India’s Silicon Valley is struggling with torrential rains, floods and power cuts

BENGALURU – Weather officials forecast more monsoon rains in Bengaluru, complicating prospects for a faster recovery in India’s Silicon Valley where floods have destroyed many slums, cut transport links, cut off the electricity and disrupted business operations in parts of the city.

The disruption exposed poor infrastructure in the city, which is home to more than 13 million people. The city’s economic development has attracted huge migration over the past decade, causing an ever-increasing expansion of real estate in areas that are increasingly lacking in proper planning. Many gated communities have been overwhelmed this week, requiring boats, tractors and cranes for evacuation.

The capital of South India’s state of Karnataka is also the country’s IT hub, with offices and technology centers of global giants such as Microsoft, Amazon, Walmart, Adobe, Visa and KPMG, as well as local companies Infosys and TCS.

Hotels are raising fares as they run out of rooms to serve customers, while rides with Uber and Ola and other taxi and auto-rickshaw services are becoming more expensive as demand rises.

The founders are scrambling to hold in-person meetings and show up at offices as heavy rain floods the roads, leading to long traffic jams in parts of the country’s startup hub already infamous for slow mobility.

Startup founders, generally known to avoid making critical remarks about the administration, have publicly shared the impact of the floods on their lives. Some have asked their employees to work from home for a few days.

“The whole area around Bellandur and the outer ring road is submerged and the apartments are without electricity or water. I had to walk 7 km, take a tractor to cross the deep waters and hitchhiked passing bikers to reach the desktop,” wrote Arjun Mohan, CEO of edtech unicorn startup upGrad.

India’s meteorological department has issued a yellow alert for Bangalore, saying the weather could get worse. The city recorded 709mm of monsoon rain, the second highest rainfall since 1971, said PC Mohan, an Indian politician from Bengaluru.

“Bangalore is not the wettest major city in the region. Mumbai and Singapore receive 2.5 times more rain than Bangalore. Mumbai’s wettest month is 4 times worse than Bangalore’s. That’s why blaming “global warming” is a cop-out. Bangalore’s problem is not the rain, it’s the infrastructure,” tweeted Ritesh Banglani, a Bengaluru-based investor.


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