The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Mohali beckons Mumbai bar girls

Chandigarh, Sept. 27: Mumbai’s out-of-job dance bar girls needn’t worry. Punjab is preparing the floor to let them twirl again.

To “soothe the frayed nerves” of infotech professionals, the Punjab government is toying with the idea of dance bars on the pattern of those banned from Mumbai and a multiplex in Mohali to begin with.

“We have been late in jumping onto the IT bandwagon and, if we wish to succeed, we will have to provide a different kind of entertainment for those working in the industry,” a senior officer in the secretariat said.

“But dance bars will not be the only source of entertainment. We have in the pipeline Asia’s biggest fun multiplex, too. It should also be considered a diversification as agriculture is no longer providing profitable returns.”

Enquiries revealed that the move to accept in principle a plan to set up “entertainment kiosks” in and around Chandigarh initially and later all over the state followed representations by an NRI group. Its report was accepted by an “empowered committee” tasked with the responsibility of turning Punjab from an agrarian to a modern society.

While government officers refused to comment, it was learnt that the fun multiplex, to be built in an industrial area, would cost Rs 154 crore. While the promoters would pool in Rs 25 crore initially in foreign exchange, the rest will have to be borne by the government and other “interested” private parties. A liquor baron is said to be among those interested.

“The tasteful, modern and spendthrift IT professionals desire to enjoy life to the fullest potential. They prefer to shop-wine-dine and enjoy movies in a compact estate oozing with pleasant ambience,” says the “Preamble” to the NRI group’s report.

Projected as a one-shop-stop for entertainment, the proposed multiplex will have five cinemas and “cabaret” and “mujra” bars. Hard liquor will be served through the night (and day).

The proposal has drawn flak from the Opposition Akali Dal. “Punjab needs jobs for its unemployed, not mujra joints',” said party secretary Daljeet Singh Cheema.

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