Kolkata: West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee's decision to rename six district towns across the state is part of state government's plan to set up smart cities there.
According to officials, the state government has been mulling to set up smart cities across the state for a while and during a discussion on this Banerjee came up with renaming six district towns, which she plans to develop as smart cities. "It would wrong to say it as a mere renaming exercise. This plan includes both converting some existing townships into smart cities and developing some smart cities from scratch," said an official.
According to Mamata Banerjee's plan, Kalyani township in the Nadia district, which was during the time of Bidhan Chandra Roy's chief ministership would be rechristened as Samridhi after being developed as smart cities. Similarly, Siliguri in Darjeeling district too will be turned into smart city and would be renamed as Teesta, a major river in North Bengal. Mamata has decided to rename Bolpur in Burbhum district after Gitabitan, a popular compilation of songs of Rabindranath Tagore.
Besides smart cities will be developed centring around Asansol-Durgapur industrial belt, Garia-Kamalgachhi area in the southern part of Kolkata and at Gajoldoba in Malda districts, which would be named as Agnibeena (a collection of poems by poet Kazi Najrul Islam), Uttam City (after popular actor Late Uttam Kumar) and Muktatirtha. The plan, however, is at a very preliminary stage and details are being worked out by the state urban development ministry. However, it is the names on which chief minister has already made her mind. In fact, Mamata Banerjee has come up with a seventh name of such smart city, i,e, 'Viswa-Bangla', but where this would come up is yet to be decided.
However, the renaming part is not something many in the civic society are very comfortable with. "How can you rename on whims. This renaming will not be successful. I do not think people will accept this," prominent educationist and once known to be close to Mamata Banerjee, Sunanda Sanyal said.
"A few years back Mamata shared her idea to rename some blocks in Salt Lake, Which I had opposed then. CM should not do such renaming just to fulfil her wish. This is no monarchy," he added.