Since the 26/11 terror attacks, boat owners have been restricted from allowing parties on-board beyond 8.30 pm by the Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT).
Their efforts to seek permission for a relaxation of norms on New Year’s Eve are caught in the back and forth with various government authorities, who are tossing their request from one department to another, they complained. They will now write to the home ministry, seeking to extend the deadline for boat parties.
The owners said that despite due deliberations, none of the departments concerned came out in support of them, or offered them any clarity.
“The police have asked us to get all necessary permissions before they allow us to organise parties. They have asked us to seek an amusement licence, which is usually not needed in our business. Meanwhile, in a meeting, MbPT officials asked us to seek permission from the home ministry to let the parties carry on till wee hours,” said U A Panchi, secretary of the Bundar Launch Malak Mahasangh.
Panchi added, “We have been reading in newspapers that boat owners can arrange late-night parties, but the fact is that it is allowed only until evening.”
Said another boat owner, “Who wraps up a party by 8.30 pm in a city like Mumbai? We have no choice but to write to the home ministry over the confusion created by our own department (MbPT), and to demand a consideration for our industry as well during such big events,” said another boat owner.
The boat proprietors alleged that there are no restrictions on the private ships partying at sea.
“Why are we fined for partying in the waters, and not other private boats? This is discrimination. New Year’s Eve is one of the few days when people like us can expect to do brisk business. But we are denied permission while the rest of the industry is enjoying,” said ferry owner Suhas Padte.
When MiD DAY contacted MbPT, its spokesperson said that none of the boat owners has approached the port authorities with a request to extend the