Saturday, March 27, 2010

State of Silicon Valley: Lakhs of problems

State of Silicon Valley: Lakhs of problems

Rajashekar SFirst Published : 26 Mar 2010 04:46:00 AM ISTLast Updated : 26 Mar 2010 08:56:07 AM IST
BANGALORE: Take this: Bangalore is the highest revenue generator, be it commercial tax, property tax, stamp duty or any other cess collected by the state. Nearly, two-thirds of Karnataka’s income is generated in Bangalore. The city, called India’s silicon valley, has its name etched in the global IT map with the presence of top notch companies here. It has also produced business leaders, academicians, researchers and sportspersons respected world over.
In the political sphere, however, Bangalore doesn’t have a leader, who is truly its own, though it has given some key influential leaders at the state level. Those who claim to represent the city have their limitations and are largely confined to the constituencies they represent — either in the Assembly or Lok Sabha.
The only leader in recent times who had some kind of an influence or charisma over Bangloreans was External Affairs Minister S M Krishna. Though an outsider, Krishna had been a resident of the city for decades, and as CM, he gave a big boost to infrastructure and the growth of IT and ITES sectors. He proactively helped build Brand Bangalore so much so that his detractors dubbed him a Bangalorecentric CM.
Much before Krishna, in the early 1980s, the then CM late Ramakrishna Hegde wielded some influence over Bangalore, then a small city better known as pensioners’ paradise. Two decades later, the city has metamorphosed into a behemoth that stretches across 709.53 sq.km. This sudden and unbridled growth of the city has posed several problems in terms of inadequate infrastructure like bad roads, sewerage system, adequate supply of drinking water, traffic snarls, lack of planned mass transportation system, mushrooming of slums and shortage of power supply to mention a few.
Now, with the battle for BBMP on, political parties are leaving no stone unturned to woo the electorate with promises to make Bangalore beautiful. But what they have not promised is a leader for Bangalore and its sustained growth. The JD(S) is struggling to shed its anti-urban image, while the Congress is still clinging to Krishna’s “urbane and suave” image to influence voters.
The BJP, though, claims a few city leaders, however, their presence is limited to the areas they represent. Will the BBMP polls usher in a new leadership? Let’s hope.

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