City culture: Food outlets allowed to stay open late night

Businesses had resented early closure directions, threatened protest.


Rameez Khan April 26, 2013
The CDGL had decided to allow all eateries to operate late hours, however they must use minimum lighting, PHOTO: FILE

LAHORE:


The city district government (CDGL) has decided to repeal its decision to close all restaurants in the city by 11pm every night, The Express Tribune has learnt. 


The CDGL had announced on Wednesday that all food outlets and entertainment centres must shut down by 11pm in order to reduce electricity consumption. Several food outlet owners had expressed annoyance and resentment and had threatened to protest. On Thursday, DCO Rizwan Mehboob retracted the announcement saying, “Food is a part of Lahore’s culture. People here prefer to eat out late at night.”

According to a notification issued by the Services and General Administration Department to all relevant departments in the province on April 18, food outlets across the province were to be closed by 11pm and extraneous illumination on all CNG and petrol stations were to be switched off. All decorative lighting on buildings, trees, fountains and canals would be switched off. Fairy lights and illumination at weddings would also not be allowed.

The notification would also have applied to roadside eateries that operate round-the-clock.

The notification stated that illumination on billboards, neon signs and hoardings would not be permitted, even if solar panels were used. Only 50 per cent of lights would be used in all government offices and air conditioning would only be switched on after 11am every morning.

When the CDGL shared the notification with traders on Wednesday, the Anjuman-i-Tajiran (traders’ association) representatives threatened protest and dire consequences. The CDGL has decided to inform the Punjab government that it will not force food outlets to shut down, but will implement the rest of the directives.

DCO Mehboob told The Express Tribune the businessmen had legitimate concerns however conserving electricity remained a priority.    

Shutting down food outlets in Lahore at 11pm would have limited people’s options for recreation, he said. Keeping that in mind, the CDGL had decided to allow all eateries to operate late hours, however they must use minimum lighting, said Mehboob.

“We need to save as much electricity as we can to let people sleep peacefully at night,” he said. Monitoring teams would be established to ensure the notification is being complied with, he added.

Hardees CEO Sohail Yousaf said he appreciated CDGL’s decision to revert the notification. Yousaf said they would make sure that electricity was not used wastefully. “We use generators most of the time anyway,” he said. He said the original decision could only lead to increased unemployment in the city.

Food outlet owners at Lakshmi Chowk Ali Ghani of Ghani G Restaurant and Muhammad Sharif of Sharif Tea Stall said they would have protested against the CDGL had the 11pm closure been enforced.

“My stall is open round-the-clock, that is how I make ends meet,” said Sharif.

Ghani said the generator he used at his restaurant consumed up to Rs2,000 worth of diesel each day, as there was no electricity for the most part.

He said his business picked up from 9pm to 12am, late into the night.

“I respect the motivation behind the government’s decision and will reduce the number of electric bulbs used at my restaurant,” Ghani said.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 26th, 2013.

COMMENTS (7)

Ali | 8 years ago | Reply

Why should private businesses/outlets suffer for complete government failure in providing electricity to the masses? If anything, these private businesses contribute much more towards job creation even in the wee hours of the night than any government incentive. Private citizens are being made to suffer for State failure in providing them with basic necessities. It is private businesses and outlets themselves that are saving this State. How about Provincial and federal government for once working in concert in order to GENERATE electricity rather than spending all this time imposing arbitrary restrictions on people.

All those people citing Western examples of food and business outlets closing early are intertwining the moral aspects of way of life with an apparent economic driven penalty. Still, those people need to realize that it was not Federal or State regulations/laws that imposed a penalty for restaurants or businesses being open late. Rather, food outlets and businesses closing early in the West reflects more upon cultural priorities in having a self-imposed definite work schedule that leads to a more productive way of life. Imposing legislation will not create incentive within the public to be more "organized" and proper. People themselves with time will prioritize on their daily work routines but not before governments do their basic job.

Supersequel | 8 years ago | Reply

Do what the Southern European countries do! Have a resting time during the noon for few hours to save electricity during peak hours and in return people will be more relaxed, avoid the sun during peak hours, and businesses can close around lets say 8 instead of 5. Works there splendidly.

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