Saturday evening saw one of the chicest party spots in the capital — Hauz Khas Village — wearing a deserted look. As many as 34 restaurants in the village were forced to close following a directive from the National Green Tribunal (NGT) that all eateries operating without necessary environmental clearance be shut till September 24. The tribunal will hear the matter again on Tuesday.
While most restaurants, which were served the NGT notice, remained open during the day on account of “not having received any formal notice”, by Saturday evening, all establishments were downing their shutters one by one.
For years now, Hauz Khas Village, brimming with designer stores and multi-cuisine restaurants, had been the ‘it place’ for weekend fun in the capital.
Confusion prevailed after 8 pm, as the crowd which had descended on the tiny village since the afternoon was forced to call it an early night or find other places to party. A few decided to dine at restaurants that were still open.
By 9 pm, the village wore an abandoned look, and the city’s party crowd were left to contemplate other options.
“I usually dine at The Living Room Cafe, but it is closed for the weekend. We will now be heading to Defence Colony,” Pronoy Roy, a regular at the village, said.
“I came to eat at Fat Ninja, but the manager told me they will only open in an hour. I waited for an hour, and then they told me that they were closed for the day. It is really unfair,” Kanika Oberoi, another regular at the cafe, said.
In the afternoon, though, things were different. Barring seven-eight restaurants, most eateries were open and the owners said they didn’t “foresee any possibility of a shutdown”.
“We haven’t received any notice from any authority asking us to close or received any instruction to that effect from police. So we are open for business,” Rija, general manager at Verve, said.
Some even claimed to have not received any showcause notice from the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC).
“The DPCC submitted to the NGT that they had issued showcause notices to all restaurants, but many of us haven’t received it. The few restaurants which were closed are not shut on account of the NGT order, but because they lack other licences,” Ankit Pasricha, owner of Zo, said.
By evening, the mood changed drastically. The DPCC, which was supposed to serve the notice to