For scores of Infosys employees, it was a night out—by compulsion, not choice—on Tuesday.
They were done in by the chaotic traffic as they were heading home to Bangalore, from the Infosys Technologies campus at Electronics City.
Even senior executives like TV Mohandas Pai, Head of the Human Resources division, and V Balakrishnan, Chief Financial Officer, were forced to return to Infosys and spend the night at a hotel owned by the company.
The pileup of vehicles on the Bangalore-Hosur highway on the outskirts of the city forced the techies and senior executives to go back to the campus.
"We were unable to proceed and turned back," Mohandas Pai told Hindustan Times.
Pai added that the lack of easy access to Electronics City, the hub of the IT industry with more than 75, 000 employees, was one of the main causes for spiraling attrition at Infosys.
"All of us have to endure bumper to bumper traffic when we come in to work and on our way back home." The Electronics City Industries Association has written to the Chief Minister to tackle the problem. "We have suggested that trucks and buses coming to Bangalore from Tamil Nadu be diverted at Attibele (a village about 15 kms away from the Electronics City) and alternative roads to the city be widened. "But so far little has been done."
In 1996, a similar situation had forced the CEOs of well known infotech companies to block road traffic outside the Electronics City and thereby draw the attention of the then Janata Dal government, headed by the late JH Patel, to their plight.
It prompted the government to plan a four-lane approach highway, but work on that project has moved at snail's pace.
On June 24, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh unveiled the foundation stone for the Rs 450 crore, 10-laned, 9.985 km elevated highway project, the first of its kind in the country, aimed at solving the traffic woes on the Bangalore-Hosur section of NH-7. The highway will be completed in 24 months.
Apart from traffic woes, Infosys has been forced to put off its expansion plans in this tech hub because of lack of land. The software behemoth will not
increase its headcount in Karnataka though it plans to hire 9,500 people over the next six months.
"We are full in Bangalore and Mangalore. The bulk of hiring for this year will be for outside Karnataka," Pai said pointing at paucity of land for expansion of operations.