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Home > News > PTI

Calcutta HC declared war on books: Buddha

January 29, 2008 23:14 IST

West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee on Tuesday criticised the Calcutta High Court order barring holding of the 33rd edition of Kolkata Book Fair, at Park Circus on environmental ground saying 'it seems the high court has declared a war on books.'

"I do not understand how books can create pollution. It seems that the high court has declared a war on books. This cannot go on. We will have to find a solution to this with help from all," he said at a symbolic inauguration of the fair at the Town Hall amidst demands for a permanent venue for the annual event.

Bhattacharjee heard speaker after speaker, including writers Sunil Gangopadhyay, actor Soumitra Chatterjee and Mayor Bikash Bhattacharya, flaying the high court judgment.

Secretary of the fair's organiser Publishers and Booksellers Guild Tridib Chatterjee submitted a memorandum to the chief minister seeking his intervention for a permanent book fair venue with lots of open space, water bodies and connectivity.

He said the 34th fair would be held from January 28 to February eight next year but did not specify the venue.

A division bench of the Calcutta High Court had on Monday disallowed the fair from being held at Park Circus on the ground that it would lead to environmental pollution and violation of human rights. It directed the Guild to restore the ground to the original state.

The chief minister apologised to the foreign dignitaries for the inconvenience caused to them.

Earlier, the Guild secretary told PTI: "We may move a higher court. We have been trying since 1997 for a permanent book fair ground, but we do not have land of our own."

He said Park Circus Maidan was selected after consulting the state government, municipal corporation, publishers and authorities for hosting the 33rd Book Fair.

He said the Salt Lake stadium, where last year's fair was held, was not to the liking of the publishers.

At the inauguration, Mayor Bikash Bhattacharjee pitched for restoration of the book fair at the Maidan from where it was uprooted by a high court order last year.

"Many ask me whether it is possible to have a permanent ground for the Book Fair. I say, the Maidan is the only permanent venue," he said.

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