Mumbai hoteliers slam police excuse for 1.30 am deadline tomorrow

Your plans for that last night of revelry this year are in serious jeopardy yet again. Police Commissioner Satyapal Singh has issued a diktat to hotels, eateries and commercial establishments, asking them to down their shutters only an hour and a half into the New Year at 1.30 am, instead of the 5 am deadline that hoteliers had requested.

Explaining why he was going against a recent state government order that allowed establishments serving liquor to remain open till 5 am on the New Year eve, Singh had insisted that it ‘in the interest of residents and to ensure law and order.’ Hoteliers in the city, however, speculate that the decision was motivated more by the Mumbai police’s desire to give themselves a good New Year’s eve, without the extra hours on bandobast duty. However, hoteliers feel the early deadline will, in fact, necessitate heavier police presence on the roads all night.

Kamlesh Barot, member of Hotel and Restaurant Association of Western India has been taken to save patrolling hours of police. But the deadline will actually cause more problems for cops. For one, their patrolling hours will be the same, as closed hotels would mean people loiter on the streets and anybody could do anything on the roads.

Hoteliers feel the early deadline will, in fact, necessitate heavier police presence on the roads all night, as closed hotels would mean people loitering on the streets. File pics

The deadline will also deal a heavy blow to licence holders like us, who rake in revenue for the government by paying to the excise department. People being inside the four walls of restaurants and hotels would mean they are not out on the roads create a nuisance and cause trouble. Forget monetary losses, brand names of a lot of lounges and restaurants will also be affected, as many people have paid to party all night and this new order has shattered their plans.”

Niranjan Shetty, member and chairman of the Association of Hotels and Restaurants (MCGM), said, “This order is very upsetting. In fact, the police are not saving their duty hours, but increasing them people are still free to do what they want out on the roads, with the hotels being shut.

The police department has gone against the order of the government, causing heavy losses not just to us but also themselves. There will be house parties, which is sure to raise the number of complaints from residential areas. Instead, they should allow the hotels to run so that the parties take place within a stipulated area.”

The cops refused to explain themselves. The city’s commissioner Satyapal Singh did not respond to our phone calls. Sadanand Date, the joint commissioner of police (Law and Order), said, “You will have to talk to DCP (Headquarters-I) Sharda Raut since she is the in-charge of establishments. Raut refused to comment on the matter, saying, “I will reply on Monday.” Assistant Commissioner of Police Bhagwan Chate, in-charge of handling the media, said that he was out of town.

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