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State ties up dance bars in red tape

Four that have received licences from police cannot reopen until final clearance from government

mumbai Updated: Mar 17, 2016 01:26 IST
dance bars,licences,Supreme Court

Though the Mumbai police have issued licenses to four dance bars, they will not be able to reopen until they receive another clearance from the state government.

This will come only after the state receives a report from principal secretary (home) Dr Vijay Satbir Singh, who has visited each of the four dance bars to check whether they have complied with strict new regulations. Dance bar owners have accused the state government of putting up unnecessary hurdles in restarting their business.

KP Bakshi, additional chief secretary (home), told HT, “Singh has visited four bars in the past two days to check their compliance with the 26 norms. Final permission will be given only after he submits his report to the government. There are few other departments whose permissions are required.”

Though the Supreme Court has directed the state government to start issuing licenses to dance bars, the state is determined to regulate them tightly. The four licences were given out late on March 14, just in time to meet the March 15 deadline set by the Supreme Court to start issuing licences. The four bars that received licences are Indiana (Tardeo), Natraj (Vidyavihar), Padma Palace (Bhandup) and Uma Palace (Mulund).

Read more:Dancers welcome some conditions

Dance bar owners said the government’s strict rules and delays in issuing licences have brought an air of negativity. “It seems the state is not interested in letting us open dance bars. Of the 150 applicants, only four bars got licences. Even these four bars cannot begin operations as we have still not received a no-objection certificate from one department,” said Bharat Thakur, president of the Dance Bars Association. “Officers visit our premises and raise unnecessary objections,” he added.

Meanwhile, the home department has finalised the draft of the bill which will be discussed by an all-party committee appointed by the state government. The home department will incorporate the existing 26 norms and also propose additional conditions, ostensibly aimed at preventing exploitation of bar dancers. While ordering that dance bars be allowed to reopen, the Supreme Court had said the government could use its powers to prevent obscenity and vulgarity in them. The government has reportedly imposed certain conditions, such as maintaining a minimum distance between dancers and consumers.

First Published: Mar 17, 2016 01:07 IST