Friday, May 05, 2006

CM’s initiative is truly global

CM’s initiative is truly global
By Suresh Heblikar
The TImes of India


Many ills that Bangalore is plagued with presently, such as rising air pollution; relentless increase in the migrant population; flooding of lowlying areas due to heavy rainfall; soaring temperat u re s caused by asp h a l t - ing of s u r - ro u n d - ing agricultural areas and mushrooming of ugly concrete structures; and consequent decrease in tree-cover will automatically be tackled once the proposed Township and BMR Satellite Town Ring Road and BMR Intermediate Ring Road start getting implemented. The structured plan on peripheral townships and arterial ring road brought out by the present government has the potential to convert B a n g a l o re into a truly global city with all the resplendent features that very few cities in the world possess.

Topographically and environmentally, Bangalore is one of the most magnificent cities in the world. But due to poor and ill-conceived planning, the city is deteriorating. The chief minister’s timely announcement of the proposed plan to convert all peripheral towns around Bangalore through two arterial ring roads will not only decongest Bangalore, but will also save its valleys, lung spaces, and the water bodies so essential for sustaining Bangalore’s salubrious climate. The chief minister’s initiative will vastly open up new avenues and opportunities for economic growth in the peripheral townships and pave the way for the comprehensive development of Bangalore — the vision of all planners and environmentalists.

Since the well-planned, efficient arterial road network will facilitate smooth and faster movement of goods and services, the corporates and major industrial enterprises would certainly prefer to move into peripheral towns as these towns have their own distinct advantages. Towns such as Ramanagaram, Kanakapura and Magadi have enormous potential for tourism, eco-tourism, horticulture and for setting up exclusive educational centres. Ramanagaram can be developed into a “Silk City” with state-of-the-art technologies to attract international business and tourists. It also can be a great heritage centre of silk with a ‘Silk Route’ (Bangalore-Kanakapura-Ramanagaram-Magadi-Bangalore).

Another important area will be the development of alternative sources of energy in these peripheral towns. The scope for Green Power like wind, solar and biomass can be vastly exploited in these regions. The decentralised production and distribution of energy and water will greatly relieve Bangalore of its enormous burden to supply the basic needs to a huge population from a single source.

Bangalore is the only city in the whole of South India which is agro-climatically suitable for sustaining the varied natural systems and the vigorous biodiversity. But there is a dire need to stop unplanned and further development. The present step taken by the chief minister to shift the focus on peripheral towns is a great initiative. If he puts his mind and soul — which he is capable of — this avowed objective of making Bangalore not only a global city, but also a sustainable and environment friendly city, will not be a distant dream. Let’s extend all support to this great initiative in the larger interest of all.

(The author is an environmentalist)

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