I have stayed in Bangalore for about 2 years and I have come to like this city very much. I haven't stayed in Mumbai for long but having stayed in Delhi for last two months and having visited Chennai, I think Bangalore is the only 'big' city where I can survive without losing my mind.
The biggest allure of Bangalore, as anybody who has stayed in Bangalore for some time would know, is its weather. Bangalore is the city with best weather in India. Period. No comparisons. A close second in this list is the all year round offering of a variety of quizzes. To a quizzer like me, Bangalore is the next best thing to heaven. Then there are other small goodies like book shops where the owner knows about the book he is selling, people who are not excessively rude, and a collection of young people from different places in India.
Even then, I have a few concerns about Bangalore. Bangalore has still not been able to upstage either Delhi or Mumbai and it has serious competition from cities like Hyderabad and Chennai. In this post, I will look at some of the measures which Bangalore can take to launchpad itself in the same league as Delhi and Mumbai and still retain its old world charm.
1. Complete the Metro
I first came to Bangalore in July 2007. The construction for the Metro had just begin. I figured that the Metro should be up and running by 2009. Its 2010 now and there are still no signs of Metro. To add to the misery, most of the roads of Bangalore have been dug up to construct the towers for Metro. Bangalore didn't have very wide roads to begin with. With the increasing population and roads being dug up, traffic has become really slow moving.
2. Develop the Suburbs
People should be given incentives to move to the suburbs. If you can't guarantee them water and electricity, why would anyone want to move to suburbs, especially when the real estate bubble has pushed the price of property in suburbs very high as well. Bangalore proper can hold only so many people and I think that level was breached quite long back.
3. Drop the Kannada thing
This could be the most controversial point of the post. In an age of globalization, where the world is marching towards one global language, it is foolish to rant and protest about having road signs in Kannada. If you insist on making the city unfriendly to visitors, the visitors would stop coming. I guess it shouldn't be very difficult to understand even for rabble rousers. Its alright to make Kannada compulsory up to a certain standard in schools. It is okay to mark funds to promote Kannada literature. But it is not okay at all to raise trouble because the shop names are not written in Kannada. Even the so called 'cow belt' is not so foolish. Only the smallest shops in UP and Bihar have names written in Hindi. Why should they? Everybody, who has money to shop in there, understands English. So, dear 'Bengaluru', do yourself a favour and drop this language shit.
4. Better Public Transport
Bangalore is crying out for a better and cleaner public transport. First step, kick the butt of Autowallahs. There are simply too many autowallahs in Bangalore. There is a distinct need of consolidations in the autorickshaw industry. There should be two or three big service providers and the autowallahs should be forced to affiliate to them. That would make the autowallahs accountable to someone. Remove the traffic police. These people are totally corrupt and unhelpful to people. Yesterday, I took a prepaid auto from Forum mall to Mysore Road. The Bill - 120 bucks. The day before I had hailed an Auto from the road and paid him 60 bucks for the same ride. If the people designated to protect the commuters are so corrupt, then where should the poor commuter go?
Thankfully, Bangalore has moved in the right direction with Bus transport and there are more number of Buses on the road. The frequency and the number of AC buses has increased as well. This should help in keeping people from using cars and other environmentally ineffecient means of travel.
5. Impose big taxes on cars and petrol
Bangalore hasn't got the infrastructure to be a city where everyone is riding his/her own car to office. To dissuade people from using cars, impose steepling tariff on car purchase and petrol for personal use.
Here are my views. Bangaloreans, please pour in your views/comments about the post.
The informality story has a demand side
2 days ago