April 25, 2018 2:29:04 am
In a move that may come as a relief to many, the North Delhi Municipal Corporation has decided to provide a portion of Ramlila Maidan for free to protesters. The civic body has issued a notification which states that a part of ground towards Kamla Market, measuring approximately 1 acre, is being barricaded and earmarked for the purpose of holding demonstrations and protests.
The Indian Express had reported on March 24 that a dedicated space for protesters to gather for free was being planned at Ramlila Maidan, and the proposal had been discussed by senior officers of the Delhi Police and the North Delhi Municipal Corporation during a meeting.
The Indian Express had also reported that Ramlila Maidan had seen just eight rallies or protests from October till February 14. This was largely because the North corporation had been charging Rs 50,000 to book the site and Rs 5,000 as security deposit.
Director Horticulture North Ranbeer Singh said officials have been told to start the process of bifurcation, and the ground would be ready in a month for holding protest in the dedicated area. “The protesters will have to take no-objection certificate from Delhi Police and pay Rs 5,000 as security deposit, which will be refundable,” he said.
The North corporation was earlier unwilling to allow protests for free at Ramlila because it earned more than Rs 30 lakh every year through bookings. A North corporation official said that during a meeting between senior police officers and North body officials, it was communicated that in the absence of a dedicated place to protest, people were gathering at Parliament Street, a VVIP area. This was creating law-and-order problems as senior leaders often take the route.
A senior official of the North corporation, who did not wish to be named, said, “This is not a very good arrangement as it will create traffic problems. Most of the roads surrounding the ground are very narrow.”
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