Dhananjay Chakroborty, a taxi driver in Kolkata, has decided to use his green hands and transform his taxi into a miniature, mobile garden. A green crusader on the move.
Imagine our surprise when we came across Mr. Dhananjay Chakraborty, a taxi driver in Kolkata, who has created a rooftop garden on his cab and has a mini green cavern in the trunk of his car with potted plants. It was truly an amazing and awe-worthy sight. He calls it the ‘subuj rath’ or the green chariot.
The car has metal containers on the rooftop whose bottom is laid with soil, white sand and stone chips and the original green grass grows up with the aid of those mechanizations. It weighs about 65 kgs and cost Mr. Chakraborty about Rs. 22000 to build. It continues to cost him with the increased fuel consumption because of the added weight. However, Mr. Chakraborty said he does not mind it.
The Kolkata cabbie is 40 years old and works from the taxi stand at Tollygunge Karunamoyee in Kolkata. In fact, he has planted flowers at the taxi stand too.
His Taxi, an Ambassador, apart from having a green grass-bed on the roof, has eight potted plants in the trunk and has a green interior completely to promote the message that trees and plants should be planted and taken care of.
Mr. Chakraborty’s project came to fulfillment in parts. It began three years ago when he potted a money plant in a beautiful glass bottle that a passenger had left behind in the back seat. Mr. Chakraborty took care of it and nurtured it, while keeping it in the Taxi.
The bigger idea of a green garden taxi, came from one of his friends who found something similar on Internet and suggested the initiative to Chakraborty. He, being so much in love with nature and trees, decided to give it a try.
His inspiration also came from fellow passengers who appreciated the small money plant that he had begun with.
He has also been distributing leaflets with messages and sketches that he has made to passengers who are curious and delighted by his initiative.
However, Mr. Chakraborty does not own the Taxi that he has morphed into a mobile awareness masterpiece on environmental preservation and conservation. He had to sell his taxi, about eight years ago, when he required funds for his treatment post an accident.
But the owner, Mr. Amrish Singh, who owns some five more taxis, has stood up in full support of Chakraborty’s efforts. He says that Dhananjay is one of the safest drivers out there, and since this is for a good cause, he cannot do anything but extend his full support.
Although, it was not an easy ride, some fellow drivers ridiculed him. In fact, most people before looking at it in a deeper perspective thought he was crazy to even think of such a thing. But Mr. Chakraborty did not pay it any mind, and decided to go on with the project anyway.
Mr. Chakraborty gives an added message. According to him, planting trees is not enough; taking care of them and nurturing them is crucial. Because tree planting initiatives keep happening but most of the saplings just wither away due to lack of water. It is time people, all of us, begin doing our bit.
Apart from being an eye opener on environment, there are other benefits of the plants and the grass in the car. Mr. Chakraborty drives a Non- AC Taxi and because of the plants, his taxi remains much cooler than any other non-AC taxi.
Also, we believe people would be fascinated with such an idea. We know we are. So, the next time you are in Kolkata, do not miss a ride in the green taxi, or as Mr. Chakraborty likes to call it, the ‘sabuj rath’.
As part of our video series #BetterDays, we will be doing a docu-film on Mr. Chakraborty along with Lara & Patrick from Bem-Te-Vi Producoes. This is our first ever crowd-funded video project and if you wish to make a contribution towards it, click here
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