'Littler India' and quieter too

'Littler India' and quieter too

SINGAPORE - Last weekend was just a preview. The next six months will see the throng of foreign workers that take over Little India's streets over the weekends become considerably thinner.

There will be a 50 per cent reduction in the number of scheduled bus rides that ferry these workers to the ethnic enclave over weekends. This could see the numbers of these workers fall from more than 20,000 until recently to just 10,000 or so.

Since they congregate in a tiny area, the halving of their numbers will make for a dramatic change of scenery. The plan is to hive the rest of them off to other parts of the city, such as four recreational centres. There are also plans to screen movies at the dormitories.

But it is Little India that will see the real change, following the recent riot.

A 1.1 sq km area in the enclave will become a "dry zone" on weekends, public holidays and the eve of public holidays over the next six months.

In line with this, shops holding retail and wholesale licences will be allowed to sell alcohol only from 6am to 8pm on those days. A total of 134 businesses, such as liquor stores and convenience shops, will be affected.

But hotels, restaurants, pubs and coffee shops will be able to resume selling alcohol, which they had to refrain from doing so last weekend.

Yesterday, it was the liquor-shop owners who wore the longest faces.

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