Heavy rain brought the city to its knees on Wednesday evening. Among the worst affected were people returning home after work. Several were stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic as rain lashed the Central Business District, High Grounds, Rajajinagar, Domlur, Whitefield, south Bengaluru and other localities.
Many areas suffered power outages. Residents of Koramangala 1st Block did not have power for five hours from 5 p.m. onwards.
High intensity of rain was reported in many parts, with Kottegepalya receiving 78 mm/hour and K.R. Puram 66 mm/hour, according to the Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre.
The city recorded 10 mm and HAL area recorded 4 mm of rainfall up to 8.30 pm on Wednesday, according to an India Meteorological Department (IMD) official.
Water-logging was reported in Domlur and Varthur. Police reported heavy traffic at Dairy Circle Junction towards Hosur Main Road, Okalipuram Junction, Malleswaram Link Road, Mehkri Circle junction, Agara junction towards Bellandur, Yeshwantpur Circle junction, Hudson Circle, and Swamy Vivekananda Road towards Baiyappanahalli junction.
“The last 2 km to my place is going to take me 2 hours,” said Arvind, who was heading from Rajajinagar to Binny Mill.
Residents of Koramangala, Anugraha Layout, Wilson Garden and other areas, that saw heavy water-logging in last week’s downpour, were worried about a repeat on Wednesday night.
On the other end of the spectrum, fans at the Asian Football Confederation Cup match between Bengaluru FC and April 25 Sports Club were delighted, as play continued in pouring rain. Bengaluru FC won the game.
The IMD has predicted cloudy skies with light rain for the next four days, with a minimum temperature of 20 degree Celsius and a maximum of 24 degree Celsius.
More In Bengaluru
Environmental Issues: Congestion, sprawl, and pollution
Figure 7. Bangalore Traffic and an Environmental Health Public Service Campaign
Source: David Palmer
Bangalore: Traffic in a rapidly growing urban area
According to the Bangalore City Traffic Police nearly 70 percent of the vehicles in the city are two wheelers with cars accounting for another 20 percent. The seemingly ubiquitous three-wheel auto rickshaws make up less than 3 percent, with the balance being buses and heavy goods vehicles.
Growth in road surface and traffic has a number of severe environmental problems associated with it, including congestion and traffic jams, loss of open land due to urban sprawl along transportation routes, and various forms of pollution and associated health problems. With growing urban populations and a growing middle class, the numbers of vehicles continue to increase in India. Traffic congestion leading to slow speeds and long travel times therefore is a major problem, especially in large metropolises.
Increasing vehicular emissions are one of the most severe environmental problems associated with traffic growth. Transportation is a major contributor to air, noise and water pollution. Most countries operate strict emissions standards for vehicle engines. Those in India are based on European regulations and were first introduced in 2000. Known as Bharat Stage standards, Stage 4 norms have been in place in 13 major cities since 2010. The extent to which implementation is effective has been questioned. In Delhi, air pollution has been blamed on small-scale factories and not on growth in middle-class ownership of vehicles, so that there is often a tendency to preserve middle class uses over the needs of lower income groups.
The condition of roads in India needs to be considered in the discussion of transport options. As India's Twelfth Plan mentions:
India has the second largest road network in the world totaling 4.2 million kms but most of it is of poor quality. Half the network is not paved and the National Highways account for only 2.0 per cent of the total length.
For the most part, these unpaved roads occur in less developed regions of the country. Motorcycles become valuable here, since they are able to navigate unpaved roads. Rural mobility has thus been enhanced to a large degree by availability of two-wheelers. Bullock carts also continue to be important for those who cannot afford two-wheelers and for shorter journeys from homes to nearby farms or markets.
Future Projects for Transportation Systems in India
The most prominent project for upgrading of India's road is the 'Golden Quadrilateral' which seeks to connect the four metros of Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata. As a 2008 article in the National Geographic puts it:
Much as the U.S. interstate highway system mobilized American society and grooved the postwar economy, India hopes the Golden Quadrilateral will push the country's economic engine into overdrive—bringing the benefits of growth in its booming metropolises out to its impoverished villages, where more than half the population lives.
The project converts existing two-lane highways into four- and six-lane, to ensure lower congestion and higher speeds. Alongside, projects to provide rural areas with all-weather roads are also being undertaken. These programs of road construction are partly funded by the World Bank, and this is another way in which international funding becomes part of the streetscape, in this instance in the form of development aid.
Figure 8. India's Golden Quadrilateral
Map source: http://nhai.org/gqmain_english.htm
Land acquisition for road construction is part of the historical and social process through which streetscapes take form. While it is to be expected that the building of roads will be welcomed, especially in less well-connected rural areas, this is not always the case. Reasons for opposition range from lack of proper compensation and resettlement options for those displaced by road construction to uncertainty regarding the extent to which proposed highways actually serve rural economies or seek to bypass them in order to connect two urban economies. Historically, in colonial India, road building was a precursor to exploitation and loss of natural resources, so that access to roads has not always provided benefits to rural communities. The extent to which contemporary road building replicates historical forms of exploitation therefore is a matter that has to be critically considered.
Pause and Reflect 8:
What are the main environmental problems encountered in Indian streetscapes?
How are these problems being tackled in India? Why do two-wheelers dominate the Indian streetscape? Discuss whether this dominance of two-wheelers is likely to continue into the future or whether cars will soon dominate the Indian streetscape?
What impacts will the Golden Quadrilateral project have on the road system of India?
Does this project change some of the site and situation decisions of automobile manufacturing in India?
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