IFFI, the oldest film festival in Asia, began in the year 1952. An annual event IFFI was hosted by different cities every year, until the year 2003. In 2004, IFFI was organized in Goa and since then it has been held every year in this tiny little state. Now the new concept of IFFI village is coming into the picture and most probably the same will be ready before the inauguration of the 50th version of IFFI in Goa
Goa was made IFFI’s permanent host in 2014 and as per an MoU signed between Ministry for Information and Broadcasting and the state government, one of the main responsibilities of Goa government was to “develop and construct a permanent festival venue having a seating capacity for around 12,000 delegates/invitees and other support facilities for organizing opening and closing functions including film screenings”.
Once Goa was identified as a permanent venue, the Goa Government said potential locations for ‘a new convention center to host IFFI’ have been identified.
On March 31, 2016, the state cabinet allotted a 50-acre plot in Dona Paula. In September 2017, the then Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar appointed EDC Limited, a state government undertaking, as a special purpose vehicle for the project and set IFFI 2019 as the deadline. Documents inspected show there has been little progress since.
IFFI Village, a convention center planned to be built on a DBFOT basis (Design, Build, Finance, Operate, Transfer), was touted to end the trouble delegates go through due to inadequate seating capacity at other venues.
The request for the proposal for the project was prepared only in December 2018 and presented before the ‘Empowered Committee’ headed by then CM Parrikar.
A tender inviting bid was floated on January 28, 2019, only to realize that there was a legal glitch in the contract as the state’s Additional Solicitor General Atmaram Nadkarni pointed out that in the current format, the government may end up losing ownership of the land to the prospective concessionaire.
This led to the issuance of several amendments, the count remains six till July 2019, with the last one having the bid opening date on October 28, which is just weeks before the 50 edition of IFFI.
In September, the Empowered Committee under current CM Pramod Sawant decided to take away the project from EDC Limited and hand it over to ESG, the government body set up for organizing IFFI in coordination with Directorate of Film Festivals, Government of India. This led to EDC withdrawing the request for the proposal.
As per the request for proposal, the project is to be undertaken in two parts — the first comprising mandatory deliverables such as theatres to screen films, multi-level car parking, and other facilities.
The second includes setting up commercial buildings such as hotels. While the first part is expected to require an investment of Rs 350 crore, the second is estimated to cost Rs 750 crore.
The project plan includes a total of 11 auditoria in the ‘IFFI village’ with a total capacity of 8600 seats which will consist of one large multipurpose hall of 6000 square meter area with a capacity to host 5000 persons, a multiplex with six multipurpose auditoria having a total 1500 seats, one large cinema theatre with 1000 seats, another theatre with 500 seats, two more with 250 seats each and a virtual reality (VR) cinema hall with a capacity to host 100 persons.
At present, IFFI infrastructure in Goa has a cumulative seating capacity of just 2,539 seats at three venues namely Kala Academy, Inox Multiplex and Maquinez Palace.
With an average of over 5000 delegates registering every year to attend the biggest film festival in India, this often causes a lot of trouble, disappointments, and ruckus during the event as delegates have to wait in long queues to get into the theaters.
Kiran Ballikar, Managing Director of EDC Limited said, “It has been decided by the empowered committee to hand over the project to ESG. They will take the project ahead.”
Subhash Phal Dessai, BJP MLA and Vice-Chairman of Entertainment of Society of Goa (ESG) which is responsible for the logistical side of IFFI, said that the delay has been caused due to EDC’s lack of experience in handling such projects.
“The state government asked EDC to implement the project as ESG was seen as a cultural organization with no expertise to implement such a big project of over Rs 1000 crore. However, EDC is a financial institution and also doesn’t have the relevant experience to implement such a project which is essentially a construction project. They don’t have a team of engineers. This lack of competence and interest in the project on part of EDC has delayed it,” said Phal Dessai.
Phal Dessai has now said that any work on the IFFI village project will be done only after the conclusion of the festival as ESG is busy with preparations for the current IFFI.
When questioned about the plans to deal with issues that organizers may face due to delay in completion of the ‘IFFI village project’ and additional footfall of delegates and invitees that 50th IFFI is expected to attract, Phal Dessai said that ESG is planning to increase auditoriums to accommodate more delegates.
“We are in touch with three additional theatres and if the need arises we may use them as well during IFFI 2019. Of these, two are close to the existing venue and one is slightly far. We will make a decision regarding engaging these for IFFI in future meetings of the steering committee. Although there are some structural issues with Kala Academy, the Chief Minister has reviewed the situation and we will ensure that it’s safe enough to host IFFI screenings,” said Phal Dessai.
Hopefully, after this edition of IFFI concludes, the project of the IFFI village will be taken up once again and provide a solution to the problems faced by visiting delegates and other visitors to the state, for the festival.
Source: Indian Express