Shouldn’t Mumbai go 24x’007?

Delhi’s new legislation will allow some bars, restaurants, coffee shops 24-hour licence this year. Malls may have extended deadlines. Why is Mumbai, financial and commercial capital, still lagging behind?

2007, and Delhi is all set to rock. With a new set of laws stating that some restaurants, bars and coffee shops can stay open round the clock and malls could remain open till late, making deadlines a thing of the past.

Yet, in Mumbai, the financial and entertainment capital of the country, nightclubs and restaurants have a shelf life, as do malls. Why is Mumbai lagging behind? Can these new rules be applied to Mumbai as well? Will they be accepted with open arms?

MP Milind Deora is all for applying the move to Mumbai as well. “It’s a positive move for sure.

Mumbai doesn’t necessarily have to follow the same rules, but MLAs from Mumbai should debate the issue, taking into consideration the pros and cons and even the law and order situation. I’m sure deadlines can be relaxed,” feels Milind.

Vivek Chawla, co-owner of a nightclub in Mumbai, says the current scenario spells bad business. “In Mumbai, the nightlife itself starts very late. Pe o p l e walk into nightclubs post midnight and have to leave within an hour.

So it’s a no-win situation for both parties,” says Vivek adding that the recent dance bar controversy and hit-andrun drunk driving cases have further pushed back their case.“But stand-alone nightclubs have appealed to be permitted to stay open till 3 am at least, as is the case in nightclubs in 5-star hotels,” adds Vivek.

In the capital, 5-star hotels are also being granted permission by the government to operate round-the-clock restaurants and serve liquor through the night. Will Mumbai’s 5-star hotels benefit from a similar rule? “A licence to serve alcohol through the night would certainly benefit business.

Besides increasing the regular clientele it would help us cater to a new set of clientele as well those who check in in the middle of the night from late flights.

And provided there’s enough demand, it would certainly make the business boom,” says Anirban Sengupta, Director of Marketing for a suburban 5-star hotel.

There could also be other benefits, Milind points out. “It would help increase tourism, revenue for the government in terms of increasing entertainment tax and also opportunities for employment,” says Milind.

While malls and shopping arcades in the city currently close shop by 9 pm, would Mumbai profit from an extended deadline there too? “It would certainly benefit the working people. However, on an average, unless it is a festive season, nobody will shop at 1 am!

But the food courts and other entertainment centres in the mall could certainly benefit from such a move,” says Vinit Bijani, Store Director of a store in a South Mumbai shopping mall.

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