Mumbai: Maximum City takes first step to stay open 24×7

Laxman Singh
Maximum City takes first step to stay open 24x7

Restaurants in malls, non-residential areas can stay open. (File)

THE CITY that never sleeps will now remain open all night.

Lighting up Mumbai’s night-time economy, the government is moving to keep eateries and malls open 24x7 starting January 26. The move will be launched in pilot form across gated spaces and non-residential areas, which have their own CCTV surveillance and parking facilities, and where noise can be curtailed.

As of now, standalone establishments will not be part of the push, which will cover restaurants inside malls that do not serve alcohol. Food trucks will also be allowed to operate through the night at prominent locations like Nariman Point.

The final nod was given at a meeting chaired Thursday by Tourism Minister Aaditya Thackeray, who is said to be the prime mover behind the proposal. “This plan will come into effect in non-residential areas,” Thackeray said.

“About 25 malls and eateries have shown willingness to keep establishments open 24x7. All of them have been asked to ensure fire safety compliance and security,” said an official, who attended the meeting that included the municipal and police commissioners.

“We welcome this move as it will boost tourism and business in city. But we have suggested that this should be extended to standalone establishments, too, like those near railway stations. If police fear nuisance, the licence of violators can be cancelled,” said Niranjan Shetty of the Association of Hotel And Restaurant owners (AHAR), an umbrella body.

A similar move was initiated in 2017 by the previous BJP government but the plan was opposed by the police.

Following the government’s latest move, BJP MLA Ashish Shelar tweeted that “peace, safety & security of Mumbaikars in residential areas is topmost priority”. “Any bar/ pub/ mall/ eatery which is security threat for residential areas or puts burden on police will be opposed!” Shelar posted.

DCP Pranaya Ashok, spokesperson, Mumbai Police, said “issues related to security were discussed by senior officers with the government”. A senior officer said that a majority of issues, like ensuring that these establishments are located in certain areas, excluding residential localities, was agreed upon.