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Dry weekend as pubs, bars on Gurugram’s MG Road to stay shut after club owners demand fresh guidelines

On Tuesday night, seven people, including two nightclub owners, were arrested from MG Road on charges of immoral trafficking.

gurgaon Updated: Jul 06, 2018 13:27 IST
Leena Dhankhar
Leena Dhankhar
Hindustan Times, Gurugram
Gurugram,MG Road Gurugram,Sahara Mall Gurugram
Police check pubs and bars in Sahara Mall on Gurugram’s MG Road after they arrested one of the club owners for immoral trafficking on July 3, 2018. (Yogendra Kumar/HT PHOTO)

It’s likely to be a dry weekend on MG Road as the owners of pubs and bars on this stretch, a clubbing hotspot, have decided to keep their premises closed till the police issue detailed guidelines for operating their establishments. Club owners on MG road alleged that repeated raids by the police over the last few days have led to harassment and problems for them and their guests.

As per the excise records, there are 18 clubs and restaurants on the 2-km stretch, including six night clubs in Sahara Mall and three at MGF Metropolitan Mall.

One of the club owners, representing the 18 clubs, met police commissioner K K Rao on Thursday to discuss the matter. “No illegal activities will be allowed in any club or restaurant across the city. We have tightened the noose on MG Road, as the residents have complained about obscene activities at shopping malls. The families say they find it difficult to even cross the stretch at nights due to the rowdy crowd visiting these malls,” Rao said.

On Tuesday night, seven people, including two nightclub owners, were arrested from MG Road on charges of immoral trafficking. Four teams of police personnel had raided the two nightclubs after receiving a tip-off.

“We are going to keep our shutters down for at least one week so that it becomes clear as to what the police expects from us. We will be meeting excise officials on Friday to ask them to find a solution. New guidelines are needed because we are already following the rules and regulations as per the excise policy and are still harassed by the police. We will follow the new guidelines issued by the police,” said another club owner at Sahara Mall. None of the club owners wanted to be named.

The police, meanwhile, said that they will not allow any illegal activity in the club, especially immoral trafficking, which has tarnished the reputation of MG Road. “No fresh guidelines are being issued. The club owners have to follow simple rules which are already in place. No criminal activity, violation of timings and immoral activity would be allowed in clubs on MG road or any other area,” Rao said.

While an operator has to be pay Rs 20 lakh annually as the licence fee to run a pub or a club, another Rs 10 lakh per month has to be paid for an hour’s extension to the scheduled closing hour. The scheduled closing hour for all watering holes in the city is 12am. There are 205 pub/bars across the city, of which 32 have applied for additional one-hour operations, excise officials said.

“We have invested crores of rupees to set up clubs, but the police are now treating us unfairly. They have to understand that our establishments are legal and we are not committing any crime. The excise department has given us licences and permission to operate. If such harassment continues, we will be forced to stop our business,” said one of the club owners, who was arrested on Tuesday night and was released on bail on Wednesday.

The club owners said there are over 1,500 persons employed by pubs and bars on MG road and their livelihood is at risk. “What wrong have we done by setting up clubs? There are similar clubs in other areas of Gurugram, but they are not raided. The police need to fair and more balanced in their approach,” said another club owner.

First Published: Jul 06, 2018 13:27 IST