Mumbai, Sept. 15: Mumbai could literally become a city that never sleeps, if a Thackeray has his way.
Before the weekend, a resolution mooting the idea that Mumbai’s several hundred eateries, milk vending shops and chemists should be allowed to operate round the clock could be tabled and discussed in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation.
The proposal has a powerful backer in Aaditya Thackeray, the son of Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray, who has floated it on Facebook.
“I strongly believe Mumbai needs a safe and yet vibrant night life. Our city virtually sleeps after midnight, while the people look for some chilling time post work. I have mooted an idea, which my dear friend Makrand Narvekar is going to table in the BMC very soon,” Aaditya, who heads the Sena youth wing Yuva Sena, posted yesterday.
“This would be a major boost to our city’s nightlife. It will be a great roll in for the economy, increase places to chill and eat post work, and curb corruption from places that are illegally open at night. Imagine your fav food/coffee place open at night!” he wrote.
“New York, London and even areas in our very own Indore are open 24 hours. Why not our lovely Mumbai? Do share this if you like this idea if you agree!”
The suggestion received instant approval. One Facebook follower, Abhijit Deorukhkar, posted: “This is a very important for the safety of who return home from work late in the night.” Another, Aiyanna Nellamakkada, agreed: “True… the more movement of people at night, the more safe it is ….”
Narvekar, who was elected as a citizens’ candidate from Colaba in south Mumbai in the February 2012 civic elections, said he had served a notice of motion in August and it has been included in the September 20 meeting of the corporation for discussion.
“There are many offices open round the clock. There are flights landing in Mumbai through the night. Citizens do not have any option but to either rely on street vendors for food or go to a 24-hour coffee shop in a five-star hotel. So eateries, not bars, open round the clock will be good for them,” said Narvekar, who is related to Shiv Sena spokesperson Rahul Narvekar but says he remains independent.
At present, shops and eateries have to close by 11.30pm and there are only a few chemists open 24 hours. For this to change, the Shops and Establishments Act needs to be amended. If the BMC clears the proposal — the Sena has a comfortable majority — the resolution would have to be sent to the state government for a decision.
Admitting that the proposal could add to the pressure on Mumbai police, Narvekar said: “Countries like Thailand keep their establishments open all night, and it has helped their tourism in a big way. I am sure there is a way to work around this.”
Aaditya called for the community’s involvement. “In non-residential zones, only police and BMC sanction required. In residential zones, the majority of citizens living in 1km radius must allow it,” he said.
Shiv Sena’s Rahul Shewale, chairperson of the standing committee, the BMC’s highest decision-making body, said last evening: “Several citizens’ groups like Advanced Locality Management, NGOs, senior citizens’ groups have been making this demand for the past one year. Next week, we will move and pass a resolution in the civic body.”