After the Supreme Court expressed its displeasure with regards to wastage of food at big events in Delhi, the Delhi government, under the directions of the Supreme Court, has drafted a policy to put a check on wastage of food, the number of guests and amount of parking space used at social events in Delhi. This is expected to curb outrageously expensive, wasteful and disruptive functions including the wildly exorbitant weddings in the national capital.
A committee of four officers was constituted by the Chief Secretary, including Principal Secretaries of Urban Development and Health, Chief Executive Officer, Delhi Jal Board and Member Secretary, Delhi Pollution Control Committee, to draft. The draft policy has also been approved by the monitoring committee appointed Supreme Court.
According to the draft, organisers as well as caterers, in Delhi, social events including weddings, must register themselves with NGOs in order to manage the distribution of surplus food to the poor and the needy. “The caterer should make proper arrangements to handover fresh surplus and leftover food to these NGOs,” said the Draft ‘Policy for Holding Social Functions in Hotels, Motels and Low-Density Residential Area (LDRA) in National Capital Territory of Delhi’. For serving the leftover prepared food to people, the organisers of the event as well as the caterers must attain the necessary permissions including the FSSAI license from Delhi’s Department of Food Safety, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
Limiting the large number of guests at lavish social events, the draft said “The food preparation should be according to the ceiling of the number of guests as per prescribed capacity of the motel and LDRA. The number of guests cannot exceed the guest limit approved by the Urban Local Body (ULB) for that function site.” The draft also says that the leftover food must be removed “immediately after the completion of the duration of that social function.” These standards and conditions shall be ensured by the Commissioner of Food Safety and shall be strictly enforced by periodical inspections, violation of which will invite action.
The maximum number of guests will be calculated by dividing the area taken up by the venue by 1.5 sqm or by multiplying the total number of cars that can be parked by four as reported by TOI.
“Further, officers of respective ULB will conduct random or complaint-based inspection. The violations would be noted with proofs by the inspecting officers without the disrupting the function. In the event of violation of any of the conditions, the penalty would be imposed against violators under specific act/rules/orders,” the draft says.
Hefty penalties have been laid for operators of the venues in Delhi and not the host, for violations. Operators will have to pay Rs 5 lakh for first offence, Rs 10 lakh for second and Rs 15 lakh for the third or any subsequent offence. The onus of maintaining standards and sticking to the law shall fall on the organiser and other operators of the event and not on the host. Operators may have to pay Rs 5 lakh for the first offence, Rs 10 lakh for the second and Rs 15 lakh for subsequent violations.
Adding regulations even on venue space, the draft says, “The capacity of the space should be determined by multiplying the total number of car parking available by four or by means the number of persons obtained by dividing the gross floor area of the premises by occupant load factor at 1.5 sqm, whichever is less.” The total number of days on which social functions including weddings can be organised shall also be restricted to 120 days in the authorized venue spaces.
On Motels and Low Density Residential Areas in Delhi, the policy suggests that, “Minimum area of LDRA must be equals or more than 2.5 acres. Only such Motel and LDRA houses should be permitted to hold social functions which have proper access to the road from a main road (60 ft wide or more) and the LDRA should not be located at a road which ends in a dead end.”
The draft policy also seeks to address safety of the guests at social functions and the concerns of Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) and the Supreme Court on the environmental pollution caused by such massive social events including wastage of water and other resources. Semi permanent pandals shall also meet their end as per the draft policy formed by Delhi government.
Such a move shall go a long way in rectifying the several nuisances that arise out of large social functions including the ‘big fat Delhi weddings’ as we know them. It shall also serve as an example for other states to follow suit. Wastage of food and resources at lavish parties contradicts tragically with the living conditions of the underprivileged and the homeless, that survive on the road never too far away from such venues. Unregulated and unplanned parking spaces caused by unregulated guest count also inconvenience the general public. The draft approved by the Supreme Court appointed monitoring committed addresses all these issues in Delhi.