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Delhi Wine Club

Posted: Saturday, 19 June 2010 12:16

Bangalore Divided on Pub Timings Issue

The recent public spat between Karnataka Home Minister and the Minister of Excise around the extension of pub hours at night in Bangalore for an additional two hours and a half, is yet another example of the divided house within the government and an example of the problems faced in states, as also the independence of states in taking decisions regarding alcohol.

‘Party goers in Bangalore can now enjoy their drinks at pubs and bars till 2 am. Closure timings of all bars and restaurants have been extended from the present 11.30 pm to 2 am,’ according to a statement by Minister for Excise M P Renukacharya while addressing the media on Tuesday, 8th June.

After making the preliminary announcement on May 16, he had justified the extension of timings for hotels, bars and restaurants keeping the comforts of tourists as the main reason though the increase in revenue this fiscal year would be an added incentive

‘Nothing doing’; counters Karnataka Home Minister V S Acharya on Monday 14th June, publicly dismissing the excise minister’s proposal.

Renukacharya had said on June 8th that he had already discussed the issue with Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa. A non-committal Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa says the cabinet committee will take a decision in due course after seeking  the opinion of the home and tourism ministries.

It appears that due to the law and order problem the extension might create, the Chief Minister has finally given in to the Home Minister and said that the city will have to stop having fun-at least the pub-kind, after 11:30 pm. The maximum he appears willing to give in is to allow the extension for the pubs and bars in the 5-star hotels. This would be considered patently unfair and possibly illegal, thus dividing the populace.

 The Home Minister is willing to concede the request of five-star hotels as they claim that some flights come late.  He claims that by making the hotels have the residents stay within the closed gates the problem would be sorted out.

Bangalore is still known as the pub city of India as it was the first to introduce the pub culture in the city and made it an envy of other cities. According to many old residents from that era of about 20 years ago, the bars used to close at around 1 am and they don’t remember any problems that could be termed unmanageable law and order issues


While the police claims the extension would increase law and order problem, they do not seem to have emphasized the possibility of increased accidents due to DUI  (Driving Under Influence). Incidentally, there has been drunken driving review of the drink-drive limit in the UK recently. The police want the alcohol limits by 50% - from the current .08% to 0.4% to bring it in line with the rest of EU.

Some residents believe that extended hours would mean higher incidents of DUI while others think the opposite. People finishing their work now go to the bar for a quick drink and have 2-3 in a very short time as the bar closing hour approaches fast. Interestingly, in an otherwise conservative Delhi, licenses can be obtained at extra cost for later hour operations.

The accidents can be controlled by making the driving violations due to drunk driving a cognizable offence leading to arrest-like in many countries where the concept of designated driver is a normal practice. The extra funds generated by the excise ought to be shared with the police for providing the extra surveillance on the road. Surely, the Home and Excise can come to an amicable agreement, which according to many people might mean an immediate compromise- to let them close at around 1 am, instead of 1130 or 2 am.

DelWine cautions the pub generation against drinking more than two drinks in an evening- preferably wine or beer. More than four is considered binge drinking and is positively harmful and ought to be avoided. And no matter what the law says on timings, please do not drive yourself after 2-3 drinks or in unavoidable circumstances, keep your driving speed limited to the lower side of around 40 kms and hour.


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