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Easing away traffic blues with Tagore

Kolkata:Waiting at traffic signals in the city will no longer be a tedious experience as the wafting melodies of Tagore songs will soothe your frazzled nerves.

Tagore songs are being played through small loudspeakers mounted on signal posts in the city.

Besides drivers, one can see a small group of people standing patiently listening to their favourite Rabindra Sangeet.

Tagore songs sung by iconic exponents Hemanta Mukherjee, Debabrata Biswas, Kanika Bandopadhyay and Suchitra Mitra can be heard at 39 important intersections in the city.

Songs of Kazi Nazrul Islam and patriotic songs are also occasionally played for the pleasure of drivers.

"The idea was mooted by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to reduce stress and tedium of people waiting at signals," city mayor Sovan Chatterjee said here.

Daniel Gorecki from Flickr.

Tagore songs are being played through small loudspeakers mounted on signal posts in the city. Daniel Gorecki from Flickr.

Chatterjee said the idea has been appreciated by many people and will be extended to more intersections.

"It is a nice change to the long sweaty wait at the signals," Sumantra Mukherjee, who regularly drives to and from office at Dalhousie Square in the heart of the city, said.

"Previously we used to blow horns often enough to draw attention of policemen at the signal console. Not now," he said.

Manas Bhaumik, who uses public transport and walks some distance to office, says he feels good and relaxed while waiting for his bus.

"I even let go off buses on my way back home as I hear Debabrata Biswas and others render Tagore songs in their golden voice," he said waiting at the Esplanade bus stop.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (traffic) Dilip Banerjee said, "Let some time pass, we will then take up a study of the soothing effect on drivers and pedestrians. This may well be a good way to manage traffic and pedestrians".

Kolkata has only six per cent road space, but even that is not made available to traffic completely as pedestrians are forced to walk down roads due to presence of hawkers.

The KMC introduced the concept of playing Rabindra Sangeet from signal posts to make life better for city dwellers as well as to make tourists familiar with the city's culture.

"We have already made the Dalhousie Square area a heritage zone and it will be hoarding free. New street lights with old world design and other works are being done to make the area a tourist attraction," the Mayor said.

However, people want the music systems to be of better quality.

"We love to hear Tagore songs, but the sound systems installed should be of better quality and maintained
properly," said office-goer Ashok Chatterjee.

"Even those who do not know Bengali, hear the songs because of its soothing feel, but better sound quality will generate more interest," he said.

PTI

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