Mumbai may once again become the city that never sleeps
Following a push by Yuva Sena chief Aaditya Thackeray, CM Devendra Fadnavis has agreed to get certain areas such as Nariman Point and BKC designated as nightlife zones
Mumbai shall soon own the night. The city will soon have eateries, pubs, bars, and entertainment joints open throughout the night in areas designated as ‘nightlife zones’. Non-residential areas, malls and some business districts are expected to get this tag.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis yesterday agreed to push this proposal for legislative approval. He is expected to get relevant rules amended to facilitate city’s nightlife in the budget session starting next month. Fadnavis assured this to Shiv Sena’s youth wing chief Aaditya Thackeray.
The idea is to have hotels, medical shops (pharmacies), milk shops, cafeterias and malls open 24X7. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had prepared this plan two years ago for the state government’s approval. Fadnavis and Thackeray took the discussion to fruitful level after deliberating it at length.
“BMC’s proposal remained pending at state level because of apathetic approach taken by the Congress-NCP cabinet,” Thackeray said in a statement. Two days ago, Mumbai Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria agreed to implement the plan in areas of his jurisdiction.
What could be: A mid-day artist’s conceptualisation of what Marine Drive could look like as a ‘nightlife zone’. Graphics/Amit Bandre
Maria cited preparedness of his force to prevent any law-and-order situation if establishments remained open in the night. “We had got a letter from the tourism department and we have replied to it that we don’t find any problem in letting pubs and bars run in the night, but they should not be in residential areas.
What could be: Bandra-Kurla Complex also gets a facelift in this conceptualisation
There should be no problems to residents in the night due to these establishments, and proper arrangements should be made to drop the patrons home. In terms of malls, we don’t think running a bar or a pub in the mall at night will pose problems to anybody.
Aaditya Thackeray and Devendra Fadanvis
But, we will take the decision on case-by-case basis for granting permission,” said Rakesh Maria, commissioner of police.
The plan will have non-residential precincts such as Kala Ghoda, Nariman Point, Marine Drive, Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC) and Carter Road doing business till wee hours. Commercial complexes like malls, especially those set up on mill lands, will be designated as special entertainment zones. Malls on non-mill land will also fall under this category.
Other than the above options, less expensive joints will be allowed to operate near railways stations and off the highways, so that commuters could use them. This proposal will boost tourism, employment, business and revenue for the government, said Thackeray.
“Nightlife will enhance the city’s economy. Commercial activity will increase and offer more jobs in three working shifts. The state will also earn revenue,” Thackeray told reporters after meeting the CM. Sena MPs Arvind Sawant and Rahul Shewale, MLA Sunil Prabhu and corporator Makrand Narvekar, too, presented their views before the CM.
Thackeray praised the city police for dismissing the issue of law-and-order while giving approval to the proposal. “The Mumbai Police is able enough to meet any eventuality. The people of this city have faith in our police force, and hence nightlife will not create any issue for the people and the police,” he said.
Fadnavis told mid-day that he was positive about the proposal. “I will take this plan forward keeping in mind the concerns faced by peace-loving people. We will amend relevant laws in such a fashion that they will not allow stakeholders to create disturbance for the passive class of people. We will take utmost care in making the system work in a manner which will be acceptable to all.”
Cheers all around
The proposal was met with collective approval from the entertainment industry, with the likes of actors Dia Mirza, Ayushmann Khurana, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Sushant Singh Rajput lauding the government for the initiative. Musician Gino Banks also felt it would improve the music scene.
Koamal Panchal, 27, Magazine editor
Youngsters and the entire working class of the city works really hard, don’t we deserve a relieving night as well? The step is commendable and will help the city move towards being recognised as a global destination that has every facility available at any time of the day.
Nikhil Kapoor, 22, Administrator & Event Manager
It’s a wonderful news! People usually appreciate things that are provided 24X7. We youngsters love to sit and spend time with friends till four or five in the morning, rather than merely returning back home around past midnight. I think this is a great idea and this rule should be applicable to music festivals too.
Kritika Ajmani, 24, Media professional
A bustling nightlife will not only push extra money into the economy, but will also make the city much more safer. It will be a revolutionary decision, if taken.
A working person in Mumbai doesn’t normally reach home from work before 9 pm. By the time they hit a club or bar or lounge, it’s close to 11 pm. One gets into the mood to party and let his/her hair down by midnight. And if clubs shut at 1 am, it becomes a buzz killer.
People have to enjoy their night in a rush. If the deadline for the nightlife is extended, a person can enjoy everything in a relaxed manner and enjoy his/her night out to the fullest. Extending the deadline improves the economy as well. People are out, spending is more and the government can earn more in taxes as well.
If the nightlife gets going again, the party scene in Mumbai will have a positive impact. Tourists have an option to get out and experience the city by night. Clubs and bars too have the option of having events in their venues if they have the time to recover the money spent on guest artists/DJs etc to give their guests better entertainment.
Dia Mirza, actress
I think it’s a fantastic idea! It is indicative of a state government that is willing to assume responsibility for its residents whilst providing them with access to food and entertainment. As a Mumbaikar I, for one, am enthused and grateful. 24X7 restaurants/ zones are common in most developed cosmopolitan cities world over and will be a welcome addition to the fabric of Mumbai’s nightlife.
Richa Chadda, actress
Mumbai has been the entertainment capital of the whole Indian subcontinent. The more freedom and incentive we provide to the industry here, the more the city and entertainment businesses will benefit. Now if the government tackles the problem of the entertainment tax next, we will be a huge source of revenue to the national economy.
Swara Bhaskar, actress
I’m happy that the government has earmarked certain SEZ’s in non-residential areas - I hope this is a step in the right direction and I also hope citizens do not misuse this freedom and endorse it responsibly.
Ayushman Khurana, actor
Mumbai is one of those cities in the world that never sleeps. These zones were always needed in this city of dreams and high energy. It is a very positive and progressive step. We believe in working hard and playing harder. Thanks CM Saab!
Siddharth Malhotra, actor
It is a great move and I am sure it will be welcomed by the youth of the city. Mumbai is known to be a city that never sleeps and now it will be more so.
Meldan D’Cunha, owner, The Local (night club)
They said that permits will be granted to those restaurants and clubs that are not in residential areas and only those can stay open later. This, I think, is very fair. Initially, there was some talk about creating a space that would be a night hub and all restaurants in that one area would be open late. But the new proposal is better.
It’s a step forward. People can know what places are open and flock there. There are a lot of spaces that stay open illegally. This will put everyone on a fair footing. For safety, additional cameras and bouncers should be provided.
There are airports and railway stations that are open all night. The more activity there is in an area, the safer it will become.
Nawazuddin Siddiqui, actor
This is a great decision by the government and the move should be welcomed. Mumbai’s nightlife will be back. I am grateful to the government for making such a move.
Gino Banks, musician
The city’s music scene will grow for sure and get better hopefully, as clubs and pubs will do more now for promotions and events. That will create a healthier scene in general.
Suprita Mitter, Krutika Behrawala, Asira Tarannum, Shubha Shetty-Saha, Laxman Singh