THERE SEEMS to be dissonance between the BMC and the state government over the implementation of the ‘Mumbai 24 hours’ proposal. While the government, through a press release, claimed on Wednesday that the scheme will be implemented in malls, gated compounds and dedicated lanes for food trucks at Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) and Nariman Point starting January 27, BMC officials claimed that food trucks are unlikely to operate through the night anytime soon.
Maintaining that stationing of food trucks at NCPA and Kala Ghoda is unlikely to start from January 27, a BMC official said: “We are preparing a policy under which food trucks can be allowed to be stationed at commercial and tourists spots. Once the policy is finalised, food trucks can start operating at areas like Kala Ghoda and NCPA.”
The BMC, however, claimed that shops and establishments will not require its approval since the government in 2017 had amended the Maharashtra Shops and Establishments (Regulation of Employment and Service Condition) Act that allowed establishments to stay open through the night.
Officials said that some malls, multiplexes and eateries in gated communities have shown interest to keep their establishments open 24 hours every day. However, they added, many establishments have also said that they will take more time to start operating 24 hours since a lot of arrangements are to be made.
“Since the Act has been amended, owners of establishments do not need permission from us to operate 24 hours. If there is any violation of law, like in case eateries except gated communities stay open, then the police are supposed to take action. Residential areas have been excluded and alcohol serving eateries can stay open only till 1.30 am,” a BMC official said, adding that they are awaiting the final notification from the government.
The officials maintained that in an earlier meeting chaired by Tourism Minister Aaditya Thackeray, several malls and gated premises had shown interest in operating 24 hours.
These included eateries in BKC, Growel’s 101 in Kandivali, Phoenix Market City in Kurla, High Street Phoenix in Lower Parel, Atria Mall in Worli, Kamala Mill in Lower Parel and Oberoi Mall in Goregaon.
“It is a good move but establishments need some time in setting up a 24×7 system. Many arrangements, like hiring new staff, revising the duty charts and others, need to be made. Also, if this pilot project turns out to be a success, standalone eateries should also be allowed to stay open 24×7,” said Niranjan Shetty of AHAR, an umbrella body of hotel and restaurant associations.
Retail associations said the move will allow ease of doing business in the city.
“This is a win-win situation for all. It will help increase customer satisfaction because they would be able to buy things whenever there is a need. It will help retailers achieve better sales as well as increase the revenue collected by the state government. More importantly, it will increase employment. We expect employment in the retail sector to rise by 10 per cent in the next three years,” said Kumar Rajagopalan, chief executive officer of Retailers Association of India.
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