My dream, my Bengaluru: Karnataka CM Yediyurappa writes
Bengaluru is not just about skyscrapers, busy flyovers and intense political activities. People, music, diverse lifestyle, culture and language define the soul of the city
My association with Bengaluru dates back to a time prior to my entry into electoral politics in 1983, as MLA for Shikaripura. In the 1960s, I worked as a typist in Bengaluru and stayed at the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh office in Seshadripuram. I have been a keen observer of the city since those times.
In 2020, as the city, like the rest of the world, faces an unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, I, as the Chief Minister, have a reason to be proud. Despite being India’s third most populous city, Bengaluru is not among those most affected by COVID-19, owing to our concerted efforts. Bengaluru has been identified as a possible role model for other cities. It is one of the larger cities that has been able to keep the mortality rate low.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has praised the Karnataka government for its deft handling of the pandemic. I feel fortunate to have a bonding with such a city.
Bengaluru, founded by Kempe Gowda in the 16th century, has changed profoundly. The city’s boundaries have transcended the four watchtowers built around 500 years ago at Gavipuram, Lalbagh, Ulsoor, and Mehkri Circle near Sadashivanagar.
The capital city owes its progress to the visionary founder, the Wadiyars of the princely state of Mysore, the administrators, and the intellectuals of Indian and foreign origin who sowed the seeds of advancement for posterity.
Maharaja Krishnaraja Wadiyar IV laid the foundation for modern Bengaluru during the British Raj. It was during his time that Bharat Ratna Sir M. Visvesvaraya established the University of Mysore intending to educate the masses
Likewise, the Indian Institute of Science (IISc.) was founded in 1909 as a result of the joint efforts of J.N. Tata, the Government of India, and Krishnaraja Wadiyar IV. Also, Sir Visvesvaraya established the University Visvesvaraya College of Engineering in 1917, the fifth engineering college in India.
Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, which is synonymous with the growth of the aeronautical industry, was incorporated on 23 December 1940, by Shri Walchand Hirachand in association with Maharaja Jayachamaraja Wadiyar to manufacture aircraft in India.
Besides educational and technological institutions, the unrivalled aesthetic pleasures of the city are no less than a wonder.
To name a few, Cubbon Park, which was created in 1870 when Major General Richard Sankey was the then British Chief Engineer of Mysore State and is officially called Sri Chamarajendra Park, remains the lung space of the city.
A German botanist and garden designer Gustav Hermann Krumbiegel designed the Lalbagh Botanical Gardens.
Of course, Bengaluru also carries the aura of being the nerve centre of administration and commerce. However, as a politician in a career spanning four decades, for me, Bengaluru is not just about skyscrapers, busy flyovers, and intense political activities. People, music, diverse lifestyle, culture, and language define the soul of the city. In a globalised world, entrepreneurs, skilled workforce, cultural leadership, and effective urban activism have all contributed to truly transforming Bengaluru into a cosmopolitan city.
The city has maintained pace with the rapid changes in global economic and technological developments. At present, Karnataka is the largest exporter of IT & ITeS. Our capital houses more than 3,500 companies and 750 multi-national companies. We proceed to attract investments as we continue to maintain leadership in emerging technologies.
Hence, Bengaluru has deservedly earned the moniker, the Silicon Valley of India. The city alone contributes half of the Karnataka Gross State Domestic Product.
Also, the population is growing as the economic sphere is expanding. We all know people are attracted to the city for its great weather and lifestyle. But consequently, there is pressure on its resources, infrastructure and demand for public service.
In 1985, the population was 3,397,214 and in 2020, it is projected to be 12,326,532. Bengaluru has grown by 2,185,452 persons since 2015, which represents a 3.98% annual change.
Globally, the city outranked Mumbai, Delhi in holistic prosperity index, according to the first-ever Prosperity & Inclusion City Seal and Awards (PICSA) Index released in Spain. Bengaluru is also the highest-ranked city (at No. 83) in a new index of 113 global cities in terms of economic and social inclusivity.
Namma Bengaluru has been ranked the second-best liveable city after Hyderabad in the country, as per The Mint Livability Index which is an equally weighted index of 10 sub-indices. The report says Bengaluru has low levels of caste segregation, vibrant dine-out life, high greenery per capita, and clean air compared to other metropolitan cities. However, the city scored low on commute speed, municipal finances spending per capita. Bengaluru is infamous for these two main reasons. The growing demand for drinking water supply and rejuvenation of lakes are also our challenges.
As you all know, the government in this financial year is focused on the comprehensive development of Bengaluru. In the 2020-21 budget, a total amount of ₹8,772 crore has been provided for the Bengaluru development sector. The city recorded the second-lowest average traffic speed among metros during 2019, according to a recent survey.
Also, the extension of two metro lines, of a total length of 12.8 km on Mysuru Road up to Kengeri and on Kanakapura Road to Anjanapura Township, will be commissioned in 2020.
A comprehensive mobility programme for Bengaluru has been prepared for the first time. Infrastructure facilities, transit-based development, and essential regulatory measures will be taken up to increase the utilisation of public transport from 48% to 73%.
We are all set to meet the ever-growing demand for drinking water supply owing to the rapid growth of population. Since 1974, the Cauvery river source is being developed in stages. In 2020-21, it is proposed to supply 775 million litres of water to the city under the fifth phase of the Cauvery Water Supply Scheme, and this scheme will be completed by the end of 2023 at an expenditure of ₹5,550 crore. About the rejuvenation of lakes, we aim to convert them into green locations. An action plan of ₹100 crore has been approved under “Shubra Bengaluru”. A sum of ₹317 crore has been specifically earmarked for the development of lakes under the already approved “Mukhyamantrigala Navanagarothana” scheme. It's easy to measure the reputation of the city against a set of parameters. Having done that, I am concerned about the inevitable impact of rapid changes on local culture. I have noticed Bengaluru scores very well in the diversity sub-indices in the liveable city survey index. We always welcome diversity wholeheartedly.
Preserving local culture
To my non-Kannadiga friends, I would like to say that Bengaluru embraces everyone, and the city values their contribution. Also, I am committed to the preservation of local culture and the future of Kannada, and Kannadigas. My heartfelt appeal to all non-Kannadigas is that learning Kannada makes one’s life easy and it’s fun too. Learning a local language opens the door to the exchange of knowledge, and new ideas. Moreover, language expands your network of friends, and reduces distance.
The city has to keep up with the advances in the offing. As time and space shrink in the globalised world, we aspire to compete and compare our Bengaluru with other cities. My dream is to make Bengaluru an economically and socially-inclusive and environmentally friendly capital city. I have my task cut out to improve Bengaluru’s image globally. Together we should build the city for a better future.
(B.S. Yediyurappa is the Chief Minister of Karnataka.)