Thursday, February 2, 2012

2012 - Will Bangalore be Better Off, Infrastructure-Wise!

Bangalore 2012 – Will we be better off, Infrastructure wise!! Though there has been lot of visioning & planning exercises but Bangalore has not delivered on any major infrastructure project in over a decade. There have only been mega plans with unrealistic budgets, corruption charges, protests & court cases. Consequently, Bangalore are loosing confidence in our government’s ability to solve perennial infrastructure problems of traffic jams, erratic water supply & power outages. So what can we realistically expect to achieve in 2012, as far as infrastructure is concerned? With the opening of Reach-1 between Baiyapanahalli & Cricket Stadium (6.7 km), Namma Metro seems to have picked up steam & 2012 should see the opening of Reach-2 from Leprosy Hospital to Mysore Road (6.4 km) & Reach-3 from Sampige Road to Yeshwanthpur (5.1 km). With the cabinet approval of Phase-2, Namma Metro seems to be on surer footing.
Another major infrastructure project which has realistic chance of completion in 2012, is “Signal Free Outer Ring Road”, the 31 Km stretch from Silk Board to Hebbal Junction. The first phase, launched in October 2008 at a cost of Rs. 93.94 Crore by BDA, included flyovers at Agara and Iblur Junctions. This work was completed in 2011. Second phase was launched in June 2009 covering 8 junctions at a total estimated cost of Rs 333.68 Crores. This work is expected to be completed in 2012, providing signal free ride on ORR between Silk Board & Hebbal, a major relief for South-East Bangalore & IT Corridor. Airport access has been a major concern. BDA is planning “East Side Airport Access Corridor” from Chandapura (on Hosur Road) to BIAL via Gunjur & Budhigere. This project needs to be expedited. Bellary road elevated corridor should also be completed in 2012, giving easy access to the airport.
As far as BBMP is concerned, it has failed to deliver on it’s promises. The assurance of new BBMP commissioner to complete languishing projects should see the completion of much delayed underpasses at Kadirenahalli, Tagore Circle and CNR Rao Circle. BBMP should focus on much needed pedestrian infrastructure, parking facilities & solid waste management instead of planning large infrastructure projects, which it can’t deliver.
Lakes & Water bodies, which were once source of drinking water, have all but died. In 2009 BDA took up the revival of 12 lakes costing Rs 105 Crores. Work on 10 of these lakes is nearing completion. The BDA will take up additional 29 lakes this year but the work isn’t expected be completed in 2012. However, two largest lakes, Varhur & Bellandur, remain highly polluted with sewage & chemicals. If rejuvenated, these could be used to supply brown water to industries in EAST Bangalore. BDA was entrusted with Bellandur Lake Rejuvenation, but is unlikely to be completed in 2012.

BWSSB has ambitious plans of supplying 500MLD of Cauvery water to Bangalore in 2012 from it’s Cauvery 4th stage scheme. Work is well under progress & we hope that BWSSB will deliver on it’s promise However what will not happen in 2012 includes, never ending traffic snarls at major Arterial Roads of Bangalore. Proposed 12 Signal Free Arterial Road Corridors are languishing. 5 of these 12, which were entrusted to BDA have seen some progress but the remaining 7 with BBMP haven’t progressed. These 12 Arterial Road Corridors are crucial to ease traffic congestion in Bangalore & the government should expedite their completion through BDA or KRDCL. So, while there is plenty to look forward to in 2012, Bangalore’s infrastructure will remain woefully inadequate unless state government takes a holistic approach & provides for necessary financial support. Brand Bangalore has taken a major hit. Our new Chief Minister has an opportunity to make a mark & leave his legacy by making Bangalore’s Infrastructure a priority, which will also give electoral dividends in 2013. Will he rise to occasion? We hope & believe that he will!


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