From the plush Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel airport in Ahmedabad to Gandhinagar is a dream drive. Till last year, though, just before the road takes a turn to the bridge across the Sabarmati river, an array of bare bottoms used to make people flinch and turn away. But the municipal corporation hit upon a brilliant idea to solve this—they constructed a wall to hide the slums on this VVIP route and added a bamboo plantation for good measure. The exhibits may have been hidden from public view but the spillovers are still on display every morning!
Cut to Gandhinagar, and to the majestic Mahatma Mandir, a swanky Rs 500 crore monument to chief minister Narendra Modi but ironically named after the half-clad Mahatma Gandhi. On the road leading from the Sarkhej-Gandhinagar highway to this global convention centre, the view again has been cut off but the stench remains. Switch to the secretariat. The sachivalaya has undergone a major renovation. Gone is the old staid sarkari look, in its place is a stylised corporate one, carrying the distinct stamp of Modi. But barring the CM’s newly constructed block, pass any other gallery and the toilets yell from a distance, making you hold your breath. Even the IAS officers hold their breath as they pass.