The BMC has finally decided to tap one of the city's most magnetic assets: its rooftop restaurants which are quite sought after for their breath-taking view. In a move aimed at encouraging tourism, the civic body has decided not to collect premium from owners of such restaurants.
Civic chief Sitaram Kunte has given his nod to the idea and the building proposals department is working on a draft of the order expected to be passed this month.
The BMC had first considered allowing restaurants on terraces in November 2012. The proposal, however, was reworked. When mooted, the BMC considered charging premium from roof-top restaurateurs to the tune of 1 per cent of the ready reckoner rate in the area where the eatery is located. However, the idea has been scrapped.
"Charging a premium would have not served the purpose. On one hand, we are offering them concession by giving permission, and on the other we planned to charge them for it. We intend to encourage tourism. So, there is no point in collecting premium. We will collect whatever charges are collected from a hotel," said a senior civic official.
According to the National Restaurateurs' Association of India (NRAI), there are around 50 rooftop hotels in the city. Of these, only 10 hotels have licenses.
However, the official said it will be mandatory for restaurateurs to keep their terraces open and no construction activity will be allowed, barring the period of monsoon, when temporary shelters can be erected.
"The kitchen will have to be on a lower floor. The restaurants will work as per norms laid by the police and state's excise departments. There is no restriction on the height of a building where a restaurant can be run. Safety aspects of the restaurants have to be looked into by hotel owners themselves," the official added.
Meanwhile, restaurateurs said they are expecting the BMC to expedite the process to give permissions to hoteliers soon. "Across the globe, we see such restaurants along coastal or tourist areas. If the BMC allows such a facility in the city, areas such as the Worli sea face or other sea fronts can be used for such eateries. This will help us attract foreign tourists too," said Abu Azmi, Samajwadi Party leader and city-based hotelier.