Friday, March 16, 2012

Third Eye-Kolkata and its new ruler

Sitting in one of the swanky offices of a private equity fund in the heart of the financial capital of the country, I was preparing my questions for the interview. The fund manager entered the room and even before I could begin to ask questions, he says 'forget Mumbai, lets talk about Kolkata, what is happening in that city? whats your sense?'
In last one month, every businessman or CFO or Fund manager that I have met asked me the same question but in this case I could sense, he wouldnt leave the topic unless I tell him the whole story.
I chuckled and said to my self, "My sense-its nonsense"
As he asked me the question- a picture flashed in front of my eyes- a business journalist from Mumbai who had recently reached Kolkata, wearing western formals reached her office, awaiting to witness one of the rare moments which would soon become an integral part of Bengal's history- End of the glorious era of Marxism in the country and welcoming change or the much touted word to the run up to the state legislative elections, 'Poriborton'.
Every street, every nook and corner of the state screamed {Poriborton}, Mamata Banerjee, the poster girl of West Bengal or more famously knows as 'Didi' had come up with a new slogan 'Amra badla chai na badal chai' or 'We don't want revenge but we want change'. This slogan made her the 'Matir manush', her publicity soared and everyone from the Mango Man to the Industrialist with Mangroves, all hailed Didi as the new face, someone who would make change happen.
Cut to the Win-From the alleys of Kalighat where Mamata Banerjee resides with her mother, she is the harbinger in the city's corridor of power.
As Banerjee thronged the streets , people screamed with joy expecting a sea change in their livelihoods. Indeed there has been a sea change but not how people live or think about the political party they sent to power, the question that has cropped up in every 'para adda' or 'Bengali's are famous for their daily chat sessions in the neighbourhoods known as rock adda or parar adda' is why did we send her?
To begin with, Mamata Banerjee came and declared that land be given back to all the unwilling farmers at Singur, the infamous small car project of Tatas which still awaits its jury. She came and declared that an ordinance has been passed for the same, just that the missing link being that the esteemed governor of the state had no idea what was happening.
Then she went on to resolve the Naxal problem in the state, she asked the centre to remove central forces and within weeks naxal attackers were back doing what they do best and Didi was back with a new thoery blaming the left for the same.
As she proclaimed that all matters have been resolved she took to Gorkhaland issue, and more or less let GTA know that they can have a separate state. What more, the bastion of ministers that she carries around, have nothing more to add or deduct from their statements, they know only one word, "Yes Minister or in this case Yes Didi"
When 130 infants died in a state run hospital in Malda, she said it is not her government's fault they were all conceived during left rule. When people died every day at SSKM hospital she again enforced her claim, it was CPM's fault.
Due to heavy showers when roads get clogged, that too is CPM's 'Chokranto' or fault. When more than 1oo people died in hooch case, it was again blamed by the state chief minister as "CPM is behind this and we will take strict action against this".
She can also qualify to be the only CM who takes roll calls of international consulates' representatives at industrial meets. When industrialists ask for land for setting up of projects, her answer is simple-"Find it yourself" but when they come from people close to her, projects are miraculously altered and land rates cheaper.
One of the most prominent cases of Mamata gone wrong was when she sent the Goenka's and Todi's to jail as AMRI lit on fire killing more than 90 patients, quite amusingly the acting chairman of AMRI, a government nominee is still out and there has been no case registered against him.
As I was leaving Kolkata and I went to meet a realtor to say good bye, his first reaction was, "You are going? you must go an d you should go fast, infact everyone should leave this city..."
The Mango man or the common man who sent her to power has only one question, What is DIdi doing? what exactly is she doing and what does she want?
The fund manager asks, we rarely ever paid to CPM for our investments in the state but now it has become difficult to make any transactions. We all believed that she will make business environment is not at all conducive for investors. Also her workers are rampantly asking for money. Does she want the money herself or who is taking that money? A question best answerable by the CM herself.
As Kolkata has slipped from the map of being a tier-I metro, investments are shying away from the city which boasts of the residences of biggest business conglomerates, what ails Kolkata is a question whose answer I couldn’t get answered.

Its an opinion, kindly check other sources for factual informations.