Visva-Bharati faces pollution rap for Pous Mela
The West Bengal Pollution Control Board (WBPCB) has served a showcause notice on Visva-Bharati University authorities asking why the varsity should not be asked to pay Rs 10 lakh as environmental compensation for flouting NGT guidelines during the recently-concluded “Pous Mela, an annual fair of music, food and handicrafts.
The WBPCB letter sent to the Visva-Bharati registrar on Tuesday said there weren't any fire extinguishers in any of the stalls, there were coal-fired ovens in some of the kiosks and inadequate bio-toilets during the annual fair organised from December 24 to 26.
The pollution control board asked the varsity authorities to give their explanation “soon”, but did issue a deadline.
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) had asked varsity officials to conduct the annual fair in an “environment-friendly” manner in cooperation with Birbhum district administration and Bolpur Municipality without causing air pollution and ensuring solid waste management.
The varsity had promised to implement the NGT guidelines while organising the annual fair.
The pollution control board, during a meeting with the state administration and varsity authorities on December 18, had given several recommendations for strictly complying with the environmental norms, the letter signed by PCB member secretary Rajesh Kumar said.
“Visva-Bharati authorities did not comply with several key recommendations of the PCB which were found when the committee appointed by the board visited the annual fair,” environmentalist Subhas Datta, one of the committee members, said.
Visva-Bharati officials could not be contacted.
The fair was started in 1894 by Rabindranath Tagore's father, Maharshi Debendranath, and Visva-Bharati University has been organising it since 1951.