The state government may have given its nod to three dance bars and allowed them to reopen, but dance bar owners in the city are far from happy. The move to impose stringent conditions has now miffed the industry, which is now planning to approach the Supreme Court and challenge the conditions imposed on them.
The owners said the conditions are unrealistic and it will not be possible for them to operate the bars with these conditions. For instance, dance bar owners contend that conditions such as 11.30 pm deadline, no liquor in the performance areas and stringent punitive action on both patrons and owners were designed to ensure dance bars do not operate smoothly.
According to Bharat Thakur, president, Dance Bars Association, it was impossible to run the dance bars with these conditions. “We will present our case to the Supreme Court that these conditions have been deliberately framed as the government does not want us to restart our business. Which customer will risk coming to our premises if he has the fear of being arrested? Similarly, many owners are either old people or women and we cannot allow them to be jailed on the whims of the authorities.”
Thakur said while majority of rules like restrictions on smoking as well as no showering of currency notes was welcome, the problem was on some of the core regulations which make the entire business unviable.
A bar dancer, who did not wish to be named, expressed a similarly view. “There is so much vulgarity in the films and we have not seen any producer or director being punished. These rules are framed to trouble us,” she said.
The government has laid down 27 guidelines titled - Dance on Recorded Music Licence Conditions - which specifies the regulations to be followed by the owner.
While chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has been asserting in the Assembly that he was personally not in favour of opening the dance bars, the hoteliers have been pleading to the SC. The SC had struck down the various provisions like installing CCTV cameras and three-feet walls around the performance area.
However, many organisations supported the government saying that dance bars should be curbed. “These dance bars corrupt the youth and are places where obscenity thrives. The rules are made to curb the vulgarity and so should be welcomed,” said Ashraf Khan, president, Youth Voice.