The erstwhile city of lakes and gardens and the nation’s IT hub and start-up capital, Bengaluru has emerged as a dream destination for youths of the nation. But its crumbling infrastructure is posing a threat to mar the reputation of the otherwise beautiful and most livable city. Snail-paced growth in infrastructure is proving to be a spoiler for further expansions of existing establishments and scaring off new investors.
Bengaluru has witnessed a remarkable growth over the years. With its emergence as the IT hub, many people turned up in Bengaluru, thus creating an immense pressure on the city’s infrastructure. Despite all its efforts, the city is still struggling to keep pace with its explosive growth for a decade, leading to traffic jams, increasing air and noise pollution, and unregulated expansion of city limits to house its more than 10 million citizens.
Ambitious projects like the metro rail connectivity, monorail, elevated highways, and underground highways are at various stages of planning and execution. However, some of them are stalled for various reasons, and others are moving at a very slow pace that gives jitters to developers and common folk who want to invest in properties.
Despite all odds the city has been expanding to engulf the neighbouring districts of Bengaluru as well. Vast stretches of land between Hyderabad road, Sarjapur road and Hosur road are hotbeds of growth in real estate and IT sectors. Proximity to the international airport coupled with serenity of countryside Bengaluru has made these belts the favourite of new investors.
Meanwhile, there is an urgent need to drive infrastructure development and fix its civic problems for improving the quality of life in the city. And this needs to be done in tandem with the growth so that the new occupants are not pushed into meddlesome traffic woes that Whitefiled and Silk Board are prone to these days.
The civic body needs to develop roads to provide alternative routes, provide multi-level car parking in select locations, develop IT-BT hubs in the eastern and northern suburbs, build grade separators in busy junctions, develop lakes, and construct storm water drains.
According to a study, more than US$6 billion worth of man-hours are lost annually in Bengaluru due to the high volume of vehicles and poor quality of roads. There is an urgent need to cut down the number of private vehicles on the road.
Carpooling could be a good near-term solution, while building a reliable public transport system could be the only sustainable long-term solution. Expanding the Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation’s bus fleet will help provide an efficient public transport system to the city’s residents.
The government needs to ensure the completion of Phase I of Namma Metro on a priority basis. Furthermore, the Phase II must be initiated and executed in a timely fashion. Increasing the metro by 250 kms by 2020 may make life much better in Bengaluru.
Similarly, urgent measures are needed to improve the city’s road infrastructure. The initiation of TenderSURE-based well-designed ‘better city roads’ needs to be scaled up in order to provide standardized footpaths for walkers. The government also needs to implement the North-South and East-West elevated corridors project to ease the traffic pressure and reduce commuting time across the city.
Fortunately for us, there are signs of positive change in speedy execution. Opening of the east-west corridor of Namma Metro was a breakthrough. Now 28 km of the first phase of the 42-km long Bengaluru Metro is operational. On the 24-km north-south line, 10 km is currently operational. Once the remaining part also is commissioned, much of the suffocation will be addressed and the city will get a new life.
The state and national governments need to give more attention to urban development and planning in order to support the growth. In the last few years, not much investment was seen in Bengaluru due to problems relating to good civic governance, garbage collection, and crumbling roads. All these have to be fixed. If Bengaluru wants to live up to the reputation of being the IT hub and the start-up capital of the nation, then focus must be on improving the city’s infrastructure and tackling its bottlenecks.
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