Owners of pubs and bars in Gurgaon’s Cyber Hub, Sector 29 and Sohna Road have decided to move the Supreme Court to seek a clarification on its order to ban the sale of liquor within 500 metres of national and state highways across the country.
Gurgaon’s excise department has identified 43 liquor vends and 143 pubs in the red zone. The headquarters will take a call on whether to shut only liquor vends or cancel the licence of pubs and bars located within 500 metres of highways.
An official said, “We need clarity on the SC order. The case pertains to banning the sale of liquor in shops located within 500 metres of state and national highways.”
The Supreme Court has set a deadline of March 31 for the order to be implemented.
Owners said that a revenue of Rs100 crore will be lost and more than 50,000 employees will be rendered jobless if this decision is implemented.
Vineet Taing, president of Vatika Hotels, of which Westin hotels in Gurgaon and Sohna, and Coriander Leaf, 56 Ristorante Italiano Restaurant form a part, said, “Liquor vends holding an L2 licence and ahatas can be shifted, but malls and hotels can’t be shifted. Hundreds of crores have been invested in these properties. The liquor ban will hit the hotel and restaurant industry hard and will not only impact government revenue but also render thousands jobless.”
Also, pub owners are questioning the method used to gauge the distance. “How was the distance measured — by road or by air? It is not defined clearly, so we are waiting for the final list of names of the restaurants,” a pub owner in Gurgaon said.
Udit Batra, the regional general manager of operations, Smaaash, said, “Cyber Hub is among our seven big centres in India. Forcing pubs and bars to stop serving liquor sends a negative signal and affects the reputation of the city, where people are mostly well-travelled. We were just recovering from the demonetisation while this news has hit us. We are very disappointed and hope the ruling can be reviewed.”
A spokesperson for DLF Cyber Hub, said, “As a developer, we are not affected by the order. It is a matter that concerns a few of our tenant partners and they will, I am, sure take it up it with the authorities concerned.”
The bar and pub owners association in Sector 29 has sought an appointment with the excise department to seek clarity. “We have not received any notice from the excise department yet. Sector 29 and DLF Cyber Hub are more than 500 metres from the highways by road. We are hopeful that the government will not cancel the licence of pubs and bars as this primarily pertained to liquor vends,” an association member said.