The Union cabinet’s decision to clear the Model Shops and Establishment Act that allows malls, restaurants, movie halls and shops to operate 24x7, 365 days a year has made Gurgaon residents happy.
The city has a number of IT/BPO firms, which work round-the-clock, the employees will finally be able to dine in restaurants and shop in malls even during the wee hours. At present, only about 250 establishments, majorly IT/BPO companies, have the permission to work throughout the day.
“It is great news for those working late nights, especially BPO employees. Gurgaon is lively in the day, but at night the roads remain empty. The decision will give a new night life to the city. We will not have to worry about eating at a cheap roadside stall as restaurants will be at our service,” said Tahir Khan of a private firm.
Even the authorities of various malls in Gurgaon rejoiced over the decision. They said that they were happy to see that the government is finally giving the owners the freedom to operate as per customer requirement. However, it will take months before the malls are open 24x7 because of planning of operations and maintenance.
“We are happy with the recent decision of the cabinet. But a lot of planning will be required before malls and shops are kept open at all times. We will have to plan when the maintenance or other repairs are done after the complex is ready to operate 24x7. The overall cost will increase and future decisions will be taken after considering all the factors,” said Denise Singh, general manager, MGF Mall.
A few employees, however, raised questions about women security, especially during night.
Aarti Narang, an employee, said, “Though the decision is welcome, it raises questions on women safety. The police are hardly visible on the roads in the day time. Will they be available at all in the night? There are several dark stretches, how is the government planning to make us feel safe will be an important point to note.”
There are several dark stretches in Gurgaon and a few places like MG Road, Cyber City and Sector 29 are infamous for drunken brawls that are an everyday affair.
The mall and restaurant owners said that women security will be their top priority. With a majority of women working in shops, they said that plans for safe pick-up and drop will be the first and most crucial task.
“Women security is our priority. A lot of attention will be paid to the transport facility as we cannot rely on public vehicles,” said Vijay Aima, vice-president (operations), Ambience Mall.
Moreover, the members of the national restaurant association said that the government should also relax excise rules of serving liquor in the city. They want that restaurants should be allowed to serve liquor even after 12.