The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Brown, burnt and bruised

The cosmetic clean-up is on, but what of the permanent scars on the Maidan left by Sunday's rally' In the wake of the CPM show of strength, a large stretch of the city's precious patch of green is now brown, bruised and burnt (picture by Pradip Sanyal).

With Calcutta Municipal Corporation and CPM cadres carrying away waste by the truckloads since Monday morning, what hit the eye by Tuesday afternoon was the portrait of a portion of the Maidan as a wasteland ' dusty and devoid of a blade of green.

If the gaping holes left by hundreds of bamboos were cursorily filled with sand, a row of microphone poles remained standing, the chicken feathers lay scattered and piles of burnt grass dotted the ground.

'If the holes are being just filled up with sand or the charred grass is left like that, it will take many months, maybe one good monsoon, for the ground to return to near-normal,' warned Prof Subhash Santra, environmentalist from Kalyani University.

The other legacy of Sunday's murder of the Maidan was the iron nail. 'Some 20-22 kg of nails were used to set up the stage and other stalls at Brigade. We are trying our best to remove them all, but some remain embedded in the ground. We are making arrangements to bring in a magnetic roller to pick out the nails, but',' trailed off Provash Halder, manager of the decorating agency entrusted with the mammoth task of clearing the monumental mess.

'The permanent damage to the Maidan has been immense,' feels environmentalist Subhas Dutta. 'The damage is most pronounced due to the large holes dug to erect poles for microphones.'

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