In a meeting of citywide hoteliers called by Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan on Monday, industry representatives demanded separate tourism zones for Mumbai city in the vein of Singapore or Bangkok.
Sources say that at the meeting, the CM promised to work on archaic laws related to drinking and partying, run-ins with which have been the talk of the town for the last few months.
“We had a meeting with the CM twice and he had shown a lot of interest in promoting Maharashtra, nationally and internationally. We have put forth our plans of creating tourism zones in Mumbai, which will work like night bazaars where people can drink, eat and dance the entire night. It will be a replica of night bazaars in Singapore. The CM has asked the tourism department to look into the possibilities of coming up with such zones,” said Kamlesh Barot, president Hotel and Restaurant Association.
“Some of the areas where there is a large presence of hotels, pubs and restaurants include Kala Ghoda, Linking Road in Bandra and Juhu, which can be turned into special tourism zones,” Barot added.
“Mumbai is the only state where we have a drinking permit system. We have appealed to the CM to rid the industry of these old laws. If we get all this in place, tourism in Mumbai can generate employment for many people,” Barot added.
Mansi Shah, a resident of Bandra and a regular partygoer, welcomes the idea. “If we need to progress, we need to boost tourism in the state. We talk about Bollywood, which gives Mumbai its identity, but nothing has been done to woo tourists. If such zones are developed it will help Mumbaikars enjoy nightlife without disturbing other areas,” she said.
Nightlife deadlines in the country
Mumbai: 1 am
Pune: 1.30 am as per excise rule, but police insist that establishments close by 12.30 am
Nagpur: 11.30 pm
Delhi: 11 pm
Kerala: 1 am
Karnataka: 1 am
Tamil Nadu: 11 pm