Free Press Journal

Allow only Art exhibits in Kala Ghoda festival, Panel tells HC


Mumbai: A five-member committee, appointed by the Bombay High Court to monitor violation of conditions on holding the annual “Kala Ghoda Festival”, today recommended that only Art exhibits should be allowed and commercial stalls be withdrawn.

In its report submitted to a bench headed by Justice V M Kanade, the Committee suggested that a mechanism should be evolved for managing visitors without charging them and also a free access should be provided to vehicles during emergency.

However, the committee is silent on whether the venue of the festival should be moved from K Dubhash Marg at Kala Ghoda in South Mumbai to some other place.

The Committee had been appointed by the Court while hearing a PIL filed by Borges Yazdi Malu, who stays at Commerce Lane near Kala Ghoda where the festival is held in February-March every year.

The petitioner complained that the organisers violated most of the conditions imposed by the authorities on them for holding the festival. He also listed several problems faced by residents on account of crowd of visitors during the event.

Alleging health hazards, noise pollution, traffic jams and security risks, the petition prayed for cancellation of licence for holding the festival.

The PIL alleged that earlier the organisers had violated the noise pollution laws by crossing the prescribed decibels.

Also, the garbage generated during the festival has become home to mosquitoes, rodents and dogs thereby posing a health hazard for residents, the petition claimed.

However, Kala Ghoda Association denied violation of laws in the past. They moved a chamber summons saying that the PIL should be dismissed as it has made false and baseless charges.

The association also said that top priority was given to hygiene and cleanliness, and dirt is not littered on the streets as alleged in the petition.

The committee submitted its report after visiting the festival and meeting residents of the area.

The report said the festival had become popular in the recent years and a landmark in the field of Art and Culture.

“For the priorities of ensuring the right of celebration and enjoying Art and Culture, security and civic issues cannot be ignored. At the same time, on account of civic and security issues, the festivities cannot be disallowed, the Committee noted.