World Environment Day (5 June): How a Kolkata Taxi Driver Takes Environmental Awareness to the Grass Roots

You do not have to be member of the Green Peace, or be part of the people’s march for the environment on streets of New York or for that matter be an expert or key note speaker at global environment summits. There are many less high profile but in its own way equally effective means for taking an initiative for doing ones bit for Mother Earth.

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Dhananjay Chakrabarty a cab driver in Kolkata is a green crusader with a difference. He taxi has a roof top grass lawn and the interiors of the taxi have a complement of potted plants. Dhananjay who is locally known as gechho bapi ( geccho meaning a person who lives on trees) calls his taxi Sabuj Rath (green chariot).

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Enviornment Day T-Shirts from Sampurnaa

The roof top lawn is supported on a tray mounted on the roof frame. The tray and the top soil together weight about 65 kgs and has cost Dhananjay Rs. 22000, a significant amount of money for a cab driver. Dhanjay claims with pride that given the vegetation his taxi is the coolest ( in terms of temperature and we feel in terms of style as well ) non AC Taxi in Kolkata.

The potted plants inside the taxi have a written message “Aamake banchte din” (Let me live).

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It all started three years back, when Dhananjay found an empty liquor bottle left by a passenger. He liked the shape of the bottle and fixed the same in the rear of the taxi and planted a small money plant. Soon the plant started to grow and with it came applauds from many of his passengers. The idea of adding more vegetation grew, and slowly Kolkata’s Greenest Taxi took shape.

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Dhananjay(Baapi) has a Facebook account called Baapi Green Taxi which shares information on the Sabuj Rath and accounts of appreciation from his passengers.

And when you see this taxi with a number plate of WB 04F 0157 breezing down the streets of Kolkata do give a thought on what you can do in your own small way for the cause of the environment.

And for Kolkata, India and the World each green patch counts.