Conversions of different sorts!
The Ace Political Expert (APE) was taking a walk in Cheluvamba Park after learning the ‘Rhythmic walk’ from Experts.
As we sat on the roughly mowed lawns of the Park in front of a small heap of sippe Kadlekayi, I asked for his views on the proposal by City Planners of Mysore to convert the JNNURM funded 14-crore newly constructed Bus Stand into a Tonga-cum- Cycle Stand.
‘It’s an excellent idea!’ chortled the APE. ‘No where in Karnataka or in India, have they thought of reviving Tonga as the main vehicle to meet today’s burgeoning traffic! Of course, they will have to construct some cubicle- cum - stables to park the horses. This will entail some additional expenses. But then with so much of JNNURM funds available, this shouldn’t be a problem. There is never a dearth of funds for good projects in our country. When Tongas outnumber KSRTC buses one day, the problem due to air pollution will just evaporate. However, there could be some other issues ...’
‘Such as?’ I butted in mildly annoyed at his uncanny knock of looking for clouds amidst a clear sunny day.
‘The horses pulling the Tongas will create some solid waste as they run through the city. But our city has one of the best Solid Waste Management Systems in the country having bagged National Awards. The pourakarmikaru will clear it as and when solid waste gets created’, the APE asserted.
‘But the fact remains we have just spent Rs. 14 Crores on this swanky bus-stand after inconveniencing the Public for more than couple of years. The Paint is still wet, so to say. Why was this not thought of earlier?’
‘There will always be ‘nay-Sayers’ like you with endless grouse! What is 14 crores when you have woken up and found you were about to destroy the Palace environs by having a bus stand, even if it is newly built after razing the old rickety one ? It’s a pittance when you consider you have just averted a major ecological disaster waiting to happen’.
‘What about Cycle tracks? There is a move to create bicycle tracks in city’s main roads so that people will be enthused to switch over to cycles after disembarking from their cars and scooters?’
‘ Another Excellent idea! People will flock to the Central Business District riding their bicycles and park in the old New Bus stand converted in to Tonga-cum-cycle Stand sharing it with few Tongas and their horses.. There will be no hesitation to switch over to cycles and slipping in to bygone times and bygone era.’
‘Do we have enough space for making cycle tracks, especially in main Roads?’ I asked.
‘Not much, but they will widen the roads if required, by chopping off trees which come in the way. I don’t think that would be necessary. In the absence of cars and scooters, the whole road width will be available for cyclists, except for a few Tongas here and there.’ APE was confidence personified.
‘Since they have had a rethink about the JNURM Bus –stand, do you think there could be similar rethinking else where?’
‘There could be. The subway at Sayyaji Rao Road junction at once comes to my mind.’
‘What could the subway be converted into?’
‘I don’t know. With most people switching over to cycles, the odd pedestrians could cross the road easily. There won’t be any takers for the new subway which might become a new heritage relic and this could result in another wastage of JNNURM Funds. In order to avoid that, I feel, one day they will simply close one gate and convert the subway in to an Underground Shopping Complex, like Palika Bazar in Delhi. This will also bring regular revenue to the Corporation.’
APE seemed to be hitting the bull’s eye.
By now, we had finished the heap of Kadalekayi into Solid wastes of outer covers.
We disposed off the solid waste into a yellow dustbin, the size of only a small letter- box kept for such purpose in Cheluvamba Park which draws hundreds of visitors each day.
* Picture: courtesy, masthmysore.com