LUCK NOW In the run-up to the much-awaited Durga Puja festival, a recent directive issued by Lucknow district magistrate Suryapal Gangwar, mandating online applications for event permits a month in advance, has presented unexpected challenges for Durga organizers. Bid. With just a week left for the start of the Puja, organizers are grappling with the new online permit requirement, even though they have already obtained paper approvals.
DM Suryapal Gangwar has directed organizers of entertainment events during the festive seasons of Dussehra and Diwali to apply for permissions before organizing any kind of entertainment programs in hotels, clubs, water parks, amusement parks, resorts, venues professionals and residential colonies. These directives have been issued with the primary objective of ensuring the safety of the general public during these festive events.
Explaining the process, Gangwar said, “To obtain prior permission for such events, the organizers need to submit an application through the Niveshmitra portal at least 30 days before the scheduled programme. Essential certificates, including those for fire safety, electrical safety and peace protection, must be obtained from the relevant authorities and uploaded online. The entire permit process is done online. In case any difficulties arise during the online application process, the organizers can seek help by visiting room number 40A of the District Magistrate’s office.”
Tuhin Banerjee, administrator of Trans Gomti Puja Committee in Aliganj, expressed his commitment to adhere to all norms of the district administration. He said: “We are already taking comprehensive measures, including fire safety precautions and CCTV surveillance.”
Dimple Dutta, secretary of the Rabindra Palli Puja Committee, also affirmed his willingness to cooperate with the new directive and said, “We have received the letter from the DM’s office and we will comply with any further requirements.”
Somnath Mukherjee, joint secretary of Sadbhavna Sanskritik Samiti in Sahara Estate, mentioned, “We have already submitted our application for permission to the DM’s office and anticipate receiving approval soon. “This is an annual tradition and we are committed to following the necessary procedures.”
However, Samajwadi Party spokesperson Ashutosh Varma criticized the district administration’s approach. He argued, “Just 15 days before Dussehra, the district administration imposed an order banning any Dussehra or Diwali event without prior permission. Organizers are now expected to obtain permission online a month in advance and must obtain fire safety, electrical safety and peace protection certificates from relevant authorities. Instead of introducing a simplified process, the district administration has made obtaining permissions a complex and onerous task for ordinary citizens who want to organize events.”
Varma maintained that the DM’s directive reflects an autocratic attitude, in which the government seeks to regulate even small events held in neighborhoods and streets during the festive seasons.
In response to these concerns, the DM’s press release emphasized that any event falling within the definition of ‘entertainment’ under Section 2 (a-2) of the Uttar Pradesh Film (Regulation) Act, 1955 requires prior permission from the District Magistrate under Section 4A of the Act. Organizing such programs without obtaining this permission is an offense punishable under section 8 of the said act. Violations can result in up to six months in prison, a maximum fine of $20,000, or both. For continued violations, an additional penalty of $2,000 per day may be imposed.
The press release firmly states that strict legal action will be taken against those who violate the rules, in accordance with the relevant legal provisions described above.