Guild keen on holding Book Fair 2009 at Maidan

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Kolkata, Feb 4 (UNI) The Publishers' and Booksellers Guild today iterated that they would pursue at the highest administrative and judicial levels the issue of holding the 2009 Kolkata Book Fair at Maidan.

''We want Kolkata Book Fair 2009 to be held at a proper venue, where the small and medium-sized participants would not suffer and the event can retain its characteristics of being an open-air international fair, Guild secretary Tridib Chattopadhyay told newspersons here and added, ''We would pursue the matter at the highest administrative and judicial levels for holding the fair at Maidan.'' He said the Guild had agreed to organise the fair at Park Circus Maidan this year. However, the High Court ruled that holding the Fair was in violation of Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution and Environmental norms.

The 2007 Kolkata Book Fair was held at Yuva Bharati Krirangan Prangan, after Calcutta High Court ruled against its being held at Maidan. Last year, barring a few large ones, almost all small, medium and little magazine publishers had suffered huge losses, he said. ''Sales were reduced to about 60 per cent or more with only one-third people visiting the fair compared to 2006, '' he said.

''We earlier decided to hold the this year's fair at Salt Lake Stadium complex, but a large number of the participants informed us that they would not participate if it was held there,''he said, while adding that they have cancelled the holding of the fair this year.

He said the Guild had formed a committee in August 2007 to find alternative venues of the fair in case the Maidan was finally not available. However, the committee had reported that the fair that was held in Maidan over an area of 28 acres, cannot be adjusted within an area of five acres of the Milan Mela gound or the 14 acres area of the Park Circus Maidan.

''We have demanded for a permanent venue for the book fair from Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, who later agreed to the same,'' he said.

He said, ''There is no place other than Maidan, where such a gigantic cultural event can be held, and added that the Guild would take responsibility of maintaining this permanent 'Boi Mela Prangan' by planting trees, developing and maintaining the greenery of the area.

UNI AKM LL RN1942

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