Ivanka Trump visit and Hyderabad’s fake makeover

Ivanka Trump visit and Hyderabad’s fake makeover
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By Krishna Saagar Rao

It’s awesome that Hyderabad is hosting the Global Entrepreneur Summit (GES) next week. I as a citizen feel proud that my city has got the opportunity to host a prestigious international event.

Ivanka Trump is an inspiration to new age women; she is a mother of three young children and a great woman entrepreneur, apart from being the daughter of Donald Trump, the President of United States. She also happens to be his official strategy advisor. She wears many hats successfully with ease. It’s wonderful that she is leading the US entrepreneur delegation to the GES.

K T Rama Rao, the Information & Technology Minister, deserves a pat on the back for his initiative to host this mega entrepreneurship summit in Telangana State. So does KCR, his father and the Chief Minister of Telangana State. GES will build a lot of brand equity for the state internationally by positioning the state as a summit hub of India. It will also give a much-needed kick to the micro economy of Hyderabad.

The biggest downside in the run-up for the summit is the state government’s initiative for a fake makeover of Hyderabad. This sudden band aid tactic of the government to spruce up a few parts of the city, for the appeasement of visiting delegates and Ivanka Trump, is insulting to the taxpaying citizens of this city. It’s also against accountable governance of state funds, to utilise vast sums of money just to window dress for fake and temporary facelift of the otherwise dilapidated civic infrastructure of the city.

The entire month-long ‘superficial make up’ of the select spots in the city is a farce and could have been avoided. There is no honor in presenting ‘a lie’ to the visiting delegates. If the state government had any sincerity and accountability to its citizens, it shouldn’t have left the city civic infrastructure in such a disastrous shape for over 3 years of their governance. The last-minute rush to spruce up a few roads and bridges with tacky colours, animal themed plant holders, and large transplanted trees for landscaping totally exposes the juvenility and insincerity of this government. This overnight urge to showcase the city in a better shape should have been genuine instead of an insincere and farcical show off.

The state government has become a butt of many jokes going around on the social media on how the beggars are being picked up from across the city to be housed temporarily in jails and other shelters. The urge of the state government and its civic agencies to make Hyderabad a beggar-free city, pothole-free roads, painted lanes, landscaped sidewalks and other knickknacks in 30 days is exposing it as an ostrich which has buried its head under sand.

There is no fast food and instant recipe method to build an enduring city infrastructure. Citizens of Hyderabad are openly laughing at the farcical methods of showcasing a host city. The last-minute spruce up will only lower the brand image of the city and not increase it. Almost all the visitors can make out the temporariness of the crass make up, which is quite visible everywhere.

Even nations as small as Sri Lanka or Bhutan or even states like Maharashtra and Gujarat wouldn’t indulge in this degree of frenzy spruce up every time they host an international summit. They showcase their cities as they are, as visitors understand these states and nations are developing and they appreciate the sincerity of the governments who are trying to do their best to increase the quality of civic infrastructure.

What can one call a state government, which lays long stretches of roads only for an event? Why should the citizens of the city be treated so shabbily on the regular days? Why would a government spend crores of public money for appeasing foreigners, instead of caring for those who elected them to govern? How low is too low for a government to insult its own citizens the way it is doing in Hyderabad?

There are many instances of people dying on potholed roads of Hyderabad even in the recent months after rains. The State government and GHMC were in deep slumber all these years and months only to get up and decorate the city with false make-up for a two-day international summit. It’s quite shameful. Chief Minister should understand that all the visiting delegates know Indian cities civic infrastructure and their issues. Many have their subsidiary offices, vendors, and offshore businesses in most of the Indian cities inclusive of Hyderabad.

They would know the plight of Hyderabad civic infrastructure even before they land in this city. Even Ivanka Trump would know of the futile make-up efforts, as her consular officers would brief her on this unorganized frenzy and tacky make-up process underway to present an unnaturally made up city strips to her and other visitors. These attempts will build no new respect and in fact it will lower the dignity of the government. No one will appreciate a fake show off; genuineness and grace will always be appreciated.

I don’t think any American city will be spruced up by spending vast amount of their city’s budget for a two-day event, even if the Prime Minister of India were to visit that city. Minister KTR has visited many US cities and would have not experienced this illegitimate adhocism of spending large sums of unbudgeted public money with zero accountability for trivial and temporary face lifts. It’s such a disgrace that an elected government behaves in a way least expected of it.

However, in the larger interest of the nation and the state, I wish stupendous success of the GES in Hyderabad. I also wish Ivanka Trump and her delegation’s visit to Telangana is very memorable and highly rewarding.

(The article was first published on Hans India written by Mr.Krishna Saagar Rao)