Thackeray said the police force would not be under any stress as it would not have to check if shops and establishments are shut down.
Mumbai: The Maharashtra Cabinet on Wednesday approved its ‘Mumbai 24 hours’ policy, allowing malls, multiplexes and shops to remain open round-the-clock in the city from January 27.
Tourism minister Aaditya Thackeray told reporters after the Cabinet meeting that the government’s decision could help generate more revenue and jobs, in addition to the existing five lakh people working in the service sector. The BJP criticised the move saying it would negatively impact residential areas and put additional burden on law enforcement agencies.
Justifying the ‘Mumbai 24 hours’ policy, the minister took the example of London, where the nightlife economy, he claimed, generates 5 billion pounds each year. He said that five lakh people are directly employed in the service sector, which may go up to 10 lakh if the policy comes into place.
He also said keeping shops, malls and eateries open in the night will not be made mandatory. “Only those who feel they can do good business can keep their establishments open throughout the night,” Mr Thackeray said.
In the first phase, shops, eateries and theatres in malls and mill compounds situated in non-residential areas will be allowed to remain open, he informed. “In Bandra-Kurla Complex and Nariman Point near NCPA, a lane will be opened for food trucks. Food inspectors will keep a watch on them. If rules on solid waste management, decibel limits and law and order are violated, there is a provision of a lifetime ban,” the Yuva Sena chief said.
Mr Thackeray said the police force would not be under any stress as it would not have to check if shops and establishments are shut down. “Now they will be able to focus on law and order only,” said the minister.
He also said that excise rules have not been touched and pubs and bars would have to shut shop as usual at 1.30 am. “People can eat, shop and watch movies even during the night,” he said.
“There are people who work night shifts. There are tourists, too, in transit. Where do they go if they are hungry after 10 pm,” the minister asked.
When asked about BJP’s criticism, the Sena minister said the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi government is working to fulfil the people’s aspirations. “We are providing an opportunity to create the employment for the youth,” Mr Thackeray added.