A recent study done by scientists from the Indian Institute of Science found that Bangalore, the
outsourcing capital of the world is responsible for the second highest amount of carbon dioxide
released while commuting to and from work. And no prizes for guessing who ended up topping the charts. It is none other than Hyderabad, the other IT giant of South India. The study went on to further state that of all the Indian cities where the study was undertaken, these two cities featured right on top
due to a higher concentration of IT professionals. This, they said was mainly due to carbon emissions
during transportation. Life has indeed come a full circle for the two high tech destinations of
Bangalore and Hyderabad.
It was in the 90s when the two capital cities of the southern states Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh first
came into eminence on the world stage. Call it coincidence if you want but at about the same time, both states had Chief Ministers (SM Krishna and Chandrababu Naidu) who wanted to cash in on the opportunities that the IT sector had to offer for their respective states. Thanks to the visionary efforts of this duo today both Bangalore and Hyderabad account for millions of dollars in revenue accrued from software. Not to mention thousands of youngsters from all over the country who not just got jobs but even bettered their career prospects thanks to this sector. But in terms of public transport and infrastructure both the cities have simply not been able to keep pace. A lot of the blame must lie with the shocking apathy coupled with a clear lack of foresight on part of the administration in both these cities. In both Bangalore and Hyderabad the governments allotted huge amounts of land on the outskirts at throwaway prices and today these software parks are home to some of the largest software companies of the world. Trouble is the employees working in these companies are spread all over the city and lack of proper commuting options means that these folks have to rely on private transport to reach their workplace. And one is not even mentioning the rush hour traffc that the city dwellers experience when the IT professionals head back home. Partly responsible are the IT companies and their head honchos who have failed to sit across the table with the powers that be and arrive at workable solutions for the whole of the city.
Riding on the back of the IT industry several other affiliate industries, R&D facilities and
manufacturing units have set shop and are thriving in these two cities. Which means that the influx of
people from smaller towns and other parts of the country to Bangalore and Hyderabad continues unabated. To make matters worse, attempts to ease the situation by introducing effective public transport options like Metro Rail and Mono Rail have got delayed due to a combination of faulty planning and bureaucratic red tapism. An example of this faulty planning can be seen in the city of Bangalore where an IT professional does not enjoy last mile connectivity. Due to which they are forced to fall back on personal transport to travel some part of the journey. Companies that offer door to door cab services are no better for most of the cab drivers are overworked, underpaid and as a result drive haphazardly on the city roads making life difficult for other commuters.
So what is the way forward? What is it that can be done to ease this situation? There are no easy solutions and certainly nothing that can be fixed in a jiffy. After all this is a mess that has taken decades and will take some time undoing too. The governments in both cities must work together with all stakeholders and take some bold decisions keeping in mind the future. And we, the people must play our part. If we do not act now, it will indeed be too late.