Green light for Island Grounds fair
A recent notification of the TN Tourism Development Corporation (TNTDC) inviting tenders for setting up eateries, textile and other shops as part of a fair, along with the fire cracker shops in the Island Grounds for the ensuing Deepavali, was upheld by the Madras High Court, subject to certain conditions, on Monday.
The first bench granted the permission, while dismissing a batch of public interest writ petitions from Chennai Fire Works Dealers Welfare Association and Chennai Metro Fire Works Dealers Association and social worker ‘Traffic’ KR Ramaswamy, challenging the notification on the ground that permission to set up other shops including eateries and hotels at the Island Grounds would pose a serious threat to public safety.
The bench noted that there would be a 70 meter gap between the cracker shops and other shops, as the Cooum river ran between them. There should not be any encroachment on either side. The cracker shops should be put up strictly as per the rules of the explosives department.
Since experts in the relevant fields had given their opinion and suggestions as to the smooth conduct of the fair as well as sale of fire crackers in the temporary sheds in the Island Grounds and gave assurance that all safety and rescue measures would be in place, the court was of the view that the apprehension expressed by the petitioners had been answered adequately.
The bench also directed the authorities concerned to ensure that all safety and rescue measures were in place for the cracker shops to be put up throughout the State for Deepavali.