The State Budget couldn’t have come at a more opportune time. On a day when Bengaluru was given the dubious distinction of having the worst infrastructure among Indian cities, as per Mercer’s rankings for 2017, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah unveiled a host of measures that aimed to tackle the city’s growing woes.
Upgradation of pedestrian facilities, development of lakes and storm water drains, construction of public toilets, construction of underbridge and widening of overbridge at Hebbal junction — all sticking points were addressed adequately in the Budget.
Says Anuradha Singh Pathania, a young professional, “The Budget is a good opportunity for the CM to put forward plans that will pull in votes during the upcoming elections. The announcements on the medical front and development of roads and alternate means of transport seem to be helpful. Even the cap on the ticket prices at multiplexes is a good move as watching movies was becoming a hugely expensive outing. But, like always, we need to see the actual implementation of these announcements which will determine their effect on the ground level.”
Madhushri Verma also has mixed feelings about this Budget and agrees that execution is the key. “The launch of ‘Namma Canteen’, which aims at providing food at nominal prices, and separate toilet facilities for female police staff are indeed great steps but the allocated Budget should reach the right person for it to make a positive impact on the society. What disappointed me was that there was no comprehensive spend on some major issues like garbage disposal, power outages and improving the ambient air quality.” Even though many measures were announced to ease traffic congestion in the city, people like Sneha Sathish are sceptical about the benefits.
“I did not find anything very exciting for Bengalureans in this Budget. Traffic is one of the biggest problems the city faces now and I am quite doubtful about the efficiency of the measures proposed in this Budget for reducing the number of vehicles,” says Sneha, adding “Widening the Hebbal flyover and introducing more buses will only make space for more vehicles on the road. The Metro has also figured in the Budget speech but I am not sure about the timeline and whether it will be adhered to at all.”
The proposed development of Bellandur and Varthur lakes was a long-standing demand as was the reduction in ticket rates, says Ganesh V, an engineer.
“Especially when you compare the rates with those in Tamil Nadu, the request made sense. The focus on Silk Board and KR Puram junctions is also a welcome move and will come as a blessing for those who spend hours stuck in traffic in these places. I am also happy about the proposal to induct 150 electric buses. It is a practical solution to counter the strain on our resources.”