Friday, March 28, 2008

Clean, green, and prosperous city is the agenda

Clean, green, and prosperous city is the agenda
He took over as Commissioner of the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) at a crucial juncture. The city is in the process of change, and needs innovative and quick action. The pressure sits easy on H Siddaiah. He took time off to share his thoughts on
what the city needs, in this chat with B S Manu Rao

What is your long-term vision for Bangalore?
Bangalore has all it takes to make it a great city. It has a salubrious climate. It has adequate drinking water and power. It has a cosmopolitan culture that makes it a good destination for those looking for career opportunities. The people here are accommodating and good natured. If the infrastructure here is under pressure, it is because we did not foresee this sort of growth in population and commercial development 15 years ago. Now we are thinking ahead. We are planning for the next 25 years. The civic agencies need adequate budget support to put in place the infrastructure needed. This city has tremendous purchasing power. Around Rs 12,000 crores is earned by 12 lakh IT professionals. This is the sort of economy we need to cater to. It
will take concepts like elevated roads over exit points to the city. At least 10 km of all exit points should be elevated roads. This will make traffic easier all around.
What will the international airport do for the city?
Considering the sort of growth in the economy here, an international airport is certainly needed. The existing airport cannot meet the sort of demand there is for air travel - both domestic and international. Air traffic is increasing by the day. This airport will put Bangalore on the world map in the coming months.
What can we expect from the new BDA layouts on the anvil?
The new layouts will be selfcontained. They will have all civic and social infrastructure you need in a residential area. Playgrounds and parks will be developed in them. They will have plenty of vegetation and water bodies. These water bodies will be recreational spaces for people to come to and relax. We have a budget of Rs 200 crores for developing civic amenities in our existing layouts. All our layouts will be well-developed with adequate facilities of water supply, drainage and good roads. They will be high standard living areas with high quality infrastructure.
What's your agenda on housing for economically weaker sections?
The land prices in the city have been shooting up. It is difficult for people from the economically weaker sections to buy land and build a house at these rates. So we have planned to build flats for them. We have acquired around 316 acres of land around the city for housing for these sections of society. These flats will be allotted at Rs 3 lakhs each. They will be 328 sqft flats with all amenities such as water, power and drainage. At Agrahara Dasarahalli we are putting up 800 flats through a joint venture project. We have a budget of Rs 33 crores for this complex. We have already appointed a consultant for this venture.
In the new layouts, we are setting aside 100 acres for budget houses.
Do you have an agenda in mind for the city?
In Bangalore, we should ensure planned growth. We need to ensure it retains its glorious history of being a garden city while moving ahead in development. We should leave behind a livable and green city for the future generations.
What's the next big project from BDA that will make a difference to Bangalore?
Definitely the Peripheral Ring Road (PRR). It will be developed in two phases. It involves 3,500 acres of land and a cost of Rs 3,600 crores. It is a 116-km road around the Outer Ring Road. In the first phase, 65 km of the PRR will be developed. This will augment connectivity to the new international airport. The National Highways Authority of India is taking up the first phase of the project. The BDA will take up the second phase. This project will ease traffic conditions to a great extent. We have set aside 25 acres of this
project just for truck terminals and bus bays.
This apart, 12 lakes are being restored and developed by BDA around the city. This will entail complete development to make them recreational spaces. We have a budget of Rs 25 crores for this project. As part of this project, we will ensure zero contamination of these lakes with sewage. We will have jogging tracks, gardens and landscaping for people to enjoy nature here. The lakes will be beautiful spots and people will want to come and spend time here.


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