The police have cancelled licences of 52 orchestra bars in Thane for flouting fire safety norms following a report sent by the Thane Chief Fire Officer about their non-compliance. Secret compartments that these bars use to hide girls during police raids have also come under the scanner of Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC), which has deemed these as illegal modifications and started demolishing them late last month.
During police raids in these bars in the past, girls were found to be dancing or behaving indecently with the customers. Secret cavities built into walls to hide girls were also found. There have been instances of bar girls fainting due to lack of air after being confined in these narrow cavities.
During a drive that began in July this year, the Thane Fire Brigade found that none of these bars had submitted to it certificates detailing their fire safety measures. “Submitting the certificate is mandatory every six months and failure to do so amounts to non-compliance. We also discovered that the cavities built in the bars were a definite hazard in case of a fire. We then sent reports to the Thane police recommending that licences of all the 52 bars be cancelled,” said Thane Chief Fire Officer Arvind Mankhe.
Joint Commissioner of Police (Thane) V V Lakshminarayan, who is the designated licensing authority, said, “I started cancelling licences of orchestra bars starting July 27 this year. While licenses of 36 bars were cancelled last month, I signed the order cancelling the licences of the last 16 bars on Monday,” he said.
Meanwhile, the TMC has also started demolishing these bars. “We have demolished 12 to 13 bars so far and will raze more of them. In some cases, we have only demolished the secret cavities,” said Thane Municipal Commissioner Aseem Gupta.