CLOCK on the nearly Rs 1 Crore CLOCK TOWER Has Stopped Working For The 16th Time
Mangaluru: Today, Thursday 29 December morning while passing by the clock tower, I noticed that the clock on the clock tower had once again stopped working. This is probably the 16th time since its inception in November 2019. While my watch showed 8 am, the tower clock read noon or could be midnight on all four sides. No idea when the four clocks might have stopped working. This is not a good sign for this ‘Smart Clock’ belonging to a developing ‘Smart City-Mangaluru’.
Even if you buy a cheap watch or a small clock from any of the city’s street vendors at a low price between Rs 150-Rs 300, they will work perfectly for at least a couple of years with no problems, till they run out of battery power – but here we have an EXPENSIVE clock installed on the New Clock Tower in the City, built at a cost of nearly Rs 90 lakhs to Rs 1 crore and since its launch date in November 2019, it has already STOPPED working, at least 16 times – or maybe more. The best part is that hardly anyone looks at this clock for time since everyone carries a mobile phone or has a wristwatch.
Yes, Mangaluru city got back its clock tower after twenty-five years since the iconic Clock Tower was demolished. Four huge clocks with ultra-modern digital movements with illuminated dials and classical numbering and hands were installed in the newly built clock tower at the same site where the old one existed. The company which installed the clock has been manufacturing clocks since 1939. The city had no clock tower of its own since the old clock tower was brought down more than 25 years back.
The Old Clock Tower in the ’80s/90…..
The present Clock Tower as on December 2022!
Mangaluru City Corporation had given a big push to the revival of the clock tower at a cost of nearly Rs 90 lakhs plus being part of the ‘Smart City project’. The citizens of Mangaluru city wonder how Mangaluru City Corporation (MCC) could spend such a huge amount on a clock when many important developments like roads, drainage systems, and footpaths are still pending. And now, the all-new clock of the New Clock Tower is not working – not for the FIRST time, but for the 146th time. Who is to be blamed? Or who cares?
There might be A Most Expensive Clock Tower somewhere else in a city around the world, but for us Mangaloreans, when we look at the huge amount spent on this Clock Tower in the city, surely it seems like it is the “Most Expensive Clock Tower in the World”? Why did our Mangaluru City Corporation officials, including the then MCC Mayor Mrs Kavitha Sanil, spend lakhs of tax-payers money to reconstruct a “Clock Tower” near Town Hall in the City, which was demolished two decades ago to make way for smooth flow of traffic?
The same funds spent on this silly project could have been used to rectify the bunch of dilapidated/potholed roads which are the need of the hour. Only people with no common sense would come up with such a project. What is the point of making the city look ‘smart’ this way? This project is one of the biggest blunders created by our former Mayor during her tenure. Who the heck looks at this clock tower for the time? The structure is high enough that you may even develop neck pain looking at the clock.
Unfortunately, the main clock on this tower has not been working quite a few times. Show me any project completed under Mangaluru Smart City Limited (MSCL) or Mangaluru City Corporation (MCC) which is perfect and done following the standard procedures. I can bet there will not be a single one. But no one cares since it is public money, right?! That’s the theme for everything undertaken at the taxpayers’ expense in the state. For that matter, even in cities like Mangaluru, from walkways for pedestrians to new roads for motorists, none of these projects are done right.
Do we have a city administration at all, where someone takes responsibility? Do administrators ever walk around, ever mingle in the crowds to see what life is like for the average resident? Commissioners come and commissioners go, and the ‘body’ remains the same – “a den of corruption” as former Lokayukta Justice Santosh Hegde once remarked. We, the hapless residents, cover our noses and mouths – literally and figuratively – and step gingerly and go about our daily business as best as we can.
The old clock tower which was demolished was 45 feet high, but the present one is 75 feet in height. The new clock was built at Nayak’s Clock factory in Jeppu, while the motor and the controller were imported from Italy. It is an all-weather clock with an LED backlight and is maintenance-free. It has an hourly striking feature that is attached to a 150-watt amplifier so that the sound can be heard up to 50 metres from the tower.
On a final note, nearly Rs 90 lakhs plus was spent on a Clock Tower. Amazing figure, isn’t it? How do the citizens of Mangaluru wish that the Administration, City Corporation or whoever is in charge of this project had used this big money for the city’s bad roads, drainage systems, footpaths, and cleaning garbage on the roadside? How we wish you took a walk like a common man on our roads, especially when it rains, to get a feeling of the life of a poor man or a common citizen of our city. Please for the sake of the citizens, avoid spending taxpayers’ money on unwanted projects and learn to put our money into our city systems!!”