The diktat has kicked off a controversy with bar owners arguing that they can ask customers to undergo breath analysis to check if they can safely drive but cannot ask them to limit consumption.In a bizarre move but with noble intent, the city of Chandigarh in India’s north has directed all bar owners to install breath analyzers (alco-meters) in its premises. Issuing an order, Chandigarh’s excise department has asked around 125 liquor-licensees to ensure that customers consume alcoholic drinks within the legal limits.
In a press release issued on Wednesday, Chandigarh’s excise department said the installation of alco-meters will make people aware of the legally prescribed limit of alcohol consumption as well as the ill-effects of over consumption.
“Alcometers will give those leaving the bars an opportunity to check the alcohol level in their blood in the interest of their own safety and others before they drive,” said authorities.
According to Indian law, permissible limit of alcohol in the blood is 30mg per 100 ml. However, experts contend that alcohol absorption in the blood stream is dependent on the body mass of the person and the amount of water content in the body, making breath analyzers a superfluous method of ascertaining whether alcohol level in a person’s body is safe for driving or not. The speed with which the liquor is consumed and the time before the person starts driving affects the results of the breath analyzer, they say.
Meanwhile, bar owners are also crying foul as the order does not mention the implementation of the rule on the many small-scale taverns that attract more local customers. Moreover, pub and bar owners have also argued that asking a customer to take breath analysis test would be okay but asking them to limit consumption would tantamount to poor hospitality, affecting their business.