HC bans Kolkata Book Fair at Park Circus

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Kolkata, Jan 28 (UNI) The 33rd Kolkata Book Fair ran into trouble as Calcutta High Court today banned holding of the fair at Park Circus Maidan citing pollution hazard and traffic congestion.

The fair was to begin tomorrow.

A two-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Surnder Singh Nijjar ruled that the fair could not be held at the sprawling city park becuase it would creat more pollution and throw traffic out of gear in the congested locality where nearly a dozen of schools exist.

The bench issued the ruling on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) jointly filed by residents of Dwarga road, close to the proposed fair ground.

Later environment activist Subash Dutta became the party in the litigation, which sparked controversy and added a new dimesnsion over the arguments to oppose the holding of the fair at Park Circus, the lungs of Central Kolkata, a favourite place for hundreds of morning walkers and children play ground.

The fair organisers had already pithced in tents and erected hundreds of stalls digging the green patch of the park.

The court also directed the fair organisers, Kolkata Publishers and Booksellers Guilds to restore the garden to its original position and before handing it over to the civic authorites, Kolkata Municipal Corporation.

The High Court two years ago passed an order saying that no fair including Kolkata Book Fair could not be held in the Brigade Parade Ground. The courts said "Brigade Parade Ground, the lungs of the city, the green and sprawling open space can not be destoryed at any means".

Last year the book fair was held at Salk Lake stadium.

Guild Secretary Tridib Chatterjee reacting to the verdict said, "This is unfortunate. Now we will have to take the decision at the executive committe meeting called today." UNI XC-BA PC KLC1502

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