Public - Intelligence! Private - Ignorance?
I spent seven days in bangalore in October 2005. Those were the top seven tough traffic days i had been through in bangalore, since late 1980s, from when i was a frequent visitor to the Garden City.
For those who just hear abt Bangalore traffic condition, let me give a heads up. When bangalore started growing big in IT during late 90s, an industrial estate was established by the State of Karnataka, called as Electronics City. This place is on the HosurRoad[southeast of bangalore], 17 kms from center of Bangalore and 23 Kms from Hosur[which is in Tamilnadu state].
During early 2000s, leading IT companies, who had offices scattered in rented building all over the city, started buying plots in the ECity, building campuses and moving in. Thus the traffic of the city started flowing in unison towards the ECity. Bangalore started growing towards south and south west. Real estate prices shot up around this area.
The the offshore boom started to grow exponentially. Companies started adding in 10000s per quarter. The real estate business fell into the hands of mafia, with prices rocketing artificially. More grave was the pressure put on the city's infrastructure. Lives of non-IT folks started to become miserable. The cost of living on the whole increased exponentially.
The traffic became highly unmanageable, with every IT firm impregnating the roads with hundreds of buses to ply their employees. The roads were completely blocked with the buses cars two wheelers of the employees. The 12 Km journey from a south bangalore residential colony like B.T.M layout and Koramangala to the Electronics city, which started to be 20 mins in 2000, is now 2.5 hrs.
Earlier there were traffic bottlenecks at the junctions. The administration resorted to building flyovers at some of these places, resulting in traffice reaching the bottle neck faster, thus the whole 12 Km stretch has become a 2.5hr bumper to bumper traffic zone.
The IT firms did
1. Import, hundreds of thousands of people into the city, without proper notice to the civic bodies
2. Resulting in artificial rise in real estate, making lives of non-IT people miserable
3. Putting huge pressure on the Roads and overall Infrastructure
4. Increase in cost of living of the whole city.
The IT firms are now joining hands to blame the government for not providing infrastructure. What will the government do?? Will the government plan for 100,000 professionals, which will quadruple in a years time??. Has the Industry given clear estimates of the needs??
No, i am not siding the government. The indifference it shows is highly condemnable.
What i am trying to convey is that, even an active government would not have been able to satisfy the industry demands and the pressure it puts.
Now, i compare the whole thing to the public enterprises of the early times. Simple example of BHEL in Trichy. When the company was in its peak during 80s, the sum of salary earned by BHEL employees was more than the rest of the city.
The Township had more number of cars than the rest of the city. Had the enterprise just built the huge company and let the pressure of the employees on the Civic bodies, Trichy would have crashed in a day. Thanjavur road in Trichy would have been the Hosur Road of Bangalore. Real estate prices and cost of living would have ensured that, all non bhelites would have to vacate the city.
For that matter, every public sector enterprise[Trichy itself has OFT, HAPP, Railway GoldenRock Workshop, Bangalore has BEL,......] had the vision to build Townships of its own whose benefits were not known[atleast to me], before seeing what the IT sector has done to bangalore.
Is it because the IT managers thought that their responsibilty ends where they pay taxes. Or is it the 'Core Competency' management concept, which drove them away from doing anything other than its core business, or is it sheer indifference and selfishness towards the society??
It is high time that Government proposes, owning a township as a pre requisite to according permission for any enterprise. The Fords, Hyundais, Nokias, and other IT companies will do the same thing to Chennai, what was done to Bangalore.
The govenment has to come up with a directive before approving a project, which asks for
1. the number of employees who are to be employed in the site.
2. What are the plans for the infrastructure needs for the employees?
3. Where does it plan to accomodate them?
4. Is the enterprise looking forward to the government for raising residential colonies?
5. How much is the company going to burden the existing infrastructure?
6. What are its plans to mitigate this?
Only when these questions are put up and satisfactory answers received, should a project be approved.
But i doubt, in the mad rat race to grab investment into a state/city, any government would take this seriously. But unless these are done, a city and its infrastructure will be severly strained. Read more!