Kolkata police on Friday announced a set of norms for programmes that makes it mandatory for organisers to ensure that the number of passes issued is within the capacity of the venue.
This apart, ambulances and doctors must be on guard to take care of any medical emergency.
At a news conference in Lalbazar in central Kolkata, police commissioner Vineet Goyal said henceforth all organisers would have to give an undertaking that they will follow the guidelines and the police will monitor compliance.
The announcement came three days after singer Krishnakumar Kunnath — popularly known as KK — performed at Nazrul Mancha before an audience that was allegedly three times the capacity of the auditorium. He died of a heart attack after the show.
“From now on, we will take undertakings from the organisers about arranging ambulances and doctors at the venue and identifying a hospital beforehand so that in case of an emergency people can be shifted there,” Goyal said.
“The organisers will also have to ensure crowd control. The number of tickets issued should not be more than the capacity of the venue,” he added.
One of the organisers of Tuesday’s programme has admitted that they had issued around 3,500 passes, though Nazrul Mancha can seat only around 2,500.
- Issue passes within the capacity of the venue
- Arrange for ambulance and doctor at the venue
- Identify a hospital and contact them prior to event so that people can be taken there in case of an emergency
- Submit written undertaking that the above guidelines would be followed
Asked if there was overcrowding at Nazrul Mancha on Tuesday, the top cop said: “Overcrowding might be there to some extent as the capacity (of the auditorium) was 2,500 and more people had entered. But there was nothing like people were short of space or having issues.”
Many who had attended the programme have told The Telegraph that the overcrowding had prompted organisers to keep the auditorium doors open — something that had rendered the air conditioners useless.
Kolkata police on Friday published a footage of the event. “From the video, shot by a drone, it doesn’t appear that there was overcrowding,” Goyal said.
“There was no stampede-like situation at any point. No one, including the artistes, students, or people who attended the event, complained that anything was amiss,” he added.
According to existing rules for Nazrul Mancha, the organisers have to seek separate permissions from the police and the Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority, the custodian of the auditorium. The organisers have to declare the nature of the event and provide a crowd estimate, depending on which the police will make its arrangements.
“Routine arrangements are made unless there is a very big event,” an officer said.
Goyal said there was “adequate police” arrangement at Nazrul Mancha on Tuesday.
Asked if there was lawlessness as seen in several video footage where people were seen scaling the boundary wall to enter the premises, Goyal denied knowledge of any such incident.
“We have learned that the AC was functioning on that day,” he said.
He also clarified that the “fire extinguisher incident” — where some of the organisers had allegedly used a fire extinguisher to disperse the crowd — happened around 150 metres from KK while he was in the green room.