By Archana Sharma
Kota, Sep 4 : The coaching city of Kota, despite earning thousands of crores, seems to be fearing its own demise due to the neglect by heavyweight politicians who allegedly have left no scope for the welfare and growth of the city dwellers for their own vested interests.
The people who voted for these leaders have now started questioning the delayed airport project, poor condition of roads and the pathetic medical facilities.
This city hosts around 2.5 lakh students who have come from distant parts. With no airport in the city, they face a number of challenges. Also, traders here complain of no air transport facility. This is the case when the city is generating whopping revenues for the government, said a hotelier on condition of anonymity, adding, “Forget air travel, there is no scope for decent road travel too which has led to the death of many residents while commuting.”
Questioning the poor medical facilities, Reena, a housewife, said “Jodhpur gets AIIMS for it is the home constituency of the chief minister. However, Kota, despite all its name and fame and industry, suffers from poor medical facilities. Ours is a constituency of Birlaji and Dhariwalji. Still children here have died in JK Lon Hospital. Why do such incidents happen in Kota,” she asked.
Hundreds of new born kids died in JK Lon Hospital in Kota due to lack of medical facilities a few years back.
Locals say that the city has become a victim of sordid politics where leaders have emerged who remain disconnected from the ground realities and the concerns of the masses. They are busy in increasing their stature, leaving people at the mercy of God.
Kota is sinking slowly under this pressure of politics. While the city ranks top in the coaching industry, it has fallen back on other parameters like air connectivity, medical, tourism, business, they added.
“Despite being a business hub, no other industries are growing except coaching due to which youngsters face the challenge of getting employment,” local residents said, adding, “We did elect Om Birla from here who is the Lok Sabha Speaker now; Similarly, the city is home to Shanti Dhariwal who is next to the chief minister in rank being UDH and parliamentary affairs minister. Also, former CM Vasundhara Raje comes from Hadauti region which includes Kota. Surprisingly, none of them could help us till date in realising our dream of getting an airport, employment and smooth roads,” they alleged.
A senior officer speaking to IANS, said, “Kota has immense potential in tourism. However, tourists go back after travelling till Bundi. The city’s image as a coaching centre is cannibalising other industries. And this industry has been supported by politicians who are least interested in helping other industries grow.”
In fact, the recently released superhit web series on Netflix Kota Factory, reflected the pressure and suffocation the students face in this education city.
While the series presents a reel life picture, the plight of the common man in real life is no different.
Many people, facing the challenges of travelling on poor roads, have fallen ill.
Dr SN Gautam, head of the department of Neuro Surgery, medical college in Kota said, “The number of patients with back pain and neck pain has gone up this season. Such patients should avoid driving on potholed roads.”
Gajendra, a student from Kota, said that their leaders are more interested in cultivating a global presence than in their home constituency.
In this context, he narrated an incident when they went to BJP leader Mukesh Vijay to hold an educational workshop.
“We are going to Singapore with 60 people to hoist the National Flag there on August 15 and hence have no time and resources for holding such an event in Kota,” Mukesh said to them, according to Gajendra.
In fact, all leaders are following a similar pattern and are more engaged in events outside Kota.
On an average, one student in Kota pays up to Rs 2.5 lakh a year. About 150,000 students are admitted to the Kota coaching centres annually. Going with these estimates, the coaching centres here have a market size of about Rs 3,800 crore.
Prahlad Gunjal, a BJP leader when asked about the poor growth of the city despite having tall leaders said, “Where are the tall leaders here? We have BJP’s Om Birla who is a leader by chance and accident. We have Congress’ Shanti Dhariwal who is again a leader based on an organisation based system. We don’t have leaders who can become the people’s voice and hence this chaos in Kota.”
These leaders are only focusing on coaching factories which are simply promoting rote learning and putting pressure on students. About 10-20 students commit suicide every year, according to sources.
Dhariwal from the Congress and Birla from the BJP are best friends who are mostly seen working and walking together. They are more bothered about their growth and hence the city’s growth is nowhere on their radar, said Gunjal.
Another Congress leader on condition of anonymity alleged, “Dhariwal has already pocketed a huge empire. Signal free roads and big statues are his vision for his mission to make money and this fact is known to all.”
All we can do is to wait and watch for a leadership change in the Congress and the BJP which will hopefully pave the way for the rejuvenation of this city, both Gunjal and the Congress leader said.
Birla and Dhariwal could not be contacted despite trying multiple times to know their plans for the growth of their constituency.