The Art of Living’s mega cultural extravaganza which begins just three days from now on the ecologically fragile Yamuna banks is still to get security, traffic, fire and structural safety clearances.
The traffic police have warned the organisers of the World Cultural Festival, possibly the biggest Delhi has ever seen, that lack of proper clearances could cause massive traffic snarls in the city.
“There have been several issues we have raised with the organisers but there is serious lack of coordination. Surprisingly, we are not the only agency facing a problem with the way the event is being organised. Several letters have been sent from other agencies as well conveying their concerns,” said a Delhi Police senior official.
The event is still to get fire and security clearances from the Delhi Fire Services and the police. The fire department has raised serious concerns. Despite several reminders, the department was awaiting an estimate of the number of participants and a blueprint of the event with the number of entries and exits.
“In case the permissions are not taken, we will have to apply our own interest. But it will help us effectively manage the event if we are given these details. We can plan our resources better. We have had over a dozen exchanges with the Art of Living organisers but the issue is unresolved,” a fire official said.
Saraswati Akshama Nath, counsel for the Art of Living, told HT that participants will park their vehicles at the Millennium Bus Depot from where a shuttle service will operate.
Senior Delhi government officials, however, refuted the claim. Sources in the transport department said that the depot had not been approved as a parking lot for the event.
The organisers have projected that over 3.5 million people will be a part of this festival, which could possibly get them into the Guinness World Records.
Police said the last time the city had seen such a massive gathering was Narendra Modi’s election campaign in Rohini in 2013 where 2.5 lakh people participated. Permissions and clearances for the rally had been given a month in advance, according to police records.
“We will try to accommodate as many vehicles in the available parking space we have. We are not just dealing with the participants but other commuters who will be affected by an event of such proportions. The current plan is to allow maximum vehicles s in the parking lots after which we will have to send them back,” said Muktesh Chander, specialal commissioner of police (traffic). ).
The event is also due to get a structural safety certificate from m the central public works departtment. After the fire at the Make e in India event in Mumbai, the e department is particularly cauutious in issuing safety certificatess unless completely convinced of f the arrangements.