As the clock strikes 10pm, the lifts and escalators come to a sudden halt, all the washrooms on the third floor are locked out and the main gate of the mall is made out of bounds for visitors.
It is by no means closing time for Sahara Mall. According to pub owners, these are measures adopted by the mall management to dissuade party hoppers to enter the controversy-ridden mall. With six bars on its third floor, Sahara Mall on MG Road has often been in the news for drunken brawls.
According to pub owners, the mall management is using various means to push the pubs out of the mall and dissuade late night parties.
An HT team on Thursday visited the mall to get a first-hand account of the situation.
“We have been asked to vacate our store room in the basement where we keep our grocery and beverages. This has been done force us out of the mall,” said Vijay Pal, owner of Ignite pub. The owners also complain that the management doesn’t allow them to erect counters outside their joints. Also, visitors are made to go through excessive frisking.
The main entry gate is also closed for visitors, forcing them to take the side-door. “Cigarettes and lighters are kept at the gates and not returned,” said Vishal Sharma, a visitor
“We have been asked to shift our customer counters on the ground floor which is not possible. The crowd has started going to other malls on MG road as they feel Sahara Mall is a mess,” said Bharat Singh, owner, IPSA bar.
When contacted, Hardeep Hooda, an inspector at Sector 29 police station, said, “I have told the mall management not to close the public conveniences. No rowdy crowd is entertained anymore in the mall. We make sure the place is safe for visitors. The management is unhappy with the pubs and takes them to be a nuisance.”
JK Gupta, head, Sahara Mall said, “Our reputation is spoiled because of the pubs and bars. The visitors get drunk and damage the property too. We have requested the owners to maintain the discipline, but things are not working out.”