Rajasthan | Gehlot’s lessons in profligacy

Hundreds of crores have been spent on beauty touches in Rajasthan’s Kota. A classy new riverfront is the newest addition to that frenzied beautification, though it has landed in an issue over allegedly flouting environmental norms. Amid criticism, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot decided to distance himself from the inauguration. However can he justify the wanton spending on different tasks?

BILL OF DEVELOPMENT: The beautified Chambal riverfront in Kota

Rohit Parihar

ISSUE DATE: Sep 25, 2023 | UPDATED: Sep 15, 2023 17:38 IST

A helical clover bridge feels like a glossy factor proper out of some First World xanadu. This one, built at a price of Rs forty two crore, is in Rajasthan’s Kota, nevertheless it soars and twists balletically too, for a few kilometre, besides that it lands a number of metres from the place it began. Even more mystifyingly, it soars over nothing: there’s no crossing or rail monitor or any type of obstruction beneath. Just some minutes away, alongside the Chambal, a new riverfront was inaugurated with nice pomp on September 12—a pricey façade laid end-to-finish over three kilometres of natural rock and soil like a pink stone shroud, leaving not even elements of the riverbed, let alone a scrap of greenery. As an alternative have arrive up 26 spanking new ghats strung along imitation Rajputana architectural chic. Turrets and chhatris within the local Hadauti type. A military of big statues, certainly one of which, a 25-ft Yogimudra, vanishes if you see it straight on. Another curiosity is both seen and audible: the world’s largest bell whose growth, they say, may be heard eight kilometres away and, coming in at 82 tonnes on the size, is not any bantamweight both. Goddess Chambal, a deity who’s thought-about cursed and hence is never worshipped, additionally will get a 242-ft-excessive statue of Vietnamese marble right here. The riverfront is studded liberally with replicas that stand like displaced metaphors, similar to a highrise Purple Fort or the Chinese language Pagoda. Add a proposed boat cruise, a water park, a practice on tyres, golf carts, skating area, the world’s second-largest musical fountain, cafes, eating places, a business complexâ€æ briefly, it’s the complete fairground cornucopia. Kota (North) MLA and Rajasthan city improvement minister Shanti Dhariwal, whose brainchild this frenzied beautification is, needed to outdo the Kashi Corridor and the Sabarmati riverfront and take Kota right into the elite membership of Paris and London. Dumb-struck critics call it the “world’s solely copycat heritage waterfront”.

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