Reviving Bengaluru: Can this budget do it?

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | CHANDRASHEKAR G
Published Feb 23, 2016, 4:31 am IST
Updated Feb 23, 2016, 4:31 am IST
Bengaluru needs micro-planning that takes a local issue and deals with it using a macro template.
Urban experts are looking to the government to increase  its allocation for the city to help fix crumbling roads, transportation facilities, and poor drains as the BBMP is almost always short of funds to meet Bengaluru’s needs.
 Urban experts are looking to the government to increase its allocation for the city to help fix crumbling roads, transportation facilities, and poor drains as the BBMP is almost always short of funds to meet Bengaluru’s needs.

With the state budget scheduled for March 18, urban experts are looking to the government to increase  its allocation for the city to help fix crumbling roads, transportation facilities, and poor drains as the  BBMP is almost always short of funds to meet Bengaluru’s needs.

City in desperate need of micro-governance: Harish Bijoor
Bengaluru needs micro-planning that takes a local issue and deals with it using a macro template. The city desperately needs such micro-governance and not big words and plans that obfuscate issues in their macro-sweep.

 

The budget is not an event. It is a journey.  But sadly, many of us see it as the former and forget where it’s headed over the next 12 months. The city needs to focus on its roads as they are limited in stretch, and carry a large number of vehicles.

As the demands of commuters continue to rise, we must look at more investment in public transportation. While focusing on upkeep of roads, the BBMP must simultaneously think about traffic planning through regulations. What Delhi experimented with recently — different days on roads for cars with odd, even registration numbers — could work for Bengaluru too.

Waste management is another huge issue. We generate garbage without a care. Garbage is produced by us, the citizens. We really own it. We need to understand and learn ways and means of managing it. We cannot outsource garbage to Mavallipura, Mandur, Kempapura and the 12 other far-out destinations that were picked in the past. The state budget needs to keep aside money for educating people on segregation and issues related to managing garbage at source, rather than transporting it to distant locations.
(Brand-expert & CEO, Harish Bijoor Consults Inc.)

Multiple agencies should be integrated for better outcomes: V. Ravichandar
Bengaluru needs an investment of Rs 25,000 crore a year to pull it out of its decay. The major chunk of it should come from the state government, which needs to budget at least Rs 5,000 crore per annum for the city, for a decade, to ensure that Bengaluru gets on par with the best of cities.

A commuter train, a Bus Rapid Transit System, more BMTC buses, and TenderSure roads could be the drivers of development to make Bengaluru a better place. The state under the Bengaluru Minister’s leadership and supported by the city Mayor can make this happen. The BBMP, with its limited resources, cannot fund these mega projects.

The resources of the BBMP (post salary, interest costs) are better used for local area development, parks, maintenance and small scale projects like local, connector roads, drains, and so on.

The state government should consider setting up a co-ordination committee under the chairmanship of the Chief Minister with the Bengaluru Minister as co-chairman. Multiple agencies need to be aligned and integrated for better outcomes and to ensure that the budgeted amounts are well spent.
(The writer is a civic evangelist)

Cleaning up Bellandur, Varthur lakes should be high on agenda: R. K. Misra
Bengaluru needs an investment of Rs 30,000 crore over the next five years to improve its infrastructure. The BBMP, which has a regular annual budget of Rs 1,000 crore, needs at least another Rs 50,000 crore in financial assistance for three years to put the city back on track and make it livable.

Although it is undoubtedly the money-spinner of the state, the city does not get its due share of investments or in devolution of funds. It’s time this changed. The state government has to  embark on mega projects to ensure that Bengaluru is transformed into a world class city.

The Metro Rail may be on its way, but the city as a whole is crying for better connectivity, especially in the economic corridor between KR Puram and the Central Silk Board. Roping in more players for a Public Private Partnership (PPP) to develop Metro Rail stations and increase the Floor Area Ration along its corridor to help the BBMP earn additional revenue through its commercial exploitation, could be a solution. The  Peripheral Ring Road and elevated corridors too could benefit from a Public Private Partnership.

While a commuter train could make travel a pleasure in the city and earn it more revenue,  other areas badly in need of attention are solid waste management and the traffic jams frequently seen on its roads. White topping in a phased manner could be the answer to the killer potholes on many of the city’s roads.

Revival of the Bellandur and Varthur lakes has to be high on the agenda as well and the government must immediately  invest about Rs 300 crore in setting up more sewage treatment plants to prevent our water bodies from getting worse polluted and contaminating our groundwater more than they already have. The treated water can be sold to industries as well.
 (The writer is an urban expert)

Create land bank to provide houses for urban poor: Kathyayini Chamaraj
Bengaluru, which is home to almost 20 per cent of the state’s population, certainly needs special attention in the state budget, especially as cities are not receiving their rightful share of  the revenue earned to perform all the functions devolved to them by the 74th Constitutional Amendment.

We also need to alter the perception that Bengaluru’s paramount  need is “infrastructure” which is understood as signal-free or elevated corridors and so on. The idea of infrastructure needs to include ‘social infrastructure’. Money has to be set aside in the state budget for acquiring land to create a land bank for providing ownership and rental housing for the urban poor and migrant workers.
As for the allegedly intractable problem of traffic in Bengaluru, the state needs to provide its share for a suburban as well as a circular rail system for the city besides a rail link to the airport from a nearby existing railway station.

All of this can become reality at one-tenth the cost of the Metro Rail, elevated corridors and the like. The state also needs to bear the losses of the  BMTC to an extent of Rs 200 to Rs 300 crores and  support an improved bus transport system, backed with a trunk route and feeder system for last mile connectivity.
As for garbage, funds must be provide for lidded containers in push-carts and tempos for collecting the segregated waste. We also need funds for acquiring land for local processing of garbage.
(Executive Trustee, CIVIC)

Water, sanitation issues should be addressed: D. S. Rajshekar
The budget of the civic body should be in sync with the needs and demands of the city, providing for  motorable and pothole-free roads, adequate water supply, and better connectivity through the Metro Rail  and a suburban railway.

The BBMP cannot do justice with its limited and poor financial health to such projects. First, the work on the Metro Rail should be expedited and the suburban rail used as a feeder service for it. The state government must draw up a five-year plan to execute these projects. The elevated and ring roads also need financial assistance from the state government as the BBMP cannot be relied on to build them otherwise.

Water and sanitation are other essentials. They must be planned keeping in mind the growth the city is likely to see in 15 or 20 years. Sanitation has become a major concern as well with the city losing out on funds because of its poor performance on this front.

We need to set up sewage treatment plants at the entry points of lakes and only let the treated water into them. This will improve the groundwater table and reduce the city’s dependency on the limited Cauvery water. The Storm Water Drain (SWD) network, especially in low lying areas, needs to be strengthened to ensure that the city is not left marooned  in heavy rain. Revamping of mass transportation would be better than depending solely on the BMTC’s  fleets. A suburban or circular rail could be  the way forward.
(Citizens’ Action Forum president)

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Location: India, Karnataka, Bengaluru




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