Mumbai may get 50 more rooftop restaurants by December as BMC approves policy

Mumbai may get 50 more rooftop restaurants by December as BMC approves policy
Under the policy, existing malls and hotels can have a dining place on the terrace if there’s no residential building within 10 metres (Representational Image)

In a good news for city’s foodies and restauranteurs, the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Wednesday approved the rooftop policy allowing restaurants, bars and cafes to operate legally on the roofs of buildings.

A circular stipulating the norms of the policy, effective immediately, was circulated in the relevant departments yesterday.

The draft circular states that one of the major highlights of Mumbai is it’s ocean front. Since opening restaurants near the promenade is not an option, rooftop restaurants would allow locals and tourists to enjoy the spectacular view of the coastline.

The policy will allow many restaurants, which were either operating illegally till now or faced BMC action, to regularise their establishments.

Samajwadi Party was the first to propose licensed rooftop eateries in 2012. But the proposal was rejected. However, the policy found new life after backing from Aditya Thackeray and his party Shiv Sena, which controls the BMC.

The efforts of Yuva Sena president, along with Hotel & Restaurant Association of Western India (HRAWI) and Indian Hotels & Restaurants Association (AHAR), paid off after the policy received a nod from the BMC and State Government.

When it was first mooted, the proposal met with opposition from parties like BJP and Congress. But, Sena tried to appease them by revising the policy. Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta also tried to address concerns of opposition leaders before approving it.

Lauding the decision, HRAWI president Dilip Datwani said it would unlock the huge potential that terraces offer by allowing them to be operated as leisure or recreational spaces.

“The sky-bars and rooftop cafes are an emerging trend around the world, and Mumbai despite being the commercial capital of India, lacked the policy on this. It will be appreciated by Mumbaikars besides domestic and international tourists,” said Datwani, whose HRAWI has a membership of over 2,000 star hotels and restaurants.

With a membership of over 8,000 restaurants and bars, AHAR’s Adarsh Shetty said the industry has been pursuing this proposal since years and now finally the authorities have given the green signal to it.

“This is a privilege for Mumbai and the city will join the ranks of cities like London, Hong Kong, Bangkok which have beautiful skylines and some of the best rooftop restaurants in the world,” he said.

Earlier, there were a few clubs or private parties allowed on rooftops against payment of daily licence fees of around Rs 15,000, which was scrapped permanently two months ago.

Shetty said that by December, at least 50 rooftop joints, especially those in the vicinity of the Arabian Sea, are likely to come up as they would offer dazzling views of the city, besides reduced noise and air pollution from the traffic below and beating space constraints.

As per the BMC policy, permissions would be granted to open air terraces, in full or part, except on refuge floors of commercial buildings, malls, hotels having eating houses and lodging services, without causing nuisance to the occupants.

The owners cannot claim the terrace areas as a habitable commercial areas approved by the BMC while submitting any redevelopment proposals in future, and no cooking or preparations would be allowed with LPG or open flames.

All other rules shall be applicable as per the Mumbai Police Act and the BMC’s Shops & Establishments Act, and the licensees would be liable to take proper safety and security measures on such premises.

Meanwhile, although rooftop restaurants will be allowed to operate till late, the exact time till when they can remain open is yet to be decided.

With agency inputs

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