Crowds throng Jharkhand Trade Fair at Morabadi grounds in Ranchi on Wednesday evening. Picture by Prashant Mitra
Five-year-old Rajpal neither knows nor cares what “trade” means, but loves the fact that the ongoing Jharkhand Trade Fair at Morabadi grounds in Ranchi has been extended for four days till May 18.
Rajpal and his friends Shrish, Nitin and Samyak, all in the age group of five and six, are addicted to the fair’s fun rides such as tora-tora, boat swing, mono-rail as well as the traditional jhulas.
Since nearly a fortnight, particularly in evenings, the trade fair has been drawing visitors of all ages in thousands.
Morabadi resident Amarjeet Singh (65), who on Tuesday confessed to dropping in nearly every day with wife Priti (58), was as excited as Rajpal on hearing about the extension. “We have four more days to enjoy the summer breeze in evenings,” he grinned broadly. “Otherwise, there’s no place for outings.”
Multiplexes, malls and eateries are mushrooming in the capital, but hanging out at closed, air-conditioned places neither comes cheap nor suits all tastes.
To beat the heat, residents are either thronging to the centrally located trade fair or to city parks.
“Just look at the cars parked outside,” Singh pointed out to over 200 cars on Tuesday evening. “Families come from far and near. My wife and I just take a evening walk here from Harihar Singh Road,” he said. “Ranchi needs entertainment options.”
The fair footfall crossed 6,000 on Tuesday. Its chief organiser Satya Prakash said crowds surged from the weekend onwards. “Visitors surpassed 10,000 each on Saturday and Sunday. Even on a weekday, it was over 6,000,” he said. “We wrote to the DC (Vinay Kumar Choubey) for an extension but were told the grounds are booked for another event, which is why we got just four days extra.”
The fair timing is 11am to 9pm, but visitors start pouring in only after 6pm.
Ranjan Kumar, who runs Ranchi Municipal Corporation’s Nigam Park near Morabadi, added that people just wanted safe places to enjoy the evening breeze.
“Take this park, for instance. Usual timings are from 9am to 8pm. Keeping summers in mind, we extended the time to 9pm. But people continue to sit till 9.30pm or even 10pm,” he said.
Agreed Pratul Shahdeo, managing director of Aqua World (Machhli Ghar), one of the all-time favourite spots for Ranchi children. “Even if our exit time is 8pm, families request us to let them sit for a little longer. It is understood we won’t close the premises before 9pm.”
What does Ranchi Municipal Corporation have to say about the capital offering so few affordable entertainment options for the public at large?
CEO Manoj Kumar agreed. “I am a resident of this city and my family also needs places for outings. We understand the need for entertainment amenities. But they take time. We have been revamping public parks and will continue to do so,” he said.
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