Low-key New Year celebrations in capital's hotels

New Delhi, Dec 30 (IANS) It's the time to plan for New Year's Eve, but the mood for a night out seems subdued this year after the brutal Delhi gang-rape and the victim's death. While some restaurateurs and hotel owners have beefed up their security for the event, others have decided to keep them low-key.

The Soi Thai restaurant in Vasant Vihar has planned a quiet celebration with pianist Robert Tamang, who will play at the event.

"We have planned a muted evening with the addition of merely a pianist and limited liquor to our existing menu. We expect a fairly regular turn out in terms of our overall business," Shinjini Kapoor, promoter, Soi Thai, told IANS.

"Since we're focussed on food as opposed to lifestyle and entertainment, we are expecting our regular patrons and do not anticipate a law and order situation," she said.

Owners of restaurants and pubs have increased their security arrangements.

The Metropolitan Hotel & Spa, Bangla Sahib Road, has decided to have a cosy evening with a wide variety of food to be served for the guests.

Rajesh Khanna, head, food and beverage, says he has taken special security measures for the safety of the guests.

"To handle such situation, we have recruited extra manpower and we have also called in local police for security reasons," Khanna told IANS.

After the Dec 16 incident, the government announced that all discotheques and pubs in Delhi will stop serving liquor to guests after 1 a.m. and hotel and pub owners are all in favour of it.

"The strictness regarding the timings and traffic will have some effect on the business, but if police have done it for security purposes, one should honour the same," said Khanna.

Benu Sehgal, vice president, DLF Place Saket, says an early shutdown would mean less business, but safety is more important.

"Fixed time slot will certainly affect the business, but there is nothing better than safety. Men and women should consider safety as priority. That particular incident has affected the entire society," Sehgal said.

"If we had been careful enough from the starting, these things would have never happened. Although it's going to hit the business, I am very happy that we are safe," she added.

However, Sehgal doesn't feel that the turnout will be less as "security is kept intact in association with local police".

"I don't think the turnout will be less. I can see youngsters planning to party ahead of time. I want to urge everybody and also the media to encourage people that instead of going to party at 11 p.m., start partying at 9 p.m. so that you get free early and reach home on time. The change of mindset is needed," she added.

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