Poor B'luru infra fails investors

Riding on Bengaluru’s phenomenal rise since the ea-rly 1990s, successive state governments in Karnataka have sought to market it as an attractive investment destination by periodically staging the so-called global investors meet. The reputation the City has acquired in recent years as a global knowledge, skilled human reso-urce, IT, innovation, and startup hub has ensured that potential investors from home and abroad would turn their attention on Bengaluru each time the government stages its global investors meet. That is what happened last week as the Siddaramaiah government went on an overdrive to make a success of its Invest Karnataka 2016 event.

From the point of attracting investments, these mega investors meets have already become a ritual, nothing emerges from them as substantial outcomes. Potential investors continue to focus on Bengaluru city. They do not really look for any other destination in the state. But these investors are no longer convinced about the government’s sincerity to make things happen for them to make compelling investment decisions. The City may still have all the advantages from an investment point of view, but its physical infrastructure is crumbling – poor roads, chaotic traffic jams, lack of quality electricity and water supply, perennial garbage dumps on the streets, and worsening levels of pollution. Bengaluru is no longer an attractive liveable city. At the root of these problems is a scant respect of the government of the day to enforce the rule of law in matters of the city governance. Corruption is all-pervasive as the City’s growth has provided the corrupt and the unscrupulous among the politicians, bureaucrat, businessmen and contractors ample opportunity to make money and amass wealth. Planned growth of the City has become a casualty in the process. Infosys founder chairman N R Narayana Murthy could not help, but point to this in his brief intervention at the Invest Karnataka meet. He asked the state government to do something to make the City liveable and for it to also retain its global attraction as entrepreneurship destination.   

It is doubtful if the government of the day cares about the poor state of affairs in Bengaluru. Like its predecessors, the Siddaramaiah government made tall claims that the Invest Karnataka meet secured an investment commitment to the tune of over Rs 3 lakh crore. Nobody in the government bothers about how much of this promised investment actually materialises. These high profile meetings have turned into political publicity events for those in the government while also providing an effective cover to hide their corruption and maladministration. Bengaluru will, in the meanwhile, continue to lose its shine.

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