I am in Salt Lake for almost a month now. I sit in my balcony on the second floor sometimes. I enjoy the quietness and solitude and sometimes the real and rare beauty of the rising sun. Rarely, any car passes by. I hear almost everything that the passersby are arguing for while going to their destinations. There is hardly any smog. The tall trees lining the avenues present serene surroundings, but for the time when you receive something obnoxious from little birds on the trees without my knowledge. Some roads are bad but mostly the internal roads are smooth and clean. Even with the sand used as filling materials, the dust in atmosphere is less. May be it is because of the number of vehicles and lack of construction work.
But there are many reasons to hate Salt Lake. As I walk down the second avenue and then to the first one for my morning walk, the pungent smoke in the air from the oil fired stoves used by the roadside shabby snack shops sickens me. All along the administrative buildings, be it Unnayan Bhawan housing Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority, or Bikash Bhawan, these eyesores to help poor way of creating employment pains me. Why can’t the government create well done Kiosks and hand over to the deserving vendors? Why should we, as residents of the area tolerate these mushrooming and chaos of these stalls? Perhaps India has such has not developed the right way of doing things that provides the delight of a better ambience. Perhaps all the citizens require a compulsory training in good housekeeping and Japanese workplace management tools Five S.
The political unrest over land acquisition that forced the West Bengal government to withdraw plans of a massive chemical hub in Nandigram and Tata Motors to relocate its main ‘Nano’-manufacturing plant from Singur to Gujarat has certainly taken its toll on wider scale including the development work in Salt Lake too. The stopped construction work of the school complex in front of my house or the rusting columns of the project on the way to central park with growing plantations around it shock me. I am sure the government could have developed the central park of the Salt Lake as a showpiece like Hyde Park. A huge plot of land around it is still lying idle. May be one day some project of commercial importance will get preference over the greenery. A cricket academy has already come up using a lot of land and the bus stand and stalls around it are already an eyesore. I hate the slow or no changing city. I used to tell my friends in other city that even after years when I visited Salt Lake, I could remember the brick left by some and lying on the walking route in the same place. In January 2008, I found Salt Lake changing fast, but surprisingly Salt Lake development but for the Sector V has frozen again. It is disturbing. I hate it. Even the much talked about Sector V needs a lot of work. The roads must get it footpaths. Shabby stalls must go. It must go Bangalore class, if it wishes to compete. I was surprised to find a traffic jam at the entrance to Sector V from the Karunamoyee side. Perhaps, a flyover under construction may ease the problem.
But before I could complete this writing on Salt Lake, I found a good reason to be happy. Yesterday, the chief minister along with the strong man of Congress, Pranab Mukherji laid the foundation of the 13.77 kilometer (km) long East-West Metro corridor that would run from Salt Lake Sector V up to Howrah Maidan. I wish West Bengal to prove that it can work under a promised time frame of completing it by 2014.
I and my sons who were born and brought up in West Bengal shall love to ride on it from Howrah to Karunamoyee that will be my station, according to the announcement.
I wish the authority would have shown a more futuristic insight and extended it to the new township of Rajarahaat and the Kolkata Airport.