News / Asia

India’s IT Hub Launches Metro Rail Service

Indian policemen take a ride during the inaugural run of the Bangalore Metro rail in Bangalore, India, October 20, 2011.
Indian policemen take a ride during the inaugural run of the Bangalore Metro rail in Bangalore, India, October 20, 2011.

A new passenger rail service has been launched in India’s information technology hub, Bangalore, a city famed as much for its technology skills as for its huge traffic snarls.

Still, hopes are high that the mass transit system will ease some of the city’s chronic transport woes.

Mohandas Pai, a former senior official with Indian information technology giant Infosys, said it was “exhilarating” to ride on Bangalore’s metro and hopes it will improve the quality of life in the city.   

“We have traveled on metros around the world, but to have the metro in your own city after waiting for so long is wonderful," Pai said. "This metro will mark the transformation of Bangalore.”

This sentiment was echoed by senior Indian ministers and business leaders who also traveled on the first section of the rail transit system on Thursday.

The 6.7 kilometers of elevated track connects an eastern suburb with Bangalore's central business district. The entire 42-kilometer network is set to be completed by 2014.

Millions of residents in the city known as India’s Silicon Valley will soon benefit, said Indian Urban Development Minister Kamal Nath.

“It will give a lot of relief to the people of Bangalore,” Nath said.

Bangalore is the third Indian city to get a metro network after Kolkata and the Indian capital, New Delhi.

The city emerged as a software hub in the 1990s when Indian and information technology companies began tapping into the country’s huge pool of low wage software programmers. Several international companies have since followed suit, running their back office operations from Bangalore.  

But like many other Indian cities, Bangalore’s infrastructure has failed to keep pace with its runaway growth.

Today the city is home to about eight million people and four million vehicles. They jostle for space on a crowded, potholed, inadequate road network. At peak hours, speeds can drop to 15 kilometers per hour.  IBM recently ranked Bangalore as the world's sixth most painful city for commuters.

This traffic congestion has dealt a blow to Bangalore's reputation as a high-tech, business friendly center. IT giants have expressed worries about investment fleeing to other cities.

“Everybody talks about Bangalore, even President [Barack] Obama spoke about Bangalore," said Sumitra Iyengar, director of infrastructure at the Bangalore Chamber of Industry and Commerce. "And having said that, this traffic situation was creating a negative image about us and we are pleased to see that now there is a certain change happening.”   

The real impact of the new metro system remains to be seen, as many suburbs where major companies are based have not yet been connected to Bangalore via the rail system.

With three more years until the network's completion, many of Bangalore's information technology companies will likely continue to spend millions of dollars to help transport their employees to and from work via buses and taxis.

You May Like

India PM Modi's party distances itself from religious conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote a Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert to Hinduism More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid