DIU : Time stops still at its doorstep. Tranquility walks on. Unhurried, one step at a time. Welcome to fun country, welcome to Diu.
Once a part of Portuguese territory which was forcefully taken back by an indignant India in the early sixties, Diu is a quaint island by the sea nestling in the armpit of Gujarat.
In a world where everyone runs around wanting to do everything, this 40-sq-km island with a population of a mere 50,000 mortals seems an answer to poet William Henry Davies’ verse when he says ”What is this life if full of care, we have no time to stand and stare. No time to stand beneath the boughs and stare as long as sheep or cows. No time to see in broad daylight, streams full of stars like skies at night”. And goes on to give his judgment in the final line, ”A poor life this is if full of care, we have no time to stand and stare”!.
A part of the Union territory of Diu, Daman and Dadra Nagar Haveli, time literally stands still here. There is a lazy ambience around life with people not in much of a hurry to reach anywhere. ”It is a place beyond compare anywhere around India”, points out the UT administrator Bhupinder Bhalla, a man genuinely in love with the place and determined to do whatever his administrative acumen and position can allow him to. ”I have done a stint in this Union territory earlier and I am hopelessly in love with this place”, he points out.
Bhalla should know for he came here after a stint in the Andamans and is shortly expected to move on to another Union territory, Chandigarh.
Welcomes and farewells are part of life but for the moment Bhalla is enjoying something after his heart – the inauguration of India’s first dedicated, world class cycle track, marked by a cycle rally. The overwhelming participation has him genuinely enthused, almost akin to someone sitting back to watch his own creation unfold to gushing admirers. The cycle track was inaugurated by Union minister of state for Home Kiren Rijiju. ”Bask in the reflection of a relaxed life, away from the maddening rush of urban living. You will be promoting green mobility, sustainable living, health and environmental sensitivity alongwith tourism on the island as well as helping in safeguarding the fragile ecosystem here. Return to the cycling you may have long forgotten. It is both leisure and pleasure”, he points out.
The ultra-modern, 4.3 km cycle track has been completed at a cost of Rs 3 crore with the technical support of the Ahmedabad-based Non Profit Organisation, Centre for Green Mobility (CGM). It will be extended to cover 11.34 kms of an island which when fully stretched measures a mere 13 km end to end .The track has been prepared under phase I of the Rs. 32 crore project being undertaken by the UT administration of Daman & Diu.
R K MISRA
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