West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee will unveil two open-roof double-decker buses on Tuesday. While for now these two buses will be used for puja parikrama, they will later be used to boost Kolkata’s tourism.
Introduced in the 1920s, the erstwhile Left Front government phased them out in the early 1990s. In 2005, the last bus went off city roads. In 2011, after coming to power, Banerjee directed the transport department to bring back the iconic buses.
“As of now these two will be used for puja parikrama and pandal hopping. Later they will be used for tourism, such as hop-on hop-off tours. They are not meant for commercial services,” said a transport department official.
The new buses will have features likeg automatic doors, destination boards, panic buttons and CCTV cameras. While the old buses used to have two doors, these will have one door. Of the 51 seats, there will be 16 on the upper deck.
“The buses will be painted in blue and white, the favorite color of the chief minister, and will be BS-IV compliant. One of the main purposes the old double-decker buses were phased out was that they used to consume a lot of fuel and hence were uneconomical. They were polluting too,” said the official.
While the festive season has already started and puja shopping is going on in full swing, the construction of pandals is also in the final stage. In some places, the idols of Goddess Durga have already arrived. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is going to virtually inaugurate dozens of pujas over three days. Puja starts on October 23.