The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Order for Maidan health report
Save the Maidan campaign in The Telegraph July 1 edition.

Calcutta, July 11: Calcutta High Court today directed the West Bengal Pollution Control Board and the state public works department to inspect the Maidan and submit specific proposals within two weeks on how to improve its health in the first move to end the daily defiling of the city’s largest green belt.

Early this month, The Telegraph ran a campaign for saving the Maidan from rallies, fairs and everyday depredations by visitors.

One state government agency, Calcutta police and a central government agency — the army — have already been asked to submit reports on the state of the Maidan and make suggestions to improve it.

Both submitted their affidavits today. The army affidavit was more blunt. It said the Maidan’s health would see a remarkable improvement if it stopped hosting political rallies. The police affidavit, expectedly, was a little more benign towards politicians. Rallies, it said, can be tolerated so long as the organisers take the responsibility of cleaning up the mess.

Both affidavits, however, came together on one issue: there must be a committee to chalk out plans to save the Maidan and monitor the activities there. The army owns the entire Maidan and the police are responsible for enforcing law.

Friday’s court order tells the pollution board, a state government agency under the environment department, to conduct an inspection of the Maidan and assess the damage. The public works department’s task is somewhat different — it has been asked to tell the court how to clear the mess.

The case, following a public interest litigation filed by environmental activist Subhas Datta, is being heard by a division bench of Chief Justice A.K. Mathur and Justice Asim Banerjee.

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