Monday, September 3, 2007

Economic Reforms: Impact on Hyderabad

Last week, I was in Hyderabad for a whole week after a really long time – 4 years to be precise and I was stunned!

I had left Bangalore by train on the ill fated 25th August evening, when 2 bomb blasts had rocked Hyderabad, one at Lumbini Park and the other at Gokul Chat Bhandar, which I must add, I used to frequent when I was living in Hyderabad.

Arriving on Sunday, I had expected Hyderabad to be gripped by fear psychosis, which was common while I was there. Whenever there was a bomb blast, the place would simply shut down! There would have been rioting and general strikes! This time around – while most places in Hyderabad were shut, note, it was a Sunday, there was a feeling of a need to get back together, something that we Indians typically associate with cities like Mumbai! Some political parties called for a general strike on Monday, but buses were plying albeit at lower frequency than is normal, we could find autos that were willing to take you wherever you wanted to go without charging the Earth! The economic reforms, I felt, had truly touched every citizen in Hyderabad; people are finally busy with making money rather than spread rumors or violence!

Bangalore vs. Hyderabad - No comparision!

The last 4 years, I have been living in Bangalore, considered to be one of the quieter cities in South India. Whenever a general strike is called, the place simply shuts down, there is absolutely no public transport available – the Government pulls buses off the roads, Autos and Taxis simply disappear!
Added to the above – I have a few friends in Hyderabad, who complain about the Hyderabad’s infrastructure – The only thing I had to say to them – come and live in Bangalore. Every road in Hyderabad is wide, traffic constantly moves, there is political will to actually improve the lot of the citizens of the city! Compare it to Bangalore – the roads are narrow, traffic barely moves, there is absolutely no political will to change things for the better; there are no road widening projects that are in progress! To reach most places in Bangalore you have only one route, whereas in Hyderabad, there are multiple routes! Things are so out of hand here in Bangalore that the coalition parties that rule the state are constantly bickering with each other, one party does not trust the other with regards to hand over of the power due in October this year! There is only one road to the spanking new Airport that will be ready by April next year and it will take longer for a person travelling to Hyderabad to reach the airport in Bangalore than the flight time to Hyderabad! The work on the new road to the new airport in Bangalore, which has been conceptualized, has yet to start – Land has still not been acquired! The flyover on airport road, the airport where dozens of CEOs visit every year – took 5 years to build! Hyderabad is building 3 flyovers on one road (the busy Lifestyle road to the Nagarjuna Circle) and the target for completion is before the airport is completed in Hyderabad – which is March 2008!

The only advantage that Bangalore has over Hyderabad is the weather and it will not be to long before the weather deteriorates!

Hyderabad will go places – I will not be surprised the day that Hyderabad will overtake Bangalore in all aspects!

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