Sunday, January 29, 2006

No. 1 concern: Infrastructure

No. 1 concern: Infrastructure
Industry Bigwigs Fear To Lose Momentum Gained On Infrastructure Front
The Times of India

Bangalore: If there is one thing industry in Karnataka would like H D Kumaraswamy’s new government in the state to focus on, it’s infrastructure.

Industry bigwigs that STOI spoke to, uniformly described that as their No. 1 concern.

“The pace of economic growth in Karnataka has been very rapid, and it’s absolutely essential that the infrastructure issues be addressed immediately to maintain the momentum,” said S Babu, president of the Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FKCCI).

Speaking about the IT industry, R K Misra, a member of the state government’s empowered committee on infrastructure, notes that most things for the industry are on “auto pilot”, with the significant exception of infrastructure. He urged Kumaraswamy to continue the bureaucracy-industry interaction on infrastructure and ensure that the momentum built on infrastructure in the past few months is not lost.

Misra also said Bangalore’s brand image had taken a beating because of infrastructure and governance issues, and people worldwide were looking at alternatives to Bangalore to set up their operations. “We need a real brand building exercise,” he said.

All of Karnataka’s neighbouring states are seen to be trying to wean away investments from here by providing a variety of incentives. “In Karnataka, even land is not being allotted to companies that require them. KIADB should facilitate the process of quick land acquisition,” Babu said. He also urged the new government not to raise taxes in the coming budget, noting that Karnataka is already one of the most highly taxed states.

“Kumaraswamy is young and we expect he will provide a good government and will be business friendly,” Babu said.
However, a CEO of a venture capital firm said people in general have become indifferent to political change: “The common man thinks that the government does not affect his life.”

If Kumaraswamy is listening, maybe he would like to consider bringing a difference, and change the way people view politics.

I N OT H E R W O R D S . . .

Girish Karnad (playwright): The new government should be secular and should look at the economic orientation of the state. But first and foremost it should address the issue of the farmers.

Trilochan Sastry (IIM-B professor): The new government should pay attention to the city’s infrastructure, implement the Right to Information Act and the Employment Guarantee Act. The government should also give attention to the primary and secondary education in the state.

Mahesh Dattani (playwright): It is the first time BJP has come to power. It should first revamp its ideology and emerge as a secular government. The farmer issue and the Cauvery water issue should be resolved on a priority basis. Bangalore’s infrastructure also needs to be addressed.

H D Gangaraju (president, Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce): The film industry expects the new government to address the issues concerning the industry. The coalition government has done a lot for the film industry and we expect the same cooperation from the new government as well.


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