Controversy broke out Friday as New Delhi Municipal Council inaugurated, on trial basis, an open air cafe in Connaught Place. The cafe, in Palika Bazar, was planned three years ago.
Restaurant owners objected to the move, saying it robbed them of a level playing field as the body had closed down all open-air rooftop restaurants earlier this year. NDMC officials, however, said that the new cafe is not on a rooftop.
Six of the 25 bars and restaurants in CP, whose rooftops were sealed by NDMC in February, belong to Delhi-based Priyank Sukhija. “I had to fire 100 people from my venues. NDMC told us it is illegal because they don’t have an outdoor dining policy. But now they have opened Cafe NDMC, which is open air,” said Sukhija, who runs Cafe Warehouse, Cafe Open House, Southall Cafe, Tamasha, Lord of the Drinks and Teddy Boy in CP.
Riyaaz Amlani, president of the National Restaurant Association of India, said, “One hopes similar changes in policy will apply to other restaurants and bars.”