Traders say events held there served as a source of entertainmentto the poor and middle class

The Federation of All Traders’ Associations of Vellore has requested the Superintending Archaeologist of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), Chennai Circle, to continue to allow the holding of public events in fort maidan (glacis).

In a memorandum sent to the Superintending Archaeologist, federation president P. Gnanavelu and secretary Babu Asokan said our forefathers allotted open spaces to help the public arrange meetings and celebrate events. Island Grounds in Chennai and Tamukkam Grounds in Madurai are some of the open spaces used for public meetings and events.

The fort maidan in Vellore was used for holding political public meetings, where national and State leaders expressed their views. It was also used for other events of public importance such as agricultural symposia, educational seminars, book fairs, government exhibitions highlighting schemes of the government, and consumer goods exhibitions.

“The fort maidan aided intellectual development of people of the entire Vellore district through such public events. While the rich went to other places for entertainment, exhibitions and other events held in the fort maidan served as a source of entertainment to the poor and middle class people of Vellore district,” the memorandum said.

The federation, therefore, urged the ASI to allow holding of public events in the maidan. It suggested that instead of converting the southern portion of the maidan (hitherto used for public events) into a park, the ASI could develop and maintain the existing park on the northern portion of the maidan, which lacked proper maintenance.

The federation also submitted a memorandum to P. Sankar, Collector of Vellore, on Tuesday, requesting him to use his good offices to persuade the ASI to continue to allow the holding of public events in the maidan.

The Vellore Citizens’ Welfare Forum (VCWF) too has opposed the move of the ASI to convert the southern portion of the maidan into a park.

Mahatma Gandhi had addressed a public meeting in the maidan in 1921, the memorandum said.