Future of “Mumbai 24 hours” hinges on its success

Published : January 23, 2020 17:26 IST

Maharashtra Tourism Minister Aditya Thackeray. A file picture. Photo: Shashank Parade/PTI

“Mumbai 24 hours”, a pet project of Maharashtra Tourism Minister Aaditya Thackeray, has been given the green signal by the State government. From January 27 onwards, shops, cafes and restaurants within compounds such as malls and in non-residential areas can opt to remain open for 24 hours seven days a week. The new ruling will not apply to bars and restaurants that serve alcohol or to standalone establishments.

While making the announcement the Shiv Sena Minister said this was a pilot project which could extend to independent shops and restaurants if it works successfully. Aaditya Thackeray said the move was essential to boost the city’s economy and generate employment. At the press conference on January 22, he said it was not mandatory but those who wanted to remain open could do so. Labour laws such as employing three shifts of workers would be enforced. The establishments remaining open would also have to adhere to noise pollution rules. With regard to security, he said the establishments could either have private security or could pay the Mumbai Police for help. This could be a supplementary an income for the force. A reason the project has been started in gated areas is because they already have a security system in place, he said.

Aaditya Thackeray had initiated the project in 2013. It was sanctioned in 2017, but the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which was in power then refused to see it through and alleged that the hidden agenda behind the project was to reopen dance bars which had been first banned in 2005. It also said the move would revive underworld activities.

Thackeray had spoken about the Mumbai 24 hour project during his election campaign in October 2019 and promised to implement it if he was elected. He said the intention was to create revenue, employment and establish Mumbai’s status as a global city. He pointed out at the press conference that the project took inspiration from London, which apparently earns five billion (pounds sterling) annually from its “night economy”.

Nariman Point in the south and the Bandra Kurla Complex in the north are the two locations where the 24-hour rule will start. Media reports say that restaurants and shops have largely welcomed the move.