Naresh Narasimhan, architect and urban designer, thinks the fundamental focus should be to develop better infrastructure for pedestrians than concentrate on building infrastructure for cars. “The city needs multiple public transport options like better bus service and upgraded footpaths. We should also find a way to stop the growth of Bengaluru and divert resources to developing the towns around the city like Kanakapura, Tumakuru, Hoskote, Devanahalli, Magadi Road and Anekal. All projects are being announced, assuming that Bengaluru has an infinite capacity to grow. This view must change,” elaborates Naresh. He also points out that the government must invest in a strong suburban rail network rather than plan elevated roads across the city.
Allow Metropolitan planning committee to function
Ashwin Mahesh, urban planner, thinks the real problem is that there isn’t anybody to plan. He says, “Now, it’s like every other government department has been left to its own devices to do whatever it feels is right. But that will never add up to a plan because we don’t have a planning body that functions continuously and that is precisely why everything that happens seems like an experiment. For instance, if you ask BMTC what they are doing, they may have an answer but if you ask them how it connects to anything else that any other department is doing, they’re at a loss for words,” says Ashwin. He also feels that the mobility infrastructure has been planned without thinking about housing and housing is planned without thinking about water supply.
“What we have now are a series of administrative actions that can never be a proper substitute for a plan. We must allow the Metropolitan planning committee to function without any hindrance. What should be done is not the important question. Who will do it assumes important? In the absence of integrated planning, you can never tell which project is good because that project will only answer a limited set of questions for itself,” adds Ashwin.
Stricter policies and better implementation
Dr J M Chandra Kishen, professor, Department of Civil Engineering, Indian Institute of Science, feels developed countries improve their quality of life even before people move in and industries become operational but in India infrastructure is planned only after people move in. “But this planning remains only on paper and never gets executed in time. Policies need to be stricter and there must be no compromise on enforcing the same,” says Chandra.
A sort of urban malignancy has hit the city
Dr Y N Yellappa Reddy, an environmentalist, feels that there’s a sort of urban malignancy that has entered every eco component of the city. “There’s no policy in place to treat biological waste and no regulation on solid waste management. There is haphazard construction and trees are being felled for development. Citizens have become mute spectators of such mindless development. The future generation is suffering from all kinds of ailments because of such short-sightedness,” he says.