Friday, January 3, 2014

Chinatown Revival

Friday,January 3, 2014,page 5,Times City,Kolkata

Chinatown revival at Tiretta Bazar, Tangra

100-Crore Project Is A Brainchild Of Singaporean Conglomerate Buzzmedia

KOLKATA: Imagine this. Rows of kiosks selling hot steaming Chinese breakfast, well decorated shops selling Chinese goods, ornate oriental entrances to eateries that serve authentic Chinese food and lounges atop houses where you can relax with your cup of 'cha'. And all this in the heart of the city?

Impossible? Not at all.

If things go according to plans, our very own Tiretta Bazar and Tangra will soon look start looking like the Singaporean Chinatown which was painstakingly revived from the rubbles by that government and has since been a showpiece. This time around, the Singaporeans have come forward to help the state tourism department to revive one of the world's oldest Chinese settlements outside mainland China. The project that has been named 'Cha', after the drink that's known by that name both in Bengali and Chinese, is a brainchild of Singaporean conglomerate Buzzmedia. It has a Singaporean conglomerate that has a large number of Kolkata-born Singaporeans on board, many of whom are of Chinese origin from Tangra. For them, it is time to pay back and there's a lot of all round excitement.
People from the Chinese community celebrate New Year at Chinatown

The project will cost at least Rs 100 crore and funds will come largely from Kolkata-origin Chinese and Bengalis settled in Singapore. Some private builders in Kolkata are also keen on investing in the project.

Intach, an organization working on heritage restoration, has been roped in for the project. It will be done in two phases. While Tiretta Bazar will be revived first as Old Chinatown, Tangra will be revived later as New Chinatown. Work will start with Toong-On Temple in Blackburn Lane that used to house the famous Nanking restaurant and is are both lying in utter neglect. "The Pei May, the last surviving Chinese language school in the city, has also shut its doors and its sprawling campus is lying unused. We will revive this also. There are six such temples, a cemetery and an opium lane that will be revived along the way in this project," said G M Kapur, state convener of Intach.

"Once the work for Old Chinatown is over, we will replicate the model in New Chinatown," said Rinkoo Bhowmick of Buzzmedia, who is coordinating the project. Her representative, Nandini Das Ghoshal, a management training expert in Singapore, is presently in town to help integrate the Chinese community with the project.
TOI has recently reported that preliminary talks have about the project started between the state tourism department and Buzzmedia over the revival of Chinatown. The department had asked the latter to prepare a detailed project report, work for which is on being prepared at the moment. On Thursday, at least 25 members of the Chinese community spoke to Buzzmedia about their hope and anxiety. They spoke about their grievances on the lack of civic amenities in Tangra and how a revival has become imperative.

Talks, naturally, veered towards the fact that the Chinese settled in Kolkata about the same time that Job Charnock's ship anchored here. Chinese traveller Atchew and 110 of his countrymen set up a sugar plantation and mill in Atchipur, the place that was named after him, in 1778. Periods of disorder in China - the Opium War (1840) and the Revolution (1911) - saw waves of Chinese men and women coming to Kolkata. The community started tanneries in Tangra to give vent to their traditional craftsmanship and soon there was a demand for the Hakka tanners and shoemakers, Hupeh dentists and of course Cantonese carpenters and restaurateurs.

The Japanese air raids in 1939 and during World War II in general saw a break in the flow of Chinese population to Kolkata. The Sino Indian War (1962) changed everything and suddenly the community lost several civil rights and Indian passports were also revoked in some cases. That was the time when a large number of Chinese settlers in the city migrated to Canada and Australia.

"We feel that we are not part of the excluded from mainstream Kolkata though the city loves to eat Chinese food in our food joints. Several members of our community have no citizenship proof. The all-round stench and squalor in Tangra will tell you why a revival is immediately needed," said George Ling, a member of the community who was present at the dialogue with Buzzmedia on Thursday.

"Right in front of our church you will find heaps of garbage. We have not been able to convince the civic authorities to take the vat away. That is because we have no convincing power as a community," said Chang Shiyenyeh. "We are extremely happy that our friends from Singapore are talking about this revival. We agree to co-operate with them in every possible way," he said.

Minister for tourism, Krishnendu Choudhury, looked upbeat. "Though the preliminary talks for the project started before I took over as a minister, I feel that two revived pockets of the city as old and new Chinatown will attract tourists. I am waiting for the DPR," he said.
                                                                                                                            Jhimli Mukherjee Pandey,TNN


Tempat Karaoke said...

Great job, you should be proud of yourself. Love ya

Tempat Karaoke said...

Great job, you should be proud of yourself. Love ya

Anonymous said...

Nice to read !