the sluggish demise of India’s tech hub? By Reuters


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Individuals use Coracle boats to maneuver by a water-logged neighbourhood following torrential rains in Bengaluru, India, September 7, 2022. REUTERS/Samuel Rajkumar


By Devjyot Ghoshal and Nivedita Bhattacharjee

BENGALURU (Reuters) – Harish Pullanoor spent his weekends within the late Eighties tramping across the marshes and ponds of Yemalur, an space then on the jap fringe of the Indian metropolis of Bengaluru, the place his cousins would be a part of him catching small freshwater fish.

Within the Nineteen Nineties, Bengaluru, as soon as a genteel metropolis of gardens, lakes and a cool local weather, quickly grew to become India’s reply to Silicon Valley, attracting hundreds of thousands of staff and the regional headquarters of among the world’s largest IT firms.

The untrammelled growth got here at a value.

Concrete changed inexperienced areas and building across the fringe of lakes blocked off connecting canals, limiting town’s capability to soak up and siphon off water.

Final week, after town’s heaviest rains in a long time, the Yemalur neighbourhood was submerged underneath waist-deep water together with another elements of Bengaluru, disrupting the southern metropolis’ IT trade and dealing a blow to its repute.

Residents fed up with gridlocked visitors and water shortages through the dry season have lengthy complained in regards to the metropolis’s infrastructure.

However flooding through the monsoon has raised contemporary questions in regards to the sustainability of speedy city improvement, particularly if climate patterns change into extra erratic and intense due to local weather change.

“It’s totally, very unhappy,” mentioned Pullanoor, who was born near Yemalur however now lives within the western metropolis of Mumbai, elements of which additionally face sporadic flooding like lots of India’s city centres.

“The timber have disappeared. The parks have nearly disappeared. There may be chock-a-block visitors.”

Large companies are additionally complaining about worsening disruptions, which they are saying can value them tens of hundreds of thousands of {dollars} in a single day.

Bengaluru hosts greater than 3,500 IT firms and a few 79 “tech parks” – upmarket premises that home places of work and leisure areas catering to know-how staff.

Wading by flooded highways final week, they struggled to achieve trendy glass-faced complexes in and round Yemalur the place multinational corporations together with JP Morgan and Deloitte function alongside massive Indian start-ups.

Millionaire entrepreneurs have been amongst these pressured to flee flooded residing rooms and swamped bedrooms on the again of tractors.

Insurance coverage firms mentioned preliminary estimates for lack of property have been bumped into hundreds of thousands of rupees, with numbers anticipated to go up within the subsequent few days.


The newest chaos triggered renewed worries from the $194 billion Indian IT providers trade that’s concentrated across the metropolis.

“India is a tech hub for world enterprises, so any disruption right here may have a worldwide affect. Bangalore, being the centre of IT, shall be no exception to this,” mentioned Okay.S. Viswanathan, vp at trade foyer group the Nationwide Affiliation of Software program and Providers Firms (NASSCOM).

Bangalore was renamed Bengaluru in 2014.

NASSCOM is presently working to determine 15 new cities that would change into software program export hubs, mentioned Viswanathan, who’s driving the undertaking.

“It isn’t a city-versus-city story,” he instructed Reuters. “We as a rustic do not need to miss out on income and enterprise alternatives due to an absence of infrastructure.”

Even earlier than the floods, some enterprise teams together with the Outer Ring Highway Firms Affiliation (ORRCA) that’s led by executives from Intel (NASDAQ:), Goldman Sachs (NYSE:), Microsoft (NASDAQ:) and Wipro (NYSE:), warned insufficient infrastructure in Bengaluru might encourage firms to go away.

“We’ve been speaking about these for years,” Krishna Kumar, common supervisor of ORRCA, mentioned final week of issues associated to Bengaluru’s infrastructure. “We’ve come to a severe level now and all firms are on the identical web page.”

Within the early Nineteen Seventies, greater than 68 p.c of Bengaluru was lined in vegetation.

By the late Nineteen Nineties, town’s inexperienced cowl had dropped to round 45% and by 2021 to lower than 3% of its whole space of 741 sq. kilometres, based on an evaluation by T.V. Ramachandra of Bengaluru’s Indian Institute of Science (IISC).

Inexperienced areas will help take in and briefly retailer storm water, serving to to guard constructed up areas.

“If this pattern continues, by 2025, 98.5% (of town) shall be choked with concrete,” mentioned Ramachandra, who’s a part of IISC’s Centre for Ecological Sciences.


Fast city growth, typically that includes unlawful buildings constructed with out permission, has affected Bengaluru’s practically 200 lakes and a community of canals that when related them, based on specialists.

So when heavy rains lash town like they did final week, drainage programs are unable to maintain up, particularly in low-lying areas like Yemalur.

The state authorities of Karnataka, the place Bengaluru is positioned, mentioned final week it will spent 3 billion Indian rupees ($37.8 million) to assist handle the flood state of affairs, together with eradicating unauthorised developments, bettering drainage programs and controlling water ranges in lakes.

“All of the encroachments shall be eliminated with none mercy,” Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai instructed reporters. “I’ll personally go and examine.”

Authorities have recognized round 50 areas in Bengaluru which have been illegally developed. These included high-end villas and residences, based on Tushar Girinath, Chief Commissioner of Bengaluru’s civic authority.

Final week, the state authorities additionally introduced it will arrange a physique to handle Bengaluru’s visitors and begin discussions on a brand new storm water drainage undertaking alongside a serious freeway.

Critics known as the initiatives a knee-jerk response that would peter out.

“Each time it floods, solely then we talk about,” mentioned IISC’s Ramachandra. “Bengaluru is decaying. It is going to die.”

($1 = 79.4130 Indian rupees)

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