Thursday, April 05, 2007

Bangalore Facts - A City Crumbling And Losing it?

I am here in Bangalore (to be renamed Bengaluru very soon) for the past few days and am saddened at the deteriorating state of the city. Bangalore; dubbed the “Garden City” and the “Silicon Capital of India” might lose these tags if its present state is any indication. Home to prestigious colleges and research institutions, the city has the second highest literacy rate among the major cities in the nation. The city also has the highest per capita income in India. Unfortunately the city is beset with major problems such as air pollution, traffic congestion, crime and a host of other problems. My love of the cosmopolitan high tech city is being replaced with despise and disgust.

Just consider these facts:

  • The population of the city has risen from 2.8 million in 1990 to 6.5 million today.
  • The infrastructure of the city is unable to handle the chaotic growth.
  • The vehicular population at 2 million is very high. In 1994 there were just 0.7 million registered vehicles. It is now 3 times more than what it was 10 years ago. Vehicular traffic is growing at an average of 8% annually and the city’s roads are not just geared to handle this.
  • The city no longer has the salubrious and nice climate that it once enjoyed. Deforestation, massive increase of automobiles aided by the wrath of global warming are the culprits.
  • Corruption, greed, bureaucracy and red tape have only increased. Nothing moves without a bribe in government circles. Lawlessness has reached epidemic levels.
  • The pollution levels are mind boggling leading to various health problems.
  • The cost of living is very high. It is one of the costliest places to live in India.
  • Aided by banks, unscrupulous real estate agents and speculators real estate prices have shot through the roof and I am not sure if the rise is completely justified.

These deteriorating factors can cost Bangalore dearly with its software dominance being challenged. The city no doubt accounts for 35% of the country’s software exports at present but with the way it is going its top spot is likely to be snatched by ambitious neighboring cities like Hyderabad and Chennai where already numerous MNC’s have set up shop. The city; currently home to a host of global software firms is likely to see them disappear

Bangalore desperately needs a high class metro, international airport and excellent road network if it is to compete and retain its position as the desired city in India to live and work. If these are not addressed immediately Bangalore will lose in the race for superiority. Bangalore has not lost it completely but is showing signs of losing it.

2 comments:

mahi said...

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Martin said...

The real estate is one sector that features as one of the most badly hit sectors following the global economic meltdown. Especially in developing countries like India, where real estate was going great guns, so to say, faced a steep downfall following the recession and inflation. Especially in the metros and the developing cities like Bangalore, real estate suffered dearly as the demand for the residential units, though increasing became a pent up demand. The badly hit economy particularly the IT sector that has a strong foothold in Bangalore, and the high rates of interest in home loans made the demand for residential units go down or at best become a pent up demand. It is believed that once the situation stabilizes the demands would start surfacing. Another very problematic issue that the real estate dealers are facing is that patrons of the currently booked flats are not willing to pay the original price that they had agreed on but the current price that is less than the original amount owing to the current economic condition. Not only the residential units but the commercial properties like the hotels in Bangalore have also naturally seen a drop in their occupancy. The ITC hotels in Bangalore that registered the highest occupancy, as high as 83%, have been forced to cut down on their tariffs by almost 20% as the occupancy has also gone down by 20%. On the contrary, the business hotels in Bangalore are surviving the tough times as the number of business travelers has not been affected as hard as the umber of leisure hotels. The budget hotels in Bangalore have seen a hike owing to the obvious reasons.