The ruling Congress in Karnataka wants to make Bengaluru the second capital of India. In its manifesto for the upcoming Assembly polls, the party vouches that at least Rs 1,00,000 crore will be spent on the development of infrastructure in the city.
“The Indian National Congress will ensure that within 5 years world-class infrastructure is created with a special package of at least Rs 1,00,000 crore through State Government, Government of India, consortiums and other alternate sources to make Bengaluru City eligible for consideration as the second capital city of India,” the party’s region-specific manifesto says.
The party broke up its manifesto into the various regions and revealed the same on Saturday in the presence of technocrat Sam Pitroda, alongside various leaders, including Bengaluru Development Minister KJ George and Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee Working President Dinesh Gundu Rao.
The state manifesto was released on Friday by party President Rahul Gandhi in Mangaluru.
According to the manifesto, the Rs 1,00,000 crore will be spent on building more flyovers and executing road-widening exercises to accommodate the increasing vehicular population and to improve connectivity. The party also promised to expand the coverage of TenderSURE, white-top more roads in the city and utilize the basements of government buildings for parking.
Importantly, the manifesto also mentioned that it would put a stop to manual scavenging and arm workers with appropriate tools.
The party adds that if voted to power it will ensure that 30% of passengers will use public transport.
In a push for sustainability, all government buildings will be made eco-friendly and fitted with solar panels, and parks will be refurbished. The manifesto also talks about lake development and lake rejuvenation, and prioritizes the maintenance of storm-water drains. It said it would also prohibit the flow of garbage into the storm-water drains.
Other promises include the construction of advanced drainage, water purification plants and more lake development programs.
In terms of governance, the party has pitched for the constitutionally mandated Metropolitan Planning Committee and the municipalization strategy of giving powers to tier-3 city leaders.
Reacting to the manifesto, Srinivas Alavalli, co-founder of Citizens for Bengaluru, a civic activists’ group, said, “We, as CfB and other citizen groups, worked very hard to put forth citizens’ manifesto asking for a livable, inclusive city. But the city manifesto begins with things we don’t want to see like flyovers and skywalks. It is also disappointing to see no mention of demotorization and non-motorable transport.”
However, he appreciated certain aspects of the manifesto too. “I especially like the focus on governance and decentralisation, ward committees, a directly elected Mayor, subsidised public transport and the call to end manual scavenging, ward-level garbage processing, recharge wells, etc.”
He added, “There is no intent to curb the rampant commercialisation of residential areas and ban illegal establishments. Water is another area of concern where we are still relying on long-distance pumping rather than harvesting rainwater.”
The manifesto also promises to increase open spaces by 2% every year and maintain WHO standards of air, water quality and make all lakes pollution-free by the end of the next term.
For urban mobility, the party proposes to set up satellite bus stations and parking yards in the outskirts of the city, and establish links between civil bus stations to metros.
The manifesto said that it will consider opening suburban railway links to destinations up to 100 kms from the centre of Bengaluru.