Restaurants in Delhi’s Connaught Place can serve food outside at night on weekends soon

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Restaurants in Connaught Place’s Inner Circle in Delhi will soon be allowed to use the open space adjacent to their establishments to serve food between 9 pm and 1 am over the weekend.

Alcohol, however, cannot be served in the open.

The New Delhi Municipal Council’s (NDMC) Health Licensing Department has come out with a draft policy to allow the practice. The demand, the draft states, was raised by restaurateurs in the area, citing similar policies in other parts of the city as well as in other countries.

Food, however, can only be served and not cooked or prepared outdoors. Similarly, fast food stalls/ ice cream parlours/paan/cigarette-bidi stalls etc will not be permitted. The licence will be granted for 6 months to one year initially. After that, it can be renewed for 5 years.

Putting together a long list of terms and conditions, the NDMC said that “permission sought may be considered for eating establishments in Inner Circle area of Connaught Place on experimental basis after seeking comments of the stakeholders /agencies concerned”.

The conditions include:

* Space open to air in front of the licensed eating houses only will be allowed to be used as a service area.

* The permission will be granted for 3 days of the week i.e. Friday, Saturday and Sunday which see greater footfall in the Connaught Place area.

* Since the area on offer at Connaught Place is public land and eating establishments are located alongside other trades/shops in this area, the permitted time for open area serving will be from 9 pm to 1 am.

* NDMC will charge a fee for the space allotted to the eating establishment as per the formulation to be decided by NDMC.

* Sitting area will be allowed on a temporary basis for the aforesaid period. The designated space will be cleared by the restaurant owner after the specified time for unhindered movement and commercial activities in the market area for the next day.

* The open space should not restrict the smooth movement of persons to passersby/exit. The open space should not have direct access/opening to the main road.

* Open space to be used as a service area shall not be covered on top with permanent arrangement as well as enclosed on sides. No inflammable materials will be used for side temporary enclosure/umbrellas.

* No liquor will be served or consumed in the proposed open space.

* The licensee shall ensure that the persons using the open space do not indulge in any activity such as throwing articles outside which may cause littering or inconvenience to the outsiders/passerby.

* There should not be W.C. drain line or inspection chambers in front of open space.

* Designated open space in front of the licensed eating establishment will only be allowed and will be clearly demarcated by NDMC and the extended serving activities will be confined within that allotted space only.

* The open space to be used as a service area shall not be covered with any temporary/permanent structure/materials. No monsoon shed/umbrella/tarpaulin cover shall be permitted except table canopies. No erection of any fixtures/frames will be allowed for covering and shall be kept open to sky all the time. However, to avoid contamination due to dust/ flies/dropping of birds and falling leaves, non-inflammable temporary umbrellas with proper height can be used.

* Due care should be taken to avoid any complaints from the neighbourhood of the building regarding any nuisance.

* The lighting/illumination and ambient noise quality on open space shall be conforming to the relevant provisions of Environmental Protection Act, 1986 and other relevant Acts. No music beyond permissible limit and no live performance will be allowed.

The move, however, has not been received well by all.

“Where is the space? There is a corridor for walking and then there is the parking. How will it work? How will you cordon off the area? This was once done in the late 1990s — early 2000s as well. At the time, CP used to be closed on Sundays and outdoor space was utilised thus on that day. But it meant that garbage would be strewn about, outside people’s shops the next day,” said Atal Bhargava, president, New Delhi Traders Association (NDTA).

He also said that in meetings held with traders in the area, restaurateurs urged the Council to allow them the use of the mezzanine floors.

“At present, only storage is allowed in these areas. Many people raised this issue. Also, a lot of chains do not serve food outdoors and will not be keen to either. Delhi also has extreme weather. Heat, cold, rains. This should be taken into account. CP is a commercial area, not a cultural centre,” he added.



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