Bengaluru, July 16 (IANS) Allaying fears of law and order problems or crime rate going up, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Saturday defended extending Bengaluru’s nightlife throughout the week by allowing bars, clubs, hotels and restaurants remain open till 1 a.m. for serving customers.
“As there have been no untoward incidents or law and order problems when bars eateries were allowed to remain open till 1 a.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the timing has been extended from Monday to Thursday so that citizens can enjoy their nightlife daily,” Siddaramaiah told reporters here at an event.
Defending the government’s decision made in response to public demand by the citizens, especially youth, the chief minister, however, said the onus of maintaining law and order would be as much on the people as on trade and police in the city of 10 million.
“We have extended nightlife after assessing its impact during the last two years when bars and restaurants were allowed to keep open till 1 a.m. on weekends on the law and order situation,” Siddramaiah said at a media interaction, organised by the Karnataka Media Academy.
Asserting that Bengaluru was the country’s most cosmopolitan city, with people from many states and overseas living peacefully over the years, eh hoped nightlife on all days would give more time for the youth and middle aged to unwind and relax after a hard day’s work.
“I am told nightlife in cosmopolitan cities the world over attracts more tourists and business visitors, as it gives them enough time to enjoy, entertain, relax and treat others with hospitality,” Siddaramaiah quipped.
In a notification on Friday night, the state excise department extended deadline for closing bars, clubs, hotels, restaurants and eateries to 1 a.m. from 11.30 p.m. on all days in a week on popular demand, especially a million-strong techies working in about 1,000 IT firms, including multinationals, back offices and start-ups.
Since July 2015, hotels, restaurants and eateries were allowed to do business till 1.00 a.m. on all days while bars and clubs serving alcohol or liquor were closed by 11.30 p.m. from Monday to Thursday.
In a related development, city Police Commissioner M.N. Megharikh directed all police stations to step-up night patrolling and maintain vigil to ensure law and order and prevent drunken driving across the city limits.