After promoting and projecting Bagh-e Bahu the venue of Jammu Mahotsav – 2017, the tourism department changed the venue at the eleventh hour. Now it will be held at MAM stadium.
"The venue has been changed after consulting all the stakeholders. It's an 'extra ordinary' decision," said Vishesh Paul Mahajan, joint director, tourism Jammu.
Sources said that the decision was taken after police and district administration expressed concerns over security at Bagh-e Bahu garden.
"It's humanly impossible to keep vigil on entire park area, especially during nights and cultural functions," said a senior police officer.
"The area is not developed to cater a festival like Jammu Mahostav, where we expect huge participation of general public as well as VIPs," said a district officer, who not wished to be named.
He further said no proper parking and other facilities were available to accommodate festival.
The sources, however, also said the change of venue reflects the callous approach of tourism department, which is promoting the venue for the last three weeks.
"Tender of Rs 80 lakh for the festival was allotted to a private firm. The invitation cards had been distributed. Hording were placed right from Lakhanpur, Basholi, Bhaderwha, Katra and other prominent spots of city. It was advertised through radio, channels and newspapers and now the last minute change definitely creates chaos," said sources.
Beside MAM stadium, function would be held at Jia Pota Akhnoor, Suchetgarh, Raghunath Bazar, Kala Kandera.
The tourism department official said the entire programmes from Bagh-E Bahu has been shifted to MAM stadium.
However, people of Bagh-e-Bahu were disappointed over changed venuew.
"Bahu Fort area has always been ignored. Last minute change of the venue proves that government is not serious in promoting this place, said Hur Dutt, a local
The local shopkeepers had already pushed the stocks and made investment in anticipation of huge public for the Mahotsav,
"Since, the news of Jammu Mahostav here appeared we started preparing for this like festival. Many shopkeepers stocked eatable and other goods. The decision to shift the venue has hit has hard. Many small businessmen had taken loan to maintain stock," said Gopal Shabotra a shopkeeper at Bawe.