DANCE BAR PLIGHT

dance bar

DANCE BAR OWNERS DIVIDED ON THE PROPOSAL OF CCTV SURVEILLANCE

MUMBAI: The Fadnavis government in all likelihood is set to pass new regulations, including making CCTV cameras mandatory in dance bars that are expected to re-open soon.

As per the new regulation, the number of dancers will be restricted to four for convenient surveillance. The dancers must be aged 18 and above and should neither wear provocative clothes nor booze around at that time. A five-feet gap between the dance floor and the visitors is compulsory. There will be a ban on showering of currency notes on the dancers and smoking would not be permitted inside the bars.

“Implementing the regulations would be the job of the local police. Also, the license-holders will be bound to follow changes that may be made in the regulations from time-to-time. Else, their licences will be cancelled” said a source from the government on condition of anonymity.

“There is no official intimation from the government as yet. If only 4 dancers are going to be allowed at one time, it is not fair. Dance bars start in the afternoon at around 3 p.m. and shut down at around 1:30 a.m. One dancer cannot perform continuously for long hours. They also need breaks in between. In that case, we have green rooms. The government should give us proper facilities if they want only 4 dancers on stage at one time” said Bharat Singh Thakur, President, Dance Bar Owner’s Association.

“The proposal of installing CCTV cameras will be a violation of privacy for the customers. Most of the customers are likely to object to it, if cameras are put up for surveillance in customer area. Many customers say publicly and privately that they don’t drink but they like to drink outside quietly. CCTV cameras have already been installed in the passages and at the entrance of the bars. We shall consult our legal advisors if we find that any of the regulations are not in tandem with our demands. We also want a neat and clean platform to run the business” added Thakur.

A similar set of regulations was proposed and a committee was set up before the ban in the year 2004. But, it never materialised. The government is doing the same thing again. We are ready to provide CCTVs. The government has a right to keep a check. The CCTV footage of the bars should be kept for a week. If people are found violating the regulation of the government, then they must be prosecuted. I support the new regulations of the government,” said Manjeet Singh Sethi, former President, Dance Bar Owners’ Association.

“When I was the President of the Dance Bar Owners’ Association, I had given a list of all the names of bar owners of Mumbai suburbs and Thane to the respective Police Commissioners to take action against the obscene activities conducted at particular dance bars. In a similar manner, one can keep a tab on the activities at dance bars.”
Seema (name changed), who used to work in an Andheri dance bar said “I had no option but to take up prostitution. While I was working in a dance bar, I would come back home after a tiring day and sleep with a clear conscience. I am the sole bread earner of the family. I am glad that the dance bars are opening again and it will be business as usual for me. However, CCTV cameras should not be set up in the dancing area. We have already been harassed by the police in the past and they can use it to blackmail us.”

The Maharashtra government had banned dancing in bars in August 2005. This left thousands of bar girls jobless and in dire straits. Many left the city for their villages, while others failing to find jobs, took to prostitution.
“The government is working on it. We are not in the picture as of now, since we haven’t received any official intimation. The Mumbai Police will be taking care that no obscenity or vulgarity is conducted at the dance bars” said Dhananjay Kulkarni, DCP (Detection) and Mumbai Police spokesperson.

By Kainaz Choksey

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