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Tax waiver for painting Kolkata houses in Didi's colours angers opposition

IANS 11 Jun 2014, 8:09:24 IST
Kolkata: The Kolkata Municipal Corporation's tax waiver for people painting their houses in West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's favourite blue and white colours has raised the hackles of the opposition.

The KMC's decision came in a meeting of its mayor-in-council Monday.

"We have decided that those who paint their residential houses in blue and white after informing the KMC will be given a tax waiver for that year," city mayor Sovan Chatterjee said Tuesday.

Chatterjee said the scheme was prepared to provide an incentive to owners as many houses in the city were in a dilapidated state without any touch of paint for long years.

The waiver will, however, not be available to commercial buildings, offices and flat owners.

He said it was an attempt to beautify the city and hoped lot of people will respond "positively".

"There are some legal complications. We need a go-ahead from the state government. I have already spoken to state Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim. A letter with the mayor-in-council's resolution is being sent to him," said Chatterjee.

Over the past two years, from the city's northern tip in Cossipore to the southern end in Naktala, many state-owned buildings, small and big parks, bridges, medians, road railings, boulevards, flyovers, traffic police booths, as also new taxis, have got a sky blue and pristine white look, following Banerjee's orders.

Inspired by India's famed "Pink City" Jaipur, the chief minister -- affectionately called Didi (elder sister) -- hit upon the blue-white combination to give a certain identity to the eastern metropolis through a uniform colour code. Another inspiration has been "Blue City" Jodhpur in Rajasthan which has traditionally blue-painted houses around the city's Mehrangarh Fort.