Excise dept suspends licences of 49 pubs in Pune in 6 days - Hindustan Times

Excise dept suspends licences of 49 pubs in Pune in 6 days

ByBansri Shah
May 26, 2024 06:28 AM IST

The rigorous enforcement has sparked protests from the local hospitality industry.

While the Pune excise department has intensified its crackdown on illegal pubs and bars across the city after a minor killed two with speeding car at Kalyaninagar on Sunday, officials said the drive is part of regular exercise.

PMC action against Ice and Fire rooftop hotel at Baner. (HT PHOTO)
PMC action against Ice and Fire rooftop hotel at Baner. (HT PHOTO)

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“Between April and May 2024, before the fatal accident, the department investigated 108 such establishments and took action against 57,” said Charan Singh Rajput, superintendent, state excise department.

Since Sunday, 49 clubs had been shut down and another 10 were in the process of being closed, officials said. These are establishments from Pune, Pimpri-Chinchwad, and metropolitan areas of the district.

The rigorous enforcement has sparked protests from the local hospitality industry, which argues that the entire sector is being unfairly penalised for the infractions committed by a few establishments. The excise department officials said that they are targeting only those pubs and bars that violate regulations.

Also Read: Pune commissioner seeks monthly report of action taken against illegal pubs

“There are 1,300-1,400 such establishments in the city. We are shutting down only those who have gone against the rules. Rest are open for customers,” Rajput said on the complaints raised by the hospitality industry.

Besides deploying more staff at popular nightlife hubs, the excise department is probing establishments that have had several complaints lodged against it for creating nuisance.

The major violations committed by the establishments that were shut down include not adhering to the set operating hours, serving liquor beyond the designated permit room area, serving alcohol without a permit, serving alcohol to underage individuals, and failing to maintain proper records or registers, the officials said.

Also Read: Pune civic body demolishes two pubs following fatal Porsche accident

“Of the 49 pubs and bars closed by us, 16 had their licences suspended on Friday. We are not aiming to meet a ‘quota’ on how many clubs should be shut down, but acting against those not following rules,” Rajput said.

In 2023, the department investigated 297 establishments, recovered a fine of over 1 crore from places not following regulations, suspended 17 licences and permanently cancelled two licences, according to officials.

Nightlife plan hit

The shutting down of some clubs has affected the city’s nightlife, especially that of youngsters.

Ayush Sharma, 23, said, “I do visit some of these clubs regularly and agree that shutting them down does go against my plans. But I would rather be safe and ‘suffer’ at home than have such an accident happen again.”

“Since Pune is an education hub and there are many students here, I have seen that sometimes it is easy to go against the regulations. I think some kind of moderation on the part of authorities is necessary, especially in the context of drinking. I don’t think these actions are putting a damper on my plans,” said Khushi Bhuta, a student and resident of Shivajinagar.

A 17-year-old boy, son of a prominent builder, visited pubs Cosie restaurant and Hotel Blak Club before hitting luxury vehicle Porsche into a bike, killing two software engineers at Kalyaninagar early Sunday.

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