Mumbai works till late, must get option to dine, shop with 24x7 move, says Aaditya Thackeray
“Mumbaiites, mostly the youth, work till late. When they plan to go out with their friends or family post-work hours, the shops and restaurants close for the day,” says Aaditya Thackeray said.Updated: Jan 19, 2020 12:29 IST
After the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) raised apprehensions on the state’s decision to approve the plan to let commercial establishments in the city operate 24x7, Maharashtra tourism minister Aaditya Thackeray on Saturday, sought to justify the move, saying that a city like Mumbai needs to keep shops and restaurants open throughout night, as most citizens work till late and cannot go out with friends and families after their work hours, as most establishments close early.
“Mumbaiites, mostly the youth, work till late. When they plan to go out with their friends or family post-work hours, the shops and restaurants close for the day. With the 24/7 plan, we want to provide the citizens with the option to shop or dine at restaurants late at night,” Thackeray said.
On Thursday, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and Mumbai Police, in a meeting headed by Thackeray, decided to permit establishments across the city, which fall under “gated communities”, and non-residential areas, to remain open 24x7 from January 27. Representatives of shopping malls, hotels and restaurants were also present at the meeting. Depending on the owners’ financial viability, they will have the discretion to keep their commercial establishments open 24x7, provided they fulfil some necessary conditions.
On Friday, BJP leader Ashish Shelar had criticised the government and said that it wants to facilitate the sale of liquor throughout night. Thackeray clarified that the decision to operate 24/7 will not be applicable on the sale of liquor.
“The existing excise law [that governs the sale of liquor] won’t be tinkered with while allowing shops and restaurants to remain open throughout the clock,” he said.
Thackeray has been pushing for the 24x7 nightlife concept in Mumbai for the past few years. The idea was first proposed in 2005 by the then labour minister, Nawab Malik. It was later again raised by the Shiv Sena in 2013. In January 2018, the state government had issued a notification, amending the Shops and Establishments (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Services) Act to allow shops, malls, restaurants that do not serve alcohol to operate all night long. However, the plan was put in the backburner, owing to security concerns raised by the police, following which the matter was sent to the state home ministry.