CP eateries may serve in open areas on weekends | Latest News Delhi

Following the open air dining policy adopted by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) has planned to allow restaurants in the inner circle of Connaught Place to use the open space adjacent to the establishments as open spaces. open air dining on weekend nights.

The draft policy prepared by the NDMC health licensing department says that the open-air space in front of the eateries can be used as a service area on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 9pm to 1am, with a caveat that no liquor is served in these spaces. there will be ambient lighting and music, no cooking is allowed and no objection certificate is issued by Delhi Police and Delhi Fire Service.

HT has seen a copy of the draft policy.

“The proposed open space use policy will be applied in the Inner Circle of Connaught Place initially and may be extended to other areas and markets in due course,” says the draft, noting that several establishments have made representations to the department. the use of open-air spaces, the increasing demand of customers for places to eat, in line with many other countries.

The NDMC wants to charge a fee for allotting such spaces for open canteens, but the fee has not been finalized yet, an official said.

The draft policy is limited to ground floor establishments only. In February 2017, the NDMC closed 21 rooftop bars in Connaught Place after part of a building leased to a restaurant for a new pub collapsed.

The open air dining policy of the public health department of South MCD was launched in September 2020, which was later adopted by the North MCD. The joint MCD finalized the alfresco dining policy on November 4 this year, under which restaurants — which must obtain an NOC from the fire department to operate — do not need a separate NOC for alfresco dining. Other provisions include license fees here 200 square meters per year ( 500 square meters per year for high-end four-star restaurants and above), cooking is not allowed in open spaces and liquor is allowed if the place is not visible to pedestrians.

However, the draft policy has received mixed reactions from stakeholders. New Delhi Traders Association (NDTA) president Atul Bhargava said the inner circle corridor is for walking and/or parking, and the policy is impractical, while Sandeep Anand Goyle, managing committee member of the National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI), called for further expansion of the policy on balconies and to include terraces.

NDMC vice-chairman Satish Upadhyay said the idea of ​​allowing open-air dining is a good one, and the council will look into all safety measures before approving the proposed policy.

“There is no harm in the concept… However, such spaces should be well regulated, and sufficient security provisions will be introduced to prevent hooliganism,” he said. “Open spaces on the roof are a completely different category. They pose risks to the integrity of the structure and the size of the stairs is also important in case of fire or other disasters.”

The draft policy also states that no fast food stalls, ice cream parlors or tobacco shops will be allowed under this policy. “The license will be issued for an initial period of 6 months to one year, after which it may be renewed for 5 years,” the policy says, emphasizing that the seat will be allowed temporarily for a specified period and designated location. the owner of the restaurant will clean it after the specified time for unimpeded movement and commercial activities in the market area for the next day.

The open space should also not restrict the smooth movement of pedestrians, the area should not have direct access/opening to the main road, and the service area should not be covered by a permanent overhead structure or enclosed on the sides, the draft policy mandates.

NRAI’s Goyle said his association with civic organizations in Delhi has been following the issue for the past 15 years.

“NRAI also submitted a representation to the governor to extend the concept of alfresco dining to the New Delhi area. The city’s move is welcome, but the civic body should expand further to include the terraces and balconies at CP and other parts of New Delhi. Globally, terraces and balconies are dining areas. they are used as. The balconies overlooking the central park will offer the perfect atmospheric space,” he said.

However, NDTA’s Bhargava stated that the draft policy is not practical at all. “Why would a retailer give up the space outside the outlet in the corridor inside the circle to be used for this purpose? Also, the shops are open until 10pm, and most of the restaurants are on the first floor. It will affect the walking space and the weather conditions are also not suitable. Is it possible to sit outside in winter at this time of year?’ he asked.

Bhargava pointed out that open air dining was earlier experimented in CP about 20 years ago. “The experiment was only carried out on Sundays, because on Sundays the main market was closed. However, we faced a lot of problems related to garbage and chaos,” he said, adding that if the NDMC wants to try open-air dining, it should experiment with spaces like Nehru Park.

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