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Mumbai likely to see more rooftop restaurants, as BMC chief approves policy finally

Sena-BJP stand-off ends as civic chief okays policy; restaurants can’t have residential structures within 10-metre radius of edge of rooftop

mumbai Updated: Nov 02, 2017 11:06 IST
Sanjana Bhalerao
Sanjana Bhalerao
Hindustan Times
Now, malls will be able to use their terraces for restaurants, and existing rooftop eateries will come under the civic body’s purview. (HT File / Photo for representational purpose only)

Get ready to dine under the stars as the civic chief on Wednesday approved the long-pending rooftop restaurant policy.

Now, malls and residential hotels will be able to use their terraces for restaurants, and existing rooftop eateries, unregulated so far, will come under the civic body’s review.

This permission, however, is conditional — the restaurants cannot disturb the surrounding neighbourhood.

The policy also sidesteps the issue of allowing such restaurants to serve liquor — it only mentions serving food. Earlier, the policy allowed serving liquor on hotel terraces with permission from the excise department, stating only that the applicant will be held responsible for any untoward incident.

Also, to ensure safety, the civic body has only allowed the serving of food on the terrace, not cooking.

The policy was announced five years ago, but was caught in a tiff between the saffron allies.

After the BJP’s demand, the civic chief added a rider, approving such restaurants only in areas that don’t have residential structures within a 10-metre radius of the edge of the rooftop. The BJP had demanded a 30-metre radius, which is impossible in a dense city such as Mumbai.

The policy also gives residents a redressal mechanism. It states that complaints from residents can lead to suspension or cancellation of the restaurant’s licence.

The nod to this policy is seen as the first step for the 24x7 Mumbai proposal, being pushed by Sena youth leader Aaditya Thackeray. The state Assembly has already passed an amendment to the Shops and Establishment Bill this monsoon session, allowing pubs and restaurants to stay open 24x7. However, the units will require police permissions, which will be given on an individual basis.

While many rooftop restaurants already operate across the city in places such as Khar, Bandra, Kala Ghoda, Nariman Point, Bandra-Kurla Complex and Mulund, a civic official, on condition of anonymity, said: “This policy will get all such restaurants under the legal ambit. They will have to pay a licence fee to the civic body and adhere to norms.”

There has been competition between the Sena and the BJP over the rooftop policy. While Yuva Sena chief Aaditya Thackeray has been pushing for its approval, the BJP had opposed it, calling the policy ‘immoral’ and contending that it will disrupt the city’s culture and peace. The BJP softened its stance only after Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis pitched for nightlife zones in Mumbai. Aaditya had met both the civic chief and Fadnavis to discuss the policy.

The BMC has also restricted restaurants from canopying the area; no monsoon sheds/umbrella/ tarpaulin cover will be permitted. It is also mandatory for restaurants to keep the terrace open to the sky at all times. In addition, establishments will be allowed to only construct or increase the height of defence wall up to 1.5m using grills.

First Published: Nov 02, 2017 11:01 IST