At one point of time, Bangalore
was proud to be the fastest growing city in Asia, a boast it no longer
makes with such relish now that the city's infrastructure is beginning to
buckle under the strain. Without serious investment in infrastructure,
Bangalore may find its software-led boom a transitory affair, as
despairing companies relocate elsewhere. The city has already lost
Microsoft to its rival Hyderabad, which boasts
of improved infrastructure despite a relatively extreme climate.
Today, due to the meteoric rise of Hyderabad in the neighbouring state of Andhra Pradesh as the new computer capital of the country and due to Bangalore's own growth pangs, the city is loosing some of this attraction to the new investors.
The Indian Army, which has inherited large tracts of land after Independence, has been successfully holding on to them, in many cases, refusing to give up even a metre-wide strip for city road improvements. Thus, prime real estate in the centre of Bangalore is still undeveloped, as are large swathes of greenery, which together with the parks, provide the lungs of the choking city.
Corresponding investment in infrastructure has not been forthcoming. Pavements are rarely seen other than around MG Road. A scheme to create a ringroad has been under construction (and in the courts) for years. In 1960, there were 20,000 vehicles on the roads, now there are 1,300,000 and the authorities themselves put the capacity of the roads at only 350,000.
The Problems - Bangalore City
Pot holed roads, daily power cuts, water shortages, poor public transportation, inadequate housing and increasing pollution are just some of the problems that have come hand in hand with the city's success.
Poor Transportation Facilities:
Bangalore's creaking bus system is unable to cope with demand either within the city centre or in the new outlying business districts. As a result, employees are often transported in and out in private company coaches and the city has seen a massive increase in the number of both two-wheeler and three-wheeler vehicles, which are often, the most polluting forms of transport.
Lack of an International Airport:
Surprisingly, given its exports, Bangalore has not yet developed an international airport. Besides its vast software industry, the second biggest earner for Bangalore is floriculture, with a large volume of flowers sent to Netherlands every day. A proposal by Tata (one of India's largest private firms) and a consortium led by the Singapore Government to develop an airport north of the city is deadlocked over final ownership rights with no other solution forthcoming.
Karnataka lacks fossil-fuel reserves and there is a lack of investment in its mainly water-generated power industry whose capacity is barely 60% of current demand. Consequently, Bangalore now experiences both 'scheduled' and 'un-scheduled' power cuts on a daily basis.
Karnataka has a decades-long dispute with the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu over water ownership from its two major rivers, which flow into that state, resulting in shortages.
The most extreme manifestation of these problems has been the location of the largest business park, Electronics City, which actually occupies an enclave on the nearby Karnataka/Tamil Nadu state border.