Greater than 30 years in the past when Yogendra Narain was given the duty to construct Better Noida, he arrange his makeshift chamber — a small room with a settee — in Noida authority’s head workplace. The 12 months was 1991 and his temporary was to plan a contemporary metropolis with the very best facilities for residents and industries.
Narain needed it to have higher infrastructure than Noida, and one in all his issues, as he set about planning the model new metropolis, was to discover a nomenclature for its neighbourhoods that may go well with a futuristic metropolis.
“After a lot thought, I made a decision to make use of the letters of the Greek alphabet for naming the sectors of the town. The thought was to make sure that the names had been in sync with the scientific spirit of the town and politicians would discover it troublesome to vary them on a whim,” says Narain, who was the primary CEO and chairman of the Better Noida Industrial Growth Authority (GNIDA).
He retired because the nation’s defence secretary in 2002 and subsequently served as a secretary-general within the Rajya Sabha.
However three a long time later, GNIDA plans to get rid of the outdated names of sectors. For the uninitiated, Better Noida, about 40 kilometres from Connaught Place, was arrange in 1991 as an extension of Noida.
Town, administered by GNIDA, has broad tree-lined roads and repair lanes and all over the place one sees large signage directing the commuter to its Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, Omicron, Mu, Zu, Chai, Fhi, Pai and different sectors.
Final 12 months, the World Well being Group (WHO) introduced a naming system for variants of Covid-19 and used letters of the Greek alphabet as a result of it felt the apply of describing variants after the nation of their origin was “stigmatising and discriminatory.”
Whereas the Better Noida authority says that it’s making an attempt to streamline the town’s “complicated and mismanaged naming system” as many residents, guests and buyers discover it onerous to pronounce, establish and keep in mind these letters of the Greek alphabet, many residents consider that the proposed change in names has to do with the affiliation of Greek characters with Covid-19 variants.
“What else explains this sudden need to vary the names after over three a long time,” stated Rakesh Goyal, who lives in Sector Omicron-III. “Whereas these names do remind us of the pandemic, altering them is not going to erase historical past,” the software program engineer added.
“If the WHO had not skipped the Greek letters Nu or Xi, Omicron would nonetheless not have been the identify of a coronavirus variant. However it’s wonderful; we don’t need our sector to be known as the rest,” stated Goyal with a hearty chortle.
Sector Omicron-III (there are additionally Omicron I &II) the place Goyal lives, is, like most different sectors in Better Noida, a leafy place with the silence akin to a secluded European neighbourhood.
It’s 5pm and there’s not a soul in sight, aside from a dog-walker and some automobiles coming into by means of its gate that has a signboard that includes the pictures and names of office-bearers of the native resident welfare affiliation (RWA).
Ashwani Munjal, one other resident, stated he loves Omicron- III, for its quietude and greenery, however the identify of his neighbourhood certainly makes it tougher to neglect the pandemic.
“Additionally, after I journey, lots of people are baffled to know that I dwell in a spot known as Omicron,” stated the businessman, who can also be the writer of ‘Past Currencies – World’s Most Unimaginable Minds’, a ebook primarily based on his huge assortment of banknotes from everywhere in the world that includes scientists.
The coronavirus variant Delta might need originated in India and left a path of dying the world over, however Sunny Bhati, an actual property agent and RWA president of Delta-1 sector, stated residents love the identify and any try to vary it should power them to launch an agitation.
“Sure, we regularly joked that the names of essentially the most devastating coronavirus variant have introduced infamy to our sector. However ours is a mannequin sector with many facilities and its identify Delta -1 continues to be as pricey to us as ever. Any try to vary will probably be met with stiff resistance,” stated Bhati. He sits in an enormous upholstered chair within the RWA workplace situated in an imposing white neighborhood centre constructing.
After we requested Narendra Bhooshan, CEO of the Better Noida Authority, about individuals’s opposition to any change in nomenclature, he stated, “I actually don’t perceive individuals’s fixation with these Greek names. All we are attempting to do is streamline the town’s mismanaged naming system. There’s a multiplicity of names in a single sector. So, there are Alpha, 1 and a couple of. Then the town has two sectors which are named utilizing easy English numerals; then there’s a sector known as Tau, which was renamed as Swarnagari as locals felt ‘tau’ is used to confer with the aged individuals of their village. We are attempting to simplify the naming system.”
Bhooshan additional stated, “A committee is at the moment learning the multiplicity of names in numerous sectors and can recommend different names and search individuals’s recommendations on them. A contemporary futuristic metropolis can’t have such a complicated naming system.”
When requested whether or not the upcoming train was promoted by the affiliation of Greek letters with coronavirus variants, Bhooshan stated, “Probably not. The very fact is that now we have been receiving regular complaints from residents, guests and buyers about these complicated names”.
However most residents say there isn’t any confusion. “Apart from, you don’t change the names of neighbourhoods after 30 years if the guests or buyers discover them complicated,” stated Agam Singh, a resident of Delta-II. “ We all know the town just like the again of our palm,” he added.
Upasna Singh, who runs a non-governmental organisation (NGO) and has been dwelling in Alpha-II for the reason that 12 months 2003, stated that altering the names of sectors will solely create confusion when none exists. “This transfer to vary the names of Better Noida sectors is fairly ridiculous and is motivated by politics. It was deliberate as a contemporary, progressive metropolis and altering the names of sectors will rob it of its world character,” stated the previous historical past lecturer.
Prof Vivek Kumar, who teaches sociology on the Jawaharlal Nehru College (JNU), stated that over time, individuals come to establish with the names of their cities and localities.
“Apart from, I believe individuals in Better Noida affiliate the present names with modernity, exclusivity and egalitarianism. If the options to Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta are sector 1,2,3,4… this sense of exclusivity is misplaced, ” he added.
Narain, who talks of Better Noida with nice ardour, says he couldn’t agree extra. “I don’t assume these names ought to be modified; they provide the town its distinctive id. In the event that they should be modified, the choice needs to be higher, equally distinctive,” he stated.