Infrastructure

In 2020, while most of our population was quarantined in their homes, my family was lucky to live in a society that allowed us free use of the roof terrace for exercise. My husband, daughter and I often enjoyed morning breakfasts up there, and every evening we made it a point to run around, play and exercise. As the first wave waned, slowly, things started opening up. We were overjoyed. We could finally enjoy watching the sun go down the horizon and be in the greenery to ease our anxieties and move our bodies. What became clearer to us was…

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Mumbai's population growth is attributed to the influx of migrants due to the textile mill boom in the 1900s. By 1921, migrants made up about 84% of the city's population. Historically, Mumbai's large migrant population has been its backbone. However, since the dissolution of the mills, Mumbai went from an industrial hub to a service industry hub, changing migration patterns from intrastate to interstate. For a long time since this shift, migrants have been blamed for 'stealing' jobs from locals, and for contributing to the city's vastly spread slum habilitation. However, contrary to the opinion that migration to Mumbai from…

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Bengaluru is a finalist in a nationwide competition to implement and scale kid-friendly neighbourhood design over the next two years. Pilot projects formulated and implemented by the Directorate of Urban Land Transport (DULT) and Bengaluru Smart City Ltd (BenSCL) aim to enhance access to transit, open spaces, maternity hospitals and anganwadis. There are ten winning cities in the Nurturing Neighbourhoods Challenge, a national initiative to shape neighbourhoods across India that support healthy early childhood development. The challenge was launched in November 2020 by the Smart Cities Mission, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA), in collaboration with the Bernard van…

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Last month, in December 2021, a new skywalk came up on Outer Ring Road, near New Horizon College, Kadubeesanahalli, built by Embassy Tech Park. Coming as it did, after a long period of no new skywalks being opened, it threw the spotlight on the importance of skywalks. In the recent past, BBMP has built a number of skywalks across the city under the PPP (Public-Private Partnership) model, which affected the final decisions on their locations and designs. However the overhead pedestrian crossings on Outer Ring Road have become a reality, largely due to citizen activism.  The Sanjay Giri skywalk, between Akme…

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On 8th July 2021, a Chennai-based construction and real estate firm obtained the completion certificate from the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) for its newly-constructed residential building, located in Valmiki Street of East Tambaram. The building consists of a stilt floor plus five floors and houses 15 dwelling units. Along with amenities such as rainwater harvesting structures and fire licences, the building had also declared a functional rooftop solar installation in order to obtain the completion certificate, which is a prerequisite for all builders to obtain water, sewer and power connections.  As per the Tamil Nadu Combined Development and Building…

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Perambur railway station is one of the important stations in the Chennai Suburban Railway network. In terms of commuter traffic, it is the fifth largest station in Chennai, after Chennai Central, Egmore, Tambaram and Mambalam. All of the suburban trains passing through this station, except one or two, halt here, and many of the long-distance trains also have a stoppage at this station. Perambur Railway Station is also the second oldest in the city after Royapuram railway station. The station was originally built in the 1860s to cater to employees at Southern Railway's locomotive, carriage, wagon and coach-building workshops.  The…

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In a small shop in Bhendi bazaar, owner Devendra Jain shows an elderly customer two polka-dotted ridas, the colourful skirt-scarf combo worn by Bohra women, trying to match to a picture on his phone. After decades of running the business that started with door-to-door sales, his loyal customers are now experiencing a more convenient shopping experience. In the last few years, the shop has gone from a dingy spot under a staircase in a chawl, to a spanking new space on the second floor of the newly redeveloped Al Sa’adah Towers. 13 buildings were demolished to make way for the…

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In Part 1 and Part 2 of this series, we saw that Bengaluru’s drains are poorly designed and that the government doesn’t even have a full database of the drainage network even as many drains have gone missing. In this article, we explore why these stormwater drain works do not yield results. When a government department entrusts any work to a contractor, it should follow clear procedures to verify the completed works and make payments. But this seems anathema to BBMP's Stormwater Drain (SWD) Department. A 2021 audit report by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), an independent watchdog body,…

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In Part 1 of this series, we saw that a CAG report of 2021 revealed Bengaluru does not have a complete map or database of its stormwater drain network. Drains are mapped in two master plans - the Revised Master Plan (RMP 2015) by the BDA (Bangalore Development Authority), and the BBMP’s master plan of drains. But the former does not indicate the type of drain (primary/secondary/tertiary), and the latter does not include tertiary/roadside drains at all. Neither plan has marked the buffer zones around drains; and many drains are missing in either document or both. Drains mapped in BBMP's…

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It takes very little to flood a road or home in Bengaluru. In recent weeks, rains have caused severe flooding in many parts of the city, especially in North Bengaluru. A report by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) on the city’s stormwater drain (SWD) system, released this September, shows why this shouldn’t be a surprise at all.  In any city, stormwater drains are critical for: Preventing flood and its related effectMaintaining clean lakes/water bodiesGroundwater recharge But Bengaluru’s drainage system has been badly mismanaged by the city corporation BBMP’s Stormwater Drain (SWD) department, finds the audit report. The report covered…

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