Kolikata achche kolikata-tei.
Roughly translated, this Bengali sentence means Kolkata continues to be in Kolkata. To me it means that change is something alien to the city.
Is it therefore that the city is not changing at all? Oh yes, it is. Like one or 2 new roads that have come up, so have some flyovers, some malls, some plexes, and of course the embracing of facebooks and orkuts by the city’s gen-next.
If those are indeed real changes, they are hardly discernible…which is why it may not be wrong to say that the more she changes, the more she remains the same.
All changes though may not be as clear as daylight but may – just may (in Kolkata the outcome of any public effort is rarely positive) – in the long run prove significant for the city’s betterment.
A couple of such changes come to mind. One is the cleaning of 141-year old brick sewers laid during the British era in much of the north of the city. [Image source]
No attempt was ever made to clean some 180km long sewers in the city after they were laid in 1878 until now. This meant the rubbish inside the large diameter sewer tunnels – between 10ft to 20ft – had metamorphosed into solid rock that is now requiring hammering and drilling to clear.
A total of Rs.402 crore is budgeted for cleaning just 25km of 88km, 10ft wide sewer. The total cost, money for which is not available yet, for cleaning all the brick sewers, replacing the century-old pumping stations, and cleaning the major canals is pegged at a whopping Rs.2200 crore.
If this money is judiciously spent and the jobs are efficiently done can the city hope for lasting cleanliness and no water logging during heavy monsoon.
This post is aggregated from today’s article in Anandabazar Patrika.