September 25, 2006

B'lore- boom/bust?

today is on this upward spiral largely because of IT.
The cosmopolitan flavor is largely due the massive influx of techies into the city…hundreds upon hundreds of Software Engineers descend on the city every month.
And Bangalore absorbs them all…

”2BHK, Running Water, Tiled flooring, Exorbitant Rent included”…sure, it’ll get lapped right up; the company’s paying for it!

One need only drive along Sarjapur Road, or Airport Road, or Whitefield, or whatever-halli to realize that a there is a new Bangalore coming up in the hinterland of Bangalore. Apartment complexes soar skyward, clustered like concrete warriors on either side of the road. They are occupied by the hyper-nuclear families of Bangalore: Single child, Double-income, Multi-lingual, Poly-cultural households, who pay upwards of 25lakhs for their humble abodes.

If Bangalore was once a svelte woman, it has now assumed the features of double-chinned, blubbery biped. Instead of maintaining a core city-area, with a central-business-district, the city balloons outward rapidly, reportedly at the rate of a Kilometer-A-Day! What was once a compact city-district, is now urban-sprawl. The cities planners have failed hopelessly to bring a semblance of order to the city’s growth, and thus unchecked construction continues, with a peripheral bearing, rather than central city.

Why people continue to use the byname “Garden City” perplexes me... Greenery exists, I do acknowledge, within the old city-limits, and that too is gradually getting replaced by concrete-jungle. While in the outskirts of the city, there is no greenery to speak of. Manicured lawns within apartment complexes do not constitute leafage. The outskirts of the city are dusty, treeless places. Only the overgrown shrubs in the odd empty-plot of land remain.

That the city is bursting at it seams is all too evident from a drive along the cities roads. Disposable salaries fuel automotive spending, and the frequent traffic jams are a testament to this. The roads are bad, and narrow, and the constricted fly-over’s that are offered as the solution hardly suffice. The Traffic Police too is chronically understaffed - Bangalore has the worst ratio of Police-personnel per 1000 of population, and is consequently hopelessly ineffective.

The Standard-of-Living in the city has reached stratospheric proportions…what was once considered a ‘pensioners-paradise’ is now a high-priced city. Loose purse-strings go hand-in-hand with good time and “Well-heeled is Wel-come” seems to be the message every shop shouts out.

Its turning ugly fast, and to arrest mutation of Bangalore something needs to be done…and quick.

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