Bihar is painting one of its towns green, literally, and the makeover will be complete in the next three days.
On January 16, Bhabua, the district headquarters town of Kaimur district in southwest Bihar, will officially be declared a 'green' town.
In the run-up to the declaration, Bhabua has in all probability become the first town in the world where all buildings have been painted green.
What's equally important is that the people of Bhabua have painted the town green voluntarily, using personal resources.
No government fund has been deployed towards this initiative, which is in contrast to West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee's blue coating for Kolkata.
“Washed in green, Bhabua is giving a pleasant feeling to visitors. We are proud of our town,” said Kamala Sinha, a rights activist.
Though the concept was visualised and publicised by Kaimur district magistrate Arvind Kumar Singh, it took the shape of a people's movement with a momentum of its own.
The exercise for making Bhabua 'green and clean' began in September 2013, after Singh called a meeting of elected representatives, citizens and mediapersons and sold the idea.
Singh convinced people the move would make a positive impact on visitors from outside the state.
A leaf had clearly been taken out of the book of 'Pink City', Jaipur, now capital of Rajasthan, which was painted pink on royal orders and with unlimited resources of the Sawai dynasty in 1878 to welcome the Prince of Wales.
Singh's 'green and clean' proposal was adopted unanimously at the meeting and work began on a war footing.
As part of the exercise, vegetable markets were removed from the main road and relocated. Encroachments were also removed from the town, especially from government land near Lichchhavi Bhawan.
Brick-layered footpaths were constructed on both sides of roads and green plant pots were kept on dividers. A park came up and the local Jagjiwan Stadium was renovated.
Signs and reflectors were fixed on all trees along the roads leading to the town.
With the expanded roads and footpaths, traffic jams have become a thing of past.
During the three-month makeover, painting the buildings green proved a Herculean task. But once the local citizenry bought the idea, it was only a matter of time.
“The Nagar Parishad will be holding a function to declare Bhabua a 'green city' on January 16. We are also contacting the Limca Book of Records to get this 'first' included in the book,” said Singh.