Admn ‘embarrassed’, condoms vanish from Condom Bar

The country's first and only Condom Bar, which was launched with much fanfare by the Chandigarh Administration in 2007, has shut down.

Reason: the Administration feels "embarrassed" over the bar's theme.

Now, the Administration plans to change the theme to 'village'. Officials, however, are yet to work out its implementation.

The bar, located in the Kalagram complex on the Chandigarh-Panchkula highway, was opened by former Punjab cadre IAS officer J S Bir, who was posted in Chandigarh as tourism director at that time. Kalagram complex is managed by the Chandigarh Industrial and Tourism Corporation Limited (CITCO).

The bar was inaugurated by AIDS patient Pooja Thakur in May 2007.

It was opened to promote the use of condoms. The tables, chairs and counters in the bar were decorated with condoms. The bar offered free condoms and sold t-shirts, caps and cups with a 'safe sex' message on them.

Now, the furniture, souvenirs and condoms have been removed from the bar. The bar's drinking area continues to be called 'Glassy Bar' but the condom theme has no trace.

"It was a concept that was recognised worldwide. It was even appreciated by the Union Health Ministry, UN organisations and the international media," a visibly upset Bir, the mind behind the concept, said. "The Administration's move to shut it down is not in good taste."

From the very beginning, the Administration was not interested in going ahead with the concept. This became evident when no senior official was present in the bar's inauguration.

Despite repeated attempts, CITCO officials were not available for comments. But a senior UT official said, "Many people had objected to the theme during a crafts fair at Kalagram. So, the Administration decided to change it."

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