With the recent incidents of rapes and underage drinking reported in and around malls on MG Road in Gurgaon,newly appointed Deputy Commissioner Shekhar Vidyarthi and Gurgaon Police Commissioner Alok Mittal met on Tuesday and decided to tighten the noose around pub owners to ensure the possible steps to curb unlawful incidents.
Mittal said: A team of officers in the administration and police will conduct thorough checking of all the pubs,bars and lounge in Gurgaon to ensure that neither hookah nor liquor is made available to the youth and send a monthly report to the Police Commissioner.
Pub and bar owners must install CCTV cameras in their premises so that it can be ascertained that they were not selling liquor to youth under 25 years of age. Food courts and restaurants will also be issued these notices, Mittal said.
Section 29 of Punjab Excise Act 1914 prohibits sale of liquor to persons under the age of 25 years and Section 62 of the Act provides penal provisions for violation
Deputy Commissioner,Shekhar Vidyarthi said: No pub or bar will remain open after midnight and instructions to this have been issued to the concerned owners. Surprise checks in pubs and bars by an inspection team of senior police officers will also be carried out from now on. Orders under Section 144 of CrPC for the same and the violators can be booked under Section 188 of IPC besides imposing of fines. Prohibitory orders under Section 144 CrPC banning running of hookah bars in Gurgaon were already in force.
This decision has sparked off a debate in Gurgaon again on setting a minimum age for consuming alcohol. While some residents in Gurgaon say its a good move,others think the initiative will fizzle out gradually.
Pragya Kothari,a Development Economist,told Newsline that signages have always been put up in all pubs and bars,clearly stating that liquor will not be served to those under the age of 25 years and these norms have been flouted regularly.
For five years you dont keep a check on underage drinking and suddenly the administration issues a notice reminding everyone that this is illegal and now penalties will be imposed on those who flout the norms,this policy would stand for long. Also,questions have been raised on the age of drinking? This issue is debatable. Although one must follow the law,but the law must be followed up too,not because of a one-off incident,there must be some consistency. One must address this issue on a public platform, Kothari said.
Shantanu,an MNC executive,said: I dont drink and it is a step in the right direction provided it is followed up.