The city might soon become a city that never sleeps, literally. The Mumbai municipality has cleared a proposal to keep the city’s eateries open 24/7.
Surprisingly, the proposal has found the solid backing of the Shiv Sena, a party which was until recently known for its conservative stand against social events and Mumbai’s night life. The suggestion has come from Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray’s son and Yuva Sena president, Aditya.
“The proposal is to make the city’s nightlife vibrant. The 24/7 eateries will not only help thousands of professionals who work late [into the] night but also attract more tourists to the city,” said Aditya Thackeray on Thursday.
As per the proposal, pharmacies and dairies will remain open throughout the night along with eateries. However, the proposal does not include bars and pubs. The permits will be given only in non-residential areas and the consent of a majority of the people will be necessary in residential areas.
The proposal was moved in the corporation by an independent corporator Makarand Narvekar. After its clearance from the municipality, it will be sent to the State’s Urban Development Department for approval. The State government will have to amend the Shops and Establishment Act to implement the proposal, which is expected in the coming winter session. Mumbai will be the only city in the country to remain open even at night, if the proposal is cleared.
“New York can remain open throughout the night even after the 9/11 attacks, then why not Mumbai? We need a safe and vibrant night life. This move will only add to Mumbai’s attractions,” said Mr. Thackeray. Following the bomb blasts in 1993, the Mumbai police had started to shut down eateries, bars and pubs by midnight for security reasons, a practice which is still followed.
However, the proposal has already drawn fierce opposition from social activists. “The citizens are already complaining about the noise pollution [at] nights from restaurants. We strongly object [to] any such amendment,” said Sumeira Abdul Ali, an anti-noise pollution activist from Mumbai. Ms. Ali has already sent a letter to the Chief Minister of Maharashtra opposing this move. She said that none of the citizen groups were taken into consideration before the decision by the corporation and any such decision would violate the Supreme Court’s directions to the State to prevent noise pollution.