11:13 AM IST - Friday July 11, 2014

Free-drink culture is out in Chandigarh

Chandigarh, Sep 16 Complimentary drinks for women, buy one-get one offers and other freebies in Chandigarh’s drinking circle could be a thing of the past with the city’s administration to issue an advisory to bars, hotels, restaurants, night-clubs and discotheques to refrain from such practices.

The move by the Chandigarh administration’s excise and taxation department to issue the advisory follows recent complaints and incidents that free drinks were being offered by such places to lure customers. Promos on social networking websites and in local publications here in recent months have been trying to attract customers, especially women, with offers of free drinks.

At some of these outlets, special days have been reserved for a ‘ladies night’ with free drinks on offer.

“The offer of free drinks for women is an attractive one. When the ladies come, men will follow. This gives us good business,” the in-charge of a leading eatery-cum-bar in Sector 17 told IANS.

A recent party by a leading international beer brand at the city’s Lake Club premises got really ‘high and wild’ after a few boys and girls unauthorisedly jumped into the club’s pool and created a ruckus.

The administration has started taking the complaints of free drinks’ offers rather seriously. At the Lake Club party too, the beer company was offering free drinks far in excess of what it was allowed to. The city’s excise and taxation department, following this embarrassing incident, carried out a survey of the complimentary and buy one-get one offers being offered by establishments here, particularly to women.

“The survey revealed that such offers were being made regularly, especially to women. This is a violation of the Excise Act. We are issuing an advisory to these establishments that this could invite action under the law in future,” a senior excise and taxation officer said.

“We don’t want to do moral policing but people should not violate the law,” the officer added.

But the city’s party-goers say that the move is unwarranted.

“The government babus are only out to spoil the fun that the city’s social life is offering. One incident should not be used to put curbs on social life,” Aman Sekhon, a university student, told IANS.

“Those who have to create a ruckus will do it anyway even if the drinks are not free,” Simran Ahluwalia, a student of a girls’ college, said.

Chandigarh’s excise rules do not allow the establishments to serve alcohol 24×7. They can serve it till midnight on weekdays and till 1 a.m. on weekends.

“Some restriction has to be enforced. The bars and other joints cannot be allowed to have a free run. The free drinks culture should, however, not be encouraged,” Amit Soni, a businessman, said.

ians

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