Bangalore's 'Great Transformation' - The Problem

Publication Type:

Journal Article

Source:

Seminar, Volume 694, p.12-16 (2017)

URL:

http://india-seminar.com/semframe.html

Abstract:

OVER the last two decades, Bangalore (now officially known as Bengaluru) has undergone not only a rapid spatial and demographic expansion but also far-reaching social, economic and environmental changes. From all the talk about Bangalore as the epicentre of India’s IT industry with its emergent ‘world-class’ infrastructure, one could conjure in the mind’s eye a digitally enabled city that is hyper efficient, generating high revenues and meeting the needs of the world’s most savvy professionals. In reality, Bangalore’s municipal government is bankrupt, the city and its rural periphery are suffering from extreme drought and when it does rain, the city’s streets flood (a new phenomenon) – leading many people to question the recent pattern of unbridled urban development and how the city has been planned (or not). Slums continue to expand (but the same cannot be said of the incomes of the poor), unbearable road congestion has produced air pollution almost as bad as Delhi’s, and the water and climate crises have been exacerbated by the filling up of lakes for construction and the felling of thousands of trees for road widening projects meant to (irrationally) accommodate the accelerating growth of private vehicles. Smart? Efficient? Sustainable? Fed up and angry, the public has been speaking out against Bangalore’s unbridled development. The latest proposed scheme to ease the city’s traffic woes, the infamous steel flyover, was the subject of widespread public protests. It was vilified as an example of crony capitalism and deemed overpriced and of little utility, the project was finally dropped by the Karnataka state government