Cosmetic structural changes such as shifting the entrance will not help pubs, bars and liquor shops escape the Supreme Court’s 500-metre cap on their location from highways, the Haryana excise department warned on Wednesday.
The excise office said it would consider only plans approved by the town and country planning department to make changes in establishments selling alcohol that fall within the court’s ceiling.
The warning follows reports that bottle shop and bar owners in Gurgaon are planning to redo their business premises to circumvent the court order, which banned the sale of liquor within 500 metres of state and national highways from April 1.
The ban affects pub and bars such as those inside CyberHub, the 200,000-square-feet Gurgaon mall, which is a popular watering hole in the city dotted with multinational offices and factories.
Allegations have swirled that malls are trying to make changes such as shift the entrance to a corner of the building farthest from the highway, hoping to squeeze a few extra metres that will be just about enough to beat the ban.
Residents of Ambience Lagoon had alleged that a road was blocked to change the entrance to Leela Ambience hotel and Ambience Mall. A spokesperson of Ambience Developers dismissed the allegation. “We are developing a 125-acre township and all these are part of the approved plan,” he said.
Gurgaon deputy excise and taxation commissioner HC Dahiya cautioned that diverting or changing the entry and exit will not bring relief as any modification to the building master plan will be considered an offence. “We will measure the distance as per the approved plan,” he said.
But a property owner can apply for a building plan revision with the town and country planning department. “The developer has to seek public opinion for 30 days, and if people approve his plan, a report along with the application is sent to Chandigarh. A decision is taken in around 30 days if the matter is not complicated,” a town planning official said.
The excise office hasn’t started the measuring process. Pub and bar owners were asked to submit an affidavit if they want to contest the measurement from the edge of the road.
Chili’s grill and bar at Ambience Mall and Treehouse Queens Pearl, a hotel near Rajiv Chowk, have challenged the procedure.