Information Technology sector has done more harm than good to Bangalore, said V. Balasubramanian, the former Additional Chief Secretary.
Speaking on “Bangalore – from Boom City to Doom City: will half of Bangalore be evacuated in 10 years?” here on Saturday, he said that with the hype created over the years, people do not realise that Bangalore is actually a dying city.
The last nail in the coffin will be the proposed Information and Communication Technology Region that will require acquisition of 14,500 acres of land in and around the city for the development of the IT sector. This will create additional 12 lakh jobs and thereby, increase population by 50 lakh. The city will require additional power of 1,200 MW, additional drinking water of 750 million litres a day (MLD), and 600 MLD sewage and 1,800 tonnes of solid waste a day would be generated.
“The city already is reeling under water scarcity. But the fact that water supplied is contaminated is a more dangerous prospect. According to the Institute of Public Health, 59 per cent of water supplied to the city is not potable. The water from borewells and pipes (Cauvery) contain 8.4 per cent and 19 per cent of E. Coli bacteria respectively.”
Mr. Balasubramanian said that of the 937 lakes (as per old revenue records), less than 200 lakes are “live lakes”. Several have been breached and converted into layouts, golf clubs, government offices. That apart, the 850-km ‘rajakaluves’ (big storm water drains) that were created to carry surplus water from higher elevation lakes to lower levels in a cascading system of natural rain water harvesting, have also been encroached upon and the storm water drain network only carries city’s sewage to the lakes.
The need of the hour is an integrated and comprehensive solution that will not just plug leakages but also restore and rejuvenate lakes and raja kaluves. Besides that ensure that the sewage treatment plants are upgraded to tertiary treatment plants, and rainwater harvesting is done. This comprehensive plan is estimated to cost Rs. 26,000 crore. “This plan can be implemented over 10 years in phases and can be funded only with external assistance from the international funding bodies such as the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank that impose strict financial discipline in awarding contracts and certifying the quality of work done,” he added.
He urged Bangaloreans to take responsibility for the city’s survival. “Otherwise, we will be forced to evacuate half the city in 10 years due to water scarcity, contaminated water, and diseases,” he warned.