The cash-strapped North Corporation has decided to rent out Mahila Haat, a space meant for women artisans to showcase their talents and sell their wares, and the iconic Ramilila Ground in central Delhi for weddings and private parties.
According to north civic body standing committee chairman Pravesh Wahi, renting of such spaces will generate annual revenue of Rs 4 crore for the corporation. “Besides renting out the spaces for social events, we will also utilise the boundary wall of Mahila Haat for displaying advertisements and rake in additional income,” said Wahi.
Delhi’s first Mahila Haat was constructed above the Asaf Ali Road car parking and inaugurated in November 2012 for women artisans who wanted to showcase their merchandise. The space has 55 stalls, a performance stage and even a small garden.
“However it is not covered and designed properly. As a result, people stopped taking it on rent and the place lost its identity within one-and-a-half-years of its construction. Today, the place is in shambles,” said a senior north corporation official.
According to him, to create space for organising events, the stalls constructed at the Mahilaa Haat are likely to be dismantled. “But the final decision in this regard will be taken in a house meeting,” said the official.
Likewise, the historic Ramlila Ground, which has played host for staging the annual Ramlila event and witnessed a number of major political rallies since 1930, will soon be rent out venue for wedding events.
During a house meeting held on Friday, Wahi informed officials that booking for four weddings would be done at a time at Ramlila Ground. “On the lines of Ajmal Khan Park in Karol Bagh, we will rent out the whole ground for organising four weddings at a time. Bookings will be done on first-come-first-served basis. This would benefit the local residents specially those living around old Delhi area,” said Wahi. The rates and other policy decision are yet to be finalised for the project.
Opposition members of north corporation, however, said that the decision will lead to a clash of events, especially if political rallies and weddings happen on the same day. “It will take at least two days to prepare the venue for organising big rallies and two more days after for removing the tents. Under the given circumstances how will we then rent out space for weddings? Also, as per Supreme Court guidelines, parks can’t be booked for more than 10 days in a month for organising social events,” said Mukesh Goel, leaders of Opposition, north corporation.