NMC’s ‘no helmets’ in Kavi Suresh Bhat Hall diktat draws flak

Nagpur: At a time when the city cops have concerted drives for wearing of helmets compulsory for two-wheeler riders, the Nagpur Municipal Corporation has debarred entry into the recently dedicated Kavivarya Suresh Bhat Auditorium with helmets. Carrying helments in the hall has been barred. Along with helmets, the other stuff that has been restricted include camera, firearm, matchbox, lighter or inflammable material, tobacco products, etc etc.

The NMC diktat to curb helmets into the Auditorium has put the two-wheeler riders in a fix. Now the dilemma before the two-wheeler riders would be whether to wear helmets or not while visiting the Kavivarya Suresh Bhat Auditorium. If they don’t wear the helmets, cops would be punishing them. And if they carry the helmets, NMC is not allowing them in the Hall. To the dilemma of such entities, the civic body has not come up with the alternative solution. The NMC babus have not made arrangements for safekeeping the helmets anywhere near the hall. The parking contractor would take advantage of the situation and reap moolah by charging hefty amount for helmets.

The Standing Committee on NMC on Friday held a meeting for laying down rules and regulations for reservation of Kavivarya Suresh Bhat Auditorium and also for fixing the rent of hall for various events.

Taking the ‘no-helmet’ diktat of NMC seriously, a delegation led by former President of NSUI, Nagpur District, Shahbaz Siddiqui on Friday met Standing Committee member and Congress Corporator Harish Gwalvanshi and demanded him to reject the rule debarring helmets into the Suresh Bhat Hall. Siddiqui said that on one hand the cops have made helmets compulsory for two-wheeler riders and punish the offenders, and on the other hand the NMC has restricted entry into the Auditorium with helmets.

Considering the demand as correct one, the NMC has assured to look into the matter positively. According to Siddiqui, the NMC has made arrangements for safekeeping the helmets in one of the rooms of the hall. A token system would be introduced. The helmet owners would be issued tokens for placing the helmets in the room or with the parking lot contractor. The NMC will take full responsibility of helmets kept in the room or with parking lot contractor.

The city unit of Aam Admi Party (AAP) too had submitted a memorandum to the Standing Committee Chairman Sandeep Jadhav and demanded rejection of the rules and regulations being framed for reservation of the hall. The AAP has also demanded that the rent of the hall should be fixed as Rs 5000 as suggested by Union Minister Nitin Gadkari.

However, going against the suggestions of Gadkari, to give Kavivarya Suresh Bhat Cultural Hall at nominal rates to various organisations, Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) administration has suggested to fix rent of hall between Rs 24,800 and a whopping Rs 60,000 including Goods and Services Tax (GST) for three hours. The local body has proposed to levy security deposit of Rs 50,000 for the hall. The proposal will be tabled in the meeting of NMC Standing Committee scheduled on October 27. The committee meeting chaired by Ashwin Mudgal, Municipal Commissioner, has proposed rates after comparing those with other cultural halls situated in New Delhi, Pune, and Mumbai. Also, the committee has prepared a set of rules for renting out the hall to various organisations. The hall was inaugurated recently at the hands of President of India Ram Nath Kovind.

The Auditorium is the state-of-the art hall with full air-conditioning, and ample space for parking.

According to sources, the hall could be given at Rs 5,000/- to organisations for cultural programmes as suggested by NitinGadkari. As per the proposal, the hall can be booked for non-commercial events like play, classical music show, and dance; commercial events like play, classical music programmes, classical dances, magic shows, orchestra, and fashion shows. The hall can be given for public functions, conferences, seminars, children’s plays etc. The rates suggested by the committee will be applicable for weekdays only, while on week-end (Saturday and Sunday), the rates will be one-and-a-half times more than those on weekdays. NMC has proposed to rent out the adjoining open ground admeasuring 600 sq mtrs for Rs 35,400/- per day from 10 am to 8.30 pm for exhibition and other events. The hall will be reserved for Government and civic body’s functions on January 26, May 1, and August 15 every year. NMC will also reserve the hall for its function any day of the year. The hall may be booked from 8.30 am to 11.30 am (morning shift), 12.30 pm to 3.30 pm (afternoon shift), and 4.30 pm to 7.30 pm and 8.30 pm to 11.30 pm (evening shifts).The rates suggested for events in the evening shifts are higher than those in morning and afternoon shifts. The hall may be booked online for the function.

Sources said that the rates suggested for the newly constructed hall are unaffordable for the cultural organisations of the city. They cannot afford to organise any event in this hall, if the rates are so high.

Rates for hall booking for the functions: