The West Bengal Transport Corporation (WBTC) has decided to run a special tram, christened “Paat Rani [Jute Queen]”, combining the two iconic and environment-friendly assets of Kolkata. It is expected to be unveiled around Diwali.
“Paat Rani beautifully juxtaposes two of Bengal’s icons: jute and trams,” WBTC Managing Director Rajanvir Singh Kapur said on Wednesday.
The tram will display jute products made by inmates of the Presidency and Dum Dum correctional homes as part of an initiative of the Rakshak Foundation. The organisation works with the inmates, aided by the state government’s Directorate of Correctional Services, to produce exquisite jute products, said sources.
The products that will be on display have been produced as part of the foundation’s “Jute Story Beyond Bars” initiative that trains prison inmates in workshops, transforming the convicts into artisans who craft diversified jute products of international quality.
“Paat Rani is a small effort at creating awareness about jute as a biodegradable, sustainable and eco-friendly fabric, and promoting its use by adding a gamut of new designs and products that have infused a new life and vibrance in the way jute is perceived,” said an official.
Apart from the jute products, there will be live commentary on the vehicle about Kolkata’s heritage, and passengers will also be able to enjoy traditional Bengali music. The tram will also have a cafe that will offer snacks and fruit juices.
Kolkata Tramways officials are hopeful that the special tram will evoke nostalgia for an era when trams were the mainstay of the city’s public transport system and help share the city’s rich culture with the younger generations. Rakshak Foundation head Chaitali Das expressed her gratitude for the WBTC.
Most of the jute cultivation in India happens in the east, with West Bengal leading from the front. To assist the jute industry, which has been in distress for decades, the Centre recently extended the norms for mandatory packaging of 100 per cent food grains and 20 per cent sugar in diversified jute bags. Union Textiles Minister Smriti Irani said the decision would benefit 3.7 lakh workers and 40 lakh farmers, especially in West Bengal.
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