Bangalore: Bangalore's night life might get its zing back just before elections with the Congress government deciding to relax the 11 pm lock-up time for pubs and eateries. The issue was in the manifesto of many parties in the assembly elections six months ago and now could be a morale-booster if implemented before the Lok Sabha elections.
"I think the government can consider some extension of time limit. Ultimately it has to be done taking everyone on board but I think like any international city, Bangalore can think seriously on these lines," Food and Civil Supplies Minister Dinesh Gundu Rao said.
It's not just the glitterati but the city's netas, too, who're saying the 11 pm Cinderalla hour has pulled the city back by many notches. For years, there has been a demand for the city's bars and eateries to be allowed to remain open till late, like other Indian cities, but now with elections nearing, the pressure is mounting on Chief Minister Siddaramaiah.
"For restaurants at least, they must extend the time. That's talking about Bangalore's nightlife being far too subdued," Home Minister KJ George said.
The BJP, which faced a defeat in the Assembly elections last April, too, had made a poll promise for an extended nightlife. Political parties targeting the huge migrant population in the city see this issue as a way to garner more votes. The Congress also does not want to lose out on this chance.
While the government is still non-committal, the government's own tourism vision group has advised Siddaramiah to change the law.
"Bangalore, I reckon, has lost 50,000 jobs to Manila over the last five to seven years because we lock up the city at 11. We have suggested to the government to keep eateries open till 1 am for food and keep shopping and the businesses to be open till 1 to attract more business," tourism vision group head TV Mohandas Pai said.
But the city's police which is crippled by a 22 per cent staff shortage, is wary that the extended pub hours might increase the chances of crime.
"Though the argument is when people are around, no crimes happen, that is not so at night. In the present circumstances, I have a shortage of manpower and this I have expressed to the government," Bangalore Police Commissioner Raghavendra Auradkar said.
It will be seen in the days to come if the pub city wins the right to party late before the elections.