Karnataka losing out on Cauvery water might eventually lead to cities like Chennai, Hyderabad or Amaravati taking over from Bengaluru the title of IT capital of the country.”I don’t think existing industries will leave the city. But new industries may not come here. Existing industries which want to expand their footprint in Bengaluru may rethink plans. New expansions may get affected and we have to be careful about it,” says Harish Bijoor, a brand expert from the city.” Investors may say let’s go to Chennai, Hyderabad or Amaravati. That would eventually lead to other cities having an upper hand,” he says. What Bengaluru is today might be the Chennai or Hyderabad of tomorrow, he feels.
Going on to add that whenever somebody looks at investing in a city, they look at basic facilities including water, sanitation, good health, electricity and quality of life for their employees. Bijoor says the city has been able to provide a good quality of life for its employees, though. Saying that Bengaluru was a water-positive city, he adds that this aspect of Bengaluru and Karnataka must not be compromised with. “It is important for us to preserve it,” he says adding that now if Bengaluru becomes water negative, it will affect every industry, the real estate sector, and everything around. “If you really look at the development and growth of Bengaluru as a city, water has been a basic contributor. A city which cannot provide drinking water to its people, leave alone any other water for any other needs, is a stressed city. It will be a business stressed city for sure,” he says.
The Bengaluru considered by the Cauvery Tribunal in 2007 is not the city of 2016.” Bengaluru then was not the Bengaluru today. Our population is burgeoning, he reminds, adding that water is not a fashionable issue, it is a real issue. “Karnataka’s case is a strong case for that matter. You cannot starve a city of its water needs.”
Rajeev Chandrasekhar, MP, is of the opinion that Bengaluru would not have taken the hit if there was an effective water conservation strategy in place.” Brand Bengaluru is going to take a hit due to water issues. It is not because of Cauvery alone, but because there has been absolutely no effort by the government to develop a water strategy that includes preserving lakes and protecting the ground water table of Bengaluru,” he says.
“If today Bengaluru is in a water crisis, it is not Cauvery that is causing that crisis. It is because of the lackadaisical approach by politicians and bureaucrats.
Bengalureans should remember that only after farmers get their water, can Bengaluru make a legitimate claim for Cauvery water,” he says. Historically, Bengaluru has had a network of lakes and all that has been systematically destroyed.
“Brand Bengaluru wouldn’t have been affected if there was an efficient water management and conservation strategy three years ago. Water crisis wouldn’t be as bad as it is today,” he says.
Credits Bangalore Mirror