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Return of a native

Having spent three years in Nottingham and then at Ivy League Harvard University, Shashank Agarwal was always clear where he would want to live once he finishes his engineering course.

india Updated: Jun 28, 2011 19:45 IST
Haidar Naqvi

Having spent three years in Nottingham and then at Ivy League Harvard University, Shashank Agarwal was always clear where he would want to live once he finishes his engineering course.

It was his hometown Kanpur.

Some five years ago, he might have thought of shaping his career in a metro like Mumbai or Bengaluru. But in Shashank's words, he knew his city and state were changing after years of stagnation.

Economy was moving, fuelling spirits, ambitions and hope. Uttar Pradesh, which he always believed was a land of immense opportunities, was coming up.

However, Shashank is not the only one when it comes to love for his hometown. Most of his 30 friends, enrolled in different colleges abroad, were on the same page. "Only a handful went for other cities while 23 of us returned back to where we belonged. This is in complete contrast to what was the case five to six years back," says the 23-year-old.

"You can see traces of reverse brain drain. People who migrated to Gujarat and other places are coming back with a lot of money to invest in the state," he asserts. The biggest advantage for Uttar Pradesh, he says, is its geographical location. This USP, combined with the positive attitude of its people, are what could help realise his dream of the state becoming a mega one, Shashank feels. "Constant whining and complaining never helps. UP has its own share of merits and definitely is changing, for the better. If the potential of the state is channelised in the right direction, it can be transformed completely," Shashank says. He feels the state must improve the public transport system whose absence is not allowing the service sector and rural industry to take off. "A single four-lane highway parallel to the GT road has done wonders. The mandis are doing four times better business since their inception. But it is poor transportation and road connectivity that is hindering the state's growth badly. If these problems are solved, it will be a real booster for the IT, finance and food industries," he says.

Tourism is another major area missing from priority charts completely, Shashank feels.