Belagavi aka Belgaum or Venugram call it what you like, it had a legacy, ruled and built by the Rattas, Chalulyas, Adilshahi, Marathas, Moughals, Peshawas and the British, everyone left their unique mark on the city.
We have the likes of Kittur Rani Chennamma who refused to concede her rights to the foreigners, we had Nargundkar Bhave who lead the first revolution, we had Sangoli Rayanna, Gangadharrao Deshpande, Yalgi’s and the list goes on and on.
People who never let the spirit of freedom die down, people who kindled the fire of revolution in the city, who deserved the admiration of Gandhiji himself.
City at the fore of the freedom struggle got freedom and everything was fine till the year 1956 or so when linguistic states were formed, the priority was to nurture a language and preserve a culture, to see that languages which have evolved over years of scholastic application don’t die, out of need for care, somehow the priority was never understood and languages became a tool for divisive politics.
Let’s get back to the present the smart city of Belagavi, the second capital of Karnataka. Smart seems to me somehow nothing but a rhetoric, we are reeling under drought with rains playing hide and seek, we have the worst infrastructure in the state , we have several problems like traffic, pollution, poor industrial growth ,but some how none of these are priorities.
One can go round the city and you can see some roads and gutters become a realty or you can say being repaired, well that’s in the last six months of a five year term (many projects envisaged years ago are been hurriedly executed now), ask questions and people say work is being done so voters don’t forget who did it.
So the priority is to influence the voters and not a reflection on the quality of work or the maintenance of existing infrastructure, that means priority is election and not development.
The priority is to be poster boys, go round the city and you will see hoardings and posters showing their photos with eminent national leaders, the priority is to present their face and not their plans for the city.
Today the priority of politicians is to search for places to put their faces rather than face the problems the city is in.
Even in celebration there are misplaced priorities, the priority is to show people that your are celebrating rather than to enjoy the celebrations themselves. And then this show needs philanthropy of our poster boys who get their poster spaces.
Ganesh utsav was meant to propagate good social values buy today the priority is to get Dolby and plaster of Paris sanctioned with leaders claiming one upmanship leading morchas to get it done , drought and sound pollution is not a priority.
There is no water for agriculture but our leaders have prioritized taking out morchas and acquiring lands by what ever means to the extent that renumeration for morchas is now an alternative for hard work, sometimes the participants don’t even know what they are protesting but the money is good.
Leadership in the city is not having a plan or a vision in mind, a clear scheme of how the city would develop, a road-map to a smart city all the focus is on the ability to get votes, so priority is to get voters by sponsoring religious places and not selling your ideas.
Have we ever seen a hoarding stating this road was built by this contractor under this scheme and so much was spent on this work. According to law a small board is put on the inauguration day and then the board is removed.
Absence of jobs, drug addiction, suicides are on the rise, but these are not priorities, our future generation is of no consequence, our priority is luring the youth into the political system and making them demonstrators in morchas.
So lost is the populace of Belagavi that the fact that smart city funds were not utilized did not even evoke a little response, plaster of Paris and Dolby which are now priorities will create a hue and cry.
Well it’s clear we have lost direction, we have missed our priorities, it’s time we get back into the driver’s seat, get and vote leaders with vision for the future, one who will worry about the city and not his private coffers. Time to wake up and get our properties right.