Hoteliers have appealed to the Home Ministry to keep all establishments open till 5 am on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve
This Christmas and New Year's Eve, there are chances that you won't have to say, "Please don't stop the party."
In a bid to party late, the Indian Hotel and Restaurant Association (AHAR) has written to the State Home Ministry, appealing them to extend the deadline to 5 am from the usual 1.30 am deadline on December 24, 25 and New Year's Eve.
Hoteliers claim that extending the deadline will result in greater revenues for the state government as well
In a letter submitted to the home department (a copy of which is with MiD DAY), the association has sought an extension of timings on the aforementioned days not only for party-holder licensees and permit room holders (bars) but also for fine-dining establishments.
Narayan Alva, president of AHAR, confirmed that the letter had been sent to the home ministry for the extension of the deadline for the following days.
"Last year all permit room holders were permitted to stay open till 5am, whereas vegetarian restaurants which are in great numbers had to close down by 1.30 am.
At least, on these three days the government should allow restaurants and permit rooms to stay open till 5 am.
In our letter to the ministry we have clearly mentioned that all restaurants, pubs and hotels should be treated at par."
Alva added that extension of deadline would bring in extra revenue and help boost tourism too.
Extending the deadline by three and a half hours means an astounding earning (excise revenue and VAT) of over Rs 13.42 crore approximately for the state too.
Iqbal Mulla, treasurer of Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) echoed Alva's sentiments.
"During winter, we get more tourists coming in from various countries as the temperature in India is favourable and they prefer partying late in Mumbai.
Around the world people celebrate December 25 and 31 with great vigour and the government should use these days to lure more tourists."
Many hoteliers feel that the deadline extension is a must for New Year's Eve bashes. "Extension of the deadline is definitely required especially when people are in a celebratory mood.
Patrons always want to party more but, unfortunately, we have to ask them to leave as we have to shut down," said Kamlesh Barot, director of Encore Hotels.
Another vegetarian hotel owner elaborated further saying that it was unfair that hotels were allowed to stay open during Ramzan through the night at no extra cost but when it came to New Year's Eve, they had to shut down.
"We have sought an extension and have to pay Rs 250 per hour to stay open post the deadline. Why are we being discriminated against?"
"During New Year we usual dine after 12 am but with 1.30 am been the closing time, restaurants do not permit us to enter the venue stating it is shutting down.
At least during these days the government should allow restaurants to remain open till 5am," said Reshma Maisheri, resident of Mulund.
"We celebrate New Year after 12 pm. But the fear is that we won't get any food after midnight forces us to order food in advance," said Lindsay Fernandez, a BPO employee.
The Other Side
A senior official from the excise department said, "We have received a verbal appeal, but nothing is in our hand. Only if we get the approval from the ministry we will be able to extend the deadline."
Around the World
Licensing laws were relaxed in 2005 allowing for 24-hour drinking at pubs and clubs in the city. However, vandalism and binge drinking increased.
Bars who've applied for a special permit are allowed to stay open till 8 am instead of 4 am on New Year's Eve.
People bringing in the New Year have to end all their merriment at 1 am as all bars and pubs close then