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35A bus runs on meme fuel in Calcutta

The meme says the buses on route 35A and 370 are still running in Calcutta

By Subhajoy Roy in Calcutta
  • Published 8.08.19, 2:30 AM
  • Updated 8.08.19, 2:30 AM
  • 2 mins read
  •  
The place on Beleghata Main Road from where 35A buses originated Sourced by the author

In Calcutta, 35A had ceased to be operational long before it happened in Jammu and Kashmir.

Here it was a bus route between Beleghata and Howrah.

A social media meme is doing the rounds for the last few days that the Narendra Modi government hasn’t been able to do in Bengal what it did in India’s northernmost state.

The meme says the buses on route 35A and 370 are still running in Calcutta — “35A, 370 no more exist in Kashmir! But it still remains operational in Calcutta.”

It says: “Amra 35A aar 370 kono din bondo korbo na...Sara Bharat bondo korte pare, kintu amra kolkata te bondo korbo na....kono Amit babu Kolkata te 35A aar 370 bondo korte parbe na... Eta sab somoy cholbe ...” (We would never withdraw 35A and 370…Entire India can withdraw, but we would not withdraw it in Calcutta…no Amit (Shah) babu would be able to close it in Calcutta…It would always run).

The meme ends with the words “35A — Howrah to BBD Bag & 370 — Sealdah to Patuli” written in bold.

In reality, 35A was a state bus that used to run between Beleghata Joramandir and Howrah station, via Sealdah. No one could recall any bus with the number 370.

Metro asked several Patuli residents who have been staying there for over two decades, but they couldn’t recall any such bus. Transport department officials said the route did not exist.

Beleghata residents said that the 35A bus route was withdrawn almost a decade ago. For many people in Beleghata and surrounding areas, it was the best option to reach Howrah station to catch a train at a time when app cabs hadn’t arrived and yellow taxis refused or demanded a premium as they still do now.

“I have so much of nostalgia about that bus route. Since my childhood, whenever I went to Howrah station I took that bus,” said Arjit Mondal, a resident of Beleghata CIT Road.

The Modi government on Monday revoked Article 35A and also abrogated all but one clauses of Article 370 that gave the state a special status.

In Beleghata, local people said that three bus routes originated from the same place — 35, 35A and 35B. The routes 35 and 35B used to terminate in Sealdah. The route had its terminus in Belaghata Joramandir on Beleghata Main Road.

The bus drivers and conductors would meet at the stall of Dipu Mondal. The 52-year-old still runs his stall, but the bus doesn’t run any longer.

“The route was stopped sometime around 2009-10. I don’t know why it was stopped. There used to be a long queue of passengers for the bus. It never ran empty,” said Dipu.

Sources in the state transport department, however, told Metro that the route was not commercially viable.

“This route was stopped when route rationalisation was done. Several routes were withdrawn because they were not commercially viable,” said a senior transport department official.

The social media meme also mentions that a bus on route 370 used to run between Patuli and Sealdah. Metro asked several residents of Patuli who have been staying there for over two decades but they couldn’t recall any bus with the route number.

“I have also seen the Whatsapp meme, but I couldn’t recall any bus of that number,” said Prabir Mukherjee, a retired bank officer and a resident of Patuli.