24/7 restaurants policy will create safe spaces for public: Haryana minister - Hindustan Times
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24/7 restaurants policy will create safe spaces for public: Haryana minister

Jul 05, 2023 11:42 PM IST

The bar and restaurant owners of the city welcomed the move and will increase footfall across Gurugram

A day after the state government announced that all restaurants in the state can remain open round the clock without having to pay an additional fee, deputy chief minister Dushyant Chautala said on Wednesday that the move will boost the state economy and increase women safety on streets, besides providing more employment and opportunities to start-ups and existing establishments.

Haryana deputy chief minister Dushyant Chautala said there is a provision for pub and bars in the state to remain open round the clock on payment of a <span class='webrupee'>₹</span>20 lakh liquor licence fee (HT Archive)
Haryana deputy chief minister Dushyant Chautala said there is a provision for pub and bars in the state to remain open round the clock on payment of a 20 lakh liquor licence fee (HT Archive)

Chautala said restaurant unions across the state had met him last month and demanded that the state government should allow them to keep their restaurants open round the clock so that people could get food at their convenience.

“I had personally visited many districts and checked the night life before taking the decision. What attracted me were the dhabas on the main expressway and also along internal roads in the city that cater to people 24x7 and are doing well,” he said.

Chautala said there is a provision for pub and bars in the state to remain open round the clock on payment of a 20 lakh liquor licence fee, but there were no such provisions for restaurants until now and no additional cost is involved.

“This move will increase the vigil on roads, as there will be more movement of people and law enforcement agencies. Transport facility will also improve and that has always been a concern at night,” he said.

The bar and restaurant owners of the city welcomed the move and will increase footfall across the city. More avenues will come up and a good quality of night life will be introduced for residents, they said.

Rahul Singh, trustee, National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) and founder of Beer Cafe, said they have been advocating to various state governments on the need to have restaurants serve 24/7. “The Haryana government has taken the reformative step towards this goal. Restaurants are universal in nature and have the power to bring everyone together. They are a respite to families who value their time. In return, the state earns higher taxes and generate local employment. A vibrant nightlife economy makes the city safer. This is a true win-win situation for all stakeholders,” he said.

Ashish Dev Kapoor, founder of The Wine Company and Whisky Samba Bar and Grill, said termed it a progressive move. “It shows that government looks at food and restaurants as the DNA and fabric of the city. This move will pull people from nearby areas to visit Gurugram and enjoy themselves in a protective environment. Giving the signal that 24x7 is possible allows for infrastructure to be created so that consumers can enjoy entertainments in safe spaces,” he said.

Officials said no one can force any restaurant to shut as that will be deemed a violation of the regulations. All those willing to start their operations at night will have to register with the labour department and follow various terms and conditions under the amended Section 9 and 10 of the Punjab Shops and Commercial Establishments Act, 1958.

Chautala said any restaurant owner harassed by any government official or department should register a complaint via email on the MSME’s mail ID hepcharyana@gmail.com.

Some restaurant owners, however, felt that this was not a feasible plan as they will have to hire more staff and running expenses too will increase. “Women safety will be a challenge as we will have to provide women staff pick up or drop facility and will have to ensure that they are safe at work and while travelling to and from the restaurant. This may also increase street crime as they are always on the prowl for vulnerable targets,” said Arvind Kumar, a restaurant owner in Sector 15 Part 2.

Ramesh Pal, retired assistant commissioner of police, said the initiative will make policing more challenging for the understaffed force. “Such moves require more force and deployment on streets. The volume of traffic will increase and so will violations. More brawls would take place and hooligans will get a chance to roam around all night. From the business point of view, this is a good decision but in terms of safety, I feel it will create more trouble,” he said.

Kalpana Viswanath, co-founder of SafetiPin, an organisation that works to make cities safer for women, said 24/7 restaurants is an interesting move, but other infra will need to be enhanced for women safety. “A city becomes safer with good infrastructure, policing, and other factors. The decision is economically sound but for women to feel comfortable to be out at night, public spaces need to change. After all, how many people are able to walk through this city at the night,” she said.

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