New Delhi: Recently some media reports mentioned that the Indian government may not allow Google’s Street View to run on Indian roads. Though the reason being given is the security risk for the country, our sources told us that this is not the only reason.
Other than Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Tourism has also put forward its objection to street view. One of the senior officials from tourism ministry who was involved in drafting the objection spoke to us on the condition of anonymity. He said, “India is a country which is unique in many ways. You can see how our roadsides are nicely painted in red by our paan (betel leaf) chewing public. We want to keep it our best kept secret.”
Elaborating it further he said, “Once you chew paan, you have to throw the waste somewhere, it is a basic necessity. India is a huge country and our people are always on the move, we cannot have so many dustbins for this purpose. Look at the sense our public has, instead of wasting the red colored saliva here and there, they make a concerted effort to spit it on the roadside walls and footpaths. Over a period of time, without any investment from government these walls and footpaths look nicely painted with red color. Please note all these are organic color , hence no objection from our environmentalists either.”
“We did a recent study as part of Incredible India campaign. We were amazed to find that each wall has a unique pattern and design of its own. Most of us look down on people who eat paan and paan masala but evidence suggests they are very creative lot. In a way they have ensured our tourist places look more incredible than they are. By not taking any action government is encouraging more and more paan chewing people to showcase their spitting skills on our roadside walls especially around tourist attractions” added the official
“Our worry is, other countries might replicate this model as this involves zero investment by public exchequer. To avoid this copying, recently we have applied for a patent. Once we have it, we do not have any objection in granting permission to Google Street View”, said the official
The official said, “This is not the only reason to ban street view. Few years back, as part of a pilot project we had allowed Google Street View to cover few historic monuments like Qutub Minar, Red Fort, the Varanasi riverbank etc. These historic monument walls are like notepad for our public to write something. Somewhere it was written, Anjali loves Rahul, then somewhere down the road Rahul loves Tina which Street View captured. Due to this, few breakups also happened. We want to avoid such unpleasant situations, We have requested people to write something unique like their mobile number, email id or FB profile against their name when they write on the historic monuments. Once people start following that, street view may be allowed.”
Meanwhile, a test vehicle sent by Google to capture street view is stuck for past 2 days inside a pothole on a Bengaluru road.