Thousands of visitors, employees and managers of various bars and pubs in CyberHub, Sector 29, Gurgaon and those along the Sohna Road expressed happiness after hearing the news that the Supreme Court ban on sale of liquor is not applicable to them, but only to liquor vends.
While visitors said this decision will save these places from being shut down, the employees said their livelihood would have been destroyed had the ban been applied on them .
Earlier, excise department officials in Gurgaon had identified 43 liquor vends and 143 pubs in the red zone, including CyberHub and Sohna Road, along the state and the national highways.
“We are ecstatic with the decision of the Haryana government for protecting the interest of the industry as well as creating a responsible culture,” said Rahul Singh, Haryana chapter head, National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI).
Ashish Kapoor, director, The Wine Company, CyberHub, said, “It’s very difficult to express how happy we are right now.”
“We are very happy that the clarification has come. We can now run our business without any tension,” Ashwani Choudhary, managing director, Soi 7 hospitality said.
The Supreme Court has fixed March 20 as the date for hearing the petition seeking clarification and modification of its recent order wherein it directed closure of liquor vends, bars and restaurants located within 500 metres of state and national highways.
The Hotel and Restaurant Association of Haryana (HRAH) had filed a petition on February 17. In the petition, the association mentioned that while the order banning liquor sale is meant for vends, the state excise department has interpreted it in a manner that affects thousands of bars and restaurants across the state. The association filed the petition after reportedly seeking a legal interpretation of the Supreme Court order from legal experts.
Manbeer Choudhary, president, HRAH, said experts are of the view that the order pertains only to liquor vends. “We will withdraw the petition once we receive the information as the petition was filed to seek clarification,” Choudhary said.
The apex court order dated December 15, 2016, had directed state governments to not renew licences of liquor vends operating within 500 metres of state and national highways after April 1, 2017. The court held them as a prime reason for fatalities caused by drunk driving.
The CyberHub area gets a daily footfall of about 35,000. This goes up to 45,000 on weekends. Gurgaon earns around Rs100 crore in revenue from the liquor industry.