Buying booze in Delhi may have been made easy, but finding a place to have it just got a whole lot harder. Days after the Delhi government announced the sale of liquor in shopping malls, it has dampened spirits by indicating a bill that will punish drinking in public places, including in a car or a train, by a fine of Rs 5,000. Finance Minister AK Walia said that the bill, to be introduced in the Assembly, “will deter people from consuming alcohol at public places.”
Youngsters, however, feel bogged down by the move, reasoning that ‘car-o-bar’ is an essential at weddings and other late-night celebrations. Chirag Singh, a student says, “Not everyone can afford pubs, and they can’t drink at home either. My friends and I love drinking on the flyovers. The government should at least provide us with alternate places to drink.” Adds Rythma Berry, 22, “Drinking in the open saves expenditure in a bar. But Rs 5,000 is too high a penalty for that.”
Parul Ghosh, 22, fears the bill may encourage bribery. “Instead of the usual Rs 500, now the cops might charge in thousands and people will have to pay,” she says.
But the proposal has its supporters too. Abhishek Mathur of rock band Advaita says, “Given the rising cases of road rage and accidents, it might do Delhi some good.” IT professional Ambuj Kashyap feels, “It’ll cut down cases of eve-teasing.”