Reacting to the reseult of the Annual Survey of India’s City Systems 2014, where all Indian cities fared horribly, but in which Kolkata secured the first position, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has issued a congratulatory statement to the people of her State, claiming credit for her work in the same.
Banerjee wrote on her Facebook page, “We are happy that over the last three years, our efforts to restore the past glory of Kolkata and make it a truly great Metro – from beautification to making the city clean and green to improving civic amenities – is yielding results.”
This is strange, given that the position given to Kolkata by the NGO Janaagraha Centre for Citizenship and Democracy is not for its cleanliness or greenery, but for its robust electoral process, the credit for which must also go to the Election Commission and the people of Bengal’s capital city.
The rest of the message comes across as complete bluff. Banerjee writes, “You all will be happy to know that Kolkata has been ranked as the best place for quality of life among Indian cities in a recently-conducted.survey. The study was based on more than 100 parameters in 21 selected cities. Kolkata topped while Thiruvananthapuram and Bhopal came second and third respectively. Delhi ranked fifth.”
Reacting incredulously and angrily to the message, citizens showered the thread with invectives. Their original words are unprintable; the very first comment (by Milan Maji) is an expletive, so सिर्फ़ News is paraphrasing the quotes. Citizen Parban Mahata wrote the city gets waterlogged even if a street mongrel urinates. Himadri Dutta, Abhijeet Bhattacharjee and Bikash Karmakar wrote there were several cities besides Kolkata in West Bengal that were doing pitiably. He asked Didi to give equal attention to the rest of the State. Raju Dass said the ranking must be a mistake. Sayandeb Bose wanted to know the agency that conducted the survey. Mohammed Akram wrote cases of political revenge, hooliganism and fraud have only increased in the city. Arjita Barai, who claimed to have been an associate of the chief minister since the years of the last dispensation, wrote that the only difference between the rule by CPI(M) and Trinamool Congress is that the goons and henchmen have switched camps.
Of course, there were many cheerleaders in the thread, too. None of them seemed to have read the news of the survey that was published in the media on 6 June.