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Bars in Bengal to have mandatory CCTV cameras

The order from the West Bengal excise department comes a few days after some people were arrested for having drugs and night parties in two premier hotels in the city.

IANS | Kolkata |

The West Bengal excise department has issued an order making the installation of CCTV cameras mandatory for all restaurants that have bar licenses, within two weeks,   in an effort to curb the violation of Covid restrictions and stop immoral activities like the use of drugs in
bar-cum-restaurants.

The order comes a few days after some people were arrested for having drugs and night parties in two premier hotels in the city.

“In view of some recent incidents in more than one excise district, where the restrictions on hours of service of liquor were found to have been transgressed, all the foreign liquor ON establishments in excise districts are hereby required to ensure the following for the sake of a hassle-free and business-friendly compliance mechanism in the interest of public law and order,” the order says.

“The cameras in question may commence capturing such audio-visual data every evening from one hour before the scheduled hour of closure, depending on whatever such hour of closure may be on a given day, till 4 a.m. on the following morning. Such recording of data may be done over the same duration even on the days when no liquor is mandated to be served,” it said.

The order also mentioned that the cameras should be positioned in such a way so that operations in counters can be clearly captured.

“The management of all such licensed establishments may share such data access with the authorized excise officials who should be in a position to check on their own electronic device as to whether closure hours are being abided by. Such data should be preserved at least for the next 30 days following the date of recording and the same should be presented for inspection in case asked for the same for any official purpose,” the directive added.

The guidelines also say that the central access system of this CCTV should be in the hands of the officers of the excise department. So that the officers of the office can monitor all the activities in the bars from the control room. Though there are some bar-cum-restaurants in the city that already have CCTV installation, most of them are yet to have this surveillance system. Sources in the excise department, however, said that the bars-cum-restaurants will have to install CCTV at their own cost maintaining the guidelines specified by the department.

An excise official said that police are receiving several complaints that some bars and nightclubs are remaining open not only beyond the stipulated period but are also involved in drug use and other immoral activities.

Recently, two five-star hotels were punished and their bars were closed for 60 days for hosting parties beyond the specified hours