Nazrul Mancha had its first college programme on Friday since the one on Tuesday where KK gave his last performance an hour before his death.
Friday’s programme looked more like a college fest. Unlike Tuesday, the venue was full of volunteers, security personnel and police officers who imposed strict screening rules at the gates to ensure only those who had passes could enter.
The officials of the institute that had its event on Friday said they were granted permission only on Thursday evening after several layers of scrutiny and written undertakings to the police and the Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority.
The Telegraph sat through the programme of the Calcutta Institute of Engineering and Management, Tollygunge, to list the changes on Friday.
Gate: Guests entering Nazrul Mancha had to undergo three layers of checks at the gate. Passes were checked, bags scanned and men were frisked at the gate. Women police officers and private guards were present. After the first layer of scanning, there were volunteers to check if there was a particular signature at the back of the pass. Finally, while entering the auditorium, there was a final round of screening for passes.
Those who attended Tuesday’s programme had said that there was no screening for passes at the gates, which had resulted in overcrowding inside.
Crowd management: Officials of the management institute said they had formed a team of 25 student volunteers who were coordinating over walkie-talkies. “Please shift to the front,” they were heard saying, apparently to ensure that the front seats were occupied first and there was uniform distribution of the crowd in the auditorium.
In between performances, the organisers kept making announcements to “maintain discipline” inside the auditorium. “We don’t want any chaos inside,” the anchors announced repeatedly.
Passes: Sources in the institute said the organisers had printed 1,200 passes for the students and another 300 for staff and faculty.
“Initially we wanted to give two passes to each of the students. But after Tuesday’s incident we were very cautious to keep the number of passes under control,” said an official.
Trinamul Chhatra Parishad unit president, Sir Gurudas Mahavidyalaya, who was one of the organisers of Tuesday’s programme, had said on Thursday that they had printed at least 3,500 passes — roughly 1,000 more than the capacity of Nazrul Mancha.
Medical emergency: Unlike Tuesday when there was no arrangement for a medical emergency on the auditorium compound, the organisers had kept two ambulances on reserve outside the hall with doctors for any emergency on Friday.
Stage: On Friday, no one except the artistes and the anchors were seen on stage. On Tuesday, tens of people, including technical staff, men and women who were part of the audience but had managed to climb up on the stage, were seen on the stage and the wings when KK was performing.
“The audience getting too close to the artiste could be a security issue,” said a police officer.
While granting permission for Friday, the police had said to maintain “sanctity” of the stage for the event.
AC and fans: On Friday, ‘extra’ care was taken to maintain ventilation on the stage. Videos had emerged of KK perspiring, drinking water and wiping his face with a towel again and again while he was performing. On Friday, the organisers had arranged for three air coolers and six pedestal fans on the stage.
It remains to be seen if the changes were a one-off exception or continue to be followed.