(* Apologize to my readers for being AWOL for nearly what must be a couple of months. I am trying to get back into the groove and start reporting again !)
This article is likely to win me some foes. But then again, I am not here to make friends. I am here to state facts the way they are and leave it to the people to adjudicate.
I have been away for a while, not quite physically but mentally. My last post was nearly three months ago. Work and ‘Status Quo’ have kept me away from writing about New Town. Projects and their progress have stagnated for a while. Earlier in October, the administration took it upon themselves to rename New Town, to ‘Jyoti Nagar’ name after the departed – Jyoti Basu. He continues to serve the ‘party’ as their untenable mascot !
In India and Bengal, renaming towns and cities, even stations and airports is a huge fad ! As if anything is going to change by simply renaming it after ‘great personalities’ as perceived by the ‘powers that be’. The name changing game only does enough to create a memorial in the name of the person, it is being named after. But then again, who are we to question anything ?
JB keeping watch over the progress of New Town project in the background
The pictures in this post are from a few weeks back, when I went around New Town. It still seems no different than the wild-wild west, it has been.
So by now you must be wondering what is this post about and the title too ! Well, the one and only Ms. Mamata B. has yet again announced a land protest in the New Town/Rajarhat area.
The railway minister had lead a march of 25,000 farmers in Rajarhat on November 13 to protest allegedly forcible land acquisition and denial of compensation relating to the New Town project and other plans. Read more here.
Latest on the anvil to thwart any plans HIDCO might have had for New Town, is to gherao the HIDCO office. One just hopes and prays, it does not turn violent!
Ms. B has kept the rhetoric going against any form of development in New Town, or for that matter in any part of the state. Unless, of course it has to do with railways. This sounds all too familiar with her successfully driving out the Tata Nano plant out of Singur. Do not underestimate her power of being able to sabotage any development effort in the state.
In the on going fiasco about Infosys’s plans to set up shot in New Town. Partha Chatterjee the party spokesperson and Mrs. B’s yesman, is being quoted in today’s news papers “We don’t have anything against IT companies. Our leader wants an IT hub in Bengal. But the land agitation will continue”. So what is the inference here ? Something like this, I guess - we would love to have the IT companies come to Calcutta, but we will really not let it happen ! Some one needs to train these people some English. Because they contradict themselves more than anyone else.
Here is Telegraph’s latest jibe at what is *NOT* happening in and around New Town, Rajarhat. It is clear that an impasse has been reached and not much will change before the summer blockbuster in 2011 – the assembly elections.
I really think one possible way out of this deadlock is also to get some voices together. The voices who are ‘For the motion’, pro-development and as end users have invested into their dream home only to be met with political warring factions. There are enough people looking out for the farmers, how come there is no one talking about people like us who are innocent investors. How are we to blame for the current scenario ? How come Ms. B is completely oblivious about the dreams of hundreds of thousands of people who have invested in their dream homes. Or may be she is just feigning ignorance. Just that this is turning out to be a dream that we might never wake up to !
Below are some random pictures I took during my last official trip to Rajarhat, New Town.
There are thousands of urban families too, whose future is at stake. Their homes have been under construction since time immemorial. The saddest part is that Ms. B is not open to a dialog of any kind. She thrives in this kind of politics, where a deadlock is reached and no talks are possible. Reaching across the aisle has never her style or her forte. She seems to be in the pink of her health and that makes reaching out even more difficult, with her gaining physical and political weight with each outing. ;-)
But folks this is NO laughing matter! A lot is at stake. We have to do more than just hope that things will fall into place on their own, post elections. Ms. B is known to be unpredictable and we cannot rely on her to do the right thing !
I really believe that a consortium of home/apartment/office owners and a similar one representing the interest of the developers who are promoting these projects, should be on the cards. We have to stand up and protect our own interests. It has been too long that we have allowed the political netas and didis to wield the sword of power !
Let us stand united, people and be the change we believe in ! Email me your thoughts, suggestions and ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org to combat these deadly forces who want to take Calcutta and Bengal back to the all to familiar dark ages, we might have started to emerge from !