The Delhi excise department has warned hotels, clubs and restaurants serving liquor of "stern action", including cancelling licences, if they fail to install functional closed-circuit television cameras on their premises, officials said on Tuesday.
Instances of non-functional CCTV cameras installed at some clubs, hotels and restaurants have come to the notice of the department's enforcement branch during inspections, they said.
"It hampers the inspection work of the excise department," an official said.
In order to check violations at the hotels, clubs and restaurants, the inspection teams rely on the CCTV footage obtained from their premises. However, often the teams are not provided with the CCTV footage by the licensees on the pretext that the cameras are non-functional, a senior officer of the department said.
"In view of the above, all the licensees of hotels, clubs and restaurants holding excise licences are hereby directed to ensure that the CCTV cameras are installed at appropriate locations within and outside the licensed premises and that they are properly functional and all the activities at the premises with a proper back-up of CCTV coverage are recorded without any break," a notice issued recently by the department said.
Non-compliance will be "viewed seriously", it added.
If the CCTV cameras installed at the hotels, clubs and restaurants are found non-functional by the inspection teams without any justified reason, it will be treated as a "wilful" lapse and "stern action, including cancellation of licence", may be taken against the defaulter, the notice said.
"During inspection, our teams face problems in verifying the claims of the licensees due to a lack of CCTV footage. A common excuse given by those against whom we have complaints is that the cameras are out of order," the officer said.
There have been instances of licensees and their staff fighting with inspection teams during raids, he noted.
"The licensees seek to disown any irregularities like more than the permissible number of seats allowed at their premises and such others. But when we demand CCTV footage from them, they claim it to be unavailable due to technical reasons," the officer said.
Installation of CCTV cameras at the licensed premises is an important condition for granting the excise licence, he said, adding that it cannot be taken lightly by the owners of clubs, hotels and restaurants serving liquor.