CM asks companies to do more to revive city’s lakes

CM asks companies to do more to revive city’s lakes

Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy speaks to delegates during a summit held by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) at the Taj West End Hotel in Bengaluru on March 6, 2019. At the Chief Minister's left is Dr. N. Muthukumar, Chairmen of the CII.

A disclosure by five Karnataka-based corporations on Wednesday that they would rejuvenate six lakes in the city prompted Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy to make an impassioned plea asking businesses to do more.

Speaking at the Confederation of Indian Industry’s (CII) annual summit, the chief minister painted a dismal future for the city unless companies helped in reviving its waterbodies.

Five companies or organisations, including Meritor CVC, Elcia, Wipro, Biocon and Timken India, said they would revive the Kenchenhalli, Doddatoguru, Shikaripallya, Yarendahalli, Kammasandra and Margondahalli lakes. The chief minister reciprocated with the promise to solve their problems. “Whatever problems you are facing, on your side, in your organisation... you can approach me and get a solution,” he said.

In discussions held at the summit prior to the chief minister’s arrival, however, business tycoons proposed a vision of the future dominated by local technology entrepreneurs solving Karnataka’s problems, while making little or no mention of government participation.

Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, the billionaire founder of the biotechnology firm, Biocon, suggested that Bengaluru, with its large population of talented professionals, could solve some of the state’s most pressing problems.

“This is a city with a population of 10 million, of which 2 million are software engineers and another 1 million are other engineers or scientists. The city has a large amount of talent. The question then becomes how to leverage this talent pool and the technology base we have created,” she said. One proposed solution involved deploying robots for tasks like picking litter. Kiran suggested that the invention and deployment of such robotic units could send a message to the world of what Bengaluru is capable of.

The Biocon chief said that she and Wipro chairman Azim Premji were proceeding with an initiative to improve the city’s air quality. “We don’t want Bengaluru to go the way of Delhi or Lucknow,” she said, adding that it is embarrassing that seven of the world’s 10 most polluted cities are in India.