Mumbai: Tipplers have a good reason to cheer this festive season, as the Maharashtra government has decided to extend the time limit of restaurants, bars, pubs, hotels and lounges, till 5 am on Christmas and New Year's Eve.
This means that party hoppers can get alcohol as well as food till 5 am on three days - December 25 and 31.
A two-page circular issued by the Home Department allows permit rooms, orchestra bars and other restaurants to serve alcohol and food till 5 am. The circular, however, lists certain 'riders,' which have to be adhered to not only by tipplers but also by owners of such establishments.
The owners have been asked to make their own 'private' security arrangements and ensure no law and order situation is created inside their establishments and also outside their premises.
They have been further asked to 'strictly' abide by the Noise Pollution Rules, 2002 – that is, they cannot make a racket at night-time beyond the permissible decibel level.
Further, the owners of orchestra bars will have to seek permissions from the local police stations to play music throughout night, as allowed by the government now.
The decision was welcomed by the Indian Hotels and Restaurant Association (AHAR), which had made numerous representations to the government seeking an extension of the time limit on the New Year's eve.
“We welcome this announcement. Mumbai is a city that loves to party. This great not only for party animals, but also great for hotels and restaurant business,” said Shivanand Shetty, AHAR president.
The decision has not gone down well with a few, though. “I just cannot welcome such a decision, wherein timings are relaxed till the wee hours.
I am not against people enjoying but this should not be at the cost of other's comfort,” said activist Sumaira Abdul Ali.
According to Ali, the permissions would violate noise pollution norms as most bars and hotels are situated in residential areas. “I am not speaking of the orchestra or the music because that would be indoors.
But what about the noise from vehicular traffic, honking, etcetera? I don’t understand the rationale behind such an extension because all these years, people have been doing without it,'' Sumaira pointed out.