Karnataka version of the Golden quadrilateral expressway corridor connecting Tier 2 & 3 cities can create a miracle economy
News in brief
The time has come to replicate the center’s Golden quadrilateral expressway corridor in the state. The potential of Karnataka’s Tier 2/ 3 cities is HARDLY tapped due to various reasons and one among them is the lack of intercity E-way connectivity.
For the overall progress of the state, E-way connectivity between Tier 2/ 3 cities like ChamarajaNagar, Mysuru, Mangaluru, Udupi, Shivamogga, Kalaburagi, Belagavi, Hubbali-Dharwad, Raichuru, Ballari, and other commercial towns, is critical.
Karnataka’s ambitious 1 Trillion USD economy
Karnataka is ambitious to raise the state economy to USD 1 trillion by 2030. Bengaluru alone cannot do the heavy lifting for that, we need help from other cities too. In this sense, Bengaluru alone cannot be the growth engine for the state’s economy to reach 1 trillion USD. It is because if the Information Technology (IT) sector slows down, Bengaluru’s economy sputters and the state’s economy will take a beating. So, it is too risky to put all eggs in one basket. We need contributions from other cities and towns too.
Vande-Bharat express train analogy
We all know Vande-Bharat express train has a propulsion system distributed among the bogies along the length of the train. This will give the train superb pickup, speed, and torque, which results in extreme maneuverability for driving. This makes the train journey smooth and joyful. In contrast, the single-rail-engine train that single-handedly puts the entire train (all bogies) in motion is highly INEFFICIENT and comes with problems, and because of that, the train journey gets noisy and jerky.
Like the propulsion of the Vande-Bharat express train, we need growth propulsion coming from various Tier 2/3 cities to lift the state’s economy to USD 1 trillion collectively.
Let us see how the connectivity will trigger growth in the region, and we shall briefly understand the background information.
Nitty gritty of Karnataka’s golden quadrilateral expressway corridor
The important cities of Karnataka should be connected with a world-class 6-way tolled expressway. There are existing roads that can be upgraded to international standards. E-way should have the following
- Petrol bunks,
- Underground power cabling
- EV Charging units.
- Parking place for trucks
- Places reserved for Hydrogen bunks for Hydrogen driven vehicles of the future.
- 5G/ 6G communication network
- Fiber optic network
- Vehicle towing facility
- Health clinics
Like the Bengaluru ~ Mysuru expressway, there can be a toll-free road running parallel to the tolled one. This road is for those locals who commute regularly in that stretch for business or other purposes.
The Exits/ Bypasses to important towns
There are important towns/ villages all along the corridor. To make hurdle-less entry into and exit out of such towns, the E-way should have world-class bypasses/exit ways.
Multimodal logistic parks (MMLP)
The towns have multiple industrial and agricultural hubs and products from there need to be packaged, stored, and transported to consumption centers all across India. MMLPs located in strategic places on the outskirts of the towns can help in reducing logistics costs.
Every town is famous for something- either manufacturing OR farming. Based on the strengths of each town, encouragement should be given to produce those products which are natural for the town. For instance, Davangere is known for the production & export of Jeans. So, more incentives should be given to companies to set up garments/ Jeans making units there on a massive scale and export them.
The cotton auction happens in Hubli and the Container Corporation of India should set up a massive warehouse facility for cotton, from where it can be transported to consumption centers at a minimal cost.
The following infrastructure should be established under public-private partnerships in all towns
- Fully developed industrial estates
- MMLP/ warehouses
- Cold storage facilities,
- Business class hotels
- Convention centers
Exploit the tourism potential
Every town in the Golden quadrilateral expressway corridor has places of interest that can be showcased to tourists. The places could be beaches, virgin forests, waterfalls, heritage temples, palaces, museums, etc. Efforts should be made to aggressively market these places to Indians and foreigners. This will boost the local economy and the tourism potential gets exploited in the true sense.
Background information on the Golden Quadrilateral corridor (GQC)
When former prime minister AB Vajpayee announced the Golden Quadrilateral expressway-corridor project in 1998, little did he know that he had just unleashed the animal spirits in the economy that spearheaded India’s unprecedented march into the league of top 3 developed nations in 30 years.
What started as a humble project to connect 4 Metro cities with 6 lane expressway, ended up in a mega road-building exercise nationwide. This boosted the local economy as well as the national economy to such levels that the world started looking at India with “awe”.
In a nutshell, 1999 was the year India’s massive Infrastructure construction boom started and the Golden quadrilateral project was the one that kick-started it.
The GQC project if implemented in Karnataka, the state will see an economic boom like never before. Its economy can surpass USD 1 Trillion by 2030 and can become India’s most progressive state. That’s when the state’s per-capita income will cross USD15,000 which is higher than most of the developing nations.
So, to achieve high growth, massive investment in infrastructure is a must.