All play and no work in Kolkata

It was a de facto holiday here yesterday as the Mamata Banerjee government pulled out all the stops to celebrate Kolkata Knight Riders’ IPL win with thousands of people on the streets and offices reporting thin attendance. Businesspersons and economists termed it a colossal loss of manhours and productivity.

Sea of humanity: Thousands of Kolkata Knight Riders’ fans lined the roads to watch the victory parade of the Knights. Pic/AFP

Thousands lined the roads to watch the victory parade of the Knights, an estimated 70,000 gathered at Eden Gardens where the team was given a civic reception and 20,000-30,000 stood outside, despite it being a working day, unable to get inside. While the state government celebrated, a section of Kolkatans tried to calculate the enormous losses.

“It is a colossal waste. We’ve lost so many manhours. Though I am not sure whether loss of manhours means loss of productivity to that extent because hardly anybody works in West Bengal,” said an economics professor of Jadavpur University. He said the celebrations could have been held during the weekend. “Today was a nice occasion to disobey the rules, to skip office. But what will Kolkata gain from KKR’s triumph? Will Shah Rukh Khan set up an industry?”

Ruchhita Kazaria, who owns an advertisement agency, was aghast. “The preposterous celebrations are looking like India has won the Olympics in totality, in every sport division,” said Kazaria. “When Banerjee has herself quoted that we are a ‘poor state’ and we can only give greetings and good wishes to the KKR team, has she forgotten that because of this act of hers of inviting the whole of the city during working hours to Eden Gardens, she is just making the city poorer?”

Another woman entrepreneur, complained that she was unable to go about her daily business. “Why is the city so starved of achievements that an IPL trophy calls for a standstill of the entire city? I am so disappointed that we Kolkatans have to resort to this and make a fool of ourselves,” she said, also not wishing to be identified fearing retaliation from ruling TMC cadres.

‘SRK is so cruel’
Some cursed him, others called him “cruel”. Even the presence of KKR players could not take away the disappointment of thousands who braved the scorching sun for hours only to find Shah Rukh missing from the KKR victory parade. “He is so cruel to be not present. We bunked our classes and have been standing in the sun for over two hours to see him. We are disappointed to say the least,” said a college student.

Thousands had thronged the Ashutosh Mukherjee Road to witness the victory parade of KKR though most of them had come to see the Badshah of Bollywood. The Knights led by skipper Gautam Gambhir waved frantically atop a trailer. “It is a consolation to see Gambhir and his team. We had come here to see Shah Rukh. We now feel like fools after braving the sun for so long,” said a teenager who had been chanting the cinestar’s name in anticipation. 

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