Hold on, Mumbai partygoers! Nightlife plan has a last hurdle to cross

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Feb 17, 2015 22:21 IST

It might be a little too early for partygoers in Mumbai to celebrate the 24x7 nightlife plan.

For, while the proposal allows pubs, discos, malls and bars in non-residential areas, there is a still a deadline of 1.30am for those in residential areas. And with most pubs and bars in the city located in residential areas, the government will take some time to list the nightlife spots, said sources.

“The law is ambiguous as it allows only fully commercial areas to get permits. However, except the Bandra-Kurla Complex, most areas in Mumbai are a mix of residential and commercial growth. We still don’t know whether the entire mall will be allowed operations till late, or only some joints in a mall will be given the permission,” said Apurva Padgaonkar, partner, Tight Pub, Inorbit Mall, Vashi.

Agreeing with Padgaonkar, Riyaaz Amlani, president, National Restaurant Association of India, said, “It is definitely a step in the right direction. However, we don’t know what it will translate into. There are very few areas that are purely non-residential.”

Resident organisations and advanced local managements (ALMs), too, are unsure. While some of them feel the rule will eventually be extended to residential areas and will disturb their peace, some are happy with it.

Hansel D’Souza, founder-member of Juhu Citizens’ Welfare Group, said, “Most pubs, restaurants and bars are located in residential areas. “It is a very poor idea, it just manifests the short-sighted policy of the government in running the city.”

“The government says the rule will apply only to commercial zones, but it is arguable whether Juhu is a commercial area or a residential one. Lakhs of people live there and will be affected. There are bound to be parking problems, honking nuisance, drink driving, and street brawls,” said D’Souza.

Cynthia D’mello of NGO My Dream Colaba, however, said the new rule will give Mumbai the much-needed nightlife.

“It will not only create more jobs, but also boost the city’s all-night food and party scene. Today, the 24-hour coffee shops are tucked away inside five-star hotels and accessible only to a few. We have little all-night food options. But the rule needs to be supported by a 24-hour public transport system, so people don’t have to worry about reaching home. This is the norm in several global cities and Mumbai needs to follow suit if it aspires to be a world-class city,” she said.

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