Pune’s nightlife faces backlash after tragic Porsche car accident

Pune's nightlife faces backlash after tragic Porsche car accident

Pune's nightlife faces backlash after tragic Porsche car accident

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A week after a horrific accident near a pub in Kalyani Nagar left two young software engineers dead, the vibrant nightlife in Pune has taken a significant hit. On Friday night, an eerie silence descended on areas usually buzzing with activity as pubs and bars closed their doors before midnight, much earlier than the stipulated 1:30 am deadline. The accident, which involved a Porsche Taycan driven by a 17-year-old, has led to increased police scrutiny and stricter enforcement of regulations, leaving patrons and business owners frustrated.

Increased Police Presence and Early Closures

At Koregaon Park, one of Pune’s popular nightlife spots, police set up multiple checkpoints (nakabandi) to conduct breathalyzer tests on drivers. By 1 am, they had already seized the licenses of three individuals for drinking and driving. The police presence and early closures have led to fewer people on the streets compared to previous weekends.

“We will be checking till 3 am and will continue to do so over the weekend. Those who get caught will have to go to court and pay a fine,” said the traffic police-in-charge at Koregaon Park.

Many patrons, like Aundh resident Shubham Gore, expressed their disappointment with the early closures and increased police checks. Gore, who always takes an Uber when he plans to drink, said, “My friends and I had big plans this weekend, but many places were not serving liquor and the ones that did shut early. Why are we suffering for the law enforcement’s shortcomings?”

Others, like a woman stopped at a checkpoint around 12:15 am on Sunday, complained about the lack of available alcohol despite visiting several pubs, resulting in a negative breathalyzer test.

Impact on Businesses : 

The early closures and heightened police presence have severely impacted the hospitality sector. Establishments that typically see large crowds over the weekend reported only 20%-30% of their usual footfall. Many clubs, despite not selling alcohol, refused entry to people under 21 years to avoid any risk.

“Earlier, there used to be nakabandis every night in Koregaon Park and Kalyani Nagar. But in the last few months, there were no checks. The police did not curb this menace at first and have now decided on a knee-jerk reaction to close everything down, which is wrong. Imagine how many people will lose their jobs if these places close down,” said a techie from Koregaon Park.

Broader Concerns : 

Residents and patrons argue that the blanket ban on alcohol in pubs is ineffective, as people can still drink at home and drive. They view it as a reactionary measure by the police to deflect from their initial lack of action. A media professional noted, “There was a nakkabandi on Karve Road, between Garware College and Nal Stop on Saturday night. I had a drink or two but was not aware of the permissible limits. I took a right and reached my destination from the internal roads, evading the police completely.”

Tragic Accident as a Catalyst : 

The stricter enforcement follows the tragic accident on May 19, where a Porsche Taycan, driven by the teenage son of a Pune-based builder, collided with a motorcycle in Kalyani Nagar, killing two software engineers, Anish Awadhia and Ashwini Kosta, both 24 and hailing from Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh. This incident has led to heightened scrutiny and changes in the nightlife regulations.

While the intention behind the increased police presence and early closures is to prevent further tragedies, the measures have sparked widespread frustration among patrons and significant financial strain on the hospitality industry. Patrons who drink responsibly feel they are unfairly punished for the actions of a few, while businesses struggle with decreased footfall and potential job losses.