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Licence now must to play music, hits pubs and bars



BENGALURU: The city cops’ drive mandating that establishments playing live or recorded music should be licensed to do so, particularly in what are meant to be residential areas, has hit Bengaluru’s pubs, bars and restaurants hard.
With police issuing over 400 notices to pubs and restaurants in the past few weeks, restaurateurs and industry members are upset over what they call “vilifying restaurants with malignant intention”.

They feel that discrepancies by a few joints in a particular locality are being generalized to target pubs and restaurants across the city.

Akshat Prasad, director of Vapour Pub and Brewery in Indiranagar and member of the Bengaluru chapter of the National Restaurant Association (NRA), said that all attempts to work in collaboration with residents of the area had been made in vain, as citizens were unwilling to engage in problem solving.

“There is no doubt that loud establishments need to contain the decibel level, but we wanted to get on the same wavelength as the residents, and find a solution together. However, the residents are not interested in finding a solution, but only want complete closure. A ban is not the solution. If the problem is sound pollution, then it should be targeted at specific joints and not based on imaginary complaints,” he said.

Prasad added that several restaurant owners had come together with the objective of starting a joint committee of residents and industry members, but citizens were not forthcoming.

“We approached them several times to go on walkabouts in the area to find out the ground reality of noise pollution, and who was causing it. The idea was to issue a warning to that place and then approach cops if they didn’t take heed. This kind of knee-jerk reaction to ban places altogether won’t be effective,” he said, adding that last year, nearly 35 establishments in Indiranagar, Koramangala and CBD had put up posters stressing the need to be mindful of the neighbourhood.

Manu Chandra, president of NRA, Bengaluru Chapter, said that it made no sense for all permissions and documents to be demanded from tenants, when it was the mandate of the owners to get them done.

“The sudden implementation of an old order seems misguided. We definitely support the safety of our staff, patrons and others, but the restrictions need to be within reason. Lakhs of people employed in various capacities will be affected, not to forget the revenue generated by these establishments. If there is traffic congestion because of a school on a road, you appoint additional staff or traffic wardens to monitor the situation, not blindly close the school down,” he said.

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