Spending some time at the Nagpur or Ajni or Itwari Railway Stations, the Ganeshpeth Main Bus Stand, and the Sonegaon Airport was a favourite activity many, many years ago during the school and later college days. There, we came across a wonderful range of people coming into the city or going out of it -- with their bags, families. Some faces had dried tears while some were brightened with broad smiles. Each visit, thus, brought us closer to many human emotions expressed in all their shades. Those were happy times, of course. All the places were not as big as they are today. Yet, they were clean, to say the least, and did not terribly crowded and dirty spaces outside their premises. The Sonegaon Airport was certainly better-maintained even then, as it is now. But a change for the worse has come over at the Railway Stations and the Main Bus Stands.
The moment one steps outside the Railway Station building, one lands in a mess -- terrible crowding, filth everywhere, a total absence of discipline among various service providers, plus shops in a continual state of chaos. The city of Nagpur does not offer a clean, proper welcome to the visitors. The condition outside the Main Bus Stand is worse, no matter the efforts the cops are now putting up to clean up the chaos. But by no definition can anyone say that the city offers a warm and happy welcome to visitors at the Main Bus Stand in Ganeshpeth. But this picture changes at the Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar International Airport. This place was always well kept even when it used to be called the Sonegaon Airport. And it is very properly maintained now, with air traffic having grown in many multiples over the decades.
The effort to keep the place clean is visible to everybody, no matter some small inconveniences the people may face here and there. That is the reason every visitor to the city alighting from aircraft finds the passage out of the airport premises clean and cool and green and well cared for, better managed by agencies of service providers. It is not without reason that hundreds of Nagpurians visit the airport premises for their morning or evening walks, or sitting on the lawns that line the approach road on both sides. The clean premises, the broad roads, the well-manicured garden spaces give people an instant sense of coolness and quiet so necessary to get rejuvenated.
Can we not create such a fresh feeling outside the Railway Stations and the Main Bus Stands? “No”, pat will come the answer from the respective authorities. The crowds are unmanageable and without any discipline, the officials would say. These are the regular excuses that the people would accept easily and readily. No matter that, they are only excuses. For, in the past few decades, one has not sensed any sincere effort by the authorities to keep the place and space outside the Railway Stations and Bus Stands clean and better organised. The authorities as well as the common public treat the filth and mismanagement as the givens of the situation. This is, of course, an escapism. If the outside premises of the airports can be managed well, so can those outside the railway stations and bus stands. Unfortunately, that awareness and resolve are completely missing from the psyche of the administration as well as people. And one simply does not know when that jaded psyche will change, if at all!