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Kolkata Municipal Development Authority wakes up to Nazrul Mancha loopholes after KK incident

Auditorium custodian mulls tweaks to ticketing conditions for renting out

Subhajoy Roy, Monalisa Chaudhuri | Published 03.06.22, 06:31 AM
KK performing for Vivekananda College at Nazrul Mancha on Monday.

KK performing for Vivekananda College at Nazrul Mancha on Monday.

Picture shared on KK’s Instagram page

The custodian of Nazrul Mancha adjoining Rabindra Sarobar in south Kolkata, now under fire for allegedly abandoning all responsibility while letting out the auditorium, is planning to allow its use on the condition that tickets cannot be distributed for all seats.

The plan is to keep 50 or 60 seats empty during a programme, said an official of the Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority (KMDA), the custodian of the auditorium in the Rabindra Sarobar complex.


“We may tweak the terms and conditions under which Nazrul Mancha is rented out. We will now make it mandatory for the organisers to distribute tickets or entry permits in a way that 50 or 60 seats remain empty,” the official said.

There were allegations that Nazrul Mancha was packed much beyond capacity during singer KK’s programme on Tuesday evening. The singer slumped and died soon after the concert.

“Experience has shown that more people than what the auditorium can seat arrive for any programme. The organisers are often not in a position to turn away those who turn up without a ticket or an invitation,” said the KMDA official.

“If some seats are kept empty, they can be used to accommodate those who arrive without tickets or entry passes and cannot be turned away.”

The KMDA said it would look into ways so that overcrowding can be stopped during events.

Kolkata mayor Firhad Hakim, who is also chairperson of the KMDA, told The Telegraph on Thursday that he would ask the agency to prepare a plan to ensure that Nazrul Mancha is never packed beyond capacity.

Hakim said there was no bar on events scheduled at the auditorium for the next few days. A management institute will hold an event there on Friday.

The KMDA has already fixed the doors that were damaged during KK’s performance on Tuesday.

Nazrul Mancha can seat 2,482 people. But according to estimates of police and the organisers of KK’s concert, around 7,000 people had entered the auditorium to hear him sing. Hundreds of people were standing in the wings and on the dais during the programme.

Many people who attended or were involved in performances at Nazrul Mancha said unrestricted entry of people had been going on for long.

The senior KMDA official who spoke to The Telegraph on condition that he would not be named admitted that often viewers could be seen sitting on the stairs or the floor of the auditorium during a programme.

The KMDA has deployed only six guards at the auditorium, whose duty is to ensure that people do not smoke on the premises or damage property.

“Managing the gates during a programme is the organiser’s responsibility,” the KMDA official said.

The usual police presence, too, is inadequate to prevent such overcrowding.

That, however, is going to change on Friday, police sources said.

Around 40 police personnel under the supervision of an assistant commissioner will be deployed in the Nazrul Mancha compound for Friday’s programme, police sources said.

The team will be made up of an assistant commissioner, two inspectors, four sub-inspectors, four assistant sub-inspectors, 20 constables, one woman assistant sub-inspector, one woman sub-inspector and eight woman homeguards and civic volunteers.

Besides, traffic cops will be deployed outside the auditorium, the sources said.

Earlier, around 10 officers, headed by an officer of the rank of inspector, used to be deployed at the auditorium during a programme, said an officer at Lalbazar who is familiar with force deployment.

Last updated on 03.06.22, 07:40 AM

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