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Karnataka govt dreams big of a mega-city in Bangalore

By Pallavi Sengupta
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    Bangalore, July 11: The Siddaramaiah govt dreams big when it comes to developing the infrastructure of the city, but can it act towards it is a matter of time and scope. It has promised of a Bangalore mega city with some of the most advanced technologies, living spaces and transportation system. Here is an analysis of the present situation and the potential that the city has to grow as a well-connected city.


    The Election Manifesto

    The election manifesto has an 18-point 'charter for Bangalore', which promises north-south and south-east long elevated flyovers, five auditoriums, four botanical gardens, and five high-tech stadiums. Moreover, the manifesto promises that the government will have a law exclusively for the Greater Bangalore region, which brings all the basic service providers under a single agency, reads the Postnoon. The manifesto also offers to develop urban areas.

    A recent study ‘Sectoral and Spatial Spillover Effects of Infrastructure Investment: A Case Study of Bengaluru', conducted by the London-based Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) states that investments in infrastructure can lead to economic benefits of the city, especially when it comes to land value. It finds that developments in the property sector in Kanakapura Road, Magadi Road, Peenya, Bannerghatta Road and Mysore Road, have resulted from a number of infrastructure projects.

    One can observe a demand-supply mismatch when it comes to the increasing demand of space for industrial and IT infrastructure. Hence, the city is bound to expand beyond its own limits. Already foreseen by the government,  it has proposed a Greater Bengaluru Region with infrastructure and administrative connections with surrounding cities like Chikballapura, Kolar, Doddaballapura, Ramnagara, Kanakapura, and Tumkur.

    Financial Brownie Points

    Adding to the economy of the city would be the proposed 1,000-km-long Bangalore-Mumbai industrial corridor. The Bangalore Chamber of Industry and Commerce (BCIC) proposes the development of the industrial corridor as an alternative to the eight-lane road from Bidar to Chamarajanagar, proposed in Congress's manifesto.

    BCIC has, further, urged for the development of various sector-specific industrial zones along the corridor. Keen on being partners with the Karnataka Government, Britain announced on June 5 that it would jointly finance a feasibility study on the proposed corridor.

    The industrial areas that would be covered in the corridor would be the districts of Tumkur, Shimoga, Chitradurga, Haveri, Gadag, Hubli, Dharwad, Belgaum and Bagalkot. A National Investment and Manufacturing Zone (NIMZ) has also been planned in Tumkur as a part of the project.

    Connecting the city with the suburbs and the satellite cities would be the next point of interest for the government. With the metro rail constructions already missing deadline, transportation and communication in the city projects a sorry state.

    However, the government sees the potential of economic benefit in a circular railway conncetion to towns like Tumkur, Devanahalli, Hoskote, Yelahanka, Hosur, Anekal, Kengeri, Ramnagara, Doddballapur; this, in fact, can spur economic growth. Moreover, it can not only decongest Bangalore, but also develop the surrounding towns.

    In fact, The Rail Indian Technical and Economic Services (RITES) had conducted a feasibility study of the proposed project and the final report submitted in November 2012 batted for the commuter rail.

    "Compared to the Metro's 250-crore-per-km and the Monorail's 175-crore-per-km rates, the commuter rail costs are as low as 15-20 crore per km. Even then, it covers a total of 405 km and can carry two million passengers per day as per the RITES report," reports  Postnoon.

    Moreover, the entire railway plan is built on the foundation of the existing railway tracks, which makes it cost-effective and economicall viable.

    With the above-mentioned pointers, 'namma' Bangalore's potential as a mega city might not be a far-fetched dream afterall; however, time would tell how fast the government works toward achieving the dream.

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