The Haryana excise and taxation department’s decision to not allow city bars (except for 4 and 5-star hotels) to serve liquor after midnight has not gone down well with the pub owners.
As many as 21 bars out of the total 195 in the city will be affected by the new directive.
Citing frequent drunken brawls as the reason, the department decided to do away with the two-hour extension provision, which allowed sale of liquor till 2am in Gurgaon, on payment of Rs. 5 lakh extra yearly, in addition to the regular annual fee of Rs. 6 lakh.
Owners alleged that the department is acting against the notification on the Haryana Excise Policy 2013-14 that clearly has provisions for a two-hour extension for pubs and bars.
They also targeted the Gurgaon police for failing to manage the law and order situation, as a result of which the bars were suffering.
The government has also decided not to renew the licence of three pubs in Sahara Mall, known as the epicentre of drunken brawls on MG Road. However, the mall management is happy with the order as they had made repeated representations to the excise and taxation department urging them to check the menace.
JK Gupta, regional head of Sahara Mall, hailed the decision and said that it would bring relief to shoppers who would not have to fear drunken brawls.
Vikram Rana, owner of Vapour Micro Beer breweries at the Mega City Mall on MG Road, said it was an injustice to bar owners and they were going to make a representation to the finance commissioner (excise) in Chandigarh soon.
“The 2013-14 excise policy clearly allows sale of liquor till 2am and there is no formal order banning the activity. The department has failed to produce any written directive. On the other hand, the onus of maintaining law and order should not be shifted on us. It is a complete failure of the police,” added Rana.