Jute is once the identity of undivided Bengal, still West Bengal leads jute cultivation in the country, West Bengal also has the only functional Tramways of India. The trams have been adorning the city of Joy since 1873. Combining these two unique age old and environment friendly assets of the region, ‘PaatRani’, an initiative is coming up in Kolkata.
It is the PaatRani: The Jute Queen, a tram dedicated to the love of jute. Jute is called “Paat” in Bengali language. The PaatRani is being touted as a unique experiment that mixes an old world mode of transportation with a handicraft cash crop. It is conceived in a special tram by the West Bengal Transport Corporation that runs Kolkata Tramways.
Speaking to News Sense, Rajanvir Singh Kapur, MD, WBTC said, “PaatRani beautifully juxtaposes two of Bengal’s icons: jute and trams. PaatRani aims to promote jute and help it becomes a favourite choice of people. PaatRani is not just a tram, it is a tribute to the city of joy“.
The jute part is being overseen by Rakshak Foundation, a non profit organisation based out of Kolkata that works with the inmates of Presidency and Dum Dum Correctional homes to make exquisite jute products.
All products on display in the PaatRani have been produced by the inmates in association with the Directorate of Correctional Services, Government of West Bengal. The products of PaatRani are from ‘Jute Story Beyond Bars’ initiative where the inmates are trained through ongoing workshops.
The trained inmates are thereby transformed into artisans, crafting international quality diversified jute products. Stipend and scholarship are provided to inmates to encourage them to adopt this craft as a livelihood.
“The eco friendly jute products of Bengal shall be showcased on the moving eco friendly Tram. I extend my sincere gratitude to Mr Rajanvir Singh Kapur IAS, MD, WBTC for his unflinching support to this novel initiative”, said Ms Chaitali Das, who heads the Rakshak Foundation.
PaatRani thus is an effort to create awareness about Jute as a bio-degradable, sustainable and eco-friendly fabric and promoting its use by adding a gamut of new designs and products, has infused a new life and vibrance in the way Jute is perceived. PaatRani will be on the tram routes of Kolkata from Diwali this year.