"However, the opposition parties have decried the move, calling it Tughlaq-like, and an affront on the people's right to choose the colours of their homes. "
Kolkata, June 11 - The West Bengal government Wednesday backed the Kolkata Municipal Corporation's proposed tax waiver for people painting their houses in Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's favourite blue and white colours.

A senior minister said the government wants to make the eastern metropolis a Blue City.

Describing blue as a soothing colour, Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim said psychiatrists feel the hue is an anti-depressant.

People love the blue sea. They also admire the blue sky, Hakim told reporters on the state assembly premises here.

I will ask all the municipalities to follow the path shown by the KMC, he said.

The minister argued the tax rebate was an incentive to the people and would have no adverse effect on the KMC coffers.

Hakim said the government was prepared to introduce an amendment in the KMC Act if it was needed for implementing the proposal.

Taking a dig at the proposal, Leader of Opposition Surjya Kanta Mishra said those painting the city blue and white should also paint their clothes in the same colour combination.

The KMC Monday decided in its mayor-in-council meeting that those who paint their residential houses in blue and white after informing the KMC will be given a tax waiver for that year.

The waiver will, however, not be available to commercial buildings, offices and flat owners.

City Mayor Sovan Chatterjee said it was an attempt to beautify the city.

Over the past two years, from the city's northern tip in Cossipore to the southern end in Naktala, many state-owned buildings, small and big parks, bridges, medians, road railings, boulevards, flyovers, traffic police booths, as also new taxis, have got a sky blue and pristine white look, following Banerjee's orders.

Inspired by India's famed Pink City Jaipur, the chief minister -- affectionately called Didi (elder sister) -- hit upon the blue-white combination to give a certain identity to the eastern metropolis through a uniform colour code. Another inspiration has been Blue City Jodhpur in Rajasthan which has traditionally blue-painted houses around the city's Mehrangarh Fort.

However, the opposition parties have decried the move, calling it Tughlaq-like, and an affront on the people's right to choose the colours of their homes.

The opposition has also expressed fears that it could be used to identify the supporters of the government and the opposition parties.


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