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Private guards to keep maidan safe

The historic Gandhi Maidan will no longer be left at the mercy of God, as the committee headed by Patna divisional commissioner ELSN Bala Prasad has decided to outsource its security to private guards.

The committee held its first meeting on Wednesday and decided to outsource the ground’s security.

Speaking to The Telegraph, Prasad said: “We are working on several issues. At present, we have decided to outsource private security for Gandhi Maidan. After the serial blasts, the government had formulated a protocol to make guidelines for the booking of the greens. We discussed many aspects. We are thinking of introducing online booking as well.”

He added: “The other point we discussed in the meeting was cleaning the ground before and after any political rally or function. We plan to install closed-circuit television cameras. We also discussed detailed guidelines regarding allotment and penalty for littering. Before handing over the ground back to the administration, the political party or organiser concerned has to ensure that it is returned in its original shape.”

Taking a lesson from the October 27 serial blasts, the government, on November 14, had approved a protocol for the security of the Gandhi Maidan and formed the panel headed by Prasad.

Ever since the blast, the district administration has taken all possible steps to ensure the security of the ground. The state government has spent Rs 8.5 crore on the beautification of the maidan. However, on the security front, it remains neglected as it was during the blasts at Narendra Modi’s Hunkar Rally.

The district administration, however, has promised to develop Gandhi Maidan as a model park and a number of measures have been taken to achieve it.

Patna district magistrate N. Saravana Kumar, who was also present at the meeting, said: “Even on the normal days, if there is no rally or function, private security guards would be deputed at Gandh Maidan, which was a new initiative discussed in the meeting. The maintenance of the ground is another major area of our talks apart from the regular aspects gardening, proper maintenance of lights, trimming of grass, cleaning the pathway on a daily basis and others.”

During the meeting, the allotment of the ground was discussed, Kumar said and added: “I can’t tell you the specific points but yes, from now onwards, organisers would have to follow plenty of conditions to organise rallies and other functions. It would not be easy and the booking parties have to fulfil all criteria. If they violate any of the conditions, the advance money would be confiscated and they would be heavily penalised.”

Others present at the meeting included Patna deputy inspector general of police Sunil Kumar, Patna Municipal Corporation commissioner Kuldip Narayan and engineers of the building construction department. Senior superintendent of police Manu Maharaj could not attend the meet, as he was on leave.