Prime Minister Narinder Modi being a popular orator is bound to be heard by big number of citizens from across the state at the Ridge Maidan on April 27th. It is indeed a matter of pride for high strata national leaders to address the summer capital from the Ridge, though this time his gathering at the historic Maidan has become a point of debate. Right from our first prime minister till former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Bajpai have addressed from the ridge, but then the situation was different. The local Municipal Corporation couple of days back pointed out to the Prime Minister that many parts of the ridge have been declared as sinking areas therefore is it thoughtful to jeopardise the safety of the historic Ridge for such a big public gathering which would be only the second one after the oath taking ceremony of Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh in 2012.
Political parties have different view points on it. BJP without any comment over the fragility of the Ridge states that the other political parties are opposing the event because they are afraid of Modi’s popularity. On the other hand the left displaying concern of safety for the ridge, with ruling Congress not disclosing any viewpoint yet, along with the district administration.
However opinions of Shimla citizens, who are the key stakeholders and threat if any arises, they would be the ones to suffer, are mixed with only one point in common that Ridge Maidan is under potential threat. “Shimla has numerous options for a rally like that big as of Prime Minister Modi. It can be organised at the Ice Skating rink, or at the Sabzi Mandi ground,” stated Sameer a Shimla citizen. He said if the event is too big Annadale ground could be the most viable option as it can also accommodate lacs of people at one place without posing any security threat to the ecology of the city.
Anil another Shimla citizens states that now when the prime minister is scheduled to come, only then this issue has cropped up. He said that SMC if had known about these facts of the ridge, should have taken action before. He said now is not the time to discuss this. Rather as a safety measure the administration can refrain to the number of people who would reach the Ridge to witness the rally of Modi. “Though the rally should go ahead at the ridge”, he reiterated.
Another AP Singh states that, in any case not more than eight to ten thousand people can fit at the ridge, whereas a bigger number than that are expected to witness this event. “So why not the Annadale ground,” he stressed too. “Instead of threaten the security of the Ridge”, added.
Few other citizens shared a mixed view-point. On one hand they agreed that Ridge Maidan is under potential threat and situation could go worse because of such big public gatherings. But on the other hand they also state that this rally should be allowed justifying that ridge on every New Year’s night would have more number of people dancing on it than could potentially arrive for this rally.
Yet with confirmed surveys and reports time and again stating that Ridge is in a potential risk, the final decision can now be left on the Prime Minister’s prerogative whether he wants to change his event location, thus to contribute towards a better tomorrow for the heritage city Shimla.