MNCs with a significant presence in Whitefield and Outer Ring Road have warned they will stall expansion plans and investments and could leave the city, if the traffic situation does not improve in Bengaluru.
Whitefield has always been home to some of the most renowned technology companies of the world, such as Dell, HP and Oracle, while Outer Ring Road is the new address for behemoths like eBay, Visa and Wells Fargo, among others.
“We met the chief minister in September and requested for a meeting on this issue, but it keeps getting postponed as there is no intent on their part,” Ram Narayanan, general manager, eBay India, told TOI.
A lack of basic infrastructure, traffic congestion and excessive commuting hours, leading to productivity loss and low employee morale, have irked the MNCs which blame the lack of intent on the part of the state government to address the issue.
Narayanan said investment is something that is decided at the headquarters and if the situation does not improve, the money will go elsewhere. He said the ease of doing business extends to good infrastructure and added the company is open to looking at other options in the city.
“This lack of infrastructure is increasingly getting noted by our counterparts in the US, and brand Bengaluru is taking a hit. There is pressure on us to justify whether we should continue to invest in Bengaluru,” Sarv Saravanan, EMC Asia Pacific operations head, told TOI.
Saravanan added in order to derisk, the company had already opened an office in another city, though he declined to name it.”Bengaluru is just not catching up on infrastructure,” he said.
The situation is bad during mornings and evenings, but turns worse if it rains as pothole-filled roads are entirely waterlogged and commuters have to wait for hours, stuck in traffic. “On a bad day, a 12 km journey from Whitefield to Domlur takes up to 2 hours,” Vijay Bharadwaj, vice-president, human resources, Dell, said.
Ravi Gautham, senior vice-president, Northern Trust Bank, said if the company had to think of increasing headcount, it would rethink doing so in Bengaluru because of the traffic. “Our days have extended as average commuting time is up by about 50%,” he said.
“The fiasco during the day results in a huge loss of productivity. On an average, our employees take four hours to commute to and from office which affects their work-life balance,” according to Bharadwaj.