Landscaping & Water Fountain near the Rs 1 Crore CLOCK TOWER is in TOTAL DISASTER

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Landscaping & Water Fountain near the Rs 1 Crore CLOCK TOWER is in TOTAL DISASTER


Mangaluru: The Mangaluru City Corporation had given a big push to the revival of the clock tower at the cost of nearly Rs 95 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 ever since the Clock was installed it has stopped working 16 times, and chances are that it will stop working many more times in the future.

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 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. 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?

Ask anyone with common sense, they would say the Clock Tower is nothing but a total waste of people’s money. 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.

Not only a huge sum of money was spent on constructing the clock tower, but later more money was spent to beautify its surrounding with a water fountain and green landscaping. And the beautification has lasted only for a while because if you look around the bottom of the Clock Tower, all the plants have DIED with no one to water them or maintain them. Even the water fountain hardly works, or completely stopped working. The water has become stagnant giving scope for mosquito breeding, and it is also filed with waste. Early in the morning, you could see homeless people making use of the water for their toilet needs, and they urinate/shit in that area. The entire vicinity looks so pathetic after spending so much money on beautification. Lack of maintenance and total negligence has resulted in TOTAL DISASTER.

If you had driven or ridden or walked between the road stretch from Clock Tower to A B Shetty Circle, you could have seen green plants in front and rear of the newly built 11 bus shelters on that stretch. Unfortunately, if you now take a walk, drive or ride between the same stretch of the street, you will be surprised to see about 95 % of the pants have dried up, due to lack of water and care, and the remaining are going to die. Nothing but total Green-washing! Tree or sapling planting generates goodwill but may sometimes harm the planet.

At home, we water plants, either in the morning or evening, but God only knows how many times these plants on the road dividers have been watered. Earlier we could see a water tanker sprinkling water on these plants, but recently the water tanker is not been seen as a result most of these plants have dried up. If MCC is not bothered to take care of these plants, then they should hand over the maintenance to social organizations like Lions Club, Rotary, Jaycees etc- so at least they can take the responsibility of nurturing and watering these plants, before they all vanish. To live and grow, plants need four basic elements: air, water, nutrients, and sunlight.

We should know that planting Trees or saplings does a lot more for us than you probably think. While some may argue that tree or sapling planting is a win-win for the environment whoever does it, offsetting is just another way of corporate green-washing. “Plants can’t survive without water.” I bet you won’t find anyone who will disagree with that statement. But our City officials act as if it wasn’t true. They let their plants grow for months during the dry summer season without giving them any water at all. Then they wonder why the plants are unhealthy, stressed, infested with pests or disease, or even dead. Plants need water to survive and thrive. Hope now at least the concerned authorities behind the beautification of this area will agree and admit their guilt.

But those who are responsible for taking care of these plants should be ready for the dry season that is certain to come. Humans can live for three minutes without air, three days without water and maybe three weeks without food. I would not recommend trying to see if you can exceed any of these; it can get ugly. Living three days without water would only be possible if the person was in otherwise optimum conditions: not too hot, shelter from the sun, etc. Yet we expect plants to go without water for days, weeks and even months. Do these officials know about it?

Therefore, if MSCL or MCC is serious about planting trees or saplings then they need to care about the plants and also about the communities that live with them and not just their reputations. Period. 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 Santhosh 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.

On a final note, nearly Rs 95 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!!” Hope this report will awaken the concerned authorities in doing the needful, by watering the plants at the earliest- and GIVE BACK LIFE TO THEM! An urgent RECTIFICATION around the Clock Tower is very much needed- I only wish the smart officials in MSCL or MCC will wake up and do the needful.

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