Bangalore. In a sensational expose, Faking News’ investigative cell has unearthed a major scam involving leading e-commerce companies and Bruha Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP).
In what began as a routine investigation of how billions of dollars of investments in e-commerce are being spent, our team of intrepid reporters managed to peel of layers and layers of corruption that has permeated all levels of BBMP.
Documents exclusively in the possession of Faking News reveal that close to 95% of the money ‘invested’ in e-commerce so far has been spent on causing traffic snarls in what used to be called the Garden City. A sum of Rs 5,632 crores has been spent till date in paying off BBMP officials to simply not report for duty. An additional sum of 2,371 crores has been spent on replacing potholes that get filled up accidentally.
“It makes perfect sense”, said a leading analyst, “the companies have been actively trying to develop the market in India. If the target consumer segment were able to easily drive down for their shopping needs, how do you expect the e-commerce companies to do business?” “The horrible traffic situation also enables e-commerce companies to scale down on quality and customer service because they now have a captive customer base. This will help them on their path towards profitability.”
An independent survey of Bangaloreans validated the assessment. 87% admitted to being either “Moderately Terrified” or “Extremely Terrified” of driving more than 2 KM from their home or workplace. “It is a choice between spending three hours on the road to buy a USB drive, versus ordering it online and getting a floppy disk delivered three weeks and 27 customer support calls later,” said Aslam Srinivas Singh Chinnappa, a typical Bangalorean.
The scale and extent of the scam is mind-boggling.
E-commerce companies have been actively hiring huge dilapidated trucks to ply on the roads of Bangalore. These trucks are bound by service-level agreements that include making at least 23 random u-turns a day, and parking arbitrarily on main roads for at least an hour during peak hours. They have also been instructed to compete with BMTC buses and drive parallel to them for as much distance as possible.
A team of road signage experts has been hired to update all sign boards and make them as confusing as possible. Their innovations include twisted arrows that point in multiple directions simultaneously, boards that double up as weather vanes, and commercial ads that look like sign boards.
A relatively small part of the investments goes into making street lights point upwards, or having them light up only during daytime.
Documents also hinted that a secret team of experts has been set up to game Google Maps such that it always directs drivers through un-motorable and heavily jammed roads. An inside source however scoffed at the suggestion, “Huh? As if there are any motorable or un-jammed roads in Bangalore.”
Another major component of the expenses goes towards speed breakers. A team has been assigned the task of upgrading speed-breakers and ensuring that each one is has a unique shape and size. But a senior official of BBMP’s Dept. of Speed Breakers vehemently denied any suggestion that his department is involved in the scam. “We have our own ecosystem of service stations, body shops and hospitals. We don’t need to rely on these two-bit eCommerce companies for revenue.”