From a sleepy little town which is often called Pensioners' Paradise Bangalore (Bengaluru) founded by a local chieftain named Kempegowda has metamorphosised into a big City in just five decades.
When I landed in the city in the late Forties the population was just about 50 lakhs. And in the last five decades it has grown to eight and a half millions. This has been attributed to the large influx of people from other parts of the country seeking employment opportunities. In the Fifties many new industries like Indian Telephone Industries, Hindustan Machine Tools, Bharat Electronics Ltd, and the Wheel and Axle Plant besides the expansion of Hindustan Aircraft Ltd attracted hordes of skilled and unskilled labour force. In the last decade the IT industry has expanded beyond any ones imagination bringing into the city young men just out of engineering and other professional colleges in hordes.
The city expanded beyond the perimeters set by the founder of Bengaluru. This expansion called for provision of additional infrastructure. The transportation needs of the increasing population had to be taken care of. Consequently the City Bus service grew manifold over the years. While there has been constant increase in rail services from and to the city from the nearby towns and cities, such services were practically non existent within the city. Because of the uneven terrain introduction of trams was not considered while double decker buses and tubular buses were experimented with and given up. While the infrastructural needs are partially met the explosion of other forms of personal transportation like auto rickshaws, two and three wheelers saw the already congested roads choke up.
It is at this point of time that the city planners decided to go for aerial transport. Namma Metro was conceived about a few years back and work on bringing it to shape commenced. A network of about 45 kilo meters of both surface and underground rail lines criscrossing the City connecting the expanding city limits has been planned. The first completed seven km stretch from Byappanahalli in the east to MG Road in the business district was thrown upon for traffic last October. The stretch has five stations and they are most modern in conception and execution. As the work is going on apace it is expected the whole network connecting the entire stretches from the east, west,north and southern parts of the fast expanding City will be a dream come true by end of 2015.
The Metro train is not only time saving but an easthetic marvel.