NEW DELHI: There is a new hope for the iconic Rabindra Rangshala, currently in ruins in Upper Ridge, as an environment ministry panel is doing an environmental impact assessment (EIA) for reviving the capital city’s largest open air amphitheatre, with a seating capacity for 8,000 people.
Once Delhi’s cultural hot spot, this unique double-storied coliseum was closed after the ridge was declared a reserved forest in the mid-1990s following the Supreme Court’s intervention. Spread across 36 acres, the structure was envisioned in the early 1960s by the Rabindranath Tagore Centenary Committee, headed by Jawaharlal Nehru.
The Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) has now asked the Dehradun-based Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE), to study the impact it will have on the reserved forest and wildlife if the amphitheatre gets operational again. The move came after the Union Culture Ministry approached the SC in this regards. Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said the matter pertains to the Delhi government and they are not involved in giving clearance to it. “Only our view has been sought by court in the matter. We will give that,” said Javadekar.
A senior environment ministry official explained that after Delhi ridge area was notified as forest, several establishments sought exemption from the court and is now operating in that area. Several renowned schools and the Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, is functioning in the ridge.