Thursday, March 30, 2006

Bangalore: A city united in its woes

Bangalore: A city united in its woes

Bangalore: If Delhi is considered a city of great social divides, Bangalore is united.

Well, it's united in its woes. There's just one factor that unites the city's rural and urban population – the sagging infrastructure.

Koramangala is one of Bangalore's posh residential colonies. It’s also a mini Information Technology colony of sorts and is considered one of the most ‘happening’ places in the city.

At least, that's what a website proclaims. The website, a citizen’s initiative, was started by a Koramangala couple - Balbir Singh and his wife Amrita - nearly eight years back.

The couple has been living in the locality for the past 16 years and just like a lot of their neighbours, is disappointed about the poor infrstructure facilities in their colony.

This, despite the fact that the colony is home to some of the biggest IT names of the world including Infosys CEO Nandan Nilekani and Biocon baroness Kiran Mazumdar Shaw.

"It makes no difference. Politicians are never interested in getting things done. All that they are interested in is their personal gain. Would they not have fixed things by now?" Balbir Singh says.

Potholed roads, rising pollution and endless traffic jams have added to the woes to the city’s residents. Bangaloreans are truly fed up with the state of affairs.

"I am a regular traveller on the Hosur road. The stretch take took 15 minutes to cover now takes 45 minutes due to half-made flyover, and it's really frustrating," a commuter says.

The story of Koramangala is being echoed across Bangalore. Away from the IT hotspot, Marthahalli is a colony of the not-so-privileged. Jayram, a transporter has been staying in the area more than two decades with his family of six.

Ironically, though Jayram and Balbir are at the two ends of the social spectrum, their problems are the same – poor infrastructure.

"There's no point. Look, we don't have proper roads, drinking water or electricity in our village. Do you think they care?" Jayram asks.

But a lot of people also blame the IT boom for the state of Bangalore today. According to them, the scales are definitely tilted in favour of the IT sector.

"Yes, if infrastructure is a problem, IT industry is to be blamed for it," a resident says.

It's amply clear that when it comes to the city's sagging infrastructure problems, there is no divide between IT and non-IT or even rural and urban.


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