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Ramlila Maidan cannot be used as protest site for free: North body

The North body, which is entangled in a budget deficit of Rs 2,794 crore, has earned over Rs 21 lakh in this financial year from the area, and expects to earn at least Rs 10 lakh more in the year.

Written by Abhinav Rajput | New Delhi |
Updated: October 31, 2017 2:41:13 am
jantar mantar, ramlila maidan, jantar mantar protest, ramlila maidan protest, jantar mantar protest ban, ramlila maidan protest ban, delhi protest, delhi protest site, delhi protest hub, delhi news Officials said the venue can’t host multiple protests.

The North Delhi Municipal Corporation will file an appeal in the National Green Tribunal (NGT) stating that it is not feasible for them to allow Ramlila Maidan to be used as a protest site for free, as the corporation earns Rs 50,000 every day from the site and it will amount to huge revenue losses. Director of the horticulture department, NDMC, Ranbeer Singh, said: “The corporation has not received any request so far from people who have been displaced from Jantar Mantar and want to hold a protest here. However, as per the rules, we can hand over the site to one party at a time for which we will charge Rs 50,000.”

He added, “We will file an appeal… Besides being a huge source of revenue, the site is not feasible for holding multiple protests as it is a congested area with limited parking,” he said. The North body, which is entangled in a budget deficit of Rs 2,794 crore, has earned over Rs 21 lakh in this financial year from the area, and expects to earn at least Rs 10 lakh more in the year. It also earns additional Rs 8 lakh from a small parking site that the civic body has in the area.

The NGT had ordered, on October 5, that no further dharnas should be held at Jantar Mantar, and had directed the Delhi government, New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) and the Delhi Police Commissioner to “immediately stop all dharnas, assembling of people, public speeches and use of loud speakers at Jantar Mantar road within four weeks”. The NGT also said that all protesters at the site will be shifted to Ramlila Maidan.

Related report | Delhi’s dissent square emptied out: Speeches, slogans fall silent on last day at Jantar Mantar

North Corporation mayor Preety Agarwal said, “We were not made party in the case. The court had ordered Delhi government, New Delhi Municipal Council and Delhi Police to shift the protesters. We have not received any instructions. But we will approach the court asking them to consider our version.”

A senior official said, “We don’t have any problem if we are paid for it, but if they ask us to allow the space to be used for free, we will ask them to give us an alternate option through which we can compensate for our revenue loses.” “Secondly, there is no clarity on how the site can be used as an alternative to Jantar Mantar, because in Jantar Mantar one can hold multiple protests, while here we give it only to one party at a time,” the official added.

To hold a gathering at Ramlila Maidan, one needs to check for availability with the civic body, after which they have to get a ‘no objection certificate’ from Delhi Police and then book the space by making a payment.

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