Over 100 people from Sanatan Sanstha, Hindu Janjagruti Samiti and Narad Mandir Nyas staged a dharna in front of collector’s office in Pune.
Pune: The organisers of Sunburn have overcome the hurdle of obtaining a liquor permit for the festival, with the excise department issuing the necessary licence to sell liquor at the venue for four days.
Mohan Varde, superintendent, excise department, Pune, told The Asian Age, “We have issued a licence to the organisers of Sunburn to sell liquor for the four days of the festival, from December 28 to 31. Licences have been issued as per the Bombay Prohibition Act, 1949, Maharashtra Prohibition Act and Bombay Foreign Liquor Rules, and notifications issued by the commissioner of the excise department of the state government. They (the organisers) have paid Rs 9.63 lakh as fees as per rules.”
Mr Varde added, “The organisers of Sunburn did ask for permission in time. But their liquor stock arrived late due to traffic. Hence, we could not issue the licence earlier. We issued it two hours before the programme began on December 28.” He also said, “Permission for the sale of liquor does not violate the ban on alcohol in the village. Alcohol will only be sold in a definite area.”
Over 100 people from Sanatan Sanstha, Hindu Janjagruti Samiti and Narad Mandir Nyas staged a dharna in front of the collector’s office in Pune from 4 pm to 6 pm. They handed over a representation to the collector demanding a ban on the festival.
The reasons they gave for demanding the ban include alcohol being sold, DJs causing noise pollution, and that many of the lakhs of attendees could have a criminal background.
Abhay Vartak, spokesperson, Sanatan Sanstha, said, “The gram panchayat has not given a no-objection certificate to the festival. The government should check if all the performers from abroad have business visas. Besides the Sunburn organisers are also hosting a ‘Dark Hours’ programme from 10.30 pm to 5 am, and the government should check whether drugs and prostitution are being promoted. The police should carry out a no-drinking-and-driving initiative to catch people who drive after consuming alcohol at the programme.”
However, Rajendra Muthe, deputy resident collector, Pune, said, “The festival is being organised on a private plot and does not need permission from the gram panchayat. Besides, all 12 requisite permissions have been granted to the organisers of Sunburn.” Karan Singh, CEO, Sunburn, said, “We have all the necessary permission and there is nothing illegal about the event.”
The festival has ruffled many a feathers because in 2007, the Kesnand village grampanchayat had passed a resolution banning sale and consumption of alcohol. The village is near Alandi, place of Saint Dnaneshwar, Dehu, birthplace of Saint Tukaram and its own Jogeshwari temple. Villagers wanted to keep place sacred by making village dry. Though over the years, a few liquor shops have mushroomed all over the village.
What is Sunburn?
This is the 10th edition of the Sunburn festival known for electronic music dance is being held at Kesnand village at outskirts of Pune this year. Earlier all nine editions were held in Goa. But this year, the Goa government refused permission to Sunburn saying it would be additional stress on the law and order situation during the New Year in Goa.