Everyone in the city seems to want Bangalore nightlife to be extended, but just that it means different things to different people. During ‘The 11 pm debate: Too early or too late?’ held on Thursday, almost everyone—including a minister and an MLA—demanded that eateries and restaurants be allowed to remain open till 1 am. But wait, no mention of bars and pubs being open till late hours, as that would mean amendment to excise laws.
So, if you are looking for the nightlife being extended on the lines of Mumbai, there’s no hope as of now. You may eat out at night, but not have the nightlife.
For instance, this is what Shantinagar MLA NA Haris said: “Restaurants, eateries and coffee shops should be kept open till late night. There should also be proper transport facility throughout the day. But there is no need to extend the timing of liquor shops.”
The debate, organised by the Bangalore Political Action Committee, was attended by elected representatives, students, residents associations, freelance journalists, members of civil society, auto drivers, hotel owners, traders and city police commissioner Raghavendra H Auradkar.
Minister for higher education RV Deshpande said, “Most of the metros are open till late hours and are earning revenue. Since Bangalore is global city, tourism can be developed by giving people the freedom to enjoy their life.”
TV Mohandas Pai, chairman of Manipal Global Education, said, “We are paying tax for the entire day. There should be no restriction on the time for our enjoyment.”
During the debate, Azeez, a hotel owner, claimed that according to an order of the high court, the police commissioner has the authority to extend the timing of hotels, eateries and other establishments.
However, Auradkar again disappointed everyone saying, “I have all the desires to fulfill the demands, but I am answerable for every mistake. There is the question of safety and the need of transportation at night besides other issues. We have shortage of manpower in the department, because of which we cannot allow it.”
Responding to the debate, home minister KJ George said, “Since many departments are involved in taking the decision, there is a need to discuss with other ministers and the chief minister.
However, it was Lok Satta Party leader MS Mukunda who hit the nail on the head, driving home the most important point. “All this depends on the willingness of the politicians. By developing good infrastructure and extending nightlife, the government can generate more revenue. It needs political will to make the decision,” he said.