Wednesday, February 1

The Slow Death Of India’s Tech Hub?


Traffic, Water Shortages, Now Floods: The Slow Death Of India's Tech Hub?

The untrammelled enlargement got here at a worth.


Harish Pullanoor spent his weekends within the late Eighties tramping across the marshes and ponds of Yemalur, an space then on the jap fringe of the Indian metropolis of Bengaluru, the place his cousins would be a part of him catching small freshwater fish.

In the Nineties, Bengaluru, as soon as a genteel metropolis of gardens, lakes and a cool local weather, quickly turned India’s reply to Silicon Valley, attracting thousands and thousands of staff and the regional headquarters of among the world’s largest IT corporations.

The untrammelled enlargement got here at a worth.

Concrete changed inexperienced areas and development across the fringe of lakes blocked off connecting canals, limiting the town’s capability to soak up and siphon off water.

Last week, after the town’s heaviest rains in many years, the Yemalur neighbourhood was submerged beneath waist-deep water together with another components of Bengaluru, disrupting the southern metropolis’ IT business and dealing a blow to its repute.

Residents fed up with gridlocked site visitors and water shortages in the course of the dry season have lengthy complained concerning the metropolis’s infrastructure.

But flooding in the course of the monsoon has raised recent questions concerning the sustainability of speedy city improvement, particularly if climate patterns turn into extra erratic and intense due to local weather change.

“It’s very, very unhappy,” stated Pullanoor, who was born near Yemalur however now lives within the western metropolis of Mumbai, components of which additionally face sporadic flooding like lots of India’s city centres.

“The bushes have disappeared. The parks have virtually disappeared. There is chock-a-block site visitors.”

Big companies are additionally complaining about worsening disruptions, which they are saying can value them tens of thousands and thousands of {dollars} in a single day.

Bengaluru hosts greater than 3,500 IT corporations and a few 79 “tech parks” – upmarket premises that home workplaces and leisure areas catering to know-how staff.

Wading via flooded highways final week, they struggled to succeed in trendy glass-faced complexes in and round Yemalur the place multinational companies together with JP Morgan and Deloitte function alongside giant Indian start-ups.

Millionaire entrepreneurs had been amongst these pressured to flee flooded dwelling rooms and swamped bedrooms on the again of tractors.

Insurance corporations stated preliminary estimates for lack of property had been bumped into thousands and thousands of rupees, with numbers anticipated to go up within the subsequent few days.


The newest chaos triggered renewed worries from the $194 billion Indian IT companies business that’s concentrated across the metropolis.

“India is a tech hub for world enterprises, so any disruption right here could have a worldwide influence. Bangalore, being the centre of IT, shall be no exception to this,” stated Okay.S. Viswanathan, vice chairman at business foyer group the National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM).

Bangalore was renamed Bengaluru in 2014.

NASSCOM is presently working to determine 15 new cities that might turn into software program export hubs, stated Viswanathan, who’s driving the undertaking.

“It isn’t a city-versus-city story,” he advised Reuters. “We as a rustic do not need to miss out on income and enterprise alternatives due to a scarcity of infrastructure.”

Even earlier than the floods, some enterprise teams together with the Outer Ring Road Companies Association (ORRCA) that’s led by executives from Intel, Goldman Sachs, Microsoft and Wipro, warned insufficient infrastructure in Bengaluru may encourage corporations to go away.

“We have been speaking about these for years,” Krishna Kumar, normal supervisor of ORRCA, stated final week of issues associated to Bengaluru’s infrastructure. “We have come to a severe level now and all corporations are on the identical web page.”

In the early Nineteen Seventies, greater than 68 p.c of Bengaluru was lined in vegetation.

By the late Nineties, the town’s inexperienced cowl had dropped to round 45% and by 2021 to lower than 3% of its complete space of 741 sq. kilometres, in keeping with an evaluation by T.V. Ramachandra of Bengaluru’s Indian Institute of Science (IISC).

Green areas may also help take up and quickly retailer storm water, serving to to guard constructed up areas.

“If this pattern continues, by 2025, 98.5% (of the town) shall be choked with concrete,” stated Ramachandra, who’s a part of IISC’s Centre for Ecological Sciences.


Rapid city enlargement, usually that includes unlawful buildings constructed with out permission, has affected Bengaluru’s practically 200 lakes and a community of canals that after linked them, in keeping with consultants.

So when heavy rains lash the town like they did final week, drainage techniques are unable to maintain up, particularly in low-lying areas like Yemalur.

The state authorities of Karnataka, the place Bengaluru is situated, stated final week it might spent 3 billion Indian rupees ($37.8 million) to assist handle the flood scenario, together with eradicating unauthorised developments, bettering drainage techniques and controlling water ranges in lakes.

“All the encroachments shall be eliminated with none mercy,” Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai advised reporters. “I’ll personally go and examine.”

Authorities have recognized round 50 areas in Bengaluru which have been illegally developed. Those included high-end villas and residences, in keeping with Tushar Girinath, Chief Commissioner of Bengaluru’s civic authority.

Last week, the state authorities additionally introduced it might arrange a physique to handle Bengaluru’s site visitors and begin discussions on a brand new storm water drainage undertaking alongside a significant freeway.

Critics referred to as the initiatives a knee-jerk response that might peter out.

“Every time it floods, solely then we talk about,” stated IISC’s Ramachandra. “Bengaluru is decaying. It will die.”

($1 = 79.4130 Indian rupees)

(This story has not been edited by NDTV employees and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


2022-09-15 02:33:52

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