IT-BT czars to drive Bengaluru infrastructure development

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Bengaluru, May 10 (IANS) The Karnataka government has set up a task force, with IT-BT czars as members, to drive Bengaluru infrastructure development and fix its endemic civic woes for improving the quality of life in the city and its sullied image, it was announced on Tuesday.

With Chief Minister Siddaramaiah as chairman, the Bengaluru Blueprint Action Group (BBAG) has Infosys co-founder N.R. Narayana Murthy, Wipro chairman Azim Premji, Biocon chairperson Kiran Mazumdar-Shah, Flipkart co-founder Sachin Bansal and other prominent citizens as its non-official members.

“The task force will draw an action plan based on a report we are compiling with inputs from various stakeholders, including domain experts, heads of civic agencies and utility providers, lawmakers and residents welfare associations across the city,” Janaagraha Foundation coordinator V. Srikanth told IANS.

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Set up in 2001 as a not-for-profit organisation by Ramesh Ramanathan and his wife Swathi Ramanathan, Janaagraha Centre for Citzenship and Democracy aims to improve quality of life in urban India through systemic change in infrastructure and civic amenities such as roads, drains, traffic, transport and water supply.

“Our report will have suggestions the stakeholders shared at a brain-storming workshop Janaagraha Urban Space Foundation held here in October 2015 and on the basis of subsequent discussions we had with eminent citizens on improving the city’s crumbling infrastructure and tackling its bottlenecks,” Srikanth said.

The task force also has Bengaluru Development Minister K.J. George as vice-chairman, ministers and lawmakers representing the city in the assembly and parliament, state chief secretary and additional chief secretary as its official members.

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Besides Ramanathans, who returned from the US, leaving executive jobs, other non-official members include former Infosys director and Manipal Global Education chairman T.V. Mohandas Pai, Microland director Kalpana Kar, urban experts R.K. Mishra and V. Ravichandar and retired IAS officers B.S. Patil and Siddaiah.

“The BBAG will make recommendations to the state government on a time-bound programme to expand the infrastructure and fix civic issues with quantifiable milestones, clear ownership, accountability on officials and transparent measurement of performance,” Srikanth added.

Branded as India’s IT and BT (biotech) capital, Bengaluru became the fastest-growing city in Asia, with about 800 national and global corporations setting up their development or research centres and drawing best talent from the world over.

The city’s infrastructure and amenities, however, did not keep pace with its explosive growth since a decade, leading to traffic snarls, increasing air and noise pollution, un-regulated expansion of city limits to house its 10-million denizens.

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