Visva-Bharati University authorities have decided to shift Basanta Utsav - the festival of colours to welcome spring - from its core ashram area to the Poush Mela grounds. The decision has been taken in a bid to get UNESCO world heritage status.
"Basanta Utsav is not a small programme now like when it started. At present, more than a lakh people come here to enjoy the festival. So, it has become hard work to manage those masses. We have decided to shift the main programme to Poush Mela ground from this year. Actually this decision is a move to get world heritage site status," said Sushanta Duttagupta, the vice chancellor.
In 2010, the ministry of culture through the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) sent a dossier to the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation as India's official entry of world heritage sites.
Team from the central cultural ministry and UNESCO visited Santiniketan several times. However, the name was finally not nominated.
The authorities said that every year the pressure of the crowd during Basanta Utsav is increasing at a high rate. So, it would be hard to manage the crowd if the programme takes place in core ashram area. The varsity officials claimed that the ancient sculptures and houses become dirty as people sprinkle abir on them.
"Visitors sit scattered in and around the core ashram area, under the sculptures of Budhha and Gandhi, made by Ramkinkar Beij. They intentionally sprinkle abir on those, including on the mural of the black house in front of Sangeet Bhavan. The whole campus area becomes dirty after the festival. So, it was become an urgent steps to save the heritage buildings and sculptures," a senior VB official said.
"We want to get the status of world heritage site. So, we have to make the core ashram area pollution free. If the festival took place in ashram math, the sculptures and houses would be dirtied," said the vice-chancellor.