Making Mumbai a 24 by 7 hub.

Making Mumbai a 24 by 7 hub.

 

-Kashvi Jaggi

“I want to wake up, in a city that never sleeps” – Frank Sinatra

This line from a famous song, ‘New York, New York’ gave a new purposeful title to the New York City as a city that never sleeps. In this current generation where people believe in the adage of living life to its fullest, ensuring that a city is open 24 hours for its people, can in some places be viewed as a necessity.

Much before New York coined the popularity of being 24 hours open, there were cities from around the world that had this so-called ‘nightlife culture’ as a part of their routine. Some of the most famous 24 hours open cities include Amsterdam, Cairo, Berlin, London, Paris, Rome, Las Vegas and too much of our astonishment, even Tel Aviv. But there is one country that surpasses all the others and has maximized the concept of 24 by 7. Spain has not one, two or three but a total of six cities which run 24 hours and provides an experience that nobody can forget.

India is a country that has almost 50 percent of its population who are young and the more exposed we are to the west, the more we want to learn from them. After making a Silicon Valley in Bengaluru and a Cyber City in Gurugram, it was only a matter of time that a New York City frenzy was brought to India. One city that gives a gruelling competition to the NYC of the world is without a doubt the city of Mumbai.  In 2013, BMC in Mumbai proposed a bill to the Government under the leadership of Shiv Sena youth leader Aditya Thackrey, to make Mumbai a 24 hours open city. A day in Mumbai is loaded with exciting activities among the clamouring of people; even the evenings here are far from the expression of hush. A city that surely does not doze, witnesses the night time souls crawl out into the night to go up against the town; be it to submerge the Monday blues or get a release up on a Saturday night. Certainly, the city holds the tasteful nightlife inside the country; Mumbai is deliberately making its procedure inside the grind of best going down urban communities on this planet. In a major push to nightlife culture in the commercial capital, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis in September 2017 instructed city authorities to set up zones where eateries, pubs, bars and entertainment hotspots can remain open throughout the night. The initial plan is to designate non-residential areas in South Mumbai — Veer Nariman Road, Ballard Pier and Horniman Circle — as ‘nightlife zones’. Such special entertainment zones would be replicated in other parts of the city after gauging the response to the pilot scheme. Many issues have been raised about the security and safety of people including the vendors for this concept. However, after much deliberation, one must comprehend that we should work to invest in the quality of nightlife and focus on a culturally diverse nightlife. When people are going to a food festival or to hear their favourite band, they are more likely to behave better because they are engaged. If you just use the city as the background for a party, then the city is more likely to behave badly. There is a need to have a top-down structure, but also a bottom-up structure. The nightlife industry has to work together and give something back to the residents and have good solutions that work for both sides. It benefits cities from a social, cultural and economic perspective. It is good for tourism and creates a diverse and socially inclusive city. The added advantage for a city like Mumbai is that a lot of talent development going on for the creative industry like Bollywood. When you have a vibrant nightlife, like in Berlin and Los Angeles, a lot of young, creative people want to live in the city and the creative industry follows. As a result, there is a lot of economic growth and opportunities.

In the recent past, shops in Mumbai had to shut by 10 PM, commercial establishments by 9.30PM and restaurants by 12.30AM. The state government had passed the Shops and Establishment (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Bill, enabling owners of shops, hotels, theatres and multiplexes in the state to keep their establishments open round the clock, with an easier process to get permissions and licences which has boosted the F&B, QSR (Quick Service Restaurants) businesses and given a major push to the Food Trucks business in Mumbai. The Government is certain that this act will generate jobs for people and also give the working population of Mumbai some time to wind down their day.

In 2003, Amsterdam became the first city in the world to appoint a ‘nachtburgemeester’ (nightlife Mayor) to reshape its nightlife. Since then, Paris, Zurich, London, and most recently New York have adopted the concept. We are yet to see how the Government takes this new venture of Making Mumbai a 24 by 7 hub forward and how it implements the safety procedure but one thing is clear that Mumbai is trying its best to make the city future-proof!

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