The last day of the races, at least, won’t be affected. Whatever course the tussle between the Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC) and the Royal Calcutta Turf Club (RCTC) may take, it will not stop River Melody, Arcaro and Crowning Moment galloping for the finish line for Saturday’s Mysore Race Club Cup.
A notice pasted by CMC men on the walls around the Russell Street office of the RCTC created more than a Friday flutter in racing circles and prompted the club to rush to Calcutta High Court, pleading for a do-not-disturb legal notice to the civic authorities. The CMC and the RCTC are already locked in a legal battle over the non-payment of amusement tax (to the tune of Rs 10 lakh) demanded by the civic body. So, the latest notice — pasted on many commercial establishments in the city for the non-payment of various taxes — added to fears in RCTC, what with some big races lined up for the last day of the racing season.
RCTC counsel Samaraditya Pal moved court on Friday, pleading with Justice D.P. Kundu to allay fears in the racing circles. Pal said his client apprehended that the CMC could jeopardise forthcoming events at the race course.
“My client will challenge the CMC notification but would like to have an interim order from the court that will prevent the CMC from disturbing the two days of races,” pleaded Pal.
Justice Kundu asked CMC counsel P.K. Ray if the civic authorities were in a position to allay such apprehensions. “Can you promise the court that the CMC will not take any step during the two-day racing weekend'” he asked Ray. “If you can give the assurance here, I will schedule the next hearing for this case some time next week,” he added.
Ray, following instructions from the CMC authorities, did just that. “My client wants to assure the court that there will be no action taken to disturb the weekend activities at the racecourse,” he clarified. Justice Kundu then passed an interim order that allowed the RCTC to go ahead with its weekend races without any apprehension.
Outside the court, mayor Subrata Mukherjee, too, made light of the RCTC’s fears. “The notice pasted on the RCTC walls was part of a routine job by CMC personnel,” he said, adding that the same was done at many other commercial establishments across the city. “We had no intention of targeting the RCTC or disturbing the events lined up for the weekend,” assured Mukherjee.