State excise cracks whip on 23 illegal rooftop pubs & bars in Pune

ByNadeem Inamdar
Sep 29, 2022 11:04 PM IST

Action has been taken against prominent rooftop pubs and bars located in Mohammadwadi, Kalyaninagar, Yerawada, Koregaon park, Baner, Pashan, Kothrud, Kharadi

Continuing with its crackdown on illegal pubs and bars operating from rooftops, the state excise department raided 23 such establishments for violating various licence-related guidelines of the police department. The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) Thursday pulled down the rooftop bars’ illegal encroachments spanning nearly 20,000 square feet in the Balewadi high street area, and issued notices to 12 pubs and restaurants for carrying out illegal constructions.

A rooftop restaurant at NIBM Road, Kondhwa. (Rahul Raut/HT PHOTO)
A rooftop restaurant at NIBM Road, Kondhwa. (Rahul Raut/HT PHOTO)

State excise officials said that these pubs and bars have already been searched by flying squads of the department, and warned about the violations committed by them via written correspondence addressed to their management. As per the state excise department, action has been taken against these establishments over a period of one month, and a proposal to fine them has been sent to the district collector for his consent.

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Pune state excise department chief, C B Rajput, said, “Action was taken against 23 such establishments that are pubs and bars during the past one month after they were found to be violating licensing guidelines. We have sent a proposal to fine the violators to the district collector and a decision on the same is expected soon.”

Pune municipal commissioner Vikram Kumar in his order stated that action must be taken on a priority basis against illegal structures at the front and on the sides as well as the rooftops of buildings, with special focus on rooftop pubs and bars. Action has been taken against prominent rooftop pubs and bars located in Mohammadwadi, Kalyani nagar, Yerawada, Koregaon park, Baner, Pashan, Kothrud, Kharadi and other upscale localities in the city.

These rooftop pubs and bars have become a major nuisance for residents of several localities in Pune, and there are a series of complaints about them. Several citizens’ forums have complained about the complete lack of police action against illegal rooftop bars that operate well beyond midnight, with blaring music disturbing the peace in the area. The citizens’ forums have alleged that these pubs and bars operate late into the night, which is conveniently ignored by the police for reasons best known to them.

Kalyani nagar resident Sanjeev Sabharwal said “We are witnessing a dangerous scenario at night where the police have given full permission to pubs and bars to operate beyond the stipulated deadline, and disturb the sleep of the residents. Policing is completely absent as hooliganism continues late into the night. It is time that these illegal rooftop pubs are controlled lest they become dens of multiple criminal activities, with the police ignoring violations with impunity.”

Kothrud activist Vaishali Patkar said, “We demand permanent action against these illegal establishments operating beyond midnight which are a major nuisance to residents in the area. We want continuous police action, along with a crackdown by the state excise department to ensure that the suburbs are freed of these hooligans disturbing the peace of residents at night. Many senior citizens and children are disturbed due to these pubs operating in residential areas.”

However, Manoj Kumar, a manager at a prominent pub in Baner, said, “The government has set a deadline of 1 am and there is no violation of the law. The rooftop restaurants are being unfairly targeted as a number of on-ground restaurants have been found to violate the laws to a much greater extent.”

More than 75 such properties are under the scanner of the building permission department for violation of the Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning (MR&TP) Act, 1966, and Bombay Provincial Municipal Corporation (BPMC) Act, 1949. The PMC has decided to recover thrice the amount of property tax from owners of rooftop hotels found carrying out unauthorised constructions and commercially using parking space.

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