Sundeep Bhutoria

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ess bee

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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Big event, bigger responsibilities

Welcoming Shri Md Hamid Ansari, Vice President of India
For the past three weeks I was engrossed in the three-day Agyeya Birth Centenary Celebrations which concluded on Thursday at the historic National Library in Kolkata. The Vice President of India, Md Hamid Ansari, was the chief guest of the event that was attended by about 50 leading scholars from across the country.
I have, in the past, many times dealt with events and issues pertaining to the visit of VVIPs and I was fully aware of the marathon exercise that entails any programme involving them.
The Government formalities, clearances, protocols and issues related to security at the highest levels (Z + category) are very stringent due to the security scenario in the country. Anyway, the processes are very lengthy and and a test of stamina and patience. It is very comprehensive and also very exhausting.
Firstly, the organisation and the person involved has to get clearances from a multitude of departments and security agencies of the state government. Once that is sent to the state government, the VVIPs' consent or confirmation of participating in the event is taken.
But once the process of formalities starts, the hosts, at every stage, realises that it is a tough job to involve VVIPs in functions as one has to comply with strict guidelines and rules, mostly pertaining to the security aspects.
For example, at the advanced security liaison (ASL) meeting, one has to to answer a series of queries down to the minute details as the officials have to do their duty, considering all aspects, with a fine-tooth comb. Where will the wires from the Television AV vans lead to? What will happen if the lift stops working? What if there are more cars than the premises can accommodate? If tea is offered to the VVIPs who will make it? What if there are more media persons at the venue ? What if they come in front of the Stage? And so on.
I wish to distribute 1500 cards to include all the state ministers, bureaucrats and other invitees. But I was allowed to issue the same number of cards as the seating capacity of the auditorium. I don't think any social event in this country has a 100 per cent turnout or attendance. I was cocksure that half of my hall would be empty. So I had to hire another hall available at National Library ground floor, put up a projector and organise for another 200 seats in lieu of which I was allowed to issue 200 more cards.
At the end of the day the number of people who visited the function tallied with my estimate as did the media turnout. The another hall, where the 200 chairs were laid, was empty. It is true that the Government departments have their own set of rules and formalities to comply with, but there has to be a practical approach for such things.
However, it was a proud privilege to have the Vice President of the Republic of India at an event. This event would not have been possible without the support of the two dozen Government departments who looks into the smallest details. This also gives you a feeling that Why not! After all the Vice President is the numero two man in the country of over a billion people.
I am leaving Kolkata this weekend and will miss the Celebrating Calcutta Awards celebrations hosted by Jyoti Khaitan, Sanjay Budhia and Renu Roy.
ess bee

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