Ahmadabad/Surat/Rajkot/Vadodara: Gujarat is being touted to be one of the most developed and advanced states in India by the leaders as well as the common men who are the residents of this state. And this is true to some extent when you see the National Highways connecting the big cities and the bulky business booming in the state. Official formalities in Income Tax and Sales Tax department have been erased to make the trade free flowing. Computer and electronic generation of the important papers has been employed in the government offices to execute every business affairs at a fast pace.
The real development in a state can also be observed by the warmth and affection that they share anonymous themselves or show to the outsiders who are visiting their states. In this context, Gujarat is a very lovely place because I experienced all the warmth and love during my cycle journey for the 15 days in this state. I traveled alone through all the small as well as big cities; Ahmadabad, Rajkot, Jamnagar, Dwarka, Porbandar, Diu, Una, Amreli, Bagodara, Vadodara, Surat and Vashi and for not even a single moment I observed a fear or any other negative attitude from the people. It was very heartwarming of them to greet me everywhere and help me with whatever I needed. It was like a home away from home. They came forward to meet me and took me to their homes and treated me with some of the best foods. They never thought of any threat and even I did not think of the same. I never met then anytime before in my life but now that have become my families. I still get calls from some of them when they ask about my wellbeing and about my journey. It’s a different feeling altogether.
If we talk about the infrastructure development then some cities still lack the quality roads and highways. Amreli, Una and the coastal roads of Gujarat are very bad and literally broken. Some of the state highways need a proper maintainance because of the broken patches at every interval of 20-30 kms.
I literally observed this road conditions during my 1400 kms cycle journey across the state. And out of 1400 kms only 650 kms were good roads and rest of them are very bad which cross through the villages and coastal part of Gujarat.
Even some of the roads in Ahamdabad are also bad which are uneven and not leveled.
Though people are welcoming and loving but somewhere in villages the religious intolerance can be sensed when people talk more about the Hinduism and through negative remarks on other communities. They are of the opinion that the BJP leaders are doing good in Gujarat and UP while supporting the Hindu community and thrashing on others’.
On a different note, development is not done only by the government, common people are also responsible for this. Surat has some really good roads within the city and the traffic planning is also very well with the construction of wide dividers and separate stop points for the buses. But local people don’t want to follow it and they avoid taking U-turns at every street. They opt for driving in the wrong lane. It happens in the whole city. It seems that people doesn’t want a change at all.
Education also has some defunct patterns here. Being a developed state it should have some high standard schools. Big cities have IIMs but somewhere in the villages, poor kids and their families are struggling for the basic needs of education and identity. Government schools are lacking proper toilet blocks for the kids. There are no separate toilet blocks for girls and boys in government owned schools. I am not aware of the budget and expenses for the education by the government but it is the basic necessity for the society which should be fulfilled in a developed state. Only big industries and businesses can’t make someone prosperous.
I would like to express my thanks to my supporters in my journey. Innovation Roots and the Round table India have been supporting me for my documentary through out the cycle journey across India.