The Telegraph
Monday , April 2 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Two more options for fairs

April 1: The city has found a couple of new grounds for organising fairs and exhibitions.

Durga Mandir ground in the Lalmati area, Ganesh Mandir Indoor Stadium ground at Six Mile and a few other smaller open spaces in the city are the new venues that have come up for organising fairs and are drawing crowd to the satisfaction of the organisers.

Though the government has directed shifting of commercial events and exhibitions to the Maniram Dewan Trade Centre at Betkuchi, on National Highway 37, many a time organisers do not evince interest in holding the fairs at the trade centre because of communication bottleneck.

The state-level Craft Bazar 2011-12 is being organised at Durga Mandir ground in the Lalmati area. It registered a footfall of around 20,000 yesterday.

“We are very happy with the turnout which has exceeded our expectation. Initially, we were a bit apprehensive that the venue will not be a crowd-puller. The products made by the craft community are not costly unlike those in the big events and fairs like international trade fair. The products of these artisans range from Rs 20 to Rs 300. Moreover, people will be hardly interested to visit the trade centre to buy products that cost Rs 20,” Surjya Kumar Bordoloi, chairman of Rural Women Upliftment Association of Assam, one of the organisers of the Craft Bazar, said.

Bordoloi said there should be an ideal venue within the city for holding fairs, involving small artisans. The Assam Engineering Institute (AEI) ground is an ideal venue where a good crowd can be expected that will boost the sale of the small-time sellers.

Deepak Benerjee, a participant from West Bengal displaying his kantha-stitch kurtis and shirts, said: “I have earlier participated in the exhibition at Maniram Dewan Trade Centre. But there was very low turnout. At this venue, the footfall has been beyond my expectation. The first-day sale, in fact, was good.”

“Trade fairs and exhibitions are often visited in the evenings and to travel to Betkuchi for handicrafts and handloom textile is a time-consuming affair any day. Besides, the cost of travel becomes more than what one has to pay to visit smaller fairs. Thus, it is always better to have such fairs within the city’s commercial areas which are easily accessible,” said Rita Das, a resident of Ganeshguri.

However, the plea of Bordoloi and Das for a venue within the city’s commercial areas tumbles at administrative hurdle; given the government directive not to grant permission for any commercial fair in the traditional open spaces of the city.

Additional deputy commissioner of Kamrup (metro), Mrinal Gogoi, said: “After the government’s order was passed, the district administration cannot give permission to hold commercial events in AEI, Judges Field and Sonaram HS field on the ground of traffic congestion and security reasons. These venues can be used solely for sports activities and book fairs.”

Chief minister Tarun Gogoi had himself notified Judges Field, Sonaram HS ground and the AEI ground out of bounds for any commercial purpose. Latasil ground, the College of Veterinary Science ground are also made out of bounds these days with the shifting of the Republic Day and Independence Day parades venues to these grounds.