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In the wake of the Supreme Court order banning the sale of liquor within 500 metres of national and state highways, owners of restaurants and pubs in Gurgaon’s CyberHub area expressed concerns regarding the implications this could have on their sales and, consequently, “the livelihood of lakhs of people”. CyberHub, located in CyberCity, the “corporate hub” of Gurgaon, is home to 34 pubs and bars, all of which are left in the lurch following the order. The manager of a microbrewery in the area, who did not want to be named, expressed concern that the order could reduce the daily footfall at the outlet by “60 per cent”. “At a place like this, most people come for the alcohol and the ambience, not the food. If this order comes into effect permanently, we stand to lose 60 per cent of our business on a daily basis,” he said.
“We do not have clarity on the order and are yet to receive directions from the higher management,” he added. The manager of a restaurant in CyberHub also expressed similar concerns. “Places like liquor vends or thekas can still survive despite this order, because they can move to a new location. For restaurants like ours, that is not an easy option. Renting a new location and then altering it to suit our needs is not an easy or a cheap task,” he said.
Some officials were confused about the order, while others did not have any idea about it even late into the evening. “Lakhs of people will be left without income as a result of this order. It is a given that the crowd will reduce because people will go to new places to get liquor. As a result, a lot of the outlets will shut. People come from faraway places to work here and send money home. What will they do now?” the marketing manager of a bar asked.