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The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Seven-day breather for cyber cafés

Patna, March 9: A day after cracking down on cyber café across the city for allegedly being involved in “immoral” activities, the cops have given other cafés a seven-day period to comply with the word of law or face retribution.

Café owners, however, said a week was too little time to comply with all the regulations, some of which involve considerable expenditure.

“Installing closed-circuit television cameras and partitions that are transparent takes time and money. How can it be done in a week? We need at least a month for this,” said Ravinder, the owner of a cyber café in Kadamkuan.

He also said most people have Internet connections at home these days and the business of cyber café has dwindled. “Stricter regulations and police raids will keep more people away,” added Ravinder.

On February 24, the police had come up with a number of dos and donts for cyber café in the city after receiving information that many of them were operating as “fun joints” for couples. But despite the warning of raid, when the men-in-uniform raided the cyber café yesterday — three in Gorakhpur Complex on Boring Road and one in Kulhariya Complex on Ashok Rajpath — they were found disregarding the regulations. These were immediately sealed. FIRs have been lodged against the owners under Immoral Trafficking Act.

Patna senior superintendent of police Alok Kumar told The Telegraph: “Raids in the cafés started last month. But many cafés were not it was not serious. The raids will make the cyber cafés owners realise that we are serious about the issue.”

A police officer said during the raids yesterday, the cops had recovered alcohol bottles and contraceptives from one of these cafés. The cabins in the cafés were dark and it did not have any computers or UPS. Instead, it had beds for the customers. A source said almost 80 per cent of the cyber cafés in the city are not registered. Unregistered cyber cafés have been asked to get themselves registered within the stipulated period, failing which they would be shut down. According to the directions, all cyber cafés need to install at least two closed-circuit television cameras, one near the entrance and the other inside. If the cafés have cabins, these must have transparent glass so that the customers in them can be seen from outside.

The cyber cafés have also been directed to record the names and mobile numbers of the visitors.

“It can be done easily. One can just take the number and call it to see if it is genuine,” said Alok.

Alok said the surveillance would be extended to hotels soon. The cops will look through the hotels check-in registers.

The SSP said: “The checks will be started to make the hotel owners follow the law.”

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