Jaipur: Chaos ruled the second day of the
prestigious Pravasi Bharatiya Divas as several delegates
virtually ran from pillar to post even to find a place to sit.
The main hall at the Birla Auditorium, the venue of the
inaugural function, was full half an hour before the start of
the programme where Prime Minister Manmohan Singh delivered
his inaugural address today and those who came later were
asked to go to the balcony.
The capacity of the hall was around 1,400 and there were
nearly 1,900 delegates who came to attend the event. Miffed
NRIs got into arguments with police personnel and volunteers
who were managing the crowd inside the hall while organisers
drew flak for the space crunch.
There were also reports that cricket legend Brian Lara,
part of the delegation of Chief Guest of the event the Prime
Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, was taken to the auditorium
after a delay as there was no space inside.
Within a few minutes, the balcony also was full and there
were no chairs even for delegates to sit forcing a few of them
to look for space on the ground floor of the auditorium.
The event`s host Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot
admitted as much in his speech.
"I am aware that there is limited space in the hall, which
troubled some of the delegates. I assure you that next time we
will have these kind of events at much bigger venue," he said.
Many people, including delegates, kept standing on the
stairs on the ground floor prompting announcements to be made
by the organisers that the Special Protection Group will not
allow the Prime Minister to come to the stage unless everyone
take their seats as it is a security issue.
Many people had to run from the balcony to the ground
floor to find a place to sit.
For journalists, who had turned up in large numbers, it
was no different as they had to sit at the back of the hall
through the inaugural session.
"I came to the venue at 8.40 am. I was asked to go to the
balcony, but I could not find a place there too. I kept
running and finally had to sit on the stairs and listen to the
speakers," a delegate from Malaysia said on condition of
The delegates blamed the organisers for the chaos and said
they should have found a larger space for the programme or
restricted the number of invitees to the event.