Hauz Khas Village restaurant closure: Around 700 workers rendered jobless
More than 20 restaurants at Hauz Khas Village in south Delhi were sealed on Saturday. About 700 staffers, employed directly and indirectly, have lost their jobs and are protesting for restoration of their livelihooddelhi Updated: Sep 25, 2017 10:37 IST
For the staff of 22 restaurants in Hauz Khas Village, it was a shock of their life when they reported to work on Saturday morning, and were asked to move out so that the eateries can be sealed.
“Achanak aap kisi ki rozi roti pe laat maardo to kaisa lagega? On Saturday, some people came and started shutting down the place where I had been working for a year. When we asked them why they were closing the restaurant, they said, ‘Apne maalik se baat karlo’… Hum log sab bahar nikal aaye aur barish mein bheegte rahe,” says Umesh Arya, 27, a steward at High5 Cafe & Bar – one of the 22 restaurants in Hauz Khas Village (HKV) that was sealed on Saturday. He is one of 700 people who have lost jobs after the recent closure of eateries.
The environmental clearances and other licenses that are necessary to run eateries have been a long-standing issue between the government authorities and restaurant owners. But, in this fight, it is the staff working at different levels of management at the HKV restaurants, who is suffering.
How do I say that this Durga Puja is happy, when I won’t get my salary to celebrate the festival. The restaurant where I work was sealed at the end of the month, which means there’s no surety if I will get my salary. I don’t know how to send money to my parents in Kolkata.” — Milan Santra, a steward
Many of them have now come out on the streets of HKV to protest against the sealing drive that’s costing them their livelihood. “How do I say that this Durga Puja is happy, when I won’t get my salary to celebrate the festival. The restaurant where I work was sealed at the end of the month, which means there’s no surety if I will get my salary. I don’t know how to send money to my parents in Kolkata,” says Milan Santra, 30, a steward at Bulldogs in HKV.
Milan hails from Kolkata and lives on rent in Shahpur Jat. He says, “I don’t even know how I will pay off my rent for this month if the restaurant doesn’t reopen. I just wish it reopens because if I have to look for another job, it will take at least a month!”
Arya adds, “My monthly salary is Rs.11,000, and including tips I get to earn about Rs15,000. With this I have to take care of my wife and 3-year-old son. Right now, I’m sitting idle at home and wondering how I will feed my child?”
“On Saturday, when I saw my entire staff standing outside, and some of them crying, I too had tears in my eyes.” — Prashant Karan, restaurant owner
The closure of these restaurants has come as a shock to owners, some of who claim that they didn’t receive any show cause notice. “If I would have received a show cause notice, I would have certainly appeared before the court. On Saturday, when I saw my entire staff standing outside, and some of them crying, I too had tears in my eyes. I have the required licenses, valid till 2020. How can anyone say I don’t have license?” says Prashant Karan, owner of The Frat House.
Satinder Singh Sarna, president, Hauz Khas Village Traders’ Association, says, “From the 22 eateries that were sealed yesterday, about 700 people, directly and indirectly, have been without job. There’s so much of paperwork required to get licenses and it takes time. If anyone doesn’t have a license; the sudden closure is disastrous.”
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