The state government informed the Bombay high court on Monday that all safety and security precautions were being taken while organising the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival, scheduled to begin on February 1.
The court was hearing a petition opposing the festival on the grounds of inconvenience to residents and security concerns. Government pleader DA Nalavade told the court that all rules were being complied with and all due care had been taken. “These kinds of festivals are to be encouraged,” he said. The annual nine-day festival will feature a host of events, including street performances, plays, panel discussions and heritage walks.
A division bench of justice VM Kanade and justice Girish S Kulkarni has asked the state to submit an affidavit on security measures taken for the duration of the festival.
The matter will next be heard on January 30. The petition, filed by Kala Ghoda resident Berges Malu, had sought that permission for the event be revoked or arrangements made for adequate security measures, emergency services and easy access for residents, in addition to strict adherence to noise-pollution norms. Malu had previously opposed the festival in 2010, on the grounds that the area was a silence zone and the festival violated noise-control rules. Responding to the petition, festival director Brinda Miller said: “The people of the city love it and want it. It is the only cultural festival of its kind in India. We do not break any rules and take all precautions.” Even after the terror siege of 26/11, there was no clampdown on the festival,she said.