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FM Nirmala Sitharaman rewards Bengaluru with ₹566 crore investment

bengaluru 566 crore investment

By 2030, the percentage increase in PM2.5 in the city will be about 53% according to projections by UrbanEmissions.

Bengaluru, India’s IT hub has been grappling with poor air quality for quite some time. However, the city can finally breathe easy as the Karnataka government has sanctioned a total of Rs 450 crore. Furthermore, the central government has approved an additional Rs 116 crore for an eight-point strategy to improve the air quality index (AQI) in the city under the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP), according to recently made announcements by the Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Bhupendra Yadav.

“The NCAP aims to reduce air pollution levels in 122 cities across India by 20-30% by 2024. The allocation of funds to Bengaluru under the NCAP is a step in the right direction in achieving this goal”.

The funds will be used to implement measures such as setting up air quality monitoring systems, enforcing stricter regulations on industries, and promoting the use of electric vehicles. The project aims to bring down the AQI to an acceptable level, which currently stands at 168, deemed ‘unhealthy’.

Eight-point strategy

Bengaluru’s air quality has been deteriorating in recent years, primarily due to vehicular emissions, construction dust, and industrial pollution. The city’s AQI often crosses the hazardous levels of 300, causing respiratory problems and other health issues for residents.

During his budget speech on Thursday, Jayaram Raipura, the special commissioner for finance at the BBMP, unveiled various initiatives, including the development of parks under flyovers and technology corridors. He also announced plans to combat air pollution in Bangalore by installing fountains at 75 major intersections. Furthermore, Raipura stressed the importance of transforming the city into a green zone, which would include the provision of shuttle services around metro stations, the promotion of the use of electric cars, and the implementation of other similar services. 

The eight-point strategy includes measures such as implementing the National Clean Air Programme, launching an electric vehicle promotion campaign, and introducing an eco-friendly transport system. The project also aims to set up real-time air quality monitoring systems in 25 locations across the city. The NCAP also aims to reduce air pollution levels in 122 cities across India by 20-30% by 2024. The allocation of funds to Bengaluru under the NCAP is a step in the right direction in achieving this goal.

Pros and cons

The allocation of funds has been welcomed by environmentalists and citizens of the city. The initiative, however, has faced criticism from green activists and mobility experts. Dattatreya T Devare, a trustee of Bangalore Environment Trust, expressed his doubts about the project, stating that it seems unnecessary to invest Rs 450 crore when trees already provide the same benefits for free. He also criticized the city for cutting down trees and building concrete structures to ease traffic congestion, while also spending large amounts of money to combat pollution. In contrast, the initiative to make each ward “net zero waste” has received praise from many, including civic activist Srinivas Alavilli, who commended the decision to process waste at the ward level, which could potentially eliminate landfills in the future.

The move is expected to benefit the health of the citizens of the city, especially those suffering from respiratory illnesses. The government is optimistic about the city’s future. “The measures we are implementing will go a long way in improving the air quality in Bengaluru. It’s a matter of great concern, and we are committed to addressing it,” said a spokesperson for the Karnataka government. 

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