Wednesday February 19, 2020
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Lack of Infrastructure Deterring Tourists from Visiting Several Significant Historical Monuments in Agra

While Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has directed the district administration to complete patch work and road repairs

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Infrastructure, Tourists, Historical
An estimated 35,000 tourists visited the Taj on Saturday, said data on the ASI website. Pixabay

Lack of infrastructure and civic amenities are deterring tourists from visiting several significant historical monuments in Agra, the city immortalised by the Taj Mahal, say a group of local industry leaders.

Though the number of tourists at the historical monuments in Agra show an encouraging trend, hoteliers and travel agents complain of pathetic lack of civic amenities.

“Tourists generally avoid visiting other monuments in the city after a ‘darshan’ (seeing) of the Taj Mahal, because they are too scared of bumpy roads,” tourist guide Ved Gautam said.

An estimated 35,000 tourists visited the Taj on Saturday, said data on the ASI website.

Infrastructure, Tourists, Historical
Though the number of tourists at the historical monuments in Agra show an encouraging trend, hoteliers and travel agents complain of pathetic lack of civic amenities. Pixabay

While Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has directed the district administration to complete patch work and road repairs within a fortnight, the Agra Municipal Corporation, is still dragging its feet.

“To an outsider, Agra appears, as if it’s ravaged by a war since most roads have developed potholes and cracks after the monsoon rains. The continuous digging by one government department or the other not only raises a lot of dust but makes mobility difficult,” a local resident said.

“The city administration is yet to wake up to repair and clean up the roads in the city which have not only become a safety hazard but also assault the aesthetics,” complains hotelier Surendra Sharma.

A new tourist season has begun, and the number of vehicles bringing in tourists via the Yamuna Expressway or the Agra-Lucknow Expressway, have gone up appreciably due to the long holiday interval.

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The local tourism industry is alarmed at the lack of concern and general apathy towards streamlining vital civic amenities.

“When tourists, particularly those from the developed world, arrive in Agra, they are aghast at the dismal conditions. This results in short visits, same-day return by most visitors,” says President of the Agra Hotels and Restaurants Association, Rakesh Chauhan.

The rains have exposed the claims of the city administration of having patched up or filled all potholes and completed repair work on most roads.

The municipal corporation commissioner Arun Prakash says filling of potholes is continuing. Mayor Navin Jain has assured citizens that prompt remedial measures would be taken to ensure safe mobility. Even during the festival season, nothing was being done. Many stretches still require patchwork treatment to avoid accidents,” said Pandit Jugal Kishor.

Infrastructure, Tourists, Historical
Tourists generally avoid visiting other monuments in the city after a ‘darshan’ (seeing) of the Taj Mahal, because they are too scared of bumpy roads, Pixabay

The city police has failed to demolish encroachments around monuments.

“All they do is to send notices. For want of police force, no action to evict illegal occupants is possible. You also need political will,” Goswami Nandan Shrotriya of Yamuna Kinara Road said.

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The city appears in shambles, with heaps of garbage dumped along railway tracks, the dry Yamuna river bed and pollution, but the official agencies entrusted with the task of transforming Agra into a smart city dry continue to show no urgency. (IANS)

Next Story

Growing Sustainable Business Models

Creating business infrastructures that are sustainable is very important

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Business
Sectors from retail to energy have seen old business models challenged and, in some cases, upended. Pixabay

BY TAPONEEL MUKHERJEE

As we move ahead with the next phase of growth and dynamic changes in sectors across the spectrum from consumer-related businesses to infrastructure in India, a focus on long-term sustainable business models that can deliver both growth and cashflows will be essential.

Sectors from retail to energy have seen old business models challenged and, in some cases, upended. As businesses, investors and the government look at the next phase of growth, a focus on the sustainability of the business in the medium to long-term is vital, besides promoting new business models and technologies.

Regardless of what sectors we look at, the two fundamental questions to ask are whether the business can realistically make profits? And, who will pay? These two questions need to be asked by investors and policymakers alike.

Business
For an energy business, the ability to pinpoint the infrastructure needed and the funding source will be vital even as India looks to transform its energy production combination with a much more significant focus on renewables and natural gas. Pixabay

The above discussion applies across the spectrum from energy to retail. For example, when pricing the sustainability of models in the energy space, a focus on the entire supply chain is crucial. For instance, a focus on the cost of energy production is important when one looks at the business model, but if there are significant changes required to the grid and the distribution networks, then the question in terms who finances the concomitant infrastructure changes assumes great importance. Mainly, low-cost energy that can’t be consumed isn’t a sustainable business model.

The focus needs to be on a model that can price in all the costs involved and, more importantly, access the financing required. Access to the funding required immediately translates into creating business models that focus on the source, price and availability of financing. For an energy business, the ability to pinpoint the infrastructure needed and the funding source will be vital even as India looks to transform its energy production combination with a much more significant focus on renewables and natural gas.

The same argument applies to brand building space. Creating a disruptive consumer brand is one that has attracted attention. While creating a great product is a critical component, as consumer-facing businesses will admit in selling to consumers, one of the biggest drivers along with product quality, if not the biggest, is the distribution network. Therefore, as investors look at the Indian market, a focus on understanding businesses that have deep and entrenched distribution networks will be crucial towards creating sustainable and profitable companies in the long run.

To further elaborate on the point above, a great product will appeal to a consumer if the value delivery in that consumer segment is over and above what the market offers. However, the long-term sustainability of the business is primarily driven by the capacity to reach a broad consumer base through an extensive distribution network to create the economies of scale required. Strategies that allow for the creation of extensive distribution networks and ensuring that the costs involved are priced into the model is essential.

Business
The next phase of investing and policymaking in India needs to have a renewed focus on creating India centric business models. Pixabay

Mainly, the focus must be not just on what can be sold, but more importantly, how? Consumption habits in India, including the propensity to consume online, can be significantly different from those in other markets. Success in India may be driven through the capacity to create India-centric business models. While it is true that for new models there is a significant challenge in pinpointing exact business models that will work, the critical aspect that needs to be kept in mind is a constant focus on profitability and cashflows is required in addition to innovation.

Additionally, regardless of what sector one is in, it is essential to realise that India is a very different market from the more developed economies. While India is a large market at an aggregate level, per capita incomes are still significantly lower than some other developed economies. Therefore, business models, whether in infrastructure or consumer side, need to price in the complex dynamics that at times can be the difference between success and failure in India.

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The next phase of investing and policymaking in India needs to have a renewed focus on creating India centric business models. For sustainable cashflow generating profitable models, having a broad view of the market structure and pricing in all the costs involved will be crucial. (IANS)