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Most rooftop pubs in Bengaluru illegal

Madhuri Rao, DH News Service, Bengaluru, Jan 4 2018, 1:37 IST
A majority of rooftop pubs and bars in the city are illegal, BBMP officials admitted on Wednesday. File photo

A majority of rooftop pubs and bars in the city are illegal, BBMP officials admitted on Wednesday. File photo

A majority of rooftop pubs and bars in the city are illegal, BBMP officials admitted on Wednesday.

DH visited some watering holes in the central business district. Many operate on rooftops, with no approved building plan.

What it means: managements brazenly flout building and fire-safety regulations, and friendly officials turn a blind eye to the violations.

It also means people unwittingly risk their lives when they go to these pubs and bars.

Lady Baga, a bar and restaurant specialising in seafood, is located on Lavelle Road. The approved building plan shows a ground floor and first floor, but all the action is on the rooftop. Similar is the case with Attic, a bar near Lady Baga.

Mayor R Sampath Raj blamed the managements. "Not only do they have no plan sanctions, they have also not compiled with fire safety norms. They have no emergency staircases either."

He said notices were issued to 40 rooftop pubs and bars.

BBMP will also act against senior health officers who allowed the setting up of rooftop bars, he said.

But for pubs and bars facing the prospect of closure, this is just a routine threat. They are confident they will be back in business within a day or two.

One of the owners said his bar, closed following the issue of a notice, would reopen "after a meeting with the officials".

He was instructing his employees to get fire-safety stickers ready. When DH asked him why enforcement was kicking in only now, he said, "Maybe they are just doing their job after receiving a call from their higher authorities."

The action against the pubs and bars comes in the wake of the Kamala Mills fire tragedy in Mumbai, which claimed the lives of 14 guests at a rooftop pub, Sampath Raj said.

"Many roads in Bengaluru are so narrow fire engines can't enter them. These rooftop bars use bamboo which catches fire easily," he explained.

Vijayan Menon, activist from Citizens Action Forum, said enforcement was welcome since it could make a difference between life and death.

"It is a good initiative but nothing will change unless there is some legal action," he said.

BBMP has issued notices to 17 roof-top pubs in Indiranagar alone. "They have no approved building plans to operate on their rooftops," a senior BBMP official said.

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