A group of city youngsters has come up with a form of “creative opposition” against the state government’s plan to build a Smart City on tea gardens on Dehradun’s outskirts.
Painting a seven-wall mural outside Crossroads Mall on Old Survey Road, the youngsters have depicted Dehradun as a “Smart City” of their dreams, stressing on the importance of safeguarding the heritage of the city.
The murals comprise illustrations of the iconic Clock Tower, Indian Military Academy, Buddha Temple, Malsi Deer Park and Dehradun Railway Station, besides depicting slogans on mountains, ravines, the famous litchi and basmati rice, top educational and central government institutions in the valley.
The mural has been painted by members of “Making A Difference By Being The Difference”, a youth-activist group of school and college students.
“This is our version of Dehradun as a Smart City wherein the ecology and heritage of the existing city are conserved, instead of a new concrete structure altogether being built on tea gardens on the city’s outskirts,” said Abhijay Negi, a law student and founding president of the group.
“We want to act as a catalyst in generating public awareness on the issue,” Negi added.
The artists worked for a total of 30 hours throughout a week to prepare the seven-wall mural, largely done in black and white paint, said engineering students Swati Singh and Hitesh Gautam, who sketched the murals.
“We worked on creating the murals for three hours prior to school/college time every morning and resumed work during the evening hours. We hope we’re able to herald awareness among Doonites, especially youngsters, to help create pressure on the government to stop from modifying the existing city into a Smart City,” said Devesh Bisht, a member of the group.
The group has earlier painted around 25 wall murals in different parts of the city to raise awareness about effective garbage disposal in the state capital among other issues.
The youngsters, who have taken the route of creativity to register their protest, had earlier unearthed an important national-level study on Doon valley, the recommendations of which have been openly flouted by the government in creating the Smart City plan, they alleged.
A 1000-page report by Nagpur-based National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) had specified development strategies for Doon valley till the year 2021, earmarking that activities of urban expansion should take place towards Jogiwala/nearby areas and not near the tea estates which are the “lungs of the valley, said Abhijay Negi.