Mumbai: As Maharashtra tourism minister's decision to open shops, malls and eateries 24x7 divided politicians and residents, Aaditya Thackeray on Sunday urged people not to associate nightlife with alcohol consumption alone.
"Mumbai functions 24x7. If online shopping is open 24 hours, then why should shops and establishments be kept shut at night. It is not compulsory for the shops and malls to be open at night. It is up to them if they wish to remain open. No norms have been changed," Thackeray said, adding that associating nightlife with alcohol consumption alone was "wrong".
The 29-year-old Yuva Sena chief, who has been batting for all-night-open eateries and other establishments in the city since 2013, said the government would not tinker with the Excise norms. "We are not tinkering with the Excise norms," he said.
Thackeray said London's night time economy is worth five billion pounds. "Indore's Sarafa Market is also open at night. Even Ahmedabad city has made some changes in its policy last year. Then why should Mumbai lag behind?...We are just providing facility for food and shopping for 24 hours in non-residential areas," he said.
Mumbai BJP president Ashish Shelar raised questions over alochol being served if bars were allowed to open on Republic Day, which is a dry day. "BJP will oppose if pubs, discos and bars remain open and disturb common people. What is the guarantee that the state government will not change the rules for residential areas. The state government wants to implement this from January 26, which is a dry day. If the state government keeps bars open on January 26, we would like to ask if it is in senses," the BJP leader said.