On The First Night Of "Mumbai 24 Hours", A Reality Check

Many establishment owners have decided to adopt a cautious wait-and-watch policy.

For now, the initiative seems to have evoked a mixed response from the city's residents.

Mumbai:

The much-awaited experiment of keeping Mumbai open round the clock kicked in on January 26 midnight. The policy "Mumbai 24 hours" aims to ensure that commercial establishments, including shops, restaurants and movie halls, never roll down their shutters for the night.

The idea behind the move was to generate more jobs and revenue and elevate Mumbai to the level of global hotspots such as London and New York. However, when NDTV set off to do a ground check on day one, many malls were found closed in accordance with earlier timings.

For now, the initiative seems to have evoked a mixed response from the city's residents. While many welcome the move, they also express concerns regarding safety - especially that of women.

"It makes sense for me to keep my establishment open only if there is adequate public response. I am a businessman, and I have to keep my revenues in mind," said Javed, the owner of Gamestop at Atria Mall.

While the Atria Mall management claims that it will start by implementing the "Mumbai 24 hours" routine on weekends, the brands inside the mall haven't come around to the idea yet. "The mall is ready but the brands are not completely prepared because they need more time to hire resources. We will keep it open on weekend because there will be more people then," said Jayesh Ketkar, who is part of the Atria Mall management.

Although the policy is not mandatory, the government expects support from many outlets. Store owners say they will explore the viability of keeping their establishments open after gauging customer footfall in the morning hours.

Safety and compliance are going to be key to the success of the initiative. While the excise department will revoke liquor licences if alcoholic beverages are served in restaurants beyond the stipulated hour, the Mumbai police will need nearly 7,000 additional personnel to monitor the city.

"We have sought the support of taxi unions as well as radio cabs such as Ola and Uber. This will be quite challenging for us," said Avinash Kumar, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone 3) of the Mumbai Police.

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