BPAC discussion favours extension of night life in B'lore

A discussion on the controversial issue of extending the 11-pm deadline for Bangalore’s night life turned into a one-sided affair on Thursday with most participants comprising civil society members, politicians and industry representatives favouring the extension of the deadline. 

Bangalore Political Action Committee (BPAC) had organised the discussion in which Home minister K J George, Tourism and Higher Education Minister R V Deshpande, legislator N A Harris, Manipal Global Education chairperson T V  Mohandas Pai, Biocon Chairperson Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw and City Police Commissioner Raghavendra Auradkar took part. A large number of the participants even suggested making Bangalore, a city that is awake 24 hours, on a par with many cities abroad.

Auradkar said that there were a number of issues that were beyond law and order and needed to be addressed before the extension could be considered. “Personally, I am not against extending the deadline. However, can you can assure me adequate transport facilities after the deadline, well-lit streets and common people who will come forward to extend help,” he sought to know.

He also highlighted that the extension of deadline would put severe pressure on the already short-staffed and overworked police force. He said that as many as 700 posts of traffic police personnel were vacant out of the sanctioned 2,600. Similarly, of the 12,600 posts of civil police personnel, 2,000 vacancies are to be filled. The drivers for 114 Hoysala patrol vehicles work for around 16 hours a day.

“There are 125 policemen for every 11 lakh population. These personnel are involved in night patrolling, security for VIPs and crime investigation,” Auradkar said.

Pai, while strongly advocating the extension of deadline, suggested measures like recruiting private security guards and engaging “citizen wardens,” as an immediate measure. A number of factors such as convenience for young professionals, increase in revenue for the State etc were pointed out in favour of extension of the deadline.

“It is very difficult to get food after 11 pm. A number of young people who work in the IT and BPO sector and cab drivers do not always have the luxury of a canteen. It is cruel and unfair to them. Moreover, there is safety in numbers especially for women. A busy city is a safe city,” said Meeru Bai, a BPAC member. 

“When a person visits Bangalore for a day, we must make sure that he stays for another three days which will do a great deal for tourism. Bangalore needs to be developed as a global brand and the extension of nightlife will help in this,” said Deshpande.

K J George said the final decision would be taken after consulting other ministries. “We are open to all suggestions and will take a decision as early as possible,” he said.

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