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Thursday, 29 September 2011

Ramdev sit-in, Anna fast did Ramlila one good turn: Maidan all laid out

Ramdev’s protest and Anna Hazare’s anti-corruption fast have done Ramlila organisers one big favour. Because of their sit-ins, the Ramlila grounds are in a much better shape than previous years.

Preparations are on in full swing and security has been stepped up at the venue as organisers gear for the upcoming Dussehra festival.

According to police, CCTV cameras have been installed and additional security forces have been deployed around the venue, before Ramlila begins on September 28.

“The demos of CCTV cameras are complete. We will also have door frame metal detectors and channelisers at each gate of the venue, apart from police personnel for manual frisking. We have requested for additional companies of CRPF, who will be working in two or three shifts,” said Aslam Khan, Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police (Central).

The route of the Ramlila procession, which begins from the Gauri Shankar temple and culminates at the Maidan everyday, will have stringent security measures.

“Policemen will accompany the procession. This year, we have also lessened the number of licences given to contractors for holding fair at the Ramlila Maidan. Only three people have been given licences for the mela,” Khan said.

Meanwhile, preparations are on at Ramlila Maidan, with labourers and contractors working full-time to get the ground ready for the Ramlila. Colourful pandals have come up on the grounds, being levelled by the MCD.

Pradeep Gupta (40), a member of the Ramlila Committee said the authorities have been extremely co-operative.

“The ground needed serious repairing after hosting the two anti-corruption fasts. The MCD has been leveling the surface with the help of red sand and stones. Later, they will line the boundaries with white powder, giving the whole place an immaculate look. Preparations will also be made for sanitation and drinking water,” Gupta said.

The main Ramlila stage is divided into three parts — the Ravan Durbar, Ram Durbar and Ashok Vatika. Elaborate sets, including props such as trees, palaces, jungles, waterfalls, wells, huts and demons are being prepared to “give a feel of the scene”, Gupta said.

The stage is double storied and all the “sky scenes” will be enacted from the upper floor, done up in navy blue drapes.

The sitting area is covered in bright red, pink, purple and yellow curtains, with rows of lights dotting the venue. Backstage, it is a volley of colours as Shyam Sunder Daksh, the set decorator from Mathura, decorates the stage with his 20-member team.

Daksh, who learnt the art from his ancestors, has been decorating the Ramlila stage for the past 35 years. “We come to Delhi from Mathura every year and try to do something innovative each time,” he said.

The other half of Ramlila Maidan — dotted with swings and stalls, which were put up three days ago — will be removed two days after Dussehra. Organisers said 25,000-30,000 visitors are expected to visit the mela everyday.


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