Let's follow rules while having fun
They will have to give a written declaration saying their venue is safe to authorities and they will also have to get a no-objection certificate from fire officials
Dandiya raas and garba event organisers will now have to ensure that stalls offering food at the venues are fire compliant. They will have to give a written declaration saying their venue is safe to authorities and they will also have to get a no-objection certificate from fire officials. With hardly a week left for Navratri to begin, these rules should put a pep in our step.
Approvals and rejections will be given after seeing whether mandals have followed the orders of the high court. The orders include that no mandal should encroach footpaths and pedestrian's right of way. Apart from pandals being fire compliant, they should also ensure that traffic is not obstructed.
These rules must be taken in the right spirit. They are for the safety and convenience of the general public and dandiya revellers. Do not be swayed by people seeking to communalise the situation, and come up with sinister theories about this that or the other festival being targeted.
Rules are made for our benefit and well-being. It makes absolute sense for mandals to get a fire compliance certificate, as there are food stalls where cooking is on, at many venues. One can imagine the panic and stampede that would ensue in case of a disaster. The dandiya festival should not eat up our footpaths as there is scarce space for the pedestrian, who is literally being squeezed out of the city. Instead, let us have mandals and pandals that do not hinder movement in a space starved city.
In the end, festivals and celebrations are not about one-upmanship or which community has leeway and which does not. Extend rules to every festival, so that Mumbai enjoys the upcoming season in all its hues. Even those not cavorting with the dandiya sticks must believe that the city is playing their song. Here is to a zingy and very safe Navratri.
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