Liquor vends and pubs in this city seem to be on a high. With a population of 18 lakh, the Millennium City has surpassed Delhi in terms of availability of liquor. Compared to Delhi, which has a liquor shop for every 1.9 lakh people, Gurgaon has one for every 6,450 residents.
What is shocking, however, is that liquor is sold even to school students in Gurgaon.
The recent detention of 83 students of a premier public school (most of them as young as 12) from a binge party in a city pub sent chills down the spines of many residents.
Many pubs have gone to the extent of dishing out offers to lure school students to organise binge parties at their outlets. Besides, despite a ban, vends offer free home delivery of all brands of liquor.
Although the sale of liquor to persons below 21 years is prohibited, the rule is seldom followed by liquor vends or pubs. Any child can walk into any vend and buy any brand without any questions being asked.
HT witnessed eight-year-old Ballu (name changed), a helper at a roadside tea stall on MG Road, procure two bottles of strong beer in five minutes.
HT also saw two Class 11 students buy the brands they asked for.
"We have parties at roadside liquor vends regularly," said one of the students.
Vivek Kamboj, a resident of Sushant Lok, said it was easier to get alcohol than milk in Gurgaon not only because of the abundance of liquor joints but also the flexible timings of vends.
"A grocer has to shut his shop at 8pm but a liquor vend can run till late into the night all seven days of the week," he said.
Although there are three declared dry days in Haryana, one can still manage to get it on such days from illegal operators.
Excise officials claim to be unaware of all this. Anurag Rastogi, commissioner of the Haryana government's Excise and Taxation Department said he could not believe liquor vends in the town were selling alcohol to children.
"I had come across just one incident so far where one pub in the Sahara Mall served liquor to minor students. We had imposed a tough penalty on them. I am yet to get a complaint (about others)," he said.