Visva-Bharati to stay off Pous Mela

Varsity cites green rules to stop organising fair

By Snehamoy Chakraborty in Santiniketan
  • Published 5.06.19, 1:37 AM
  • Updated 5.06.19, 1:37 AM
  • a min read
  •  
A Pous Mela scene File picture

Visva-Bharati on Tuesday decided not to organise the annual Pous Mela, saying the central university lacked adequate infrastructure and found it difficult to conform to green rules.

The decision was taken at a meeting held by vice-chancellor Bidyut Chakrabarty.

The Santiniketan Trust founded by Rabindranath Tagore’s father, Maharshi Debendranath, in 1888, had been entrusted with the responsibility of holding the Pous Mela. The trust had been organising the fair since 1894.

But, sources said, Visva-Bharati started organising the Pous Mela in 1951 when it was declared a central university.

The sources said Visva-Bharati wanted to dissociate itself from the Pous Mela in the wake of cases filed with the National Green Tribunal, accusing the varsity of not adhering to pollution norms at the fair that attracts thousands of visitors from the country and abroad every December.

A press release issued by the university on Tuesday night said: “It is not possible for the university to organise the Pous Mela conforming to the standards of the green tribunal and other institutions. An educational institution like Visva-Bharati does not have the adequate infrastructure to hold such a fair.”

“We are helpless and we express regret over the decision,” the press release added.

Asked whether the decision meant that Pous Mela would be stopped forever, the public relations officer of the university, Anirban Sircar, said: “We will not organise the fair any more. If anyone is willing to organise it, they are welcome to do it. We will provide the ground.”

According to the sources, the Santiniketan Trust has four members. “Since 1951, permanent VCs have been members of the trust. The meeting held by the VC today decided that Visva-Bharati would no longer organise the Pous Mela. The VC himself will no longer be a member of the trust,” said Anil Konar, the honorary secretary of the trust and a retired Visva-Bharati employee.

Officials said the VC as well as the varsity administration had been involved in the Pous Mela since 1951 because the trust had only four members and it was not possible for them to organise alone such a fair that grew in stature over time.

“We have no infrastructure to organise such a huge fair without Visva-Bharati’s assistance. It will only be possible for the trust to organise the fair if some NGO steps in,” Konar said.