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NGT directions to downsize 'Pous Mela' this year: Official

Press Trust of India  |  Kolkata 

Bereft of the wherewithal to organise the annual 'Pous Mela' at Shantiniketan in its usual grand scale due to a recent NGT order, the Visva Bharati University on Sunday said the event will be a "micro" affair this year, cutting down on the number of stalls and exhibits.

The move comes in the wake of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) asking the fair organisers to set up solid waste and sewage treatment plants, among other arrangements.

The tribunal issued the directions in June, after a petition was filed by a few activists, who alleged that the event pollutes the environment.

"Instead of having the usual 600-700 stalls in the 'Pous Mela', we are planning to set up not more than 100 stalls this time, which will only be selling rural handicraft," Visva Bharati spokesman Anirban Sarkar told a group of visting reporters from Kolkata.

"We want to revisit the concept initiated by Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore for 'Pous Mela', where the thrust is on rural development... We wish to organise the fair on a micro scale," Sarkar said.

He, however, said the traditional rituals associated with the fair like the 'Chhatimtala' will take place as usual.

The official said Visva Bharati being an educational institute, "does not have the wherewithal or the mechanism to implement the suggestions of NGT if the fair is held on a large scale".

The 'Pous Mela', which draws lakhs of people from India and abroad, will be held from December 23-28 this year.

Asked if the varsity has sought the central government's assistance in maintaining the grand scale of the fair by meeting the NGT requirements in future, he said, "We have approached the Union HRD Ministry for help."

Sarkar also said the annual 'Basant Utsav' will be held on a full-moon day in Feburary or March from next year, in wake of the "unmanagable crowds" this year.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, September 08 2019. 21:25 IST