Shiv Sena and BJP lock horns over nightlife in Mumbai

Mumbai: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator from Andheri West, Ameet Satam has opposed the idea of allowing food trucks at Juhu Chowpatty after 10pm. In a letter to Municipal Commissioner Praveen Pardeshi, he has indicated that any proposal for any food truck or nightlife in Juhu will be opposed tooth and nail by residents.

His letter reads, "Maintaining law and order in Juhu is an uphill task, with big residential locality around it and the existing pubs/bars/hotels already posing a threat to the peace and tranquility of the area. This will lead to more chaos, hooliganism, and disturbance of law and order in the area. Moreover, Juhu Chowpatty should not be converted into an entertainment place."

The new environment, tourism and protocol minister Aaditya Thackeray, who was pushing for nightlife in Mumbai has finally been able to realise his pet plan. In fact, from Friday, some malls and restaurants had already embarked on 24x7 operations. Since the state has given a nod to the nightlife proposal, now, the Sena-ruled Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is also planning to allow food trucks after 10 pm at select spots like at the corner of the National Centre for the Performing Arts at Nariman Point, the Bandra-Kurla Complex, Girgaum and Juhu Chowpatty, Worli Seaface - high footfall areas. However, Satam is opposed to the idea of late-night food trucks.

Juhu residents have weighed in with their feedback on the possible operation of food trucks after 10pm.

The Juhu-Vile Parle Development Co-operative Housing Association president

Paramjit Singh Ghai said, "While Mumbai 24x7 is a welcome idea to put the city on the global map, the idea of food trucks may prove to be ill-conceived and lead to endless problems of sanitation, garbage, water, hygiene, traffic, congestion, pollution, usurping footpaths, law and order issues etc."

The JVPD association limited represents 14 housing societies, comprising 750 buildings, which includes the bungalows of actors like Amitabh Bachchan and Shatrughan Sinha. Ghai added that they had already written several letters on the existing traffic congestion and recently, on the plan to allow food trucks at Chowpatty. In one of the letters, the association has mentioned, "Juhu Chowpatty already has food courts and other hotels which work all day and night and therefore, there is no need of burdening the area further."

Activist and Juhu resident Adolf D’souza told The Free Press Journal, "Allowing food trucks is a municipality rule, whereas the state has already passed a policy for nightlife. So if legal restaurants are allowed to open 24x7, why not food trucks. Anyhow, many stalls are running illegally till 5am. So if the corporation is legalising this, there should be no problem. There are restrictions but it cannot be denied that the greater the restrictions, the greater the illegalities. Yes, there will always be a law and order situation, but that arises when there is isolation. Law and order situation exists even in daytime."

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