VIRUDHUNAGAR: A promotional strategy of selling one plate of biryani for Rs 10 has landed a 29-year-old hotelier in hot water on the inaugural day of his restaurant in Aruppukottai . While Zahir Hussain (29), the hotelier, had expected a significant customer turn up, little did he imagine that hundreds would throng his shop, violating pandemic norms, eventually leading to his arrest.

Earlier, Zahir had put up a poster for the Rs 10-a-plate biryani, which offer was valid only for two hours, between 11 am and 1 pm on Sunday. Sources said, by 10.30 am, several people had started lining up in front of the shop, which number blew up after the shop opened, leaving the road aswarm with people, many of whom did not wear masks or follow physical distancing.

The restaurant had prepared 2,500 packets of biryani, of which they sold nearly 500, by the time the Aruppukottai town police arrived at the spot and attempted to drive the crowd away, many of whom had waited at different spots, blocking most of the road. Zahir was later taken to the police station and two policemen were stationed in front of the shop to prevent further crowding.

Inspector Balamurugan made an alternative arrangement and ordered the food to be distributed to the destitute, poor and persons with disabilities. The volunteers arrived in a vehicle and took away the food.
An FIR was registered under Sections 188, 269 and 278 of the Indian Penal Code, read with Section 3 of The Epidemic Diseases Act and Section 54 of The Disaster Management Act against Zahir, who was later granted bail. The shop was closed down for the day, but was not sealed and the owner has been warned not to attempt anything similar during the pandemic.

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