Govt Puts its Foot Down to Pro­tect In­dia Gate Greens

Degra­da­tion of grass cover over the years leaves lawns out of bounds for events and film shoots, but not for aam aadmi

The Economic Times - - Front Page - Nidhi.Sharma@ times­

New Delhi: The lawns around In­dia Gate — sym­bolic of the na­tion’s cap­i­tal and fea­tured in nu­mer­ous films such as Bol­ly­wood hit Rang De Bas­anti — will no longer be as widely ac­ces­si­ble to movie mak­ers and other events. The rea­son for the clam­p­down is the degra­da­tion of the grass cover over the years. But mem­bers of the gen­eral pub­lic who con­gre­gate there in large num­bers ev­ery evening, es­pe­cially on week­ends, don’t have to worry — there will be no re­stric­tion on their trips to the ice-cream carts that pro­lif­er­ate all over the area. The gov­ern­ment has moved to re­claim the lawns around In­dia Gate from movie shoots, food fes­ti­vals, mu­si­cal evenings, ex­hi­bi­tions and other events, even those held by min­istries. Th­ese won’t be al­lowed on ei­ther side of Ra­j­path and will be re­stricted to two lawns op­po­site the Na­tional Sta­dium on pay­ment of a fee.

The Cen­tral Pub­lic Works Depart­ment (CPWD), which main­tains the area around In­dia Gate, Boat Club and Cen­tral Vista, has is­sued fresh guide­lines for the use of lawns and ar­eas around In­dia Gate.

“The lawns on both sides of Ra­j­path shall not be al­lot­ted to any depart­ment for or­gan­is­ing the events/ex­hi­bi­tions so as to main­tain greenery of th­ese lawns,” read the guide­lines, which ET has re­viewed. “Per­mis­sion shall be granted only for two lawns in the C-hexagon area op­po­site Na­tional Sta­dium. Per­mis­sion for th­ese ar­eas shall be granted only with the con­di­tion that the en­try shall be with­out any re­stric­tion or en­try ticket/pass.”

Un­der the guide­lines is­sued in Fe­bru­ary 2015, the Cen­tral Vista lawns — on ei­ther side of Ra­j­path — and the en­tire area could be booked for events and film shoots.

“So far the lawns were be­ing lib­er­ally given to min­istries for or­gan­is­ing cul­tural events. Even film shoots were al­lowed. But the greenery was be­ing de­stroyed. The area has his­tor­i­cal im­por­tance and needs to be con­served,” a se­nior CPWD of­fi­cial told ET.

The bulk of this — $19 mil­lion — comes from en­dorse­ments while he earns $3 mil­lion from salary.

Kohli is the only crick­eter on the list of rich­est ath­letes.

Pep­siCo still has as­so­ci­a­tions with per­son­al­i­ties from sport and Bol­ly­wood in­clud­ing for­mer In­dia cap­tain Sachin Ten­dulkar, who en­dorses Quaker Oats, ac­tor Hrithik Roshan, the face of Moun­tain Dew, and ac­tor Anushka Sharma for Nim­booz masala soda. Chef Vikas Khanna backs Quaker and bad­minton star PV Sindhu is the face of its sports drink Ga­torade. The com­pany ended an 11year as­so­ci­a­tion with crick­eter MS Dhoni last year.

“Soft drink com­pa­nies need to step up in­no­va­tions and launch rel­e­vant prod­ucts since con­cerns about sugar have come home,” said Shri­pad Nad­karni, for­mer mar­ket­ing head of Coca-Cola and co-founder of fresh-food startup Finger­lix. Pep­siCo has al­ways banked on celebri­ties to ad­ver­tise its brands and at one point had the en­tire cricket team.

“His­tor­i­cally, names en­dors­ing co­las used to be the ul­ti­mate youth icons. But with the num­ber of op­tions of con­sumer con­nec­tions in­creas­ing dra­mat­i­cally, the share of mass me­dia, too, has come down,” Nad­karni said.

Pep­siCo was keen to ex­tend the con­tract since Kohli is the big­gest youth icon in the coun­try to­day, said an of­fi­cial with knowl­edge of the de­vel­op­ment. How­ever, the com­pany has been cut­ting down on spend­ing big money on top-run celebri­ties, with chair­man D Shivaku­mar fo­cussing more on be­low-the­line, re­gion-cen­tred and dig­i­tal ad­ver­tis­ing and con­sumer en­gage­ment, the of­fi­cial said.


Kohli, 28, said in a tele­vi­sion in­ter­view in June that when he started his fit­ness turn­around, it was ini­tially more of a life­style thing and he would not want to be a part of some­thing or pro­mote some­thing that goes away from that. “Things that I’ve en­dorsed in the past – I won’t take names – but some­thing that I feel that I don’t con­nect to any­more. If I my­self won’t con­sume such things, I won’t urge oth­ers to con­sume it just be­cause I’m get­ting money out of it,” Kohli had said. Kohli is now the face of brands in­clud­ing Audi, MRF, Tis­sot, Gionee, Puma, Boost, Col­gate and Vicks. He has in­vested in fit­ness-as­so­ci­ated ven­tures in­clud­ing the Chisel chain of gyms, tech startup Sports Convo and the Wrogn line of ap­parel. Con­sumers are turn­ing away from car­bon­ated soft drinks, with a mar­ket value of about ₹ 22,000 crore in In­dia, and dump­ing sugar-laden drinks in favour of flavoured wa­ter, func­tional juice, iced tea and low-sugar drinks made by global and lo­cal com­peti­tors.

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