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Big Move to Keep Delhi Open 24/7 With The Lieutenant Governor’s Green Signal

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The plan to boost Delhi’s nightlife has been in the works for years now. With the festive season setting in and the lull from the Covid-19-related restrictions fading away, establishments and services across the country are beginning to reopen full-force.

The Lieutenant Governor’s Office has found this time apt to announce that over 300 establishments in Delhi will soon be able to operate 24/7. While the declaration has served as a breath of fresh air for business owners, service providers, and customers alike, it is accompanied by strict reprimanding of the state’s labour department.

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VK Saxena, the L-G of Delhi, has approved a proposal for exemptions under the Delhi Shops and Establishment Act, paving the way for 314 establishments to operate round the clock in the national capital. The over 300 establishments include medicine stores, transport services, hotels, and restaurants. Saxena has reportedly instructed that a notification be issued within a week.

The timings for serving alcohol, however, will not be affected by the application for 24/7 service. The timing exemptions provided to hotels etc. will not apply to the sale of alcohol.

Anil Bhargav, president of the New Delhi Traders’ Association has a different concern on his mind, though. “The Delhi Police is already overburdened. Do they have additional staff to handle the situation? If restaurants stay open 24×7, there will be a mixed crowd that will be there and we know how some people can behave. There can be brawls and other untoward incidents,” Bhargav conveyed to PTI.

Manpreet Singh, treasurer of the National Restaurant Association of India, on the other hand, told PTI that “with this coming through, we can only hope that the business will go up. It augurs well for the industry that was hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.”

While delivering the welcome news for nightlife enthusiasts, the L-G also reprimanded the labour department for delays. As per an official, of the total 346 pending applications, the department had not processed 18 applications from 2016, 26 from 2017, 83 from 2018, 25 from 2019, four from 2020, and 74 from 2021. While these applications remained in limbo “for no reason”, two applications were processed and sent for approval. The reason for this discretion on the part of the department remained unclear, reported India.com, citing officials.

The LG has told the labour department to ensure that no further delays occur; it has also instructed for a mechanism to be developed for transparent and effective monitoring of applications.

Saxena also highlighted that it took multiple observations and persuasion from the LG Secretariat for the said department to put a Digital Mechanism for the receipt of applications in place. The LG flagged this as reluctance on the part of the labour department to adopt basic technological interventions that enhanced the regulatory framework for ‘Ease of Doing Business.’

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