September 14, 2005

WB report rips Karnataka

WB report rips Karnataka

Infrastructure Bad, Planning Improper,Agencies Work As Islands

By Hemali Chhapia/TNN

Bangalore: While IT czars are screaming about crumbling infrastructure and the government is defending its stand, here’s what a World Bank report says about Karnataka: “61.2% of the state believes that dismal infrastructure is a severe obstacle for investment.’’
   The report — Improving the investment climate: Challenges for India and for Karnataka — ranks infrastructure just second to the corruption levels here. The study was conducted in 15 large states. In infrastructure, Karnataka ranks well behind the national average (34%).
   Focusing on urban transport, power and water, it observes it is essential for the state “to provide infrastructure that is not only reliable but also priced competitively’’.
   On urban transportation, it observes six agencies associated with traffic management — BMTC, KSRTC, RTOs, BMRTL, police and BCC — have no coordination. “We recommend Bangalore establish a unified metropolitan authority as agencies are working as islands.’’
   WB sources said: “This study on urban transport was not made public as the government thought following the recommendations would have serious implications.’’
   It says most “trip distances in Bangalore are very high due to improper town planning’’. A member associated with the study said: “This leads to high congestion in widely spreadout downtown areas.’’
   On power, it says the number of firms forced to use generators has been increasing since 2000. “While Gujarat, Kerala, Delhi, Maharashtra and Punjab are trying to provide reliable power, Karnataka’s situation has been worsening.’’
   It observes: “In the month preceding the survey, there were power outages on 28 days in the state and 21 days in Bangalore. In comparison, Gujarat had just six, Maharashtra seven, and AP eight.”
   Comparing to AP, Delhi, Gujarat, Maharashtra and TN, water problem is the worst in Karnataka. “The average number of times when insufficient water was supplied during the last month in Karnataka was 11.5. It is similar in Bangalore.’’ Corresponding figures are: AP 3, Delhi 1.5, Gujarat 3.5 and Maharashtra 1.
   Firms in Bangalore, Mysore, Hubli-Dharwad and Mangalore were surveyed.

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