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Moving the capital out of Bangalore

This is an idea that has been discussed before, including on this forum. I am coming from the view not of the governance structure of Bangalore (autonomy etc) which is an orthogonal issue, but of the power of such a move to take the pressure off Bangalore.

So I want to put this idea into the public domain again in the hope that if we keep talking about it, at some time we will finally do it, like our new airport and metro systems which have been discussing atleast since the 80s.

Jumping straight to the parameters for choosing the location of the new capital, I excerpt from my (rather verbose)blog on the issue:

1. It should be atleast a 100 Km from Bangalore, preferably more. Any less and there is a danger of it turning into an extended suburb (exurb) of Bangalore - a New Bangalore. That would make things much worse - people would live in Bangalore and commute to the new town, pushing up commute times. The area in between would gradually get populated, creating a sprawling urban conglomerate, a megapolis with mega problems.

2. It cannot be too far from Bangalore. At worst it should be an easy overnight journey (8hrs max), preferably less; for a simple, compelling though transient reason. During the ramp-up period, a lot of bureaucrats and other pioneers will leave their families behind in Bangalore and do a Monday to Friday commute to the new city till the social infrastructure builds up. Build it too far and the hurdles to easy adoption become very high. It will remain a bridge too far to cross.

3. It should be somewhat more centrally located than Bangalore with reference to rest of the state.

4. A reasonably equitable climate.

In the choice of the new location, there seem to be three broad options which satisfy the above criteria to varying extents.

a. Move the capital to the north of the state. Being less developed than the south, the region would benefit from the boost in investment and spending that a capital city attracts. Chief contender: Hubli-Dharwad
b. Locate it as centrally as possible so it is accessible from all parts of the state. This would suggest either Shimoga or Davengere.
c. Keep it near Bangalore so people can commute in 2-3 hours. This would impose a lower cost in the transition, besides having access to a significant international airport (BIAL). Keeping the centrality criterion in mind, Hassan is a strong candidate. It is more-or-less equidistant from Bangalore, Mysore and Mangalore, 3 of the 4 most significant population centers in the state. Climatically also, it is not too different from Mysore.

Davangere ideal choice

Even the environmentalist, Shri Suresh Heblikar once favoured shifting the capital from Bangalore to Central Karnataka so that it would be ideal for cohesion of the state.

Bengaluru then can have more of it's taxes for it's development. Right now, we pay quite a bit from our share of taxes to the rest of the state. While it is welcome for crucial sectors such as education and health care and a modicum of good infrastrucutre, the rest of the cities in KA should compete on their own parameters rather than depending on Bengaluru for everything.

In Sri Lanka, Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte is the administrative capital of that nation while Colombo is it's largest city. In South Africa, Johannesburg, tough the largest is not it's capital. Similarly with many US states such as Illinois and Texas. 
silkboard's picture

Good thought. Think greenfield

Awesome idea. Yes, we have discussed it here a few times. But as you say, no harm in bringing this up again and again.

Actually, when I had met Mr Suresh Hebblikar at ABIDe launch last year, I tried my best to request him to resurrect his almost decade old suggestion of shifting the state capital. Spent about 20 mins with him on the subject, he did agree and sounded enthusiastic. I did send him a follow up email a few days after this meeting, but didn't get any response.

It would be such a brilliant move, two birds in one stone. 1) decongest Bangalore 2) kickstart growth in some not so developed region of Karnataka.

Why think of an already established city? The new capital can be a greenfield city, free of any developmental legacy, a well planned modern city to showcase the state.


Plan a new city

I am sure a new city infusing the best of classical architecture and modern architecture plus planning can be utilised. A new administrative centre close in the centre of Karnataka (say close to Davangere) could be planned.

Bengaluru started witnessing massive growth after the capital was shifted from Mysore. I am sure shifting the capital out of Bengaluru will help to move attention to internal Karnataka which is largely virgin territory for Industrialisation. 
idontspam's picture

May not be needed

It is a more effective solution to move the people intensive industries to the outskirts and ensure people can move between them without having to congest the city rather than move the vidhan soudha lock stock and barrel. The politicians are not the people congesting the city anyway. They hardly even turn up for work.

We are half way there already. Get all phases of the metro up and running, put in proper feeder services (BMTC, Trams etc), introduce congestion charging in the CBD, make the city - public transport and pedestrian friendly. Connect EC, ITPL, Devanhalli, Peenya via no-signal ring road instead of thru the city and via CRS and you are done.

Tried and tested solutions are within reach and we are on our way. We may reach tipping point in 2009. Little more push is required and the authorities will 'abide' by it.
s_yajaman's picture

Get real

And who exactly will plan and build this new city?  The same set of people who screw up the rest of the cities.  Why do you think it will turn out differently? Why will people move there?  What is in it for politicians to make this happen? 


Drive safe.  It is not just the car maker which can recall its product.

silkboard's picture

Yedi and Shimoga

Why would a leader not "use" this to win hearts of his poeple in his area? Think Yedi, and a new capital city around Shimoga. Bengaluru will love it too if Yedi can convince us that its a move that is good for the city as well the state.

Now, building a new capital city is a lot of tenders and projects as well. That answers the "whats in it for me" question.

Why will people move there? Thats the tricky one to answer. Government move will move a lot of jobs and sourrnding mela along with it. A new capital city is likely to get good attention of the government, and may become an attractive destination for investment. Banking on tier 2 cities to grow and wean people away from Bangalore is an equally good proposition, but, this capital move is a step in that direction only - pick a tier 2 city and just lift it up to a higher level.

About the "same people who have screwed up the other cities" comment, no real answer.

Decongestion deservers a chance, and this move would be a way, a serious and innovative way.

SB_YPR's picture

But before we move to Shimoga...

...let's stop for a minute and think about the connectivity issues. Shimoga does not even have an airport at present - of course a foundation stone for one was laid with much fanfare, but I doubt it'll come up soon enough. The rail connectivity is meagre at best. There is only one tattered NH for road connectivity (NH-206). And let's not even think of the hotels, housing, administrative buildings, sanitation systems and such that would need to be constructed on a large scale.
So, let's look before we leap. IMHO, Hubli-Dharwad or Mangalore would be much better alternatives.
Manish, Nagarbhavi.



tsubba's picture

not a good idea.

i used to think along these lines until i realized that being the state capital is not the cause of bangalore's problems. the cause of bangalore's problems are different and identifiable. and they should be identified on their own merits. on the other hand Bangalore being the state's capital has strategic significance for BLR. for this i am actually opposed to shifting the capital. waste of money and resources that are already there. some of the governances can be distributed, but i dont see how moving sarkara does any good.
rohith's picture

someone remembering tughlaq here..

"ಕುಣ್ಯಕ್ಕಾಗದವಳು, ನೆಲ ಡೊಂಕು ಅಂದಳಂತೆ!" - When the dancer couldnt dance well, she told, the dancefloor wasnt even! That is a very much revered, and widely used Kannada proverb. I am sure the relevance of this proverb is evident in this thread.

BTW, there have already been some good cross-comments made by Srivatsa and tarlesubba here - asking the right, and fundamental questions beneath this matter.

But hey! Why are we even thinking on these lines? Praja wants to be a citizen body which caters to help solve / solve Bangalore's problems, and not pushing the problem away from Bangalore! On similar lines would be this child's way of imagining a complete evacuation of Bangalore for an year (or more), and then cleansing it of all its problems, and then bringing the people back! Howzat for a solution, eh?

To be that really responsible citizens' forum, which believes in knowing, caring, and participating in solving a problem, I dont think we should be even encouraging such thought processes as in this thread.


Rohith Rao


s_yajaman's picture

Is being the state capital the real issue?

IMHO, Bangalore's problems are of two types - supply side and demand side.  Supply side in terms of infrastructure not good enough (and I mean all sorts of infrastructure - not just the flyovers - public transport, hospitals, schools, water, public spaces).  demand side being from population growth - immigration (from within and from outside Karnataka). 

Will supply side be solved by moving the capital out?  Let's see.  Government moves out -->politicians move out --> lesser interference --> better local governance --> more relevant projects.  Possible.  But they can smell a goldmine from 500 kms.  Probability 30-50% of improvement. 

Demand side - till we have 5-10 alternative urban centres with employment opportunities (govt can employ only so many), immigration will keep on happening.  Hardly anyone immigrates because Vidhana Soudha is here.  They immigrate because of Peenya, ITPL and E-City (BPO drivers, construction workers included).  I can't see this go down.because of state capital change.

For me till we have broad based development in Karnataka and India, we will have these issues.  The new capital,will not be immune to these problems.  If successful, it will get 10 years of breathing time before it reaches the same state as Bangalore.  If not successful, then this topic is irrelevant.


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