Nagpur: The New Year celebration might have been in high spirits but not so high when it came to business in city bars and permit rooms. Thanks to the intense checking spree by the traffic cops against drink and drive, the tipplers avoided visiting the bars on New Year Eve as well as on the first day of 2019, to escape any confrontation with the breath analyzers.
While almost all the bars and drinking places remained measly attended on 31st night, the situation was no different on January 1. The business took a heavy toll as the bar owners had made extra arrangements at their place to accommodate the rush. “Leave aside the rush, we did not even get the regular visitors who often come on normal days. No body wants to get caught on the wrong end of the law. So less visitors resulted into dull business which hugely affected the government revenues,” said a bar owner.
Insiders informed that the traffic department had set the target of few crores to be collected as fine and deployed the cops at all possible places in order to keep an eagle’s eye on the violators. The tipplers were seen hiding from the cops who made sure that no violator leave without challan. However, the traffic department’s gain was far less than the excise department’s loss. Excise revenues coming through bars and permit rooms certainly took a big blow on its face. While New Year remains the top business occasion for Excise department, the situation was not so enthusiastic this year. Most of the bars kept waiting for the customers till late night but the crowd was significantly thin as compared to what they receive on regular days.
Traffic department sources however justified the action saying that apart from revenue collection, people’s safety was also a major concern. “Driving under the influence takes heavy toll every year, especially during this period. And it is our job to ensure people reach home safely”, quips the official.
When quizzed on the low business in bars, he said, “One should understand that we have not banned entry in bars. It’s just that one should either take a cab or driver along if they wish to drink at the bar. Drinking and driving is clearly not a safe idea.”
Uber, Ola made the kill
Taking advantage of the situation app based cab aggregators Uber and Ola made windfall gains by hiking their fare almost 4 times in the name of surge. So a normal Rs 100-150 fare eventually turned into Rs 350-400. It rocketed to as high as Rs 1200 on few routes not exceeding 10 kms. The fares remained on higher side right from the 31st evening and also showed upwards trend on January 1, 2019 too.