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Since 1st March, 1999
 
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Party past Cinderella hour

- Cops to be lenient towards revellers

Bhubaneswar, Dec. 28: New Year revellers can look forward to letting their hair down well past the Cinderella hour. For, the city police won’t play party poopers. Though the official closing time for such parties remains 11.30pm, the cops, this time round, are likely to be lenient.

“We will stick to the Supreme Court guidelines of winding up open-air parties by 10pm and the indoor ones by 11.30pm. However, keeping in mind requests for parties beyond scheduled hours, we may give them some leeway. But, in any case, they should ideally close down half an hour past midnight,” said Bhubaneswar deputy commissioner of police (DCP), Nitinjeet Singh.

This deadline will apply to discotheques and pubs attached to star properties as well as standalone clubs in the city.

“I think 12.30am is a very reasonable limit. In metro cities, New Year Eve parties continue till wee hours and Bhubaneswar will slowly but surely follow that trend once people become more responsible,” said Sandeep Sharma, vice-president of Hotel Hindustan International here.

However, the restriction on playing music remains 11pm. Serving liquor after midnight would be a strict no-no, said superintendent of police of the Bhubaneswar excise circle, Haresh Chandra Nayak. He also added that surprise inspections would be conducted at the parties. Bars attached to hotels, restaurants and clubs would be allowed to serve alcohol till the clock strikes 12.

In case of violations, the visiting officer will prepare an inspection report and issue a showcause notice to the organisers.

“We may even cancel their liquor licenses under Section 68 of the Odisha Excise Rules, 1965,” said Nayak.

On the other hand, the off-shops would be allowed to remain open only till 10.30pm, while the smaller shops selling country liquor would be required to down shutters an hour earlier.

Apprehending that drunken revelry might spell trouble, police have decided to deploy their officials at different hotels, clubs and restobars who, along with the bouncers, would frisk party hoppers to prevent them from sneaking firearms or other weapons into the New Year Eve shindigs.

Some hotels are also installing CCTV cameras and metal detectors at the entry points besides increasing the number of security guards.

At some places, party animals may be asked to show identity proof and enter their names and contact details in the guest registers.

Apart from instructions to create a separate space for heavy drinkers at the party, hotel and pub owners have been asked to ensure that the revellers do not drive in a drunk state.

“Either they have to arrange for a taxi or request someone in the person’s group to drive them home. This will help avoid road accidents,” said a senior police officer.

Police, armed with breath analysers, will conduct checks for drunk driving at nearly 50 different points in the city. Those found tipsy would be penalised or worse, arrested.

Organisers are expecting a full house for the last hurrah of the year and hoped that the revellers would take the security checks in their stride.

“It is a good gesture on the part of the police to have agreed to relax the norms for December 31 events. But then they must realise that it may not be possible to wind up the celebrations exactly by the clock. In fact, 1am seems to be a more reasonable deadline,” said owner of Xstacy, Piyush Mishra.

Some others pointed out that the district collector has the power to allow parties till 2am on special requests by levying extra charges. “That would be fair considering that we pay so much to the government as tax,” a club owner said. Each hotel pays at least Rs 50,000 each month as excise duty and licence fee to the state government.