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After Sena scion, SP’s Farhan pitches for ‘night life for common man’

Owner of rooftop restaurant, Farhan Azmi urges civic body to pass rooftop policy.

Written by Tanushree Venkatraman | Mumbai |
February 25, 2015 2:17:59 am
Farhan, who is also the president of the Restaurants Owners Association, had pushed for the proposal in the BMC two years ago. Farhan, who is also the president of the Restaurants Owners Association, had pushed for the proposal in the BMC two years ago.

Days after the Mumbai police gave a nod to the proposal to open the city’s night life, Samajwadi Party’s (SP) Farhan Azmi met the BMC’s improvements committee chairman on Tuesday to push for the long-pending rooftop restaurants policy. The plan, which was deferred twice by the  committee in the past two months, is now expected to be passed in the meeting to be held on Wednesday.

Farhan confirmed that he met Ujjwala Modak, chairman of the improvements committee, and corporators from across parties to include malls and other commercial establishments in the proposal that can benefit “the common man.”

Last week, Shiv Sena scion Aditya Thackeray claimed that the state government had given its nod to allow establishments to be open 24/7. He said the proposal would be legalised by making amendments to the law in the upcoming budget session of the Maharashtra Assembly.

“In the backdrop of police commissioner Rakesh Maria passing the proposal to rejuvenate Mumbai’s nightlife, we suggested that every Mumbaikar should benefit from the rooftop restaurants policy and not five-star restaurants alone. Food courts in malls and other commercial establishments can also be included in the policy. This negative image of pubs should be done away with. We have to treat them as tourist zones that can invite more foreign investment in the financial hub of the country,” Farhan said.

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Interestingly, senior BJP leaders had slammed the policy in the last improvements committee meeting, stating that it will “disturb the culture of a city like Mumbai.” They also termed it a “nuisance” for residents living in nearby areas. SP leader Abu Azmi’s son Farhan Azmi owns a rooftop restaurant in Colaba. Farhan, who is also the president of the Restaurants Owners Association, had pushed for the proposal in the BMC two years ago. Farhan met the administration along with 11 other restaurant owners at the headquarters on Monday. “There are restaurants that serve food on their rooftops illegally, it is only in BMC’s favour to charge them and earn a revenue,” Azmi added. The association had earlier confirmed that there were more than 500 rooftop restaurants already running in the city without any permissions or policy in place.

He also confirmed that the chairman accepted their suggestions positively. Modak, however, refused to comment on the meeting saying that Farhan “dropped in for a casual chat.”

Under the proposed policy, hotels will be allowed to serve food and liquor and also host parties on their terrace. The civic body has proposed 23 conditions that hoteliers have to adhere to, including requisite permissions from the local police and fire brigade, before seeking BMC’s permissions.

Meanwhile, Congress leader Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil said the party was opposed to night life allowing shops, hostels and malls to function 24×7, as proposed by Shiv Sena youth leader Aditya Thackeray, due to law and order implications. He also fired a salvo at the BJP and the Shiv Sena claiming that the government had got its priorities wrong. “They aren’t concerned about expediting Shiv Smarak (plan to construct a Chhattrapati Shivaji memorial off Arabian Sea), but they are batting for Mumbai’s night life,” Vikhe Patil quipped.

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