Dr KK Aggarwal
The Delhi Government has issued a draft policy for holding social functions in hotels, motels and low density residential areas (villages containing existing farm houses clusters – urban extension areas) in Delhi. The policy specifically takes into consideration to extravagance in expenditure and food wastage, waste management and safety of persons attending such functions.
All farmhouses, hotels, etc. hosting such events will now have to adhere to the directives in the policy. Some of the directives are:
· Maximum number of guests in any marriage function will be calculated by dividing the gross floor area of the venue (in sq m) by the occupant load factor @ 1.5 sq m (area in sq m / person) or multiplying the total number of car parking available (at the venue) by four, whichever is less.
· No authorized/ approved venue can host social events for more than 120 days in a year.
· No parking shall be permitted outside the venue on the roadside. If a parking lot cited as per the building, the plan is found to be occupied by tents and other temporary structures, then a penalty of up to ₹15 lakh will be imposed for unauthorized use of the space which could also lead to cancellation of license
· No loudspeakers and bands should be permitted beyond 10pm.
· No firearms would be allowed inside the authorized space. The organizers will also have to take and submit no-objection certificates from the fire department for holding functions in permanent buildings. This will be applicable for even temporary structures like tents that are built on open spaces.
· It will compulsorily need a formal power connection from the concerned distribution company. The use of diesel generator sets will be permitted only in case of a power failure. All DG sets installed must meet the air pollution and noise pollution norms as per CPCB.
· Commissioner of food safety should ensure that the caterers or owners and management bodies of the venues be registered with relevant NGOs in order to manage surplus or leftover food by distributing the same among unprivileged people after the “completion of the duration of the function”.
· Sanitary conditions should be maintained in and around the venue during and after the event gets over. All solid waste must be disposed off as per the Solid Waste Management Rules 2016.
· It will be mandatory to have a mini-sewage treatment plant at the venue in order to ensure that the treated wastewater is used for non-potable purpose only. No untreated waste must be discharged into the drain or sewer.
These measures are welcome as they not only take care of the health and safety of the person attending a social function, but will also help the environment.
Limiting the number of people attending the event would reduce and prevent cross infection specifically, from flu and other respiratory infections (but not tuberculosis). Respiratory hygiene requires that one keeps a distance of minimum 3 feet, from a person who is coughing, sneezing or singing. Children and elderly are particularly at risk as are the immunocompromised persons.
Food can become contaminated at any point during production, distribution and preparation. Eating contaminated food can lead to diseases. Maintaining basic sanitation and food hygiene will prevent food-borne illnesses, which are likely to occur in such mass gatherings.
This policy is environmental-friendly as it does not permit loudspeakers beyond a certain time. It has also disallowed parking on the roads outside the venue, which will reduce traffic congestion and consequently decrease pollution, both air and noise.
The rules have restricted the number of days on which a social function can be organized to 120 days in a year. Similarly, bed occupancy rates in hospitals should be 70%. High occupancy rates or overcrowding has an adverse effect on patient safety and quality of care and the operational efficiency of the hospital. It increases the risk of spread of hospital-acquired infections, chances of adverse events, medication errors and mortality.
Padma Shri Awardee
President Elect Confederation of Medical Associations in Asia and Oceania (CMAAO)
Group Editor-in-Chief IJCP Publications
President Heart Care Foundation of India