Saturday, March 29, 2008

‘Developing infrastructure is a continuous process…’

‘Developing infrastructure is a continuous process…’
Bangalore’s population is rapidly increasing. The city draws people from all over the country. Infrastructure is the key to development of the city. V P Baligar, Principal Secretary, Infrastructure Development Department, outlines the plans to create efficient infrastructure, in this chat with Sai Prasanna

The city's population is heading for the one crore mark. What plans to augment infrastructure to meet the demand?
The Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), Bangalore Metropolitan Region Development Authority (BMRDA) and Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) are working on long-term solutions to meet the demand from the increasing population, especially in the transport and housing sectors. For example, ring roads and arterial roads, widening of existing roads, underpasses, flyovers, townships etc are being planned. The Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) is working to augment the drinking water supply and the Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (BESCOM) is working to supply power to meet the increasing needs of power in the city. The Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) will be providing more buses to cater to the demand from the international airport, which is almost ready. It will cater to the needs of the existing passengers and projected increasing demand too.
What kind of infrastructure do you have for the emerging new localities around the city?
BDA has been developing its own layouts where they are providing proper infrastructure. In areas which were newly added to the BBMP, they are planning roads, power, drains, etc. Integrated townships come under the infrastructure department and we are providing all the facilities over there. Also, in the new localities being developed by private developers, 20 percent of the built-up area has been earmarked for low income groups. BDA, in fact, is providing more than 20 percent in localities being developed by it.
What kind of costing will this entail and where is the money coming from?
The cost varies depending on the area as the land costs can vary from about Rs 30 lakhs an acre to Rs one crore an acre. In localities being developed by private developers, they invest their own money to develop sites. The BDA also has sufficient funds for developing the localities that come under them. As regards the BBMP, they need to augment their resources through property taxes.
What are the major projects you have in the short term?
The Public Works Department (PWD) has taken up 46 roads around Bangalore at a cost of Rs 100 crores for development. Around 50 percent of the work on these roads has already been completed. Widening of Bellary Road from High Grounds Police station will be completed in a month's time. All the underpasses will be completed by April end, when the international airport starts functioning. The trumpet interchange will also be completed before the opening of the airport. Different road over bridges (ROBs) by the BDA, BBMP, and the railways will also be completed in the next three to four months. Road widening works taken up by the BBMP will also be complete in three to four months.
What is the long term solution for Bangalore's needs?
The Outer Ring Road (ORR) should be made signalfree. Also, the Peripheral Ring Road (PRR), Satellite Town Ring Roads (STRR), expressway to the international airport, and the high speed rail link will all help to provide long-term solutions for Bangalore's steadily growing needs. The development of the elevated road on NH-7, between Hebbal and Yelahanka, is in the planning stage. The elevated road on Hosur Road will be commissioned in the next eight to nine months. The Bus Rapid Transport System (BRTS) will also making commuting easier, by introducing more buses and at a greater frequency. It is also important to make the city pedestrian-friendly by having proper footpaths and pedestrian crossings. Also, the walk-to-work concept should be encouraged within a distance of two to three kilometres.
How long before the civic infrastructure makes commuting in Bangalore fast and easy?
Everyday, more than 1,000 vehicles are being added on Bangalore's roads. In such a situation, it's not possible to provide a solution and then sit back. This is a continuous and ongoing process. So, as the needs of Bangalore rise, we will provide adequate infrastructure simultaneously to cater to the needs.


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