With nearly 35,000 people expected to attend the October 31 swearing-in of the new Maharashtra Chief Minister, Devendra Fadnavis, and other ministers at Wankhede Stadium in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the venue has already turned into a fortress and been handed over to security agencies.
The stadium has a capacity of approximately 30,000 and there are, of course, a plethora of VVIPs expected. From entertainment to business, the ceremony will be a showcase for the who's who of India.
The security apparatus, naturally, has swung into action, and numerous meetings have been held with the authorities. While security is on top of the agenda, given the times we live in, the organisers, police and other personnel should make sure that there are plans for other contingencies as well, and that these are watertight.
There must be access to ambulances and other medical aid. There have to be adequate crowd control measures, given that this event is open to public. It needs to be made sure that the announcement system is loud enough, in case one is needed to quell any kind of panic situation. There also have to be smooth and easy evacuation measures in case the public has to be shunted out in an emergency. Most importantly, there have to be fire safety precautions and personnel in case a blaze breaks out.
We have a tendency of arranging grandiose events but, unfortunately, little heed is paid to contingency measures. We need to have all these in place and deep thought must be given to how any emergency would be tackled if the need arises.
Utmost importance should be given to response times and how authorities can cut down any delays in tackling a situation. The area around the stadium needs to be freed quickly, if needed.
Let us not leave everything to destiny, as is the national proclivity. While we are at the Wankhede, let us emphasise the importance of being an all-rounder. All eventualities should be accounted for.