Yediyurappa’s Development Agenda For Karnataka
In his first conversation with Uday India immediately after taking over as chief minister in July 2019, B. S. Yediyurappa had said, “I will trigger developmental revolution and translate Narendra Modi’s dream of making Karnataka a fully developed state a reality.” True to these words, BSY has been burning midnight oil and undertaking the vigorous tour of the state to ensure the wholesome development of the state.
Rightly hurt by the sudden political short-circuit that ended his tenure as CM in 2012 that brought to halt his dream of making Karnataka a number one state, Yediyurappa, this time, is all determined to translate the dreams into a reality. He has been working overtime to ensure that the state witnesses development on all fronts and in all regions – an equitable approach to ensure wholesome development of Karnataka.
The first four months was a washout, literally, as torrential rains resulted in unprecedented floods in most parts of the state. Yediyirappa single-handedly ensured rescue and rehabilitation work, as the full-fledged cabinet had not yet been constituted. With the assistance of the Centre, BSY toured the flood-hit areas and pulled the state back from the brink of a disaster. That was, indeed, a herculean task.
Ever since he constituted the ministry, Yediyurappa has entrusted the different aspects of development to able, experienced and knowledgeable colleagues. While he has given PWD to Govind Karjol, the Rural Development and Panchayatraj is given to K.S. Eshwarappa, Water Resources to Ramesh Jharkiholi. Yediyurappa himself has been personally taking care of Bangalore Development besides managing the power sector.
Notwithstanding the repeated enforcement of code of conduct due to bye-elections to the state assembly that prevented the chief minister to announce and take up special developmental activities, Yediyurappa, however, managed to initiate multiple and multi-dimensional developmental activities within all constraints including the unheard pandemic Covid – 19.
Speaking with Uday India, Yediyurappa laid out his plans to usher in development agenda in the state. He said, “Development means not just infrastructural. We need to tap and human resources also. At the same time, we need to ensure last mile connectivity to see that the government schemes reach the poor and the needy and not gobbled up by middlemen. We need to tap the rich talent of the youth force. For that, the focus and thrust of the developmental activities will have to be multi-dimensional”
Roads, educational institutions including professional colleges, health, veterinary clinics, agriculture, horticulture, tourism, RDPR, irrigation, industries, transport, power and strengthening as well as capacity building of institutions that are involved in social security schemes are the areas that Yediyurappa has decided to focus and give thrust.
According to Yediyurappa, developing roads is pre-requisite for any development activity to take place. “Hence, I have decided to ensure connectivity from hobli headquarters to taluk and from taluk headquarters to district headquarters. In most of the places, roads exist but these need to be maintained in terms of quality”
As on March 2008 the total length of State Highways was 20,738 Kms and 37, 943 kms of major district roads. In the chief engineers’ conference conducted by Yediyurappa, in his capacity as deputy chief minister in 2007, the survey revealed that out of 26,286 inhabited villages, 10,299 villages were connected by metalled and all-weather roads, 9865 villages were connected by unmetalled roads and the remaining 6,122 villages were not connected by any road.
Under Rural Communication Programme, Yediyurappa has plans to ensure that all villages are connected with metalled, all-weather roads, especially between major villages – taluks – and district headquarters.
Yediyurappa has immense faith in the strength and talent of the Karnataka’s youth. He has plans to tap this potential by offering them Tourism Guide Course in multiple languages in their respective district and taluks so that they will be branded tourist guides to cater to the needs of the domestic and international tourists. “Developing neat and tidy washrooms, good broadband connectivity, good roads and decent eateries are some essential aspects that I have thought of in tourist places. Tourism is rightly called a smokeless industry that has potential to generate revenue as well as provide employment to rural boys and girls,” the chief minister said.
Very recently, Yediyurappa brought his plans for Bangalore Development in print by coming out with Vision -22. He held a one-day summit with all stake-holders where a concrete and meaningful blueprint was laid down for methodical and meticulous development of Bangalore including the all-important waste management and garbage collection.
Having immense confidence in the talent of the rural artisans, Yediyurappa recently laid foundation stone for Asia’s biggest toy manufacturing unit at Koppal, a district headquarters in the Hyderabad-Karnataka region.
Bengaluru of Yediyurappa’s Dreams
In his tenure as Deputy Chief Minister of Karnataka between 2006 and 2007, B.S. Yediyurappa, who held the Finance Portfolio, had big dreams for the overall development of Bangalore. “Development of Bangalore must be meticulous, must be ecologically-sensitive, environmentally-sustainable, cost-effective and with long-range vision that should stand the test of time for the next 40 years,” Yediyurappa had said. For political reasons, he could not implement his developmental agenda for Bangalore.
When he took over as Chief Minister in April 2008 in the first meeting of the cabinet, Yediurappa instructed his officers to prepare a blue-print for the wholesome development of Bangalore. He gave his own idea of development and shared his dream he had for Bangalore with his officers. Even as his dreams started taking concrete shape, the political earthquake ended his tenure abruptly.
Now that this ‘tough task-master’ and ‘a dreamy pragmatist’ has become once again chief minister, Yediyurappa is determined to translate his dream of development of Bangalore into reality.
Yediyurappa has plans to develop mini-forest or botanical gardens in the outskirts of Bangalore on all the four sides and also have at least three to four large water bodies in order to balance the ecology and environment in the otherwise choked Bangalore City. As of now Bangalore has two large parks – Lalbagh and Cubbon Park and according to Yediyurappa going by the scale and speed with which Bangalore is growing, it needs to have a minimum of four such botanical gardens in the immediate outskirts of the city.
At the same, time Yediyurappa has plans to develop roads that are motor-vehicle friendly and pavements that are pedestrian-friendly. He recently held series of meetings of the officers of BDA, BBMP and BWSSB and Metropolitan Council to speed up the work under Smart City Project. “The impression that is slowly gaining ground is that Bangalore has become noisy and dusty due to on-going work. I want the work to be speeded up and completed so that the people would be able to experience the fruits of development,” Yediyurappa told the officers.
To ensure de-congestion of traffic and avoid traffic snarls, the BJP government under Yediyurappa is giving impetus to Suburban Rail Project. The foundation stone for the Rs 15,657 Crore prestigious project is likely to be laid by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in February. K-Ride is the Joint Venture between the Ministry of Railways and the state government that will implement the project.
The 148-Kms project will comprise of four corridors. Bangalore City – Yelahanka – Devanahalli (41-Kms), Byappanahalli – Yeshwanthpur – Chikkabanavara (25 kms), Kengeri – Cantonment – White Field (35 Kms) and Heelalige –Yelahanka – Rajanakunte (46-Kms). There are going to be a total fo 57 stations. “I have instructed the officers to instal a countdown clock to remind the deadline,” Yediyurappa said.
Sensitive and sensible to the needs of environment and ecology, Yediyurappa has directed the BMTC to see if battery-run buses can be run within the city to bring down pollution as well as noise. Efforts are being made to encourage people to go in for public transport and reduce private vehicles on the road for which Metro Work is being speeded up. “Connectivity and affordable transport between residential areas and metro stations are important. We need to emphasise on that,” Yediyurappa says.
‘Healthy body leads to healthy mind” is the dictum in which Yediyurappa believes in. Himself a brisk walker for about 45 minutes every morning and evening, Yediyurappa has realised the need for large playgrounds. He hs has instructed the BBMP and BDA officials to retain vacant lands as playgrounds. “Playgrounds are also as important as parks. While park is essential for the people to walk and jog, young boys and girls cannot play in the parks. We need to have playgrounds,” the chief minister said.
The chief minister has also instructed his officers to see if museums or art centres can be set up that showcases the history, culture, tradition and heritage of Karnataka and Bangalore in different parts of city.
He has directed the officials to ensure proper road connectivity from Koppal to all taluk headquarters in order to transport toys for marketing apart from directing the officials of the Department of Kannada and Culture and Handicrafts Development Corporation to make arrangements for proper marketing of these toys.
In order to remove red-tapism and nepotism in the process of setting up of industries, the Karnataka government has made arrangements to offer permission to start industries under one roof and in one single-window system. The cumbersome process of getting clearances from various departments have been reduced. Amendments were brought to the Land Reforms Act where lands can be purchased for setting up of industries.
Recently, Karnataka government passed an Ordinance banning cow slaughter. With this the responsibility of looking after the cattle has increased. Yediyurappa has planned to establish –under PPP model – huge cow shelters, first in district headquarters and major centres and later in taluk headquarters. “We need to enhance the number of Veterinary Hospitals to ensure that the animals are looked after in good condition,” Yediyurappa said.
Promotion of Organic Cultivation of Horticultural Crops for exports, satellite mapping of Horticultural Crops with the help of ISRO to develop a Horticultural Data Bank, Processing of fruits and vegetables, developing cold storages, post harvest infrastructure and management, promotion of renewable energy from non-conventional sources, soil conservation, housing for poor, increasing the number of professional colleges, developing of Handlooms, Handicrats, traditional industries along with major big industries, Khadi and Village industries, Coir industries under Vishwas scheme, sericulture, rural employment generation programme are some among many areas that are expected to receive focus and thrust by Yediyurappa.
The chief minister refused to divulge intricate details of the projects and its financing pattern on the ground that he is expected to announce many projects in the budget which he is going to present in the last week of February.
Going by the dynamism and vibrancy; vision and tenacity; uncompromising approach towards development, no-nonsense attitude towards toning the administrative machinery and above all, a genuine concern for the welfare of
the common man that Yediyurappa possess, glory of Karnataka is assured under his dynamic, visionary and vibrant leadership.
By S.A. Hemanth from Bengaluru