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Chasm between the rich and the poor has only widened: H.D. Deve Gowda

In the 90s, if there was one city in India after Mumbai and Delhi that had the potential to grow, it was Bengaluru. It was also a challenge for the administrators to improve infrastructure of the growing city to international standards. The challenge was keeping the population and pollution under check, while allowing for sustainable growth.

Based on my experience and observation in cities abroad, I tried to bring international class infrastructure to the city after becoming Chief Minister in December 1994.

However, as the city grew and expanded, it came under the clutches of the real estate sector with politicians and councillors — irrespective of the party — becoming shareholders in the sector.

Government officials in public offices, such as the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) and the Bengaluru Development Authority (BDA), connived and took part in this unbridled growth.

Large tracts of land belonging to the poor on the city’s outskirts were usurped by land sharks. I had to fight an infrastructure development company that I allowed to lay an international-class road connecting Bengaluru to Mysuru, because it deviated from the original framework agreement.

Social justice in this city, now with a population of over 1 crore, is a mirage and the poor have not been served well. The chasm between the rich and the poor has only widened, and we have failed to bridge this gap. There is no doubt that the poor have remained poor and the rich have become richer in this city.

(H.D. Deve Gowda is a former Prime Minister and national president of the Janata Dal-Secular.)

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Printable version | Aug 11, 2020 12:57:49 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/chasm-between-the-rich-and-the-poor-has-only-widened-hd-deve-gowda/article31881112.ece

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