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Cops hit mute button on Orchestra Bars

Monday, June 19, 2017
By Suresh Golani

To overcome the financial consequences that ensued the blanket ban imposed by the Supreme Court on liquor vendors within 500 meters of the state and national highways across the country, orchestra bar owners in Mira Bhayandar received yet another setback on Saturday when the district police machinery pressed the mute button by slapping fresh notices mandating submission of their renewed performance licenses. Significantly a large number of orchestra bars in the twin city are running sans updated annual performance licenses that were needed to stage live music shows in their premises.

Tagged with a warning of strict action against defaulters, the circular issued by the concerned police stations in the Mira Road division contended that performance licenses were amongst the various clearances needed to establish and operate such institutions. Even as the cops claimed that they were following the due process of law to ensure there were no violations, bar owners however had continued to rely on the much hyped 'Ease of Doing Business' initiative for the hotel and hospitality industry launched by the state government in 2015.

As per the home department directive issued on December, 22, 2015, five permissions including -eating house registration certificate, swimming pool license, place of public entertainment license and a performance license were no longer required. Issued by the revenue department, performance licenses and their annual renewals before December 31 every year, however, continue to be one of the mandated permits needed to run an orchestra bar, this as per modifications incorporated in the new framework, making it obligatory for bar owners to procure an official nod, highly placed sources revealed.

"We are regularly paying all the taxes as levied by the government, but since the process of renewals and issuance of fresh licenses were nowhere in place, what were we supposed to do. However, if renewals are still in force we will seek time from the law enforcing agency so that we can comply to norms at the earliest,” said a bar owner from Kashimira. Meanwhile, a delegation of bar owners met the revenue department officials for a clarification on the issue on Saturday. Issuance of performance licenses and renewals are expected to resume from Monday.

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