Maharashtra Tourism Minister Aaditya Thackeray on Wednesday announced that the state Cabinet had approved the “Mumbai 24 hours policy” that will allow malls, multiplexes and shops to remain open round the clock from January 27, PTI reported.
Thackeray said the decision was expected to help generate more revenue and jobs, in addition to the five lakh people already working in the service sector. He added that London’s “night economy” was worth £5 billion.
The minister said it was not mandatory for establishments to remain open at night. “Only those who feel they can do good business can keep their establishments open throughout the night,” he added.
In the first phase, shops, eateries and theatres in malls and mill compounds situated in non-residential areas would be allowed to remain open. “In the Bandra-Kurla Complex and Nariman Point near NCPA, a lane will be opened for food trucks,” Thackeray added. “Food inspectors will keep a watch on them. If rules on solid waste management, decibel limits and law and order are violated, there is provision of lifetime ban.”
However, pubs and bars will close as usual at 1.30 am as excise rules have not been altered.
The tourism minister, who is the son of Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, said Mumbai was a “24x7 functional city”. “There are people who work in night shifts,” Aaditya Thackeray told reporters, justifying the government’s decision. “There are tourists, too, in transit. Where do they go if they are hungry after 10 pm?”
The tourism minister said the move would not put more pressure on the police force as they would now be able to focus only on law and order, and would not need to check whether shops and establishments had shut down.
Thackeray said there were provisions for installing CCTVs in malls and mill compounds. These establishments would have to pay for additional security, he added. Aaditya Thackeray dismissed criticism from the Bharatiya Janata Party, claiming that the Maha Vikas Aghadi – the coalition of the Shiv Sena, Congress and Nationalist Congress Party – was working to fulfill people’s aspirations.
“The BJP is against the youth, seeing the way they are handling students,” he said, referring to the violence at Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University, where a mob comprising members of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s student wing Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad attacked and injured at least 34 students and teachers earlier this month.