By I.J.S. Shet
Mangaluru, Sept 28, 2016: A regal smart man from the Rajasthani pink city was here dressed in spotless white. He was glad to see me and so I too was glad to see him in our newly ‘Smart city’, he said mine has been a smart city for months now, you all are ‘smart’ just now. I said no we have been really smart for decades. See our colleges, hospitals, temples, mosques, churches, beaches and history... our languages and the lot! He said yes, but you missed being smart in the first round? He went on, you said your city is in between two great rivers, with spells of good rains and you still have water problems all the time...you should be letting water flow to others,and electricity supply too. I just touched down at your Kudla city main bus terminal... ’State Bank’ what a name, a mess with buses of all colours hooting loudly and conductors yelling and blowing whistles so load my ears are perforated. The buses are all over there are no indications where they stop, passengers even kids have no shelter and it was raining. No even place to walk or stand....filthy...crowded and shabby... highly polluted in all ways. Peoples lives and limbs are in great danger and one good man said it has been so for decades. There are no foot paths for pedestrians or paths for cycles and sport? The inter district bus terminal is a ‘fish market’ to the core.....yaaauuck. And what is all this talk about ‘bundhs’ all the time.... for Yettinahole, Cauvery.....and more?
I tried to be smart and said, no no... We are going to be top in tourism, our plans will take off soon (may be in the 22nd century?). He laughed loud and twirled his bushy mush and said see the many grand tourists in the land of the desert and camels where I come from, they are a happy lot there. Down here all head for Goa and Kerala near by! We here have a lot of holy places and beaches.... he said, beaches good, but no facilities like 5 star hotels tourist attractions and beaches have no holiday resorts and are void of water sports. These are the smart things for tourism and attracting the money. Holy places are for the poor pilgrims to pray that they will get rich soon. Yes, education is there and culture, but the young all fly the nest and old people are left to fend for them selves. Old age homes are many and many make a lot of money and also strip the aged sick of valuables and properties! While the the huge crores in rupees are given by Govt.. only to fill the pockets of the already rich and mighty. While some contractors and politicians make money doing cosmetic face jobs around the smart city which never end. The people get peanuts...and become more of monkeys. And if the coming elections in 2019 brings in a new Govt....will they hold the ‘smart’ baby then?