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Highway Alcohol Ban: Uncertain Future For Gurugram’s Bars

Come April 1, Gurugram's upscale DLF CyberHub along with other luxury restaurants might lose their liquor license. This is because many pubs in this popular hangout spot are within a radius of 500 metres of the national highway - NH8

Gurugram, once a small town on the outskirts of Delhi, now one of the country’s glitziest and fastest growing technology and financial hubs, attracting job seekers from all over the country. Here in the midst of skyscrapers and glass towers, is the sprawling CyberHub, a complex made up offices, restaurants, and pubs. Every day, hundreds of people head to CyberHub, from office goers looking for a quick drink or meal after work, or serious party-go are drawn to Gurugram’s nightlife.

However, one of CyberHub’s biggest USPs, its proximity to the highway, might soon turn into its biggest drawback along with other luxury restaurants located along the highway.

On December 15 last year, the Supreme Court ordered that from April 1, 2017, no alcohol should be sold on highways. This ruling is to be implemented across a 500-metre radius which means any establishment that is situated within 500 metres of a highway cannot sell alcohol.

At least 25 restaurants and pubs in CyberHub fall within this 500-metre radius and are now confused whether their liquor license will be renewed after March 31. While the wording of the Supreme Court ruling points to ‘alcohol vends,’ the Haryana government has gone on to clarify that the Supreme Court’s order also applies to pubs and bars which fall within this distance.

Currently, there is a lot of confusion about the scope of the Supreme Court’s order and many owners of pubs and bars in Gurugram’s CyberHub along with sector 29 restaurants have moved the apex court to seek a clarification and await clarity.

There is a lot of confusion related to the order; we are waiting for excise people to get back to us regarding the alcohol ban. A restaurant is the safest place for an individual to drink, we definitely welcome the move by the government but the restaurants should not be included in this ban. As when the individual will not get alcohol in the restaurants then they will start drinking in the cars. The problem of road accidents still remains the same, said Arvind Kumar, General Manager, The Wine Company.

The excise department has identified several five-star hotels and resorts, located along the express highway and has marked them under the red zone area. But it is yet to give a final clarification on whether the ban will affect restaurants and pubs or just liquor vends or shops.

Talking about the confusion related to the Supreme Court order, the Micro-brewery General Manager said, We are unaware of what is being done by the owners of the restaurant, we just know that the plea for clarification for the order has been filed in the Supreme Court by all the affected business owners. We have no choice but to wait for the excise department to get back to us regarding the details. Once they will make it clear we will do the further planning.

Another official from Circus Café added, “For now, there is no action or planning being done for April 1. We are just waiting for the excise department to get back to us. Once they tell us what to do, we will take things forward.”

Reacting to the apex court directive, a DLF spokesperson added, We respect the order of the honorable Supreme Court. It is a matter which concerns few of our valued tenant partners and they are addressing it with the concerned authorities. Once we have the details about what should be done, we will follow the guidelines.

When contacted, the Excise Department told NDTV that they were still waiting for further clarification from the Supreme Court itself, and were currently auditing the number of bars and restaurants that could be potentially hit by this order.

Once the excise department clarifies the order, it will apply to many restaurants in Gurugram and will include 25 bars in CyberHub. Till then future of this popular Friday night party place is in dark.

Also Read: Bihar To Form World’s Longest Human Chain In Support Of Liquor Ban

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