Mumbai to get roof-top cafes, sky-bars

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High-rise residential towers are seen behind shanties in Dharavi, one of Asia’s largest slums, in Mumbai March 18, 2015. In Mumbai, the windows of new high-rise apartment blocks, old low-rise residential buildings and shantytown shacks portray the disparity in living conditions and incomes in the Indian city. Rents for a place to live range from more than $2,000 to less than $5 a month. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui
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MUMBAI – In a major decision, the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has cleared the decks permitting restaurants, bars and cafes on rooftops of buildings, officials said here on Wednesday.

The development comes are long efforts made by Hotel & Restaurant Association of Western India (HRAWI) and Indian Hotels & Restaurants Association (AHAR) and Yuva Sena President Aditya Thackeray, with the state government and the BMC.

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.