Preparations for the visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA chief Sonia Gandhi for the silver jubilee celebrations of the Zonal Cultural Centres (ZCCs) Maati Ke Rang were in full swing on Thursday,especially in the aftermath of the storm that lashed the Tricity late on Wednesday night.
Union Minister for Tourism Kumari Selja flew to the city to oversee the preparations on Thursday. Apart from the PM and Gandhi,the Governors of four states Bihar,Nagaland,Uttar Pradesh and Punjab will attend the event. Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Union Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal will also be present.
There was a scramble to secure an invite for the event. The Congress leaders in Panchkula alleged the leaders close to Selja had received the invites while the others had been ignored. The NZCC office at Kalagram witnessed people trooping in throughout the day to secure invitations that were being given after submission of identity proof.
The venue at Parade Ground was damaged due to the Wednesday night storm. Officials inspected the spot in the middle of the night,but damage control started in the morning.
However,due to tight security arrangements,functions at various places were cancelled. Organisers alleged despite booking for months in advance,they were made to look for alternative venues at the last minute. A member of an organisation that was holding a religious discourse at Mansa Devi said they were informed on Wednesday about the cancellation of the event due to the PMs visit.