Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Another boycott of autos brewing

Another boycott of autos brewing
Today’s strike by autowallahs has triggered angry responses from commuters, with several calling for a mass boycott of autos
Neethu.Reghukumar @timesgroup.com

With the city’s autowallahs going off the roads on Tuesday — this time, it is to press their demands for subsidies to buy digital meters and financial aid to purchase four-stroke autos — the patience of Bangaloreans is wearing thin.
There is a growing opinion that commuters should once again boycott autos on Wednesday — as they did on Aug 12 — to register their protest against tampered meters and the rude behaviour of many auto drivers.
A Bangalore Mirror reader, D Hemachandra Babu, has written asking people to boycott autos on Wednesday. He said,”By going on a strike on Tuesday, the auto drivers seem to have taken Bangaloreans for granted. They are assuming that they can strike at will. I request Bangaloreans to teach the auto drivers a lesson by boycotting autos on Wednesday, Sept 8, so that they incur a loss of income for one more day. Hope the public co-operates.”
Others are of a similar opinion. M V Nahusha Raj, honorary director, Bangalore Kidney Foundation, said, “Auto drivers in Bangalore go on strike on flimsy g r o u n d s . Fortunately, the city’s public transport system is a good standby on such occasions. Once the Metro Rail starts, demand for autos will dwindle. By resorting to such strikes, auto drivers are losing whatever goodwill they have. It will send the right message if people boycott them for two days.” Nahusha suggested that on the lines of the monthly Bus Day, citizens should boycott autos for two days in a month.
Shalini Majumdar, an IT professional, said, “Every time they keep increasing the fare and the government listens to them. We commuters have no say in the matter. Most of them are so rude. I have decided not to take an auto on Tuesday and Wednesday.”
Shruthi, a junior designer with Big Design, said,”I feel we should boycott them on Wednesday. These autowallas charge one and a half times the fare even during the daytime. They concoct all kinds of excuses to extract more money from commuters. They should be taught a lesson.”
Speaking for the auto drivers, Srinivas Murthy, vice-president of the CITU-affiliated autorickshaw drivers’ union, said, “We suspect the boycott is being provoked by some officials or individuals. No one is really against the service provided by autos. We know there is a problem with drivers’ behaviour and meters, and we are working to improve this. We too will take up checking of meters.”

BDA’s ‘dirty’ alternative to fill lakes

BDA’s ‘dirty’ alternative to fill lakes
Commissioner moots filling up of rejuvenated lakes with treated sewage water before CM can be invited for their inauguration
Niranjan.Kaggere @timesgroup.com

WITH the monsoon coming to a close, the Bangalore Development Authority has come up with a ‘novel idea’ for refilling the 13 lakes that it has rejuvenated. It involves filling them up with ‘sewage water’.
The BDA, which took up lakes’ rejuvenation work at a cost of Rs 100 crore, plans to refill them with treated sewage water as the rainfall has been inadequate and the authority began cleaning up works three months late.
Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa had kicked off the rejuvenation work on Ullal lake, one of the lakes selected for the clean-up operation, on May 27, 2009. During inauguration, he had said, “I assure you that by end of 12 months, I will be back to inaugurate the lake for public use.”
The BDA is trying hard to refill the lakes before Yeddyurappa can be invited for the inauguration. Hence, it is looking at Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) for help (refilling the lakes).
Though a few lakes have received good spells of rains, the water has not been enough to fill them. When asked about the mammoth task of refilling the tanks in view of the monsoon coming to a close, BDA Commissioner Bharat Lal Meena said, “If we don’t get sufficient rains, we can get it from BWSSB. There’s a lot of sewerage and it can be treated and released into these tanks. We are in talks with the BWSSB and hopeful of getting sufficient amount of water.”
The BDA is yet to complete the rejuvenation work. Ninety per cent of the work has been completed, while some minor works - fencing, laying of pavements for walkers and planting of saplings - still remain. Meena says these would be completed at the earliest. Water-logging was common in the city during rains. But the BDA promises that it would not happen again. “One of the reasons for not getting sufficient water in these lakes is because many areas become waterlogged during the rains. We are studying the pattern of water flow and trying to make sure the water collected in the catchment areas reach the lakes. The task will be outsourced to an independent agency,” said Meena.
After the rejuvenation, the BDA has to hand over the lakes to the BBMP for maintenance. However, the handover is unlikely to happen for the next one year. “We cannot tell when we will hand over these lakes to the BBMP. We scaled down some of the ornamental works, thinking that it could be taken up at a later stage. Within a year, we will complete that and till then, we will maintain the tanks. But we will discuss this matter with the BBMP,” he said.
The commissioner also said the locals and villagers will be included in committees for the safe management of lakes.
The BDA has been entrusted with the task of rejuvenating another 29 lakes. A decision in this regard was taken by the BBMP officials in May-June this year. “Though an official government order is yet to come, we will be taking up the survey work to prepare a detailed project report. If all goes well, in the next three months, we will commence work on all the 29 lakes,” said a top official of the Bangalore Development Authority.

Child’s play? NO WAY

Child’s play? NO WAY
Sunitha Rao R | TNN

Bangalore: Who plays in BBMP’s playgrounds? Not children!
Strangely, many playgrounds in the city have been converted to youth clubs, making it impossible for children below 14 years to even enter the grounds, let alone playing. College students and members of clubs use these spaces for their tournaments.
Children below 14 are not allowed to join them and playing wherever they can, most often in front of their houses even as traffic flows by.
What’s worse, playgrounds in many areas are encroached upon and converted for commercial purposes. “In many playgrounds, especially in Jayanagar East, there are skating clubs, basketball, athletic, gymnasium training camps. Only members are allowed there, and children of the area are left without space to play,” says B Chandrappa, former playground officer, BBMP.
The BBMP’s plans to involve residents and corporators to give children back their space have remained on paper. “We’d planned to form a committee to monitor playgrounds but it’s still in the pipeline,’’ admit BBMP officials.
Residents point out that local politicians support youth sports clubs and encourage them to use the playgrounds. “When we come to play with children in the Jayanagar Kittur Rani Chennamma playground beside our house, it’s usually occupied by others. Many of them aren’t even from surrounding areas. Our children end up playing in front of homes or on terraces,” said Manasa Ravi, a resident of Pipeline Road in Jayanagar East.
Besides, many schools use playgrounds in their vicinity for regular physical education classes and that reduces space for games like football or cricket which children love to play with friends after school.
BBMP’s Rs 8,488-crore budget has no funds for providing playgrounds, even in newly added wards where children have no space to play.
We’re a group of seven boys who come to Kittur Rani Chennamma Stadium thrice a week to play cricket. But every time, it’s the same problem — there’s no space left for us as there’s always some tournament or the other or practice session of adults or college students will be already playing there. After 7pm, it’s less crowded but our parents don’t like us playing there after dusk as it’s not safe. We play on roads but that is equally unsafe. There should be a separate playground, exclusively for children.
There are totally 154 playgrounds in the older wards maintained by BBMP. Earlier, BBMP’s education department had appointed a playground officer who would take care of all the playgrounds. Now, with decentralization in place, eight zones of BBMP (engineering department) have taken up the maintenance of playgrounds in their limits. However, BBMP is yet to make room for playgrounds in newly added wards. Wards like DJ Halli, Shakambari Nagar and Maruthi Seva Nagar have no playgrounds though they’re in the core areas.

Autos, city taxis off roads today

Autos, city taxis off roads today

Bangalore: Office-goers, schoolchildren, shoppers and other commuters are best advised to make their own transport arrangements on Tuesday, as autodrivers have decided to join the all-India strike. The cause: welfare and rise in prices. The strike will be on from 6 am to 6 pm.
Au t o d r ive r unions told The Times of India that they are participating in the strike to force the state government to address their demands.
The unions are demanding the establishment of an autodrivers’ welfare board that will address their needs from time to time, a house for each licensed driver from the BDA or a housing cooperative society authorized by the government, public distribution system cards to enable them to buy essential goods at lower prices and action against private financiers who are charging astronomical rates of interest for loans. The drivers also want loans to enable them to convert analog meters into digital meters.
Schools that depend on autos to ferry their pupils will decide on Tuesday morning whether to declare a holiday or not. The Karnataka Auto and Taxi Drivers’ and Women Welfare Association, as also the BJP-affiliated auto drivers’ association, won’t support the strike. Meru and Easy Cabs will ply to the airport as usual. Some autos, pvt taxis will ply No Holiday For Schools; BMTC To Deploy Additional Buses
Bangalore: Though their demand for a hike in fares was met, autodrivers are on strike on Tuesday to draw attention to their other demands of housing, PDS and loans. “Normal protests don’t seem to move the government. We have to resort to a strike to make it respond,” M Manjunath of Adarsha Union said.
He said the demands have been long pending, but no one in the government seemed to care. “How else do we tell them what we face? Else, let the government do something to reduce prices.”
An auto union owing affiliation to the BJP said it won’t support the strike. “We were on protest very recently and most of our demands were accepted. Why should we go on protest again? Is this right? We suspect that some parties against the BJP are instigating autodrivers to strike,” a union member said. The Karnataka Auto and Taxi Drivers and Women Welfare Association will not support Tuesday’s strike.
In a statement issued on Monday, they said they were satisfied with the introduction of green autorickshaws being made mandatory, one-piece glass and others. “We strongly oppose the proposed autorickshaw strike on Tuesday in the interest of the three big festivals — Ramzan, Mary’s Feast and Ganesha Chathurthi. There are possibilities of untoward incidents such as attacks on drivers, damage to vehicles of those who intend to ply, and therefore we request the police department to provide protection,” the statement said.
Representatives of Lorry Owners and Agents’ Association said lorries will not participate in the strike as the state government had agreed to address their demands on sand transport and toll levy. “We will wait for another week. Then we will take a call,” a member said.
City taxis on radio call will participate in the strike, while private taxis will not. Taxis coming under Meru and Easy Cab will ply to the airport.
BMTC has said it will deploy additional buses to help commuters reach offices and business areas. “We have surplus buses. It will not be a problem to deploy them in the interest of the public,” senior BMTC officials said.
Schools which depend on autorickshaws to ferry their children may be hit. These schools are contemplating whether to declare a holiday or not, depending on the situation on Tuesday. “There is a possibility that the strike could be called off. We will decide on Tuesday morning after confirming about the strike,’’ the authorities said. But a majority of schools said they will function as usual.

Where are autos with tampered meters hiding?

Where are autos with tampered meters hiding?

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While commuters seem to find a number of autos with tampered meters on the roads, a recent three day drive by the transport department surprisingly came across very few such autos running in the city.
Of the 2,117 autos inspected, only 10 had tampered with their meters.
Considering the innumerable complaints received against autos running with faulty meters, transport officials expected to find several of them on the roads, but were taken aback to come across so few of them.

Speaking to Deccan Chronicle, assistant controller of the legal metrology department, M.
Gopalappa said the special drive was conducted by the transport department in collaboration with his department in response to the sev eral complaints received from commuters about auto drivers trying to cheat them by manipulating their meters to show a higher fare than they should charge for the distance travelled. “But we did not come across many such autos during our inspection. Perhaps most of these autos were off the roads or the tampered meter had been calibrated back to normal,” he said, disclosing that most of the cases that were booked were against autos that had not renewed their fitness certificate.

But the transport department intends to deploy additional staff to identify

autos plying with faulty meters to make sure that none of them get away in future. "We will conduct surprise inspections until this menace is rooted out.
Cases are being booked at the Nagarbhavi RTO and we are seizing all the faulty meters," Mr. Gopalappa added.
The departments are also trying to find other ways of trapping auto drivers running with tampered meters They are approaching the auto unions to help them out and catch the drivers red handed. Charge sheets are being filed against the auto drivers who have tampered with their meters,

Stop the noise! Bengaluru craves the sounds of silence

Stop the noise! Bengaluru craves the sounds of silence

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With the festival season around the corner, the noise levels in Bengaluru are likely to go up several decibels with loudspeakers blaring music and huge processions on the streets. Health experts warn that noise pollution is not a mere nuisance, it can result in serious health disorders, report Sanchita Sen and Madhumitha B.

The city is noisy enough with traffic, but the decibel levels are about to rise with loudspeakers blaring music and processions crowding the streets as the festival season gets underway.
The city gets at least four times noisier this season, says Madhuri Gore of the Institute of Speech and Hearing, warning that while the repercussions are not immediately apparent, they are nonetheless hazardous in the long run.

Bhargavi Rao of the Environment Support Group (ESG) feels the problem is that celebrations have shifted from being simple and austere to being grand and excessively noisy today. "Festivals are not celebrated like they were some years ago. It isn't about the fun of bursting crackers anymore but more about putting up a show. People and political parties are competing with each other to see who can hold a grander celebration.

So there are more firecrackers, bigger loudspeakers and more people, all adding to the noise pollution,” she says, adding that the only way this can be curbed is to have more policemen patrolling the city to ensure that the rules are enforced. However, in her view noise pollution is high in the city all through the year and not just during the festive season. “Vehicles on roads and generators in commercial buildings are contributing hugely to the noise one has to put up with every

day,” she deplores.
Health experts warn it is not enough to see noise pollution as a mere nuisance as it can have serious consequences, sometimes even leading to permanent damage to the ears. “It may be

difficult to quantify the threat from the noise that we are exposed to along with the hazardous fumes of firecrackers this season, but it is time for the health department to step in and make more of an effort to contain it," they say.
Ask secretary for environ ment and ecology Kanwar Pal about what the govern ment is doing about noise pollution and he says restric tions are in place during the festive season to contain the noise levels, but it is hard to see that everyone follows them. "How does one ensure that the rules in place are enforced when the law breake ers outnumber the law e enforcers, he asks, pointing e out that while the regulations say firecrackers must not s make a sound of over 50 decibels, unless their manufacture ers toe the line, the people n cannot be held responsible for the noise they make. "The question here is one of self-regula tion and about indi viduals maintain ing some decorum and dis cipline in pub lic," he says. Anything beyond 60 decibel gets uncomfortable for the ears. As endurance levels are different, we see people come to us with different levels of the problem. Such cases are definitely increasingly during the festival season. We have time and again appealed to people to celebrate but with lesser noise.

DR SUNIL NARAYAN DUTT, senior consultant, ENT, Apollo Hospital We do not realise the effects of noise or the fact that the decibel levels are already high in the city. This leads to different degrees of stress that is vented out in different ways by different people. Studies have revealed that the lack of a goodnight's sleep during festivals can affect memory apart from hearing difficulties. Much of today's young generation suffers from hearing problems due to constant exposure to noise.

MADHURI GORE, Institute of Speech and Hearing Festivals are not celebrated in a proper manner anymore. There is no joy in bursting firecrackers.

It is just an exhibition of wealth.

Each community or political party is competing with one another to for a grand celebration. There are more fire crackers, big crowds and bigger loud speakers, all causing more and more noise pollution.

City loses its trees at high speed

City loses its trees at high speed

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: Minsk Square is a graveyard of trees. Twisted stumps stand where once an avenue of gulmohars, jacarandas and pink tabubia bloomed. MG Road is a construction site. Now, information obtained under RTI by green activists Hasiru Usiru finds the central part of Bengaluru and its enviable green canopy will see 371 fully mature trees chopped down and another 200 pruned! This is to pave the way for a controversial addition to the IT capital's transport system -a High Speed Rail Link that stretches 34 kms from BRV grounds near Chinnaswamy stadium through the Raj Bhavan Road to Hebbal lake, home to migratory birds, when it could as well start from beyond Hebbal. As if the damage Sept. 6: As if the damage caused by the massive felling of trees at Minsk Square for the Metro project was not enough, the proposed High Speed Rail Link, which will connect the city centre to Bengaluru International Airport is expected to bring down more than 500 fully grown trees in the next few years.
Apart from losing trees, there will be a huge impact on the environment in the central parts of Bengaluru.

The worst hit will be places like BRV Parade Grounds – the starting point of HSRL and Raj Bhavan Road, besides the historic Hebbal lake alongside which the high-speed lane will pass.

The information obtained by Hasiru Usiru, an NGO, after it filed an RTI on the felling of trees for the project, which was made available to Deccan Chronicle, says that 371 trees will have

to be uprooted completely while around 265 trees will have to be pruned.
“So why is the government bent on spoiling the aesthetic look of central Bengaluru,” ask green activists in the city, who say a strict no-no to the project.

Already, Minsk Square has lost its charm and there are little chances of the

famous boulevard on MG Road being restored to its original glory. "The 34-km long HSRL will be an addition to Namma Metro and the proposed suburban rail system. Do we really need three rail systems for Bengaluru"? ask the activists.
"The detailed project report(DPR) of Metro Rail says some 700 trees will have to be felled to get the project done. Not even 40 per cent of the total project is complete and already, close to 3,000 trees have vanished from the city’s map,” said Vinay Sreenivasa, a member of Hasiru Usiru.

According to him, the 324 page DPR, prepared for HSRL, shows that no prop

er Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) was done. "A project of this scale, has no mention about EIA and even an energy audit. If the train has to move at high speed, from where will the government get the required power?
Moreover, the train link will run next to the sensitive Hebbal Lake which is home to several species of birds," he said. Apart from losing trees, there will be a huge impact on the environment in the central parts of Bengaluru. The worst hit will be places like BRV Parade Grounds – the starting point of HSRL and Raj Bhavan Road besides the historic Hebbal lake.

Recharging lakes can help stop flooding

Recharging lakes can help stop flooding

Staff Reporter
Twelve lakes have almost been rejuvenated, say officials

A NEW LEASE OF LIFE:Of the 14 lakes given to it, the BDA has completed 90 p.c. work on 12.
Bangalore: If the Bangalore Development Authority's (BDA) plan to recharge the city's lakes works, it could solve the perennial problem of flooding when it rains.

The BDA, which has almost rejuvenated 12 lakes, has appointed consultants to study the feasibility of channelising rain water — that otherwise accumulates on most roads and low-lying areas — into the lakes.

Talking to presspersons here on Monday, BDA Commissioner Bharat Lal Meena said STUP Consultants had been entrusted with the project. “We are also discussing with the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) how to recharge the rejuvenated lakes,” he said.

Mr. Meena asserted that the idea was to treat sewage water and channelise it into the lakes apart from letting rainwater into them. “The city receives so much of rain but we don't know where it disappears. Although some of it flows into the stormwater drains. it ultimately gets mixed with sewage,” he said.

Of the 14 lakes handed over by the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) to the BDA, 90 per cent of work on 12 had been completed. Work on the remaining two would start soon, he said.

More lakes

Pointing out that the BBMP had handed over 29 more lakes to the BDA for rejuvenation, Mr. Meena said detailed project reports (DPRs) on rejuvenating these water bodies were being prepared. “We will soon invite tenders for the rejuvenation and work is likely to start in three months,” he said.

The lakes would not be handed over to the BBMP soon after the rejuvenation as per the initial agreement. “After the rejuvenation, the cost of which has been scaled down from Rs. 300 crore to Rs. 100 crore, we will maintain the lakes for one year. After spending so much, we want the lakes to survive,” he said.

He added that the local residents' welfare associations and other organisations would be involved in maintaining the rejuvenated lakes.

Earlier, BDA officials, including BDA Deputy Conservator of Forests Amarnath M.V., inspected work on rejuvenation of Sompura, Konasandra, Kommaghatta, Ullal and Mallathahally lakes.

A load of garbage is destroying us

A load of garbage is destroying us

Prahlad Rao

A city which woke up rest of India on cleanliness is still struggling to cobble a comprehensive policy on garbage disposal. Solid waste management rules were framed in 2000 after the SC intervention due to PIL filed by a member of an NGO from Bangalore.
Since then the city has toyed with various schemes like supporting local initiatives of the residents welfare associations or NGOs and some hi-tech projects of the civic body. Everything that the government or the civic administration claims to have done does not provide a long term vision.
During the debate in BBMP there was talk of revising garbage collection contracts. The change that was tossed around pertains to giving contracts to two or three wards instead of current eight wards per contractor. If the proposal is passed it would mean too many contractors.
This step is devoid of any rationale as garbage disposal works on volumes. More the volume of collection better will be the incentive to deploy modern means like collection trucks with lids.
Take a look at what has been achieved till now. For the start, there is no plan to acquire a permanent landfill. Even Mavallipura landfill is mired in controversy because of health hazards.
But the solid waste management is not just about land fills, collection contracts or the recent talks of garbage cess.
The garbage management starts with the households, eateries and corporate entities. It is about the culture of garbage generation at these places and its storage before disposal. The households have to develop a culture or at least a habit of generating less garbage, be it the use of tissue paper or demanding plastic bags every time one buys half a kg of sugar.
The administration is supposed to educate the citizens about the way certain types of garbage pollutes the soil and water. The public should also be told to segregate (degradable and non-degradable) garbage and ensure that the segregated garbage is not mixed by the conservancy staff.
The Supreme Court Committee report, which formed the basis for the court verdict, had also set timeframe for reforms in waste management. These reforms range from awareness programmes for citizens to establishment of landfills. Some of the mandated tasks were: minimization of garbage generation, reuse and recycle, collection, composting, energy recovery and disposal in safe manner.
The deadlines were from six months to 36 months. Unfortunately, these recommendations remain mostly on paper as the administrations play with our lives.
We also resist many ideas in reducing garbage generated in the households and the offices. And this deliberate ignorance is corroding our lives

Link the lakes through channels, say experts

Link the lakes through channels, say experts

Bosky Khanna

Even as the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) looks satisfied with its efforts to rejuvenate 12 lakes, experts are critical of the programme. They say the ideal way to go about the task is to enhance the connectivity to the lakes, as it was done earlier.
The BDA dried up the lakes completely to clear the silt. Ring tank bunds were created around to give them a distinctive shape. Though the depth increased, the size of lakes shrank. Encroachments were cleared in all BDA lakes, while wetlands and water inlets had been channelled. What remained now, according to BDA officials, is fencing, afforestation, water to fill in, construction of boat jetties and construction of sewerage treatment plants in Kommaghatta and Malathahalli.
But experts suggested creation of treatment plants in all the lakes. The flow of water should be well directed, keeping in mind the upstream and downstream, they felt.
Hasiru Usiru member Rohan D'Souza was dissatisfied by the way Rachenahalli lake structure was designed. "The idea of feeding other water bodies by channelling the overflow has not been looked into," lamented D'Souza.
"Here the BDA has completely dried up the lake. This hampered the biodiversity and also had a cascading effect," said D'Souza.
"The BDA should ensure that the plants in the wetlands are cut once in three months so that the quality of water remains good. Charcoal and carbon notches should also be maintained periodically," said Prof Sriram, who has been guiding BDA on lake rejuvenation.
Environmentalist AN Yellappa Reddy said proper infiltration should be ensured to increase the underground water table.
He added that it would take at least one or two years to restore the required dynamics of the lakes. Biodiversity elements are already being incorporated with the introduction of guppies, weeds and sediments.

Here order is needed, not widening

Here order is needed, not widening

If the crowded Dharmaraj Koil Street in Shivajinagar is to be widened, thousands of people will be rendered jobless. Traders say proper signals, strict enforcement of one-way and parking rules and clearance of footpaths can help in decongesting this busy, market area stretch

Shilpa CB

The streets of Shivajinagar are generous to the hawker and the street vendor but not so much to the motorist, especially during festive seasons. It is meant to be that way. Too bad if cars wanting a smooth passage through these short routes to the city are inconvenienced, say shoppers and vendors on Dharmaraj Koil Street, one of the many crowded lanes being considered for widening.
Those who depend on the street for their livelihood oppose the plan for obvious reasons. "Widening will help. But where shall I go? The government won't give any substitute land or compensation," says Ratnavelu Chettiar who runs a shop beside the 150-year-old Sri Ekambareshwarar Dharmaraja temple that lends its name to the street it stands on.
"Widening should not be done as thousands of people will become unemployed. Besides, the government is not giving any compensation," says Suhail TA, a businessman who has been operating from here since 1975.
"I will lose 5 ft of my shop. How will the traders benefit? It will only help the traffic needs of this road," Suhail says.
Clearly, the street is more than just a transit road for vehicles that use it as a link road to move from Ulsoor, Fraser Town, Cox Town and other areas towards Queen's Corner. Most hours of the day, it stays true to its character. "It's a market area. Naturally, there will be congestion," says Chettiar, in a matter-of-fact way.
A solution that is being proposed for regular roads will not do much for a bustling market area like this one, argue traders. Instead, the onus is on the traffic police to 'control' the traffic. There is no signal at the Taj Hotel Junction and the one-way rule applicable for part of the street is violated, they say. And 'control', to those sitting inside their shops, means clearing hawkers from the footpath and keeping away autos that linger around waiting for customers.
"There is no need to tamper with this street. If the footpaths are cleared, the public will walk on them instead of on roads," says Tanvir Ahmed, a perfume shop owner who also uses part of the road to advertise his wares. Haphazard parking is also blamed for making things difficult for shoppers, traders and passing traffic. Further away from the market, illegal parking of cars eats into the little space available.
"From Methodist Mission School to Nala Road or Bose Circle, you will find cars parked on both sides. Even one-way traffic can't move easily. Obvioulsy, there will be jams on this two-way street," says Ramu K who has been around for 53 years. Sreekanth PK, a grocery shop owner, says the street's proximity to Commercial Street makes it a free-for-all parking lot.
It will, however, be wrong to assume that widening the road will automatically make it orderly. The bustling market area will continue to grapple with several issues while functioning in the manner it does today. The many persistent civic problems will contribute to chaos.
"The drains, especially at the Lubbay Masjid Street Corner, overflow during rains. All repairs have only offered temporary relief. They don't do anything permanent here," says Ramu.
"When it rains, it is hellish here. The drainage problem is our biggest and long-standing complaint," says Abdullah Basha, owner of a grocery shop operating here for 40 years.
"Water flows in one direction when it rains. After it stops, it flows in the opposite direction. Sometimes, the water is knee-high. It even flows into my shop," Sreekanth says.
While pedestrians and residents complain of having to wade through sewage water during rains, others talk of the murky water that flows out of their taps.
"The water we get is not clean," says Lakshmi Padmanabha, who runs a small canteen here. They have no choice but to use the dirty water to cook the food to keep their business going.
What about road widening?
"The larger the road, the more will be the number of vehicles. Every one wants to own a car or a two-wheeler. That being the case, how can road widening help us," she asks.

Don't bank on the autos today

Don't bank on the autos today

The drivers are likely to join the nationwide strike. The autorickshaws will be back on the roads by the time dusk sets in

Shwetha S

If you depend on autorickshaws to commute to work, be prepared for a little trouble today. Over 80,000 autorickshaws in the city are expected to stay off the roads between 6 am and 6 pm, as they join the all-India strike protesting the rising prices of commodities, and the failure of the Centre as well as the state government in acceding to demands for protection from inflation.
President of the autorickshaw drivers' union, Meenakshi Sundaram, said, "We will be supporting the strike call across the country. We are demanding ration cards and housing allowances for autorickshaw drivers. We also want a welfare board for those plying autorickshaws."
Owners and drivers of autorickshaws affiliated to different unions are expected to support the strike. Among the unions that have already declared their support for the strike call are the Autorickshaw Drivers' Union (ARDU, affiliated to CITU), the Adarsha Auto and Taxi Drivers' Union, and the Bangalore Autorickshaw Union.
President of the Adarsha Auto and Taxi Drivers' Union, N Manjunath, said, "All autorickshaws will be off the roads from 6 am to 6 pm in support of the strike call. The drivers will be joining the strike as the Karnataka government has not granted various demands that were raised earlier. Drivers will take out a procession that will go from Mysore Bank Circle to Town Hall, starting at 10.30 am."
Manjunath said that the rising prices have impacted autorickshaw drivers, just as it has affected a whole host of others. "All autos are expected to be off the roads. However, there are also rumours that some unions will not be joining the strike. The auto unit of the Kannada Rakshana Vedike, the Jaya Karnataka Auto Drivers' Union and the City Auto Drivers' Union may not participate," Manjunath said

An RTO that takes you for a ride

An RTO that takes you for a ride

Y Maheswara Reddy | ENS First Published : 06 Sep 2010 11:51:00 AM IST
BANGALORE: The Road Transport Office in Jayanagar Shopping Complex is
enough to know about the apathy of the authorities towards the hundreds
of people who come here everyday.
People are forced to wait for more than 20 minutes, in queue, to reach the fourth floor of the complex, where the RTO office is located. On reaching the office, they are hounded by middlemen who offer their services for a sum. They make it clear that without their help, they would be stranded in the office
for hours.
Besides, the RTO office is not spacious enough to accommodate the hundreds of visitors who come here daily.
“We are looking for a spacious premises to shift this office. We
have already shortlisted three premises. A decision will be taken to shift this office shortly,” said L Lingaraju, Road Transport Officer, Jayanagar.
Visitors also complain that the employees of the RTO keep the toilets locked, to avoid public use, thereby, forcing them to use the public toilet located on the ground floor.
“There is no sufficient water supply to the toilets. Hence, it is
difficult to allow visitors to use the toilets. The authorities concerned
are yet to take measures to improve the water supply here,” said an
RTO official.
The shortage of manpower at the RTO is adding to the never-ending wait for the common man. Recently, two assistant road transport officers - one superintendent and three clerks - were suspended for issuing driving licence to a person who provided Minister for Transport R Ashok’s residential address
as his residential address and these posts were yet to be filled.
“The shortage of manpower comes in the way of clearing the backlog of applications for permanent driving licence. We need six more employees to cater to the needs of applicants,” said Shastri, Superintendent.
However, denying the allegations on the delay in issuing driving licence, Shivakumar Aradhya, Assistant Road Transport Officer said, efforts were being made to clear the pending applications. “As of now, the driving licences are being dispatched to applicants within seven days. Earlier, the waiting period
was 15 days, due to the shortage of manpower,” he said.
Meanwhile, the much-hyped driving simulator on the seventh floor has been out of order for the last few days. Speaking to Express, Lingaraju
said, “We have already informed the service engineer about the defunct simulator. He has to come from Hyderabad.”

Rain water harvesting: Do or dry: BWSSB

Rain water harvesting: Do or dry: BWSSB

N R Madhusudhan | ENS First Published : 06 Sep 2010 11:35:50 AM ISTLast Updated : 06 Sep 2010 11:55:34 AM IST
BANGALORE: Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB)
may soon get the authority to act against building owners who have not installed rain water harvesting (RWH) system in their buildings.
A recent amendment to section 109 of the BWSSB Act empowers the utility to file cases against those who do not comply with its notices.
“We have requested the government to grant us permission to cut off the water
and sanitary connections of the buildings that are in the area of 2,400 sq ft or more if they do not have RWH system.
It might be approved in the forthcoming cabinet meeting,” said BWSSB chairman P B Ramamurthy.
“We will first cut off the connections and if the building owners do not comply
even after that, we will think of suing them,” he added. If found guilty, the building owners can be sentenced to six months imprisonment. The BWSSB has till now issued three notices to more than 54,000 building owners.
The utility has collected acknowledgements of the notice from the building owners. Therefore, it can sue the building owners whenever it
wants to. Though the last date to install the RWH system was
May 27, only 20,000 building owners have installed it. The BWSSB has started
collecting data about the buildings that have installed the RWH systems and is feeding it in its geographical information system.
The utility has conducted awareness programmes and written letters to 700 government offices, 3,000 schools and 2,300 BWSSB employees,
asking them to install the system in their buildings. Very few government offices
have approached the BWSSB, seeking assistance regarding RWH.
Around 400 BWSSB employees have already installed RWH systems in their
buildings and some of them have installed them even though their buildings are
situated in an area of less than 2,400 sq ft. The RWH park that is being
constructed at Jayanagar is nearing completion.

BDA to revive 29 more lakes

BDA to revive 29 more lakes
Bangalore, Sept 6, DHNS

The Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) will take up 29 more lakes for rejuvenation in the City limits.

The revival of ten lakes of the 12 lakes taken up has almost neared completion, according to BDA Commissioner Bharatlal Meena.

The BDA had taken up revival following 12 lakes at an estimated cost of Rs 104.61 crore. Ullal lake (rejuvenation cost: Rs 4.49 cr), Mallathahalli lake (Rs 22.95 cr), Kommaghatta lake (Rs 6.44 cr), Ramasandra lake (Rs 13.4 cr), Thalghattapura (Rs 2.4 cr), Konasandra (Rs 6.1 cr), Sompura (Rs 3.85 cr), Kothnur (Rs 3.6 cr), Jakkur-Sampigehalli (Rs 21.91 cr), Rachenahalli (Rs 19 cr) and Venkateshpura lake (Rs 47 lakh).

Except the Ramasandra and Mallathhalli lake, the rejuvenation of the remaining lakes have been almost completed.

The project has resulted in recharge of the groundwater table in the surrounding areas, Commissioner Meena told presspersons here on Monday.

The BDA will take up revival of 29 more lakes in the city limits. The lakes are: Manganahalli, Nelagadirenahalli, Narasappanahalli, Lingadeeranahalli, Amruthahalli, Gubbala, Hosakerehalli, Doddakallsandra, Avalahalli, Hosakere, Chunchanaghatta, Hulimavu, Arakere, Kembettanahalli, Vasanthapura, Bheemanakuppe, Kenchanapura, Kannenahalli, Chikkabasti, Soolekere, B Narayanapura, Chikkabettahalli, Garavebavipalya, Singasandra, Konanakunte, Byrasandrakere, B Channasandrakere, Kaggadasapura and Doddanekkundi. The detailed project reports for these lakes are under preparation.

Public participation

Bharatlal Meena said the BDA intends to involve Residents’ Welfare Associations (RWAs) of respective areas to maintain the rejuvenated lakes.

Suggestions would also be invited from the RWAs on protecting the water bodies from encroachment and pollution.

He said these lakes will emerge as tourist spots for the local residents besides providing a choicest destination for the winged guests coming from far-off places. The BDA has built a silt trap, waste water diversion and screening barriers to Sompura lake. These measures will keep the lake clean round the year, claimed BDA engineer Prakash G Pawar. Konasandra lake, spread over 34.14 acres in BSK 6th Stage, will be restored to its past glory soon. Covered with weeds, the water body was reduced to a small pond before the BDA undertook rejuvenation July last.

Monday, September 06, 2010

20 yrs on, this locality gets its RWA

20 yrs on, this locality gets its RWA

Bangalore: Dollars Layout, where BBMP commissioner Siddaiah stays, finally has a proper residents welfare association in place with 110 members and a website as well.
The association and its website www.jpn4dollars.org was launched on Sunday. The big launch witnessed the presence of Jayanagar MLA B N Vijayakumar, corporator Chandrasekhara Raju and Siddaiah. This layout in J P Nagar with 400 BDA sites was formed during 1989-90 and has close to 200 houses today. Majority of the members have been living here for more than five years.
“With rapid development post-2003, we badly needed a proper association. There was one here before, but it was unregistered,’’ said association president Neelkante Gowda. The new association’s special gift to the Palike are free pushcarts for door-to-door garbage collection, which is being finalized. Alongside, they have also joined hands with the plastic-free Jayanagar initiative launched recently. Now, every house has been asked to segregate wet and dry garbage.
According to members, one of their other main problems is contamination of stormwater drains. “We are surrounded by dirty stormwater drains. We are now working with the BBMP to close these,’’ they said. The start has sure been good. The only hope is that such initiatives and efforts don’t go down the drain with time.

Email campaign for park gets CM’s attention

Email campaign for park gets CM’s attention
Annoyed at Cubbon Park’s poor upkeep, senior citizens e-mail the chief minister to see things for himself. CMO takes note of the complaint
Niranjan.Kaggere @timesgroup.com

Its name is inextricably associated with that of Bangalore, and its budget runs into crores, but some parts of Cubbon Park look decidedly run down. The sorry state of affairs in the park — its official moniker is ‘Sri Chamarajendra Park’ — has galvanised a group of elderly morning walkers into shooting off an e-mail to the chief minister’s office. The senior citizens, all residents of J P Nagar, have requested chief minister B S Yeddyurappa to see things for himself by changing the route of his morning constitutional from the Vidhana Soudha garden to Cubbon Park.
The e-mail, a copy of which is with Bangalore Mirror, says, “Chief Minister Sir, we kindly request you to spare some time and walk from the Central Library to the Mahatma Gandhi Statue entrance as part of your daily walk, and you will see for yourself how badly the prestigious park has been maintained despite huge allocation of funds.”
Group representative Ramakrishna Udupa told this paper, “Most of the walkers and joggers in the park use this particular stretch. Sadly, it is the most ill-maintained part of the park. We have been frequenting the park for the past 15 years. Over the past five to six years, we have found its maintenance abysmal. The pavement and walking paths have been damaged beyond repair. Even the rose garden in front of the Sheshadri Iyer hall is not attended to regularly.”
Another senior citizen said, “People may think that ‘these oldies’ are unnecessarily complaining. But we have been seeing this poor maintenance for more than six years, hoping all the while that the (horticulture) department will get some ‘jnanodaya’ (enlightenment) one day. Not finding any improvement, we decided to ‘trouble’ the chief minister.”
Their strategy seems to have worked. Officials in the CMO have forwarded the e-mail to the horticulture department with a noting calling for the necessary remedial measures. A senior official in the CMO said, “The chief minister has also spoken to the horticulture minister to look into the matter.”

Potholes will stay till Nov

Potholes will stay till Nov
The cash-strapped BBMP can’t afford special technology that is needed to carry out repairs during the monsoon
S Kushala bmfeedback@indiatimes.com

If potholed roads are ruining your commute, learn to live to with it, at least till mid-November. Last week, BBMP commissioner H Siddaiah issued a circular not to take up any road asphalting work till November 15. The reason is the cost.
“Laying new roads or carrying out asphalting in damp conditions requires a thicker grade of bituminous mixture. We have estimated that the cost would be 180 per cent more than what it is in dry conditions. Hence, we issued a circular to stop all road works till the end of the monsoon,” BBMP chief engineer (storm water drain and major roads) Chikkarayappa told Bangalore Mirror.
While the erstwhile BMP, covering 226 sq km, had a road network of nearly 3,000 km, BBMP has to deal with about 10,000 km.
The worst sufferers will be people living in the newly-added pockets. In most such places, black top roads were laid in places that had none earlier. But, these newly-laid roads are in deplorable condition.
On an average, BBMP spends nearly Rs 500 crore to Rs 700 crore every year on road-related works. In the 2010-11 budget, the allocation is over Rs 1,000 crore. These works comprise asphalting, white topping (concrete roads), black topping (tar roads), high density roads, pothole clearance and ward roads.
The BBMP spends Rs 13 lakh per km to lay a new basic road (two-lane stretch) and up to Rs 1 crore per km for a high density/major corridor.
As per standards, a new road comprises a single layer of water-borne macadam (a mixture of quarry dust and jelly stones) that is 200 mm to 250 mm thick.
During asphalting (fresh coat), a 40 mm to 50 mm layer of bituminous macadam or bituminous concrete is put on the road.
In case of a high-density stretch, a combination of all three mixtures is used, a BBMP engineer explained.
Roads get damaged if the contractor does not use the correct mixture in the right proportion. The result is roads getting washed away after a single downpour or potholes

Paint peels off 'beautified' walls

Paint peels off 'beautified' walls

The wall painting work was done at a cost of Rs75 lakh; one year later, the BBMP mulls over shelling out Rs12 lakh to restore them

Bosky Khanna

It was a task undertaken on Independence Day, 2009, to leave city walls beautiful. A year later, the paint is peeling, and the walls need re-touching. The initial cost of painting up city walls was Rs75 lakh; the re-touching alone would cost about Rs12 lakh. But there is no agreement, even now, on whether the repair job on the wall paintings needs to be undertaken at all. Was painting up city walls the best way to beautify the city? And were those paintings so good that they should be maintained at public cost, with fresh re-touching each year?
Clean roads, natural greenery and properly managed solid wastes would go a far greater length in keeping the city clean, say some important opinion-makers in the city. There are even those who are peeved that the decision to paint walls was taken without any process of democratic consultation by the former commissioner of the BBMP, Bharat Lal Meena.
Admitting the need for touching up the paintings, Ramesh, chief engineer of the BBMP (West), who had also been in charge of the project to beautify city walls, said, "A survey of the areas where paint has peeled off will be started soon, and we have plans to re-paint the places where the paintings have frayed. Wherever possible, contractors responsible for the first round of painting will be engaged again."
BBMP commissioner Siddhaiah said that the paint has naturally withered off in some places and it must be repainted. He added that the quality of the paint used would be upgraded, so that it would stay on the walls longer. However, there are those in the city who contend that any more money spent on painting city walls would be money thrown down the drain. Deepak Srinivasan, member of the media collective Maraa, who has been studying the paintings on city walls, said, "It was a decision that the BBMP took in an undemocratic manner. Before the walls were painted up, there was a culture of sticking posters on city walls, and scores of people earned a livelihood putting up those posters. All those people were affected by this decision."
He added that there were instances where decisions were taken to put up pictures of Hindu gods, with scant regard for the principles of either secularism or democracy.

Drive for plastic-free Jayanagar

Drive for plastic-free Jayanagar

Staff Reporter
The use of plastics in the Assembly segment is prohibited
BBMP Commissioner announces waste convertor like the one in Chennai

Welfare association launches eco-friendly garbage disposal programme

BANGALORE: Do not just ban plastic; hate it, declared Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Commissioner H. Siddaiah, while launching a plastic-free drive in Jayanagar Assembly constituency here on Sunday.

He was speaking at the inauguration of the J.P. Nagar 4 {+t} {+h} Phase Dollars Layout Residents Welfare Association.

The drive envisages a prohibition on use of plastic in educational institutions, parks and playgrounds, government and BBMP offices as well as non-governmental offices coming under the constituency. This move comes close on the heels of the BBMP announcing plans for a ban on use of plastic during the budget.

Being a resident of the area himself, he also gave the green signal for an eco-friendly garbage disposal programme in which residents will be asked to segregate dry and wet waste at their homes as the first step. There are immediate plans of introducing a conversion plant as well.

“It is absolutely necessary to look for solutions now. One must visit the Mandur and Mavallipura landfills and see the pathetic living conditions of the people,” he said and added that the garbage had negatively affected agriculture and land prices in surrounding areas.

The commissioner said the BBMP was planning on a project involving a waste convertor similar to the one in Chennai with which oil and power is generated from waste.

Mr. Siddaiah pointed out that cemented pavements affected the growth of trees. He said the cement flooring prevented infiltration of water required for the trees.

The welfare association, which was registered two weeks ago, will serve the residents of about 180 houses in the area. Among the goals listed by the association are greening of the area, restricting the number of apartments and initiating security measures.

Mayor S.K. Nataraj, who was elected from the nearby Sarakki ward, hailed the vast improvements in the area and remarked that it was partly because all the top officials lived there.

Meanwhile, reacting to a proposal by the association to bring in measures to reduce commercialisation, councillor of J.P. Nagar N. Chandrashekhar Raju said that it could not be stopped as the law provided for the same.

Richmond Road becomes an unsafe zone

Richmond Road becomes an unsafe zone

Y Maheswara Reddy Express News ServiceFirst Published : 04 Sep 2010 05:28:06 PM IST
BANGALORE: Richmond Road, one of the well-known roads in Bangalore, is no more safe for motorists due to a huge number of potholes.
The potholes near the Army Stores are extremely dangerous and need to be fixed. “A two-wheeler rider was injured when he failed to notice the pothole here,” said a sentry at the Army Stores.
There is nothing to revel about the condition of the road after the traffic signal junction. With debris and garbage remains on the footpath for many months, the pedestrians have to use the road rather than the footpath, thus causing an inconvenience to the motorists. “Though the debris and garbage on the footpath do not pose problems for motorists, it is pedestrians who have to risk their lives since the vehicles move at high speed on this road. I have advised the pourakarmikas to remove the debris but in vain,” said a traffic police constable.
The broken manhole cover at Castle Street Junction on Richmond Road poses a great threat for motorists, especially two-wheeler riders at night.
“It would be better if the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) authorities ensure replacement of the broken cover on the manhole as early as possible to avoid any casualties,” said Shanmuga Sundaram, a two-wheeler rider.
However, Raja Manohar, Executive Engineer, BBMP, has assured to take measures to fill up the potholes shortly. “We have taken up the filling up of manholes on Residency Road and Richmond Road. We will complete the work within a week,” said Raja Manohar.
On the replacement of the broken manhole cover, Manohar said that he would inform the BWSSB authorities to do the needful.


By: Bindiya Carmeline Thomas Date: 2010-09-03 Place: Bangalore

Even after a 15-day deadline issued to its corporators for pothole repair, BBMP doesn't know where to begin

With the pothole menace growing with each passing day, the BBMP has taken matters into its own hands and has instructed its corporators to begin a 15-day mission to cover potholes in the city.

While the circular was issued on August 31, the BBMP has only begun covering potholes on a minor level and still has no clue as to how many potholes there are in the city.

AK Gopal Swamy, the BBMPs Engineer-In-Chief, said, "The circular has been issued to us but the work has not started in full swing because of the heavy rains.

The BBMP has granted Rs 1 lakh to each ward. However, the work has not been started on a large
scale due to paucity of funds.

We might have to start all over again if we do." He added, "We haven't conducted a study on the number of potholes.

But we expect our corporators to give us a list in their wards. Only then will we know the total number."

A BBMP official said, "Commissioner Siddaiah had said that each ward would be granted Rs 1 lakh each but right now there is no budget. Once the 15 days are over, we'll know how much we've spent."

"As a matter of principle, I cannot comment on the matter. We are all members of the same wheel. I have nothing to say," said Praveen Sood, additional commissioner, (Traffic and Security).

Friday, September 03, 2010

This is more a parking lot than road

This is more a parking lot than road

When a protest in front of Town Hall blocks JC Road, MTB Road has to bear the pain. Crammed with parked vehicles and car accessory shops and trucks heading to Kalasipalya vegetable market, the road needs to be widened to escape chaos, say some. Others disagree and blame it on the 'parking mafia'

Shilpa CB

Mavalli Tank Bund Road or MTB Road does not have much going for it. Sandwiched between the manic JC Road, which is clogged most hours of the day, and a residential area, it has to cater to the demands of both. Widening the road will benefit everyone using the stretch, some believe. Others insist that it is already a broad stretch but has been reduced to a polluted and crammed one by the many businesses that abuse it. Any work on this one-way street should be complemented by efforts to make it more pedestrian-and traffic-friendly, they say.
The entire area has been turned into one big parking lot, complain residents of Thayappa Layout, Journalists' Colony, Rajgopal Garden, Amit Khan Garden, the localities that surround MTB Road. Numerous car accessory shops use the space for their business. Obviously, this does get in the way of traffic that enters from Lalbagh Fort Road and moves towards AM Road and Kalasipalya.
"This is a transport area. Most trucks that enter the city have to use this route to reach the vegetable market at Kalasipalya as they are not allowed on JC Road. Although these heavy vehicles are restricted after morning hours, it is not unusual to see them even at noon," says B Prabhakar, a businessman.
Residents say that a 'parking mafia' is the trouble-maker here. Although there are no-parking boards in the three crosses of the adjacent Journalists' Colony, cars are lined up on both sides of the road.
"Double-parking, even triple-parking is common," complains Banashankari Mohan, an employee at an establishment here.
The traffic police's apathy has aggravated the problem, commuters say. This has affected the contractors who manage the multi-level parking lot on JC Road.
"The matter has been in the court for the last five years. The contractors are demanding that the area be made a no-parking zone so that drivers are forced to use that space," a resident says.
This is in the interest of all road users who are forced to turn into these streets when JC Road is blocked; the blockage is especially severe when there is a protest or dharna in front of Town Hall. Given its location, it is crucial that the menace of illegal parking and violation of the one-way rule be checked.
Taken together, these measures will help solve traffic woes, says Ramesh V Naidu, a businessman. "I don't think that widening will help as the nature of businesses done here and the manner in which they are done are hindering traffic movement. Merely increasing the width of the road won't make much of a difference as that will again be used for illegal parking," says a resident who may lose about 15ft of land on which his three-storey building stands. Those employed in the commercial establishments fear that widening will drive them out of the city. "It will be difficult to transport the items they fabricate into the city. It will drive up the cost," says Shivanand R, an employee at a steel works establishment.
Muthurkrishnan V, a tenant who deals in old tyres, points out that widening has been planned for a long time. "They've covered the drain and done it on the right side. Widening on the left side has been pending. I have been hearing it will be done, for years now," he says.
If the BBMP goes ahead with the plan, it will have to compensate those losing property, says Naidu. "All governments have been giving compensation in exchange for land. That is the norm. There is no other way," counters Prabhakar, a local man.
He is among the few residents who continue to live here despite the commercialisation that has taken away many comforts. While the residents demand cleaner roads and regular garbage collection, those working in the shops say that doing business here will be easier if stagnant water after rains is drained off and the drains and footpaths are maintained well.

Metro: Minsk Square to be closed for two years

Metro: Minsk Square to be closed for two years

Article Rank

In less than a fort night, a key portion of the city — the arterial Cubbon Road between Minsk Square and BRV Junction — will be closed off. And it will remain shut for the next two years as underground tunneling begins for the Metro. That is not all. Traffic on Queen's Road will be squeezed into one lane while the other lane will be used by construction vehicles for the Metro. The state of the roads after some 700 trucks loaded with underground excavation debris make the run every night is another matter! There's some good news -the traffic police are making elaborate plans to smoothen the way by constructing a steel underpass at Minsk Square in the next three months.
“Construction of the underpass which will allow vehicles to move from Balekundri Circle towards MG Road will begin in the next two weeks. Traffic will be diverted,” said Praveen Sood, additional commissioner of police, (traffic).

The city could be in for more traffic chaos on its roads as the Metro Rail begins to tunnel underground for its stations and tracks. The stretch between BRV junction and Minsk Square on Cubbon Road will be closed for the next 28 months to allow construction of an underground station in this section. Drivers will not be able to use the road in front of HAL till the BRV junction for the next two years, while the work is under progress.
With the Metro project falling behind schedule, both the police and the Bengaluru Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (BMRCL) are trying to ensure there is no more delay by diverting traffic where necessary to allow the work to go on uninterrupted.

As Minsk Square sees heavy traffic most days, the police is trying to make sure enough alternative arrangements are made to avoid chaos on the roads while it is out of bounds to vehicles.

The changes could begin to take shape in the next couple of weeks with the while it goes ahead with work on the underground section at Minsk Square.

Parts of the steel underpass

are already waiting to be laid at the BRV Parade Grounds and its construction could begin in the next fortnight.
"We held a meeting with Metro officials on the traffic diversions required and decided to make the underpass which will take about 90 days to complete. The underground work on the Metro will begin around Minsk Square once it is ready,” says additional commissioner of police, traffic, Praveen Sood.

“Several alternative routes have been planned and advisories will be issued to inform commuters about them. It will be best to avoid Minsk Square and use the diversions for the time being,” he explains. A new road has already come

up in front of the Central Telegraph Office to handle part of the traffic.
But one diversion to allow vehicles to enter Cubbon park from Queen's Road, near the Election Commission building and exit on Ambedkar Veedhi has been stayed by the high court on a petition which claims it is a violation of the Karnataka Parks Preservation Act. But a senior police officer warns that without this road traffic will be hard to manage around Minsk Square while the work on the underground section of the Metro Rail progresses.

With the high court having appointed a special officer to look into the matter the police is hopeful the matter will be sorted out before long.

Work on diverting traffic will start in the next two weeks. A road map for two years has been planned after a meeting with BMRCL officials. It is best to avoid Minsk Square and is best to avoid Minsk Square and use the alternative routes that are being planned.
Taking a right turn to move into Cubbon Park to reach KR Circle has been facilitated over the last few days so that vehicles which move on Minsk Square can reach K R Circle directly.
PRAVEEN SOOD, additional commissioner of police (traffic) The police and BMRCL authorities must ensure that commuters who are affected by the traffic diversions are made aware of the alternate routes.
Bengaluru has not seen an underground excavation of this magnitude and the one which was supposed to begin at Majestic is yet to takeoff.

H.S. SUDHIRA, urban planner Diverting vehicle movement towards Raj Bhavan Road from Cubbon Road and Queen's Road is significant. Creating alternate roads inside Cubbon Park is not feasible at all. Instead, the exist ing one-way traffic can be reversed and some junctions like the one at Indira Gandhi Musical Fountain can be turned into two-ways. Infantry Road, between Coffee Board junction and Income Tax Office junction, have to be reversed and vehicles coming from the city police commissioner's office will either have to take a right turn to Vidhana Veedhi and left turn to Balekundri.

BBMP stops work for want of funds

BBMP stops work for want of funds

Staff Reporter
Bangalore: Several important infrastructure projects citizens were counting on may not take off just yet. For, just a few days before the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike's (BBMP) ambitious Rs. 8,488-crore budget, Commissioner Siddaiah issued an order directing officials to immediately stop infrastructure works in the city.

The works likely to be hit are relaying of pavements, construction of grade separators and improvement of junctions. According to sources, the works estimated at Rs. 1,900 crore are in various stages.

While for some the work order had been issued, some are at the approval stage while the rest have been approved but not yet taken up.

Financial discipline

Sources justified the August 25 order saying it was issued to bring in financial discipline.

“We will take up only essential works. Emergency works such as clearing and remodelling of storm-water drains can be taken up.” The civic authority has to clear Rs. 1,763 crore in pending bills.

Leader of Opposition in the BBMP Council M. Nagaraj said such an order should not have been issued without discussion in the Council first.

Padmanabha Reddy, Janata Dal (S) floor leader, said it was ironical that the BBMP, which presented such an ambitious budget, was stopping works for want of funds. Spill-over works worth several crores were reflected in the 2010-11 budget, he said.

HC seeks SC judgement on war memorial

HC seeks SC judgement on war memorial
Bangalore, September 2, DHNS:

The Karnataka High Court has sought the Supreme Court judgement on the war memorial to adjudicate on a matter related to cutting of trees to create an alternative road for the Metro project.

Hearing a petition by G K Govind Rao, Chief Justice J S Khehar directed the State to produce the Supreme Court order, in connection with Metro Rail Station and alignment in front of Vidhana Soudha.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Bear with us, the rains may just spoil your drive

Bear with us, the rains may just spoil your drive

Additional commissioner of police, traffic, Praveen Sood, requests that people be patient and cooperate with traffic policemen, as some things are beyond control. He was speaking to Aparajita Ray
Why do rains pose such a big problem for traffic movement?
Water logging due to potholes or clogged sewerage lines pose a big challenge to the smooth flow of traffic on city roads. There are about 40 points across the city where the water logging level increases to such an extent that we have to close off those roads for vehicles. Near Kino Theatre, Apollo Hospital on Bannerghatta Road, and parts of Rajajinagar and Malleswaram, water logging after the rain is so bad that vehicular flow is disrupted. Our role as traffic policemen is to inform the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike about water logging and keep traffic flowing, with the safety of people in mind. Most of the time, people come to the rescue, removing a stone, or clearing some stretches of blockade. The BBMP too rushes personnel to spots where there is trouble. These are, of course, only short-term remedies, and long-term ones will have to wait until the end of the monsoon. If a tree or an electric pole falls, safety of people using that stretch of road is what is uppermost on our minds. Sometimes, to ensure that people are not exposed to risk, we have to stop the flow of traffic.
Why is it that potholes never seem to be filled up? Now that the BBMP has stepped back from road widening, there is unfinished work on many roads.
You must understand that the BBMP's road widening project has little to do with us. Discussions of the matter have happened, but the traffic department has no business discussing the matter in public. Yes, traffic movement is delayed because of unfinished projects. We are talking to the BBMP separately.
About potholes, again, our hands are tied. When potholes get water-logged, the situation is aggravated, especially if the road is also one that sees heavy traffic movement. Vehicles get stuck in potholes, and on a day when it rains and there are at least five buses that get stuck. All this slows traffic. We are as much victims as commuters, when the infrastructure crumbles in the rains.
Metro construction too has posed a traffic problem.
Carriage width is reduced to half in some areas, which are only about 50 km away from main roads. When four-lane traffic is forced into two lanes, and even these lanes are not in good condition, traffic flow is affected. The roads that we have now are not made for such heavy vehicular motion. Until the work finishes, we have asked workers at construction sites to keep us informed if they face any problem. They have been doing so.

Infrastructure is eating us out of home and heritage

Infrastructure is eating us out of home and heritage

BIG B's Blog entry set off a discussion on the things individuals lose as cities get new development projects

Aparajita Ray

After the much-publicised blog entry by actor Amithabh Bachchan saying that the Mumbai metro would "roll over Prateeksha," his house in the Juhu area, other celebrities too have remarked about infrastructure projects in urban areas. So widely were Bachchan's opinions being discussed in Mumbai that the man was forced to clarify that those charging him with valuing his privacy over the general good were mistaken; that the blog ought to be read in entirety.
In Bangalore too, in the name of city infrastructure, the state government and the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike have displaced people and demolished heritage structures. Although the bulk of those who have lost their property to infrastructure projects are ordinary citizens, even some celebrity Bangaloreans have been affected.
Actor Tara, winner of the national award for best actor, whose home is in the Fifth Phase, JP Nagar, said, "I have been staying in this house for 25 years. I have a strong sentimental attachment to my home. One fine morning, I saw a signboard outside my house saying that a subway would be built under the road in front of my house. I was shocked. Somehow, the compound wall of my house was not broken, but construction has happened right adjacent to my house. I feel one with those whose homes have been affected."
The underpass near Tara's house is still under construction. It has still to be inaugurated. She is, however, apprehensive that the peace she enjoys at her home will soon be disturbed by the relentless flow of traffic. Ask her about the road-widening plans of the BBMP that have currently been shelved, and she says, "Yeah, a time will come when all we'll have in the city are roads, no houses."
Remarking about the ham-handedness with which many infrastructure projects are implemented, Tara said, "In many Western nations that have had to deal with traffic congestion, heritage sites have been preserved as part of the city's landscape even as infrastructure projects have been implemented. Here, not only is heritage not even considered, even those displaced by such work remain uncompensated."
Former judge of the Karnataka high court, justice MF Saldhana, said that it is time that the people acted to stop the devastation of the city in the name of development. "Under the guise of metro rail, they (the state government and the corporation) have devastated the city. It looks like a war zone. The mono rail consortium, a global organisation, had appealed to the state government that they could set up a system in 10 months, without cutting any tree or taking any land. The mono rail would have been a state-of-the-art venture, likely to serve the commuting needs of the city for at least 20 years. Fares would be lower than bus fares, and the project would be implemented at no cost to the government. But who listens?" asked the former judge, in conversation with DNA.

Potholes: Bengaluru needs long term plan not just a quick-fix

Potholes: Bengaluru needs long term plan not just a quick-fix

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BBMP has made tall promises of filling up all potholes in the city in 15 days.
But Bengalureans are sceptical as the civic body has found it difficult to keep most of its promises in the past. With craters resurfacing in most roads that were asphalted recently, the question being asked is will the city ever be free of these warts, report Amit S.
Upadhye and Chandrashekhar G. I have begun a pothole filling drive. All ward engineers have been directed to fill all potholes in the next 15 days and Rs 1 lakh has been set aside for the job in each ward.

H. Siddaiah, BBMP commissioner Even young peo ple, who are between 25 and 35 years old, are suffering from slip discs due to the bad condition of the roads. Although various factors cause slip disc and spinal problems, the bad roads are making a considerable contribution.

Dr Keyur A. Buch, surgeon

Ben galureans, who have heard it all before, are not surprisingly sceptical about BBMP's promise to fill all potholes on the roads in the city in the next fortnight. They fear it may be a rushed job, and the potholes will reappear in no time. Now that the city is looking forward to more durable concrete roads on some stretches, people don't see why other roads too should not be repaired and made to last longer. But they are not prepared to go by promises alone. BBMP commissioner H. Siddaiah's announcement that potholes will be filled in a fortnight has therefore been met at best with cautious optimism. Not only has he promised to give every ward Rs 1 lakh to fill the potholes on roads in their jurisdiction, but has also directed contractors to repair newly laid roads that may have deteriorated in rain or for other reasons soon afterwards.
No doubt the commissioner's intentions are good, but are they enough to accomplish what the city really needs -pothole-free roads for the next couple of years at least? An expert in laying roads doesn't think BBMP is up to the job. "It's an eyewash," he says, about the promise made to fill the potholes in the next two weeks, explaining that filling the crater-like holes on the roads is not as easy as it seems. "BBMP does not have the machines required to fill them up scientifically.
Only the Land Army which fills potholes on 10 per cent of the roads has the equipment necessary," he says.

This is not something Bengalureans want to hear as most are fed up with the craters that have appeared even on roads that have been asphalted four times in the last couple of years like the stretch at the Basaveshwara Circle in front of Chalukya Hotel, where vehicles are forced to slow down to avoid a huge pothole that doesn't seem to disappear, no matter how many times it is filled.

Going by BBMP there are over a 100 nearly 10 inch deep potholes in the city's Central Business District alone.

Many were filled but have resurfaced after the recent downpour, leaving traffic experts pointing accusing fingers at BBMP's highly unscientific approach to filling them up. Vinay Sreenivasa, a member of NGO, Hasiru Usiru, says the solution lies in allowing a citizens' audit of the work done to repair roads. "BBMP must involve citizens in doing an audit of the work carried out to make sure that it is of superior quality.
When the government is talking about following the Gujarat model of development for the state, why shouldn't BBMP learn something from the Ahmedabad City Corporation," he asks

Metro project gains speed

Metro project gains speed
Bangalore, September 1, DHNS:

Reach One of the Metro Rail project – from Byappanahalli to Mysore Road (18.10 km) – is gathering pace, with Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) launching the 1,938th segment on Wednesday.

BMRCL has stated that the civil works of the Byappanahalli-Chinnaswamy stadium stretch (6.7 km) will be completed by October end.

About 25 per cent of the track (3.1 km of double track) has been laid for the stretch up to the stadium from Byappanahalli and an average of 62.1 per cent of work on the six stations on the stretch is also complete. Also, piers have been completed at all the 222 locations, and about 99 per cent of viaduct launching has been completed.

BMRCL said the stretch between Byappanahalli and M G Road, which is to be commissioned by December 2010, is expected to meet the deadline and other system works - including signalling, etc, are on the anvil in the coming months. And construction of boundary wall, etc, at the Byappanahalli depot has been completed, while works like stabling shed and repair workshop are in the process of being completed and will be over latest by November.

Stating that the rolling stocks, including the coaches, will arrive in the City by October 15, BMRCL further said that the trail run of five trains will commence by November and the official commissioning of the stretch will be done in December.

The Corporation also said that the road traffic on the stretch will be open by October.

Reach One and Two

Reach One of the project – the East-West Corridor – will begin from Byappanahalli and terminate at Mysore Road terminal, via Swami Vivekananda Road, Indiranagar, Ulsoor, Trinity, M G Road, Chinnaswamy stadium, Vidhana Soudha, Central College, Majestic, City Railway Station, Magadi Road, Hosahalli, Vijayanagar and Deepanjali Nagar.

Similarly, Reach Two – on the stretch from Magadi Road to Mysore Road – about 712 piles have been completed out of 1,104. Besides, 41 piers out of 241 and 400 segments out of the 2,106 have been casted. About 16 per cent of the work in Vijayanagar, Hosahalli and Tollgate stations are complete, about 15 per cent of work is complete on Mysore Road, Deepanjali Nagar and Magadi Road stations.


* Civil work on the 6.7 km Byappanahalli-Chinnaswamy stadium stretch to be completed by October-end
* Five trail trains on the stretch to commence from November
* 3.1 km of track (double) already laid
* 62.1 per cent of work at the six stations on the stretch completed
* Systems work to begin soon

Road trouble of Ambedkar Veedhi

Road trouble of Ambedkar Veedhi

Y Maheswara Reddy First Published : 31 Aug 2010 10:18:00 PM ISTLast Updated : 01 Sep 2010 11:14:37 AM IST
BANGALORE: If the condition of Dr B R Ambedkar Veedhi is any indication, one can imagine the miserable conditions of other low-lying areas in Bangalore city during monsoon.
The USP of Ambedkar Veedhi is that almost all important people, including ministers, legislators and government officials, use this road every day. Needless to say, they are not affected by stagnated water near the Coffee Board since they use four-wheelers to commute between their homes and offices.
However, it has become a Herculean task for pedestrians to use the footpath adjacent to the Coffee Board compound. Stagnated murky water is a major concern on this part of the traffic ridden roads.
Surprisingly, there is no facility to drain out the rain water on this portion of the road. ‘’I have to use the footpath on the other side of the road due to the stagnated water on this side. I hope the authorities concerned do something to avoid this nuisance during monsoon,’’ said Sashidharan, a government employee.
The Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) officials have found an easy method to drain out the stagnated water by opening a hole to a sewage manhole. However, the water remain stagnated whenever the sewage manhole is choked with silt and other waste materials.
‘’I am unaware of this problem. I have not received any complaints. I will depute an assistant executive engineer to inspect the spot,’’ said Suresh, Executive Engineer, BBMP.
However, Sateesh, Assistant Executive Engineer, BBMP, said the sewage manhole was choked with silt. ‘’I will inform the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) authorities to take measures to clean the sewage manhole. If the manhole is clear, the water will flow into it and there will be no stagnation of rain water on this road,’’ Sateesh explains.

Bidadi township plan gets a push with developers

Bidadi township plan gets a push with developers

Jayadevan PK First Published : 01 Sep 2010 02:45:52 AM ISTLast Updated : 01 Sep 2010 11:00:32 AM IST
BANGALORE: The Bidadi integrated township project, touted as New Bangalore and estimated to cost `60,000 crore in 2007, has got a fresh lease of life.
The township is once again generating interest among realestate developers after it was shelved because of economic slowdown.
Sources in the Bangalore Metropolitan Region Development Authority (BMRDA) said Reliance Infrastructure, Hindustan Construction Corporation, GVK, GMR, Marg and Rajesh Exports were among those keen to take the project forward.
In a bid to encourage more competition, the state government, which was supposed to open the request for qualification (RFQ) bids on Tuesday, extended the date to September 24, sources said.
"The technical advisor to the project has said it would be wise to extend the date so that other bidders can participate and bidding is more competitive," said a BMRDA official who did not want to be identified.
The source said the department has received a Request for Qualification from Reliance Infrastructure for the project.
The mega project has been planned in Bidadi, 30 kilometres from Bangalore, over 9,178 acres of land.
The project, planned with the idea to decongest Bangalore city, was awarded to Delhibased real estate player DLF in 2007.
It was shelved after DLF backed out of the project citing economic slowdown and political instability in the state. The Karnataka government revived the proposal at the last Global Investors Meet and sought investors.
The project, estimated to cost `60,000 crore in 2007, is now estimated between `70,000`80,000 crore. Officials said the increase in cost was due to increase in input costs and real estate prices.

Metro on a roll, will meet December deadline

Metro on a roll, will meet December deadline

Express News Service First Published : 02 Sep 2010 02:45:34 AM ISTLast Updated : 02 Sep 2010 09:11:54 AM IST
BANGALORE: With the completion of the metro bridge work on the Reach-1 (Byappanahalli to MG Road) stretch, the Bangalore Metro Corporation claims that it will be able to have the metro on track by the end of December.
“The Byappanahalli to MG Road viaduct work has been completed and we will be able to have the metro rail on track by the end of the year, without missing the deadline,” said BMRCL deputy chief engineer, B L Yashavanth Chavan.
However, even as the officials claimed that it will have the project ready by December 2010, only 25 per cent of the rail tracks have been laid, while 40 per cent work on the metro stations is still pending.
If ‘namma metro’ is able to finish the project by December, it will overshadow the achievement of the Delhi Metro, which took four years and three months to finish the first 8.3-km stretch.
The work on the 7.5 km Reach- 1 of the Bangalore Metro started in 2007 and if it meets the deadline, it will finish the work in three years.

BBMP to give Bangloreans a breather

BBMP to give Bangloreans a breather
By: Bindiya Carmeline Thomas Date: 2010-09-01 Place: Bangalore

In a bid to control pollution levels, the civic body has taken to planting saplings in cemeteries, defence land

With space becoming a luxury in the city, the BBMP has taken to planting saplings in open spaces such as cemeteries and defence land.

The BBMP is on a mission to plant more saplings by the end of September in a bid to control the damage it has caused from felling trees.

Dr NL Shantkumar, a member of the Karnataka Forest Department and conservator with the BBMP, said, "We have planted 2.5 lakh trees, but now we also want to work on parks solely devoted for trees so that the pollution levels go down. Trees consume carbon dioxide that the vehicles emit."

The BBMP has planted 2.5 lakh trees and plans to plant another three lakh saplings by the end of this month

He added, "Planting them in cemeteries and other open spaces is the only alternative right now. By the end of September we will plant another three lakh saplings. So in another three years, these saplings would have grown into small trees."

Shantkumar added, "It'll take a lot of time for the carbon dioxide levels to come down. Besides, it will take 10 years for these saplings to mature into adult trees. With this initiative, we might be able to bring back the sparrows, that have disappeared from the city."

Akshay Hevlikar, director, Eco Watch, said, "BBMP needs to think about what kind of trees to plant. After a heavy downpour a branch could just fall and cause a lot of damage."

He added, "These people have no vision. We understand that planting more saplings will make up for the felled trees but it'll take years for them saplings to grow."

Leo Saldana of the Environment Support Group said, "The BBMP has felled so many trees. They may claim to have only felled 3,000 trees but our figures show that this isn't the case. They can plant as many trees as they want to but the damage has already been done."

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

No room for parking at Jayanagar Metro stations

No room for parking at Jayanagar Metro stations

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While Jayanagar seems set for better connectivity with two Metro Rail stations coming up in the area, the people here are not entirely happy with the way the stations on R.V.
Road and 30th cross, Jayanagar 4th block, are shaping up . They are upset that there is no parking space at either station for commuters arriving to board the trains.

A member of the Citizens

Action Forum, N. Mukund points out that the two stations will be used by people from several parts of Jayanagar, who will find it difficult to park their vehicles if their grounds are out of bounds to them. “The Metro plan says there will be no room for parking inside these stations. This is going to be tough on the people who will have to hunt for parking space outside,” he says.
People fear the result could be a noisy battle for parking in residential areas

or along the small service road near the 30th cross in Jayanagar 4th block. “This may only ruin the peace of our locality. The authorities must do something about it before it’s too late,” says a local resident, Kumar Naik.
Also, while there are plans to have bus bays around the two stations there is little parking space for the buses here either.“All in all the Metro project seems out to cause us trouble,” Mr. Naik laments.A Metro Rail official when contacted, confirmed the people's fears.

“The Jayanagar stations will have a generator room at one end, but there will be no vendors, no shops, and no parking at any of the stations here,” he said, adding that there will be no bus stations either, only three bus bays on either side of the road at each station. “This will not hamper traffic on the main road, nor will the service roads be blocked in any way,” he maintained.

Figures won't do, give us trees, better parks and pavements, say women

Figures won't do, give us trees, better parks and pavements, say women

Sumaa Tekur

The BBMP budget is out. But there is much scepticism among the homemakers. "How will this address my immediate concerns," is the question on almost every homemaker's lips. When asked to list their problems on priority, they unleash a barrage of woes.
"The BBMP should take up road asphalting seriously. But then what is the use? They asphalt the road and the next day someone else arrives to dig it up. The cycle goes on," says Anitha Srinivas, mother of two and resident of HBR Layout, taking a break from having lunch to shares her problems with DNA.
"They should also stop cutting trees. We should live our lives around the trees. Also, there are too many stray dogs. I just cannot take my two-wheeler out on the streets," says she.
But she is relieved when informed of the BBMP's plan to set up five swimming pools. "I hope one of them is near my home so I don't have to take my kids all the way to the Basavanagudi pool," she says.
Veena Seshadri, a resident of Shankarapuram, is miffed with the lack of civic sense among the citizens. "Any little space on the pavement next to a tree is turned into a garbage bin. Why is the BBMP not imposing a hefty fine on such people," she asks.
Pavements are dug up unnecessarily and traffic system is in a mess, she says. "LED lights are fine for the city. But how about thinking in terms of alternative sources like solar lights," asks Veena.
What makes Parizaad Berlin, a resident of Diamond District on Old Airport Road, furious is the Palike's unplanned tree planting campaigns. "Such drives are good for the city. But saplings are planted anywhere, and later they have to be removed because they come in the way of wires, or the road," she says.
There is no monitoring of the laying of pavements. "One day you find the path okay but the next day, there is a gaping hole. Workers may have removed the slabs to lay cables but such a dangerous spot should be cordoned off," she says.
There are not many parks or places where Preetha D'Souza can go for her evening walk near Hutchins Road, and this bothers her. "Open spaces and a bit of green can do so much to transform an area," she says.
Resident of Whitefield, Sabah Arakkal, has a similar problem in her area. "There is space for a park, but no benches, no planned area for those who want to exercise. I cannot take the pram inside the park," she says.
The school buses that ply in the residential area drive rashly. "They almost ran me over twice. There must be some monitoring of these buses," says Sabah.

50 new flyovers and underpasses will be built

50 new flyovers and underpasses will be built

The total outlay of the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike budget, at Rs8,488 crore, has doubled, when compared to last year. Nearly 62% of that outlay is provided for civic infrastructure development. Chairman of the Palike's standing committee on finance and taxation, PN Sadashiva, who presented the budget, spoke to Shwetha S.
Road widening has been a controversial matter in the city. Does the budget make any allocation for it?
The committee has not taken any decision on road widening. We will wait and watch, to see how matters improve with the construction of the proposed flyovers and underpasses.
What plans do you have for easing traffic flow in the city?
We plan to construct about 50 new flyovers and underpasses in different parts of the city. A few sites for such construction have already been identified, Jayanagar, for instance, and Chamarajpet South End Circle. We expect that these will ease traffic flow.
Although the budget allocation this year is double what it was last year, the BBMP still faces a cash crunch. How will you manage to tide over that?
I think we should be able to manage. We get about Rs500 crore through the State Finance Commission; once Akrama Sakrama is streamlined, we expect an amount of Rs750 crore. The state government's contribution to the BBMP budget is Rs1,500 crore.
How about revenue mobilisation through property tax, or from advertisements?
There has been gradual increase of income from property tax collection during the last five years. After adopting Unit Area Value (UAV) system as the basis for assessment of property tax, the yield has been good. Efforts are also being made to bring the missing properties into the tax net by using the GIS system. As for revenue from advertising, we have detected and removed unauthorised hoardings. We are working towards a policy of auctioning advertisement rights. We are expected to collect about Rs100 crore through advertisement tax during 2010-11.
Do you have any additional means of revenue mobilisation planned?
Special developmental charges on high-value properties will be levied. Tax on heavy commercial carriages, which use public roads for loading and unloading, will be levied. Heavy charges will be imposed on those who erect towers for commercial purposes, and install dish antennae for commercial uses. Annual fees will be levied on private electrical transformers installed on BBMP properties. These are some of the means of additional revenue mobilisation this year.

SC okays the military memorial

SC okays the military memorial

Many of those who earlier vehemently opposed the project have since resigned to the construction activity within the park

Bosky Khanna

The legal battle to protect an important and centrally-located park in the city from 'development' came to an end on Monday, as the Supreme Court dismissed the plea against the memorial filed by petitioner Dr Sudhir Pai, secretary of Krishna Apartments Association.
The apex court upheld the decision of the Karnataka high court, which on June 4, had said that the construction of the National Military Memorial within the Indira Gandhi Musical Fountain Park would be in the interest of the general public, and a matter of pride for the city. The high court had also observed that the park would only lose about four eucalyptus trees.
The petitioner had sought the intervention of the apex court against the June 4 ruling of the high court. The Supreme Court bench, comprising justices GS Singhvi and AK Ganguly dismissed the case on Monday. On July 26, the two judges had adjourned hearing of the case by four weeks as the respondents had said that they did not receive the court notice that sought details of the site map.
Responding to the ruling of the Supreme Court, Dr Pai said, "If the court thinks that this is not a violation of the law, then what more can we do? We can do nothing but look on as the construction continues. We hope this won't set a precedent. After this, many other parks in the city could have construction approved for various issues, including emotional ones."
Representing just the opposite viewpoint while reacting to the hearing, Major General MC Nanjappa, sub-committee member for the Rashtriya Sainik Smaraka, said that the ruling brought much joy. This is a national project, and this is one expression of gratitude to the martyrs, he said. "The cause of the construction of the Smaraka was not just an ex-servicemen's battle. It is also a victory for the state government. As ex-servicemen, we have a sentimental attachment to the project. We now hope that all, including the ones who went to court against the project, will now join hands in offering suggestions and seeing to the completion of the project," Major General Nanjappa said.
With regard to the deadline set earlier for the completion of the project, Major General Nanjappa said, "We hope that the major symbolic portion of the proposed project would be completed by Vijay Diwas, December 16. We hope that the Veeragalu and flag post will be ready by then. Minor works like the motivation hall and landscaping could take more time."
Subhashini Vasanth, founder-trustee of Vasantharatna Foundation for Art, also the wife of deceased Col Vasanth Venugopal, who died in 2007 fighting terrorists in Kashmir, said, "I am very happy for this judgment. It was beyond the power of any one person to do this, and there were certain delays, but I am hopeful that the construction of at least the basic structure would be done by Vijay Diwas. Else, it is likely that the project would be completed by Republic Day."
Environmentalists, however, who had earlier opposed construction activity within the park, are now looking forward to the greening of the entire area. Dr AN Yellappa Reddy, a noted environmentalist, said, "Though in principle I was opposed to the construction, now I am resigned to it. I hope the whole area will be made a green space."
What is heartening is that even those who earlier opposed the idea are now pitching in with suggestions. Yellappa said, "I was invited to visit the place a fortnight ago to offer suggestions on greening the area. I suggested that the six acres earmarked for the construction should be developed into a patriotic, spiritual garden."
Chief minister BS Yeddyurappa, on July 1, faced with opposition to the project, had declared that construction of the memorial would be dropped; a fortnight later, in a volte-face, he had announced that construction would go ahead. The total cost of the project is estimated at Rs15 crore.