Though it is illegal to operate rooftop pubs in the city, there are presently 33 such pubs in the neighbourhood, says a resident.

From noise levels to parking pubs continue to flout law in Bengalurus IndiranagarPTI photo/Representational image
news Civic Sunday, May 20, 2018 - 14:21

Indiranagar may be the go-to neighbourhood for Bengalureans looking to have a good time in the city, but the residents of the area seem to be paying a steep price for this.

Few neighbourhoods have borne the brunt of commercialisation like Indiranagar has. Once a quiet neighbourhood located away from the bustle of Bengaluru’s central business district, it has arguably superseded the latter when it comes to nightlife.

Over the last five years, Indiranagar has witnessed a steady increase in the number of pubs and bars, adding to its already high number of commercial establishments. Not all of these are strictly legal, the residents allege. Several of these pubs allegedly flout one or more laws that govern commercial establishments, violations that have drawn the ire of residents.

100 Feet Road, which has the highest concentration of pubs in the area, is a designated mutation corridor. This means that such establishments can operate here legally but need to be insulated from residences. But whether this requirement is followed is another matter.

“The problem really started when the noise levels became too high. The jarring, high-decibel music during the night began to affect our sleep. Then the closing time for pubs was extended to 1 am. This inevitably gets pushed to 2 am or even 3 am. From around midnight to 1 am we hear a lot of people shouting. Can you imagine anyone shouting near residential areas between 12 and 1 in the night? Many times residents have had to call the police,” says Dr Srinivas, a volunteer at I Change Indiranagar.

Another resident adds, “At around 1.30 am, the pubs close. The staff then take all the vessels to the backyard to clean them. This goes on till 5 am.”

“On 100 Feet Road, there are more than 170 commercial establishments, including both pubs and restaurants, within a two sq km area. Residents are disturbed by the loud music and brawls. Moreover, some people buy drinks from the pubs and drink on the road after the pubs close,” says Rajesh Dangi, who also volunteers for I Change Indiranagar.

Such revelry extending to the streets has endangered motorists, with intoxicated pub patrons almost falling on cars and indulging in drunk driving.

Pubs and bars are mandated by the law to provide parking facilities to their patrons. This is a requirement that several establishments fail to meet. According to by-laws, one parking space should be provided for every 50 m of constructed space. Since many of these pubs fail to provide parking facilities, customers are forced to park their vehicles in neighbouring lanes, often blocking residents’ vehicles in the process.

“There have been several instances where ambulances couldn’t enter the lanes because of such haphazard parking,” says one resident.

Illegal rooftop pubs

Rooftop pubs are reportedly a major nuisance since they are not soundproof. It is also illegal to operate rooftop pubs in the city. According to Rajesh, there are presently 33 such pubs in the neighbourhood.

“We approached the BBMP Commissioner and he confirmed that after 2016 not a single trade license has been issued. In one case, the High Court even asked the owner of one such establishment for their licence and they could not furnish it. BBMP had ordered them to close but it is still operating,” he told TNM.

Also read: 30 Bengaluru rooftop pubs could soon lose licence for violating fire safety norms

Residents allege that owners are able to operate rooftop pubs simply by using their existing licences for an extra floor. This practice is illegal.

“One licence is issued for each space. So if an owner has taken an excise licence for one floor of a building, they use the same licence to run the rooftop as well. This is illegal,” says Dr Srinivas.

Resident action

Residents haven’t been quiet about the inconvenience they are facing. In answer to a petition filed in 2008 concerning zoning regulations, the BBMP Commissioner at the time declared that Indiranagar was predominantly a residential area.

According to Rajesh, in December last year, a petition was filed against illegal rooftop pubs. In response, the BBMP Joint Commissioner, Dr Ashok, ordered the closure of three such pubs. The three pubs reportedly approached the High Court following the BBMP’s closure notices.

“The court has directed us to hear them. I have fixed an enquiry on Tuesday regarding the rooftop pubs. Court has directed us to issue them a notice, hear them and pass an order. If we find any violations, we will shut them down,” Dr Ashok told TNM.

Also read: Why are unsafe rooftop restaurants in Bengaluru still open?

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