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Maximum City to remain open all night as Cabinet approves ‘Mumbai 24 hours’ policy

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The move is an attempt to boost Mumbai’s night-time economy (Express Photo: Nandagopal Rajan)

The proposal to keep multiplexes, shops, restaurants and malls in Mumbai open round the clock was approved by the Maharashtra Cabinet Wednesday, paving the way for making the Maximum City remain open 24x7 starting January 27.

"From January 27, malls, multiplexes, shops and eateries in non-residential areas like Bandra Kurla Complex and Nariman Point will remain open 24x7," state tourism minister Aaditya Thackeray said. However, Thackeray said keeping shops, malls, and eateries open in the night was not mandatory.

"Only those who feel they can do good business can keep their establishments open throughout the night," he said.

In an attempt to boost Mumbai’s night-time economy, a proposal was mooted for 24-hour access to the city’s eateries and malls. As a pilot, the move will be launched across gated spaces and non-residential areas that have their own CCTV surveillance and parking facilities, and where decibel levels can be curtailed. Thackeray was said to be the prime mover behind the proposal.

Speaking to reporters after the Cabinet meeting, Thackeray said the decision could help generate more revenue and jobs, in addition to the existing five lakh people working in the service sector.

As of now, standalone establishments will not be part of the push, which will cover restaurants inside malls that do not serve alcohol. Food trucks will also be allowed to operate through the night at prominent locations like Nariman Point.

Excise rules, however, have not been touched and pubs and bars will close as usual at 1.30 am. Calling Mumbai a  "24x7 functional city", Thackeray said, "There are people who work in night shifts. There are tourists, too, in transit. Where do they go if they are hungry after 10 pm?"

A similar move was initiated in 2017 by the previous BJP government but the plan was opposed by the police.