Mithibai College Stampede: Spotlight on lack of fest regulation
With each college having multiple events - one bigger than the other - there are no guidelines or safety norms on how they are organised
College cultural festivals in the city are rising to new heights every year with mega budgets and performances from popular artistes. But neither Mumbai University nor the state government have any regulations to ensure these fests run smoothly. The stampede that occurred at the Mithibai college's festival Colosseum on Thursday night has brought the discussion about the need for such rules to the fore.
Things went awry for Colosseum after alleged overcrowding led to a stampede on Thursday night during rapper Divine's performance. Allegations about overselling of passes were made, while organisers said the ruckus was caused by those trying to enter without a pass. Either way, this incident has called for a need to have discussions about regulating such festivals. Speaking about the same, a senior professor from a suburban college said, "College festivals are getting bigger every year. Because of social media they're gaining greater publicity and have started attracting more crowds. But, there are no specific regulations for managing these festivals, that are completely handled by students."
Adding to this, another professor shared, "Earlier, every college had only one festival. But now, they have multiple festivals organised by different departments. With a greater number of festivals, their management becomes largely dependent on students who can go wrong in organising big events like a concert night. The regulations should be specific to festivals, and bring clarity on how many such events can be allowed per college, what should be the ratio of the managing committee to the audience to ensure smooth functioning, a cap on the budget to have less interference from external factors."
A student volunteer for Mithibai's mega cultural festival Kshitij said, "Colosseum is not even as big a festival as Kshitij, which has a footfall of over 45,000 students. However, Colosseum does not have the adequate number of student volunteers to manage it, considering it is restricted to one department." The student added, "Just this year, Kshitij had invited musicians Vishal and Shekhar for a performance at the same venue. But it was a smooth affair, mainly because there were many people to handle it." Colosseum allegedly suffered a similar fate as Thursday's incident in 2012, too when musician Honey Singh had come to perform.
MU said it has no regulations for affiliate colleges. File pic
Mumbai University says
When mid-day reached out to MU to ask about the lack of regulation, Leeladhar Bansod, deputy registrar and PRO said, "The University does not have any such regulations for affiliated colleges. Cultural festivals organised by the university are regulated with guidelines. However, festivals organised by affiliated colleges are the responsibility of the host colleges.
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