As the debate on whether Mumbai needs its pubs and bars to be open throughout the night continues, residents of Bandra and Colaba are strongly opposed to the idea.
Last month, Rakesh Maria, Mumbai police commissioner gave his nod for establishments to be open all night, but with the rider that the pubs, bars and restaurants should not be located in residential areas.
Now political parties like the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Republican Party of India (RPI) have chimed in demanding even roadside vendors be allowed to keep their stalls open throughout the night.
Residents in Bandra and Colaba said they are already hassled because of the patrons of the pubs and restaurants around their homes and to allow roadside eateries to run all night on top of that will only make things worse.
According to Anil Joseph, president, Perry Road Residents Association, the residents want the present pubs to close down.
“Linking Road has a mix of commercial and residential properties and any relaxation of deadline will cause havoc,” said Joseph. Aftab Siddique, a social activist who has been fighting against illegal pubs and bars feels the same way. “The areas have no parking facility, forcing patrons to park in the narrow lanes where people stay. It is a nuisance all night,” she said. “More than attracting foreign tourists, the government should first concentrate on providing quality life to the local residents,” she said.
Colaba residents have all called for a meeting next week to oppose the issue]. “The BMC staff cannot control hawkers during the day. Imagine our plight if they have a free run throughout the night,” said Subhash Motwani, founder, Clean Heritage Colaba Residents Association. “We have no problem with people partying or enjoying snacks, but the problem here is a lack of civic sense and we will all have to bear the consequences,” he added.
According to National Restaurants Association of India (NRAI), a dialogue with the residents will ensure solutions. “A 24x7 night life is inevitable in an international city like Mumbai. We can always find solutions by sitting across the table. Restaurant owners are not bullies and are ready to cooperate with the residents,” said Riyaz Almani, President, NRAI.