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To remain open 24/7, malls & shops will need to beef up security


Late last month the Cabinet gave its nod to the Model Shop and Establishment Act, 2016 which makes it possible for malls, shops, cinema complexes and other retail set-ups to remain open round the clock. If the states do implement the act, it will mean companies will be faced with the task of ensuring safety at their outlets.

Law and order will particularly be a major concern as women, according to the act, will find themselves working the night shift, too. Speaking to moneycontrol, Hamid Farooqui, CEO, SoGoSurvey, said: “My biggest concern though is crimes going up against women. Each state government must assess law and order and safety and security of its citizen before allowing the implementation of this act.”

While late-night cab drops and creches may go a long way in ensuring better working conditions for female employees, a lot more work needs to be done.

Think more CCTVs. Realising the need for enhancing security, Pramoud Rao, Managing Director, Zicom Electronic Security Systems, told moneycontrol.com that stretching the resources of every retail mall will become important with central monitoring systems and closed-circuit televisions (CCTV) in place.

Installing CCTVs are more affordable. “These services cost between Rs 3,000-4,000, which are much cheaper than a security guard,” Rao said, adding, “It would definitely increase [the cost] but it depends on each outlet as to how they wish to beef up the security.”

But technology alone won’t solve the problem. Adequate manpower will have to be pressed into service, too. Rao believes there will only be a marginal cost difference if centralised monitoring services are used.

States must also do their bit.

“While the move is a win-win for all stakeholders — flexibility and convenience to customers and government in the form of taxes and higher employment — this would also require adequate support from state police in terms of providing security and maintaining law and order round the clock,” said Rajiv Malla, Director, Phoenix Marketcity, Pune.

Besides, this act also puts the late-night culture into focus. Restaurants and bars serving liquor remain open for close to 12 hours. Now, according to current excise rules, liquor can’t be served between 1 am and 11am.

“Liquor comes under the state excise and taxation policy; hence, there is a grey area on whether or not alcohol would be served 24/7,” said Riyaaz Amlani, President, National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI).

Amlani says NRAI would continue to lobby the state governments to ensure that operating timings of a restaurant are increased so that better revenues flow in.

There should also be a liquor policy in tandem with operating timings proposed by the states, says Amlani.

Source: Moneycontrol

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