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Industry cheers but BJP jeers at Uddhav government’s nightlife move for Mumbai

MUMBAI: Mumbai’s hospitality industry is upbeat about the Maharashtra government’s decision to allow shops, malls and eateries in non-residential areas of the metropolis to remain open 24×7 from January 26.

“It will truly make aamchi Mumbai a global city,” gushed Kunal Vardhan who runs the Atria Mall in Worli.

His sentiments struck an instant bond with Indian Hotel and Restaurants Association president Niranjan Shetty, who said, “Mumbai is known as ‘the city that does not sleep’ but it sure has lost some of its charm and nightlife in the past few years. There can still be life if the proposal is adopted for it will boost tourism, generate jobs and revenue for the government.”

While announcing the move, Maharashtra Tourism Minister Aaditya Thackeray said, “Indore’s Sarafa Market is open at night. Even Ahmedabad city has made some changes in its policy last year. Mumbai, too, should not lag behind in providing similar facilities to people at night as the metropolis functions 24×7.”

Aaditya, who has been batting for all-night-open eateries and other establishments in the city since 2013, said the move will boost tourism, generate demand and revive industries.

Most importantly, it will create jobs as malls and shopping complexes will have to deploy three shifts to manage a 24X7 shopping demand cycle.

Officials said the ‘nightlife” project will initially be limited to Saturdays and Sundays. Later, as response improves, it will be extended to other days as well.

However, the BJP has opposed the move claiming it will encourage drinking and disturb the peace.

Questioning the alacrity with which the plan was announced, senior BJP leader Ashish Shellar said, “The minister should have tabled the proposal in the state Assembly.” Aaditya, though, sought to downplay criticism saying it’s wrong to associate nightlife with just alcohol consumption.