Charanjit Singh Teja
Amritsar, January 10
Self-service information kiosks installed under the Smart City project to help tourists find key locations in the city are gathering dust with garbage and stray dogs alongside aiding in keeping the tourists away.
One such kiosk has been installed at the Lawrence Road corner, where tourists visit the Maharaja Ranjit Singh Panorama and the summer palace of Maharaja. Apart from this, a large number of patients and their attendants from Jammu and Kashmir visit the Mall Road to consult eye specialists. However, no tourist uses the self-service information kiosks. Vendors and restaurants in their vicinity dump garbage alongside the kiosks. The screens of the information machines are mostly defunct. They don’t work properly and fail to restart soon. The shopkeepers at Nehru Shopping Complex claimed that the homeless children who beg at Novelty Chowk, often play with the screen. Stray dogs are also a main reason why tourists do not use the kiosks.
Arif, a visitor from Kashmir, said, “I have seen the board and tried to explore the city but the screen did not work properly when I touched it.”
The self-service tourist information kiosks were installed in the city to assist tourists and local residents in finding key locations under the Smart City project last year.
The Amritsar Smart City Limited (ASCL) had proposed to install these kiosks at 20 locations under the pilot project. The locations include the War Memorial, Urban Haat, Partition Museum, Valmiki Tirath Sthal, VR Ambarsar, Basement, VR Ambarsar 5th Floor, Maharaja Ranjit Singh Panorama, Durgiana Mandir, Sada Pind, Jallianwala Bagh near post office, Hall Bazaar Ramada, Golden Temple Plaza, Naresh Multi Store, Mall of Amritsar Ground Floor, Mall of Amritsar Second Floor, Gobindgarh Fort, Shaheed Baba Deep Singh, Lawrence Road, Nehru Complex, Bus Stand Platform Number 8 and Bus Stand Platform Number 55.
The Tourist Information Kiosk Centres (ASCL) are supposed to deliver several services, including information about the city, booking, transport and emergency. The kiosks are supposed to support both push and pull type of information service. Query-based information was proposed to be made available within the kiosks. Location-based query and driving directions, information on bus, train and bus rapid transit system (BRTS) schedules would be available. However, no such service is being provided.