New Delhi, April 11
A string of pubs and restaurants in Gurgaon’s upscale DLF CyberHub are likely to dodge a highway liquor ban because of an underpass that opened the day the Supreme Court order came into force.
City authorities started measuring the distance between the establishments and the highway on Tuesday morning, and sources said the underpass pushed the length of the route beyond the court-stipulated limit of 500 metres. “The measurement was around 1,900 meters from the highway at Cyber Hub,” said Ashwini Choudhary director, Soi 7 Group.
According to the Supreme Court, no shop, restaurant or establishment can sell or serve alcohol within 500 metres of any national or state highways.
“We were already safe. The department has not involved any pub/bar owner during the measurement process but they have fairly done their job. There has been huge loss in sales, revenue so now we should get back to work,” added Choudhary.
A team – including officials from district administration, excise department, National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), Public Works Department (PWD), and the police – started measuring the distance of the establishments at 7.30 am on Tuesday with a measuring wheel.
“Physical route measurement of Cyber Hub on Tuesday was conducted on a route which is as per Huda approved master plan of the area” said HC Dahiya, deputy excise and taxation commissioner (west).
The west wing of the excise department measured distance of 46 establishments including 35 in Cyber Hub, and five in Ambience Mall. Measurement of The Leela, The Oberoi, Trident, Country Inn and Suites, Crowne Plaza, and West Inn hotels was also conducted. The report will be submitted on Wednesday to the deputy commissioner.
The order came into effect on April 1 and 115 pubs were restricted from serving alcohol, shaving off crores of rupees in state revenue.
A day after the ban, many establishments tinkered with their entrance and exit points to increase the “motorable distance” – the route one takes to reach a facility by road and not the straight line shortest figure – beyond the 500 metre mark. The underpass that is likely to save Cyber Hub’s pubs was also opened on April 1.
Even the erstwhile entrance of CyberHub – which was less than 500 metres away from national highway 8 when measured in a straight line — was shifted to the Belvedere Towers side on April 3, which is about 2 km from the highway.
However on April 5, excise officials said diverting or changing the entry and exit would not provide any relief to the pub or bar owners. The department said it would follow the master plan and any modification to was to be considered a violation.
This might have come as a boon to pub owners. Officials said the earlier entrance of CyberHub – which would have shut the bars if considered — was built through a makeshift shortcut in violation of the master plan, and the
underpass was a part of the planning document.
New Delhi, April 11