destination india

Thursday, May 05, 2005

new look for old kolkata

The beautification process of Kolkata continues unabated. The century old Talla jheel in North Kolkata is being renovated. It is an unforgettable landmark; it houses the reservoir that supplies water (nearly 90 million liters every day) to the metropolis. Its new look envisages an accessible island in the middle of an aquatic body. The huge park (second only to the famous Eden gardens) has a pagoda, a gym, a swimming club, an angler’s corner and a special area earmarked for children. It is patronized by morning walkers. The island will house large varieties of cacti and bonsai plants.

Residents of Kolkata will soon be able to enjoy a new waterfront hangout. A boat aptly christened the Cuisine Cruise will be anchored at the Outram Ghat from 10 am to 8 pm. It will have food and beverage stalls, music and games. An entry fee of Rs 50 only will be levied. On Sundays, this boat will take off from the Sutanati Ghat of Baghbazar at 6am and will take a trip upto Belur temple and back. The package will be Rs 300 per person. This will cater to the Bengalis who want to get away from the mundane life once in a while.

One thing that caught my fancy was the fish vendors – they descale and deshell the fish that one purchases and even cuts them to required sizes, if one so desires! Whether the fish are four inch size tangra or bata or parshey or prawns or small lobsters, the customer need not worry. So much less work for the housewives who do not have the time or the inclination to carry out these activities. Charges for this additional work are probably inbuilt into the basic cost.

On my return journey, I chose to travel by the Gitanjali Express. It enjoys super fast status and, due to less halts en-route, the pantry car is responsible to provide food and beverages to the travelers. Since this is summer, bottled drinking water was a product in tremendous demand. At ten rupees per bottle, it saved one the trouble of running to water taps to top-up empty water containers whenever the train halted at a station. Pay a token amount of ten rupees, have your fill, throw out the empty bottle and get a new one. The label on the bottles caught my eyes. The words ‘Rail Neer’ were displayed prominently. I presumed it to be a product of one of the Southern states because ‘neer’ in Kannada means water. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that it is manufactured in Danapur in Bihar! (The complete address - the Rail Neer Plant, Loco colony, South of RPF barrack, Khagaul, Danapur, Bihar- 801105). Obviously, one of our Railway ministers must have been instrumental in setting up this plant to quench the thirst of the millions of rail passengers. One more thing I noticed is that serving tea in earthen containers by the official caterers has yet to take off – probably another unit is being set up in close proximity of the existing water plant! More feathers in the cap of you-know-who!! In addition, it will be one more cause for celebration of the Government of the day because it is committed to generate employment potentials in all parts of the country.

There are already plans to sell bottled coconut water.

I wonder when some bright leader will start selling ‘pure ganga jal’ (waters of the holy river Ganges) in pouches! It is a really sad state of affairs that, in spite of large scale attempts to clean the Ganges, the GAP (acronym for Ganga Action Plan) is unable to bridge the gap between actuals and expectations. We are still forced to accept the fact that ‘ram, teri ganga abhi bhi mailee’.


  • At 6:57 AM, Blogger D.C. Bowns said…

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