Going by the pin code/s, Salt Lake does not technically belong to Kolkata. It has got a different municipality, is more planned than the rest of the city and what not. But trust me dear readers, all of us residing here in this rather isolated city are, but humans after all. We might belong to a different district altogether but not from a different planet or a galaxy, as a matter of fact. There are problems that we face due to this technical isolation and had it not been for Sector-V, we would still have been breaking our journeys multiple times to reach a destination, even now.
If you are not convinced enough, let me be your guide. Well, 12 questions residents of Salt Lake face or get to hear on a regular basis from someone residing in proper Kolkata or outside the city.
1. ‘Saltlake where?’
If you have been living in Saltlake for some years now, you must have come across this whenever you meet someone new, almost every time. Saltlake City was built in the 1960s to accommodate for the growing population headed by our then CM, Dr. Bidhan Chandra Roy. True to its name, Saltlake was basically built over large lakes (called bheris) which were probably salty due to high sand concentration.
2. ‘I do not know where exactly I am now. How far is it from Karunamoyee or the Bypass or even from Sector V?’
Once you are inside Salt Lake, irrespective of whether you’re using public transport or driving your own vehicle, there’s no denying that the roads all look very similar and yes it takes just one wrong turn to get the sinking feeling of being stuck in a real-life labyrinth of sorts
I agree that there indeed are some roads where you might not find any suitable public transport. Best way to help yourselves out is to find your way either towards Karunamoyee (at the Sector V end) or Ultadanga (Northern end).
3. ‘What are these weird circular structures at the junction of the four roads?’
Honey, it’s called an island. Salt Lake has been built in the form of a giant matrix and there are blocks (Read para) on each side of the road named alphabetically starting from AA, goes all the way till AL (vertically) and till KC (horizontally).
4. ‘It’s 8 already and I’m left with no other options other than taking a cab, if I’m lucky enough to get one that is.’
This used to be the problem even 5 years back. Luckily there are about a hundred bus routes plying from Saltlake to various locations in Kolkata or even to far off places like Howrah and Medinipore. We even have shuttle services plying from the nearest railway station, Bidhannagar Rd, Exide (Rabindra Sadan) and Airport.
5. ‘If thou are from Saltlake, thou must be filthy rich.’
We wish. Yes, but the plots that we live in have huge resale values and in case you are planning to rent/buy a home in Saltlake, make sure you can survive the huge hole to be made in your pockets.
6. ‘How do you help yourselves out in case you need something, say, stationery and stuff?’
There may not be too many shops around and neither do the few that exist, seem to remain opened after 7 or 8 in the evening. But hey! That’s the point of living in Salt Lake isn’t it?
But markets in selected blocks (para-s) do exist and take care of most of our needs. Thanks to the app based shopping sites, the rest of our needs are taken care of with ease.
7. ‘Saltlake for me is City Centre.’
And also for most of the people residing in or around Saltlake. Second of its kind in Saltlake after Charnock City but more famous and it even competes with Mani Square (at a stone throw distance from CC).
8. ‘What are those numbers written on the body of the water tanks? And why is it called Rishi Aurobindo jaladhar (water tank)?’
16 Huge Water tanks have been built to take care of our needs of water, starting from Tank 1 (very close to the City Centre 1) till Tank 16 and 17 (near the Chingrihata end of the city). Very recently these have been named after eminent personalities; although the relevance of the naming is questionable (you might just get confused).
9. ‘What’s that foul smell? Did you just say ‘canal’?’
The (in) famous Kestopur Canal runs across the entire length of the eastern boundary of the city. Infamous because it smells real bad (considered to have decomposed and hence the smell). Plus there was once a time when an array of illegal activities used to function all along this canal. However the local municipal government is actively working towards beautification and cleaning of the canal.
10. ‘I heard that there are foxes and snakes in Saltlake.’
There were. Am talking of the 70s and 80s when foxes could be found all over the city especially in and around the Central Park, and so were snakes. Our late CM Mr. Jyoti Basu had to take appropriate steps to take care of the foxes when complaints from all over the city started raining in.
11. ‘You have done your schooling from Saltlake? So which of these are you from? CA or KV?’
Though there are about 10-15 schools all around Saltlake, a few have gained prominence owing to their strength (in terms of the number of students) and their respective 10+2 results from either ICSE/CBSE/State Boards.
12. ‘Is that a new flyover above us?’
Roads here are long and wide enough to accommodate most of the traffic. If you have spotted the ‘flyover’ in the last 5-6 years’ time, you must have seen the huge columns (housing the metro tracks and stations) which are a part of the under-construction Metro Railway project. Proposed to be made by 2015 (already passed the deadline about 5 times now), it will help you reach the Howrah station from Sector V within half an hour or so. For now it will be running from Sector V to Sealdah and construction is in full swing.
Here’s a question you’d love answering about Salt Lake though
Do you get Denzong Momos in Salt Lake?
Head over close to IIHM College, Shaila Towers, Block EP, Slat Lake, Sector V for the legendary Denzong Momos!