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WITH the impending reopening of dance bars remaining a sensitive issue, the state government despatched a senior official, Principal Secretary (Appeals and Security) Dr Vijay Satbir Singh, to four dance bars in the city on Tuesday and Wednesday to check if norms and guidelines were being followed.
The IAS officer, along with DCP Headquarters 1 — the police licensing authority — and three others, including the senior inspector of the local police station, visited four bars to check if they were abiding by the 26 conditions put forth by the state government. The four bars have been given temporary licenses by the state government to function as dance bars.
According to the bar owners, Singh visited Tardeo’s Indiana bar on Tuesday evening around 6.30 pm. Bharat Thakur, the owner, said Singh visited the bar accompanied by DCP Pradip Sawant, the senior police inspector of the local police station, and two others. “Keeping etiquette in mind, we switched off the music that was playing when he arrived,” Thakur said.
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Singh had several questions regarding the guidelines. “He asked what happens if the lights go off in the crowded dance bar. We told him we have charged batteries and inverters in place to take care of such a situation. He also had queries about why ‘no smoking’ signs had not been put up at several places. We assured him that we will put up the signs at the spots he pointed out,” Thakur told The Indian Express.
On Wednesday, the bureaucrat visited the Uma Palace bar in Mulund followed by Padma Palace in Bhandup. “At Uma Palace, Singh seemed unhappy with the fire exits in the kitchen and did not seem convinced that there were adequate measures in place in case of an emergency,” a source said. The source added that Singh was also not too happy with the positioning of the CCTV cameras.
Meanwhile, for bar owners given licenses, there are two more conditions they have been asked to comply with before they can start operating the dance bars. These conditions include getting character certificates for their employees and a Rangbhoomi license that states that songs played in the bar do not have lyrics that may hurt any sentiments.
“So far, we have not made any specific preparation for the dance bars and have just extended the stage that was used for orchestra players. We are skeptical in spending money before we get the final two permissions as well. Only once we get a green signal to start the bars will we spend money to spruce things up,” a bar owner said. So far, most bar owners have changed the seating arrangement in such a way that they have a view of the stage. In addition to this, they have put iron railings around the stage and installed CCTV cameras, keeping in mind the conditions laid down by the state government.
In spite of repeated attempts, Dr Vijay Satbir Singh could not be contacted for comment.