Sunday, February 26, 2006

Bangalore sighs in relief as son clears father’s hurdles

Bangalore sighs in relief as son clears father’s hurdles
H S Balram
The Times of India

Good news for Bangaloreans. Son Kumaraswamy has started clearing all the hurdles which his father Deve Gowda had placed for various projects meant for the city’s development. He has put the badly needed Metro Rail project back on the rails, given a ‘no-more-hurdles’ promise to the Bangalore-Mysore Infrastructure Corridor builders, assuaged the hurt feelings of the IT sector by agreeing to provide better infrastructure, pushed for private-public partnership as the best way to tackle the city’s problems, and initiated the process to revive the Bangalore Agenda Task Force, but with a different name.

Kumaraswamy may or may not have had the blessings of his father for the coup he staged. Gowda may have suspended the son and his supporters from the party just to keep his secular image intact. But no one can deny the fact that Kumaraswamy has a mind of his own. He still adores his father, but does not support everything he says or does. That he has gone against many of his father’s decisions or statements, particularly on Bangalore, confirms it. Another proof is his statement — ‘Which party is not communal?’ — to those who questioned his ties with the BJP, a party his father hated.

Unlike Gowda, who trashed Bangalore to project a pro-rural image, Kumaraswamy prefers development of both rural and urban areas. He says each has its own problems and they have to be tackled differently. While villages need urban facilities, cities need upgraded infrastructure. He knows that IT city Bangalore suffered a dent in its image during the Dharam Singh government, thanks to Gowda’s strong anti-urban pronouncements. IT companies raised a banner of revolt against Gowda’s insensitivity towards their problems, citizens took to the streets over bad roads and poor drainage and the courts had to come to the rescue of many projects. Singh cowered under Gowda’s pressure and couldn’t move things. Most of his promises remained on paper.

Kumaraswamy has begun well. He has a good friend and guide in seasoned Yediyurappa of the BJP. Both seem to enjoy a good rapport. If both work towards turning words into action, Bangalore will become a better place. And, the city will get back its lost glory.

Crack the whip, Mr CM

Even before summer has set in fully, we are facing power shutdowns and a drinking water crisis. As citizens fret and fume, authorities coolly blame the crises on technical snags and maintenance. If this is the situation in Bangalore, imagine what our rural brethren must be going through. Take water supply, for instance. Bangaloreans get water for an hour or two every alternate day. If the supply is shut down on one particular day, the cumulative effect is three consecutive waterless days. The new CM must crack the whip, pull up the departments concerned, shunt out lethargic and corrupt staff and induct efficient and hands-on officials who are sensitive to people’s day-to-day problems.


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