- Mumbai shops, malls, eateries will be allowed to remain open for 24 hours
- The rule will apply to establishments in non-residential zones
- The trial run for this will begin on January 26, Aaditya Thackeray says
Shops, malls, restaurants and movie theatres in Mumbai will be allowed to remain open for 24 hours on a trial run starting Republic Day, Maharashtra Tourism Minister Aaditya Thackeray said on Friday, in a major boost for nightlife in the country's financial and entertainment capital. The rule will apply to establishments in non-residential zones with facilities of security, CCTVs, parking areas, news agency IANS reported.
"We have decided to allow malls, mills, theatres, restaurants and shops which are not in residential areas to stay open for 24 hours. The trial run for this will begin on January 26. If Ahmedabad can do this, why can't we? This will create jobs and benefit the government too," Mr Thackeray said.
Nariman Point, Kala Ghoda and the Bandra Kurla Complex are some of the areas where this will apply, he said.
Aaditya Thackeray had campaigned for the eateries and other establishments to stay open all night in the city during the previous government when his party ruled the state in alliance with the BJP.
While the BJP-led government had issued a notification over a year ago to introduce the measure, it had taken a backseat after the devastating fire in a restaurant in the Kamala Mills Compound and the recent police crackdown on bars with women singers or waitresses.
Now in the opposition, the BJP questioned the move. "26th January is Republic Day, a dry day. And that same day the whole night pubs, dance bars and alcohol will be served. Has the government completely lost it?" the part's chief whip in the assembly Ashish Shelar said.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), which is working on the plan, said unlike other large cities in India, Mumbai has a space crunch and needs to make efficient use of its commercial zones.
Maharashtra Tourism Director Dilip Gawde said, "There are cities like New York and others which have implemented such policies in specific areas. This is a welcome initiative by the government for Mumbai and will give a fillip to tourism."
The state government official said that already Mumbai practically functions round-the-clock, people commute long distances between workplaces and homes, businesses and industries work in multiple shifts, public transport buses run all night and suburban trains run for over 20 each day hours.