Mumbai nightlife plan: 24x7 joints will need locals' approval too

Aug 12, 2017, 08:39 IST | Dharmendra Jore

Mumbai restaurants, malls, theatres and other establishments will have to pass the muster of government agencies and locals while seeking clearance to remain open 24×7

While bars, permit rooms and discotheques will not be covered under the new nightlife reforms, restaurants, malls, theatres and other establishments will have to pass the muster of government agencies and locals while seeking clearance to remain open 24×7.

The amendment by the state legislature has given power to residential areas that might get troubled and inconvenienced because of establishments operating round the clock. The police would take proper action to withhold permission or restrict timings, in case they receive complaints against a particular shop or restaurant. Bars, permit rooms and discotheques would continue to follow existing deadlines.

'Mumbai police work 24X7. The police's work is to implement law and not question it. We are prepared and ready to handle any task assigned to us,' said Deven Bharti, joint commissioner of police (Law and Order).

Police sources said that the department had asked for creating special zones where establishments could run 24x7. A senior IPS officer told mid-day that his department would pursue the demand further as it would ensure convenience to citizens and law enforcement agencies.

Specific guidelines for city
'We are happy to have a reform like this in place. It will apply to all of Maharashtra. Mumbai and some cities where people work 24x7 would definitely benefit. However, we need to streamline it. Mumbai, particularly, is different than other cities and hence, we need to have specific guidelines for implementing the reform,' said a senior IPS officer.

In fact, the city police had given the green light to such a plan a couple of years ago, but it did not win the government's approval.

The Assembly approved the amendment on Thursday and the Council passed it Friday. The law will now head to the Governor for his approval. The state would enforce the reforms once he passes them.

First state to adopt reform
What prompted the state to amend the law was a legislation passed by the Centre, which made the Model Shops and Establishments Bill, some time ago. Being a concurrent subject, the state made changes to it before adopting it in the name of ease of doing business. Maharashtra is the first state to adopt the reform. The state has made measures to safeguard interests of employees such as personal safety, health and weekly offs. Female employees would get a crèche at places where 50 or more women work. Maternity benefits and minimum wages are other compulsions. Canteens would be a must for any unit that employs 100 or more.

Establishments which employ 10 or less workers would not be forced to undergo inspections. Those not fitting this condition would, however, have to comply strict regulations.

Inputs by Shraddha Uchil


Restaurateurs say

Pankil Shah, Woodside Inn proprietor
'Since we serve alcohol, we won't be able to stay open beyond 1.30 am, since that requires additional permission from the Excise department. That said, I think it's a great idea. Mumbai needs to start having a 24x7 culture. It will benefit the smaller joints across the city.

Bruce Rodrigues, Imbiss proprietor
'We won't keep the restaurant open beyond 11.30 pm. Our Bandra outlet is in a residential area, and we don't want any issues with people living there. We wouldn't consider it for our other outlets either, because it would involve hiring a whole new set of staffers.'

Zeeshan Shaikh, CEO, Carter's Blue
'It's a positive development for restaurants in commercial areas, and those that don't serve alcohol. If this comes through, we will only keep our outlets in commercial areas open, like the one in Kala Ghoda. People might have to travel a bit, but at least they will have options in the middle of the night.'

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