Eateries in Pune’s Hotspots Cry Foul Over Early Closures, Seek Resolution with Police

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Pune, 21st February 2024: Recent directives from the Police Commissioner regarding the strict implementation of regulations for city establishments have drawn sharp criticism from restaurateurs and hoteliers. Members of the United Hospitality Association (UHA) have expressed their discontent, particularly with the 1.30 am closure deadline for bars, citing instances of alleged police harassment in vibrant areas like Baner, Kalyaninagar, Vimannagar, Kothrud, Karvenagar, and FC Road.


According to UHA members, although the closure time for bars is officially set at 1.30 am, officers often instruct eateries in these areas to shut down as early as 11 pm. They also raised concerns about the lack of written orders specifying closing times for non-liquor serving restaurants.


A UHA representative stated, “We intend to request CP Amitesh Kumar to clarify closing timings for eateries that don’t serve liquor. There are over 10,000 family restaurants and hotels, along with more than 1,200 permit rooms under the Pune police commissionerate’s jurisdiction. While permit rooms and beer bars have clear operating hours from 11.30 am to 1.30 am, there are no circulars or guidelines specifying the hours for other establishments like restaurants, small hotels, snack centers, Chinese food eateries, and family restaurants or hotels without permit room or beer bar licenses.”


The lack of specific guidelines results in varying deadlines for non-alcohol serving establishments, causing financial losses for business owners. The association plans to urge CP Kumar to issue a circular clarifying the opening and closing times for such establishments.


Moreover, restaurant owners expressed concerns about the misinterpretation of the CP’s order banning sheesha (hookah), even in places authorized to offer herbal versions. They fear potential misuse of the order, leading to arbitrary shutdowns. The restaurateurs emphasized that the police should focus on taking action against illegal eateries operating without permission.


Another point of contention is the mandate requiring establishments to submit advance written intimation to the CP’s office for any professional performance within their premises. A member of the Pune Restaurants and Hoteliers Association (PRAHA) stated, “While we acknowledge the need for regulations, additional procedural requirements create unnecessary challenges for our businesses, contradicting the state government’s emphasis on ease of doing business.”


In response to these concerns, restaurateurs plan to meet with the CP, presenting a formal letter outlining their grievances. They also raised objections to the 15-minute grace period for vacating the establishment after 1 am, considering it too short and potentially inconvenient for customers.