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Govt okays Book Fair site
- Parking space for 500 cars identified

The state government on Monday gave the go-ahead to the Publishers and Booksellers Guild to hold Book Fair 2008 at Park Circus Maidan from January 29, ignoring warnings that a traffic disaster may strike the heart of the city.

“Come what may, the book fair will be held at the Park Circus Maidan. We will take all steps to regulate traffic in the area,” chief secretary Amit Kiran Deb said on Monday afternoon.

“This is a congested area and we must ensure that commuters are not inconvenienced,” he added.

The government — in consultation with police, civic officials and the fair organisers — decided to set up a parking lot with space for 500 vehicles on a plot on Gorachand De Road. Suhrawardy Avenue will be out of bounds for traffic during the fair.

Deb held a meeting with home secretary Prasad Ranjan Ray, civic commissioner Alapan Bandyopadhyay and police commissioner Gautam Mohan Chakrabarti to discuss traffic and other measures for the fair. Tridip Chatterjee and Sudhansu De, the general secretary and ground convener of the Guild, respectively, were present.

The team later met chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee to finalise the arrangements.

The police chief said details of the traffic arrangement will be announced shortly.

According to Guild general secretary Chatterjee, some of the roads in the vicinity will be made one-way and that morning-walkers will be allowed into the fair ground.

American author Paul Theroux will inaugurate the fair, which will continue till February 10. The fair space will cover 5.75 lakh sq ft, against 11.75 sq ft on the Maidan. There will be 540 stalls, down from 800 stalls when the fair used to be held off Park Street.

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