The Minister of Large and Medium Industries in the Government of Karnataka, RV Deshpande, in a letter addressed to the Prime Minister, proposed to make Bengaluru the second capital of India. In his letter to Narendra Modi, Deshpande reasoned that as the city was cosmopolitan and had as diverse a population as New Delhi, the winter session of the Parliament can be held in Karnataka’s capital so as to integrate ‘southern India into the scheme of overall development’. He also sought to establish the Supreme Court as well as the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) in Bengaluru, reasoning that decentralized systems would help create more opportunities.
To make Bengaluru a capital city would not just require planning and distribution of resources on massive scales, but would also push the city’s civic body—Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP)—into overdrive. With the talks of trifurcating BBMP having fallen through, the civic body is already facing a lot of complaints regarding poor management of the city’s debilitating infrastructure.
Let’s look at some of the problems plaguing the Silicon Valley of India:
1. Traffic chock-a-block
Traffic in Bengaluru is a mess. It sometimes is faster to travel on foot rather than just sit in a vehicle and wait for the traffic to move at a snail’s pace. The World Resource Institute said that the traffic moved at an average speed of 35 km per hour in 2005 and nine years later, the average speed nosedived to 9.2 km per hour. The main reason is that owing to the city being an IT hub, the population of the city doubled over the last decade, however, the infrastructure couldn’t keep pace with the rapid urbanization. The Namma metro in Bengaluru has also been facing trouble and with a limited number of public buses available, most of the population depends on private transport to commute.
2. Lakes of foam
Ever heard of fire on water? Well, the phenomenon occurs in the polluted lakes of Bengaluru wherein toxic fumes sometimes catch fire due to heat. Urbanization at break-neck speed coupled with poor planning has choked the city’s water bodies. The Indian Institute of Science at Bengaluru reports that over 90 percent of lakes in Bengaluru were affected because of “sustained inflow of untreated sewage and industrial effluents”. The foaming is a result of indiscriminate use of washing detergents by households situated around the lakes.
3. The city of garbage dumps
Last year, Bengaluru was ranked the least clean among all the state capitals. Though huge protests led to the closure of Mandur and Mavallipura landfills, new garbage dumps have cropped up all across Bengaluru as the city is unable to process its waste.
4. Boats on roads during Monsoon
Whenever there is a downpour, which is frequent during the monsoons, the roads in Bengaluru transform into backwater channels for boats. The sewage system in Bengaluru is already under stress due to outdated infrastructure, and the problem worsens when they serve as stormwater drains during the rains. With cars parked on one-third of the roads, half of the roads submerged under water and foam from lakes spilling out to the tar, all the major arterial roads are choked with traffic snarls.
5. Less road, more potholes
In October 2017, BBMP revealed that there were over 15,000 potholes on the roads of Karnataka’s capital. Tired of constantly complaining about the dire state of roads, a few residents took the matter into their own hands and tried filling the potholes independently.