Help Bengalureans Sleep! Amend the Laws!

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Dear Sir,

I and the others who have signed this petition would like to bring to your attention the suffering that ordinary citizens like us are experiencing due to pubs and bars being allowed to operate in residential areas, and to demand that the laws be amended to stop and prevent this.

 As you may know Bengaluru is reputed to be the pub-capital of India. It has had a 50% increase in the number of licenses issued over the last 4 years alone. (The Hindu- Bengaluru sees 50% increase in pubs in 4 years). Many of these establishments apparently function as a pub, but position themselves as a lounge or bar and kitchen.

 Not surprisingly, the State Excise revenue from Liquor sales in Karnataka in 2017-18 was over 17,000 CRORE Rupees (Karnataka State Excise Document)- an increase of more than 1400 crores and 8% growth. Bengaluru city had the highest consumption of liquor in the state.

However, while the government and the business establishments reap the financial rewards, ordinary citizens are suffering the consequences of this and other related decisions and inaction. These establishments have risen in residential areas and are not discouraged from doing so. The Bengaluru Development Authority (BDA) had amended the land rules to allow restaurants and pubs to function in residential areas (Bangalore Mirror- BDA High Court Restaurant Pubs Commercial Office Spaces). Instead all possible options to facilitate the liquor industry to thrive is being given (Times of India- Bengaluru can party till 1am everyday) even when implementation of Supreme Court rulings have threatened the industry (Times of India- Residential Areas to Turn Drinking Districts and The Hindu- Relief for Pubs to Reopen Within a Week).

As pubs and/or restaurants commonly play music (live or recorded) to create the right atmosphere to attract patrons, it results in residents being unable to sleep since their business hours are till 11:30 pm on weekdays and 1 am on weekends.

The Supreme Court in 2012 said the right to sleep is a fundamental right to life:

"Sleep is essential for a human being to maintain the delicate balance of health necessary for its very existence and survival. Sleep is therefore, a fundamental and basic requirement without which the existence of life itself would be at peril”.
(Times of India- Right to Sleep a Fundamental Right says Supreme Court).

The Committee on Noise Pollution Control has recommended the Noise standards of 45 decibels in the night time (10pm-6am) in a residential area (Karnataka State Pollution Control Board- Noise Pollution Regulation and Control Rules 2000). However, this is not adhered to by all the establishments and the city’s municipal corporation- Bruhat Bengaluru Mahangagara Palike (BBMP), has neither strictly nor consistently enforced it. A visit to the Bengaluru City Police Call Centre indicated that complaints about noise are one of the top complaints received.

Within a 200 metre radius of my house, there are 4 pubs/ rooftop bars and 3 restaurants serving alcohol. As a resident, I have the right to sleep at night and to live in peace. However, it is not possible to do so until the music from these establishments’ stop. And even then their patrons continue for at least another hour to drink on the roads or talk loudly to their friends until the residents have no other choice but to call the Bengaluru City Police to send them away. Other associated concerns are patrons vomiting and urinating afterwards, the lack of parking, noise from traffic congestion, increased garbage and sewage strain.

Numerous Resident Welfare Associations (RWA’s) across Bengaluru city have repeatedly approached all the concerned authorities and even resorted to filing court cases against the establishments, but still, no action is implemented (New Indian Express- Please Do Stop the Music Tired Citizens to Pubs).

The Police Commissioner of Bengaluru recently enforced the Licensing and Controlling of Places of Public Entertainment (Bangalore City) Order 2005 against these establishments (Times of India- Only Following SC Guidelines say Bengaluru Police), as a result of which, the neighbourhood has finally become quieter in the last few weeks. After many years of suffering, we are at long last getting an adequate amount of sleep. However, this Licensing enforcement is now being met with strong opposition from the concerned business establishments.

These problems are faced not only by the residents of Bengaluru, but also in other cities like Pune, where pubs are being allowed in residential areas (Hindustan Times- Pubs in Residential Areas the New Normal for Pune). DELHI, on the other hand, has recently amended their Master Plan to establish a no pub/club rule in residential areas (Economic Times-No Liquor Shops Pubs Clubs in Residential Areas DDA's Master Plan).

Kindly intervene at the National Level to amend and implement laws (like how Delhi has) to prioritize the rights of citizens to sleep; and especially with the Karnataka State Authorities (Urban Development Authority, BBMP, BDA, Ministry of Health and Family, Pollution Control Body), to have pubs, lounges, clubs, bars and kitchens shifted away from the residential areas, so that citizens in Bengaluru and around the country may finally be able to exercise their right to sleep and live in peace.

Thank you,

Isabel Paul