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Mumbai to remain open 24x7 from Jan 27: Aaditya Thackeray

Noting that London's 'night economy' was five billion pounds, state Tourism Minister Aaditya Thackeray told reporters here after the Cabinet meeting that the government's decision could help generate more revenue and jobs, in addition to the existing five lakh people working in the service sector.

ET Bureau|
Last Updated: Jan 23, 2020, 07.20 AM IST
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Aaditya Thackeray
"The BJP is against the youth, seeing the way they are handling students," he said.
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Mumbai: The Maharashtra cabinet approved a plan to allow Mumbai malls, restaurants and multiplexes to stay open around the clock from January 27 on a pilot basis. Extending the city’s nightlife will help turn India’s commercial capital into a global city and give its economy a boost by generating more jobs and tourist income, the state government said, fending off criticism from the opposition.

“If we have to make Mumbai an international city, then we need to give them more facilities,” said tourism and environment minister Aaditya Thackeray, who’d floated the idea some years ago. “Putting Mumbai under a curfew is not good. We have tourists, we have people who work late in the night and we are trying to give them more facilities.”

To be sure, there will be no change in the 1:30 am limit for serving alcohol.

The policy will be implemented in the first phase in the establishments described above while ensuring that residential areas are not affected. Noise guidelines along with other civic and environmental norms will have to be observed. In the initial phase, establishments in Bandra Kurla Complex, Nariman Point and erstwhile mill compounds will be allowed to operate throughout, subject to clearances from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and the police.

“Malls, establishments in mill compounds like multiplexes and eateries will now be able to be open 24/7,” said Thackeray. He was flanked by Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh, who had earlier expressed reservations over the plan but later supported it.

The tourism minister, son of chief minister Uddhav Thackeray, said that the move would lead to a boost for the economy and create more jobs.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was critical of the decision. Former Mumbai BJP chief Ashish Shelar said, “Mumbai’s nightlife has a bloody history,” citing the fire at a pub that killed 14 people in December 2017 at the Kamala Mills compound. He said the Shiv Senaled government wanted “people to drink all night.”

Thackeray pointed out that the permission didn’t apply to the 1:30 am cutoff for serving alcohol.

“There is nothing about extending the deadlines for drinking in pubs and bars in this policy,” he said. “People would be able to enjoy a movie, eat -- this is all what we are doing.”

He also countered the BJP’s statement that this would lead to a law and order issue in the city. They “think even a university is a law and order issue,” he said. “Let them handle JNU (Jawaharlal Nehru University) and then they should come and talk on this.”

The BJP’s Ram Kadam said it was due to the BJP’s opposition that the Sena-led government had backtracked on an earlier move to keep pubs and bars open 24/7. Thackeray said the government will ensure that provisions are not violated and those that do will face a life ban. The BJP and Shiv Sena were earlier coalition partners who ended ties last year after the Maharashtra state elections. The Shiv Sena subsequently formed a government in the state with the National Congress Party and the Congress party.

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