Being powerless in Silicon halli

It could be pure coincidence that along with Bangalore’s name change to a “native” Bengaluru that occurred a few days ago, India’s Silicon Valley has rapidly been morphing into a “halli” (Kannadiga for village). A leading mainline English daily that is recognised more for its marketing acumen than its factual accuracy, had reported recently that Bangalore had experienced some eighty odd hours of power outage last year.

Maybe the newspaper office was counting the number of hours when their captive generator had gone on the blink! Ask any resident of Bengaluru and you would hear figures (of power outage) that range from twenty four to forty eight hours per week. It does not call for higher mathematics to therefore extrapolate the annual number to more than thousand hours.

I have been doing some research on the apparent causes of these outages. Bescom engineers seem to have been “tutored” to articulate one of the following four responses whenever irate consumers call i.e. “We are carrying out routine maintenance”, “There has been a breakdown in the main power station”, “Some branches have fallen on the overhead wires”, “We can’t help it because it is raining”. he latter two explanations are symptomatic of a village and certainly not a city that technology professionals consider their preferred workplace in India.

Unfortunately, deep pocketed MNCs like IBM, Accenture, HP and Microsoft insulate their employees from these vagaries by using heavy duty generators and when they are home, the generators in their super deluxe condominiums cushion them from power outages too. That leaves the commoner to bear the brunt of the maladministration of the Kumaraswamy led ineffective state government. Incidentally, the same paper that reported eighty hours of power outage nominated Kumaraswamy as the most popular Bangalorean last year! The jury is still out on who actually voted for this brazenly opportunistic son of Deve Gowda who is more comfortable in film studios than in the seat of government.

Unaccoutable Bescom
Karnataka’s state owned power distributor, Bescom, is a joke. Whenever you call their engineers about when power is likely to be restored, the official usually has no clue. In our area, the engineer concerned is one Basavaraj who is available at 988442-44677. He sounds a bit like Nero in that he seems to be always caught by surprise whenever any of us report a power outage to him. He proceeds to confabulate with his colleagues to figure out the reason and thereby gives the distinct impression that he is a typical government servant who only comes to work to pocket his salary. Most of Kumaraswamy’s flock is no different from Basavaraj.

The average Bangalorean is waiting for the BJP’s turn to rule from October. But knowing
the bankruptcy of political leadership in this state, voters remain sceptical.

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