14 June, 2021

On Either Side Of The Hooghly

In Calcutta, public interest gets a boost from the courts thanks to a 54-year-old CA

Swapan Nayak
On Either Side Of The Hooghly
Sometimes even the mountain bows to Mohammed. After what seems like ages, the Calcutta Corporation is cleaning up the sprawling Brigade Parade ground. But it still took a pil to force the authorities to act. If the grounds look well-tended henceforth, then the citizens of Calcutta owe thanks to Subhas Dutta, better known in certain circles here as the poor man’s Ralph Nader.

The 54-year-old chartered accountant has a special knack for pulling up the administration for its failures. Be it environment protection or preservation of historical sites, Dutta’s a formidable watchdog. No wonder that officials run for cover when they learn he’s on their case.

In recent years, Dutta has totted up a formidable ‘record’ espousing major causes. He has been party to over 50 pils demanding protection of the historic Botanical Gardens and Victoria Memorial. Flood prevention, protection of wild elephants, tree-felling, automobile emissions...the list is never-ending. Verdicts have mostly gone in his favour though Dutta maintains "a pil is not about victory or defeat, it’s...

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