Friday, July 29, 2005

The BIG BANG(ALORE)

It looks as though I just took my train from Chennai to Bangalore on the 18th of June ’04 and it’s already one year past since. This is how I described Bangalore after 1 week’s observation,

As of Bangalore, it’s a boring city. Life here starts really late and ends quite early, and the climate makes people really lazy.
The roads are too small but people are damn rich. So there are too many self driven huge cars congesting the already chocked roads.
Each traffic signal can stop you for a minimum of 100 seconds and thus to travel 8 kms it takes close to 30 mins... (By bike you can travel 25Km in 45 mins in Chennai).
Bus network is not applauding and totally undependable... No where else can we see bus conductors stopping busses for adding natural manures to the soil... (So much for the garden city)


And after a year, I find my observations haven’t changed much, I am still sticking to my point that Bangalore is not up to the mark.

Bangalore’s best asset is its chill weather; the temperature strives hard to reach early thirties for most part of the year. This is what attracts people from all parts of the country and the globe. Still sometimes it could make our lives a misery. People who frequently travel in and out of the city would know the ear-cracking chillness early in the morning.

Bangalore is truly cosmopolitan, even a fruit vendor can talk a minimum of four languages and language is never a barrier for survival. Sharp eyes would have noticed that vehicles from other states (with their respective state registrations) equal the number of vehicles from Karnataka, and of course this has led to less road space and motorized vehicle not even sparing the pedestrian pavements.

The once retired man’s paradise suddenly woke up late to discover its population gushing beyond the threshold and yet the infrastructure remained the same since times immemorial. Traffic snails the whole day and it takes 45 minutes for bikes to commute 10 KM, I leave it to the reader to guess the plight of the car commuters.

I have to point out that a flyover at Domlur, the heart of a busy junction on Airport Road that was in-progress for 2 years then, recently celebrated its third year of dormancy. The issue was that the contractor (UP State Bridge Constriction Company) and the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) had some issues on project commitments. The BDA terminated the contract and the contractor dragged BDA to the court. After some lull the court commented that “Contracts are not shirts to keep changing often” and ordered the contractor to resume work but the BDA has decided take it to a higher court. What about public nuisances caused due to that? The BDA is still having its Eyes Wide Shut.

One of the most affected is the aviation industry, with frequent delays and ‘no show’ cases triggered due to heavily inching traffic. Since they are unable to persuade the government to get it resolved, they inevitably delay the fights and also they advice the passengers to leave early.

Real Estate values have soured up multifold in the last few years. A two bed room apartment in city limits, that was rented for anywhere within 3 to 5 thousand two years back is now rented for 10 to 12 thousand. The IT industry that attracts people with un-realistically high salary increases paying power of this small section of the public and thereby forcing the local urban middle-class to move out of the city. The owners of these houses have a policy “You earn more so pay more”.

There was an interesting incident when the Finance Minister of India recently visited Bangalore and looking at the plight of the infrastructure, advised the Government to take necessary actions. The government cleverly put the ball back on his count demanding for more funds and the FM shot back by offering some finance classes to the government on handling the situation with the available funds.

Bangalore has a pet of its own, none other than man’s best friends the canine mutts. Every inhabited locality in Bangalore has a comparable mutt population. And they consider the night times as their own and consider man walking during the nights as an intrusion to their privacy.


And the worst is yet to come, if Government and bureaucracy haunt Bangalore from within, security issues have shook the living hell out of the city. From petty thieves to terrorist, from mobile phone theft to the threat of mobility destruction, Bangalore has it all. If we have thieves who go up to stripping you naked to steal all you possess, we also get news that if London was a victim to these blasts, Bangalore is not far behind.

Will the authorities act before this city explodes? Will the projects like the New International Airport and Metro Rail that is still on papers ever become reality ? Will Bangalore be safe for human movement? Only time has the answer.

3 comments:

VJ said...

Well well...Bangalore is such a disaster after all! Its unbelievable that the Domlur flyover is still under construction. That place is such a busy spot and I don't understand why the CM is not throwing attention to that.

The KR Puram flyover took over 4-5 years for completion. The construction time was probably well under 1 year - but the politics revolving around it dragged it for such a long time. Not only it caused inconvenience to the public, but it was dangerous to drive as well. I remember a couple of ITPL folks who have met with an accident driving in that road(well there was none actually)!

How is the scene with the electricity and water concerns in Bangalore?

Karthik said...

@VJ: There are frequent power cuts in Bangalore, most of them during early evening. We've just got used to it.
Water is hard, yet the supply has been uninterrupted till date.
As of the CM and his stooges, they are busy fighting with the opposition and sometimes even with the allies the JD(S).

Echo/Lavanya said...

Such is the plight of places that everyone loves. My beloved Ooty is such a sorry sight today. The beauty of the Queen has been mercilessly wrinkled with buildings.

My fond memories of several summer vacations spent at Ooty came shattering to the ground when I saw her last, a couple of years ago.

I hope Bangalore gets some respite from inorganic IT growth.