01 March 2005

Intresting Article

Oh well it is quite well known that even though my daily bread & butter comes from this hell hole called bangalore i'm unable to identify myself as a permanent resident of this village-tying-to-become-a-city.The reasons might be many but time and again it comes back to me like a raging flood.especially when i read something like this article.note that i do disagree with a few points that the write makes with respect to the roads.not all roads in madras are pothole free.yes there are potholes.but unlike here in bangalore where you find only some roads without potholes :-)

there is another line which struck a chord with me."flyovers could be completed". during my vist to calcutta for a campus interview last august i saw a flyover for about 2.5kms.quite intruged by the length i asked the cab driver the time it took to complete it.I was kind of guessing that the flyover of that magnitude and size must take atleast 2.5 yrs to build.I was literally shocked when the cab driver said it took precisely 12 months to complete the whole flyover.The pillars were cast in 6 months and while that was being done the supporting beams were being cast in a different place and once that was done the whole thing was just assembled said the cab driver.i am still at a loss to know why the airport road inner ring road flyover is taking 3 yrs and still there is no sign of even completion.And to compound matters further the contrator has vangified jaga { escaped }.God knows when this will be completed.

You can read the full article here or right here :-)

Speaking of governance
Friday February 18 2005 13:09 IST

Vaasanthi

Chennai has some good roads
I am settling down in Bangalore, I told them with pride brimming in my voice. Ah, they said wiping their streaming sweat with unmistakable envy. Nice weather. A very civilised city. Lucky aren’t you?

I am in the midst of a traffic jam that Bangalore has become notorious for. Traffic jams in fact have become part of a Bangalorean’s life. It is amazing how the average Bangalorean has reconciled to his fate. It is amazing too how the government thrives in a blissful state of ignorance (there are 5,460 English pages on Bangalore’s bad roads in the web) and ineptitude.

It finds attending prayer meetings organiSed by shady American evangelists more important than attending to the repeated prayers of the locals to redeem the city’s roads. The evangelist boasted of curing incurable diseases with just hand push. I would have been happier if he had used his persuasive powers with the Lord to heal the heaving roads of Bangalore. I suspect all the top brass politicians that attended the mammoth meeting were in fact hoping for a miracle.

What Bangalore needs now is nothing short of a miracle. The name Bangalore no longer invokes images of lush green lawns and riotous flowers. At least that was the image I had as part of my childhood and adolescent memory, having grown up here. Six months’ stay was enough to bring about a disillusionment that I have never before experienced in my life. I am haunted everyday by nightmares even during my waking hours — of getting caught in traffic jams that are chaotic; my senses getting numbed by the crazy noise pollution that I am unable to escape from; of having a fall as I walk in the street and breaking my hip on the incredibly shameful potholes that never get repaired.

Visitors, if they are not already dead choked by air pollution and bumpy roads, are always nervous and edgy at the thought of the traffic jams and missing a flight or a train. The tourism brochure still calls it a Garden City. There cannot be a crueler joke than that. Do you say the colour of leaves is green? Think again. They are all muddy here with dust and virtually merge with the unkempt roads, having lost the chlorophyll-their identity.

And where have the flowers gone? They seem to appear only at Lal Bagh’s annual flower shows. There are no flowers on the round-about circles at cross roads that Bangalore was famous for. Even the road from the airport leading to the city has no flowerbeds on road dividers. Nor is it the retired peoples’ paradise. The poor old ones dare not take a walk like old times. With innumerable potholes on every road, the dust that emanates from traffic and ah, the killing noise of the speeding vehicles- you are bound to reach vaikundam earlier than you were destined for. I felt ageless six months ago; I now feel like an ancient.

Every time I visit Chennai, I undergo a metamorphosis. I become young again; life seems full of hope. As the cab glides smoothly on the roads from the airport or the railway station, I draw a deep breath and suck in the air as if I had been deprived of it all my life. The huge hoardings and posters with Jayalalithaa’s smiling face and words hailing the tireless work that she does for the welfare of the Tamil people no longer seems to me an exaggerated encomium of the party sycophants.

My heart fills with parochial pride and by the time I reach my destination I become a fan of the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. Look at our Chennai I want to tell my co-traveller. Look at the roads, how even and satin-smooth they are. Look how well the traffic is controlled. Look how clean the atmosphere is. Is it not wonderful to see that the leaves are green and there are actually flowering beds on the road dividers and traffic circles?

Do you see the flyovers? They may not be world class; they may have been built across roads that were not designed for flyovers. But you will surely agree that they have eased the traffic to a considerable extent. Remember they were built in record time during the previous government.

As the cab moves on I find it amazing that all the roads, even by- lanes, are smooth without potholes. The boards and signals indicating the names of the roads are bold and big and mercifully in English too, that will relieve an outsider. Oh, by the way, you have to know the Kannada script to travel in Bangalore. If you are lost, it is your problem. The road signs on the roads and on the buses are written in Kannada only.

My heart becomes heavy with regret for having left Chennai. After moving to Bangalore I had almost forgotten that roads could be without potholes. That any flyover started by the government would ever be completed. BSP — Bijili (electricity), Sadak (road), Paani (water) — still remains the slogan of all elections. I think it is only Tamil Nadu that is focused on fulfilling the promise among the southern states.

The detractors of Jayalalithaa have only to shift to Bangalore to turn into her ardent supporters in no time. At least regarding matters of governance. Governance — the most sustaining factor in the relationship between the State and the public. What is governance? It is something not covered by the traditional term ‘government’. It springs from a genuine desire to improve the living conditions of the public; to respect the rights of the people for better life, enhance environmental protection and deepen confidence in government and public administration.

What is missing in Bangalore as it fights to retain its India’s Silicon Valley tag? Good, smart governance. Bangalore, we are told ‘‘became a victim of its own success’’. The exploding growth of Bangalore as an IT hotspot has not gone hand in hand with infrastructural facilities.

Whose fault is it? What measures did the State government devise to tackle the situation when Bangalore was bursting at the seams? Why do we not see any one with a vision or even dedication to duty and commitment to the taxpayer? ‘‘We believe the problems are serious,’’ said Azim Premji, Chairman of Wipro Ltd, three years ago. The situation is worse today as the problems persist and the IT companies are seriously thinking of moving house. They even want to look outside Karnataka for expansion, sick of the lack of smart governance here. The PWD Minister can only blame the IT industry for the chaos. And the Chief Minister is always on the defence with — ‘‘Bangalore cannot become Singapore’’.

Why can’t it even compete with Chennai?

Vaasanthi is a well-known Tamil writer

Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 9:14 AM

2 Comments

  1. Blogger Smyta posted at Tuesday, March 1, 2005 at 5:51:00 PM GMT+5:30  
    TU TU MAIN MAIN KA JABAAN
    PHIR BHI MERA DESH MAHAAN!

    Incredible India and Incredible Indians...Chalte Raho!

    If not for the roads, you people make a splendid sight ...!!
  2. Blogger Harish posted at Tuesday, March 1, 2005 at 9:57:00 PM GMT+5:30  
    surprise! surprise!! As soon as I read the article on someone else's blog I came here to leave a note on urs... Evidently u havent missed it either

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