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Mumbai: Government plans to allow restaurants stay open till 4am in three areas


MUMBAI: Before allowing restaurants across the city stay open 24×7 on all days of the year, the state government has directed the BMC and police to identify three non-residential areas where they can initially be kept open till 4am on Fridays and Saturdays for six months, to gauge public reaction and challenges accompanying the move. However, the government is also weighing a move to allow food-only restaurants in such areas to remain open at all hours.

The decision was taken by chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Monday after a meeting with a delegation of office bearers of the National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI), attended by BJP MP Poonam Mahajan. Fadnavis said the government is working to create a favourable environment for the restaurant industry in the city and is also focusing on creating ‘night-life’ zones for which three areas will be selected as an experiment. Officials said some names that cropped up in the discussion were Ballard Estate, Horniman Circle and BKC. “We have suggested the BMC and police finalise areas where the model can be tried, after consulting each other, as they are the implementing authorities,” said an official.

Officials added police are a bit nervous about allowing eateries to function all night long for security reasons, however this experiment will also help them devise a way to deal with loopholes in the system. “This way, all hiccups will be identified before going the whole hog. Once these zones operate for some months, we will fine tune the policy before including the entire city,” said another official who was a part of the discussion.

The state government is reportedly also considering allowing food-only restaurants inside such hubs to stay open 24×7 throughout the year. Riyaz Amlani, president, NRAI, said if the local administration found any such extension was creating a law and order problem then the police, BMC and excise department can jointly take a decision to withdraw it. “In Bangalore, the extension has worked really positively with late-night crimes falling substantially and roads becoming safer for people due to increased lighting and CCTV monitoring,” said Amlani. He said Fadnavis had in-principle agreed to their request to temporarily allow bars and hotels in such hubs to operate till late at night on an experimental basis.

The government is also exploring a move to allow food trucks to ply in the city. The BMC has been asked to draw up a separate policy for the same by November.
 Source: The Times Of India

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