Mumbai has its repertoire of New Year horror stories. The mob molestation of a woman at the Gateway of India in 2007 and that of two others outside the JW Marriott, Juhu the following year are enough to chill anyone’s bones.
Incidents like these and the beyond-brutal gang rape of a 23-year-old in Delhi has spurred hoteliers in city to adhere to something called the Safe and Honourable Code of Conduct, to ensure a safe environment for women at year-end dos.
The code is part of an undertaking the tourism department made the hoteliers sign earlier this year. It obliges them to provide safety to women and children and make it their top priority, specially during New Year’s parties.
Hoteliers say they would like to implement the code this New Year’s Eve.
“We have taken a pledge that safety of women and kids will be our priority. New Year’s Eve will likely be the first practical day when the undertaking signed by most hoteliers will be followed,” said Kamlesh Barot, former president, Hotel and Restaurant Association, Western India.
Barot said special teams have been formed to ensure that decorum is maintained on the establishment’s premises. “These teams are accountable for looking after the safety of female tourists coming to our hotel, whether on their own or in groups. When big events for New Year take place, security of the guests is at peak; it is our priority."
A hotelier from Andheri echoed Barot’s sentiments. “Cops have asked us to make sure we have details of all the guests attending the New Year party. We need to check their identity proofs as well. We won’t let anybody enter our party area without an ID proof.”
The central government has made it mandatory for all hotels to sign the undertaking, requesting them to follow the code.
A tourism official said, “Rape cases are mushrooming in India and we are very cautious about the safety of females. The undertaking is a must for all hotels, or they won't get their rating that classifies them as a star hotel. Right from 1-star to 5-star properties, everyone must follow this while going through the classification process.”