News Karnataka
Sunday, July 14 2024
Bengaluru

Bengaluru Votes Amid Water Shortage, Traffic Chaos

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While casting their ballots for the Lok Sabha on Friday, citizens of Bengaluru, India’s tech hub, claimed that severe water shortages, flooding, congested roads, and inadequate public amenities had grown to be major problems in the city.

The 14 million-person metropolis, known as “India’s Silicon Valley,” cast ballots in the sweltering summer heat in the second round of the biggest election in history, which will continue until June 1.

Bengaluru is portrayed as a representation of an aspirational, developing India and is home to thousands of startups and multinational corporations, including Walmart and Alphabet’s Google. However, the burgeoning city is being spoiled by unplanned growth and deteriorating infrastructure.

“The water shortage is not a surprise for us, locals. We knew it’s coming. Nothing on rain water harvesting has been done by either the central or the state government,” Prasanna Raghavan, an IT professional said after casting his vote.

“My hope is, whoever comes to power prioritises climate issues.”

The city’s problems have featured prominently in the campaign, in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party and the main opposition Congress – which governs Karnataka state – are pitted against each other.

“The Congress government in Karnataka has turned the tech city into a tanker city, and left it to the tanker mafia,” Modi said in Bengaluru last week, referring to the water tankers being used after taps dried up.

Congress blamed BJP, which ruled the state before Congress, for the water scarcity.

“The water crisis in Bangalore is not just a problem; it’s a wake-up call. As your MP (member of parliament), I see it as a challenge we must confront head-on,” Rajeev Gowda, Congress candidate from the Bengaluru North seat, posted on X this week.

“We should steer our infrastructure towards sustainable solutions. Water conservation isn’t just a short-term fix, it’s a long-term commitment,” he said.

Kkavya, 19, who uses only one name, moved to Bengaluru three years ago from Kashmir to study and find a job. She intends to flee the city next year when she finishes studying, fed up with its water shortages and traffic jams.

“So we say there’s no use for cars in (Bengaluru), because for one kilometre, you’re going to take 30 minutes, (so) just walk,” she said.

This year’s water shortage comes after widespread flooding in 2022 when drainage systems were unable to keep up, especially in low-lying areas, when heavy rains lashed the city.

“A total lack of planning while developing something”, is the biggest issue, said Musthafa K.P., 62, a retired IT consultant living in Bengaluru for 21 years.

“The city grows rapidly every year and there will be increased pressure on natural resources,” he said. “We need better technology solutions and we must start thinking about such solutions immediately.”

Read More

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