Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Chennai gears up to beat Bangalore

"Watch out Bangalore, Chennai's here" says the Business Standard which a couple of weeks ago gave Bangalore, its newest epithet, 'Silicon Slum'. I am a little skeptical though, infrastructural superiority (which claim too is a little suspect) alone does not create an industry and certainly not a people-intensive one like information technology. Chennai is definitely a strong player in the bread and butter business of the Indian IT industry, software services, that too specifically in applications. But when it comes to stuff like chip design, embedded systems, networks etc. perhaps no other place in this part of the world has as much a talent base as Bangalore does.

On another note, there is no way Bangalore can take any more growth. There is only so much of the road that can be widened and so many flyovers built. And its all fine to build expensive metro rails but how is one going to coax people who have own personal means of transport which gives them a doorstep to doorstep commute to give all that up? It will take a generation or two for a mindset change. And in the time that would elapse by then if Bangalore continues to grow at this rate, it would not resemble anything that is habitable. There needs to be a physical development. If the Government puts its mind to it, it can initiate planned development of the area around the upcoming international airport in Devanahalli. That has a good potential of becoming an effective counter magnet.


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