Ban on sale of liquor within 500 Metres of Highways: Cloud of uncertainty looms over hotels, bars

A closed liquor shop at Manimajra after SC directions. The move has impacted the hotels and restaurants in Sectors 7, 8, 9, 17, 35, 43 and Industrial Area Phase II; (right) Women throw out liquor cartons out of the vend near Pinjore on Saturday. Kamleshwar Singh/Express A closed liquor shop at Manimajra after SC directions. The move has impacted the hotels and restaurants in Sectors 7, 8, 9, 17, 35, 43 and Industrial Area Phase II; (right) Women throw out liquor cartons out of the vend near Pinjore on Saturday. Kamleshwar Singh/Express

Uncertainty prevailed in hotels, restaurants and bars in the city and the fear of retrenchment loomed large among the staff after Supreme Court’s direction to ban serving of liquor within 500 metres of National and State Highways. The move has impacted the hotels and restaurants in Sectors 7, 8, 9, 17, 35, 43 and Industrial Area Phase II. To express their disconcern, the owners and staff of hotels and restaurants will be holding a silent protest on Monday. The staff of hotels in Sector 26 will assemble and then march towards Sector 17. At Sector 43 where several hotels are located on a stretch of road, liquor ban has become an issue of discussion among the staff members. With revenue from liquor contributing 70 to 80 percent of the income of the hotels and restaurants, the owners state that they will not be able to sustain. “The biggest fear among the staff is large scale retrenchment. The ban has impacted majority of the hotels and restaurants in the city. We will have to start looking for opportunities at other places,” said an employee working at a leading hotel in Sector 43.

Speaking to Chandigarh Newsline, Dinesh, bar manager at Western Court hotel said, “Earlier, Saturday use to be jam packed. If the ban persists then automatically there will be staff retrenchment especially those who are working at the bar.” The hotel has a total staff of 60 people and the average sale on a day would be around Rs 30,000 to Rs 50,000. “ We are going to introduce new mocktails and a separate menu would also be printed for the same. This would cost us extra as the old one would not work now” added Dinesh. The hotels and bar owners also feel that a few places that have escaped the ban will attract more customers and further impact their business. At several places, the owners have cancelled their events planned for the coming days.

“Since people have options of going to other places will cost us even further. Ban on liquor in the entire city would have harmed us less. Now, with options available, the customer will not be interested to come this side due to the non availability of liquor which is a requisite for any party,” said Sanjay Thakur, General Manager Park Grand. In the evening, various teams of excise and taxation department were visiting the hotels and bars for checking the regulation is being implemented or not. A total of 66 hotels and restaurants have been closed in the city after the implementation of court orders. Sunil, an employee working in Sector 35 bar said, “For now, we are going to wait and see if there is some relief from the government or from the court. Otherwise, we are going to shift to some other town and look for job as the hospitality business in the city will be hit severely.”

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Source: http://indianexpress.com/article/india/ban-on-sale-of-liquor-within-500-metres-of-highways-cloud-of-uncertainty-looms-over-hotels-bars-4595939/