Following complaints about resto bars and pubs not adhering to the prescribed closure time, the Puducherry Excise Department has directed revenue officials to conduct night inspections to ensure that recreation centres, functioning on the basis of licence obtained under FL-2 tourism category in Puducherry, close on time.

The Excise Department has issued FL-2 tourism category licence (permission to serve liquor for consumption) to 186 outlets in the Union Territory. Of these, 167 are in Puducherry, 14 in Karaikal, 3 in Yanam and 2 in Mahe, said an official. As per the licence condition, resto bars and pubs are mandated to wind up their operations by midnight.

In an office memorandum, Deputy Commissioner (Excise) A. Kumaran has directed Tahsildars, Deputy Tahsildars and team leaders who are on night duty to carry out night rounds without fail, to ensure the timely closure of resto bars and pubs.

“The Puducherry government does not issue licences to resto bars or pubs. Those who have obtained permits under the tourism category run the recreation centres with certain conditions. Since we have received several complaints from political parties, the public and resident welfare associations about these outlets functioning beyond their closing hours and causing public nuisance, enforcement has been made strict,” an official told The Hindu.

Mr. Kumaran has directed revenue officials to ensure that the outlets are closed on time. Any lapse on the part of revenue officials would be taken seriously, he said. “A report on the inspection carried out by the team, the place visited, shops inspected and violations noticed should be recorded in the night rounds register maintained at the squad section of the team head,”’ Mr. Kumaran, who was given additional charge of Deputy Commissioner (Excise) a few days ago, said.

Puducherry has witnessed several agitations in recent months by political parties and residents against the functioning of resto bars and pubs post-midnight. The functioning of these centres up to the wee hours had also caused law and order issues.

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