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Agony? Ecstasy?

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by Sameer Majli
Greetings from your very own Belagavi, aka Belgaum, erstwhile Venugram. A mixed set of emotions run through the mind as i share this piece of expression with you.

I once was a sparsely populated town with dwellings largely located around my core. The population continued to expand as more souls took shape to greet the blue skies and people from far off places either moved towards easier lifestyles or returned to the comfort of this humble abode. Soon the number of dwelling grew to accommodate the settlements and the outskirts almost grew on me to enable the transition from a peaceful town to a relatively expansive city. Although i am no compare to my seemingly more glamorous and lucrative cousins, i still have more than my fill of the populace. As the numbers grew, so did the demands for easier transit and in a seemingly inevitable manner, there arose a need for good old paths to be replaced by wider travel spaces.

Khanapur Road widening at RPD Corner
Khanapur Road widening at RPD Corner
Khanapur Road widening at RPD Corner
Khanapur Road widening at RPD Corner

The process of infrastructural expansion has been on to accommodate the needs of my residents and today marks one more bull dozing operation to facilitate human convenience. Good or bad, there will always be two sides to the coin but in a sense, i have learnt to embrace it as what I consider inevitable.

While the developmental officers recently, formally announced the commencement of the demolishing operations, I am given to understand that the residents and establishments had been given enough prior notice. While my heart goes out to those that bear the brunt of the deed, I also hope and pray that they will be compensated adequately for the apparent transgressuon.

As the powerful machines whirred across the road to make their first cruel cut into structures that once lined both sides of the road in question, the cries of agony from the seemingly inanimate blocks of cement and steel joined the annals of history.

I am being told that it is the need of the hour since the traffic bottlenecks were getting to be a pain and also enhancing the probability of major and minor mishaps to pedestrians and motorists alike. All said and done, certain parts of me, even those that had a history dating to pre-independance times have been wiped away from the face of this planet.

The aftermath is something that i am really concerned about. As long as the best interests of those displaced do not really affect their livelihood, I guess I have to say its fine. However, what i really will miss is the delicate pieces of lovely architecture, the houses with their gardens and most of all, the scores of trees that have been sacrificed. Another matter of concern is that not that the clearing is done, will they have enough sense to lay good roads with extreme urgency in order to justify the cause. Will it be another case of development delayed, only time will tell.

For me its a time for both Agony and Ecstasy. Agony for my children who will now have to begin from scratch if they havent already provided for alternatives and Ecstasy over the prospect that I may now just look as plush and pompous as my other cousins. As the dust settles on the mangled remains and the deeds of the day, I pray that this is just the beginning of better planning and commitment to deeds done, apparently in the best interests of my dear Belgaumites.

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