Sri Sri’s World culture festival venue not fire safe yet: Officials

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Mar 10, 2016 08:50 IST
Massive construction is underway on the Yamuna bank along the DND for a World Cultural Festival by Art of Living scheduled for early March in New Delhi. (Ravi Choudhary/Hindustan Times)

The Delhi Fire Service has not given a safety certificate to the Art of Living’s world cultural festival, which will begin from March 11.

The three-day event has courted controversy with environmentalists petitioning the National Green Tribunal, seeking a stay on the event amid fears of damage to the Yamuna floodplain.

The police and the CPWD (for structural safety) have also not given their nod to the event. The green tribunal, however, did not stay the event on Wednesday and fined the organisers instead.

Last week, senior fire department officials had inspected the venue and provided a list to the organisers for fire safety compliance. Department officials said one of the primary requirements for a safety certificate is to get a clearance from an engineer, declaring the electric wiring safe.

Delhi Fire Service director AK Sharma said an event of this magnitude cannot afford a short circuit. The Art of Living has said that they expect about 5 lakh people to attend the event.

Fire officials had also asked the organisers to use non-combustible material for constructing structures. For props made out of wood and other combustible material, the organisers were told to use fire-retardant paint. The officials had also demanded a certificate that the tent is fireproof.

Organisers said that they used the fire-retardant paint and got a certificate from the tent owner. “The organisers will approach us again after conforming to all the specifications we had asked for. We will revisit the site to check compliance before giving clearance,” said Sharma.

The fire department has also proposed to deploy one fire tender at the venue to deal with a fire emergency. The organisers have been asked to pay for the facility.

The Delhi Police has made it clear that it will give the festival a go ahead only after all agencies concerned clear the event.

Last week, a DCP had inspected the site and informed his superiors, the L-G and the organisers about various shortcomings. The police have asked the organisers to install more CCTV cameras, which will be connected to a temporary police post at the venue. The DCP had also pointed out that in case of an emergency the lone pontoon bridge at the site will be adequate to handle the load of expected participants. The organisers have now got two more pontoon bridge made at the site.

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