Revelry and rules
The New Year is round the corner and restaurant owners and hoteliers are all set to entertain their patrons with late night events
At the same time, the Restaurant and Hoteliers Association in the city claims that rules, whether from the police or the entrainment duty department, are becoming so stringent that since last year the number of New Year parties has drastically gone down. MiD DAY tries to find out exactly what problems the hoteliers and police face.
Ganesh Shetty (president, Pune Restaurant and Hoteliers Association): The GR of the state government published in 2010 does not mention charging fees from restaurants that serve liquor and play music. The duty is for restaurants that have permit room or beer bar with live orchestra. Still, many restaurants which play background music while also serving liquor come under the category of ‘pub’ and their owners receive notices from the ED department to immediately pay the heavy duty. Currently, 200 hoteliers have received the notice for paying entertainment duty.
Sanjeet Lamba (owner, 1000 Oaks): In a meeting with the hoteliers association of Mumbai we kept this issue and the hoteliers over there told us that they don’t have to pay such duties for playing music while serving liquor. Then why only Pune hoteliers are targeted by ED department? The charges of this duty are Rs 50,000, which is very heavy and it has compelled many hoteliers to open their hotels illegally.
Kishor Sarpotdar (owner of Poona Guest House and secretary of Pune Restaurant and Hoteliers Association): Many hotels in the city were built 30-40 years back, when separate parking was not compulsory. Since a few years ago, after the city police made it compulsory to have separate parking, it has almost become impossible for the hoteliers to make space for the parking.
Ganesh Shetty: If any hotelier has a place of 200 square metres then he has to keep a space of 210 square metres empty for parking. I wonder why the rule is only for hoteliers when malls and jewellery shops also receive crowds. The hoteliers can’t even use common parking of the building where the hotel exists. These laws are very strict, which results in our losing customers.
Manoj Patil (Deputy Commissioner of Police, Zone IV): The police want that everyone should enjoy and celebrate the New Year. But the police want that everyone, including Puneites and the hoteliers, should follow the rules that are being made for the security of the people. The event organiser should first take the permission of the police before arranging any event. Generally, it has been observed that the event organiser first publishes the advertisement and sells the tickets and then at the last moment approached the police for the permission of the event. A separate permission from the Union Home Ministry is also necessary if artists from foreign countries are going to perform in the city. I would also appeal to Puneites and hoteliers to follow the deadlines for the celebration. Police security will not be provided to the hotel and the hotelier should make arrangements for private security. At the same time, private security guards have no right to be aggressive and hurt anyone unless it is in self-defence or to protect someone from getting hurt. The police can interfere any time if the situation in a hotel takes a turn for the worse. This year we are not making it compulsory to install CCTV cameras, but from next year it will be compulsory.
Ganesh Shetty: I agree that event organisers approach the police at the last moment. We keep telling them to take permissions in time. Almost all hoteliers have installed CCTVs, not only in the hotels but also on the (entire) hotel premises.