The flavour of Kolkata

The flavour of Kolkata
The city is known for its old alleys. One such is shot by Atanu Pal.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The green triumph

Finally.....the landmark decision. Calcutta High Court pronounced the most eagerly awaited verdict of the city on Monday January 29. Kolkata Book Fair, the last fair among all still being held on Kolkata Maidan after its counterparts moved to other destinations after the Calcutta High Court's earlier judgement banning fairs on Maidan on ground of environmental damage, can no more be held on Maidan. This means this year's fair to be started at end of January is out.

Kudos to Subhas Dutta, the forever fighting environmentalist whose PIL in 2002 started it all. It's only because of his efforts that the court took notice of immense and irreversible environmental degradation of Maidan caused by fairs, especially Kolkata Book Fair which witnesses footfall of quite a few lakhs every year. Due credit goes to the lawyers who fought the case- Kalyan Bandopadhyay and Arunava Ghosh and the environment-conscious judge Bhaskar Bhattacharya who refuted many arguments of the lawyers of PCB and KMC on his own. I also personally thank them on behalf of the kids living in the city for paving the path of their living in a cleaner and greener city of tomorrow.

But the reaction from the writers, one of the important stakeholder groups of the book fair, were anything but charitable. They almost rubbished the verdict by terming it sheer nonsense. For them it was clear that emotion was overriding logic. But mustn't they be restrained in their expression as we look up to them and they have a definite, responsible social role to play? I remember watching Azizul Haque saying on a news channel" order to protect people from air pollution High Court caused brain pollution."

1 comment:

  1. The Kolkata Book Fair was not stopped by the Hon'ble Court suo motu. A petition was filed by an Advocate in his own name urging other reasons where environmental questions were only some of the questions raised. The learned advocate is not a resident of Kolkata, but resides what is charitably known as Greater Kolkata. The expert chosen by them, is not only not a resident of Kolkata but heads an environmental activist group of Howrah and resides at Howrah. He is a chartered accountant, who is ubiquitous in High Court during public interest litigation days, and drafts and pleads cases himself. Presumably he finds time to attend to his profession. These persons succeeded in blocking the uninterrupted Kolkata Book Fair, which has been occurring for more than 32 years, as the largest open air book exposition where people can not only read books but also buy them in situ, and keep on reading books without buying them for hours, and thereby created an international smudge on the face of the achievements of the city dwellers who patronize and read books and even today give books as gifts at weddings. It used to be, in the Maidan, a place where rivers met, inspiration was commonplace and the erudite and the lumpen met on equal terms. No resident of Kolkata wanted it stopped. An essential element of Kolkata's culture was not allowed to happen at the instance of those who dwell in the Mofussils. While having great regard for the expert personally, one must point out that his motives have been questioned both in the print media and on oath. Incidentally the locus of the petitioner to maintain the petition was never decided because of the principle of law that in environmental matters relating to pollution any citizen has a right to complain and follow it up.


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