So the hurrahs and the cheers haven’t stopped coming in from every quarter ever since the state chief minister and Mumbai’s commissioner of police gave their nods to keep certain pockets of the city open 24x7. Will the city be able to wrest back its bragging rights as the nightlife and entertainment centre of India?
While the thought of Mumbai having a vibrant nightlife makes for heady imagery for many of us, it needs to be implemented in such a way that it offers a 360-degree vision and bandwidth. Every age group and gender must be able to enjoy this newfound luxury, whenever it becomes operational in the city.
For this to get a thumbs-up from its biggest beneficiaries citizens and tourists the decision must be propped with adequate and robust safety measures and transport services. Imagine having just stepped out of a live gig in Bandra-Kurla Complex at 3 am, only to discover that streets are without any kind of policing, and with no sight of authorised auto or taxi stands to enable a safe journey back home. Sounds pointless, doesn’t it? Likewise would be the case if patrons find themselves marooned and feeling unsafe after visiting all-nighter cineplexes, restaurants and night clubs in parts of these handpicked areas.
As test drives, these problem areas within the zones must be identified, sanitised, and kept free of unwanted elements. Safety and convenience of all should be of paramount importance; these are valid concerns that have been expressed by many citizen groups when the news first made headlines.
Besides, these are the same two crucial areas that have, in the past, caused immense sense of discomfort and hardly instilled much confidence among Mumbai’s citizens; more reason why the powers that be must have an action plan and a blueprint in order. Some might even say that the sheen has been taken away of the city being touted as safe for the citizen and the tourist alike.
But (and we dearly hope it happens) if Mumbai can crack this, it will surely go a long, long way to help bring back our much boasted title of being India’s safest city. We’ll be watching.
The writer is Features Editor of mid-day