Calcutta’s chief minister has ordered the city of 14 million residents to be painted sky blue, taking inspiration from the new Indian government’s motto, “the sky is the limit.” The BBC reports the mandatory changes will affect everything from government and private buildings to local taxis and even historic landmarks.
“From now on, all government buildings, whenever they are re-painted, will be done in sky blue,” Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim told The Indian Express newspaper. “The owners of private buildings will also be requested to follow the same colour pattern. The necessary government orders will be issued soon.”
While the compulsory color changes are meant to invoke national spirits, they are just as likely to anger some people, since owners of private buildings are being asked to foot the bill to pay for the cosmetic changes to their property.
Of course, officials undoubtably will be wary of stirring up too much controversy, lest residents gather arms and set out to paint the town red.
“Blue is a beautiful colour and is also soothing for the eyes,” Calcutta mayor Sobhan Chatterjee told the Indian Express, referring to the color change.
Calcutta won’t be the only blue-streaked area in India. Tourist haven Jodhpur is sometimes referred to as the “Blue City” due to the bright blue-painted houses surrounding the Mehrangarh Fort. Likewise, other Indian cities have made monochromatic changes to buildings and landmarks. The BBC reports that in 2006, authorities in Bihar had the entire city painted pink to improve spirits in the crime-infested region. The Indian city of Jaipur, often referred to as the “Pink City,” is also known for its pink dominated hues.
And just a few years ago, rumors were circulating that the Chinese government was converting one of its provinces into a “green suburb”–as in the color green, not environmentally-friendly green. That story turned out to be a hoax.
There are also less intrusive and more benign efforts being made to re-paint large swaths of the urban landscape, such as painting roofs white to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
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