The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
Email This Page
Open Bypass chapter of Book Fair

The Calcutta Book Fair and all such events that add to the misery on the Maidan will have to move into a new and permanent venue on the Eastern Metropolitan Bypass, in another two years. This was announced on Friday by chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee three months after Metro had cried for the city’s lungs to be spared by banning the rallies and shifting the fairs.

While unveiling the West Bengal Trade Promotion Organisation (WBTPO), the apex body for the proposed complex, Bhattacharjee said the Bypass site would host the Book Fair and all such melas that are currently held on the Maidan. “We will shift all Maidan fairs, including leather and handloom, to the new complex. I will also persuade the Book Fair authorities to shift,” he pledged.

The chief minister said the proposed complex would have permanent and semi-permanent structures for industrial and other fairs, conference rooms and halls for large conventions. An “international bid” would determine who would design and build the complex.

Mayor Subrata Mukherjee said the new fair ground would be “an ideal place” for the hugely-popular Book Fair. “We remember the year when a fire razed the fair. Also, the dust factor on the Maidan is a deterrent for book-lovers. I think the Book Fair organisers, too, will welcome the new venue and be keen to shift,” he added.

The WBTPO will build the fair complex on a sprawling 18.41 acres, adjacent to the Indian Crafts Village and the ITC Sonar Bangla hotel, along the lines of Pragati Maidan in Delhi. “In future, this area will become a major hub of activity, with the Sonar Bangla hotel, the Crafts Village, the trade fair ground, Energy Park, Science City and the National Art Gallery,” said Bhattacharjee.

The Indian Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO) and the Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC) will be project partners. ITPO will hold 51 per cent stake, while West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation (WBIDC) and the CMC will hold 24.5 per cent each. To facilitate work on the project — scheduled to begin within the next two months — three land transfer agreements were signed in Writers’ Buildings on Friday. The Indian Crafts Village Trust surrendered 14.61 acres to the CMC, which added around four more to hand over 18.41 acres to WBTPO.

Email This Page