Our public works minister, Mr H D Revanna, has released in the media the financial demands made on the state government by various agencies in the name of Dasara:
Mysore City Corporation - Rs. 5 crores (for road works and improvement of public parks)
Tourism Dept. - Rs. 1 crore
Horticulture - Rs. 1 crore
Chamundeswari Electric Supply Corp. - Rs. 40 lakhs (for roads illumination)
Heritage sites renovation - Rs.2.25 crores
Public Works Dept. - Rs. 12.85 crores (for repairs on 25-km stretch of city roads)
Dasara Celebrations - Rs. 2.25 crores.
The figures add upt to Rs. 24.75 crores. Not a big deal, perhaps, for the government. But I don't suppose anyone, least of all the departments concerned, expect the government to meet their demands fully. And we can expect, at the end of the day, a blame game to be played out, in which we can all blame the governemnt for being tight-fisted in releasing grants and giving us too little, too late.
We don't hear much about contributions from the economic beneficiaries of Dasara celebrations - contractors, city shopkeepers, tour operators, hotel owners, auto-drivers etc. They all have associations. Could we expect them to persuade their members to plough back part of their season's windfall into a permanent trust fund, devoted to making Dasara a festival to which tourists would want to come back , again and again ?
When are we, if ever, going to change this mindset - of celebrating Dasara on sarkari dole ?