Torrential rains, floods and power cuts disrupt lives, business operations in India's Silicon Valley

·3 min read

Weather officials are predicting more monsoon rains in Bengaluru, complicating prospects for a quicker recovery for India’s Silicon Valley where floods have wrecked many slum houses, cut transportation links, knocked down power and disrupted business operations in parts of the city.

The disruption has exposed the poor infrastructure in the city, home to more than 13 million people. The economic development of the city has attracted huge migration over the past decade, prompting an ever-growing expansion of real estate in areas that are increasingly showing cracks in proper planning. Many gated communities have submerged this week, requiring boats, tractors and cranes for evacuation.

The capital city of the southern Indian state of Karnataka is also the IT hub of the nation, featuring offices and tech centers of global giants including Microsoft, Amazon, Walmart, Adobe, Visa and KPMG, as well as local firms Infosys and TCS.

Hotels are raising tariffs as they run out of rooms to serve customers, whereas rides with Uber and Ola and other cab and auto-rickshaw services are getting costlier as demand goes up.

Founders are grappling to make in-person meetings and show up to offices as heavy rainfalls flood roads, leading to long traffic snarls in parts of the country’s startup hub already infamous for slow mobility.

Startup founders, generally known for avoiding making remarks critical of administration, have publicly shared how the floods are impacting their lives. Some have requested their employees to work from home for a few days.

"Entire area around Bellandur and Outer Ring Road is submerged and apartments are without power or water. I had to walk 7 km, take a tractor to cross waste deep water and hitch rides from passing bikers to reach office," wrote Arjun Mohan, chief executive of unicorn edtech startup upGrad.

India’s Meteorological Department has issued a yellow alert for Bengaluru, indicating that the weather may get worse. The city has recorded 709 mm of monsoon rain, the second highest rainfall since 1971, said P.C. Mohan, an Indian politician from Bengaluru.

"Bangalore is hardly the wettest large city in the region. Mumbai and Singapore receive 2.5x the rain Bangalore does. Mumbai's wettest month is 4x worse than Bangalore's. This is why blaming 'global warming' is a cop-out. Bangalore's problem is not rain - it is infrastructure," tweeted Ritesh Banglani, a Bengaluru-based investor.