Little India lighting up after Diwali?

DANDENONG (Melbourne), 29 November 2022: I just happened to pass through Dandenong’s Little India Cultural Precinct, an exclusive enclave of Indian/South Asian shops and outlets, and noticed beautiful colorful lights (glittering neon lights) being installed on the shop fronts. So, I decided to have a stroll and see what was happening, much after the Indian festival season ended around Diwali, the festival of lamps.

Photo Collage- SAT/NN.

The most glittering lights are in the front of the now shut down ‘Indian Museum’, in the corner, across from the Dandenong station. And, many other shops have smaller designed lights installed on their fronts. Two fellows installing the lights revealed 32 shops will be covered.

Photo Collage – SAT/NN.

Inquiries revealed the Greater Dandenong Council was spending $ 150,000 on the lighting designs, a part of the half-a-million grant some time back from the Victoria Government. $ 250,000 were spent long back and now the $ 150,000 being spent is part of the leftover $ 250,000 grant money. A confirmation from the council is being attempted.

‘Our Little India Dandenong Bulletin’ (29 November 2022, Edition 23) says, ” Your final lighting designs are now confirmed and will be installed by Electric Confetti week beginning 28 November.

As you know the project aims to contribute to favourable night-time experiences that encourage economic activity and enhance the identity of Little India as a desirable night-time destination. The timers on your neon lights will be set to turn off at midnight each day.

The lighting has a minimal power consumption as it is only 12V supply.”

New signage by local designers POP Creative Collective is likely to soon cover blank walls on the precinct’s periphery, reports the Bulletin.

No doubt, as one shop owner said, the shops will look beautiful in the evening, the question remains, could the tax-payer money be spent in a better way. Diwali lamps after the festival look a bit too late. Already, there are fewer shoppers as the year-end is seeing people flying overseas to see near and dear ones. Also, most shops except the eateries are closed in the evening.

Little India has many issues and a new redevelopment start is likely next year. The museum was shifted to the Australian-Indian Centre, Rowville, inaugurated by former PM Scott Morrison. Victoria has Labor’s Premier Daniel Andrews elected for the third term and Dendenonmg has reelected the Labor MP in the recent elections.

The Premier had supported the traders’ struggle, as the Leader of the opposition and later. Expectations are high. More attention and sensible spending in Little India, a unique ethnic enclave, is the need of the hour.

By SAT News Desk/Neeraj Nanda

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