The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Green pitch to save the park
Site for mela still a mirage

The battle to save the game and the greens at Deshapriya Park has been won with the month-long fair being 'indefinitely postponed', but the root cause of conflict remains ' after the Maidan, where do the melas go'

'Today Deshapriya Park may have been saved by the upsurge of public protests but tomorrow another park may fall prey to a similar extravaganza, with the Maidan rendered off-limits by the high court verdict,' feels Subhas Dutta.

The activist, who had joined the save-the-green rally at Deshapriya Park on Sunday, complains that despite repeated assurances, the government has failed to provide the promised permanent fair ground off the EM Bypass.

That Monday's 'victory' does not mean that the park will not fall foul to a fair again is not lost on the clubs at Deshapriya. 'We will be seeking a permanent solution to this issue so that the park is not used for any other purpose than sports,' stressed Dakshin Kalikata Sansad (Sansad) general secretary Hironmoy Chatterjee.

But as long as that permanent fair ground remains a mirage ' and the civic body flouts its own no-fair-in-park rule ' such a solution is not in sight.

Two years ago, state advocate-general Balai Ray had assured the high court that all fairs from the Maidan would be shifted to a fair ground opposite Science City after March 2004. 'The ground is being prepared, for which funds have already being sanctioned,' Ray had told the court.

When Metro visited the 'fair' ground on Monday, the 18-acre plot was little better than a dump, with construction rubble piling up in pockets. Dark patches of torched grass were also evident.

'The dredging and levelling have just been completed,' said Bishnu Roy, site-in-charge of the contractual agency at work on Monday afternoon.

'The permanent fair ground will take at least another two years to be ready. A lot of work needs to be done,' admitted an official of the West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation (WBIDC).

WBIDC, along with Calcutta Municipal Corporation and Indian Trade Promotion Organisation, had been entrusted with the task of creating the infrastructure for the Trade Fair Centre.

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