After nearly three decades, Mumbai will regain its freedom to remain awake and busy with commercial establishments allowed to function 24*7 from midnight of January 26-27, officials said.
The long-pending proposal to keep all restaurants, malls, multiplexes, shopping plazas, etc. open 24 hrs was given the green signal late on Thursday at a meeting chaired by Environment & Tourism Minister Aaditya Thackeray.
Accordingly, all (above) establishments falling within ‘gated communities’, non-residential zones with security, CCTVs, parking areas, etc, can remain open round-the-clock from January 27.
“There are around two dozen malls, besides other places which will fall in this category. Since Mumbai is a city that is active almost round-the-clock, this is expected to benefit the people, besides tourists,” Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) Commissioner Praveen Pardeshi told news agency IANS.
He said that unlike other cities which have unlimited space but limited active hours, Mumbai has little scope to expand further so it must capitalize on existing resources by keeping them open longer.
“We are also planning to set up 24*7 Food Courts across the city where people can go anytime. This will generate more employment opportunities and open more business avenues,” Pardeshi said.
The commercial establishments will have options to keep them open 24*7 on all days or weekends/holidays/festivals depending on their specific business potential.
Welcoming the initiative, Hotel & Restaurant Association of Western India (HRAWI) Gurbaxish Singh said that this initiative will help make a successful global tourist hub.
The HRAWI has been spearheading this since nearly two decades and the move signals “a sign of progress, benefitting tourism and employment generation by at least 25 percent”.
“The implementation is now upto the stakeholders, they can make ‘We are open 24*7’ signs, offer discounts to lure the post-midnight customers, shoppers and movie-goers,” Singh said.
He added that with Mumbai as a template, it can be eventually rolled out in other cities to put Maharashtra on the global tourist map.
Among the likely early-birds joining the late-night bandwagon are: the Oberoi Mall and The Hub in Goregaon, Growel 101 in Kandivali, R-City Mall in Ghatkopar, Atria Mall in Worli, Phoenix Market City in Kurla, High Street Phoenix in Lower Parel, CitiMall in Andheri, and many even have multiplexes within their premises, besides security and parking.
Expressing his consent, Mukesh Kumar, CEO, Infiniti Mall says, “It is a great initiative by the government and administration to allow malls to remain open 24*7. We will certainly talk to the retailers on this positive announcement. In the first phase, we would encourage F&B operators to keep the outlets open on weekends and National holidays till 2.00 AM. Depending on the response, we will take this further to other retailers. I am hoping that Mumbaikars and tourists will whole heartedly support this and make this into a habit of late night shopping and eating”.
According to Arjun Raj Kher, Brand Head, Hitchki and Bayroute, “We gladly welcome this move by the government. This establishment will boost tourism and employment and it will pave the way for more business especially on the weekends and we are glad we will literally be a city that never sleeps. This is what Mumbai is known for.”
Raja Sekhar Reddy, Founder, SquareMeal Foods shares, “While we welcome this move by the Govt. from a consumer standpoint, the law seems to be skewed towards the non-alcohol format only. Hence, while on one hand, the law will be lauded by the customer, especially the road traveller segment (given the traffic at bus stops, railway stations and airports), we look forward to more such laws that will extend the benefits to the entire F&B segment, rather than select verticals.”
Rajneesh Mahajan, CEO, Inorbit Malls adds, “It is a positive move. In a metro city like Mumbai which is time starved for working professionals, this will aid them to go out for movies, dining as well as shopping post work hours and will create more business opportunities for malls, multiplexes and restaurants. This will also boost tourism in the city.”
“We appreciate the concept of 24×7 in Mumbai and happy to support the initiative; however, it is imperative that we take feedback and consensus from our retail partners. The Entertainment and F&B tenants have responded positively for extended hours of operations. However, most retailers at Growel’s 1O1 are still working on their revenue v/s expense projections to assess the financial impact in order to support this initiative. We as a mall are also reviewing the cost impact on operational cost v/s the revenues that would be generated for tenants to support the initiative partially, if not fully. To begin with, we may consider trying this out on Fridays and Saturdays,” states Sachin Dhanawade, Chief Operating Officer (COO), Retail & Real Estate, Grauer & Weil (India) Limited.
Sandeep Runwal, Managing Director, Runwal Developers, which owns R City Mall in Ghatkopar says, “We are happy that Mumbai is shaping itself to match the global standards. We are now talking to our retailers to support this global phenomena and help us in the smooth functioning of the trials. We are also in the process of increasing mall security to maintain the decorum of the mall and to make sure that the residents are not adversely affected by this development.”
Gaurav Narang, Founder of Coffee Culture says, “Sticking by its name, a city that never sleeps – Mumbai will definitely have some innovative ways to engage the audience with the new law being passed! The lanes near the Bandra Kurla Complex and Nariman Point will be made available solely for food trucks which is quite exciting! This generously will help in boosting employment and also increase night market tourism. As this is effective 27th January we are quite excited to see how the Mumbaikars will react to this! since we are a cafe and surrounded with co-working spaces, we are really wanting to see how late night workers will react to this! ”
(With inputs from IANS)