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Children’s park in Alipurduar gets lease of life

- Civic body beautifies and reopens play area that was shut in 2007

Alipurduar, Jan. 27: A children’s park in the heart of Alipurduar town that was shut in 2007 and became a den for drunken youths was renovated and reopened on Republic Day.

The 1.5-acre Rabindra Shishu Udyan was inaugurated by Dipto Chatterjee, the chairman of the Alipurduar civic body, yesterday afternoon.

“We had planned to take care of the park earlier but it took us time to arrange for funds. We have invested Rs 10 lakh but a few more things need to be done. We have introduced a music system and a fountain. A large number of flower plants have been put and synthetic grass planted,” Chatterjee said.

The park was constructed in 2005 by the civic body with local MLA funds. But because of lack of maintenance, it was shut two years later. Since then, the place had become a den for youths who would drink every evening and pass lewd comments at women passing the area. In the absence of a security guard, the lights in the park had been damaged, as had been the plants.

Lari Bose, the secretary of the local Abibhabok Mancha, said: “It was a matter of shame for us because the town is going to be declared the district headquarters but it did not have a proper place where children could play. We demanded that the civic body take care of the park adjacent to the Buxa Feeder Road, the main road in town. We are happy and we thank the chairman for taking the initiative of giving a new look to the park.”

After coming to power, chief minister Mamata Banerjee had announced that Jalpaiguri district would be divided to carve out Alipurduar district and Alipurduar town would be the district headquarters.

The entry fee for the park would be Rs 5 per person and it would remain open in the afternoon. The timings have not been fixed yet. The park would have round-the-clock security vigil.

Jalpaiguri book fair

Publishers at the Jalpaiguri District Book Fair have said the lack of publicity had led to low footfall over the past four days.

Booksellers claimed that hardly 200 people came to the fair everyday on an average.

Last year, the fair was held at Rabindra Bhavan in Jalpaiguri and according to sources in the organising committee, around 5,000 people visited it every day.

This time, the fair with 56 stalls started on January 24 and will end on January 30. It is being held at the Alipurduar Parade Grounds.

The fair is open from 1pm to 8pm every day. Sources said the district administration was busy publicising the Dooars Festival, that will be held at the Parade Grounds from February 1-10.

“There is no publicity for the book fair. Shopkeepers and hotel owners in the town are unaware of the event. Yesterday was Republic Day but around 100 people came. I will not come again if the Jalpaiguri District Book Fair is organised in Alipurduar,” said Rajib Mandal of Juthika Book Stall.

Mridul Goswami, the joint secretary of the Book Fair Committee, however, said: “Yesterday, almost 1,000 people came. The publicity campaign has been intensified and I hope more people will come to the book fair.”