Hardline Hindutva organisation Sanatan Sanstha made a last-ditch effort on Tuesday to get the Sunburn festival cancelled at Pune. The festival is beginning on Wednesday and will go on till Sunday. The Sanstha has been attacking the festival "for being against Indian values and morality." The attacks have not stopped even after the venue of the festival was shifted from Goa to Pune.
The Sanstha alleged that the organisers of Sunburn festival had not paid entertainment tax to the Goa government for three years. "The event's organisers have duped the Goa government by not paying taxes. In terms of entertainment tax, the organisers have not paid for three years, which amounts to Rs 27 crore. Since they have defaulted with the Goa government, the Maharashtra government should also be wary of letting them host the event here," Sanstha spokesperson Abhay Vartak told the Pune Mirror. The event is set to be hosted at Kesnand near Wagholi in Pune.
The festival organisers, Percept, however claimed that they have contributed Rs 800 crore to the Goa state revenue. "Sanatan Sanstha's claim is totally erroneous. Sunburn contributed approximately Rs 800 crore to Goa state revenue. Out of Rs 800 crore, nearly Rs 200 crore went into the treasury of the state government. In fact, after Sunburn shifted to Pune, there have been reports of hotel rates in Goa going down by 50 per cent," said Harindra Singh, chairman and managing director of Percept.
The Sanstha also stated that the venue was close to Lohegaon airport, which would lead to disruption in flight operations due to high beams and floodlights at the concert venue. Vartak alleged that the Sunburn festival organisers had not taken permission from airport authorities. Officiating airport director V T Mankar however said that they had received a letter from Percept and that it was forwarded to Air Force officials to take a final decision.
The Sanstha further alleged that the festival organisers had built a helipad at the venue without permission from the government. But the resident deputy collector Rajendra Muthe said that his team had carried out inspection and found no helipad.
"As far as giving permission to the event is concerned, we are still scrutinising the papers submitted by the organisers. Only after scrutiny is completed can we take a call," Muthe said.