Is It Even Possible To Make ‘Unplanned’ Bangalore A Smart City?

Posted by Aniruddh Shrivastava in Politics, Society
December 20, 2016

Bangalore is one of the cities which has been shortlisted for the Smart Cities Mission. The flagship project of the BJP-led government is aimed at making cities smart, i.e.,  technologically advanced, along with ensuring basic services and facilities to the citizens. I am afraid of how the government is going to tackle existing issues which are severe and provide even basic services to the city.

The population of Bangalore is increasing exponentially. According to the 2011 Census, the population of Bangalore is 9,621,551. The boom in the software industry has led to excessive migration.

Bangalore is dependent on the Cauvery river for water. Lack of rainfall has resulted in water scarcity in the river. Also, the ongoing dispute with Tamil Nadu has made the situation more problematic. The population is increasing and water per capita is decreasing gradually. A large area of Karnataka is devoid of even clean drinkable water.

Hydel power and thermal power are the main sources of Karnataka’s power generation. Since Cauvery river is running out of water, hydel power generation is not up to the mark. Thermal power plants are already suffering from technical inefficiencies. Karnataka’s total power demand is 6500 MW while supply remains constant around 3500 MW. As a consequence, there are frequent and unscheduled power cuts all over the city. I fail to understand how Madhya Pradesh has become a power surplus state, while Karnataka has an acute power shortage.

The issue of power generation still can be tackled by alternative resources like renewable energy. We have a bigger and a more serious problem in the capital city – garbage management. According to a report in 2012, the city produced 4000 tons of garbage per day. Now, the pathetic situation is that Bangalore has an acute shortage of landfills.The Terra Firma landfill off Doddaballapur already closed down.

There is no process or strict rule laid down for the segregation of waste. All the mixed waste is dumped into the existing landfill and covered. Processing units can process only wet waste, not mixed waste. Moreover, the communities residing in the vicinity of landfills and processing units are showing their resentment against BBMP (Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike) vehemently. BBMP, on the other hand, has thrown up its hands. As of now, there is no seriousness about the implementation of Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016.

The speed with which industrialisation is going on, I see a threat to the greenery of the garden city. Effluents of industries have made lakes of Bangalore severely polluted. The average temperature of Bangalore is changing year after year. The city recorded its highest temperature this year since 1931.

It is out of my imagination how the government is going to deal with such a labyrinthine issue and make an unplanned city smart, in a planned manner. BBMP is not solely responsible for this. I find people equally responsible for the present situation of the city. It is time they understand that mitigation of the smallest unit (source) will make the city smart and sustainable.


Image source: Uriel Sinai/ Getty Images