Bengaluru would soon reclaim its "Garden City" status, with its most annoying elements - choked traffic, polluted and shrinking lakes, and garbage disposal - reducing considerably if plans announced in Bengaluru Mission 2022, launched today by the Karnataka government, are anything to go by.
The ambitious programme, initiated today by Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa aims to revitalise the 483-year-old city, detoxifying it of its most talked-about problems - and that, too, in two years.
"This Mission envisages comprehensive and sustainable development and world-class amenities...The Mission has been formulated after studying the challenges and problems faced in everyday life in the city," Mr Yeddyurappa said today, launching the programme.
One of the world's fastest-growing cities and tech-hubs, Bengaluru, the Chief Minister said, was a major contributor to the country's economy, too.
Yet, the city of over a crore people has, in recent years, made headlines for the wrong reasons like traffic blues, polluted lakes, and flooding. And these issue are among those to be addressed by the new Mission.
"Faster commuting, Swachcha Bengaluru, Green Bengaluru, and connectivity" are some of the core areas identified by it to work on. "We will provide more money in the budget also, to Bengaluru," Mr Yeddyurappa said.
Consider the city's commuting conditions.
In the past 30 years alone, the city's vehicular population has multiplied by four times. Up to 70% of its traffic is borne by a few arterial roads and high-density corridors.
The Mission says now that 190 kilometres along 12 such corridors will be upgraded - as cleared by the state cabinet. Synchronous traffic lights will be introduced and the aesthetic appearance of the roads, too, will also be improved.
Public transport will also be updated to include shared electric vehicles, more bus priority lanes, acceleration of the much-delayed Metro network expansion and a focus on suburban rail.
The city's badly-handled 4,000 tonnes-per-day garbage has raised a stink among residents and visitors alike for years. Now, the Mission intends to improve the city's seven existing waste-management plants and landfills. There is a promise of a greater focus on segregation of waste at source, improved collection, and rehabilitation of what are rather quaintly referred to as "legacy dump sites".
For centuries, its lakes have been its lifeline, considering that it is one of the rare big cities that is not located near a natural source of water like a river or sea.
Yet, in recent decades, its lakes have shrunk and dried up or have been thoroughly polluted or encroached upon. The Mission will take up restoration of 25 lakes as a key target, besides improving Bengaluru's storm water drain system. In good news for green warriors, two large tracts of Public Sector Unit lands will be repurposed to become mega tree parks.
Mr Yeddyurappa said there would be a spot inspection along with the media every six months to demonstrate progress made by the Mission. "I have got 100% confidence that within two years we will complete the work," he said.