The Supreme Court order banning sale of 500 metres from highways has dealt a heavy blow to Gurgaon’s Cyber Hub, leaving revellers high and dry on a weekend.
Local residents expressed shock on hearing the news on Friday night, even as some loyal customers were surprised by hefty discounts offered by some pubs—for “the last Friday night party”.
“I thought someone was playing an April fool prank on me but then we visited and were shocked to know,” Jatin Chachra, a regular to Cyber Hub, said. “How can it be possible? Where will we go now?”
Being within 500 metres from the Delhi-Gurgaon expressway, a national highway—a claim refuted by restaurant owners—Cyber Hub, which houses 34 pubs and bars, went dry from Saturday.
“This is not fair as there are not much decent places to party in Gurgaon. After the SC order, there is not much left in the city,” Mandeep Singh, an entrepreneur and a resident of Sushant Lok 1, said, adding that he will now party at home or head to Delhi.
“Why only Cyber Hub or Sector 29? Accidents can happen anywhere,” argued Teena Modi, a resident of DLF city phase 1.
“Now people will start drinking in car. This was the only organised place in Gurgaon and the order is unfair. We are really sad and disheartened,” said Vinita Johar, an entrepreneur residing in Gurgaon.
People also took to social media to vent their ire.
“People are wishing that the #CyberHub ruling is an #aprilfoolsday joke!” Devina Badhwar tweeted.
“@BourbonGirl76 Hey is Cyberhub seriously going dry from today because of the SC booze ban on highways?” Neelav
“This is less logic more opinion. Doesnt address drinking at home and driving on highways, or carrying booze with you in car / lorry,” Sajith Pai reasoned.
The excise department officials said that liquor sale would not allowed within 500 meters starting Saturday and the licences of 143 pubs and bars, including the 34 in Cyber Hub, will not be renewed.
“We have not received the Supreme Court order yet, but we will comply with its orders,” said Aruna Singh, deputy excise and taxation commissioner, Gurgaon.
Pub and bar owners want the distance to be measured by the city municipal corporation, not the excise department, whose measurement they do not trust.
“Cyber Hub was always accessible by an underpass near the building 9. Motorists have to take that U-turn to come towards Cyber Hub. This is part of the approved master plan of signal free Golf course road”, said Rahul Singh, head of National Restaurant Association of India’s Haryana chapter, adding that Cyber Hub was not within 500 metres.
The Supreme Court ruling is also likely to hurt pubs and bars in Gurgaon’s several five-star hotels located along the national highway and on Sohna road.
“This was a perfect place to party with friends and family. Everything was so organised: from parking to different cuisines. It was the only destination in Gurgaon,” said Vinni Madan, a Gurgaon businessman, frequenting Cyber Hub for last three years, adding that he too would go to Delhi for drinks.