Instructions from District Collector Vikas Deshmukh and appeals from various social and political organisations about responsible usage of water during Holi worked wonders this year, as various resort owners and organisers cancelled events to celebrate the festival of colours.
The fact that some of the organisers cancelled events despite receiving a Non-Objection Certificate (NOC) from the district entertainment duty (ED) department showed that people had fully grasped the gravity of drought in the state.
Deshmukh had instructed tehsildars and Block Development Officers (BDOs) against issuing permission for rain dance events and other water activities during holi and rangpanchami.
Rakesh Wandhwa, who had organised an event at Santosa Resort to celebrate holi, said, “Considering the drought in the state, we cancelled the event a week before the festival.”
He said the event was cancelled despite receiving an NOC. A letter was sent officials of the ED department informing them about the event’s cancellation. Wandhwa said the decision was taken to express solidarity with the drought victims across the state.
ED department chief Geetanjali Shirke confirmed that almost all holi parties in the city were cancelled. “We had deployed our staffer to conduct raid on parties that were found wasting water. But fortunately we didn’t have to take strict action against any of the resort owners as they themselves had cancelled the events,” Shirke said.
Odd man out
While there were multiple event organisers who replicated Wandhwa’s decision, there were a few who tried to push through without acquiring necessary permission.
Owner of Manali Water Resort Suresh Kalbhor said he clearly told the event organiser to cancel the event upon discovering that the organiser lacked permission of the police commissioner to conduct the event.
“The organisers had booked the resort last year itself. We gave permission only to dry holi. But when we asked the organisers for police permission, they couldn’t produce it. We then cancelled the event and the money was refunded to the people,” Kalbhor said.