Lack of open space in the state capital is playing foul with fairs, which serve as major trade hubs and help fill up government coffers.
At present, Ranchi offers only one venue — Morabadi grounds — where such events can be held, leaving too little options for the organisers.
No wonder, Junior Chamber International (JCI), which is hosting the state’s biggest consumer fair, five-day 18th Expo Utsav 2013, at Morabadi grounds, had a tough time scouting for a perfect venue.
Initially, JCI officials had wanted to hold the event at Zilla School grounds, Mahatma Gandhi Town Hall or Jaipal Singh Stadium — places that had been traditionally hosting the expo for years. But disappointment was in store for them as they learnt that these venues were no longer open for fairs or melas. It took over a month to finalise Morabadi grounds.
“We found out that Morabadi grounds is the only area where such events can be hosted. Luckily, the ground was not booked for the days we wanted it,” Saurabh Sah, spokesperson of Junior Chamber international (Ranchi chapter), told The Telegraph.
Mahatma Gandhi Town Hall and Jaipal Singh Stadium — both owned by Ranchi Municipal Corporation — and Zilla School grounds are the most sought-after because they are located within the city and fairs hosted there have always attracted thousands of visitors.
However, Town Hall is in a dilapidated state and public functions have been banned for more than a year now. On the other hand, non-sports activities have been prohibited at Jaipal Singh Stadium that had hosted book and trade fairs in the past. This apart, the ground is getting a makeover at present.
Similarly, the human resource development department has made non-educational activities a strict no-no at Zilla School grounds.
Thus, Harmu grounds, which is located on Harmu Road, remains the last choice for organisers because of its geographical location.
However, Jharkhand State Housing Board, the owner of the property, has shut it down temporarily for construction work.
There are two more open spaces, both near the state Assembly. However, owing to their location far away from the heart of the city, any event draws very few visitors except perhaps the animal fair, which is held at one of the two venues every year.
The space crunch has also come to the notice of RMC bosses. “When the Expo Utsav was being launched yesterday (Thursday), I realised the problem of lack of open space in the city for holding shopping festivals. I am planning to discuss the issue with ward counsellors at our next board meeting,” said deputy mayor of RMC Sanjiv Vijayvargiya.
He added that they would explore two possibilities. First, whether the dilapidated Town Hall could be levelled and an open space carved out for fairs and melas. Second, whether the vacant area already available on the old premises of Birsa Munda Central Jail and Jail More could be turned into suitable venues.
The civic body has over an acre at Town Hall, while the old jail offers more than 10 acres, now lying idle and in need of maintenance.