Fear of losing jobs is giving a tough time to the people employed in hospitality sector these days.
The Supreme Court decision of booze ban near the state and national highways has almost closed city’s many well-known hotels and bars, impacting livelihoods of thousands in one go.
“We are not jobless yet, but if things don’t improve, we will be on road soon,” said 35-year-old Atul Rana, a bartender at Metro 35.
For past 15 years, he has been into hospitality industry and is a well-known name among bartenders. He has seen the industry grooming and night life becoming more happening in Chandigarh.
“Earlier, only families used to visit hotels but now, it’s all youth. Ten years ago, there were limited drinks and not much competition. But there are variety of drinks in today’s scenario and it is challenging to cater to random demands of young customers,” said Rana, who hails from Palampur in Himachal Pradesh and is a sole breadwinner in a family of five.
“Never did the thought of shifting my profession come to my mind before this. I am worried. How will I look after my family?” he said.
“The government should have given us some time, at least to look for other jobs. Where will we all go?”questioned Kesar Singh from Nepal, who is working as a captain at Metro 35.
27-year-old Ankush Pathania had moved to Chandigarh around five years ago from Kangra. A bartender working with F-Bar Chandigarh, Ankush shares, “I am afraid how will I pay this month’s rent and send money back home? My parents and younger brother are solely dependent on me,” he said.
“Not only me but many are worried and on the verge of losing their source of income,” Ankush said. “We are running into losses. We will have to remove some staff members eventually and bartenders, bouncers and stewards will be the most-effected ones,” said a Sector-35 based bar and restaurant’s manager.
According to Arvinder Pal Singh, president of hotel and restaurant association, more than 5,000 people employed with nearly 88 bars, restaurants and hotels will become jobless if nothing is done by the administration soon.” He confirmed that lay-offs have not started yet, but will begin soon.
Anu Sharma, 23, who works as a bouncer at F-Bar, is facing tough time as ban on liquor has impacted her only source of income. “I look after six family members including my grandparents and children. This one decision has left me jobless,” said Anu Sharma.
She said that she is into this profession for last five years and earns Rs 700 per shift. “But for last three-four days, I haven’t earned even a penny,” Anu added.
“Those who want to drink can consume alcohol inside cars as well, but where will we go? Not only me but my entire family has to bear the brunt of this decision,” she rued. Anu said there are many more girls in the profession who work during night hours to support their education.