Nagpur: Kasturchand Park in Nagpur has always been at the helm of affairs, often crowded with host of events round the year. However the venue has equally become the centre stage for all the controversies emerging from violation of norms. The present scenario is no exception! Currently at least 4 events are being organized at KP Ground, creating a complete traffic chaos and serious safety concerns.
Last year, the district administration had decided in 2015 to restrict exhibitions and other commercial activities to just one fourth of the ground area. However, in violation of its own decision, right from last week the Heritage site has been rented out by exhibition pandals and domes. A look at these pictures reveals a true picture of how the authorities have blatantly given a green signal to ruin this place.
The Book Exhibition “National Book Fair” organized jointly by Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) and National Book Fair (slated to be on from February 5, 2016 to February 13, 2016) has occupied the south-west side (which is the actual portion allocated for commercial activities). In the same time duration, the Collector’s office has allotted the South-East part for a Handicraft Mela (Cotton Fab) occupying almost half the ground.
If this was not enough, the Collectorate then permitted five-day long Comp-Ex from February 10, 2016 on the North East Side of the Kasturchand Park Ground.
From February 6, 2016, the Consumer Expo Utsav organized by the Times of India, Media group too was thrown open to masses. All the remaining area in the ground has automatically been converted parking area for two-wheeler and four-wheelers coming to these exhibitions.
People filing PILs violate their own objections
The Secretary of Vidarbha Computer and Media Dealers’ Welfare Association Dinesh Naidu had filed a Public Interest Litigation expressing his objections over the ground being misused for commercial activities. However, when it came to Comp-Ex organized by VCMDWA where he himself is a Secretary, did not think about his own objections and has organized the Comp-Ex-2016 in Kasturchand Park area. Does his objection exempt VCMDWA?
Speaking to Nagpur Today, Secretary of Vidarbha Computer and Media Dealers’ Welfare Association Dinesh Naidu said that there are many loop-holes which many people are using to avail the KP Ground for various exhibitions. He said that there are many agents who procure the permissions under different names and then have some other organization or Association hosting the exhibition. He added that these agents have letters from Central Government which again they get using their contacts which ensure that these organizations get discounted prices. He claimed that they then host their exhibition next to the exhibition of some reputed organization which automatically ensures that crowds come to their exhibition too.
He said that the Comp-Ex were scheduled to be taking place at the spot near RBI which was allocated for commercial activities. The VCMDWA had applied for permission six months ago. They had even sent the plans to computer companies in Mumbai, Pune and other places. However, even they faced difficulty when their entire plan was fizzled out and they had to settle for the North East side. He claimed that they had requested the Cotton Fab who needed only 2000 square meters only, while Comp-Ex needed 10,000 square meters. Somebody in Collectorate has messed up.
While speaking about his PIL on entry of Four-Wheelers into Kasturchand Park, Dinesh Naidu said that his PIL was his objections of people practicing four-wheelers in the KP Ground. He said that the Maharashtra Motor Vehicle’s Act strictly says that the four-wheelers have to be learned only on roads under the supervision of a Trainer from a Driving School. One should not learn four-wheelers on any grounds.
Security threat ignored
Due to the heavy rush, the security guards posted at the main entrance do not frisk or check what the visitors are carrying inside the exhibition venues. Any unscrupulous element could spark off mayhem. The resulting stampede that could result would be perilous to women, children and aged. Any Naxal or other extremists could detonate an explosive device and massive fatalities could ensue. How come the Police Commissioner and the Special Branch fail to anticipate such eventuality?
Why four expos in the same ground?
It is beyond reasonable logic why the Collectorate gave permission to all four exhibitions to be hosted in the Kasturchand Park grounds without contemplating about the various threats and security risks this could entail?
If our memory is not wrong, local authorities had decided that this KP Ground will not be given for any commercial activities. If at all it has to be given, only a quarter of the ground will be given. Yet they have violated their own decision and have now utilized the entire ground. Why?
… Samuel Gunashekran