“Hey, you all talk about Bengaluru as silicon valley with necessary infrastructure. If that will have to go with such a status how do you guys deal with these massive infrastructure problems?’’
“Instead of navigating traffic (from Leela Palace to a company on ORR) and spending so much time on road, I might go to an office in Hawaii from California,” covering a distance of 4,000 km by flight.”
These were some of the telling comments from top US executives of major tech companies on the ORR and Whitefield when their Indian counterparts submitted expansion plans for their respective firms in the City.
Top executives nowadays are discussing more about challenges to get expansion approval and productivity concerns than focussing on their core work.
“Earlier, top executives were focussed on their work and hardly communicated with each other. In the last few months, the centre of discussion is around this, says Vinod Chandra, General Manager and Vice president, Brocade India.
“Why do we put in more staff in Bengaluru. Why can’t we move to other cities or another country. Those are typical normal conversation nowadays,’’ says Sarv Sarvanan, Managing Director EMC Corporation
India. “This is being talked about more. Decision may not happen now.
But if things doesn’t move fast, let’s say in six months; otherwise, Bengaluru’s brand built over the years will slide. Bengaluru brand is under challenge now. Five years of inaction is enough to mess up the brand,’’ he said.
Another top executive who didn’t wish to be named said: “Bengaluru is seen as a silicon valley of India. People abroad think it is a great place. They come here and see this. Many are puzzled why there is no road and ask: how you deal with it. It doesn’t go with the silicon valley status.”
“We can salvage if the government hasten to execute projects. The good thing is that the government is engaging with the corporate,’’ Sarvanan said expressing the need for a proper world class ring road that goes with the status of silicon valley. Even tire-II cities in China have great infrastructure in place, points.
However, there has been no visible progress on the ground though the government has been listening to the IT companies. “They have plans. We have had a couple of rounds of good discussion. But it is time to execute. Right now it is on paper. We don’t know what their challenges are. Making visible progress is more important to us to go back (executives abroad) and showcase that the government is acting,’’ Sarvanan said.
Ram Narayanan, General Manager of eBay Product Development Center, India, was critical of the government and said that flyovers designed to decongest roads have not be built for some purpose or the other and service roads were highly inadequate.
“We cannot wait for 20 years for Metro to come. Government is taking short-term measures. eBay is not looking to move out of Bengaluru; but it certainly is a question of future growth when senior executives visit here and ask do you really want to invest in here,” Naryanan pointed explaining a possible situation he might face if there is no improvement on the ground.