident welfare initiative.

Swarna said residents do not come in the picture at all. “However, comments made by pubs do not demotivate us. We have nothing against any pub if they are within the ambit of law. Police are acting against those who have flouted basic rules,” she added.

However, the move of pubs facing closure notice is affecting the hospitality and entertainment industry in the city, say restaurant owners.

Manu Chandra, head of the Bengaluru chapter of National Restaurant Association of India, said with the closure of certain pubs, the city’s music scene has already been hit. “We are not saying no to the rules. We want to make sure we run a clean business. We have nothing against the RWAs either. But obtaining an OC is the responsibility of the building owner and not the tenant. Why are rules being implemented with retrospective effect? There is a need to address things in a rational manner by speaking to agencies concerned,” said Chandra.

Chandra further added that the move would affect employment opportunities for many. “We are a necessary evil. We have generated jobs for lakhs of people. Where should they all go now if the restaurants are closed,” he asked.

‘How many houses have OC?’

Viraj Suvarna, co-owner of Take 5, said in the last 14 years, he hadn’t received any complaint from his neighbours, but suddenly lack of OC has become an issue. “If residents have a problem with noise levels, they should complain against those pubs (making a noise). We never faced any complaint from our neighbours. If the lack of OC becomes an issue now, why was it not mandated while issuing trade licence? How many residents in Bengaluru are living in houses with OCs? There are many who run businesses from their homes. Is that legal? This is the third restaurant I own, which is getting shut,” said Suvarna.

Stating that Take 5 had provided a platform to many budding artists, including over 300 bands in the city, Suvarna added that the move would affect stand-up comedians too.

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