Delhi hotels, bars take high dry way

NEW DELHI: More than 100 hotels and bars, including 10 five-star hotels, on six national highways connecting the National Capital have stopped serving liquor following the Supreme Court order banning sale of liquor in outlets located within 500 metres of highways, which came into force across the country on Saturday

Hotels such as Leela Kempinski, Radisson, Le Meridien, Crown Plaza etc along the highway in Gurgaon are among the affected properties.
Also hit are some of the hotels built in Aerocity area at the Indira Gandhi International Airport.

While the hotel industry claims that the ban order will affect tourism and jobs, anti-liquor activists are happy that it will save lives. “We are very happy as the order will save thousands of lives.

Every year, almost 1,50,000 people die in road accidents, of which 70,000 deaths are occurring on highways, mainly because of drunken driving. Now, the fatality figures will definitely come down,” social activist Prince Singhal, who leads a campaign Against Drunk Driving told The Sunday Standard.

Hospitality industry sources say national highways like NH-8 and Delhi-Jaipur highway will be most affected as 60 per cent of hotels and bars are situated there. More than 35 pubs and bars situated in DLF Cyber Hub in Gurgaon are fearing major financial losses as they say they have invested heavily in those outlets.

Beer Café CEO Rahul Singh, Honorary Secretary for the NRAI (National Restaurant Association of India), welcomed the Supreme Court decision, but claimed that the closure will affect the hotel and tourism industries.

“It is a Supreme Court order and we honour it and there is nothing wrong with it. Drunk driving is illegal and it should be tackled with strong deterrents. There are many countries where you can’t simply drink and drive, because the law is so strict there. But, here the law is not so strict. In India cities live on highways and vends on highways should be shut. But it the issue should be handled in such a way that it will not affect tourism and the hotel industry, as both are major providers of employment,