New Year is around the corner and a majority of Kochites are excited to welcome 2017 with party and celebrations. However, disappointing all those who are set to party till early morning of 1 January, the Kerala Police has come up with a set of regulations that ensure total restriction to the celebrations this year.
These rules according to the police officials have been formulated in order to put a limit on unwanted sale and consumption of beer and wine and celebrations that become unsafe if not controlled. Strict instructions have been given to the hotels hosting DJ parties that no beer or wine should be served there after 10 p.m. Also, it has been made mandatory that no celebrations will be allowed anywhere in the city after 12.30 p.m.
The applications from hotels requesting late night parties have been rejected by the police.
Commenting on the reason behind this step, Fort Kochi CI Raj Kumar P. said, “We have taken this step keeping in mind the increasing use of drugs and alcohol in such celebrations and parties. Even though beer and wine is only served at parties, there are girls and boys who illegally carry alcohol mixed with aerated drinks. These people become troublemakers once they are drunk and cause problems for others as well.”
He added that a special team of police officials have been deputed at all the hotels and other major spots where parties are going to be held. Also, extra security has been ensured in places like Fort Kochi and Mattanchery were New Year is celebrated in full swing.
This step, however, has not received a full-fledged backing from Kerala Hotel and Restaurant Association (KHRA). Though the regulations have to be obeyed by the hotels, they are not convinced by this decision as they are of the opinion that such mandatory restrictions will directly affect the revenue that Kochi gets from tourists who come here to spend their New Year.
KHRA secretary J. Jayapal argued that these restrictions are unwanted as there are laws existing regarding these late-night DJ parties and things would be in control if the police ensure that these laws are being followed.
“Demonetisation has already made the market dull and the number of bookings for parties are very less this year when compared to last year. In this situation if such unnecessary steps are taken by police it will adversely affect the hotels in the city. Moreover, those who are determined to take drugs and get drunk can do it even without coming to DJ parties or other celebrations,” he said.
He informed that the regulations will anyway be followed by the hotels in the city as it is a government decision and if not obeyed their license would be cancelled. This decision has also agitated the party lovers of Kochi who are of the opinion that New Year is a time to celebrate and that the police is running away from their responsibility of maintaining law and order, which can be done without imposing these restrictions.
Hotels also informed that if serving drinks is stopped at 10 p.m. then people won’t stay back for these parties and they would not be able to generate the expected income from the DJ nights and parties, as a huge amount of money has been invested in arranging these.
Preeti Binu, a techie who is in Kochi to celebrate her New Year with her family, says that it is disappointing to know this as people like them take a break from their busy schedule and come to places like Kochi to celebrate.
Main photograph by Peter Hellberg via Flickr.