In a city where every other taxi driver demands Rs 20 or 30 more than the metered fare, the only “extra” Dhananjay Chakraborty demands of his passengers is to plant a sapling each.
Dhananjay’s is a green taxi in every sense, and his crusade one of a kind.
The 40-year-old drives an Ambassador with a bed of real grass on its roof, eight potted plants placed on the tray behind the rear seat and a green interior to go with his message to save the environment and take care of trees.
“I have loved trees from childhood and participate regularly in plantation programmes of various organisations. I have noticed that trees are planted but nobody takes care of them and soon they wither away and die. So I have decided to spread the message that trees must be planted and cared for. Wherever I travel in the city, I ask my passengers to do so,”
Dhananjay, Bapi to his family members, has earned the nickname Gechho Bapi for his love of trees. Such is his passion for the green cause that he has spent more than Rs 22,000, equivalent to what he earns after toiling for a month and a half, on creating the bed of grass on the roof of his taxi.
The vehicle, which he has named Sabuj Rath (green chariot), has been grabbing eyeballs since Dhananjay unveiled its new look a couple of weeks ago.
“The tray weighs around 65kg. But I have distributed the weight equally across the green bed to ensure that the car roof isn’t damaged. One of the benefits is that the grass cools the interior and I take pride in the fact that my taxi is a lot cooler than any other non-AC car,” said Dhananjay, who has been driving taxis for 14 years.