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Mumbai New Year hotel bookings slip 50% following Kamala Mills fire incident

Tuesday, January 2, 2018, 15:00 Hrs  [IST]
HBI Staff | Mumbai

According to a report in The Economic Times, a mega demolition drive by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation that destroyed illegal structures in about 100 restaurants and pubs following the fire at Kamala Mills in Mumbai took its toll on New Year Eve celebrations. 

Sentiment across Mumbai was down, with hoteliers and restaurateurs saying business on the last day of the year had slumped by 40% to 50% as people cancelled their reservations and bookings increasingly as the day progressed. 

"Most restaurants are saying business is about 40% less than last year. The spirits are low. Kamala Mills was Mumbai's finest restaurant hub and there is no water or electricity there because of the knee-jerk demolition drive," said Riyaaz Amlani, CEO of Impresario Entertainment and Hospitality and former president of the National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI). 

"With water and electricity supplies cut off for multiple restaurants, they were not sure if they would be able to operate and people cancelled reservations." 

The massive fire at a rooftop restaurant in the Kamala Mills compound on Thursday night killed over a dozen people. Kamala Mills Compound in Lower Parel houses outlets such as Farzi Cafe, The Bombay Canteen, FLYP@MTV, KODE, Grandmama's Cafe and London Taxi. On Saturday, BMC officials demolished illegal structures in about 100 restaurants and pubs including those in Kamala Mills and Malad, Shivaji Park, Dahisar, Grant Road, Ghatkopar and Andheri. 

"There is a question mark over what will happen tonight," said Adarsh Shetty, president of the Indian Hotel and Restaurant Association. "People are not keen to go out. It's not a very good vibe on the 31st." The Hotel and Restaurant Association of Western India urged its members on December 30, 2017 to observe low-key New Year events in view of the tragedy. 

"The power supply has been cut off in many places. The owners are disillusioned and while we feel sorry for the lives lost, the government should have proper policies in place like allowing restaurants to keep monsoon sheds on the rooftop which can prevent such incidents from happening in future. The business is not looking good," said Dilip Datwani, president of HRAWI. 

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