Kolkata, Aug 26 (PTI) Rajya Sabha MP Swapan Dasgupta on Wednesday proposed that the Poush Mela at Santiniketan be organised by the Central government, holding that it is not possible for Visva-Bharati University to manage such a huge fair on its own.
Dasgupta, a nominated member of the Visva-Bharati court (samsad) by the Rajya Sabha chairman, said that the university is an educational institution and not an event management company.
The fair, which used to be a five-day affair earlier, has now turned into a mega event that continues for about a fortnight with lakhs of people attending, thus making it very difficult for the university administration to manage it, he said at a webinar on 'The Visva Bharati crisis'.
Trouble erupted at Visva-Bharati campus at Santiniketan on August 17 as a large number of people ransacked the university's properties to protest the construction of a boundary wall at a ground where the century-old Poush Mela is held.
The university has decided not to organise the annual fair this year owing to the Covid situation.
'I propose that the whole Poush Mela be organised by the central government. Many kinds of tensions will be created by vested interests, but these have to be thwarted and the central government should take up the responsibility of holding the fair,' he said.
The fair is organised by Visva Bharati, a central university with the Prime Minister as its Chancellor.
He claimed that the university administration had become lax and in some cases irregularities had entered into it, adding that study of audit reports would display such irregularities.
He said that the ploy by vested interests trying to control the fair and other events and activities at the university is to mount pressure on the vice chancellor and other top officials to get things done as per their bidding.
'The present VC has become unpopular because he has tried to instil discipline in the university, which has been subject to adverse comments in the CAG report,' Dasgupta said.
He said that Santiniketan is a cultural pilgrimage for Bengalis and Poush Mela is an integral part of it.
It was on an order by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) that the fencing was being erected on the perimeters of the ground, the university had said in a statement following the incident of August 17.
Dasgupta said that the Poush Mela, an annual fair, will have to be organised as usual and steps to be taken to ensure it has to be finalised.
He said that the varsity authorities should talk to everyone including the local people, police and administration on modalities of erecting the fencing, which has to be done to comply with the NGT order.
Speaking at the webinar, BJP Rajya Sabha MP Rupa Ganguly blamed the Mamata Banerjee dispensation in the state for the razing of the under-construction wall and a ceremonial gate at the main entrance of Visva Bharati university. PTI AMR RG RG