Left turns to Centre for Maidan rights

Repeatedly snubbed by the Calcutta High Court and the Army for holding the Kolkata Book Fair on the Maidan,the Left leaders have decided to approach the Centre demanding that the Maidan be handed over to the state government.

Written by Sabyasachi Bandopadhyay | Kolkata | Published: February 19, 2009 2:07 am

Repeatedly snubbed by the Calcutta High Court and the Army for holding the Kolkata Book Fair on the Maidan,the Left leaders have decided to approach the Centre demanding that the Maidan be handed over to the state government.

They have also decided to take to the streets if the

Centre turned a deaf ear to their appeal. Minister for Sports and Transport Subhas Chakraborty will lead a delegation of Left MPs to Defence Minister AK Antony on Thursday,demanding that the Centre hand over the entire Maidan leaving only the Fort William to the Army.

Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee has already written to Antony in this regard. He also wrote to External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee earlier,when he was the Defence Minister. “Let the Army keep Fort William. But it has no business to keep the entire Maidan. We will create a public opinion in favour of this,” Chakraborty said.

Last year after the High Court had banned holding the Kolkata Book Fair at the Maidan,Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee said he would make all efforts so that the book fair returned to the Maidan. “The Maidan cannot remain with the Army. It’s an affront on the state’s people. We will create a people’s movement to get it back,” said Amitava Nandi,CPM MP from Dum Dum.

Chakraborty also demanded that the Calcutta Race Course be done away with and a sports complex be constructed over it. “The Race Course is used for horse race for a just a few days of a month. Why should such a sprawling area be left unused?” the minister asked. Chakraborty said the CPM would organise a public convention on March 4 at the Netaji Indoor Stadium raising this demand.

In last December,state Chief Secretary Asok Mohan Chakrabarti had submitted a memorandum to Cabinet secretary KM Chandrasekhar in Delhi raising the same demand.

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