Monday, January 25, 2010

The Panna Story

I spent the last week in Panna District of Madhya Pradesh as part of the Govt Immersion Programme started by IIM Indore. I must say the experience was amazing and I learnt a great deal. Though it was a lot of fun, it was eye opening as well. I saw how a boon can be a bain as well!

Panna can be a perfect example of how a city suffers from its own resource. Panna is a city having about 45 % area covered under forest land which includes the famous Panna tiger reserve but by admission of the people of the district and the local administration that is the biggest problem for Panna. The forest covers Panna from three sides which makes a rail link impossible as the forest authorities won’t let a rail link be brought in through the forests. This is one of the biggest reasons for Panna to be featuring among some of the most backward districts in India according to some surveys. The presence of Panna tiger reserve, Panna Diamond mines, Pandva Falls, Chaumukhnath(a 7th century old temple with the main attraction being four idols of Bhagwan Shiva in different moods) and also being only 50 km away from Khajurao makes Panna a potential tourist destination. Tourism seems to be Panna’s only hope at this time and non availability of good connectivity to the place makes industry a distant possibility with certain units having opened and closed in the past having faced transportation problems. Though it may be argued that Tourism also requires connectivity, which is true, but if we look at it from a different angle- Panna tiger resere is just 30 kms from Khajurao and the Pandva falls 10 km from there and the city 10 km further which is a sort of tourism corridor so road connectivity can do good for it. Panna is a beautiful place with beautiful people, you can admire this statement better only after you see the cleanliness in the city. All it needs is some help so that it can fully utilise its potential. This help has to be both from the government and the private sector. Spending a week with the government officials made me realise they are trying to do a lot but a bit more is desired.

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