Red Calcutta – or Kolkatta for the hard-core Bongs – changed its color in 2012. It was being painted Blue by Mamta Bannerjee, and with a vengeance. All the bridges, the road dividers, the bus stops and the Government building were given a new coat.
Interestingly, in this city of the highly sensitive citizenry, even the private apartment complexes were directed to paint their exteriors blue in keeping with the new hues of the City of joy. Even when they are being asked to do so at their own expense!
The Mayor of Calcutta – Sovan Chatterjee – saw this as an “opportunity to differentiate” Calcutta a bit.
“If Jaipur is known as the pink city, Kolkata can also be known as a blue city. Under the direction of Mamata Banerjee we are using a uniform colour for Kolkata,”
Btw, read how when she tried to punish the utterances of Jai Shree Ram, how the kids hit back with great creativity – Watch how kids in Bengal are hitting back at Mamata Bannerjee with #JaiShriRam memes
The total cost of this change from Red to Blue? Rs 80 crores. Money that could have been utilized for feeding the poor or doing something useful for them.
The truth is that this money is never used for that. Not that programs for poor aren’t important, but all the talk of “could have used the money for poor” is a stale and a useless argument if it is not backed by a polity which prides of the audit of the programs and political action.
What Mamata Bannerjee did was ridiculous because it would not change the city or its situation and miraculously lead them to the growth. But the argument by the Communists – who are opposing it tooth and nail – is also cliched and ineffective.
It is not as if, when the Communists weren’t spending the money on painting the town blue – they were using this money for the poor. The poor, on the contrary, increased during the Communist rule.
Because only hopelessly poor, Government employees and the unemployed love to look for a social structure of entitlement without any responsibility.
Since even the cab drivers have to get their vehicles all blue, they aren’t a happy bunch.
“This would change our identity,” said Balwinder Singh, joint secretary of the Bengal Taxi Association, noting that yellow taxis are a long-familiar sight on city streets. “Rather than allocating money for paint, the government could invest in state transport,” Mr. Singh said.
On the other hand, there are still enough hardcore Calcuttans, who still think that their city is the epitome of cultural society.
“We don’t need a colorful identity to glorify our city,” said Kaustabh Mukherjee, a 33-year old software engineer in Kolkata. “The city’s rich heritage is enough to speak for itself.”
Hopefully, the new color will also change the future of the city, even though Mamata Bannerjee continues the same way of ruling as Communists and others have done before her.