IN a bid to promote the state as a venue for events and exhibitions, the Maharashtra tourism department is planning to mark certain venues as pre-approved and free of routine clearances to hold functions. A policy to make certain venues event-management-friendly is being worked out.
The tourism department will devise standard operating procedures that the event organisers will have to adhere to for conducting an event at the pre-approved venues.
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A web of required clearances as well as a high entertainment tax regime have been major deterrents for event organisers to hold events in Mumbai. Delhi has already rolled out a policy of pre-approved venues and single-window clearances for events, providing a list of more than 20 permanent venues where separate clearances are not needed. Separately, the Maharashtra tourism department is also in talks with the revenue department to consider relaxing entertainment tax for events.
“For pre-approved venues, we will give a list of technical specifications and standard operating procedures for fire approvals, local body clearances, electricity, police permissions and so on. We will even specify formats for events that can be held at these venues,” said a state government official who did not wish to be named.
Accordingly, the tourism department will specify the maximum number of people that can be present, formats for the stage, material to be used, number of fire engines that should be present and other do’s and don’ts.
The event organiser will have to submit just one proposal on the lines of specifications and standard operating procedures at a single window that the state government will create. “No separate approvals from other departments will be required as long as the event organiser proposes to adhere to the standard operating procedures. Separate approvals may be necessary only if the proposal suggests any deviation from specified standards,” the official said.
The state government is giving final touches to the policy despite a disaster less than a month ago at an outdoor event in Mumbai where organisers had sought all clearances separately before the event. A fire had gutted the stage at Girgaum Chowpatty in the midst of a performance during the much-touted ‘Maharashtra Night’ cultural show as part of the ‘Make in India’ week. The Mumbai fire department had blamed the blaze on a defective electric circuit and cited wilful negligence by the event management company, pointing to LPG cylinders stored illegally near the stage.
However, a tourism department official said, as a safeguard, the list of pre-approved venues will not have any beaches. “The department is considering including about 30 venues, outdoor as well as indoors, across the state. But there are no beaches, as there are still several issues with our coasts right from illumination, security and so on,” he said.
The district collectors, local body and concerned departments will survey these venues from the point of view of specified standards for pre-approvals, he added.