BENGALURU: How I wish we could turn the clock back to the Bangalore of the ’60s, my favourite city, the city of my dreams.
My earliest memory of Bangalore dates back to the ’60s when I was a young kid and our parents would bring us here during the summer vacation to escape the sweltering heat of Udupi.
The city of lovely tree-lined boulevards, beautiful parks, lakes, huge traffic circles with hardly any traffic, air conditioned climate with the iconic Vidhana Soudha, high court and the palace was truly a garden city and the pride of Karnataka and the country.
Alas, the changes came quickly, we soon became the IT capital of the country and then moved onto unplanned growth leading us to become a concrete jungle, and soon a garbage city with a population explosion, terrible traffic and changing climate.
There are many changes I wish for our beloved city of Bengaluru but this can only happen if there is urban planning, eradication of corruption and inculcation of civic sense.
First and foremost, we must decongest the city by building satellite towns with modern infrastructure amenities so that people will stop migrating to and also consider moving out of Bengaluru.
Another problem is traffic congestion which needs to be addressed by quick development of public transportation, congestion tax for the use of private vehicles once we have created public transportation, implementation of traffic discipline and consensus among the civic society of alternative plans for decongestion. Quick implementation of projects is the key, whether it is the Metro, urban railway, ring roads, underpasses, overpasses or metalling of roads. Now, it takes a year or more just to redo less than a kilometre of road.
A separate accountable administrative system with a longer tenure vested with administrative and financial powers to take quick decisions and implement them is needed, and we could certainly have the civic society leaders and business houses participate in this. This could be akin to an independent administrative authority with efficient able non-corrupt administrators with a vision reporting directly to the chief minister.
SOLUTION: My wish list for Bengaluru is for it to be a combination of a garden city, IT and financial hub, healthcare destination and also a pensioners’ hub with a crime-free society. This certainly may remain a dream but I do hope that at least some of these could be achieved in the next few years. We certainly should not be left behind while India is making great strides and hopefully, be the third largest economy in the world in the next few years.
The writer is the chairman of Manipal Hospital