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Yoga on Rajpath, with help from ‘Made in China’

Head to constituencies, use event to reconnect with people, ministers told.

Written by Abantika Ghosh | New Delhi |
Updated: June 20, 2015 8:32:08 am
international yoga day, yoga day, june 21, june 21 yoga day, yoga day june 21, indian yoga, india yoga, yoga india, rajpath yoga, delhi yoga, narendra modi, bjp, nda, yoga news, india news The Gujarat government’s Yoga Day invite.

When the Narendra Modi government makes its Guinness World Record bid on Sunday, it will be doing so on mats that were, by and large, made in China.

Since the contract was awarded barely three weeks ago, Arch Concept Private Limited, a Tilak Nagar-based event management company which won the bid to provide material for the June 21 event, went into a tizzy shopping for about 37,500 yoga mats.

An aeriel view of the preperations on Rajpath for the coming International Day of Yoga on Thursday. (Source: Express photo by Oinam Anand) An aeriel view of the preperations on Rajpath for the coming International Day of Yoga. (Source: Express photo by Oinam Anand)

Since such a huge number of mats could not be procured from just one city, the company went about buying them from 50-odd dealers across the country.

“These are Chinese-made mats. The procurement was rushed because everything was last-minute. In fact, containers of mats from China, which were headed to dealers and sub-dealers here, were diverted to the warehouse for use on yoga day,” said a senior official in the Ministry of AYUSH, which is organising the event. The mats are crucial to the government’s bid as the Guinness World Record (GWR) authority requires each participant to perform yoga on a separate mat.

It was equally tough to procure 32 LED screens to be put up along the 1,400 metre stretch at Rajpath. Because so many waterproof screens were not available in Delhi, some had to be procured from Mumbai. With Arch Concept charging Rs 35,000 for each screen, the tab for these has reached more than Rs 11 lakh. About 11,000 square metre of carpeting and 1,20,000 half litre water bottles also had to be arranged for the event.

“Mats were crucial because GWR conditions require every participant to perform on his or her own mat. It was all last-minute — tenders were finalised only about 20 days ago and we went all over the country to all importers, dealers and manufacturers to buy their entire stock.

Some mats were manufactured in India, but most are from China,” said Dilpreet Oberoi, managing director of Arch Concept.

Sources said the company, which has been organising the Plast India Exhibition at Pragati Maidan for several years now, was chosen for its experience and also because it quoted the lowest bid.

The tender price quoted was about Rs 250 per mat, or Rs 93 lakh in total. Mats would be provided in seven colours and GWR will number each mat and also scan bar-coded entry tickets to ascertain how many people participate in the record bid.

Sources said the total value of the contract awarded to Arch Concept is about Rs 3 crore.

Meanwhile, NDA ministers, who were initially told to attend the yoga event at the Capital, have now been instructed to go to their constituencies to lead the celebrations there.

Sources said the instructions came from PM Narendra Modi last week. They said the PM wants the ministers to use this event to reconnect with the people.

Ministers have been asked to arrive at their constituencies a day before the event to supervise arrangements. Most ministers have not undergone training and are likely to perform basic yoga asanas as a symbolic gesture.

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