With the Mumbai police finally clearing the decks for permitting bars, discos and pubs to stay open all night if they are not located in residential areas, nightlife in the city got another shot in the arm on Monday, with Yuva Sena chief Aaditya Thackeray meeting chief minister Devendra Fadnavis to demand easing of regulations to help implement the move.
Members of the hospitality sector, however, said hurdles still remain, as the excise and other civic departments are yet to give their consent.
At the meeting, Thackeray said the establishments should not be burdened with too many mandatory licences to operate round the clock. Fadnavis is said to have listened patiently and assured him that amendments will be passed, probably in the next Assembly session.
It was the Thackeray scion who had mooted the proposal in 2013, and even got it passed in the BMC, where his party is in power. However, the state government then in power, led by Prithviraj Chavan, was not eager.
Last month, city police commissioner Rakesh Maria had given a green light for all-night pubs and cafes, with the exception of establishments located in residential areas. At present, all such establishments are allowed to operate till 1.30am.
The Hotel and Restaurant Association of Western India (HRWAI) said it has already submitted a proposal for an ‘online one window system,’ saying the system also reduces the number of permissions from the present 39 to 19. “Multiple agencies complicate the matter. What we need is just one stop,” said Kamlesh Barot, former president, HRWAI.
Residents of areas such as Colaba Causeway and Linking Road have reservations about the move. “We face massive problems such as double parking, because of the hotels nearby. Diners and revellers often create a commotion. Extension of timings will only add to the havoc,” said Subhash Motwani, founder, Clean Heritage Colaba Residents Association.