''Big Ben'' of Kolkata, West Bengal causes traffic jams and flare-ups!!

Kolkata Big Ben  telegraphindia.com

Kolkata Big Ben, Alamy.com.

Above image: The Big Ben replica or the Kolkata Time Zone, designed by artist Sunil Chandra Pal  is made  of  concrete and fiberglass cast on the exterior. It stands at the junction of VIP road and Lake Town road in northeast Kolkata. It was erected by the South Dum Dum Municipality as a part of the drive to beautify the city in 2015....................

The Big Ben in the suburb of Kolkata, West Bengal is neither a monument of historical value nor is it a time-honored structure with  amazing decorations. It is the brain child of a Bengali politician who wants to copy a landmark structure in London  as part of beautification of this crowded city.  Initially, people in this area thought  it was a temporary structure  and never realized that it was going to stay here  for ever. 

This replica tower of Big Ben located in  Lake Town, South Dum Dum Municipality   is a 135 foot tall  tower that was built at a cost of about Rs 1.36 crore by the Anglo Swiss Company. The original Big Ben tower in Westminster, London is three times taller than this one. The huge clock has gigantic faces  each with a diameter of 12 feet. Close to Kolkata's one of the famous Durga puja committee Shree Bhumi area, no body can miss the tall tower. Comparison is made to the 150 year old Big Ben clock tower very close to the British Parliament because of its unique design. Why did the South Dum Dum Municipality  build a Big Ben on the road to the Kolkata airport. is a moot question, considering city's traffic congestion  and the flow of humanity. Sujit Bose, Trinamool Congress MLA was responsible for this project that was initiated in 2014.

Supposed to be a landmark in this part of this sprawling city, Big Ben is more a headache than a legacy of Trinamool Congress party. Occupying about 1,000 square feet at a busy traffic intersection in an area that has lots of shops and residential blocks, the tower causes frequent bottlenecks  during rush hours making vehicle drivers mentally stressed.  The drivers get irritated due to heavy  traffic and tailgating with two-wheeler riders  trying to get in and get out  space between two  vehicles. 

Kolkata Big Ben, Alamy.com.

Kolkata Big Ben, pinrest.com

No step was  taken by the municipality to alleviate the traffic congestion. When a petition was made a few years ago questioning the logic behind  a big structure  in the middle of a busy road, there was no response from the authority. There was a spate of criticism  from many when the then government had a plan to make Kolkata “London of the East”, a utopian idea. Replicating  buildings or structures in London or elsewhere is faulty because  it is devoid of any historical value or legacy.  It is useless  to beautify the city unless the ruling government  takes steps to improve the amenities  and infrastructure  in the city. 

Kolkata Big Ben, Alamy.com.

Though some holdb the new structure  in awe and applaud the time-consuming and meticulous work that went into the construction of the clock tower,  many citizens of this area are against putting up  a big structure in a highly congested and traffic-prone area; many  also question whether Big Ben tower is earthquake safe.  The city of Kolkata has lots of colonial monuments including  European burial places and they need periodic repair and conservation because  of   ageing. The colonial legacy of this city, once the capital of  British India and a prominent city next to London ought to be preserved for the posterity. 

The neighboring state of Sikkim, had  reproduced the Char Dhams, 12 Jyotirlings and the Shirdi Sai Baba temple  with a sole idea of  taping the huge pilgrimage tourism market. Will replicating some of the famous   landmarks in London like London Bridge, Buckingham Palace, etc.,  attract Anglophile tourists on tight budgets?