Friday, February 27, 2009

eddyurappa: I have a special plan to clear the traffic mess

eddyurappa: I have a special plan to clear the traffic mess
By: B V Shiva Shankar Date: 2009-02-27

But just wait a bit, he tells Bangaloreans in an exclusive interview to mark his 67th birthday

MiD DAY met chief minister B S Yeddyurappa yesterday on the eve of his 67th birthday. He spoke about a range of Bangalore concerns: traffic, roads, Metro, outsourcing, pubs and art.

MiDDAY: How does it feel to celebrate your birthday as the first BJP chief minister of the south?
Yeddyurappa: I have completed 66 years and am entering my 67th year tomorrow. But I don't feel I am that old. I still feel young. Young in mind and action. I am always restless and in a hurry.

I have many goals to reach and many things to do. I am not keen on celebrating my birthday grandly. I would like to pay a visit to some temple and offer prayers. That is my usual practice.

I am visiting Tirupati this birthday. I will offer prayers in the morning and return to Bangalore to resume work.

Young man in a big hurry

As for celebrating my birthday as the first BJP chief minister of the south, I don't feel any special. I have decided to keep a low profile on my birthday as long as I am in office. Also, I have decided not to accept garlands or gifts hereafter.

MD: Bangaloreans have several questions for you as you go in for elections. Are you going to address them, or is your priority going to be the villages?
BSY: My government attaches equal importance to the development of rural and urban areas. Bangalore, being the capital, naturally receives our utmost attention.

A fifth of the state's population lives in Bangalore and nearly half of the state's tax revenue comes from Bangalore. We have earmarked Rs 3,000 crore for Bangalore's development in 2009-10.

Providing new infrastructure matching global standards is among our top priorities. We have upgraded 1,187 km of road in Bangalore this year and would like to upgrade the main roads by spending Rs 2,000 crore under the private-public partnership model.

MD: What are your plans for IT and BPO sectors, now that Obama has said he is going to stop outsourcing to India?
BSY: We would like to retain the primacy Bangalore enjoyed in the area of IT and BPO sector. Even if America stops outsourcing, we'll explore other destinations abroad, besides encouraging domestic business.

MD: When will work on Namma Metro be completed, and why is it behind schedule? Can you give us a specific date when Bangaloreans can ride the Metro?
BSY: The first phase will be completed and commissioned by September 2010. And the entire project will be completed by 2012. Though the Metro was moving at a snail's pace initially, it is now on the fast track.
During the last nine months, Rs 450 crore has been spent on it, and that amounts to 50 per cent of what has been spent so far. The state government has allocated Rs 600 crore as its contribution for the project for 2009-10.

MD: How do you plan to decongest Bangalore roads? Are you thinking of encouraging public transport and discouraging cars? Are you worried about the Nano and the pressure on the roads that the small car will bring?
BSY: Bangalore definitely needs to be decongested. I cannot reveal the strategy as the legislature is in the session. You will come to know our steps in a while.

MD: You have said you are against pub culture. Bangalore has already banned dancing, and is enforcing an 11 pm deadline. How do you make Bangalore a world-class city that attracts top professionals and artistes?
BSY: Pub culture is not our culture. However, I am not against pubs. But decency should be maintained in public places, whether in pubs or other places.

MD: But it was reported that your daughter supported pubs?
BSY: My daughter never supported pub culture. She only said it was for individuals to decide. Nobody can justify indecent acts in public places.

MD: What about minister Ramachandre Gowda's attack on modern art? How do you react to the idea that your government is against liberal expression, and is saffronising everything, including the 'fight against terror'?
BSY: My government is not against liberal expression. But indecent portrayal of gods and goddesses is deplorable. We are not interested in saffronising anything. The fight against terror is the need of hour. We are taking steps to enlist the support of everyone in this regard.

MD: Karnataka is a multi-cultural, multi-religious state, and many are saying your government is polarising communities. How do you plan to bring communities together, especially in tense places like Mangalore?
BSY: We believe in peaceful coexistence of all communities. Communal harmony is our topmost priority. We have formulated a programme to support institutions and individuals involved in promoting pace and harmony.
We offer financial support for the cause in the 2009-10 budget.


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