A last-minute decision by the West Bengal government to shift the venue of a concert by Pakistani Ghazal maestro Ghulam Ali in Kolkata has thrown the January 12 event in disarray with authorities scrambling to find a suitable place for the high-profile performance. Officials have zeroed in on the grounds of city football giant Mohun Bagan in central Kolkata after the Cricket Association of Bengal turned down a request by the state government to hold the event at the Eden Gardens.
Police officials, organisers and Trinamool Congress MP Sultan Ahmed are now inspecting the ground for possible security concerns and looking into where the stage for the performance could be set up.
Chief minister Mamata Banerjee invited Ali to sing in Kolkata after the legendary singer’s concert was cancelled in Mumbai last year following violent protests by Shiv Sena workers that triggered widespread condemnation of the rising intolerance in the country. But with days to go for the much-anticipated event, the government decided to shift the venue from the Park Circus grounds to the Eden Gardens, the stadium that holds international cricket matches in the city.
Sources said CAB president Saurav Ganguly told officials he would convey to the state government that the concert couldn’t be held at Eden due to the short notice and because an ICC team was scheduled to visit the stadium on January 15 to carry out an inspection for the world cup.