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
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.