Rooftop eateries bane for residents

As rooftop restaurants gain popularity among Delhiites, residents in proximity to the market areas feel these restaurants are the biggest source of noise pollution during late night hours.

The New Delhi Municipal Council recently sealed rooftop areas in 13 restaurants in Connaught Place as the restaurants did not hold licences for commercial activities on the terraces. Now the council is planning to crack down on other restaurants with terraces.

Khan Market which houses several restaurants, with most of these also operating from the terraces, is the next market area which will see action by the civic body. “We are going to intensify action in all market areas. We will soon act on restaurants which are illegally operating from terraces in Khan Market,” said a senior NDMC official.

Rooftop restaurants near residential areas are a nightmare for locals, especially for children and elderly.

“The worst days for us are Friday-Sunday when the parties at these restaurants go on till late night. Children suffer when exams are round the corner. It is extremely difficult for the elderly members in the family to sleep at night,” said Vijay Mendiratta, a resident of Rabindra Nagar for the past eight years.

“The problems have escalated in the last few years with the number of rooftop restaurants increasing,” she added.

With parties on till late night, the music is on at full blast at these restaurants which disturbs residents.

“How can these restaurants be allowed to play music at high volume even after 10 pm? Till the time the parties were restricted to closed space it was different. In several cases, we have complained to police. But there is little action. Music is played till as late as 1 am.

Following the complaints, the situation improves for a while till things are soon back to sqaure one,” said Asha Bhalla, a resident of Rabindra Nagar for the past 15 years.
The residents’ welfare association blames the spurt in terrace restaurants to the increasing level of noise pollution in the area.

The Khan Market Traders Association (KMTA) also receives complaints against the restaurants frequently. “The restaurants do not have licences to operate from terraces. But the council is as accountable as the restaurant owners. The number has increased over the past seven years and it should have been clamped down earlier,” said Sanjeev Mehra, president, KMTA.

Following the civic body’s action against restaurant in Connaught Place, some restaurants in Khan Market have discontinued operating from terrace. “We have kept the terrace open only as a smoking zone and have discontinued services a few days ago,” said a senior staff member at Harry’s Bar. Blue Door Cafe and Cafe Illuminati have also stopped serving food and drinks on the terrace, confirmed the staff.

“Currently, guests are being served in the inside sitting area,” said Kunal, manager, Cafe Illuminati.

However, most other restaurants are still continuing with rooftop areas. A staff at Big Chill Cafe said there has been no notice yet on closing the terrace.

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