With a total population of 96.21 lakh people, spread thick at 4,381 people per square kilometer, Bangalore is definitely a very crowded city. It is therefore not surprising that Bangalore is bursting at its seams and growing in every direction. The direction of the growth however can be reined in so that Bangalore can transform into a well-networked mega city.
The government promises
With the Congress rising to power in Karnataka, the expectations to transform Bangalore and Karnataka are looming large. The government headed by Chief Minister Siddaramiah, not backing down form the challenge has made several promises to take Bangalore to its full potential. The Government’s plan for addressing the city and the suburbs abysmal infrastructure and transportation are currently in focus.
The Congress election manifesto has plenty of information about the expansion plans in Bangalore. An “18 point charter for governance” for Bangalore promises to improvise on the infrastructure. The manifesto contains promises for north-south and south-east long flyovers, five auditoriums, five state-of-the-art stadiums and four botanical gardens to make Bangalore the well networked mega city it can be.
The manifesto further points to a law that will bring all the basic service providers in Bangalore under one single agency. The current BBMP (Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike) organization will be reviewed to bring in units that can be administered better. The manifesto also offers development programs for the villages that will be a part of the BBMP.
Why invest in infrastructure?
With Bangalore contributing to more than half of Karnataka’s GDP, supporting further growth of the city cannot be underscored enough. London-based Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) recently conducted a study in Bangalore called, “Sectorial and Spatial Spillover Effects of Infrastructure Investment: A Case Study of Bengaluru”. The study analyzed the relation between infrastructure investment and economic benefits. The research concluded that investing intelligently in the public infrastructure can stimulate commercial investment and residential building construction.
One of the most noticeable effects of infrastructure development in the city is the increase in land value. Along major roadway developments like the Mysore road, Peenya road, Bannerghatta road, Magdi road and Kanakpura road there have been significant property investments. This effect is known as the spatial spillover effect of the physical infrastructure projects.
The demand for space in Bangalore is an age old debate. The need for commercial and residential space is on the rise with the steady influx of IT and knowledge industry into the city. The government controls and regulatory frameworks cause infrastructural bottlenecks which in turn affects the real estate sector growth. Once the government creates conducive regulations and frameworks for infrastructural development, the real estate sector and many other sectors will also proportionately grow.
Growing out of the city limits
Numerous experts have talked about the need for Bangalore to grow out of the current city limits and integrate the surrounding townships. Congress also seems to be for the expansion as it has proposed infrastructure and administrative connections with the surrounding areas of Doddaballapura, Ramanagara, Tumkur, Chikballapura and Kanakpura.
The economic growth in the city will also be boosted by the proposals made by the Congress government and the BCIC. The Bangalore Chamber of Industry and Commerce has stood behind the proposed 1,000 kilometer industrial corridor between Bangalore and Mumbai. The BCIC also believe in the development if various industrial zones that are sector specific along the corridor. The industrial corridor is an alternative to the Congress’ proposal of an eight lane road connecting Bidar and Chamarajnagar.
The corridor construction will be in partnership with Britain as stated by the British Prime Minister David Cameron during his visit to India in February. A feasibility study about the corridor construction was to be jointly financed by UK and India as announced on June 5th by the British High Commissioner to India Sir James Bevan after his meeting with Siddaramiah.
The corridor would cover the industrial areas of Chitradurga, Tumkur, Hubli, Shimoga, Haveri, Gadag, Dharwad, Belgaum and Bagalkot. As a part of the project, a National Investment and Manufacturing Zone (NIMZ) has been proposed to be set up in Tumkur. The corridor once completed will change the economic scene in Bangalore beyond imagination.
Congress’ manifesto promises many changes for Bangalore, one of the major changes proposed is the development of a circular railway system for Bangalore that will create a rapid transit system. This railway system has the potential to transform Bangalore by connecting all the neighboring towns and cities. It has however been on the back burner for a very long time owing to the lack of Central and State government support.
A transport system that connects towns like Tumkur, Devanahalli, Yelahanka, Hosur, Anekal, Hoskote, Kengeri, Ramanagara and Doddaballapura can spawn economic growth. The transport system will decongest Bangalore while promoting and developing the surrounding towns as well.
The RITES or Rail Indian Technical and Economic Services conducted a study that said that the proposed railway system would be beneficial. Covering a total area of 405 kilometers and with the ability to carry nearly two million passengers every day, RITES said that the commuter rail would outperform the metro and the monorail and can be installed at a fraction of the cost of the monorail and the metro.
Further developing the commuter railway wouldn’t cost time and money as the project utilizes the existing railway tracks. The transport infrastructure in Bangalore can be completely refreshed by reusing the existing railway system and integrating the metro through common rolling stock and ticketing.
Over time numerous studies and experts have pronounced developing infrastructure as the key to increase economic growth in the city. A combination of all the proposed infrastructure improvements when completed can transform the congested state that Bangalore is in currently. Whether the government will address the infrastructure issues in Bangalore and make it the mega city it can be, is anybody’s guess.