Rs 18,000 stage set for Anna's fast at venue

The Rs 18,000 stage has three divisions: on top is the activist's perch, followed by a performance podium and a place for media; organisers say that sanitation, cooking, fire-safety arrangements are all in place 

As the curtains go up on activist Anna Hazare's 3-day fast today, the stage is all set for the agitation for a strong Lokpal bill, with 50,000 people expected to show up on day one. 

Organisers of the event said that the stage is divided into three parts, the top and centremost of which would be where Anna sits for the fast, along with select members from his core team.

Battle-Ready: The organisers have paid Rs 18,355 for the 545 sq m
stage for the next three days. Pic/Sayed Sameer Abedi

The second division of the stage is meant for public performances such as renditions of songs, while the third tier is for mediapersons.

Nobody would be allowed to go up near Anna because, said his team members, they fear that while fasting, a person's immunity is compromised and they become more vulnerable to viral infections and other ailments.
The organisers have paid Rs 18,355 for the 545 sq m stage for the next three days. "The organisers came in late, around 5 pm in the evening, due to which the work has been delayed. The rest would be completed on Tuesday. They have paid us the deposit," informed Asst Municipal Commissioner M Pimpale of H-East Ward.

Organisers said that for sanitary provisions, three mobile toilets, two for women and one for men, have been set up, for which they have to pay a daily rent of Rs 13,900 for the next three days.

There would be two fire engines deployed by the Mumbai Fire Brigade along with firemen, which cost the organisers Rs 3.53 lakh. "We have done our preparations. As per their requirement, the engines would be there for the next three days," informed H N Muzawar, chief fire officer. Yesterday, the fire brigade also issued their no-objection certificate for the cooking set-up at the venue.

Docs on standby
A spokesperson from Asian Heart Institute confirmed that doctors from the hospital would be ready to treat Anna in case any untoward health issue surfaces. "It is confirmed that Ratna Magotra, medical coordinator, Mumbai region for team Anna met senior doctors at Asian Heart Institute, BKC. Senior doctors of the hospital are expected to keep an ambulance on standby at the venue. The hospital will make emergency treatment available to Anna if required. However, it is believed that Anna will refuse any kind of attention unless absolutely required," the spokesperson said.

'Honored to be part of 2nd Freedom Struggle'
Idealism was thick in the air as Anna Hazare's followers from different walks of life and from different parts of the country thronged the MMRDA grounds at Bandra-Kurla Complex on Monday, a day before the crusader starts his fast.

One of the supporters who began his fast yesterday told MiD DAY that he travelled all the way from Punjab just to show his support for Anna's message. "I will start my fast from today and will continue till Annaji does, and will ensure that my future generation breathes in a corrupt-free India," said 74-year-old Anoop Singh.

Dr Rajendra Pandit, another follower, said, "My father was a freedom fighter who had joined Mahatma Gandhi in the Jail Bharo andolan. And I feel honoured to be part of this second freedom struggle."

Laxman Iyer, an Anna enthusiast from Chennai, said, "This campaign won't benefit anyone in the short run but will be really fruitful for our children."

Sudhir Kumar Oza, who was at the ground with 12 of his associates from Bihar, said, "Anna is not fighting for himself, his fight is for the country and for his countrymen."
--Dimpy Thakkar

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