September 21, 2005

City infrastructure hopeless: Mallya

City infrastructure hopeless: Mallya

‘Karnataka Shows No Urgency; Centre Must Give More Funds’


Bangalore: Yet another top industrialist has lashed out at the Karnataka government over Bangalore’s crumbling infrastructure.
   UB Group chairman Vijay Mallya on Monday said: “It’s depressing and hopelessly inadequate. Being a Bangalorean, I am pretty ashamed.”
   “I think Bangalore needs a complete makeover. The Centre needs to allocate resources for improving the infrastructure here. Bangalore earns the country valuable foreign exchange, and cannot be neglected like this,” Mallya said.
   The Rajya Sabha member, known for his forthright comments, urged the state government to take erring officials to task. He said he was surprised to note that the state is showing no urgency in improving Bangalore’s infrastructure, which has become international news.
   When he landed at Hong Kong airport on September 14, Mallya said, he picked up an international newspaper that carried a front-page article damning the city’s infrastructure. “Such news can be a dampener not only for Bangalore but for the entire country.”
   “I am going to raise the city’s woes in the Upper House of Parliament,” he said. His comments came just days after information technology companies and the state government declared a truce following a war of words over infrastructure.
   The UB Group has sought “reimbursement” of about Rs 15 crore from the Karnataka government for the failure of the Elevated Light Rail Transit System that was sought to be promoted by a consortium led by UB.
   Mallya said the project was abandoned after the state government failed to come up with its share of the equity and necessary guarantees. The state government had imposed additional tax on vehicles, ostensibly to fund ELRTS. “We want the money back and have written to the state on this,” Mallya said.

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