How A Cab Driver In Kolkata Is Running A Green Crusade Of His Own

How A Cab Driver In Kolkata Is Running A Green Crusade Of His Own
The Better India

40-year-old Dhananjoy Chakraborty is a cab driver based out of Kolkata. His love for trees gained him the nickname Gechho Bapi. “I have loved trees from childhood and participate regularly in plantation programmes of various organisations. I have noticed that trees are planted but nobody takes care of them and soon they wither away and die. So I have decided to spread the message that trees must be planted and cared for. Wherever I travel in the city, I ask my passengers to do so,” he said.

Unable to take the scorching summer heat, he devised a technique that would help keep his non-AC yellow taxi, cool. After toiling for a month and a half, he was able to set his plan into motion. First, he planted orchids in earthen tubs. Next, he placed them inside the cab and remodelled its rooftop to grow grass on it. “The tray weighs around 65kg. But I have distributed the weight equally across the green bed to ensure that the car roof isn’t damaged. One of the benefits is that the grass cools the interior and I take pride in the fact that my taxi is a lot cooler than any other non-AC car,” he told The Telegraph.

Image Source: The Telegraph

He named his vehicle, which he has been driving for over 14 years, Sabuj Rath meaning Green Chariot. The idea of the green roof came from a photograph of a similar taxi that he saw online. He first laid a metal base for the green bed. With tiny holes drilled into the base, he ensured that excess water would be drained out. Then came a layer of soil, white sand, stone chips and netting, after which he planted the grass.

“The extra weight has increased the fuel consumption of my taxi but I don’t mind it,” he said. While his plan did effectively help cool his cab, fellow taxi drivers didn’t see the sense in it. But with time, he helped them understand and they eventually supported his initiative.

Image Source: The Better India

The vehicle that Dhananjay drives is not his own. He was forced to sell his own taxi eight years ago to arrange funds for treatment following an accident he suffered. However, the owner of the cab Amrish Singh respects the driver’s passion. “He is one of the safest drivers you can find and also maintains the vehicle better than most. When I first asked him to drive my car, he told me that he would decorate it with plants. I agreed and am happy to be a part of the cause,” said Amrish, who owns five more taxis and drives one of them himself.

Dhananjay’s efforts don’t end here. Additionally, he carries leaflets to give passengers and passersby who are interested to know more about his cab. The leaflet, designed by one of his interested passengers, contains small poems and sketches by Dhananjay, all of them about the environment. The green crusader even decorated the taxi stand at the Tollygunge area with flowerpots, and regularly distributes seeds and saplings to those who show interest. Further, he also has a Facebook account called Bapi Green Taxi and an email ID, where people can send in suggestions or queries.

Feature image courtesy of The Better India

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