Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Bidari’s double standards

Bidari’s double standards
The police commissioner said ‘no’ to 2 am deadlines for star hotels. But illegal live bands are flourishing and they go well beyond the official 11.30 pm deadline

Just a fortnight ago, Police Commissioner Shankar Bidari and Home Minister V S Acharya shot down a proposal from Excise Minister Renukacharya on extending the deadline for serving alcohol at star hotels in the city beyond 11.30 pm to 2 am. The excise minister’s intention was to rev up the city’s night life and make it more tourist friendly. Bidari and Acharya, on their part, cited law and order problems.
Strange then that live bands, which are illegal in Bangalore, are thriving and they go far beyond the 11.30 pm deadline. On Sunday, Bangalore Mirror decided to do a reality check.
Acting on a tip-off, we went to Coastal Pavilion Bar off 80 Feet Road in Koramangala. Going by the signboard outside, the place is a ‘family restaurant and pub’. Inside it’s a different story.
On the first floor there is a restaurant but on the second floor, we found a live band. About 20 skimpily clad girls were gyrating to Bollywood numbers even as the fairly sozzled customers showered them with currency notes.
We pretended to be customers and were welcomed by the doorman with a knowing handshake. We soon got into the spirit of things and brandished a few big denomination notes. This had many of the girls orbiting our table. Some of the middle-aged men on the other tables weren’t amused. They raised the bid, so to speak, and soon the tempo really picked up. Money was changing hands from customers to girls and so too scraps of paper, presumably the phone numbers of these men.
There was a considerable number of young men too. We tried chatting up a few and they said they frequented live bands across the city on weekends. “In Majestic, around Brigade Road, J C Road, Town Hall, Outer Ring Road, there are numerous live bands. In Ashoknagar there are about 11 live bands, more than 40 in Majestic area and if we go to the outskirts of the city, there are lots of them,” one youngster told us. A waiter confirmed this. “All this talk of 11.30 pm closing time is humbug,” he added.
DCP (South East) B N S Reddy said he was unaware of any live bands functioning in the city but thanked Bangalore Mirror for bringing it to his attention. “I have no mercy for inspectors who allow live bands to function in their jurisdiction. It’s a shame. I will call Assistant Commissioner of Police Guled S Y and I will stop the live band in Koramangala from operating,” he said.


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