Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Only two things are infinite...

Two things that have happened in Bangalore over the last few weeks.

One is an attempt by the BMP (Bangalore Mahanagara Palike) or its equivalent authority to cut some trees on Residency Road. Tree cutting is a bad idea so no debates on that front. What happened was that many citizens hugged the trees and prevented them from being cut. Which is also fine.

But will saving a few trees really solve the bigger problem Bangalore faces? Which is the fact that rules for development of plots for houses are so "malleable" that houseowners can get away with scraping out that last bit of vegetation that grows on their plot and replace it with concrete (the richer ones prefer mosaic, granite or italian marble in that order) including in the parking lot. Rain water harvesting is not yet mandatory. Very soon the Udyan (Garden) express which runs from Mumbai to Bangalore will be renamed the Concrete express. View Bangalore from the air and you can see that greenery in this city is on the army lands, parks and roads. There is almost no greenery on individual plots. And it is people living in such plots/apartment complexes from which any trace of vegetation has been decimated who hug trees that obstruct traffic on a main road. (The link speaks of a rule wherein a houseowner has to take the permission of the BCC to prune a tree that is above 3 metres in diameter. When was the last time you saw a tree that wide?)

The second, much publicised event, has been a "Go cycling" Bangalore. Now this Go cycling is not a publicity stunt by daily wage earners or that strata of society which really needs to use a bicycle because they cannot afford anything else. It is organised by some shallow brains with money and influence in the press who think that the solution to Bangalores traffic crisis is the bicycle. These, like the ones in the tree cutting scenario above, are those who would never have to use a bicycle in their life. Therefore they would not know that bicyclists are (partly due to their own negligence and partly due to speeding motorists) in the highest risk category for road accidents since there is no special lanes or any other facility for them. Lets have one of those Go cyclists try and ride a bicycle on any Bangalore road through peak hour.

(The heading is part of a quote by Albert Einstein "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former").

1 comment:

Suhas said...

Its pretty easy to pin-point mistakes...but can you provide solutions to the above underlined problems. Lets support initiatives if we cannot start them. Lets be positive. Bangalore doesn't require people who complain. We have a lot of them already !! Please don't add to that list !!