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Gurgaon: 27 pubs, mostly on Sohna Road, to reopen within week

The excise department will issue a circular on Monday directing the deputy excise and taxation commissioner’s (DETC) to renew the licences of establishments that are within 500 metres of the municipal limits.

gurgaon Updated: Aug 25, 2017 21:47 IST
Leena Dhankhar
Leena Dhankhar
Hindustan Times
Sohna Road,Supreme court liquor ban,Gurugram
With the latest move, 27 pubs/bars on Sohna Road, including in Star Mall, Star Tower and Bilaspur, will be back in business as they are in sectors. (Sanjeev Verma/HT PHOTO)

Twenty seven pubs and bars that were forced to shut after the Supreme Court banned liquor sale within 500 metres of national and state highways, got relief on Wednesday as the SC clarified that the order did not prohibit licensed establishments within municipal limits.

The excise department will issue a circular on Monday directing the deputy excise and taxation commissioner’s (DETC) to renew the licences of establishments that are within 500 metres of the municipal limits.

“The ambiguity that persisted since April 1 has been resolved and we can renew the licences of our establishments within the municipal limits. The clarification has come as an early Diwali for the hospitality sector and we thank the honourable bench for restoring lost jobs, tourism and revenues. Justice has certainly been delayed, but not denied,” said Rahul Singh, Haryana chapter head, National Restaurant Association of India.

With the latest move, 27 pubs/bars on Sohna Road, including in Star Mall, Star Tower and Bilaspur, will be back in business as they are in sectors. However, officials will not renew of two establishments that fall under gram panchayat area as the SC order does not exempt these.

Baljeet Rathee, director of Ninkasi Brewery, Sector 30, said, “We have informed our employees to return to work next week. We will call them once we receive the information from the excise department. We have suffered huge losses in these five months.”

The licence holders had already paid the renewal fees and were hopeful of a positive decision, said the pub owners.

“We were closed since April but were paying the rent for the premises. We are expecting some relief and are happy that finally, we will be back in business, though have suffered huge losses,” said Debjeet Banerjee, director of Lagom Kitchen and Brewery, Sohna Road.

The excise department will take an opinion from the Attorney General before giving a clean chit to the pub owners, a senior excise department official said.

Many outlets had even surrendered their licences and several had not even applied for renewal.

“We have seen a copy of the order and have asked our department for the next step. We will renew licences once we receive the order from our department, which is expected within the week,” said HC Dahiya, deputy excise taxation commissioner (west).

At present, the department could issue licences to only 257 pubs, bars and restaurants, and had suffered a revenue hit.

The Supreme Court had banned the serving/sale of liquor within 500 metres of national and state highways in a bid to reduce the high fatality rate in road accidents and the menace of drink driving was brought to the court’s notice.

First Published: Aug 25, 2017 21:47 IST