Monday, December 26, 2005

Pot holes en route to progress

Pot holes en route to progress
From Bangalore to Bengaluru, but that’s not all. Year 2005’s seen perceived images shattered; and the reality is frequently without glory. BT looks back and does some myth-busting
The Times of India

Edgy, hi-tech, reaping the benefits of scientic advancement. That’s how the world sees Bangalore. But citizens will tell you infrastructure is creaking and systems are crumbling — thanks to unplanned growth and apathetic governance...

The irony is difficult to miss. Bangalore houses centres of excellence that offer cutting edge technology to the world but is having to cope with lack of basic infrastructure. If the city makes headlines as being home to the world’s richest Indians, it also makes news for having one of the worst roads in the country. But it wasn’t always like this. Bangalore’s changed a lot in the past year or so. Flashback to 2004: The world can’t have enough of Bangalore. Jobs from US and Europe are moving here. Our city has caught the imagination of the world — from opinion-makers in the west who are declaragainst outsourcing, to bloggers who are saying it with T-shirts with a note of caution, ‘Don’t Get Bangalored’, to even US presidential candidate John Kerry vouching for the city’s connectivity quotient: “If Bangalore can be completely wired for broadband, then so can our cities.” The year 2005: The upheaval against outsourcing is settling down. But Bangalore is fast losing its seat in the world’s Hall of Fame for progressive cities. Failing infrastructure and a lackadaisical response towards it from the government and the city’s administrators is changing its image from a city that was set to leap into the future to one that’s stumbling all the way. SOME FACTS TO CHEW ON...

Bangalore’s population estimated to be 70 lakh Annual growth rate is 3.25 per cent In August, Bangalore City Corporation counted 31,824 potholes The IT industry here employed 2.5 lakh people till last year. This year it was estimated that another lakh jobs would be created There are 39,000 traffic junctions and just 1,000 cops to man them The vehicle population is 25.8 lakh and every day about 970 new vehicles are registered


NR Narayana Murthy walks out of the Banglaore International Airport Limited in October after Deve Gowda accused Infosys of land-grabbing

Many firms boycott because of lack of infrastructure

Road digging and shoddy relaying work make everyday life impossibly difficult for Bangaloreans

High court appoints a three-member panel to oversee relaying and repair work of roads

Residents and students in several areas like Bannerghatta Road, JP Nagar, Basavanagar and Pai Layout came out in spontaneous protests against poor infrastructure

Rains play havoc in the city in April, May and September with many parts of the city marooned. The worst was in October

Two boys drown in a drain, two girls die after a tree falls on them. More such incidents follow

Much against the Bangalore police’s wish the then mayor R Narayaswamy lifts pay and park in April. Finding parking space is now more difficult

Karnataka termed the fourth most corrupt state in the country by Transparency International

Give power to the people and local ward committees: A suggestion that experts like Ramesh Ramanathan of Janaagraha and Leo Saldanha of Environment Support Group have expressed.

Let there be more public-private partnerships: Former BATF member Kalpana Kar has been espousing this.
Elect citizens who have a vision, and leadership qualities like Narayana Murthy as the city’s mayor: Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw.


Politician Sharad Pawar warned the Pune civic administration last month: “The city (Bangalore) lacks basic infrastructure and people are suffering due to it. This should not happen in Pune.”

Azim Premji, chairman, Wipro: “In the last one year, we have seen infrastructure services deteriorating in and around Bangalore. Nowadays, our employees take a longer time to commute from workplace to their homes. We do not see the situation improving in the near future. Hence our decision to look beyond Bangalore for expansion and growth.”

Chairman, UB Group, Vijay Mallya said: “It’s depressing and hopelessly inadequate. Being a Bangalorean, I’m pretty ashamed.”


At Friday, February 29, 2008 at 6:42:00 PM GMT+5:30, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Talking about Bengaluru's failing infrastructure, there is really no need to do so considering that ever so many have seen it in close quarters, intimately, living there, suffering there, being harassed there, dying there. And yet India's software industry is concentrated there predominantly due to the single reason of its being climatically more agreeable, and not because of any other special advantages. Road, water, electricity infrastructure is in dismal condition, and a reasonably good quality and reliability of it is demanded not only by those looking at it as the Silicon Plateau, but also all its citizens and tourists. When Kumaraswamy took over from Dharam Singh, when he was given the mantle essentially because of the support of the BJP's MLAs., he promised to change the quality of the city's roads within months if not weeks. But very little happened noticeably. His administration is not used to working for decades now, and the CM started exhorting that the corporate citizens had a big role in this respect. And, simultaneously, his pappa Gowda kept proclaiming that he was directing his/CM's party to forget the cities, but concentrate on the rural sector (where, of course, the votes numbered about 80% of total). Where is the hope for infrastructural improvements from the powers-that-be? God knows. It is not in the books of our politicians, not only of Karnataka, but any state in India, to make a loud commitment regarding infrastructural improvements and also not qualify their own commitment such as to whittle it down to ground zero level. China is said to lay world-class roads 10 times faster than we can put even third-rate roads with huge kickbacks changing hands between contractors, officials, and politicians. And we keep on claiming that we not a coercive form of government unlike the Chinese 'Communist' (whats that, isn;t Communism dead?)govt. of an equally, indeed more, populous nation? It is certainly not a question of coercive and anarchic governments, but it is one of political will, if a country wants to improve its essential infrastructure. As this is written (Feb 2008) one reads shocking reports in newspapers that the access roads to the soon-to-be-opened Bengaluru International Airport at Devanahalli, forty kms. away from the city, are quite unsatisfactory. And, advance air bookings on short haul domestic routes has already fallen by about one-third normal volumes. If the politicians cannot prioritize expenditure budgets for infrastructure, at least the administrators/ authorities charged with the essential air links with a standard-class international airport should have anticipated all such problems and taken into consideration the woes of passengers due to bad planning. And in any case, where is the need to deny use of the HAL airport for some of the domestic flights. What sense does it make to do so, especially when there is not even a thought of having a nice rail link between the city and the international airport for keeping both airports functioning in co-ordination (and also so that other regular traffic can also be carried on that route)? Even an ordinary arts graduate could have dreamed up such an elementary plan for doing some good towards Bengaluru's infrastructure, in this manner.


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