As many as 158 wine stores and bars have been closed down in Bengaluru in the past four months for operating beyond the prescribed hours, Home Minister Ramalinga Reddy informed the Legislative Council on Thursday.
Another 206 establishments have been booked for opening earlier than the permitted hour and staying open beyond closing time, he said. "I have issued a circular directing the police officials to ensure bars and restaurants follow timings strictly," he said.
Reddy was replying to JD(S) MLC T V Sharavana's question on the fire outbreak at Kailash Bar and Restaurant in Kalasipalyam, which claimed the lives of five people last month. Sharavana blamed authorities for "failing" to prevent the accident.
"What can the police do if the fire breaks out at 6 am?" Reddy asked.
The exact reason for the fire at Kailash Bar is yet to be known, the minister said. "It is believed to have been a short-circuit, but I'm yet to get a report on what the exact cause is," he said.
The minister said Kailash Bar and Restaurant was given a licence nearly 30 years ago and it was housed in a building which was equally old. "It is the Excise Department that gives the licence and it is for the BBMP to check the building," Reddy said.
The police have booked five wine stores and four bars for illegal sale, he added.