The city’s real estate prices mean that tea hotels spill out on to the streets where it’s much more pleasant. This culture comes at a price, however, with tea hotels shelling out roughly Rs10,000 a month to keep the cops and city government staff off their backs.
They pay for informal permission to place chairs and tables on the road in front of the hotels. “When we don’t give them the money, they take the chairs from inside the hotel,” says Ramzan Kakar, who heads the union. “This daily humiliation…the public is sitting there, watching. The KMC wallahs come and shoo us away.”