Bangalore’s best building since Vidhana Soudha?

RAMYA KRISHNAMURTHY writes from Bangalore: Despite what Infosys’ T.V. Mohandas Pai told us, the new Bangalore International Airport (BIAL) hasn’t seen IT business plunge “by 30 per cent”. Despite what V. Ravichandar told us, Tamil Nadu hasn’t announced a rival airport in Hosur.

Despite what Janagrahaa’s Ramesh Ramanathan told us, nobody has found any issues with “connectivity” although a few poor souls have perished in establishing that. And despite what Biocon’s Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw said, a grave “crisis” hasn’t come upon us due to the new airport.

Yet.

In fact, having used the airport more than a few times in the last couple of months, I would do two things. One, I would publicly disavow my initial apprehensions and declare it the most magnificent “public” structure Bangalore has built since the Vidhana Soudha, and that was 50 years ago.

The new airport is everything the old HAL airport was not—clean, unfussy, functional, well lit, and passenger-friendly with lots of space to walk around, park the car, etc. Above all, it is the best advertisement for “Brand Bangalore” than the cattle fair the old airport was.

And two, I would publicly vow to take the “wisdom” of Bangalore’s self-apppointed “experts” who have “seen the world” with a pound of smooth-flowing iodised salt, and not just on the airport but on any issue, henceforth.

The only problem I have with the new airport are public transport costs.

Mysore to Bangalore: Distance 140 km. Fare by KSRTC-run Volvo bus Rs 200. Approximately 20-30 passengers on board. Translates to roughly Rs 1.5 per km.

Majestic to Devanahalli: Distance 35 km. Fare by BMTC-run Volvo Rs 125. Approximately 10-15 passengers on board. Translates to roughly Rs 3.5 per km.

Any wonder BMTC claimed a few years ago that it was the only profitable public transport system in Asia?

Profitable, yes, but “public” transport?

Photograph: Prashant Krishnamurthy

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