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Come new year, Kala Ghoda set for a new festival

Scheduled between January 15 and January 21, 2015, the festival promises to exhibit food from across the state.

Written by Srinath Raghvendra Rao | Mumbai | Published: December 9, 2014 1:13:27 am
festival-m Meanwhile, the future of Kala Ghoda Arts Festival (shown above in a file pic) is being debated over in the High Court.

A  new festival is about to set up shop in Kala Ghoda in the new year even as the future of the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival (KGAF) is being debated over in the Bombay High Court.

The Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) has planned a grand week-long open-air festival showcasing authentic Maharashtrian food in the third week of January 2015.

Scheduled between January 15 and January 21, 2015, the festival promises to exhibit food from across the state and has ambitions to attract crowds on par with the KGAF.

A senior MTDC official said the corporation had begun the process of identifying and finalising the stalls for the festival. “We aim to host a grand festival and expect footfalls greater than those of the KGAF. The emphasis will be on providing a great variety of reasonably priced Maharashtrian delicacies,” the official said.

Like the KGAF, the food festival will also not be ticketed, MTDC Managing Director Valsa Nair-Singh said.

“The festival will include a lot of interesting cuisines. We are working out the financial nitty-gritties. The festival is subject to clearance from the Mumbai Police, the BMC and other authorities,” she said.

She said Kala Ghoda had been finalised as the venue.

“We will host it at Kala Ghoda the first year. Once it is established, we will move it to a different venue. The festival will be held either in late January or early February, and will not clash with the KGAF,” Nair-Singh said.

In a letter sent to the Mumbai Police on November 11, the MTDC has asked for clearance to be granted by January 12. In the letter, MTDC states that the festival will be held between January 15 and 21, between 10 am and 10 pm, on a “grand scale”.

The letter states that the food from the Marathwada, Vidharbha and Malvan regions will be sold at the festival. “Stalls will be cooking and selling regional specialty food items at the venue,” it says.

Cooking is prohibited at festivals hosted at Kala Ghoda due to the risk of fires breaking out. The BMC and Mumbai Fire Brigade only grant No Objection Certificates to stalls at the KGAF after they comply with the rules barring the use of LPG cylinders at the venue.
The HC is currently hearing the findings of a committee set up earlier this year to review the 2014 KGAF.

The committee comprised advocate Jamshed Mistry, as well as representatives from the Mumbai Police, the BMC and the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board.

The committee was formed on the orders of the High Court, which was hearing a writ petition filed by a Kala Ghoda resident challenging the festival being held at the venue. Members of the court-appointed committee expect a decision to be taken before the 2015 edition of the KGAF.
srinath.rao@expressindia.com

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