Reading The Telegraph from Kolkata, I guess we have to see this below as good news – coming from Melbourne to work in the capital of West Bengal, I always thought there was a major similarity between both cities. Not obviously, but it was something to do with the same architects working for the East India Company and the big old merchant banking firms of Victoria. These two affable guys (pic) I spent part of New Years Eve 2005 with might not be ‘youth’ or ‘students’ but they had very positive views about the livability of Cal. I agree, place just needs a little less exhaust, and reparation payments for hundreds of years of colonial theft… (Ah yes, city links are also a reminder of the Tram Jatra – another good reasonfor twinning these two places – see here and – for the Karachi linkage – here)

From The Telegraph
Tuesday, September 04, 2007
Students pitch for more liveable city


The youth of Calcutta dream of making the city like Melbourne — recently judged the world’s most liveable city by an international agency — by 2020. Riding high on history and the information technology boom, the students of various city colleges also have the blueprint to achieve the goal.

The plans, to make Calcutta the “best living city” were presented at Youthcon 07, a convention organised by Concern for Calcutta at St Xavier’s College auditorium, which saw participation by several colleges and management institutes. The “best living city” is not just comfortable to live in but also full of life, according to the organisers.

The convention on September 1 and 2 was inaugurated by mayor Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharyya and attended by the Union minister for youth affairs Mani Shankar Aiyar.

The minister lauded the students for their enthusiasm and faith but pointed out that any plan for the city should not leave out the economically backward. “You need to be more practical in your approach and include the less fortunate in your plans,” said Aiyar.

Concern for Calcutta, an autonomous, non-profit organisation formed in 1948, launched its youth cell last year to involve the younger generation in the mainstream of development.

“There are some who dream of making Calcutta the queen among cities but there are also those who don’t care,” said Bhattacharyya, who was the chief guest.

The mayor called for the participation of young people can help in maintaining the underground drainage system for reducing waterlogging in the city. “Youngsters can help spread awareness about how plastic bags clog up drains,” said Bhattacharyya.