Even as the rain lashed the Capital on Thursday, officials of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) were racing against time to get the Ramlila Maidan ready for the proposed fast by the anti-corruption crusader, Anna Hazare, 73, on Friday.
The ground wore a war-ravaged look with machinery such as loaders, levellers, excavators, visible everywhere.
The MCD engineering and sanitation staff had started their work very early so that the ground could be handed over to the organizers of fast on time. Anna's fast will continue till August 31.
"Early in the morning we were told to leave all work and assemble at the Maidan. Since then we have been dumping the construction and demolition waste that is being brought to the site. Women workers were asked to leave at 5pm for security reasons but we will continue work throughout the night," said Ramesh Kumar, a worker.
The ground was full of muck and more than 400 workers were seen slogging all through the day to clear the ground.
The workers, till late in the evening, had dumped more than 500 tonnes of construction waste to level the ground which was in a bad shape. The dump was brought from the MCD's demolition and construction collection site at Delhi Gate. About 80-100 vehicles were pressed into action.
India Against Corruption, the NGO which is spearheading the campaign, has funded the setting up of shamianas.
The civic agency has also constituted a committee under the chairmanship of Subhash Arya, leader of the MCD House. MCD has given Team Anna the Maidan from August 18 to August 31.
The team has already paid Rs 84,000 to the civic body at the rate of R5,000 per day, including the security amount. "The work on the ground is not completely over. But we are confident that we would be able to finish the work by tomorrow morning," said an official.
Show must end by August 31
One bone of contention in the coming days will be the availability of the ground after August 31st. Bharatiya Mukti Morcha has booked the ground for one day — September 1. From September 8th onwards, the Ramlila Committee has booked the ground for a month to present Ramlila and Dusshera festivals. “If Team Anna plans to continue their protest, the police might cancel the booking for September 1,” said an official of MCD on conditions of anonymity. HTC, NDelhi