Monday, September 18, 2017

Everyday politics in west bengal 1: the case of mathkol autostand

Post 2011 whenever i made field  visits to different places of west bengal a distinct form of showmanship in development was discussed. It was symptomatic to see so many flexes depicting who did what, under whose inspiration and whose allocatation to the development as examples of such a mechanism of politics.

Of course, the blue-white colour combination for every government infrastructure was a masterstroke. Now,  everyone even in the remotest corners of the state knows about the development of public infrastructure and the rest can be done with words.

Well there seems to be a substantive and parallel development of occupancy inspired politics. I have seen several mechanisms and instances of party office transformation, partisan attitude of undermining every competing channels of public transactions to continue in Dwaipayan Bhattacharyya's sense of the term "party society".

However the mechanism is furthered to become even more aggressive and one of the examples is readily visible in Mathkol stoppage on Belghoria expressway. Mathkol is an inspiration for the people who stay nearby places to avail metro rail from not so conspicuous noapara metro station. I have been availing this route for some time now. In july 2017 there has been an initiation of the construction of an auto stand (refer to the photograph). I was told by the auto drivers that this was purely a community based initiative by the auto drivers and owners to help passengers and the drivers themselves to deal with killing sun.

Today a poster containing four trinamool congress leaders have suddenly appeared. Being inquisitive i asked one of the auto drivers and suddenly a group discussion took place with  group of drivers.

Me- do they help you with the construction

Drivers-  no, it was purely made by us.

Me- then why did you allow their poster, make a flex of your posters here.

Drivers- how can it be possible? Its a TMC ward. They wanted to project it as their achievement.

Me- and you allowed them to do so?

Drivers- they have told us that they will provide chairs for sitting arrangement but frankly we made the plinth precisely for this reason, now the flex is actually preventing everyone to be able sit on the plinth.

Me- how much money did you invest

Drivers - it was about 40,000/- each of the owners gave Rs. 300/- and drivers gave Rs. 100/- additionally we have some outstanding dues.

Yes, I know in a few week time the details of this transformation will be erased and we might see another blue-white public infrastructure not quite public in practice.

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