With rising real estate costs, small-scale industries in the Magadi Road area are looking to move elsewhere
Much of Bangalore was the product of the government's boost to industry. Public sector enterprises led to the formation of work areas and residential layouts for those who came to the city for jobs. In that city, Magadi Road was a place where private enterprise took root and flourished.
Despite being in the news mainly for institutions such as the Beggar's Colony and the leprosy hospital, the area has been nurturing small and tiny industries for over three decades.
“In the beginning of the 1980s, when all over India, consumption was increasing and large-scale private industries were beginning to require auxiliary units, some families who were living on Magadi Road for generations started small and cottage industries abetting their homes,” narrates Goraiah, a resident and small-scale industrialist.
For the past 22 years, he has been running an electrical parts manufacturing unit that makes transformers and electronic panels. His clients include big names such as Bharat Fritz Werner (BFW) and Larsen & Toubro.
The company was a family unit to begin with, but now is of medium scale.
Building a business
Information technology initiated a different kind of private enterprise in other parts of Bangalore; but, in Magadi Road, there is a sense of pride in being the original inspiration, the pioneers of the State-less model of business and entrepreneurship.
“During the past 33 years, the small-scale industry on Magadi Road has been completely independent and unaffiliated to the government,” Goraiah says.
The industrialists have, however, become part of Karnataka Small-Scale Industries Association (KASSIA), a non-governmental institution, and are seeking a government-sponsored space for themselves now, thanks to rising real estate costs and need for better amenities.
Despite the rise in land value, the area is attractive to residents of other parts of the city, who find it more affordable to find housing here.
“I moved because I could afford to buy land and build a house in the area, which is almost impossible elsewhere in Bangalore now,” says Narahari Hebbal, who is employed at a restaurant in the central business district. “There is good bus connectivity to [Kempe Gowda Bus-stand], so I can commute to work easily.”
His primary domestic woe is of water, for which his household and others around depend on their own borewells, sunk to a depth of nearly 500 ft. “Those are also drying up now and we buy water from private tankers. Cauvery water connection is unheard of here,” Narahari says.
He is excited about Namma Metro reaching his part of town, even when all there is to show now for this modern facility is debris and damaged roads, left in the wake of construction.
Once past that congested part close to the city bus-stand, Magadi Road winds slowly upwards, offering beautiful vistas of the city, uncluttered like the Bangalore that once was.
No wonder it is attractive to build a home on, but not so favourable to industries anymore.