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By Compiled from wire reports by staff / October 20, 2006



Two more gallons should do it

Clearly, something needed to be done. Crime in Aurangabad, an ancient city in eastern India, was rampant. It spanned the spectrum, too: robbery, extortion, kidnapping, murder, street violence between castes in India's stratified social system, even terrorist attacks by communist rebels. The community's public image was poor, and spirits were low. And then – voilà! – inspiration struck. Last April, a citywide makeover project was begun, and by Friday, when an annual festival of lights is celebrated, Aurangabad will have been transformed – no small feat for a place that's home to 150,000 people. It all stemmed from the arrival of a new civil servant, Arvind Kumar Singh, who suggested that, for starters, a fresh coat of paint would help improve morale. Oh, there was some opposition, mostly from the area's members of Parliament. But eventually that was overcome, and now after a few more brush strokes Aurangabad will be resplendant in its new hue that, Singh told The Times (London), "is soothing [and] brings communal harmony." Well, what color is it, for goodness sake? Pink. Yep, every single structure. And if, as Singh suggests, the city also becomes a tourist attraction in the process, that's OK, too.

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