Friday, December 31, 2004

BDA to bulldoze ‘illegals’ in Arkavathy

BDA to bulldoze ‘illegals’ in Arkavathy

BDA identified three residential layouts in the notified area for Arkavathy as unauthorised layouts. Structures have come up in some of these areas.

Deccan Herald

Bangalore Development Authority will have to take up a massive bulldozing drive, if it has to meet the chief minister’s January 15, 2005 deadline to complete the first phase of the proposed Arkavathy layout which includes levelling of land, site numbering and drain work.

For, an estimated 3,000 “unauthorised” buildings, in an area of nearly 500 acres of notified land for the project, have come up ever since the Government issued the preliminary notification on February, 2003. The government issued the final notification to acquire 2,750 acres of land, covering 16 villages for the project on February, 2004.

But neither BDA nor the local bodies in the area (including Byatarayanapura and Mahadevputa CMCs and gram panchaysts) has been able to stop “unauthorised” construction activities, BDA sources said. Moreover, BDA is facing litigations —numbering over 700 —from land owners, who have stalled it from taking possession of their land. In other words, the layout formation work has not been taken up so far on the land, though BDA has a fortnight’s time to develop nearly 20,000 sites for allotment. Besides, additional 11,000 sites will have to be formed by BDA which will be sanctioned to those who are parting with their land for the project.

According to official sources, BDA has been able to take possession of only 1,060 acres of land to form the layout against a total of 2,750 acres, of which, nearly 690 acres is the government land. “Large amount of the remaining 1,060 acres of land is still under various stages of litigation, and BDA is yet to take possession of it, before developing it as the residential layout,” official sources told Deccan Herald.

Though all 22 packages of the layout formation work is on, BDA contractors are facing stiff resistance from local residents, especially farmers. In fact, the contractors had to face the wrath of the farmers in Geddalahalli and Amruthahalli, who recently set bulldozers on fire and manhandled the workers. As a result, BDA is now carrying out the project under police protection.

Such is resistance from the locals that new unauthorised constructions are cropping up almost every day.

Farmers are constructing temporary structures on their land using concrete blocks during night hours to stop BDA from completely acquiring their land.

“They (farmers) are under the impression that their land will be denotified by the BDA on sympathetic grounds,” officials said.

When contacted, BDA Commissioner M N Vidyashankar said that all unauthorised structures will be demolished for layout formation. “I know the task is huge as we have to clear unauthorised construction spreading over 500 acres. But we will not spare even a single unauthorised structure coming in the way of the project,” he added. The first phase of the project will be completed on time and sites will be allotted. “The stay is on the demolition of buildings, but not on forming the layout. Therefore, the work is on,” Mr Vidyashankar said.

BDA has identified three private residential layouts in the notified area for Arkavathy layout as unauthorised layouts. These are: Pillappa Enclave (21 acres), Balaji Developers (7 acres) and Oriental Developers (7 acres).

Structures have come up in some of these areas. BDA has initiated action to acquire all vacant plots in these layouts, while it is yet to decide on buildings that have already come up here, Mr Vidyashankar said.

However, BDA will not acquire layouts (13 layouts) that are approved by it.

BDA, BWSSB and LDA spell out '05 tasks

BDA, BWSSB and LDA spell out '05 tasks
It's curtains down on 2004 and as the doors open for '05, the heads of BDA, BWSSB and LDA spell out their priorities for the coming year
The Times of India

M N Vidyashankar, Commissioner, Bangalore Development Authority
`Providing more comfort to Bangaloreans in the form of better infrastructure and better residential layout and improving the quality of life is our agenda.’’

Some of the short-term and long-term projects taken up by BDA are as under:

The BDA will allot 20,000 sites at a cost of Rs 939 crores in Arkavati Layout by January 2005. This will be the first fully self-contained eco-friendly layout, with practically all the components in position for a comfortable living, incorporating features like dual piping system, maintaining all the water bodies in the area, rain water harvesting and all the infrastructures fully developed Another comprehensive layout for 50,000 sites is likely to be completed during September 2005

The comprehensive Hi-tech city project has been initiated at a cost of Rs 390 crores and will be completed by December 2005. This is exclusively for the benefit of IT and BT investors. The 8.5 km six-lane super express highway coming under this project is scheduled to be complete by September 2005. This will ensure a travel time from Airport to Electronic City of only 20 minutes

BDA has taken up four flyovers at a cost of Rs 103 crores. The Dairy Circle flyover taken up at a cost of Rs 23 crores is already completed, three more flyovers at a cost of Rs 80 crores are at different stages. One of them will be completed by February 2005 and another in June 2005 A 105-km Peripheral Ring Road project at a cost of Rs 550 crores has been taken up. The project will start by mid 2005 and will cover 2,020 acres

BDA has launched work on the most ambitious customer friendly venture in the country with a proposed investment of Rs 400 million. The project entails complete automation of its database giving greater accountability and transparency in its operations. On completion, scheduled during July 2005, every Bangalorean will have access to all the information and facilities at his doorsteps through a series of fully automated 24X7 e-Pragati, kiosks. This will be the first of its kind in the country, incorporating features like Geographic Information System (GIS), registering and tracking of complaints on the kiosks, downloading information and forms through the kiosks etc

Online Complaint Management System (OCMS) and Interactive Voice Response System (IVRS) and another people - centric measures ready for launching to cater to grievance redressal
Constructions of casualty block in an area of 5,000sq meters in the premises of Bowring and Lady Curzon Hospital at a cost of Rs 7.5 crores for civil and electrical work including air conditioning is under progress
A sewage treatment plant with a capacity of 1.5 MLD is under construction at Cubbon Park. Cost of the sewage treatment plant is Rs 3.7 crores. Work is scheduled to be complete by the end of February 2005.

S K Pattanayak, Chairman, Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board

`We completed the 1st Phase of Cauvery IV Stage at a cost of Rs 1072 crores completed and providing 270 MLD (Million Liters per Day) water and we have also set up seven sewage treatment plants with a capacity of 245 MLD. The online complaint management system (OCMS) was launched by the Chief Minister on November where in the customer can track the status of the complaints lodged. Some of its projects that were launched this year have received appreciation from our customers and we intend to continue to it this year too''.

Some of the projects the BWSSB will take up in the year to come are:

2nd Phase of Cauvery IV Stage project to supply 510 MLD water and 400 MLD sewage treatment facilities at a cost of Rs. 3,383 crores is at an advanced stage. Japan Bank of International Cooperation (JBIC) will finance phase 2 and the agreement will be signed in January 2005, and the work will start by March 2005. Under this project, all 362 slums of Bangalore will be supplied with water and sanitation.

A major project at a cost of Rs 300 cores to extend water supply to 8 urban local bodies around Bangalore with USAID assistance has been tendered. Sanitation work with World Bank assistance is being taken up at a cost of Rs 350 crores

A pilot project to detect leakages and reduce UFW has been taken up at a cost of Rs 50 crores. This will be extended to the entire city in the next three years at a cost of Rs 500 crores. Customer Friendly measures: 50 fully automated kiosks for payment of bills round the clock have been installed. Another 50 kiosks will be added during 2005

Avani Kumar Varma, Chief Executive Officer, Lake Development Authority

`Most of Bangalore City Lakes have become cesspools, thanks to reckless garbage and solid waste dumping, sewage disposal, encroachments and general apathy towards protective measures by the concerned civic bodies that control these lakes. The combined initiatives taken by Lake Development Authority, Bangalore Development Authority, Karnataka Forest Department and Bangalore City Corporation, about a dozen lakes were restored to their original glory with substantial value addition during 2003-04. These include Hebbal Lake, Nagavara Lake, Vengaiahnakere Lake, Benniganhalli Lake, Agarm Lake, Doddabommasandra Lake, Madivala Lake, Ulsoor Lake, Sankey Lake, Lalbagh Lake, Yediyur Lake, and Kempambudhi Lake. ‘’

Some of the projects the BWSSB will take up in the year to come are:

Work on Bellandur Lake and Jaraganahalli Lake (Sarakki, J P Nagar) is in full swing and will be completed during 2005. The development works have changed the City landscape with cleaner lakes providing much needed relief and joy to the Citizen and visitors, apart from brining back the bird population and reviving the aquafauna of these lakes

Lake Development Authority would continue tackling other highly polluted lakes of the city during 2005 and a plan for Rs 37.20 crores has been submitted to Government of India for providing

funds for restoration of 12 city lakes. These include, Yelahanka, Doddakere, Allalasandra, Doddanekundi, Vibhutipura, Dorekere, Subramanyapura/- Kadirenahalli, Dasarahalli/- Chokksandra, Madavara, Puttenhalli (JP Nagar) and Arekere Lakes. All the above mentioned lakes are in a high state of pollution and are in urgent need of attention. These lakes would be restored and beautified once the above funds are released

In addition to it, there are plans to develop Puttenahalli (Yelahanka) and Jakkur Lake at a cost of around Rs 5 crores. Lake Development Authority has sought concessional long term loan from KUIDFC, who have given 'in principle' approval for the above lakes and are examining the Detailed Project Report submitted by the former

The Lake Development Authority has also requested Bangalore Development Authority to develop 3 lakes situated within the proposed Arkavathy Layout namely R a ch e n a h a l l i , Dasarahalli and Amruthalli, which would be a great value addition to above layout. Bangalore Development Authority is considering the above proposal favourably

M N Vidyashankar,

Commissioner, Bangalore Development Authority
“ Redefining the BDA persona to be more people-centric and responsive and completion of all the projects taken up in a specified time frame will dominate BDA's task chart this year”.

S K Pattanayak,

Chairman, Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board
“ We have had good rains this year so I don't think Bangaloreans will have the problem of water scarcity this summer. The BWSSB is involved in many projects ranging from minor to mega projects and all the projects will be completed on schedule”.

Avani Kumar Varma,

Chief Executive Officer, Lake Development Authority
“ Ever since its inception in July 2002, the Lake Development Authority has taken up the important task of protection, rejuvenation and conservation of rapidly disappearing urban lakes”.

State cancels BMIC agreement

Cabinet for fresh pact on BMIC

Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprise is not keen on making any changes in the agreement already signed with the government.

Deccan Herald

In a major policy decision, the State Cabinet on Thursday decided to sign afresh the framework agreement with Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprise (NICE) on the controversial Bangalore Mysore Infrastructure Corridor (BMIC) project and redeem 2,450 acres of excess land acquired for the project.

Briefing reporters after the Cabinet meeting, Information Minister B Shivaram said the Cabinet also imposed a rider on the NICE company not to use the land allotted to it for any purpose other than formation of the road.

Mr Shivaram said 1,478 acres acquired from farmers for the first phase of the multi-crore project would be taken over and reconveyed to farmers.

The Cabinet also resolved to demand that NICE sign a new framework agreement that allowed for settlement of all arbitration in an Indian court instead of a court in London as mentioned in the original agreement, Mr Shivaram said. He added that the government wanted the work to begin as soon as possible.

Township project

The Cabinet also decided to put on hold the township project proposed by NICE near Bidadi on the outskirts of Bangalore.

Meanwhile, NICE has rejected the government proposal for modification of the framework agreement, declaring that it would execute the project as per the agreement already signed.

Mr Shivaram said the decisions adopted on the BMIC project were in accordance with the interim report submitted by an expert committee headed by former PWD Secretary K C Reddy, set up by the government to go into whether any violations had taken place in the project and excess land had been acquired.
The Cabinet which accepted the interim report “in toto” also decided to put on hold the township project proposed by NICE near Bidadi for which 2,387.32 acres of land had been allotted.

He said a final view on the entire project would be taken after receiving the final report of the committee expected in a month’s time.


Vain bid to stall Cabinet to review BMIC project

The State Cabinet on Thursday is learnt to have decided to go ahead with implementation of the interim report of the expert’s committee on the controversial BMIC project, despite lobbying from bureaucracy to stall it, DHNS reports from Bangalore.

According to highly-placed sources, a former chief secretary of the State had contacted some ministers before the Cabinet meeting and urged them to demand for setting up a sub-committee to look into the interim report.

Though one or two ministers had raised the matter in the meeting, the Cabinet was almost unanimous in its decision to redeem 2,252 acres of excess land acquired for the project, as per the report.

Sources also said that the report has uncovered a conspiracy of allotting land in excess to the requirement of the project. Though NICE had not taken the Public Works Department’s approval to take up the project, a preliminary notification to acquire 4,000 acre land in Bangalore South and North taluks had been issued. While the proposed project was planned in a particular area, land was acquired in entirely difference place, official sources alleged.

In another instance of acquiring excess land, a whopping 2,387 acre land was acquired to develop an estimated one lakh site near Bidadi, while it requires just around 500 acre land to develop one lakh sites, officials said.

NICE rejects proposal

Meanwhile, the NICE on Thursday rejected the government proposal for modification of the frame work agreement for the Bangalore-Mysore Infrastructure Corridor (BMIC) project declaring that it would execute the project as per the agreement inked already. “Figures do not lie. Liars figure, is the only phrase that comes to our mind, while reading about the outcome of the illegally constituted review committee”, NICE said in a statement, reacting sharply to the cabinet decision.

NICE declared that the expert committee set up to go into the BMIC project as “illegal” and refused to take cognisance of its findings and ruled out signing of framework agreement afresh.

“Since this committee is constituted for self-serving purposes by certain political families and its members, we do not take cognisance of its findings”, the statement said. NICE asserted to continue to execute the project as per the framework agreement signed between it and the state government since the same was upheld by the Karnataka High Court and the Supreme Court.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Chips down for IT city; what next?

Chips down for IT city; what next?
Times of India

Will IT fly from Bangalore? There is enough data to prove that capacity additions in major players like Infosys, Wipro and TCS are happening outside of Bangalore, especially in Kolkata and Chennai.

Bangalore’s problem is not just the infrastructure bottleneck, there are others which can push up business cost here. High attrition rate and high salary levels are cited as making Bangalore unattractive. Though not all agree with this, the fact that other cities are offering quality manpower and infrastructure at lower costs may drive businesses elsewhere.

Though there has been much talk about developing other cities like Mysore, Mangalore and Hubli, little has been done to develop roads, airports and industrial parks there.

In 2005, this may change at least for Mysore. With the 300-acre campus being built by Infosys to host the world’s largest corporate training facility, Mysore’s fortunes as a IT destination may change for the good. If the new expressway between Bangalore and Mysore becomes operational by April 2005 as promised and the state government gets an operational airport, which can handle medium-sized aircraft both during day and night, Mysore will make it.

The question is what happens to Bangalore. The year 2005 should mark a watershed year for the city. It is not true that Bangalore will continue its growth irrespective of what its infrastructure hurdles are, companies are already moving. The danger is over a period of a few years, Bangalore’s growth can stagnate a la Kolkata. Unless, Bangalore’s urban planners wake up to the task at hand.

Bangalore responds to the distress call

The Times of India

Bangalore: Stirred by the enormity of the catastrophe that struck the eastern shores on the Black Sunday, many individuals and organisations in the city have opened their hearts to contribute their mite towards the ongoing relief operations in the affected states.

Medical teams head out:

Mallya Hospital and its sister concern Vaidehi Institute of Medical Sciences and Research Centre have despatched two ambulances with a 50-member team of doctors and paramedical staff for medical relief. Employees of Mallya Hospital have contributed a day’s salary to the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund.

• HOSMAT Hospital, with a team of 15 doctors and nurses, left for Velakanni on Wednesday with a load of drugs and IV fluids to provide relief to victims around the holy shrine.

On a mission:

Ramakrishna Mission has started relief work among quake-affected people at Naga-

Civic workers, prisoners contribute:

The Pourakarmikas of Bangalore City Corporation will contribute their one day’s salary towards the relief fund.

• The 900 inmates of central prison, Mysore, have come forward to forego their special feeding for four weeks and also provide their one month wages for the victims of the tsunami. They are also willing to donate blood for needy.
pattinam, Kalpakkam, Kanyakumari, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Sri Lanka. The Mission also invites donations. Call 25367878.

Youth League pitches in:

Volunteers of the National Youth League has reached Nagore, Cuddalore, Kalarikkal, Nagapattanam in Tamil Nadu and Alleppey in Kerala for relief operations. For contributions, call 23332460.

Relief for animals:

In a bid to help animals in distress, city’s animal welfare group are mobilising resources to provide relief to animals stranded in the tsunami affected areas. Call 98800 33506.

Relief collection:

Citizens Initiative for Tsunami Victims is holding a relief collection on Thursday from M.G. statue from 3.30 pm. There will be a series of collection points set up by the volunteers at St Joseph’s College, Langford Road, Environment Support Group, behind Safina Plaza, Hospital Road and a website relief/tsunami has been set up.

Fund-raising events:

Bangalore’s favourite acts Thermal-And-A-Quarter and Antaragni will perform at The St Johns amphitheatre, Koramangala, on January 4 from 8.30 pm onwards, in an effort to raise funds for relief work in tsunami-hit areas. “Both bands have put together this concert with a little help from friends. Known to be Bangalore’s popular bands, we thought an ideal way to generate funds in the time of need is through live performances,” says Bruce Lee Mani of Thermal-And-A-Quarter. Donor passes are priced at Rs 99 and any further contributions at the venue will accepted as well. Also, volunteers have also been organised to collect clothes, blankets, medicines, and anything else that Bangaloreans wish to contribute. All proceeds will be used through the Times Foundation for relief work in the affected areas. “Every little bit helps and perhaps, what is even more important, is the immediate requirement for this aid,” he adds.

Appeal for contributions:

Jatti Foundation, a charitable organisation, has appealed for contributions in cash and kind . Call 22262266/22254518.

• MASARD’s (Mass based
Association for Social Service and Rural Development)
whose staff and team are at
the disaster sites, seek public donations for their efforts.
Call 25585467.

Call to help:

Jet Airways will voluntarily fly medical and relief supplies for rescue and rehabilitation work from Chennai to Port Blair. Governmental and other recognised voluntary agencies wanting to despatch medical and relief supplies to Port Blair can get in touch with Jet Airways’ senior general manager (South India), V. Raja on 044-28587920; Fax: 044-28555109 or general manager (East India) Sudhakar Rao on 033-22292747.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Bangaloreans are India's unhappiest people

Bangalore, City In A Deep Blue Funk
Despite its weather and greenery; despite its emergence as the city of opportunities, Bangaloreans are India's unhappiest people.

Outlook Magazine

Despite its weather and greenery; despite its emergence as the city of opportunities; despite the hub and throb in its pubs and streets; and despite the surging disposable incomes and upward mobility, Bangaloreans are India’s unhappiest people, an opinion poll conducted by Outlook has found.
Asked ‘Are you happy?’, only 31% respondents here said they were "very happy"; 25% said they were "somewhat happy". That total of 56% happiness was lower than all the seven other cities polled by Outlook, and lower than the national average of 75%. Little wonder, 61% of Bangaloreans expressed willingness to buy a pill/drug or undergo a surgery if that would make them happy.

In contrast, Bangalore’s arch-rival for the IT City tag, Hyderabad, scored the highest on the overall happiness scale (92%) followed by Jaipur (82%), Mumbai (79%), Calcutta (75%), Ahmedabad (78%), Delhi (72%) and Ranchi (65%).

The poll was conducted for Outlook by market research agency Synovate, in eight cities: Mumbai, Delhi, Calcutta, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Jaipur and Ranchi. A total of 817 respondents, men and women in the age group of 25-55, were polled using a structured questionnaire between December 1 and 10. The major findings of the poll are:

Just 19% respondents believe money can buy happiness, but this number shoots up in Bangalore (50%) and Mumbai (41%). In Ranchi, just 1% believe you can buy happiness.

76% believe god (or a godman) can bring happiness to their lives, although that figure is the lowest in Calcutta at 58%.

Although 36% believe happiness is genetic, 99% believe their parents are/were much happier (55%) or somewhat happier (44%) than them. Bangalore was tops again with 75% believing their parents were happier and 61% saying happiness is in the genes. Ahmedabad followed a close second, with 74% believing that their parents were happier.

Sachin Tendulkar (27%) is perceived to be happier than Amitabh Bachchan (23%), but Aishwarya Rai (34%) scores over both in Bangalore. Only 2% respondents felt Mukesh Ambani was happy.

As a society, we believe peace of mind (52%) and good health (50%) will make us happier than workplace success (43%), family life (40%) or wealth (38%). Unhappy Bangalore threw up the most mute responses.

Jealousy (44%), backbiting (40%), stress (30%) and poor health (28%) rank as the primary causes of unhappiness. Although 19% believe money can’t buy happiness, 24% attribute "lack of money" to their current state of unhappiness.

48% hold themselves responsible for their current state of unhappiness. This figure shoots to 71% in Mumbai, plunges to 19% in Bangalore. Surprisingly, only 9% see their bosses and superiors as their bugbears.

51% see hard work as the route to happiness (81% in Mumbai, 70% in Calcutta), followed by meditation (24%) and religion (21%). 36% are willing to take a salary cut or demotion if that made them happy.

56% believe people living in villages are happier, 47% believe unmarried people are happier, 63% believe a poor man can be happier than a rich man.

Spending time with friends (54%), listening to music (45%), watching a film (28%), doing voluntary work (25%) and going for a walk are all likely to make Indians happy. If these don’t help, Porsche recently opened its outlets in the country.

Students show the civic way

Students show the civic way
The Times of India

Bangalore: A back-breaking pile of text and notebooks, pencils, lunch box... these are not the only things children carry to school nowadays. They also bring plastic waste from home to dump it on campus.

Accordingly, school managements have installed huge cartons where students can chuck anything, from polythene bags and milk pouches to PET bottles they fetch from home.

What’s the funda? Building durable roads, it seems. Heaps of hazardous waste accumulated in schools are used in laying roads by the K.K. Plastic Waste Management Limited (KKPWML). The city-based company has invented a new compound, polymerised bitumen, by mixing plastic waste.

Every Friday, 800 students of Delhi Public School (DPS), Yelahanka, carry anything plastic from their homes and chuck it in bins on campus. In the one-and-half months that the project was implemented, the school generated about three tons of plastic.

KKPWML, which bagged the BCC’s contract for supplying plastic to lay 430 km of city roads, buys plastic waste at the rate of Rs 6 a kilo.
“We have already sold waste worth Rs 10,000 to the company. The money generated will be used to run Anubhav Shiksha Kendra, a school for the under-privileged in the neighbourhood,’’ says DPS principal Sneh Preet Sial.

Last fortnight, mayor R. Narayanaswamy gave the green signal to a similar initiative at Bishop Cotton Girls School. “The project is an effort to make our students ecoconscious. After we implemented the scheme, children have learnt not to leave litter at home or on campus. The money earned by sale of plastic will be ploughed back to assist needy students,’’ asserts vice-principal Esther Pillai. Dayanada Sagar College now wants to follow suit.

Triggered by the response, even the BCC is planning to introduce a similar drive in its schools. “We are giving it serious thought, but we need manpower to handle it on a large scale. We have sought participation of private agencies to implement the scheme,’’ commissioner K. Jyothiramalingam says.

Info kiosk on Lalbagh

Info kiosk on Lalbagh
The Times of India

Bangalore: A touch screen will be installed at Double Road in about two months’ time, said Vasanth Kumar, director, horticulture department. A website on Lalbagh will also be ready called ‘Friends of Lalbagh.’

The information kiosk, which will inform on the season to expect flowers among others, will be a ready reckoner on Lalbagh’s main events like the annual flower show and other important shows.

BDA reclaims lands, plans mini layout in Kothanur

BDA reclaims lands, plans mini layout in Kothanur
To Form About 1,300 Sites In 100-Acres Of Land
The Times of India

Bangalore: Till recently, the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) did not know that it owned vast expanses of barren land across the city — lands acquired, but not taken possession of. To ensure that the properties do not get into the wrong hands, the BDA is on a spree to take possession of those lands that have been left unattended.

Along with this initiative, comes more good news: the BDA has decided to convert the huge chunks of land into mini layouts, and the first layout would be developed at Kothanur once the site allotment process at Arkavathy Layout is completed.

“We are looking into the records since 1976, the time when BDA was formed. Much land acquisition had been carried out every year but possession of the properties was not taken. We are going year by year, digging out records to locate our lands,’’ BDA commissioner M.N. Vidyashankar told The Times of India.

Accordingly, nearly 36 acres of lands were identified at Kothanur, adjacent to the BDA’s existing 70-acre plot. Putting together 100 acres, the BDA will develop a mini layout and applications will be invited by March.

“Many real estate sharks and reputed developers were eying these 100 acres. We can form up to 1,300 sites on the plot,’’ Vidyashankar explained.

At HSR Layout, the authorities have stumbled upon 5.5 acres of acquired land which will be integrated with the existing layout.

The BDA is in the process of computerising all records since its inception in 1976 and once this is completed, the authorities will screen the records of the erstwhile City Improvement Trust Board (CITB), which later turned into the BDA.

Since inception, the BDA has allotted 76,000 residential sites and 800 civic amenity sites for use by various public utilities. Over the last five years, the BDA has recovered properties worth more than Rs 700 crore from encroachers. These include several plots encroached upon by the infamous S.R. Narasimhamurthy.

Over last six months, BDA has taken possession of land in Kothanur, BTM Layout, J.P. Nagar, HSR Layout and Nagarbhavi.
Nearly 36 acres identified at Kothanur, adjacent to BDA’s existing 70-acre plot. Mini layout will be formed on these 100 acres.
Applications will be invited by March for 1,300 sites

Lingo love Or, how to learn Kannada on Sundays

Lingo love Or, how to learn Kannada on Sundays
The Hindu

IF YOU don't speak Kannada, you can sort of get by in our city. That is the tragedy of cosmopolitan Bangalore. However, surely you must have faced some sort of situation where you either managed to humiliate yourself using the wrong word, or worse, embarrassed others.

There are any number of Kannada classes for those determined to learn the beautiful language, and once such is run by B.V. Raghavan and Nataraj of Kannada Prasara Parishad. KPP, established in 1990, holds classes Sundays at the St. Euphrasius School, Albert Street, behind Brigade Towers, from 10 a.m. to 1p.m.

For sacrificing a lazy Sunday morning, there's a coffee break, with the refreshing beverage on the house. All this for a piffling Rs. 300. The students represent a mini India, building a camaraderie born out of gaffes and good-natured laughter. The rule is simple: everything has to be done in Kannada: talking, joking, laughing, fighting, even lying! The more adventurous amongst them appear for the Pravesha exams conducted by the Kannada Parishad. It is to KPP's credit that its students, who include bureaucrats and officials, frequently bag the top three ranks.

The beginning

It all started with Mr. Raghavan, a former government employee and a freelance Kannada translator, who would tour various places ever since the Department of Kannada and Culture deputed him to promote the language since1985. Seeing the response, he decided to start the KPP but not before scouting for like-minded people who pursued teaching as a hobby. The sheer love for Kannada and determination to teach it became his life's mission, says Mr. Raghavan.

He found a compatible comrade in Mr. Nataraj, a bank employee who dabbles in theatre, reviewing plays. He wrote the script of the 26-part teleserial, Kannada-Kannadi, which was well received. His easy affability brought into the classroom as a teacher also helped. He met Raghavan in the '80s and they hit it off.


Initially, the Sunday classes were held at St. Anne's School, Ulsoor. They divided the sessions into three, i.e., spoken language, learning by script and preparing the serious students for the first level exams (Pravesha). For the past 15 years, they have been preparing students in two batches every six months. Commitment levels are such that on one occasion, the Sunday classes were held in Malleswaram for only one student for six months.

With justifiable pride, the duo opines that in the last six years, the desire to speak Kannada in non-Kannadigas has spiralled interest levels. Nearly 2,000 students have benefited from the classes and twp students have completed M.A. in Kannada after retirement. An exclusive class for foreigners at Max Mueller Bhavan and Siemens was a hit. Moreover, Food World, Bangalore Club, and several IT companies have sought help from Mr. Raghavan and Mr. Nataraj.

The two plan to bringing out CDs and self-learning books with a repertoire of live examples from their hands-on experiences.

Their next course commences in January and those interested may contact 98456-80958.

Small town vs. mega city

Small town vs. mega city
The Hindu

The new wannabe shapers of the city are trying to synthesise a Bangalore identity with manicured landscapes of commerce, culture, and opinion

When we say `new residents', we all probably mean people who can and will occupy proper residences in the city.

ACCORDING TO a `global' observer, meaning another U.S. strategic expert who has visited our blighted metropolis, the city is growing by "an estimated 3,700 per week". The way these Americans get it all in figures is really impressive, although it could be quite another game to reckon with the authority of it. This observer didn't quote sources and neither will I, but the exercise here is to find a match between that number and the 800 vehicles that are apparently added to the city roads everyday.

When we say "new residents", we all probably mean and understand that these are people who can and will occupy proper residences in the city. Surely nobody is counting all those construction workers and coolies that are crowding the place all over. There is, however, another bit of statistics I found on the Net declaring: "In Bangalore, more than 800 slums give shelter to the approximately 1.5 million people!" So somebody counted.

New vehicles

Anyway, you will agree, almost none of those that occupy the 800 slums will be buying any of those 800 vehicles that are supposedly being driven out of showrooms everyday, or 5,600 every week. So, I am arguing, these 3,700 new residents are buying a substantial proportion of those 5,600 new vehicles. And whatever is left over is being bought by the new arrivals' well-to-do peers already resident in the city that are either buying the additional vehicle or replacing the old one.

It is not to demean other industries and services in the city, but the real growth of high-value jobs are in which sector you know. I am leaving the two-wheelers out of it, because they are not part of this theme. We are talking here of the smart builders of the new economy, who, after they have just "relocated" to the city, having secured the new residence, that new vehicle and, for their children possibly, admissions to new schools, encounter a problem: what is there to do in Bangalore?

It is all very well to talk about Pub City and Fun City, but it all happens in this poor apology of a downtown, a very long way off from the workplace that gets longer by the day with every additional vehicle they buy. There is also the problem of getting the right company to band with, because not everybody "rocks" and it seems the same lousy gang is to be found in every party. This, of course, is a phenomenon that most "outsiders" in the city are familiar with: there are six— and-a-half interesting people in the city and they all know each other.

"Bangalore is really a small town."

Not really. Bangalore actually comprises many small towns, each complete with its own code and inhabitants, living for generations within its own tradition; secure, even dormant and indifferent to the others. The small towns of Bangalore were not merely geographic entities, although it is still possible to identify a Cantonment culture, the Tamil-speaking Brahmins of Malleswaram, Shetty community of Visveswarapuram and the North Indian business communities of Gandhinagar, to cite examples. The small towns were layered over each other, gently engaging when in contact, celebrating Durga Puja or Onam, accepting the "different-ness." Even the mingling of these small towns in the later-developed areas of Jayanagar or J.P. Nagar did not threaten these identities.

It is very true, as many of the above-mentioned `observers' mention, that there are few public spaces in Bangalore — monuments, markets or institutions — that integrate a "Bangalore identity," "a unifying imageability". But the Ramotsavas and the more gentle Ganesha festivals with concerts of classical and light music expressed and established unique culture; Kadlekaayi Parishe, St. Mary's Feast, Harohara Jatre, Bangalore Karaga and Banashankari Jatre held on to their traditions; in this very season, people of all communities went out singing carols on the streets; So many more, different towns, different mores, but it all made Bangalore.


It was the implicit acceptance of the "different-ness" that allowed people to be born in Bangalore and live their whole lives knowing only the languages they spoke in their homes and neighbourhoods, without any sense of alienation. But the commercial growth of Bangalore in the Nineties, a bewildering rearrangement of priorities and powers, has dislocated the cornerstones of these identities.

The new wannabe shapers of the city are trying to synthesise a Bangalore identity with manicured landscapes of commerce, culture, and opinion. The small towns of Bangalore resent it and visibly. The protest went unacknowledged for far too long. Where it has become too evident, it is being misunderstood. The lack of discernment is so obvious when sections in the media lament that "Bangalore is losing out to Chennai, Hyderabad" on the business pages, but cry for a "stop to uncontrolled growth" on the city pages.

Every city has its insiders, "critical insiders," as writer U.R. Ananthamurthy terms them. The critical insiders of Bangalore, the hardy ones, continue to inhabit its small towns. For outsiders, who have arrived to the unprecedented din and dirtiness of this new Bangalore, the appropriate question is not "what to do in Bangalore?" It perhaps should be "what to do in which Bangalore?" If only we could allow all of them to thrive, in their little ways. Some cities can do without "big" icons — monuments or celebrities.

Bangalore Citizens Initiative for Tsunami Victims


A network of voluntary organisations, colleges, student organisations, NGOs,
etc. from the Bangalore region have come together to launch the CITIZENS
INITIATIVE FOR TSUNAMI VICTIMS. The main purpose is to develop collective
efforts for mobilising relief material and money to help victims through
credible contact points in the affected areas.

St. Joseph's College of Arts and Science will be the main contact point for
collection of material and donations. A bank account in the name of
"Citizens Initiative" is available for collecting all donations and routing
them through credible channels to the affected communities.

In a major drive to mobilise relief material and resources, the Citizens
Initiative will organise a Relief Collection March on Thursday, 30 December
2004, from Mahatma Gandhi Statue on M. G. Road, starting 3.30 pm. This
March will wind its way through many commercial areas to raise awareness to

Additionally, there will be a major GIVE GENEROUSLY AND APPROPRIATELY
Canvassing Points set up by Volunteers in many parts of the city. By way of
this Release, we request more volunteers to join these campaigns. A
briefing meeting will be held for volunteers at St. Joseph's College on
Wednesday, 29 December at 5.30 pm.

A series of collection points for material and donations are also set up,
the details of which are given below.

Material Required:

Blankets and Clothes are an immediate necessity.

In addition clothes which are not torn and clean could be donated in neat
wrappings, clearly describing whether it is for Boys, Girls, Men or Women
and describing the age group as: Less than 1; 1-3; 4-7; 8-10; 10-15; 15-18.

Food material which is ready to consume and have a long shelf life, such as
biscuits, are also needed. Dal, rice, and grains are also needed. Grains
should be ground into flour. Also required are tea, sugar, salt, oil etc.
Malayalam if additionally possible).

An advisory on the list of medicines and medical supplies is also being
developed and will be available shortly. Pharmaceutical companies and
hospitals are requested to donate such material generously.

Collection Points:

The following material and donation collection points are set up:

St. Joseph's College of Arts and Science, Langford Road, Bangalore 560027
Tel: 22272299/22211429

Environment Support Group R, S-3, Rajashree Apartments, 18/57, 1st Main
Road, S. R. K. Gardens, Jayanagar, Bannerghatta Road, Bangalore 560041.
Telefax: 26534364/26531339/26341977
Email: or

Servelots, 3354, "Pankaja", KR Road, Bangalore, 560070 Email: - Tel: 2676-2963

Pedestrian Pictures, Prakruti Mudrana, 52, 29th cross, 9th main,
Banashankari II stage, Bangalore 560 070. ph: 94483 71389, 26713894

Jaiva, 8, Hospital Road (Bowring), Behind Safina Plaza, Bangalore 560001.

Website to coordinate relief information:

A website to coordinate relief information has been set up at:


Fr. Ambrose Pinto, Principal, St. Joseph's College of Arts and Science,

Donna Fernandes, Vimochana

Leo F. Saldanha, Coordinator, Environment Support Group

Srimathi Prasad


Leo F. Saldanha

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Future roads point to plastic

Future roads point to plastic: After school kids, workers chip in
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: Bangalore city will soon become a plastic free zone. With K.K. Plastic Waste Management Pvt. Ltd and Bangalore City Corporation (BCC) joining hands to clean up the plastic menace, this dream may soon come true.

Both BCC and the company have taken the initiative to train pourakarmikas -- push cart workers. The company will also pay them Rs. 6 for every one kg of plastic deposited.

Ahmed Khan, managing director, K.K. Plastic said: ‘‘We started off by educating school students and encouraging them to collect plastic. Now we have called for pourakarmikas to do the same as most plastic comes from the residential wastes. This will also prove profitable to them.’’

Speaking about the utilisation of plastic, Reasool Khan, said: ‘‘Numerous civic problems have arisen due to the waste plastic. Animals are in danger too. Hence, the first attempt is to clear this mess and the second is to utilise it to construct roads. The positive aspect is, it ensures durability of roads.’’

The product that is used for the roads is K.K. Poly blend. It is a polymer blend that is made of littered plastic bags, PET bottles and thin films made of plastic. These are used for making a compound that is used for modifying bitumen, which helps in the construction of roads. This product is one of the best binding agents and hence ensures durability.

A few roads in the city like Old Madras Road, Millers Road, Rajarajeshwarinagar Main Road, TV Tower Road and Eden Gardens Road have been laid with plastic. BCC has given additional projects to the company and Jayanagar, Shivajinagar Road and Mahalakshmi Layout are next on the itinerary.

Khan says in the next four to five years, Bangalore will be a plastic-free zone. He has also urged residents to cooperate and dispose plastic products in separate bags.’’

Apparel firms give Bangalore a dekko

Apparel firms give Bangalore a dekko
Business Standard

The 24x7 IT city Bangalore is humming another set of numerals — 186 gone, 250 to go. This time around, it is the much underplayed Rs 4,500 crore apparel segment, specifically the Doddaballapur apparel park that is grabbing the attention.

A late bloomer, the 186-acre Bangalore apparel park will be the second fully-occupied such park in South India, after the knitting town Tirupur.

Buoyed by the response from the likes of Raymond and Mudra, besides city biggies Gokaldas and Himatsingka Seide, the state is initiating efforts to promote a Rs 40 crore, 250-acre second phase.

The first phase, set to see production by April 2005, was conceived at Rs 32 crore in 2001-02. After crossing several hurdles, and acquiring the tag of ‘non-starter’, the project is now estimated at close to Rs 52 crore.

A senior official from the nodal agency, Karnataka Industrial Area Development Board, said, “The second phase already has three firm applications. Once we start our promotional efforts, we expect full bookings in no time.”

Overseas interest too is showing up. Sandeep Dave, commissioner for textiles, government of Karnataka, said recently that at least two overseas apparel firms have evinced interest in picking up space. Sources add that UAE-based AMtek has formally applied for space.

A huge order influx in the wake of the dismantling of quotas acted as a catalyst, forcing firms to book spaces during the last six months.

At the same time the state addressed several pertinent issues like water. “The tender is being finalised for the Rs 8 crore project to draw one million gallons of water a day from Yelahanka.”

Post this, apparel majors Raymond bought 14 acres, silk firm Himatsingka Seide nine acres and Mudra 20 acres. In all, the first phase, with 120 acres of industrial plots will have 29 units. About 70 per cent or 175 acre in the second phase will be earmarked for industrial plots.

Officials said that the stage is expected to fetch 10 per cent to 15 per cent higher than the scheduled rates, which are already a year old. KIADB expects to wrap up the land acquisition in the next six months.

In the second phase, infrastructure development will only be onsite. With the offsite developments like water line, 11 kw power line, common effluent plant and training centre already planned in the first phase, cost overrun is expected to be minimal.

Also, with the launch of the apparel park, the tussle for supremacy in apparels in South India, between Tirupur and Bangalore, will take on a new dimension. For the moment though, Tirupur will maintain its edge. The over Rs 5,000 export zone will inaugurate its Rs 300 crore, 54 unit Netaji Apparel Park spread across 165 acres, on January 9.

The outlook from both centres is bullish. Tirupur apparel firms are betting on doubling exports by 2007-08, while Bangalore has forecast Rs 9,000 crore in the next five years.

Rs 12-crore project to give Lalbagh a facelift

Rs 12-crore project to give Lalbagh a facelift
Minister To Do The Rounds Every Month; Entry Fee May Be Back
The Times of India

Bangalore: Further improvements are on the anvil for Lalbagh: other than completing the stalled work on the Glass House. The plans include a Rs 12 crore ‘Singapore-style’ rock garden, four toilets, better security, night cleaning and cobbled interlocking walkways all over the park.

A surprise visit to Lalbagh by horticulture minister Alangur Srinivas on the morning of December 23 brought forth 21 demands from morning walkers. And these plans are to address them.

It will, of course, come at a cost: Srinivas is mulling re-introducing an entry fee for morning walkers in Lalbagh. “I will hold discussions with the Walkers’ Association on Sunday and put this proposal before them. It could be a monthly fee, which will be utilised for additional development of Lalbagh and more facilities for them,’’ he told reporters here on Monday.

The Rs 4.77 crore fee collected so far from tourists who visit Lalbagh after 9 am has been pumped back for the park’s maintenance. “We have Rs 2 crore pending with us which we will use to effect minor repairs and plant more trees in Cubbon Park and Lalbagh,’’ Srinivas said.

The BDA’s Rs 14.5 crore plan for Lalbagh development including lighting, drinking water, renovation of the Glass House and so on, is to continue. “About 75 per cent funds were released for this was released, but work halted from the last four to five months as the rest of the money has not come. This will be taken up again,’’ he stated.

In addition, BDA will be asked to fund the horticulture department’s rock garden project for the 42 acres of rocky area near Siddapura Gate. A detailed project report has been drawn up and will be sent to the BDA for clearance.

The sour note is: the government is planning to ban entry to dogs. “We are asking the Bangalore City Corporation to ensure street dogs are taken away. Simultaneously, we are looking at banning domestic dogs on leashes also as they dirty the park,’’ Srinivas said.

Responding to the walkers’ complaint that the entire park is dirty in the morning, a clean-up is planned at 3 am. The police have been asked to post a traffic policeman and sort the daily morning mess outside Lalbagh West gate, while security has been beefed up.

And that is not all. “I will go there and spend at least one hour, every month, to ensure that Lalbagh is being maintained well,’’ said Srinivas.

Monday, December 27, 2004

How many teeth will BATF have?

How many teeth will BATF have?
Will It Be Status Quo Or Status Low?
The Times of India

Bangalore: With chief minister N. Dharam Singh promising new life for the Bangalore Agenda Task Force (BATF), the issue now is: in what form will it be resurrected?

Many options are being considered, as reviving BATF is not just about reconstituting it. Apart from funding, various other aspects are being examined. Infosys chief mentor N.R. Narayana Murthy suggests that Bangalore’s administration be made statutory. In a variation, an option is being mooted by experts on Bangalore planning to accord “statutory’’ status to BATF, putting it among the ranks of several boards and corporations headed by a non-official person.

“Bangalore is currently being looked after by the CM himself. Earlier governments had ministers exclusively in charge of Bangalore development. The same can be done as the Congress has two more vacancies to fill in the Cabinet. Or the CM can retain it by appointing a non-official heading the BATF, who will be attached to him,’’ sources told The Times of India.

Giving statutory powers to BATF would envisage all the seven stake-holders — Bangalore City Corporation, city police, BDA, BMTC, BWSSB, BSNL and Bescom —- coming under it. This vesting of more powers to the BATF is expected to take place in January, when the CM will hold talks with the Congress high command regarding appointments of parliament secretaries and chairpersons to the statutory bodies.

The hitch is: The CM will have to get the concurrence of JD(S) national president H.D. Deve Gowda, who has publicly announced that enough is being done to better Bangalore’s infrastructure. Also, Gowda’s son and public works minister H.D. Revanna, responding to complaints on bad roads, charged the BATF with doing nothing to improve the city’s infrastructure in the last four years.

Presently, this brainchild of former CM S.M. Krishna, who wanted to bring in public-private partnership for urban governance, has closed down its operating office. The present government’s earlier reluctance to tap BATF’s potential also earned the ire of IT captains.

At the August 10 meeting, as an offshoot of mounting criticism over poor infrastructure by IT captains, Infosys Technologies CEO Nandan Nilekani had said: “The touchstone of the government’s sincerity would be speedy implementation of projects already committed by various stake-holders at the BATF summit in January 2004.’’

Now, with fresh life coming into the BATF, can citizens look forward to a better Bangalore?

Monorail good, but check costs, caution experts

Monorail good, but check costs, caution experts
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: With the State Government considering the monorail project to ease traffic congestion in Bangalore, the debate has started over its financial feasibility.

Monorail is considered a good alternative to BMTC to complement proposed Metro Rail, but experts advise the Government to tread carefully over its financial outcome.

“Monorail is good. It can work as a good feeder system for the Metro Rail, but the Government has to be careful about its financial implications,” said former executive director, Bangalore Mass Rapid Transit Limited (BMRTL) B.S.C. Rao.

Rao, an expert on mass rapid transportation said the monorail project proposed by the Metrail Corporation is a new technology, which is yet to be fully tested.

In its proposal to the Government, Metrail Corporation offered to build an efficient monorail system in the city within a very short span of time without causing much disturbance to traffic. For the Rs. 4,045-crore project, they have asked the Government to invest little over Rs. 1,00 crore.

But, experts say majority of mass transportation systems in the world run under loss and the Government should do a detailed study before taking a decision.

“Private firms may invest money now, if the project runs into losses when functional, they may pass the burden either on people by increasing fares or may ask the Government take over,” he added.

Apart from financial aspect, the other important feature of the monorail project is that it proposes to cover areas which will not be covered by Metro Rail.

However, sources in the BMRTL, a nodal agency to implement the Metro Rail project said all areas, which monorail plans to cover come under second phase of their project.

Some experts even suggest the Government consider the monorail as a point to point service and not as a carriage operator.

Banking on its values

Banking on its values

The State Bank of Mysore has revamped itself with the changing times yet retained its old-age banking values.

Deccan Herald

In the era of new-age banking, a glance at the State Bank of Mysore, old building, will certainly take you to the British era. Established in the year 1913, the bank has witnessed the constantly changing City’s skyline.

Situated in the heart of the City, the bank catered to a wide cross section of commercial and social segments. In the first 25 years of its origin the bank grew considerably with 19 branches and 403 employees. K P Puttanna Chetty, popularly known as KP, functioned as the first chairman of the bank. It was during his tenure the sprawling Mysore Bank’s stone building was built in 1923 at a cost of Rs 2 lakh.

State Bank of Mysore (SBM) initially known as Bank of Mysore Ltd took birth under the royal patronage of Nalwadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar, the penultimate ruler of the Wodeyar dynasty of Mysore. The bank’s image derives a lot of colour and a specific cultural identity on account of its royal association. Alongside the stamp royalty, Mysore Bank also enjoyed special identity as a government bank on account of which the Kannadigas readily invested money and trust with Maharajara Banku with a comfortable sense of security and belonging.

The bank’s stunning stone building is a unique structure in the City. The massive hall, which is around 35 feet in height, has a huge entrance door and still stands as an architectural marvel.

T N Natarajan, former managing director of SBM, who recently turned 92, says, “Those days banking was a different experience. The employees not only knew the customers professionally, they also knew them personally often enquiring about their family welfare.

“Life was so easy then; even commuting by a bicycle was a luxury. There were around 200 cars in town and petrol then was just four annas per galloon (4.5 liters). The bank was a prominent landmark in the City then, and still retains its prominence.”

The bank grew in all dimensions, and the plans to expand it nationwide were brought to reality. The State Bank of India was set up in 1955 and March 1, 1960, is considered the historic day since Mysore Bank attained the status of the associate of State Bank of India. It was then renamed as State Bank of Mysore. The bank grew three fold in its network in the ‘70s and spread its tentacles in seven other states.

It is also said that the Mysore Bank played a vital role in introduction of chequebooks in transactions. In 1958, the bank first employed a lady and it was in 1962 that the bank had its first lady probationary officer.

“In 1970, the head office from the old stone building was shifted to the new nine-storey building on the same premises. It was the tallest building in Bangalore then and people who from smaller towns who came visiting the City never missed to see the tallest building,” says Natarajan.

The oldest bank of Karnataka also updated itself with the changing technology and retained its image as a social bank. Says Vijayanand, MD of SBM, “Transformation without loss of identity is the theme on which the bank is developing. Sponsoring of Dasara celebrations and many other such events have been the tradition of the bank. A customer care unit called Grahak Mitra has been introduced and lady employees have played a major role in its success.”

In a short span the bank will celebrate its centenary year.

How green is our City?

How green is our City?

Deccan Herald

Bangalore, once known for its lush greenery, has witnessed a drastic change in climate over the past four years due to mindless destruction of its green cover.
To create awareness among Bangaloreans regarding these and other environmental hazards, the Children’s Movement for Civic Awareness (CMCA), an NGO, presented its `Green Report Card’ - findings of a public survey conducted by students on the awareness levels and opinions of Bangaloreans on the “declining greenery in the City.”

The report was presented to a panel at the St Joseph’s Indian High School auditorium. The extensive survey carried out by CMCA members covered 2,716 households spread across the City.

While many blamed BESCOM for pruning trees, which results in decaying and uprooting, others were of the view that an application has to be submitted to the tree officer of the forest department before cutting a tree and urged the BMP and BDA to protect trees.

CMCA - a joint initiative of Public Affairs Centre and Swabhimana, is a forum of school students in Bangalore striving to create and spread civic awareness through civic clubs in schools. In the current academic year, CMCA has 50 schools and over 2000 students as its members.

Vrunda Bhaskar, programme officer, CMCA of PAC, says, “The problem with Bangalore is that it doesn’t have any beaches and rivers unlike other metropolis like-Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata, which bring in fresh air. This makes Bangalore more vulnerable to pollution. Moreover, the law of planting two trees for every single tree being chopped is not being followed.”

The Green Card Investigation Brigade conducted a workshop, where selected students interviewed the stakeholders, including BMP, BDA, BESCOM and Urban Forest Department.

Forty four students from 19 schools were given various inputs, including an overall view of greenery, civic issues and methods of interviewing. The groups, accompanied a CMCA volunteer and interviewed 13 representatives from various agencies and organisations.

For details call 25537260 / 25525452 or log on to

Art mart draws artists and enthusiasts alike

Art mart draws artists and enthusiasts alike

Deccan Herald

Chitra Santhe saw a whopping participation of 1,200 artists from across Karnataka and other parts of the country on Sunday.

The day-long art-mart saw nearly one lakh art-lovers descending on Karnataka Chitrakala Parishat (KCP) and the Kumara Krupa Road, which was closed for traffic and where art was being sold off the pavement to keep to the Karnataka Chitrakala Parishat’s theme of ‘Art for All and ‘Affordable Art.’

More artists

The number of artists has gone up three times this year, as against the 450 artists who participated last year.

“We don’t have space for handicrafts and have not allowed any stalls on these, said Chitrakala Parishat secretary D K Chowta.

Otherwise, we have sculpture, all kinds of paintings -- oils, watercolours, portraits and landscapes, metal work and everything else here,” said D K Chowta.
According to him over 3,000 pieces were sold last year, when the Santhe was held for the first time.

Art pieces worth Rs 55 lakh were sold in one day, with the most expensive painting being grabbed up for Rs 45,000, added Mr Chowta.

“Each painting costs around Rs 1,500 on an average,” said Mr Chowta.
“The minimum cost is Rs 500 and we’ve had a tremendous response this year,” he said.

“We had about 50,000 visitors last year and it has nearly doubled this year. We are going to make this a tradition -- host the Santhe on the last Sunday of every year,” added Mr Chowta.

Such art fairs are held in Europe every Sunday, where about 100 to 200 artists assemble to sell their works.

However, though the idea is imported from there, nowhere in the world has such a fair been held on such a large scale, Mr Chowta said.


“We’ve never had 1,200 artists together and it’s the only one of its kind in India.”
“The aim is to encourage young artists, who need a platform. And to dispel the myth that art is for the elite. Commoners can buy real art here, instead of just buying calendars,” he said adding that artists from all towns in Karnataka participated on Sunday.

According to Mr Chowta, landscapes sell the maximum. At least 30 per cent of the participants were women artists, he added.

“We have 240 participants from Chennai, Pune, Mumbai, Kolkata, Kerala and Delhi. As many as 80 of them are from Chennai,” he said.
The fair demands no registration fee and amateurs brushed shoulders with professionals.

For instance, the fair had Dr Ramesh, an orthopaedic whose hobby is painting, among its participants, along with degree and diploma-holders such as Kirana Padmanabhan, a former student of Chitrakala Parishat.

Ms Padmanabhan is exhibiting Varli folk art, that she learnt on her own.
“We get a good market here. I sold two paintings last year,” she said.
The only condition for artists to participate is that they should be over 18 years of age.

However, an exception was made in the case of Shivaprasad K Acharya, a 11-year-old prodigy from Puttur in Dakshina Kannada district, who drew portraits at his stall near the Parishat gate. He learnt art on his own and started painting at the age of three.

He has won national-level awards for his talent.

Maharashtra Governor S M Krishna, Police Commissioner S Mariswamy, Chitrakala Parishat President and patron B L Shankar, patrons and artists such as Prema Karanth and Balan Nambiar were some of the big names that landed on the scene.

City planners `miss' management of water

City planners `miss' management of water

The Hindu

BANGALORE, DEC. 25. Twenty years from now, you may live in a futuristic home, a building which adjusts the air conditioning, keeps the food warm and even switches the lights on, all to time with your arrival.

But will the taps with automatic leak detection in your home have running water in them?

Advocates of sustainable development are now raising that question because they believe the city's unbridled growth does not take into account issues such as availability and access to clean water.

"The Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) only looks at schemes to bring more and more Cauvery water to the city.

"It is not concerned with matters such as replenishing the groundwater, for instance," the critics point out.

The board is now negotiating with the Japan Bank for International Cooperation for Rs. 3,400 crores to pump an extra 540 million litres a day (MLD) to Bangalore. The city now gets 860 to 870 MLD.

But the board has no authority to prevent drilling of new borewells here.

Nor is it directly involved in framing a new comprehensive development plan (CDP) for the city. That work, being done by a consortium of French companies comprising SCE, Apur, Iauris and Grouphuit, is at an advanced stage.

Preliminary reports have been submitted to the State Government and the Union Urban Development Department.

According to sources, water supply, the access and availability of which is a component of the CDP, will be based heavily on a 25-year master plan the water board brought out two years ago with funds from the Australian Aid Agency (AusAID).

So, they say, there is no need to have detailed interaction with the water board.

Officials within the water board are worried. "We may even have to re-examine the master plan," they admit.

Worldwide, nongovernmental organisations and concerned citizens have been urging city administrators to wake up to the dangers of water shortage. In fact, they believe that private companies and industries too must get into the act.

A rainwater-harvesting expert here says companies need to budget for water. "They pay Rs. 60 a kilolitre, the highest tariff in the country."

The recent trend of maintaining immaculate lawns has had costly consequences. If the turf is Mexican Grass, for instance, a 200 sq. m. patch will guzzle 150-200 litres a day, just to remain green.

Sources depleting

"Besides, most companies hire private water tankers that deplete local water sources," he says.

A company he has advised now wants to grow "ragi" on its lawns. "The company has set aside 29 acres (11.6 HA) for this," he says. The city needs a water management authority that will have overall charge of all water sources in the city; piped water, lakes, groundwater and so on.

"It is too fragmented now," he says.

Scoring yet another first with online property registration

Scoring yet another first with online property registration
The Financial Express

BANGALORE: Kaveri (Karnataka Valuation and e-Registration) project — the state’s first public-private e-governance initiative for the stamps and registration department — can help cut down time spent on paperwork relating to property registration from 45 days to half an hour.

Kaveri, which was introduced last year, involved the computerization of 202 sub-registrar offices in the state. Today, it is looking at expanding its own scope by connecting to the Bhoomi project (land registration) online and allowing registration of marriages, societies and firms shortly.

“Currently Kaveri is being used only for property registration. We plan to extend this to the registration of firms and societies, and later marriages,” said C Krishnappa, commissioner of stamps and inspector general of registration, government of Karnataka.

The department is also linking Bhoomi with Kaveri, so that land records too can be accessed from the sub-registrars office instead of having to go to taluk offices, he said.

Pune-based C-DAC has provided the software for the project, while CMS Computers Ltd (AP government’s e-seva service provider) and Electronics Corporation of India Ltd (ECIL) are the service providers for hardware, supporting software and maintenance.

While the government has invested around Rs 1.10 crore on the development of software, service providers have invested around Rs 40 crore on hardware, on data entry and furniture for the system.

“The service providers will be responsible for the execution and administration of the project including manpower deployment, consumable planning, software installation, and site preparation,” said Mr Krishnappa.

The project, based on the Build-Operate-Transfer (BoT) system for a period of five years, would allow people to fulfil the registration process much faster and have instant access to valuation documents, encumbrance certificates and other documents related to land records. Moreover, the computerised process will ensure authenticity of transactions, safeguarding the citizen’s interests against fraud. “Each registration will be maintained in four compact discs (CD) for back-up. Two CDs will be kept in district sub-registrar’s office, one in the local registrar’s office and another CD will be in the head-office. These back-ups will be transferred to the central back-system when it will be ready,” he said.

Kaveri enables property registration within 30 minutes of document submission from the earlier 45-day time period.

The service providers will be allowed to charge Rs 30 per page as scanning fee from the public. “They have to remit Rs 5 to the government and they are allowed to keep Rs 25,” said Mr Krishnappa.

Each registrar office is equipped with a server and an internal network connecting computers, printers, scanners and CD writers within the office including the customer kiosks. A fingerprint scanner and web cameras will capture the finger prints and photograph of the person wishing to register the documents. To facilitate e-governance, all transactions will be recorded in the centralised server, which is accessed by the head office.

Scoring yet another first with online property registration

Scoring yet another first with online property registration
The Financial Express

BANGALORE: Kaveri (Karnataka Valuation and e-Registration) project — the state’s first public-private e-governance initiative for the stamps and registration department — can help cut down time spent on paperwork relating to property registration from 45 days to half an hour.

Kaveri, which was introduced last year, involved the computerization of 202 sub-registrar offices in the state. Today, it is looking at expanding its own scope by connecting to the Bhoomi project (land registration) online and allowing registration of marriages, societies and firms shortly.

“Currently Kaveri is being used only for property registration. We plan to extend this to the registration of firms and societies, and later marriages,” said C Krishnappa, commissioner of stamps and inspector general of registration, government of Karnataka.

The department is also linking Bhoomi with Kaveri, so that land records too can be accessed from the sub-registrars office instead of having to go to taluk offices, he said.

Pune-based C-DAC has provided the software for the project, while CMS Computers Ltd (AP government’s e-seva service provider) and Electronics Corporation of India Ltd (ECIL) are the service providers for hardware, supporting software and maintenance.

While the government has invested around Rs 1.10 crore on the development of software, service providers have invested around Rs 40 crore on hardware, on data entry and furniture for the system.

“The service providers will be responsible for the execution and administration of the project including manpower deployment, consumable planning, software installation, and site preparation,” said Mr Krishnappa.

The project, based on the Build-Operate-Transfer (BoT) system for a period of five years, would allow people to fulfil the registration process much faster and have instant access to valuation documents, encumbrance certificates and other documents related to land records. Moreover, the computerised process will ensure authenticity of transactions, safeguarding the citizen’s interests against fraud. “Each registration will be maintained in four compact discs (CD) for back-up. Two CDs will be kept in district sub-registrar’s office, one in the local registrar’s office and another CD will be in the head-office. These back-ups will be transferred to the central back-system when it will be ready,” he said.

Kaveri enables property registration within 30 minutes of document submission from the earlier 45-day time period.

The service providers will be allowed to charge Rs 30 per page as scanning fee from the public. “They have to remit Rs 5 to the government and they are allowed to keep Rs 25,” said Mr Krishnappa.

Each registrar office is equipped with a server and an internal network connecting computers, printers, scanners and CD writers within the office including the customer kiosks. A fingerprint scanner and web cameras will capture the finger prints and photograph of the person wishing to register the documents. To facilitate e-governance, all transactions will be recorded in the centralised server, which is accessed by the head office.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

TOI rates India's most liveable cities

Click on image to view in larger size.

Courtesy of The Times of India

Government mulls single metro authority for city

Government mulls single metro authority for city
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: The Government is contemplating bringing all the civic agencies of Bangalore under a single metropolitan authority to streamline the City’s chaotic administration. At a recent Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) function, Chief Minister Dharam Singh thought this aloud.

Crumbling Bangalore is making more news than its upsurge. Due to governmental indifference, businesses including IT are looking towards relocating and cities like Hyderabad and Gandhinagar in Gujarat are only too happy to oblige. Civic agency heads feel that the CM’s utterance is pregnant with potential.

Question is will the Government deliver and when? The story so far: The Government is yet to act to save Bangalore’s pride. Bangalore City Corporation (BCC), BDA, City Municipal Councils (CMCs), Town Muncipal Councils (TMCs) and Bangalore Metropolitan Region Development Authority (BMRDA) are responsible for city’s infrastructure. These bodies pass the buck onto to each other blaming the other for lapses.

Take the BMRDA for instance. The Authority, which was formed years ago to architect the City’s expansion beyond the jurisdiction of BCC, TMC and CMCs, has become just another agency working without coordination with other agencies.

‘‘Civic authorities make a road and it is dug out the next day to lay a water line, to fix a sewerage problem or to lay an underground telecom line.

Coordination on a daily basis is the need of the hour. The Comprehensive Development Plan (CDP) can be much more effective if telecom authorities can coordinate on where they envisage future lines. Similarly inputs from BESCOM and BWSSB could be valuable. A co-ordinating agency could be very useful.’’ said the BMRDA commissioner A.K.Agarwal. Digging of newly asphalted roads is just the tip of the iceberg.

City Mayor Narayanswami is firmly in favour of the umbrella idea. ‘‘I have heard about it. I am sure it would benefit the city. In fact all public organisations providing civic services must be brought under one organisation ’’ he said.

At a future date, services like electricity, mass transport, telephones, water, sewerage and police will need to be co-ordinated centrally under one authority. That would be great leap ahead towards reversing the city’s decay felt the Mayor.

Dharam's plans for 2005

I want a vibrant Karnataka
Chief minister N. Dharam Singh is ready to take off. He is putting a firm foot forward into Year 2005, charting the course for the months ahead. He gives us a peek preview into his bag of ideas.

The TImes of India

My vision for 2005 is to see an economically vibrant Karnataka with an endeavour to promote urban and rural employment, boost agriculture, strengthen infrastructure and ensure common man’s access to quality education and health.


Infrastructure: I want to improve connectivity within the state. For this, work on the Rs 2,000-crore KSHIP project will be expedited. Under this, 750 km of road will be laid and 500 km will be completed this year. The entire stretch of 2,300 km will be ready by December 2006. In Bangalore, we have started 11 projects at a cost of Rs 195 crore, executed by the Bangalore Mahanagara Palike. Likewise, Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) will commence work on the recently approved Rs 390-crore integrated Hi-Tech City project. Work on the Rs 360-crore elevated roads connecting Central Silk Board Circle to Electronics City on Hosur Road will be completed. Work on the long-awaited Bangalore International Airport will commence. The proposed Metro Rail will substantially decongest Bangalore roads. Apart from this, the BDA is constructing four more flyovers at a cost of Rs 105 crore.

Union civil aviation minister Praful Patel will visit Bangalore on January 24 to sign agreements to commence new airports at Hassan, Mysore, Hubli-Dharwad and Gulbarga and a second runway at Mangalore airport. A Rs 3,400-crore BWSSB project funded by the Japanese Bank of International Corporation to provide 510 mld of water will be signed in early 2005.

Bangalore is on the international map with dignitaries from Russia and Malaysia visiting it.

Power: An MoU has been signed between ONGC, KIADB and the Canara Chamber of Commerce and Industry to boost industrial and economic growth in the coastal region through accelerated development of the Special Economic Zone at Mangalore. The investment planned by ONGC is Rs 23,500 crore and Rs 10,000 crore with the Power Grid Authority of India.

Health: I have plans to contain HIV, a cause of serious concern in Bagalkot, Bijapur, Belgaum, Raichur and Bellary districts, where the Devadasi system is still prevalent. Industries: I feel small-scale and tiny industries need a fresh impetus as these industries have the potential to provide long-term employment to skilled and semi-skilled persons. Khadi, coir, leather-based industries, handlooms and handicrafts will be given a special push.

Besides, the mid-day meal programme for schoolchildren will be streamlined, the focus will be on social welfare sector and adequate budgetary provision for women’s empowerment.

6 ways to make Bangalore better

Home sweet home in a real Garden City where one can travel without frazzle, more wealth with health, schools without scandals, some healthy fun times. What more could the Bangalorean want in this utopia? Idyll apart, experts give some practical solutions to our Dream City.

The Times of India


There is a boom in the housing sector. But all the projects are aimed at either the upper class, the middle class or lower class, there is nothing for the absolute poor. And so, slums will be an inevitable part of Bangalore’s landscape. In all parts of the world, construction material is being recycled to save precious material. For instance, fly ash has replaced cement in a huge way in the rest of the globe. Such a possibility is not being looked at in Bangalore.
— C.S. Viswanatha, chief, Torsteel Foundation .


Looking at the longterm needs of a growing city like Bangalore, we need a metro rail system with combined ticketing, where a passenger gets off the train and gets into a bus to reach his destination. The proposed Metro system has two corridors: north-south and east-west. We should also have a circular system like the Ring Road or an improved bus system. Metro rail in parts of the city needs to be underground and should extend beyond South End Circle.
— C.E.G. Justo, traffic expert


Government hospitals and primary health care centres should have essential drugs and equipment that are procured in a transparent manner. A major problem is that doctors do not reside at PHCs at the district and taluk levels. There should be a good transfer policy that ensures that doctors stay at the PHCs. Funding towards healthcare has gone down from 5.4 % to 3.7 % in the last 5 years. It should go up and reach at least 4.5 % of this budget.
— Dr H. Sudarshan, chief, Karnataka Health Task Force


We would like to see the government take our accelerated learning programmes across the state to ensure that every child from Class 1-5 in every government school is able to read and write and do basic maths. Baseline measurement, performance indicators and reward/sanction must be built in quickly to ensure this programme succeeds in one year. If all of us involved in education can truly believe that every child can and will learn, we can perform miracles.
— Rohini Nilekani, chairperson, Akshara Foundation


We need to look at three aspects: afforestation, environmental education and lake development. The city’s lung spaces are being encroached and we need to create mini forests and green woodlands. Schools, educational institutions, the government and the corporates all need to get involved. Awareness about environment conservation needs to be created and the government needs, on priority, to embark on a project to enhance the environmental wealth of the city.
— Suresh Heblikar, environmentalist


The way Bangalore is teeming with activity entertainment needs to grow at least three times. Entertainment tax of 12 per cent is a huge burden on the in dustry. The govern ment needs to have a broad mind and it should liberalise the entertainment indus try so that it becomes a ‘for-all’ commodity Creating entertain ment parks complete with joyrides, pubs dance floors and food courts would be a good idea for a growing Ban galore.
— K.R. Rajanna, part ner-proprietor of Spinn, a pub

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Vikasa Soudha faces wiring glitches

E-home yet to log on to wired world
The Times of India

Bangalore: A software glitch has hit the e-home: Karnataka government’s new secretariat building, Vikasa Soudha, is yet to be occupied even three months after the scheduled date. Reason: ‘networking’ of the building hasn’t been done.

The Soudha, a brainchild of former CM S.M. Krishna, has been planned as the most modern secretariat building in the country — a model expected to be replicated all over. But while the imposing exteriors — a mirror image of Vidhana Soudha — have been built, the interiors have taken three months more than schedule. And the ewiring hasn’t taken off at all.

Why? Blame it on a software war! “We want the building to have the best possible local area network because this government moves on e-systems. But we are taking time to choose a system since those on offer are from top firms,’’ chief secretary K.K. Misra told The Times of India.

Led by Wipro and Tata Consultancy services, almost every major software company worth its name has bid for the presitigious contract. The government set up a technical committee to look into it and took its own time to decide; the technical bids are now pending before the finance department for clearance.

PWD officials are giving a date of “end-January or early February’’ for completion of works, against the earlier deadline of September. This is almost a year after the building was inaugurated by Krishna in February 2004.

“In a building of such magnitude, one or the other activity becomes critical and things don’t move very fast. Now the tables, chairs and other furnishings are being done. As soon as the LAN is decided upon, the moving will start,’’ a senior PWD official said.

As ‘hosts’ — since they own the building — the PWD will be the first to move. The department of personnel and administrative reforms (DPAR) has already allocated rooms for all 19 departments, which are to shift from Vidhana Soudha or the multistoreyed building.

The atmosphere, however, has already become electric. Be it secretaries or mere staffers, minister or his hanger-on, everyone has gone to Vikasa Soudha to take a peek at what their future home is going to be.


Area: 7.5 acres
Cost: Rs 125 crore
Rooms: Over 120

Will accommodate:
14 ministers, 19 dept secretaries

Raison d’etre:
All government offices under one roof, saves annual rent of Rs 5.5 crore for buildings all over Bangalore

Eight; 3 basements for parking 600 cars; parking for another 400 on ground level

Four, providing light to all rooms and corridors

Grill compound around Vidhana Soudha covers Vikasa Soudha too as one unit. Boom barriers at all gates, CCTV and surveillance designed as per CISF recommendations

Grid interactive solar 100 kva system Water: 7 sumps of 4 lakh litres each; three fire-fighting systems

Cafeteria: Three

Special feature:
Printing press for confidential documents, like the budget

Buildings on Arkavathy tract to stay

Buildings on Arkavathy tract to stay
Decision On 400 Acres To Be Taken After Site Allotment
The Times of India

Bangalore: Owners whose buildings fall within the proposed Arkavathy Layout tract can now breathe easy. The government has decided not to acquire those properties existing before the preliminary notification was issued in February 2003, unless the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) faces shortage of land.

Ever since the BDA issued this notification, building owners were caught in a fix, as speculation was rife that their properties would be acquired by the government.

Official sources in the BDA told The Times of India that as per satellite images, of the 2,750 acres notified for the layout, nearly 400 acres are cultivated agricultural lands which also have structures. This chunk needs to be dealt with separately after site allotment in January.

“We will not take a decision on these 400 acres until the allotment process is completed. It has agricultural lands and buildings that existed before and after the preliminary notification was issued,’’ officials said.

These buildings will not be disturbed unless there is a need to acquire the land. Nearly 200 khatedars have properties here, and the BDA is in the process of identifying legal and illegal buildings.

Illegal buildings are those that have come up after the notification was issued, and the BDA has decided to “mercilessly’’ remove them.
“We have obtained details about these buildings, they will be demolished any time. We have also instructed the owners to remove the structures on their own,’’ officials pointed out.

Once the layout is formed and sites numbered, the BDA will get an idea about how much land of these 400 acres has to be incorporated in the layout. “Then, we will will acquire the buildings and compensate the owners. Structures situated on the proposed road, park or CA sites will be acquired,’’ officials explained.

The BDA and government are reviewing the requisition by land owners to increase the compensation amount. Right now, the BDA has fixed compensation ranging between Rs 11 lakh and Rs 20 lakh per acre, based on the location.


Arkavathy Layout will be spread over 2,750 acres of 16 villages.
Villages come under gram panchayat; government contemplating bringing them under BCC, BDA or CMC jurisdiction.
Bhoomi pooja performed; civil works in progress.
20,000 sites to be allotted by January 15, at Rs 195 per sqft.
Apart from compensation amount, if owner gives up land voluntarily, he will be offered some sops.
Layout will be developed at estimated cost of Rs 950 crore — includes laying water, UGD and power lines at Rs 2.5 lakh each per acre and Rs 1.85 lakh per acre for UGD connections.

Aero India 2005: Destination Yelahanka

USA will fly its F-16s, Chinese air chief to attend
The Times of India

Bangalore: At the Yelahanka Air Force base in February, the United States will fly their F-16s for the first time, while the Chinese will watch keenly.

Aero Show 2005, to be held from February 9-13, 2005, promises many such firsts — Chinese air chief General Qiao Qingchen, Commander of the PLAAF, is expected to attend.

Air Officer Commanding (AOC) Air Commodore Satish Pal Singh told reporters that 78 companies from 25 countries have confirmed their participation in the air show. The foreign participants include Lockheed Martin (US), Gulf Stream, Dassault (French), Northrop, US Army, Tashkent Aircraft Corp and BELL.

The US is also expected to bring in Orion PC3 which is used for maritime surveillance and put it on flying display at Yelahanka, apart from a helicopter, details of which the US is yet to disclose. One feature will also be network technology, today the buzz in defence aviation.
The French are flying their Mirage 2000-5 series aircraft, while the Israelis are coming in with their Unmanned Aerial Variants (UAVs) and simulators, apart from certain weaponry systems.

The IAF will put on flying display the Sukhoi Su-30 MKI, MiG-29, Mirage 2000, MiG-21, Jaguar (trainer), Mi-35, SKAT and Sarang. Hindustan Aeronautics Limited is expected to fly 12 aircrafts, including the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA). The National Aeronautics L ab o r at o r i e s (NAL) will fly two aircraft including the Saras, Army Aviation will fly the Lancer and Advanced Light Aircraft (ALH).

Air Commodore Singh said the Chiefs of Air Staff/Commandersin-Chief from Bangladesh, Belgium, Egypt, Germany, Japan, apart from senior personnel from Kazakhstan, Mexico, Sweden, Thailand, and Vietnam will be attending. Asked if the British would fly their Hawks and Tornadoes, Singh said there is no confirmation as yet.

Flying high

Every passing year, improvements are made at the Yelahanka Air Force Station and the IAF hopes to make it the best in the world by 2009, said Air Commodore Singh. Here are some modifications:
Fourth hangar has been added, flying display area for public shifted so there is no confusion among public and participating companies.
Entry for companies, officials, VVIPs and media from NH-7 side; entry for public from State Highway connecting Doddaballapur from Yelahanka police station junction.
Runway length increased by 350 feet to 7,600 feet — to be ready by Jan. 26.
Subway started by National Highway Authority of India with consultancy from IISc, Bangalore, to connect domestic area of IAF to Yelahanka Air Force station across NH-7. Special technology which does not require closing of NH-7 has been used for first time for the Rs 2.80-crore project. Subway has separate pedestrian walkway apart from vehicle pathway.
New media centre at fourth hangar.

BMTC buses to ferry students

BMTC buses to ferry students
Starting Jan., Baldwin Girls Will Switch To New System
The Times of India

Bangalore: Big and burly, the school bus will be back in vogue if the traffic police, BATF and school authorities have their way.

The aim: Decongest Bangalore.
The plan: Start with the central business district, home to a number of schools. Provide the bus as substitute to private cars and twowheelers which ferry wards.
Pilot project: Baldwin Girls’ High School, where a survey revealed that over 700 four-wheelers and 300 twowheelers crowd Richmond Road twice a day, and choke up traffic.

The city police, BMTC, BATF, Baldwin Girls’ School and parents have agreed in principle to get every student to use BMTC buses, starting January. The routes have also been worked out. The brain behind it is the BATF, which collected data on 3,500 schools. Said BATF member Kalpana Kar: “In the central business district, we have asked for around 10-12 schools to start with this proposal over a three-month period. In the next few months, Bishop Cotton, Kendriya Vidyalaya, Sophia’s and many more may implement this.’’

This is the practice followed the world over, and police chief Mariswamy is pushing for it. Besides streamlining traffic, the system cuts down on parking woes and pollution. Above all, children are safer. DCP Traffic (East) M.A. Saleem said: “We have had two meetings with the school authorities and parents, and 95 per cent of parents support this. As a first step, we will have over 35 BMTC buses to replace the 1,000 cars and two-wheelers on ferry duty. The nitty-gritty has been worked out. We hope to launch this service from January when the school reopens after Christmas vacation, or in about a week’s time after that.’’

To this, a Baldwin school official said, “The school fully supports the move. However, there could be some resistance from parents who do not, as it is, send students in the seven school buses. They might not feel comfortable sending them in BMTC buses because children have to walk home from the bus stop. Parents prefer pick up and drop at their doorstep.’’

The benefits are many

Roads free of traffic; no parking pains
Parents save fuel and time
Children safer in a bus: statistics show that 74% accidents involve this kind of transport, which are in a hurry to beat the school gong
Psychologically, bus travel breaks down status barriers, builds camaraderie

Luxury train on track in Karnataka

Luxury train on track in Karnataka
The Times of India

Bangalore: This is more than a bit of ‘chugging’ news for Karnataka tourists: a luxury train is set to hit the tracks in November 2005. Based on the highend Palace-on-Wheels model, the cost, however, is expected to be ‘reasonable’.

The train, to operate throughout the year, will have 18 coaches including 11 air-conditioned salon cars; one air-conditioned bar car; one conference car; one air-conditioned restaurant car; one staff car; two power cars.

The Rs 32-crore project will be funded (up to 50 per cent) by state government through KSTDC; 25 per cent by the railway ministry and the rest by tourism ministry. An MoU was signed between Karnataka and the railway ministry earlier this week. It will be placed before the KSTDC board for approval.

“The glitch was costsharing of the two power cars (costing Rs 2.4 crore) for running the train’s airconditioning. Now, the railway ministry and KSTDC have agreed to share the cost,’’ tourism commissioner Mahendra Jain said.

The Integral Coach Factory will build the coaches.
The train will be owned by the government, though KSTDC is keen on inviting a private operator for promoting, marketing and operating the project. “This will not only reduce KSTDC’s initial investment burden, but will also bring in additional private investment and expertise. This, of course, will be decided by the board.’’

It is for this reason that KSTDC is yet to decide on the fares. “If a private operator is brought in, then other factors will be involved. But we want to keep it reasonable so that it does not hinge only on high-end or foreign tourists,’’ Jain said.

While Gujarat’s Royal Orient is reportedly not doing too well, Maharashtra’s Deccan Odyssey runs with 50 per cent occupancy — a figure which dipped below 10 per cent on one occasion. Only Rajasthan’s Palace-on-Wheels has made profits. All these charge between $240 and $485 (per person/day) for the 7-day trip.


Journey begins: Bangalore First stop: Mysore (Palace, museums, Chamundi hills, KRS, Srirangapatna) Second stop: Hassan (Shravanabelagola, Belur and Halebid) Third stop: Hospet (Hampi) Fourth stop: Gadag (Jungle safari, river cruise, water sports) Last, but not least: Goa (Londa, Madgaon)


Rajasthan’s Palace-on-Wheels: $240-$485 Maharashtra’s Deccan Odyssey: $240-$485 Gujarat’s Royal Orient: $132-$350 Heritage Fairy Queen: Rs 10,000 (1 night/2-day trip from Delhi to Sasrika palace. Operates twice a month, and during selected months)


All rates per person/day, except the last. The first three tours last seven days. Price variation due to single/double/triple occupancy and peak/off season rates. Tariffs include meals, sightseeing, entry fees, rides and cultural programmes.