Thu, 25 Mar 2010 11:22:28 GMT

Ghost of Kolkata fire `engulfs' Delhi Fashion week

New Delhi: A day after a blaze at a heritage building in Kolkata’s Park Street killed 24 people, the authorities here cancelled the opening day of Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week on Wednesday after organisers failed to get a No Objection Certificate (NOC) for fire-safety arrangements at the venue.

The five-day event, organised by the Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI), is being held at the National Small Industries Corporation exhibition grounds in Okhla.

While designers, models and the media waited at the venue since noon -- the appointed time for the opening show -- official confirmation came at 6 pm after a board meeting of the FDCI officials. "All shows for the day stand cancelled," FDCI president Sunil Sethi said.

"We are sorry for the inconvenience but we have not been able to get the permission from the fire department."

A police team checked fire-safety measures at the venue shortly after noon, and called them inadequate.

Sethi later said, "These permits usually come at the last moment.

When the police conducted a drill in the morning, they found a few flaws that needed to be attended to, which we have already done.

"Unfortunately, today was a holiday (Ram Navami), and we have not been able to procure an NOC from the fire department. We have been organising this event for 11 years now but nothing like this has ever happened."

The event, which is in its 15th edition this year, has 130 Indian designers showcasing their collections, and had eight shows in the line-up on the opening day. With several big shows scheduled later in the evening, and showstoppers like actors Sushmita Sen and Minissha Lamba slated to walk for designers Ritu Beri and Ranna Gill respectively, the cancellation implies loss of face as well as financial setback for the participating designers.

Puneet Nanda of the fashion house Satya Paul pegged his losses at close to Rs 5 lakh. "We had invested a lot in the show since it is a major landmark for us and had invited many guests," he said. "It's a shame that this had to happen, because it speaks ill of Indian fashion as a whole and amounts to major losses for all of us."

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