Updated: September 2, 2021 12:31:21 pm
The Karnataka government had issued an advisory to the IT companies and business parks along the Outer Ring Road (ORR) to extend work from home (WFH) options for their employees till the end of December 2022 to complete the planned construction work of Metro.
Day after issuing the advisory on Tuesday, the state government clarified that it was only an “advisory” and not “mandatory” to be followed.
What the government advisory said initially?
On Monday, the advisory was issued by E V Ramana Reddy, Additional Chief Secretary of the Department of Electronics, IT & Biotechnology to the regional director of the National Association of Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM).
Reddy in the letter said: “We would like to bring to your notice that Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) is starting Metro construction works on Outer Ring Road (ORR) from Central Silk Board to K R Puram and construction of the same could extend to about 1.5 to 2 years. The ORR houses many large Tech Parks and IT company campuses and carries a large amount of traffic throughout the day. The ORR, despite having six lanes and service roads, is infamous for its perennial traffic congestion.”
The advisory then asked the companies to encourage employees to use public transport to reduce congestion. “We request you to circulate this advisory to IT companies located on ORR so that infrastructure development activities are carried out smoothly, which would also ease traffic congestion in future,” Reddy said.
“…it would be extremely difficult to manage traffic movement on ORR, especially if the IT companies resume work from the office,” the letter stated.
The Bengaluru Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) has already started construction work on the stretches from Silk Board to K R Puram and from K R Puram to the Kempegowda International Airport (KIA).
Backlash by IT professionals and Outer Ring Road Companies Association
Day after the advisory, many people working in IT parks along ORR Road tagged Karnataka IT Minister Dr C N Ashwath Narayan on social media to revise the advisory while members of the Outer Ring Road Companies Association (ORRCA) asked the government to clarify the order.
On Tuesday, speaking to indianexpress.com, ORRCA consultant Krishna Kumar Gowda had said, “We have requested the government to issue a revised advisory since many companies located on the ORR want their employees to work from the office and the Metro work will only be completed in December 2025 according to BMRCL’s detailed project report (DPR).”
A statement issued by ORRCA on Monday said, “ORRCA’s understanding is that the government is going to issue a revised statement following questions they have received on the advisory. We are waiting for the revised statement and will react/respond to that.”
Why did the government issue an advisory?
Reddy said the advisory was based on the suggestions from the Directorate of Urban Land Transport (DULT). “The advisory is intended to reduce traffic congestion on the road due to the Metro work. This is an advisory and is not mandatory. They are also free to resume work from the office if necessary,” Reddy told indianexpress.com on Tuesday.
Government clarifies ‘extend WFH’ notice
After backlash, the state government Tuesday evening issued a clarification regarding its earlier advisory.
The state government clarified that it was only an “advisory” and not “mandatory” to be followed. The new communication issued by Reddy, said, “The advisory is issued as information about the planned construction work of Metro and is to be treated only as an advisory for the consideration of the industry.”
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ORR stretch houses prominent offices and business parks
According to ORRCA consultant Krishna Kumar Gowda, there are nine to ten technology parks on the ORR stretch, from where 700 to 800 companies operate. Nearly 1.5 lakh persons worked in these firms before the pandemic.
The 20-km ORR stretch houses prominent offices and business parks like Manyata Embassy Tech Park, Cessna Business Park, Embassy Tech Village, RMZ Ecoworld and Prestige Tech Park house companies such as JP Morgan, ANZ, Accenture, Flipkart, Cisco, Intel, IBM, Goldman Sachs, Microsoft, Dell EMC and so on.
What is the ongoing Metro project?
BMRCL is taking up Namma metro construction along the ORR stretch under Namma Metro’s Phase 2A project with one new 18.236-km elevated line, connecting K R Puram with Central Silkboard along the Outer Ring Road (ORR).
The project was first announced at the Invest Karnataka Summit in February 2016 to solve the transport connectivity issues in one of the major IT corridors in Bengaluru city.
In April 2021, Phase 2A was approved by the Central Government’s cabinet. The Phase 2A line consists of 13 stations, including K R Puram (interchange with the under-construction Purple Line), Mahadevpura, DRDO Sports Complex, Doddanakundi, ISRO, Marathahalli, Kodibisanahalli, Kadubeesanahalli, Bellandur, Ibbalur, Agara Lake, HSR Layout and Silk Board (interchange with the upcoming Yellow Line).