The charms of a small city
The commercial capital of Madhya Pradesh, Indore is also attracting a lot of automobile and IT players and educational institutions.Indore is a tier 2 city, the largest city of the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh by population.
By Nishka Rathi
Indore is known as the business and trading capital of Madhya Pradesh. It balances the hustle and bustle of a trading centre along with the charms of a small city. It is also one of India’s rapidly growing cities and has a lot to offer from trade and commerce to technology and education.
Indore has always been a commercial city especially due to its location. It’s situated at the cross roads of western and central India. It is still one of the major textile centres of India and also services many small, mid and large cap industries.In recent times Indore grew because of large automobile
manufacturing units, and the development of its Pithampur industrial belt.
Now IT is slowly gaining ground with Infosys and TCS setting up centres here.And it is attracting talented people from across the country.
Indore is also an important financial centre and houses the headquarters of the Madhya Pradesh Stock Exchange. This heavy emphasis on trade and industry makes many of its residents refer to Indore as mini Mumbai.
As most cities in India, Indore has grown without much planning. The narrow roads and traffic going everywhere at once doesn’t aid matters either. It has grown around the starting point with myriad roads and crossings and even has an old town.
As Samriti Goel Saran, a resident points out: “Traffic congestion is a big problem. Roads are not wide enough, especially since the construction of a BRTS corridor. The corridor was supposed to encourage public mass transport, which has not really happened. And the vehicle load on the remaining road area has substantially increased.” Of course, this is coupled with almost zero traffic sense.
In 2013, there was a demand that cars should be allowed to ply on BRTS lanes. The matter went to a court, and it was decided that cars be allowed to use the bus lanes, as a temporary measure until the case was resolved. The result: traffic speed declined from 20 km/h to 13 km/h and accidents became common. Earlier this year, the Madhya Pradesh high court decided to reinstate the ban on cars on bus lanes.
The BRTS is there to stay in Indore and commuters need to adapt to it but they really add to the congestion on roads especially in a city that lacks wide roads and flyovers.
Where Indore really scores with is on the educational front, as it has good institutions. They include an IIT and an IIM plus some really good schools and colleges like Daly College.
Places to visit
If food is their love then faith and tradition are what the local Indoris adore. Most of the places to visit are temples and Chhatris (they mark the cremation place of royal Maratha rulers).
Khajrana Ganesh Mandir: This is an old Ganesh temple that holds a special place in the hearts of the citizens. It was built by AhilyabaiHolkar, the brave Maratha queen.
The KanchMandir: It is also known as the glass temple and is exquisitely crafted in glass. It is a Jain temple and was built in the early 20th century. Its doors, pillars, ceilings and walls are entirely inlaid with glass and abound with minute detailing. The temple paintings depict stories from the Jain scriptures.
BadaGanpati temple: Another Ganesh temple, it was built in 1875 and the idol is 25 feet high.
Rajwada Palace: This seven-storeyed palace was built by the Holkars of the Maratha Empire and is about two centuries old. It is located in the heart of city right next to a bustling market.The structure was damaged due to a fire in 1984. Most of it is now restored.
Due to its trading roots, money was never one of Indore’s problems. But all this new money and new industries has also meant change, which has come about slowly but surely. Indore might not be as visible as the metros but it’s never been forgotten.
Indore is also a hub for entrepreneurial activities due to its cost effectiveness for a first-time entrepreneur. There is also a proposed Data Centre Park (DCP), which will provide data centres to companies that till now had to look outside the country to places like Singapore for data storage. Maybe over the coming years IT will shape it the way it shaped cities like Bangalore and Hyderabad.
Rapid urbanisation is taking its toll on its culture and look. There is a skewed spatial distribution of population in certain areas and slums coexisting with sparsely populated areas
mostly near the fringe. Despite all the advances in other spheres Indore has still not tackled the issue of water sourcing and for many residents water is not available 24×7.
One of the most critical problems faced by the city is environmental pollution. The large number of factories (including small, medium and large) are responsible for high atmospheric and water pollution. Indore also lacks green and recreational spaces. The city has a development plan, but its implementation is not satisfactory.
Despite its warts, Indore is a welcoming city so outsiders have rarely faced a problem here. As V Sen a new resident puts it: “Indore is such a warm city. It doesn’t take long to make friends here and you are met with such warmth that you start identifying yourself as an Indorian.” This might work in its favour as it attracts new industries and new talents and may push it towards developing its amenities further.