Chandigarh: Many hotels and restaurants hit by the Supreme Court order disallowing running of bars and wine shops on the highways.
The worst-hit business is of those located on the Madhya Marg in Sectors 26 and 7 and on the national highway passing through Sectors 35 and 43. About half of the Sector 17 – that is the area closer to the Madhya Marg — also won’t be allowed to sell liquor.
“We have to respect the verdict of the Supreme Court. It will affect the industry, but there are positives, like women will feel safer at nights.”
The order came as a big blow to the hotel industry, as approximately 88 hotels situated on the National Highway 21 and the state highway Madhya Marg in the city were affected by the decision.
The outlets which were worst hit are situated in Sectors 26, 7, 8, 9, 35, 43 and some parts of the Industrial Area.
While Sector 35 had been a popular place for restaurants, clubs, party-zones and other eateries for over three decades, Sector 26 had emerged as one of the popular destinations for high-end restaurants, night clubs, pubs and other eating joints. Night clubs, discoquothes, microbreweries and other joints were a hot favourite among youngsters in Sector 26.
Some of the owners of the outlets said their business had been ruined overnight as they invested crores of rupees in renovating the bars and hiring several people.
Inner markets of sectors are likely to be out of the barred zone, hence permitted to sell liquor.
CITCO-run hotels — the Mountview and the Shivalikview — and others such as The Lalit, Hyatt Regency, Aroma and the Piccadily in Sector 22 are among the prominent ‘survivors’. The Chandigarh Club, Chandigarh Golf Club and Lake Club will also be allowed to sell liquor.
Official sources said the administration won’t have to do much paper work to ensure compliance of the SC orders, as the licences to sell liquor expire on March 31, anyway. These have to be renewed on April 1. So, those falling within the barred zone won’t be issued new licences.
“Action will be taken against anyone found selling liquor illegally,” said UT home secretary-cum-excise and taxation secretary Anurag Agarwal.
The industry will be hit and commercial interests of some people will be hurt. These are the orders of the SC and we have to ensure compliance,” he said.
The owners of affected outlets are shocked. They believe their business will be severely hit as they won’t be allowed to sell booze. “Very few people especially youngsters will come if we don’t serve drinks,” said a restaurateur.
“We have to respect the verdict of the Supreme Court. It will affect the industry, but there are positives, like women will feel safer at nights,” says Sanjay Makroo, general manager, The Taj Hotel, Sector 17, Chandigarh.
Initially, the whole of city was affected by the SC verdict as all major roads were called ‘state highways’. However, the administration changed their name to district roads. So, many of those selling liquor were able to wriggle out of the debarred zone, after the Punjab and Haryana HC upheld the administration’s move.
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