Sunday, July 31, 2005

‘Spread out B’lore growth to other cities’

‘Spread out B’lore growth to other cities’
Deccan Herald

The Master Plan 2015 for Bangalore has failed to place the BDA area in the larger regional context, say town planning experts.

Master Plan 2015 for Bangalore, (the revised Comprehensive Development Plan (CDP) prepared by Bangalore Development Authority) attracted severe criticism on Saturday, with town-planners and urban development experts pointing out lapses and violations in it.

The plan, currently on public display at Yavanika till September, has failed to place the BDA area in the larger regional context, Institute of Town Planners Karnataka chapter president S C Kari Gowda pointed out.

“There is no thought to disperse some future economic investments to other cities such as Hassan, Mysore and Gulbarga. Bangalore is under considerable stress, we need another metropolitan city in Karnataka,” he said.

Former town-planning advisor to the UN Prof L R Vagale, who participated in the half-day deliberations on the CDP, observed that though the population is growing at 5 per cent per year and vehicles at 9 per cent, the infrastructure was the same.

“Cities such as Hubli, Mysore, and Tumkur should be developed as supplementary metros. They are just growing at 2-3 per cent now. Whereas, nearly one lakh people from Tumkur travel to Bangalore everyday for work. Perhaps the plan should focus on getting the high-tech industries to Bangalore (as there is so much demand) and sending other industries to other cities,” he said.

Planner A S Kodandapani pointed out that if 3.75 lakh IT jobs are created as envisaged by the CDP, this would create ancillary jobs that are 1.5 times more -- taking the total population to a whopping 13.2 million by 2015, that the city certainly doesn’t have the infrastructure for.

Eco hazards

Environmental expert M C K Swamy felt that clubbing IT industries under ‘non-polluting industries’ was a misnomer. “Developing a high-tech zone with mixed land-use zoning (where residential and commercial complexes could both come up) based on ‘non-polluting’ IT sector is irrational. Every IT employee has a vehicle, leading to increased hydrocarbons and pollutants around companies. Further, air-conditioned offices lead to micro-climate changes,” he felt.

Mr Gowda felt that the CDP wrongly assesses the green belt area around the city. “Developments are naturally spreading towards the west and south, but the plan attempts to curtail this; instead, it opens up the green belt towards the north. It is easier to draw the Cauvery water from the south, but we want to take the pipelines north at huge cost,” he said.

He further said the BDA sent the CDP through the director of town planning for provisional approval, instead of through the Metropolitan Commissioner, as mandated by law.

“The provisional approval, hence, may not be legal,” he said.


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