Veteran leader S M Krishna urges Bommai to protect 'Brand Bengaluru' amid rains

  • Veteran politician and former Karnataka CM S M Krishna has written to the incumbent CM Basavaraj Bommai, expressing concern that frequent rain havoc in the city would hurt "Brand Bengaluru" and drive away investors.
S M Krishna was a former external affairs minister and Karnataka chief minister.(HT Photo)
S M Krishna was a former external affairs minister and Karnataka chief minister.(HT Photo)
Published on May 19, 2022 06:17 PM IST
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Veteran politician S M Krishna has written to Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, expressing concern that frequent rain havoc in the city would hurt "Brand Bengaluru" and drive away investors. The 90-year old leader, credited by many for putting Bengaluru on the global map, has also made some suggestions aimed at protecting the "Brand Bengaluru." 

Krishna joined the BJP in 2017 after more than 45 years' association with the Congress. "Rain havoc in Bengaluru which is at the forefront among the fastest growing cities in the world has raised a concern; this has caused a disquiet about the Brand Bengaluru and may send a wrong message for those willing to set up industries and investors willing to invest in the state," the former Union Minister said in his letter to Bommai. 

He cautioned that this (frequent rain havoc) may result in investments and industries going to other states, and hamper Karnataka's progress. Krishna was the 16th Chief Minister of Karnataka from 1999 to 2004. 

He was then with the Congress party. Recalling the fillip given to IT sector during his tenure which resulted in Bengaluru growing as an alternative to Silicon Valley in California and generating jobs for youths, Krishna said the city has today grown exponentially and so does its revenue, and almost half the state's budget flows from Bengaluru. 

Suggesting formulation of farsighted permanent programmes, keeping the future of Bengaluru and development of the state in mind, he said to protect the "Brand Bengaluru" strong measures need to be taken. The suggestions made by the senior leader include reconstituting the Bangalore Agenda Task Force (BATF) comprising experts from various sectors to prepare a blueprint for the city’s development with a futuristic vision. 

The BATF was formed in 1999 by the Krishna government, it was headed by Infosys co-founder Nandan Nilekani. However, It was disbanded in 2004. He has also recommended constituting a committee of expert officials to reform the existing stormwater drains in the city and provide infrastructure in localities that have been brought under the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike's limits. 

Mooting establishment of industries in cities such as Mysuru, Tumakuru, Davangere and Hubballi so that burden on Bengaluru can be reduced, Krishna said the upgradation of Mysuru-Bengaluru highway into a 10-lane stretch, which is currently on, can make Mysuru an alternative to Bengaluru. 

He also suggested taking Bengaluru's MLAs, MPs and other elected representatives into confidence, identifying zone-wise problems and providing funds so that permanent solutions are provided. Reacting to a question on Krishna's letter, CM Bommai said: "Surely, the government will take his suggestions positively, and understands his concern for Bengaluru. 

However, pointing out that the population of Bengaluru has increased over the years and so have the challenges, he said, "Initially eight 'pura sabas' were included into the city, then 110 villages have been included, so they also have brought baggage of problems as we have to provide them with drinking water, underground drainage among others." 

"So there are fresh challenges and they are being faced with proper planning", Bommai further said, adding, "most of these challenges can be addressed by providing good connectivity and decongesting the city." 

Asked whether a new in-charge Minister will be appointed for Bengaluru, the post currently held by him, the Chief Minister said, the government is aware of the city's problems and discussions are on regarding decentralising the complete structure, during which administrative and public representatives aspects will be considered and a decision will be taken. 

Meanwhile, Information Technology industry veteran T V Mohandas Pai has once again sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi's intervention in addressing Bengaluru's infrastructure concerns. "@narendramodi Sir pls see photo, sewage system being broken for letting in rain water! This, our beautiful Bengaluru, run by corrupt BBMP. Pls help ⁦@PMOIndia @nsitharaman @blsanthosh @CMofKarnataka @BSBommai need reforms," he wrote.

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