Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Oct 31:
Finally, Odisha government has allowed for operation of dance bars and has issued guidelines for the same.
The state government has come up with guidelines to ensure safety, security, and dignity of women dancers performing at bars.
The guidelines say stringent action will be taken in the event of loss of dignity of women performers during musical programmes or orchestra at restaurants, bars, hotels and on shops offering liquor.
Moreover, as per the new guidelines, provisions have been made to shut liquor shops on National and State highways by 8PM.
The Excise department’s guidelines say bar dancers/girls will be issued with identity cards. These identity cards will contain detailed personal information including an undertaking expressing the willingness to perform dance at the establishment. The department after examining these details will grant permission.
Moreover, the Commissionerate Police will conduct checks from time to time to ascertain whether conditions mentioned in the license of the bar were being adhered to or not.
Besides, hotels and restaurants granted permission for operating dance bars will have to install CCTV cameras. Excise department officials will check recorded footage of these cameras at frequent intervals.
Excise Minister Damodar Rout said stringent action will be taken against violators.
“In order to protect their dignity, provisions have been made in the guidelines. Guidelines have been issued to prevent any kind of untoward incident during the performance. In the event of any incident taking place during the performance, action will be taken against the hotel/bar proprietor,” informed Rout to reporters speaking on the new guidelines.
“On getting complaints that bars and hotels were engaging girls to perform in orchestras and musical programmes we had banned dancing of girls in bars. Opposing the move 29 girls had moved the court. These girls had cited that by banning dancing in bars their right to work had been infringed upon. Citing that it was their source of income, they had sought for allowing it. The Court had directed the government to allow them to dance in bars apart from directing it to make arrangement to provide them security. For this we have issued new guidelines,” Rout elaborated.
The Excise department has also imposed some restrictions on operation of liquor shops alongside the national and state highways. These liquor shops will have to put their shutters down at 8 in the evening.
However, liquor shops alongside municipality and NAC roads have been excluded from the restriction.
“Liquor shops alongside municipal and NAC roads have been excluded from the evening restriction,” informed Excise department Additional Secretary Pramod Kumar Panda.
“704 liquor shops were located alongside highways. In accordance with the rules, 649 of these have been shifted 50 metres away from the highways. 48 shops have been directed to shut down in the evening. Cases of the remaining seven are pending in the High Court. All are bound to follow rules,” Panda added.