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Old February 19th, 2012, 01:46 PM   #1
hkskyline
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Kolkata Gets a Facelift

India's Kolkata turns blue in new facelift
AFP
18 February 2012

Kolkata, once the capital of British India, is slowly being painted blue -- the favourite colour of the fiery new chief minister of the local state who has ordered a makeover.

Mamata Banerjee came to power in West Bengal last year after 34 years of Marxist rule promising a facelift for Kolkata, whose grand colonial architecture -- much of it painted red -- is crumbling after decades of neglect.

She has decreed that the city's flyovers, park railings and many of its 100 British-era official buildings should be given a new coat of paint.

Party insiders said that blue was the favourite colour of the populist chief minister, known for her temper and modest lifestyle, while it is also suggested in a new slogan for her government.

"Our leader Mamata Banerjee has decided the theme of sky blue because the motto of the new government is 'The sky is the limit'," Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim said in comments published in the Indian Express on Friday.

Some police stations in Kolkata's suburbs, painted red since the days of the British Raj, have already received a fresh blue coat, while traffic signals, street signs and even streetside tree trunks are also in line for a makeover.

"We want to bring an uniformity in painting the city," Kolkata mayor Sovan Chatterjee told AFP.

In her pre-election manifesto, Banerjee promised to introduce cruises on the city's river "in line with the River Thames of London", plant a botanical garden and turn West Bengal's tea-growing Darjeeling district into the "Switzerland of the East".

City authorities are also planning to give tax breaks to private property owners who volunteer to embrace the new colour code, officials said.

West Bengal Transport Minister Madan Mitra told AFP that public vehicles including the city's fleet of 35,000 yellow taxis would also be part of the new colour scheme.

"We have plans to get private buses and taxis in the city painted in blue with a white border," Mitra told AFP.

Kolkata faces tough competition to make itself known as India's "blue city," a title held by the popular desert town of Jodhpur in Rajasthan which draws tens of thousands of tourists each year.

Banerjee's city landscaping efforts so far are on a far smaller scale than another female chief minister, Mayawati, who runs northern Uttar Pradesh state.

Mayawati, who goes by one name, has spent more than $1 billion building parks of elephants -- her party's symbol -- and memorials to low-caste icons, including herself.

Kolkata, then known as Calcutta, became the capital of British India in 1772 until 1912 when the colonial rulers shifted their base to New Delhi in northern India.
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Old February 19th, 2012, 04:30 PM   #2
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Are they renovating the historic buildings are merely painting crumbling buildings in blue?
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Old February 19th, 2012, 09:52 PM   #3
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If the Sky is the limit and all buildings are painted sky blue, then the limit is very close.

I suspect it is just paining the facades, not restoring the whole houses. So, in fact just another version of "potemkin villages".
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Old February 20th, 2012, 02:58 PM   #4
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Jodhpur, the Blue City in the northern deserts of Rajasthan, UNESCO World Heritage Site and photographer's wet dream

















image hosted on flickr


















[img]http://perceptivetravel.com/photocontest08/blue_city.jpg[/igm]



Last edited by the spliff fairy; February 23rd, 2012 at 10:19 PM.
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Old February 20th, 2012, 03:55 PM   #5
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oh wow. a photographer's wet dream indeed! very nice town.
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Old February 20th, 2012, 04:40 PM   #6
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They should paint it British Racing Green imo. But still, should be interesting, I hope to go to Kolkata one day.
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Old February 20th, 2012, 05:42 PM   #7
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that's not Kolkata btw, its a city in the northern deserts.
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Old February 21st, 2012, 08:56 AM   #8
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Blue is gorgeous.. I hope my city could be painted blue like Jodhpur
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Old February 21st, 2012, 06:04 PM   #9
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That blue city looks rather poor and in decay. There can be no beauty in poverty, hence I think instead of a facelift they should tear that whole thing apart and rebuild from scratch.

Pint the new buildings on blue then.
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Old February 21st, 2012, 06:40 PM   #10
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Dont talk about things you have no clue about.
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Old February 21st, 2012, 06:41 PM   #11
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+ being purposely obnoxious. Don't worry noone takes him seriously anymore.
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Old February 21st, 2012, 06:41 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DiggerD21 View Post
If the Sky is the limit and all buildings are painted sky blue, then the limit is very close.

I suspect it is just paining the facades, not restoring the whole houses. So, in fact just another version of "potemkin villages".
The historical buildings are not being touched as of now. thank God for that. Rather they are adorned with white and blue lights in the night
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Old February 21st, 2012, 06:44 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
That blue city looks rather poor and in decay. There can be no beauty in poverty, hence I think instead of a facelift they should tear that whole thing apart and rebuild from scratch.

Pint the new buildings on blue then.
I don't think you have read the posts properly The blue city (in the pics above) is Jodhpur whereas the city thats getting a 'facelift' is Kolkata.
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Old February 21st, 2012, 07:43 PM   #14
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Here is a news report. it gives some glimpses of how it may turn out to be.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AbhishekDatta View Post
another one.. looking nice though
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Old February 21st, 2012, 09:18 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
That blue city looks rather poor and in decay. There can be no beauty in poverty, hence I think instead of a facelift they should tear that whole thing apart and rebuild from scratch.

Pint the new buildings on blue then.
You are a useless human being and a grade A troll
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Old February 21st, 2012, 11:29 PM   #16
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I was answering the incidental post pics by splitty fairy. Not the OP.
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Old February 22nd, 2012, 03:59 AM   #17
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Think there are better ways to spend the paint money, such as improving the city's infrastructure and alleviating poverty.
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Old February 22nd, 2012, 04:23 AM   #18
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So, from what I understand, this is being done...because. Oi vey.
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Old February 22nd, 2012, 07:39 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hkskyline View Post
Think there are better ways to spend the paint money, such as improving the city's infrastructure and alleviating poverty.
well yes there are efforts to improve those. Though whether its being done in the direction it should be is debatable. a lot of money is being pumped in for construction of various Metro lines, a brand new airport terminal is scheduled to open this year, there is a lot of hue and cry about job creation (mostly white collar) but certain policies of the present and the past governments are posing a great hinderance for industries to come up, tourism is being given the importance it should have been given a long time ago.

On the social front the government health facilities are being spruced up, emergency services are being given a boost (although all this is on paper as of now).

Culture is the Chief Minister Mamata Banerjees (the head of the state) nerve center. Kolkata Museum of Modern arts is being constructed to give a much needed fillip to arts and crafts in the culturally rich city.

The intent is there. Its the implementation thats causing the problems. Hoping that this might prove to be a minor hiccup. *sighs*

Quote:
Originally Posted by aquaticko View Post
So, from what I understand, this is being done...because. Oi vey.
dont you want your city to look beautiful?
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Old February 23rd, 2012, 02:42 AM   #20
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Interesting but I dont think I would like that for my city. In Lima we had a major that painted every new construction in yellow (bridges, by-passes, etc). Fortunately the new major left those colours and althought her partys coulour is green, she doesnt use it for the city projects.

Anyway, I liked how Kolkota looks in that video. I had a very bad image of that city, but it looks as vibrating as Mumbai and it seems a lot of growth and development is ongoing there. Im so glad for India.
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