New Delhi: Even as the National Green Tribunal (NGT) is expected to give its ruling on the World Culture Festival on Wednesday being organised here by the Art of Living Foundation of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, the Delhi Police is reported to have red flagged the event.
As per a report in The Indian Express, the police has warned that the event, expected to be attended by nearly 35 lakh people on the banks of Yamuna river, may witness “stampede”, “pandemonium” and “utter chaos” due to shortcomings in the arena.
The police has raised the concerns in a letter to the Ministry of Urban Development and said they need to be addressed immediately.
The police issued the warning after inspecting the venue on March 01.
According to the police, the stage for the event - being billed as the world's largest temporary stage - lacks structural stability certificate. It may be noted that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who will inaugurate the event, and other VVIPs will be seated on the stage.
As per the police, the Central Public Works Department, the Delhi government and the Delhi Development Authority have all declined to issue the mandatory structural stability certificate for the festival stage.
“The Prime Minister’s security wing of Delhi Police had taken up the matter with the CPWD to give structural stability certificate, but they have refused to give them the certificate, saying they should take up the matter with the Delhi PWD or DDA for such certification. But it has been learnt that even the Delhi PWD and DDA are not willing to give any kind of certification to them,” police said.
The report said the police warned of the possibility of “pandemonium which is bound to result in utter chaos leading to total breakdown of law and order”.
Expressing concerns over preparations at the venue, the Central government has also issued an advisory, asking the police to put in place adequate measures to prevent any stampede-like situation during the event.
The Delhi Police has also expressed concerns over the fact that only two pontoon (floating) bridges are being built on the Yamuna river for the event, instead of the seven originally planned.
“On inspection of the pontoon bridge which has been put, it was found that the condition is ‘very poor’ and it is not stable,” the police letter said.
“As per field craft estimates, approximately 15,000 people can cross one pontoon bridge in one hour. The organisers have been informed that only two pontoon bridges will be grossly inadequate to cater to 2.5 lakh to 3 lakh people to reach the venue. So at least four pontoon bridges are required to be put up by the organisers through the Indian Army or Irrigation Department of Uttar Pradesh for ensuring smooth and safe passage of the invitees,” police said.
The letter even warns of the “distinct possibility of people falling in the river” since the bridges don't have wire-meshing.
Police have also described as inadequate the parking space at the venue.
Meanwhile, apart from the Delhi Police, the Special Protection Group (SPG) - that secures the Prime Minister - has also said after an inspection that the venue is not secure enough for Narendra Modi.
It may be noted that President Pranab Mukherjee, who was also due to attend the event, has now declined.