Civic body & circus fail green test
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- Published 23.12.10
|The circus tents at Park Circus Maidan. A Telegraph picture|
Park Circus Maidan deserves deliverance from the circus and the circus deserves a permanent place to pitch tent every winter, according to the city’s green brigade.
“Olympic Circus has violated various environment norms this year…. At the same time, we need to acknowledge that residents of the city look forward to a circus show every winter. There should be some dedicated areas in the city for circus troupes,” environment activist Subhash Dutta told Metro after a damage-assessment trip.
Residents of Park Circus have been protesting the Calcutta Municipal Corporation’s decision to allow Olympic Circus to set up base there for more than two weeks, leaving their only oasis mauled within a few months of being beautified at the cost of Rs 4 crore.
Dutta, accompanied by members of the Park Circus Senior Citizens’ Forum, found almost half the park overrun by the circus, which opened last Sunday.
“Apart from damaging the greens, the circus has been illegally dumping animal excreta on the ground. Old diesel generators are being used, causing both noise and air pollution. The sanitary arrangements for employees of the circus is also inadequate,” he said.
Biswajit Mukherjee, the chief law officer of the West Bengal Pollution Control Board, said his office had received several complaints about violation of environment norms by the circus. “It’s hard to understand how a circus can be allowed on a ground where Calcutta High Court had disallowed the book fair. We will look into the complaints and take appropriate action” Mukherjee added.
Md Hashim, one of those spearheading the protest, feels “robbing children of the area of their only play arena” is unpardonable.
“Next comes pollution. Heavy vehicles owned or hired by the circus have been regularly entering the ground, not only causing damage to the greens but also adding to the pollution,” he said.
Officials said Olympic Circus had violated most of the nine-point guidelines laid down by the pollution control board in 1999 and subsequently endorsed by the high court.
The flouted norms include sanitary disposal of animal excreta; arrangements for water sprinklers to keep the circus area dust-free and steps to restrict noise and air pollution through diesel generators.
The circus has also violated the ban on hanging decorative lights from trees.
Green activist Dutta said he was more concerned about the cause than the effect of such blatant violation of environment norms. “It is criminal to allow one lakh sq ft of green space at Park Circus Maidan to a circus and make it out of bounds for taxpayers,” added a colleague.
Circus owner A. Rajan, also the general secretary of the Indian Circus Forum, promised to “rectify” any damage that might have been caused to the greens.
“We will be more than happy if the civic body gives us space elsewhere to hold the circus every year,” Rajan added.