Sunday, April 22, 2007

Creaky infrastructure, spiralling property prices turn investors away

Creaky infrastructure, spiralling property prices turn investors away
Khaleej Times

HAS Bangalore begun to lose its appeal? The question has begun to haunt potential investors. More so, after the last week's upward revision of property guidance value.

For hawk-eyed businessmen, Bangalore is increasingly becoming unviable for investment. Its astronomically high property rates do not gel with poor infrastructure.

Choked traffic arteries make it unnavigable during office hours. Pollution simply asphyxiates the citizens of the city. Erratic power supply makes delivery schedules go haywire. All these together sap the dynamism from enterprise. Attrition among employees is high. Some call centre employees travel six hours in company buses to work eight hours. In the end, everybody complains that the rewards are not worth the effort.

The upward revision of guideline prices for property has therefore come in for flak from all quarters. It only makes the dream of an average middle class city dweller of owning a flat in the city an unachievable ambition. And there are hundreds and thousands of such 'overambitious' youth flocking to Bangalore every day of the year. They come here lured by the promise of happy balance between savings and craving.

The mood among the realtor community is clearly pessimistic. With a maximum rise of 350 per cent in guideline value, a square foot of space on Rajbhavan Road is now pegged at an absurd Rs10,000. Together with stamp duty of almost 11 per cent, and several other taxes (VAT, water, power, and proposed levies for sanitation, stormwater drains and solid garbage), flat buyers may be asked to cough up as much as 25 per cent of the actual cost.

Prisoners of technology

A couple of years ago Bangalore became the first global city to introduce video courts for undertrial detainees in jail. It clipped their wings by denying them the little opportunity of outings which production in the city court offered them. Now video links between jails and courtrooms as well as the hospitals have eliminated the need for travel and thereby the risk. On an average day, the city police had to ferry nearly 400 undertrials between the jail located 20 kms away from the city centre to the court in the heart of the city. More intrepid inmates made good use of the opportunity by dodging the police on 'pissing' stops. Alas! Modern technology robbed them of the much-awaited fortnightly outings. But it only further imprisoned them. Magistrates in city courts now hear them depose from within the high-walled prison. Even jail hospitals now have tele-consultation links with leading hospitals. Doctors can even read pulse and check heartbeat. Only emergency cases are taken to hospitals. But last week, there was some respite for the jail birds. Prison authorities set up coin-phone booths inside the jail. Inmates can now talk to their near and dear ones once a week. Conversations are recorded and monitored by the authorities. Each inmate is granted a five-minute slot.

The Minister for Prisons has also announced inter-prison visit for the prisoners.

Garden to garbage city

Bangalore risks losing the 'Garden City' tag. Man's greed for space has sounded the death knell for green spaces. Trees are axed with impunity. Heritage trees blocking flyover projects are remorselessly cut to clear way.

The latest piece of information that there is no place to dump hazardous industrial waste in Bangalore is more disturbing. That Karnataka's capital doesn't have a place to dispose off nearly four-fifth of its municipal waste should shock anyone who takes pride in calling it the 'Garden City' and India's answer to Silicon Valley.


At Sunday, April 22, 2007 at 9:56:00 PM GMT+5:30, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Inter Prison visit!!! may be they casn those other prison through camera's as well!
BTW I am regular reader of this blog.Its a place I come to get all the related news abt bangalore.Thank you so much.


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