Tuesday, February 28, 2006

It’s almost the end for dance bars

Only 6 applications for licence from owners, none given
It’s almost the end for dance bars
Deccan Herald

It seems like the dance bars have virtually closed their business following the restrictions clamped by the Bangalore City Police.

After the revised notification of the Licensing and Controlling of Places of Public Entertainment (Bangalore City) Order, 2005, in December, the Bangalore City Police have received only six applications from dance bar owners, but none have been issued a licence so far, said Deputy Commissioner of Police (Administration), Soumendhu Mukherjee.

Speaking to Deccan Herald on Monday, Mr Mukherjee said, the six applications received at the Bangalore Police Commissioner’s Office are being scrutinised. The applications should contain No Objection Certificates (NOC) from the Bangalore Mahanagara Palike, Fire Department and the Excise Department among other requisite documents including the excise licence, he said.

None of the dance bars in the City have so far adhered to the rules in the order, he said.

The order, issued in 2005, restricts the dance, cabaret and discotheque bar owners to run their business from 10 am to 11.30 pm. Any live band performance in a dance bar shall be conducted on a stage with proper demarcation from the seating area and there shall be no inter-mingling of performers with customers, guests on or off the stage.

The owner shall also not allow obscenity or indecency in dress, movement or gesture or that the performers indecently expose their person.

Meanwhile, several dance bar owners have alleged that the government was not fair in clamping the order only on dance bars in Bangalore City, while they continue to operate in Bangalore Rural District and other cities of Karnataka.

Mr Chandra, owner of a dance bar in Majestic area, alleged that the dance bars in Bangalore Rural District run beyond 11.30 pm with dance by women artists.

He said, all the dance bar owners in Bangalore have been out of business for more than 10 months now.

Fact-finding team blames land mafia for slum fires

Fact-finding team blames land mafia for slum fires
Deccan Herald

A fact-finding team comprising voluntary and human rights organisations alleged the hand of land mafia behind the recent fires that devastated three slums in Bangalore in the past two weeks.

A fact-finding team comprising voluntary and human rights organisations alleged the hand of land mafia behind the recent fires that devastated three slums in Bangalore in the past two weeks.

They presented the report to the media on Monday. “Land mafia is behind the burning down of Vinayaka Badawane on February 9, Jai Bheem Nagar and J D Mara on February 18,” Clifton D Rosario of Alternative Law Forum said.

According to Isaac Selva of People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), “In Jai Bheem Nagar, Councillor L Shivanna had reportedly ordered the slum dwellers to vacate the place by Ugadi. In J D Mara, police have named the land owner along with two watchmen as the primary suspects. In Vinayaka Badawane, people alleged that the goondas and the Councillor were behind the fire.”

He added that since the slums were “undeclared”, they do not fall under the purview of the Karnataka Slum Clearance Board and there have been deliberate attempts to destroy them and force the dwellers to evacuate the place.

The team has come out with a report and a list of demands that includes providing shelter, food and health care to the slum dwellers, compensation to the victims in J D Mara and Jai Bheem Nagar and police action against the accused.

“The government should declare all existing slums within a fixed time period. As per a government order, slums that have come up after 1991 will not be recognised. All the three slums are undeclared. The government should also come out with a policy on how to respond to slum fires,” Clifton said.

The team comprised PUCL, PDF, Slum Jagatthu, AIDWA, Madiga Misalarti Horata Samithi, SFI, DYFI, APSA, Pedestrian Pictures, Vomochana and ALF.

Digital cameras to monitor City traffic

Digital cameras to monitor City traffic
Deccan Herald

After the synchronised traffic system and pelican lights, the Bangalore Traffic Police have now hit upon video cameras to make traffic monitoring a scientific affair......

After the synchronised traffic system and pelican lights, the Bangalore Traffic Police have now hit upon video cameras to make traffic monitoring a scientific affair. Four digital video recorders have been installed on a pilot basis at the Coffee Board junction near the GPO to monitor traffic. The DVRs will focus on traffic movement on Ambedkar Road and Infantry Road, covering the stretch from the Coffee Board junction to GPO Circle on one end, and Ali Askar Road junction on the other.

The cameras, acquired at a cost of Rs 2 lakh each, are connected through underground cables to a computer at the office of the Deputy Commissioner (Traffic-East), 100 metres away. The cameras have come as a relief to traffic officials who are now studying and managing traffic from the comfort of their office room. “The cameras not only help us to reduce traffic jams, they also trace and check traffic violations. Two cement mixer trucks that made an unauthorised entry into Ambedkar Road were noticed by us from our office. We instructed our traffic constables on duty to divert the trucks. We will continue the trial for another fortnight before expanding the project to new junctions,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police (Traffic-East) M A Saleem. Taking another step towards efficient traffic management, the traffic police are planning to introduce an engineering cell, complete with an executive engineer and two assistant executive engineers, to perform minor engineering works for the department.

The idea was mooted to reduce the delay in repair works that invariably follow each time there is a change in traffic design.

“It is a long-drawn procedure to get the Bangalore Mahanagara Palike to even do minor repairs, taking two to three months. This was disrupting our traffic management plans. Therefore, we have sent a proposal to the government to create our own engineering cell which can look into the matter. We are hoping to introduce the cell in the next few months,” said Mr Saleem.

Power to the people

Power to the people
The Hindu

Bangalore saw an early example of local self-government in the municipality

Women have succeeded in getting elected to the posts of mayor and deputy mayor

A FIRST In 1997, the BMP became the first civic body in India to raise resources through municipal bonds

Inaugurating the conference of local self-government ministries in August 1948, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru said: "Local self-government is and must be the basis of any true system of democratic governance. Democracy at the top will not be a success unless it is built on foundations from below."

With decentralisation and delegation of power to the grassroots being the mantra in today's politics, the Government of India decided to amend the Constitution. The 74th Constitutional Amendment passed in 1993 — better known as Nagara Palike Act — provided for compulsory holding of elections to urban bodies every five years and reservation of seats for people belonging to the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes and women. The Act also had provision to enlist appropriate functions to local bodies along with funds.

All the States including Karnataka enacted legislation as per the Constitutional Amendment. In October 1994, the Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP) was reconstituted under the KMC Amendment Act No. 35 of 1994. The provisions of the Act included reservation of seats for people belonging to scheduled castes and scheduled tribes proportionate to their population in the city, and reservation of one-third seats for people from backward classes and women. The amending Act provided for four standing committees, viz., a) Standing committee for taxation, finance and appeals; b) Standing committee for public health, education and social justice; c) Standing committee for town planning and improvement, and d) Standing committee for accounts. To ensure people had a say in decision-making and control over resources, ward committees were to be constituted overseeing one or more wards within the territorial area of the Corporation. Another provision of the Act was the reconstitution of the Corporation within six months in case of its dissolution.

New wards

In 1995, 36 new wards were added to the existing 64 under the ambit of BMP thereby increasing its range to 225 sq. km from 150 sq. km.

In October 1996, elections were held to the corporation. The Janata Dal secured 39 seats, followed by BJP 26, Congress 19 and independents 11. Women succeeded in getting elected to the posts of mayor and deputy mayor. Padmavathi Gangadhara Gowda and Venkatalakshmi, both JD councillors, occupied the post of mayor and deputy mayor respectively.

In 1997, the BMP became the first civic body in India to raise resources through the issue of municipal bonds.

Today, Bangalore is a far cry from the sleepy town it once was. The city is a shopper's paradise, especially for apparels, jewellery, electronics and handicrafts. Commercial Street, M.G. Road, Brigade Road, K.G. Road and Jayanagar shopping complex are traditional haunts for shopping. Nowadays, new shopping malls are coming up in almost all suburbs of the city.

The night life of the city is vibrant with its pubs, movie halls, fashion shows and music concerts. Today IT powers our economy and youth. Even those with engineering and technical qualifications are switching over to IT for a place in the sun. BPO industries have transformed the working culture of the city. Night shifts were once the domain of factory workers, policemen and public vehicle drivers. Today young women too work in night shifts. The corporate sector, at one point out of bounds for undergraduates and non-skilled graduates, now offers excellent opportunities for them, especially sectors involved in business processing and outsourcing. Cybercafés are found in every nook and corner of the city. Online booking, online shopping, online recruitment and even online marriage is common. Bangalore has more than 1,200 IT companies employing over 1.5 lakh professionals. The city accounted for one-third of India's software and BPO exports in 2004-05 with total IT exports from Bangalore alone amounting to Rs. 22,000 crores. The IT fair held annually in the city attracts IT firms from all over the world.

BDA in talks with revenue site owners in Arkavathy Layout

BDA in talks with revenue site owners in Arkavathy Layout
The Hindu

Many feel compensation provided is inadequate

# Of the 2,750 acres notified for the layout, nearly 748 acres still remain disputed
# High Court had given the BDA till April-end to finish allotment of sites

BANGALORE: Ever since the Bangalore Development Authority set a deadline of March 25 to complete allotment of 20,000 sites in Arkavathy layout, almost a week ago, discussions with landowners and revenue site owners who raised objections have been almost "round the clock."

"We are having continuous discussions so that we can finish allotments as soon as possible," said an official said. Saturday was the last date for submission of objections from landowners and revenue site owners.

However, the compensation amount seems to be a reason for discontentment among many of the complainants as they feel the amount is insufficient. Many of them are demanding that since land prices in the area have gone up the compensation amount also needs to be revised.

Of the 2,750 acres notified for the layout, nearly 748 acres still remain disputed and it is regarding these lands that the High Court had ordered the BDA to hear the owners. It had given the BDA till April-end to finish allotment of sites.

The BDA has already allotted 2,000 sites in Arkavathy layout in the first phase, in which 20,000 sites have been planned. Work is on in full swing at the layout, with earthmovers working overtime. All civil works such as formation of roads, numbering of sites, formation of drains and culverts have been completed.

Traffic in central business district likely to double

Traffic in central business district likely to double

The Hindu

More malls and high-rise business complexes set to open

Bangalore: Traffic in and around the central business district, Mahatma Gandhi Road and the surrounding areas is predicted to double by April-end. Most of the intersections in the area have a traffic density of close to 20,000 passenger car units an hour.

More malls, multiplexes and high-rise business complexes are ready to open before mid-year. A 130-room five-star hotel is due to come up where the Lido cinema used to be, close to Trinity Circle. There are two other large hotels already existing in the vicinity. The stretch of Mahatma Gandhi Road between Trinity Circle and Manipal Centre is also home to several foreign banks and headquarters of Indian banks.

The five-star hotel location will also see one block of retail stores in a new mall, a four-screen multiplex and more stores in another block, besides an upmarket food court.

The expected footfall is 30,000 to 40,000 on weekdays and upwards of one lakh on weekends when the cinemas are usually packed. The experience drivers have in Koramangala and Hosur Road, around a major mall and multiplex, is likely to be repeated here.

Another new development will be a 240-room, five-star hotel on Residency Road, opposite Bangalore Club. This is expected to be inaugurated in April. Opening its doors around mid-year will be another star hotel in Star City on Vittal Mallya Road, where a major business complex is also coming up.

When work on the Metro rail starts, traffic is likely to be diverted around Trinity Circle and the traffic police admit, it may be very difficult to impose one-way regulations or diversions on more than a temporary basis. Since the Core Inner Ring Road idea, mooted months ago, is yet to materialise, traffic in transit can be diverted only along Kensington Road or Brunton Road. The malls and multiplexes have been asked to provide adequate parking space to avoid spill over on to the roads.

Taxis in demand for long drives in city

Taxis in demand for long drives in city
Vijay Times

THE security and comfort offered by taxis are propelling its popularity among locals in the City . F acilities like tele-booking, a comfortable journey and features like connectivity with the control room that enhance security are making more and more Bangaloreans opt for cabs.

According to taxi operators in the Silicon V alley , the growing incidence of crime in the City has been making many localites opt for the services of the City taxis, which were earlier preferred by only IT professionals and those from the other states.


"During the past few months, we have been noticing this growing trend of more localites availing the services of taxis," said Francis I Alphonso, managing director , Spot City T axi services.

Commenting on the reasons for this trend, he said customers were particular about the security features and it was these that were making customers opt for cabs over other modes of transport.

"Earlier , only the migrants from other states opted for this as they would not know the City well. So , in an unknown City , they felt safe with our services. But now , with the kind of crime happening in the City , even localites no longer feel safe and confident here," he added.

Explaining about the safety and security features in taxi services, he said, "W e always keep tracking the location of the taxi from our control rooms. So , that ensures connectivity and makes the customer feel safe." Further , he said that the system was more accountable and because of this, people could get back those things that they had left behind in the taxis by mistake.


Jeeva, manager , Jai City T axi, said, "Nowadays, more number of localites are opting for our services." Stating what he thought was the reason for this trend, he said, "Most of the places like airport or railway stations are generally at a distance from many localities and when people are travelling with luggage and money , they don’t want to take a risk. Even localites no longer feel safe here when they have to undertake long journeys." Several other City taxi operators reflected his opinion and explained that off late, this trend had evolved as a result of incidents of crime on the road.


Guruprasad Shetty , a bank employee who has been residing in the City for more than 30 years, said : "Earlier , we used to take autos because City taxis were always considered expensive. But now , with such alarming incidents of crime in the City , taxis at least seem to be safer given the fact that it is always tracked from the control room. Moreover , for long distance routes, taxis ensure comfort and are relatively costeffective." V eena Sudarshan, a homemaker who has been residing in this City for generations, said, "Now , we opt for the taxis if the journey is a long distance one as through the tele-booking facility , we have our conveyance at our doorstep at the exact time . Moreover , taxis appear to be safe because they operate in a very organised manner ."

Freedom Park still a mirage

Freedom Park still a mirage
Vijay Times

T looks like Bangaloreans will have to an endless wait for The proposed Freedom P ark at the old Central Jail premises on Sheshadri Road is yet to see any signs of the project beginning. turn into a reality .

The S M Krishna-led Congress go vernment had handed o ver the development of Freedom P ark to the Bangalore City Corporation (BCC) after the jail was shifted mo ved to P arappanna Agrahara in the City outskirts.

A total area of 22 acres was allotted to develop the park, for which a proposal was submitted by the BCC during the former Mayor P R Ramesh’s tenure in 2004. Even after two years, the government is yet to release funds for the project. Recently , Ramesh had dashed a letter to Chief Minister Kumaaraswamy regarding the delay in the project and urged him to look into it immediately .

Though some of the heritage structures inside the jail premises have been retained, the vacant portion resembles a jungle with shrubs and weeds co vered all o ver and it has become turned into a safe den for anti-social activities. The place also stinks as it is being used a public toilet b y the passersby and the compound wall surrounding the premises has collapsed in many places.

According to the blue print, the Freedom P ark project consists of an open gallery , auditorium, shopping complex, garden, water bodies and a basement parking lot to accommodate 700 vehicles. In addition, a 560-metre tall sky to wer and a has also been proposed. The BCC had prepared a detailed project after shortlisting the design for the park follo wing a competition held for architects from across the country and the project had been tendered at an estimated cost of Rs 7.5 crore.

According to BCC engineers, of the 22 acres, three acres has been identified for the construction of a sky to wer .

It may be recalled that the previous Dharam Singh-led coalition go vernment had said that of the 22 acres, five acres of the old central jail premises will be utilised for holding protests and rallies in order to avoid the inconvenience caused to the public. "This is one of the reasons for delay in the project to take off. N o w that the new go vernment is in place, I hope the chief minister will act upon this at the earliest," a senior BCC official told BVT .

When contacted, former Mayor P R Ramesh said, "A detailed project report was prepared and submitted to the then government during my tenure two years ago . But it is yet to get a final nod despite change in the go vernments since then. The authorities concerned may cite many reasons for delay in the project. But they should realise that whatever is promised to the citizens should be kept up . Their thinking should be pro-people." Further , a committee set up to look into the pros and cons of constructing a sky to wer in the premises of the old central jail has made wrong recommendations. The Freedom P ark with a sky to wer will become one more important tourist spots in the City and Bangalore will attract more visitors. Even the BCC can earn a huge revenue by letting the parking space and other activities inside the park.

City going Mumbai way?

City going Mumbai way? Cable wars triggered gang wars in Bangalore
VIjay Times

Bangalore: City s crime scene is changing fast. Organised crime, intensified gang wars and related murders is worrying the police and security experts that the City is going the Mumbai way .

With at least six gangwar-related murders in the last two months, police are bracing themselves up for an intensified gangwar in the City , much like Mumbai witnessed from the early 1980s till mid-1990s.

The retaliatory nature of these wars, police officials say , threatens to reinvigorate the crime scene here. Experts say this is the right time to nip the menace in the bud.

The murder of Palani. 40, a rowdysheeter , while undergoing treatment at HOSMA T hospital is the latest in a chain of events that began some years back.

Most gang-wars began due to turf control of cable operations.

According to police, the gang wars started following the murder of Rahim Ali, a rowdy-sheeter and a cable operator in Fraser T own police station limits a few years ago, and still continue in Viveknagar , Girinagar and Banashankari.

Rahim Ali was murdered by a gang on contract given allegedly by D D Ravi and his brother Umashankar over cable operations.

Rahim s murder triggered retaliatory attacks that claimed at least four lives.

In retaliation to his murder , a gang of eight members led by Srinivasa, who was released from jail after serving time in the sensational Rs 1 crore robbery in 1998, murdered Umashankar and his associate Babu.

While Umashankar was burnt alive, Bandu was hacked to death in Viveknagar in July last.

Within four days, police arrested five persons and during investigations, it was found the accused were given supari (contract) reportedly by Mubarak Ali, Rahim s brother and Palani.

The latter got involved on being threatened by U mashankar and D D Ravi when he started his own cable operations in Viveknagar .

Although the East Division police have arrested four youths in connection with the murder of Palani, the police revealed the mastermind behind the murder of Palani was D D Ravi, presently in jail to avenge the death of his brother Umashankar .

B B Ashok Kumar , ACP , stressed the need for an anti-rowdy squad. He said such a squad was dismantled by then police chief S C Burman.

However , a senior police official says it is not possible for police to keep a daily watch on the activities of these once friends-turned-rivals, now also involved in real-estate apart from cable operations.

It is feared Palani’s murder may lead to another round of killings.and retaliatory attacks in these areas in the days to come.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Bangalore Rules the Roost in IT Salaries

Bangalore Rules the Roost in IT Salaries
The TNS-CyberMedia Dice survey, among IT professionals, also points out that an advanced technical degree translates into better remuneration

Business Wire India

Bangalore followed by the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad lead the way in attracting IT professionals with good pay packets. Interestingly, Gurgaon and Delhi trail behind Mumbai and Pune. These were some of the findings of the Cyber Media Dice ‘Salary Survey’ conducted by market research agency TNS India.

The survey studied the average salaries of IT professionals across regions and sectors and also looked at trends in job opportunities and sentiments about impact due to the anti-outsourcing backlash. The survey was conducted online among more than three thousand IT professionals who are registered with www.CyberMediaDice.com across 15 cities in India.

The average cost to company (CTC) for Bangalore stood at Rs six lakh per annum - the highest in the country, followed by Rs 4.7 lakh in the twin cities of Hyderabad & Secunderabad along with Pune. The study also noted that, for IT professionals, a management background may not hold good against post-graduation with technical background when it comes to earning the big bucks. An engineer armed with a technical masters degree garners annual average CTC of Rs 8.62 lakh per annum while an MBA candidate’s CTC stands at Rs 6.33 lakh per year. For the Indian IT professional, the booming Indian telecom industry seems like a more attractive option compared to the Indian IT industry, with the average CTC being 6.2 lakhs and 5.0 lakhs respectively. Highest compensation for IT professionals can be found in the telecommunications sector, followed by IT and then banking, finance and insurance.

“The very encouraging results of the TNS-CyberMedia Dice salary survey underscore the fact that the IT industry is truly maturing in India. It is heartening to note that Indian MNC software companies are as attractive to prospective employees as non-Indian MNCs,” said E.Abraham Mathew, CEO, CyberMedia Dice.

BDA to clear backlog for 30x40 sites

BDA to clear backlog for 30x40 sites
Of 50,000, Maximum Number Are Small-Dimension Plots
The Times of India

Bangalore: The biggest layout being planned by the Bangalore Development Authority with 50,000 sites will aim at clearing the rush for 30 ft by 40 ft dimension sites. The layout will have a large number of plots of this dimension, so that the backlog could be cleared in one go.

Following chief minister H D Kumaraswamy’s announcement that BDA should provide sites to the old residents of Bangalore, the authorities have decided to devise some mechanism to cater to the applicants who have applied more than five to six times without any luck.

“Whenever applications are invited, nearly 60 per cent will be for 30x40 ft sites. Hence, the cut-off in terms of number of attempts and the age of the person is huge. This time, when we form the new layout, our emphasis will be more on small-dimension plots so that in one go, the long-time applicants can be allotted sites,’’ officials told The Times of India.
The new layout will be taken up once the site allotments at Arkavathy layout are completed. The BDA has identified three places in Bangalore south, east and west zones and has to decide on it. Though Kengeri was touted as the next destination for BDA, the officials are apprehensive because it comes in the green belt area. Areas like Whitefield and KR Puram too are doing the rounds for locating the biggest layout in the country.

The BDA has already allotted 2,000 sites in Arkavathy layout in the first phase, in
which 20,000 sites have been planned.

Work is on in full swing at the layout, with earth-movers working overtime. Of the 2,750 acres notified for the layout, nearly 748 acres still remain disputed and the high court has ordered the BDA to hear the owners of this disputed land, which are basically revenue patches. The BDA will complete the hearing process in the next two months.
Set your sites on this

Layout biggest in the country.
Three areas in Bangalore South, East and West.
Kengeri considered and dropped, as it is within the green belt.
Work will begin when distribution of Arkavathy sites is completed.

Hasiru Usiru steps in to protect over 50 trees

Hasiru Usiru steps in to protect over 50 trees

The Hindu

BANGALORE: Over 50 trees on the stretch on R.V. Road from South-end Circle on Sunday sported cut-outs in the shape of protective hands, which were wrapped around them by the activists of the Hasiru Usiru, a tree-protection group.

The message in the embrace was: These trees are protected as per a High Court ruling on a public interest litigation filed by Environment Support Group on behalf of Hasiru Usiru against Bangalore Mahanagara Palike on the illegal felling of trees last year.

The order, passed in December 2005 by judges B. Padmaraj and V. Jagannathan, directed that any felling of trees must be done as per the provisions in the Karnataka Preservation of Trees Act 1976, and before felling the trees, an opportunity should be given to representatives of Hasiru Usiru to inspect the area.

The Environment Support Group and Hasiru Usiru have contended that as part of the impending metro rail construction work, trees on a large section of R.V. Road and other areas in Jayanagar and other parts of the city, face the axe. Given this, an opportunity should have been given to Hasiru Usiru as per the High Court order, which has not been done, Rohan d'Souza of Hasiru Usiru said.

Salaried class finds city's high cost of living unfavourable

Salaried class finds city's high cost of living unfavourable

The Hindu

`Raising IT exemption limit to Rs. 2 lakhs will be reasonable for the salaried'

# House rent is less in Hyderabad, and I am not able to save anything: Balaji
# Life insurance is best tax-saving investment and I have plans to enter the share market: Sunil Kumar
# Value Added Tax has affected small business entrepreneurs: Sonia Varma and Daksha Surendranath
# Budgets make a lot of noise about increasing tax collections yet there is nothing concrete to show in terms of results: Sudhindra
# Make textile exports and imports easy and do not increase duties on textile imports: Meenakshi, Pranjali and Surabhi
# I will `wait and watch': Shankar Singh

BANGALORE: The Union Budget is unlikely to raise the Income Tax (IT) exemption limit for the salaried classes from the existing Rs. 1 lakh. But for the large number of Bangalore's salaried men and women, raising that limit to about Rs. 1.5 lakh or Rs. 2 lakh will be a big bonus. Yet that remains only an expectation, not likely to figure in this budget.

Still in the early days of his job, Balaji from the city-based Mindtree Consultancy feels that a Rs. 2 lakh limit would be reasonable for the salaried, now reeling under the city's ever increasing cost of living. "The house rent, for instance, is much less in Hyderabad compared to Bangalore. I am not able to save anything with this tax structure," he told The Hindu.

Raising the limit will make a big difference to the employees from middleclass families, felt his friend, Sunil Kumar, employed with Convergence.

For the friends, like most young, new employees in Bangaloreans, life insurance remains the first priority while looking for tax-saving investments. But Mr. Sunil Kumar has plans to enter the share market, only after he gains some mastery over the basics.

In their makeshift sari exhibition outlet in Safina Plaza, Sonia Varma and Daksha Surendranath were not optimistic about the impending budget. The Value Added Tax (VAT) regime, for instance, had affected the small businesses. "Business people are, as it is, against VAT. This budget will be bad for small entrepreneurs, mainly because of VAT," said Ms. Varma. The glut of competitors in the textile sector had apparently affected their profit margins.

Aggressive marketing by the big glitzy brands had marginalised the small shopkeepers. "Our business has come down. Even the rural artisans, the people with handicrafts, find it tough to market their ware," Ms. Daksha Surendranath said. The budget is unlikely to give much hope, she added.

Being an acoustic consultant, Sudhindra could be mistaken to be out of touch with the economy. But his views on the budget were strong and clear: "The budgets make a lot of noise about increasing tax collections. But where is the transparency. VAT has, no doubt, increased tax collections. Yet there is nothing concrete to show in terms of results. And, I feel, they should do away with the unwanted subsidies. The farm sector is living free. Some of the farmers are millionaires."

For fashion designing students, Meenakshi, Pranjali and Surabhi, textiles and the apparel industry were close to their chosen careers. They wanted the budget to make exports and imports easier. Increasing duties were a strict "no". "India is rich in the garment sector. It needs to be exploited for growth," felt Pranjali.

Businessman Shankar Singh's life was all about seeds and fertilizers. Obviously, he wanted the 4 per cent VAT on pesticides to be reduced. Analysts had predicted that the budget would have good things for the farm sector. Mr. Shankar Singh wanted to play the "wait and watch" game. After all, the budget will be presented on Tuesday.

Shaping trees for a better view

Shaping trees for a better view

The Hindu

Horticulture Department has plans for Vidhana Soudha, High Court building

# Tree Surgery Technical Committee formed
# Panel makes recommendations to make buildings more visible
# Ashoka trees around Vidhana Soudha being shaped

Bangalore: The Department of Horticulture, which maintains the gardens around the Vidhana Soudha, the Karnataka High Court building and Cubbon Park, has come up with a plan to enhance the view of the magnificent buildings without destroying the trees around them.

Gardens and parks around any edifice such as the Vidhana Soudha should be in harmony with the building, and its appendage structures like fountains, staircases, lampposts, circles and statues should all complement each other, D.L. Maheshwar, Joint Director of Horticulture, told The Hindu .

In fact, the day Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy was sworn in on the steps in front of the Vidhana Soudha, overlooking the Attara Katcheri (High Court building), a row of Ashoka trees (Polyalthia longifolia) that had been "chopped" caused a great deal of consternation among many people.

However, there is absolutely no cause for worry, says S. Narayanaswamy, Assistant Director of Horticulture in charge of the Vidhana Soudha gardens.

It was his idea that the Horticulture Department must emulate Rome, where most of the magnificent ruins, structures and edifices are clearly visible from a distance, with dwarf oleanders planted around them.

A committee headed by the former Environment Secretary A.N. Yellappa Reddy was set up to look into all aspects of shaping the trees around the Vidhana Soudha.

Tree surgery

Mr Narayanaswamy, who executed the bio-park on the 1,200-acre Jnanabharati campus of Bangalore University, suggested the idea of tree surgery, as enunciated by M.H. Mari Gowda, former Director of Horticulture who was considered the doyen of Karnataka's horticulture sector in the post-Independence period.

Director of Horticulture G.K. Vasanth Kumar conducted extensive research and put together ample material on tree surgery in London's Kew Gardens.

Mr. Narayanaswamy, who is also Secretary of the Arboriculture Association of India, is passionate about the planning, planting, and management of trees.

Armed with ample inputs on how to improve the health of trees, tree canopy and the kind of trees that must be grown around places like the Vidhana Soudha, the Tree Surgery Technical Committee came out with its recommendations to make Bangalore's most famous building more visible, without losing the trees.

Mr. Yellappa Reddy recommended that trees must be manipulated to extract the maximum ecological services from them in bringing down noise pollution, and trapping suspended particulate matter and respiratory particulate matter.

The 16 clusters of 75 Ashoka trees around the Vidhana Soudha frontage have a Christmas tree as the cluster leader.

These trees are being given proper shape by removing their terminal crowns and lopsided growth.

This is under way and the "chopped" trees are going to be slim, elegant posts that will allow the Vidhana Soudha's magnificence to be admired freely, Dr. Maheshwar says.

The 200-odd naturally generated shrubs to the left of the Kengal Hanumanthaiya statue have overgrown.

They lack natural architecture and many have been suppressed in growth due to root competition and non-availability of light.

The wild growth could even pose a security threat, as access can be gained to the area without being visible. Fortunately, some tree surgery and pruning can take care of the problem, the committee has decided.

In the arboretum of the Legislators' Home, there are many ecological keystone species to be found such as ficus, jambulana and plumeria.

Many of these can be rejuvenated by manipulation, cutting off lopsided or drooping growth and removing deadwood. In the past few months, the trees at the rear of the Vidhana Soudha (towards the east), the Thandi Sadak near the Legislators' Home and the trees in the Rose Garden have been pruned and treated with chemicals, in readiness for the coming monsoon, Mr. Narayanaswamy added.

Excess population, vehicles paralyse City

Excess population, vehicles paralyse City

Bangalore: Consider these scenarios, which are an everyday affair: Y ou get stuck in a massive traffic jam every time you take your vehicle out; diminished water supply that makes you wonder whether you are stranded in a desert; or looking for a house that fits your pocket -- a difficult, if not impossible task.

Experts have said Bangaloreans should not be surprised that this is happening as the City’s present infrastructure is capable of catering to a maximum of 35 lakh population with eight lakh vehicle population. Whereas the actual figures show- 75 lakh population and 25.8 lakh vehicles.

M N Sreehari, Chairman, T raffic Engineers and Safety T rainers ( TEST ), points out to BDA’s projection that the City’s population would reach 90 lakh by 2015.

Flyovers will not solve the crisis.....in fact it could result in more traffic congestion in crowded areas, he says. One way to stop the increase in vehicular population is to register only 250 vehicles for two days a week, instead of regular 950 vehicles registered six days a week.

Plans for greater Bangalore, on the lines of what Navi Mumbai is to Mumbai should be mooted to decongest the City’s population.

A City that can be developed about 30 kms away with an area of 40-50 sq kms radius and has the potential of having about 40 lakh population with scope for vertical expansion, would be an ideal alternative," he says, adding that it could be developed on BOOT (buildoperate-own-transfer) basis over five to eight years depending on volume of funds available. However , it should have the necessary infrastructure like metro/mono rail, inter-city transport bus services etc.

BMTC MD, Upendra T ripathy says Our roads are capable of handling just eight lakh vehicles, but over 24 lakh vehicles ply on them. A practical solution is to make people switch over to public transport.

With the introduction of V olvo buses by early next year , we expect car and twowheeler users to commute in these hi-tech buses he says.

BDA destroys unique bamboo species

BDA destroys unique bamboo species
Vijay Times

Bangalore: Bangalore Development Authority’s (BDA) enthusiasm in paving way for its Visvesvaraya Layout in Ullal on City outskir resulted in destruction of a significant portion o bamboo groves, a collection of unique plant species and rattan (cane) brought from diffe parts of the world.

The BDA’s action has wiped out the better part of the collection which former Forest Secretary A Lakshmana had nurtured through hard work of 15 years after travelling to forests of W ester China, Indonesia, America, Thailand, Ivory Coa and Myanmar to bring some species.

About 9000 sq feet (200 ft length and 45 ft width) area is being prepared for a layout after nently destroying the bamboo groves by the bulldozers for the BDA project.

The variety bamboo collection was the only one of its kind in the country , an outcome of vidual’s efforts and only the third bamboo served in India after Dehradun School of Forestry (Government institute to train in forestry) Chessa an NGO in Arunachala Pradesh.

"Among them one calamus species of bamboo had developed 216 stems to create a new wo record, the earlier one being 106 culms rep in China. It would have brought very high cial benefits to the farmers being one of fastest growing and costliest one used in h quality furniture." said septageneraian Lakshmana.

A rare Agar tree (known for its fragrance) Assam, which fetches twice the value of san wood was destroyed along with a number of sandalwood trees, Lakshmana pointed out.

The State Government had promised Lakshmana that it would soon provide an alternative site for him to promote his bamboo collection while the BDA engineers had also given an assurance that the groves would be spared, Lakshmana told Vijay T imes. "Had BDA informed me earlier could have made some arrangements to move and replant these rare and unique bamboo species to another location safely ," he said.

"Not much study has so far been conducted on many of these bamboo species as they ar found in dense and difficult forest areas t their identification very difficult. It would immensely benefitted the scientists , " he laments

Calamus and Phyllotastachys pubesens species from China
Khaya anthotheca from Ivory Coast
Guadua angustifolia from Latin America (the tallest-growing bamboo shoots)
Calamus vimisalis from AP (endangered due to naxal threat)
Calamus lakshmane from Western Ghats discovered by Lakshmana

This IT capital is second after Delhi in road deaths

This IT capital is second after Delhi in road deaths
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: If bad roads are the bane of Bangalore, the lack of an efficient public transport system is fast pushing the city into the league of the most dangerous cities in the country: Road accident statistics for 2005 reveal that Bangalore is second only to Delhi in terms of fatal accidents and vehicle population.

A comparative analysis of the four metros and Bangalore, conducted by the Bangalore City Traffic Police, states that 1,703 people were killed in road mishaps in Delhi in 2005 while Bangalore recorded 704 deaths.

Mumbai came third with 595 deaths, followed by Chennai (463) and Kolkata (442). In the case of non-fatal accidents, Bangalore leaves the remaining three cities far behind with 6,187 accidents as against Delhi's 6,988.

Despite the high figures of road accidents, the city police have now succeeded in bringing down the number.

Compared to 2005, there were 144 more deaths in 2004.

Incidentally, Bangalore is among the smallest of the five cities, population-wise, but when it comes to number of vehicles, it beats Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata.

Only Delhi surges ahead with a mind-boggling 47.85 lakh vehicles, almost double that of Bangalore's 23.30 lakhs. Kolkata comes last with 9.41 lakh vehicles, according to police statistics.

These figures were collected from the five police commissionerates, and it do not include areas like Greater Mumbai and the suburban parts of the other cities.

Interestingly, Bangalore has the smallest traffic police force among the five cities -- around 1,871 policemen for 4,500 km of roads.

Faced with the overwhelming increase in traffic which threatens to boom further, the city police are now thinking up new ideas.

The road ahead looks difficult for motorists as parking will soon become a major problem.

Already at a premium, parking space on roads may soon become non-existent with the police thinking of using up those precious few feet for vehicle movement.

The one-ways have done the job of streamlining traffic but are almost exhausted, DCP Traffic East M A Saleem told this website’s newspaper.

“We are thinking of developing autorickshaws as a means of public transport, but the system needs to be streamlined first,'' Saleem said.

Delhi Mumbai Kolkata Chennai Bangalore

Road Length (km): 27,000 1,923 1,400 1,800 4,500

Traffic police strength: 4,190 2,200 4,001 2,000 1,871

Vehicle population (lakhs): 47.85 13.00 9.41 22.00 23.30

People killed (2005): 1,703 595 442 463 732

Non fatal accidents: 6,988 2,369 1,318 3,730 6187.

‘Big bucks’ needed to move Metro forward

‘Big bucks’ needed to move Metro forward
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: The recent ride by Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy on the Delhi Metro may have helped dispel doubts regarding the new dispensation's approach towards the much-awaited Metro project of Bangalore.

Bangalore Metro will remain a distant dream if the State and Central governments fail to earmark funds in their ensuing budgets.

This ambitious project with an expected outlay of Rs 7,000 crore is now awaiting final clearance from the Centre and requires massive financial support from both governments for construction to begin.

The Centre has already promised Rs 1,200 crore for the project and the State's share would come around Rs 1,800. Feasibility studies say the rest would be taken as loan from national and international financial agencies.

“The State Government has to release cess collected for the project that comes around Rs 450 crore.

Some additional funds are also needed from the State Government to ensure that the Metro moves forward without any hitch,'' sources in the government told this website’s newspaper.

Deputy Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa, who also holds the finance portfolio, will present his maiden budget on March 20.

The Government started collecting the cess in 1995-96. In the beginning, the governments of H D Deve Gowda and J H Patel had released some funds.

However, the successive governments of S M Krishna and Dharam Singh had not released much, though they had promised to take the project forward.

The Centre's role is also crucial. “It has promised to give Rs 1,200 crore and a substantial amount must be earmarked in Tuesday's budget for anything to happen quickly.

“The project will start moving if provided between Rs 200 crore and Rs 250 crore,'' a source said.

Meanwhile, Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation (BMRC) officers are meeting representatives of Japan Bank of International Cooperation (JBIC) in New Delhi on March 6 to finalise a loan agreement. The JBIC has offered to lend Rs 1,803 crore for the project.

The Group of Ministers (GoM) headed by Union Minister Sharad Pawar, which is going into various aspects including the gauge controversy, is expected to meet on March 1.

After GoM clearance, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has to show a green signal.

Metro waits for....

* Green signal from GoM

* CCEA approval

* Budget allocation from State, Centre

* Land acquisition.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Bangalore sighs in relief as son clears father’s hurdles

Bangalore sighs in relief as son clears father’s hurdles
H S Balram
The Times of India

Good news for Bangaloreans. Son Kumaraswamy has started clearing all the hurdles which his father Deve Gowda had placed for various projects meant for the city’s development. He has put the badly needed Metro Rail project back on the rails, given a ‘no-more-hurdles’ promise to the Bangalore-Mysore Infrastructure Corridor builders, assuaged the hurt feelings of the IT sector by agreeing to provide better infrastructure, pushed for private-public partnership as the best way to tackle the city’s problems, and initiated the process to revive the Bangalore Agenda Task Force, but with a different name.

Kumaraswamy may or may not have had the blessings of his father for the coup he staged. Gowda may have suspended the son and his supporters from the party just to keep his secular image intact. But no one can deny the fact that Kumaraswamy has a mind of his own. He still adores his father, but does not support everything he says or does. That he has gone against many of his father’s decisions or statements, particularly on Bangalore, confirms it. Another proof is his statement — ‘Which party is not communal?’ — to those who questioned his ties with the BJP, a party his father hated.

Unlike Gowda, who trashed Bangalore to project a pro-rural image, Kumaraswamy prefers development of both rural and urban areas. He says each has its own problems and they have to be tackled differently. While villages need urban facilities, cities need upgraded infrastructure. He knows that IT city Bangalore suffered a dent in its image during the Dharam Singh government, thanks to Gowda’s strong anti-urban pronouncements. IT companies raised a banner of revolt against Gowda’s insensitivity towards their problems, citizens took to the streets over bad roads and poor drainage and the courts had to come to the rescue of many projects. Singh cowered under Gowda’s pressure and couldn’t move things. Most of his promises remained on paper.

Kumaraswamy has begun well. He has a good friend and guide in seasoned Yediyurappa of the BJP. Both seem to enjoy a good rapport. If both work towards turning words into action, Bangalore will become a better place. And, the city will get back its lost glory.

Crack the whip, Mr CM

Even before summer has set in fully, we are facing power shutdowns and a drinking water crisis. As citizens fret and fume, authorities coolly blame the crises on technical snags and maintenance. If this is the situation in Bangalore, imagine what our rural brethren must be going through. Take water supply, for instance. Bangaloreans get water for an hour or two every alternate day. If the supply is shut down on one particular day, the cumulative effect is three consecutive waterless days. The new CM must crack the whip, pull up the departments concerned, shunt out lethargic and corrupt staff and induct efficient and hands-on officials who are sensitive to people’s day-to-day problems.

City residents, traders protest over Metro

City residents, traders protest over Metro
Deccan Herald

Even after a near go-ahead from Chief Minister H D Kumaaraswamy, opposition to Bangalore Metro continued from residents and traders of Indiranagar and CMH Road.....

Even after a near go-ahead from Chief Minister H D Kumaaraswamy, opposition to Bangalore Metro continued from residents and traders of Indiranagar and CMH Road.

On Saturday, a delegation headed by senior advocate Pramila Nesargi met Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation (BMRC) officials and demanded realignment of the metro routes.

Traders from Maha Kavi Kuvempu Road, who had received preliminary notification for land acquisition from KIADB also joined the protest, saying that the project would adversely affect over 500 commercial establishments. Though the recommendations of the Justice Shivshankar Bhat Committee, that was constituted to look into the grievances of residents and traders of CMH Road and Indiranagar, is still awaited, Ms Nesargi said that preliminary notification had been sent to occupants, a move which she termed high-handed and arbitrary.

However, the BMRC clarified that the matter regarding realignment on CMH Road was pending before the expert committee, and they would go by the verdict of the committee.

“We have reserved our realignment decision till the report is out. The preliminary notification was sent by the KIADB following the course of law and the BMRC has not been involved in land acquisition,” explained Sandeep Dash, Executive Director (Finance), BMRC.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Brunner directs operations of Bangalore airport

Brunner directs operations of Bangalore airport


Switzerland's Albert Brunner is a patient man as he orchestrates development of a much-needed international airport in the Indian city of Bangalore.

Brunner, who used to be with the company that operates Zurich airport, Unique, has battled Indian bureaucracy for many years but at last construction has begun on an airport that has huge potential.

Bangalore, the capital of the state of Karnataka, has a population of six-and-a-half million – not far off that of the whole of Switzerland. Karnataka itself boasts 55 million.

"It is one of the fastest-growing cities in Asia," Brunner says. "It is considered the Silicon Valley of India, the city of the future and more importantly for us it has an ideal geographic location to become a regional hub."

Brunner became the CEO of Bangalore International Airport because Unique has a 17 per cent stake in the project and will give support in future operations.

"If you look at the airports around the world, you see that Zurich airport is always around the top in terms of passenger friendliness. In terms of a well-operated airport we think we can contribute better [to this project] than many," he tells swissinfo.

"We definitely bring in knowledge of project management and airport operation. We bring into India something that hasn't been here before."

Red tape

Brunner, who has been in India for four years, speaks of having to cut much red tape with the authorities at central government and state level to bring movement in a project conceived back in 1993.

The airport should have opened at the end of 2005 but delays have meant that the first departures and arrivals have now been scheduled for April 2, 2008. Costs of the development currently run at SFr410 ($316 million).

Initially, four-and-a-half million passengers a year were expected to use the airport but because of the strong growth in the civil aviation sector in India and the delays, almost seven million passengers are now foreseen.

While construction is in full swing, the authorities have realised that the project is too small, so the challenge now is to increase it without delaying the opening date.

But there is enough land to increase capacity to up to 40 million passengers a year, more than twice the current flow in Zurich.

On the opening day, there will be one runway and one terminal at the new location, which is about 30 kilometres from the city centre. This will be increased to two of both.

Albert Brunner is making a dream come true for Bangalore
Albert Brunner is making a dream come true for Bangalore (swissinfo)

Airport city

The project also includes a so-called "airport city" which is unique in India. This is being reserved for non-aviation related activities, including a hotel, office blocks and business centres.

April 2, 2008 is not so far away and Brunner knows that there are many issues still outstanding.

Concessionaires will have to be ready with catering facilities, aviation fuel, ground handling and cargo handling.

The new airport also has to integrate all the government organisations at the same time – the police, security, customs and immigration.

"[There are] endless discussions I can tell you. And last but not least we have to market our airport, so it's much, much more than a construction project."

Brunner describes the new airport as a long-awaited dream of the people of Bangalore and Karnataka.

"In Switzerland and also in Europe in general, an airport is not a dream. It's more or less a nightmare for many people. However, here it is a dream.

"It's a once-in-a-life chance to have such a project. It's a huge challenge with a lot of frustrations but a lot of pleasures," he says.

Pai Layout has 100 pc violations

Pai Layout has 100 pc violations
The Times of India

Bangalore: This layout boasts of 100 per cent violations, is not approved by authorities and is situated on a valley and a command area. Worse, it is on agricultural land which is still not converted.

Welcome to Pai Layout in K R Puram which has regularly been in the news. In December 2003, it set an example for citizens’ participation when residents chipped in with money to carry out road works. But this time, it is in news for wrong reasons.

When the layout was flooded during the last rains, the then chief minister ordered BDA to take up drain works. The preliminary survey done by the BDA opened up a Pandora’s box.

For the record, the layout spread across 54.35 acres is unauthorised. It is situated on the command area of Benniganahalli lake — bang on a live tank which carries water from Benniganahalli and Doddenakundi resulting in its blockage. Around 1.35 acres is (B) kharab land which cannot be sold as this patch accommodates additional water from the tank.

According to BDA, the status of this land in the record of Right, Tenancy and Crop is ‘agricultural’ as developers have not converted the land to non-agricultural. Also, the khata issued is Khaneshumari khata which is only meant to be issued for gramathana sites.

The layout has 56 multi-storied apartment complexes of which 37 are illegal — they have more than seven floors for which sanctions have not been obtained from BDA. As per law, the local CMC is empowered to issue licence for only ground plus three floors. This apart, construction of nearly 15 apartments is in progress. BDA has written to the stamps and registration department not to register them.

“As per government order, we have taken up drainage work at a cost of Rs 5 crore. This will be recovered from residents,’’ BDA commissioner M N Vidyashankar said.

However, nearly 1,120 families have paid betterment charges to the K R Puram CMC; they regularly pay property taxes and have recently paid nearly Rs 7 crore towards the user contribution for Cauvery water supply project.
Pai Layout welfare association president Anupama said: “Only recently we came to know about the lapses. Since banks gave us loans, we never assumed it was illegal. But the point is, when the CMC is collecting taxes, how can they call it illegal?’’

The government is contemplating one-time regularisation of agricultural lands being unauthorisedly used for non-agricultural purposes. In his address to the legislature on Friday, governor T N Chaturvedi said regularisation would bring in revenue to the government which will be used for improving infrastructure. This step will give relief to citizens who have houses in revenue layouts.

MRTS for non-Metro areas

MRTS for non-Metro areas
Deccan Herald

Bangaloreans residing in areas outside the proposed Metro rail network need not despair. Governor T N Chaturvedi on Friday announced that the government will introduce other mass rapid transport systems in areas not covered by Bangalore Metro.

Bangaloreans residing in areas outside the proposed Metro rail network need not despair. Governor T N Chaturvedi on Friday announced that the government will introduce other mass rapid transport systems in areas not covered by Bangalore Metro.

The Governor, in his address to the joint session of the State legislature, without elaborating said, there are indications that the “other modes of rapid transport systems” to be introduced in non-Metro areas will complement the Metro. He also made it clear that the Metro rail project, which is awaiting approval from the Centre, will be implemented.

He said it was the firm resolve of the government to maintain Bangalore as a prime destination for investors and all infrastructural problems of the city will be resolved within a fixed time frame. He said the government will make efforts for dispersal of IT & BT firms to other cities and towns of the State. At the same time, he asserted that the State will tap the potential of this sunrise industry by attracting BT players.

Besides, a Centre of Excellence for Bio-informatics Research and Training, funded by the Union government, would be set up in the Institute of Bio-informatics and Applied Biotechnology in Bangalore.

Power grid capacity

The knowledge city of Bangalore will soon have another museum -- Lights Museum and Energy Centre for End Users.

Governor T N Chaturvedi said the museum will be set up by the KPTCL as part of the centenary celebrations of power generation as well as lighting in Bangalore. KPTCL Managing Director Bharatlal Meena told Deccan Herald that the proposed museum would be the first of its kind in the country.

Karnataka’s power sector will soon get a boost with the Independent Power Producer (IPP), Nagarjuna Power Corporation, set to commence work on setting up of its 1,015-MW thermal plant in State soon.


1,000 km of roads in Bangalore to be asphalted in 15 months

Roads damaged by rain in the city to be repaired within two months

Fly-overs under construction to be completed ahead of schedule

Govt to co-ordinate with IT & BT industries regarding infrastructure facilities in the city and outskirts

Security to be provided to women working in IT, BT and other sectors on night shifts.

BMP, Rlys to join hands for traffic improvement

BMP, Rlys to join hands for traffic improvement
Deccan Herald

A signal-free traffic from the Rajajinagar Entrance underpass right up to the Majestic Bus Stop and the City Railway Station is in the offing.

A signal-free traffic from the Rajajinagar Entrance underpass right up to the Majestic Bus Stop and the City Railway Station is in the offing. And it is just one aspect of a larger plan which includes a new city railway station for the Mysore sector- bound trains, two inter-linked flyovers and the four laning of the Okalipuram Road.

The Bangalore Mahanagara Palike and the South Western Railway are close to finalising a Rs 50 crore project on the same.

The project goes under the self explanatory work head ‘Improvement of Rajajinagar link road between Fountain Circle (Khoday Circle) and Okalipuram Junction’.

The plan involving the features mentioned above is reportedly frozen from among some 15 options that were presented to the two parties by their designated consultants. The tender process will begin in April-May and the project can be completed in 18 months, sources closely linked with it said on Friday.

The plan for straightening the Rajajinagar entrance underpass - Okalipuram route was always on the BMP’s agenda, the discussions with the railways took some time, sources said.

Most of the project area traverses the railway land (nearly 6 to 8 acres) and the railways were keen that it should then be a comprehensive scheme benefiting their customers too.

The railways wanted a hindrance free entry and exit for their station and so the exclusive flyovers, sources observed.


Two box-type railway underbridges - one near the RR Kalyan Mantap and the other near the Khoday Circle will help straighten the present circuitous route leading from the Rajajinagar entrance underpass.

The two inter-linking flyovers will make for direct entry into and exit from the proposed new railway station for Mysore sector trains.

The new railway station will be located at the peripheral entry (Okalipuram side) of the City Railway Station as it stands today.

One of the flyovers will originate in a U-loop from the Platform Road just before the Khoday Circle.

The other will originate from the new road stretch to be laid on the Sheshadripuram and Malleswaram side.

A cross-arm making for an ‘A’ shaped flyover will link the exit traffic from the new railway station back to a new link road to be provided on Platform Road (towards Rajajinagar).

A multi-level parking lot for vehicular traffic concerned with railway passengers is also in the plan.

Goodies train chugs away bypassing Karnataka

Goodies train chugs away bypassing Karnataka
Deccan Herald

The budget gives four new trains to Karnataka (none of which the state government had asked for).

The Railway Budget 2006-07 is a mixed bag for Karnataka. While the state gets a fair share in the slew of new trains introduced, Railway Minister Laloo Prasad Yadav, however, ignored it when it came to allocating funds to the ongoing projects.

The budget gives four new trains to Karnataka (none of which the state government had asked for). They are: Yeshwantpur (Bangalore)-Ajmer Garib Nawab Express, Bangalore-Darbhanga Express via Chennai and Patna and Tatanagar-Yeshwantpur (all weekly) and Chennai-Mangalore (tri-weekly). The following trains have been extended: Bangalore-Bijapur Express to Bagalkot, Solapur-Bijapur to Bagalkot and Mysore-Kumbakonam Express to Mayiladuturai (all post gauge conversion) and Bangalore-Visakhapatnam Prashanti Express to Bhubaneshwar.

Mr Yadav announced that four popular trains including Bangalore-Chennai Brindavan Express would be modernised with world-class amenities and interiors.

Frequency increased

The frequency of following trains have been increased: Bangalore-Ernakulam Express from weekly to bi-weekly, Bangalore-Miraj Passenger from five to six days a week, Belgaum-Miraj Passenger from four to six days a week and Bangalore-Guwahati Express from bi-weekly to tri-weekly. The minister has changed the route of the Karnataka Sampark Kranti Express between Nizamuddin (Delhi) and Yeshwantpur via Gulbarga so as to cover more territory in the state. It will henceforth run via Yeshwantpur, Arsikere, Hubli, Pune etc.

The budget assures that the broadgauge conversion of Kolar-Chickballapur (95 km, Rs 99 crore project) would be taken up in this year.

Basavana Bagewadi-Bagalkot of Solapur-Gadag line and Mysore-Chamarajanagar gauge conversion projects and Yeshwantpur-Tumkur and Hospet-Torangal doubling projects would be completed in 2006-07. Kolar MP and Union Highways Minister K H Muniyappa welcomed the Kolar-Chickballapur project saying it would help transportation of horticulture products and milk from the Kolar region.

Unkept promise

Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy, when he met Mr Yadav on Wednesday, had demanded speedy completion of the Gulbarga-Munirabad, Hubli-Ankola and Kottur-Harihar lines, besides the Bangalore-Mysore doubling project but the minister has disappointed the former by not allocating the required funds. If one sifts through the voluminous “Explanatory Memorandum” of the budget, one can find that Kottur-Harihar (Project cost: Rs 130 crore) has not been allocated any funds at all, while Hassan-Shravanabelagola gets Rs 31 crore, Hubli-Ankola (Rs 997 crore) Rs 10 crore and Bangalore-Satyamangalam (Rs 901 crore) a paltry Rs 1 lakh.

For gauge conversion, Mysore-Hassan (Rs 191 crore) gets Rs 1 lakh, Yeshwantpur-Salem (Rs 199 crore) Rs 1 lakh, Mysore-Chamarajanagar (Rs 606 crore) Rs 45 crore, Yelahanka-Chickballapur and Kolar-Bangarpet (Rs 60 crore) Rs 1 lakh, Shimoga-Talguppa (Rs 441 crore) Rs 22.59 cr and Solapur-Gadag (Rs 268 crore) Rs 20 crore.

For doubling, Whitefield-Kuppam (Rs 219 crore) gets Rs 1 crore, Bangalore-Kengeri (Rs 24 crore) Rs 12 crore, Kengeri-Ramanagaram (Rs 67 crore) Rs 5 crore, Yeshwantpur-Tumkur (Rs 98 crore) Rs 11 crore and Bangalore-K R Puram (Rs 85 crore) Rs 1 lakh.

For the Hubli diesel loco shed, Rs 2.43 crore has been earmarked for housing 50 locos and for K R Puram shed Rs 1.8 crore has been given for augmentation of homing capacity. For the setting up of the South Western Railway zone at Hubli, a sum of Rs 12.2 crore has been earmarked and it still requires Rs 26 crore (estimated total cost Rs 81 crore).

Reacting to the railway budget, former minister and MP Ananth Kumar said: “Karnataka has suffered gross injustice. It is unfortunate that important works such as gauge conversion, electrification and doubling have been ignored. The Bijapur-Gadag conversion, new lines like Bidar-Gulbarga, Hubli-Ankola and Banglaore-Mangalore, doubling of Bangalore-Mysore and Bangalore-Tumkur which are already behind schedule, have been ignored. There is no blue-print for South Western Railway zone development and this again is an instance of neglect of Karnataka by the UPA government.”


Sectors AC Ist Class Fares AC II Tier Fares

Current Proposed* Current Proposed**

B’lore-Delhi 4458 3655 2333 2100

B’lore-Delhi (Rajdhani) NS NS 3070 2763

B’lore-Mumbai NS NS 1637 1474

B’lore-Kolkata NS NS 2159 1943

B’lore-Trivandrum NS NS 1232 1109

B’lore-Chennai 1402 1149 747 672

B’lore-Hyderabad 2224 1823 1184 1066

B’lore-Jaipur 4461 3658 2330 2097

B’lore-Guwahati NS NS 2555 2300

All fares in Rs, *Fares estimated on the basis of 18% reduction,

**Fares estimated on the basis of 10% reduction. NS: No service


Yeshwantpur-Ajmer Express Weekly

B’ore -Darbhanga Express (Via Chennai) Weekly

Yeshwantpur-Tatanagar Express Weekly

Mangalore-Chennai Express Tri Weekly

BMP plans ban on hoardings

BMP plans ban on hoardings
The Hindu

A proposal in this regard is to be included in the BMP budget for 2006-2007

# A similar proposal was announced in the BMP budget for 2002-2003, but it was later withdrawn
# Government to be moved to amend the KMC Act to enforce the ban
# Lokayukta had unearthed irregularities in the BMP's advertisement department two years ago

BANGALORE: After unsuccessful attempts in the past to check "visual pollution" and prevent illegal hoardings that mar the city's skyline and also cause traffic hazards, the Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP) is again planning a ban on hoardings.

And, this time the civic body seems to be serious about it. The proposal is all set to be included in the BMP budget for 2006-2007, and the authorities will appeal to the State Government to amend the Karnataka Municipal Corporations (KMC) Act to enforce the ban.

Though a similar proposal was announced in the BMP budget for 2002-2003, it was later withdrawn. In 1999, the BMP had banned hoardings on its property. The fresh proposal comes in the wake of several controversies surrounding hoardings and outdoor advertising.

The Lokayukta had unearthed irregularities in the BMP's advertisement department two years ago and also probed the matter. Corporators from all parties have always blamed the BMP officials for violating norms to protect the interests of outdoor advertising companies.

In view of the controversies, BMP Commissioner K. Jothiramalingam had recommended a ban on hoardings in September 2004. Citing the Delhi Municipal Corporation's example, the commissioner said: "Though the ban will mean an annual loss of Rs. 3 crores, it will at least put an end to all controversies."

Now, members of the Standing Committee on Taxation and Finance, who are finalising the budget, are conducting zonal inspections to find out the number of illegal hoardings.


"During an inspection of commercial areas in the South zone, we realised that the BMP is losing crores of rupees by letting the advertising companies put up hoardings in violation of norms. While the official information furnished to us points out that only some companies have violated norms, a reality check revealed that officials are fooling us," Chairperson of the Taxation and Finance Committee Lalitha Srinivas Gowda told The Hindu on Friday.

She said the committee would soon write to the commissioner seeking a ban on hoardings. "We will also include this proposal in the budget. What is the use of earning a few lakhs while losing crores. A complete ban on hoardings will at least keep the city clean," she said.

Pointing out that the officials did not know how much advertisement tax had been collected from the organisers of the recent silver jubilee celebrations of the Art of Living Foundation, she said: "Though huge hoardings and banners were put up all over the city to advertise the event, it is surprising the BMP earned a mere Rs. 44,000 as tax. This shows our officials' inefficiency in checking unauthorised hoardings."

One civic body will do for the city

One civic body will do for the city
The Hindu

Bangaloreans disagree that splitting the Bangalore Mahanagara Palike into two after merging six CMCs and one TMC with it will help. A single efficient entity that can solve day-to-day civic problems is what they want.

Unwarranted step

Creating two city corporations for Bangalore and its suburbs needs careful thinking.

Some areas yield more tax than others and there may be bickering over jurisdiction.

One fails to see why in this age of decentralisation, the City Municipal Council (CMC) cannot be allowed to enjoy its autonomy.

The municipal bodies on the outskirts of the city should not become a burden to other taxpayers.

R. Dakshinamurthy,


Increase efficiency

Why is the Government in a hurry to meddle with the composition and jurisdiction of the BMP?

One fails to understand how two separate city corporations will have enough resources to meet the needs of a growing population.

By stepping up tax collection, making taxation and tax assessment more transparent and by ensuring that the revenue is spent on improving the infrastructure, the civic body can do a better job.

S.K. Sharma,


Increase taxes

The CMCs enjoy fiscal autonomy and considering that most of them are suburbs of Bangalore, nothing prevents them from increasing taxes.

Otherwise people in the areas merged into the BMP will pay less while residents of the older areas will pay more.

There are bigger cities than Bangalore that have not been bifurcated.

Hyderabad and Secunderabad have a common civic body as also Chennai and its far-flung suburbs.

Susheela Oommen,


Add more wards

The civil and cantonment areas and the older parts of the city were merged to form a single civic entity soon after Independence. The CMCs around the city have reasons to preserve their individual identities. A few wards can be added to the BMP but not all the townships around it; it will negate the very idea of local government.

D.S. Manjunath,

R.T. Nagar.

Greater Bangalore

Bangalore has wealthy and poorer neighbourhoods and they yield revenues in different proportions to the civic body. Any move towards bifurcation should maintain this mix or else one civic administration will end up more starved for funds than the other. A better alternative may be a Greater Bangalore with one civic administration. Residents of the CMCs may oppose any merger because their taxes.

S. Pishe,


Ask the voter

Merging the six CMCs and one Town Municipal Council with the BMP and then bifurcating the civic body may just be one solution to the growing problems of Bangalore. The other factors such as better tax collection and enforcing zoning laws and building regulations and improving the infrastructure should not be overlooked. The Government does not appear to have ascertained the wishes of the residents of CMCs on the question of merger with Bangalore.

Latha Venkatesh,


Governor address underscores Govt commitment to revamp infrastructure

Governor address underscores Govt commitment to revamp infrastructure
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: The upgradation of Bangalore’s crumbling infrastructure found prime place in the Governor’s address to the joint session of the State Legislature here on Friday.

Underscoring the Government’s commitment to revamp basic infrastructure by working in tandem with the industry, the Governor, in his address, said all facilities required by the industry, particularly the Information and bio-technology sectors, would be provided by the Government.

Assuring that Bangalore’s unique position as a prime destination for investors would be maintained, Chaturvedi said all infrastructural problems would be resolved within a fixed timeframe.

“Flyovers under construction in Bangalore will be completed ahead of schedule, roads damaged in the rains will be repaired in two months besides an additional 1,000 km of roads will be relaid,” the Governor said.

The Governor would also try its best to bring about a dispersal of industry by providing requisite facilities in other important cities and towns of the State.

“Karnataka will continue to be the most investor friendly State and maintain its unique investor climate,” the Governor said.

Stating that Karnataka continued to lead in the IT sector with estimated exports of Rs 35,000 crore, Chaturvedi said the boom in the IT sector would provide more job opportunities for local youth.

The Governor also highlighted the growth in the BT sector saying that State attracted one bio-tech company every fortnight. Stating that the much awaited bio-tech park would be ready in the next ten months, Chaturvedi said.

A Centre of Excellence for Bio-informatics Research and Training, funded by the Union Government, would be set up at the Institute of Bio-informatics and Applied Bio-technology.

The Governor also said that special allocations would be made to improve Cubbon Park and Lal Bagh to attract more tourists.

Art of Living fest caught in a ‘green’ controversy

Art of Living fest caught in a ‘green’ controversy
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: Though the din raised by the three-day festivities of the ‘Art of Living’ foundation of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar at the Jakkur Airfield here last week has subsided, the dust kicked up by it is causing havoc.

The shrubs and grass at the Airfield, used by some private aircraft charters such as Deccan aviation and Microlite aircraft flyers, had been completely dug up for the mega event, which had attracted thousands of art of living members from across the world.

Deccan Aviation Chief Captain G R Gopinath, talking to reporters at the Airfield on Friday, was highly critical of the manner in which the Airfield had been dug up using excavators and said he would take up the issue with the State government.

“I have no complaint about the function organised by Art of Living, but the manner in which the Airfield had been spoiled would affect the users for several days,” he said.

The shrubs and grasslands on either side of the runway were acting as a soil-binding agent. However, with its removal, strong winds have kicked up dust, affecting not only the operations of Deccan aviation, but also the functioning of the workshops.

Gopinath said the aero engines have been opened up and a fine layer of dust had settled down inside the hangars, even though they were closed. The highway adjoining the Airfield, leading to Hyderabad, wore a hazy look and at times visibility was reduced to vehicle drivers following strong winds.

Attara Kacheri has an interesting history to tell

Attara Kacheri has an interesting history to tell
Vijay Times

Bangalore: Grand plans for the Golden J ubilee celebrations of the Karnataka High Court have announced. Starting today , Vijay T imes will run weekly three-part series on the past, present and future of the High Court. The second part of the series will appear next Saturday .

Housed in the famous Attara Kacheri, this institution has an interesting history to tell. AttaraKacheri means "eighteen offices" or departments.

In 1864, Commissioner Bowring conceived and prepared the plans for setting up a fullfledged secretariat building, almost a century before the Vidhana Soudha was even thought of. The Attara Kacheri building was completed in 1868 at a cost of Rs 4.5 lakh. The work on the building was exe by Rai Bahadur Arcot Narayanaswamy M udaliar It is an impressive two-storied building of and brick, red in colour and has been built in the Greco-Roman style.

Earlier known as the Old Public Offices, it used to house the general revenue, secretariat an other offices of the State government includ the judiciary .

The High Court of the then State of Mysore was established in 1864 under the M ysore High Court Act, 1864, and was kno wn as the Mysore Hi Court until 1973 when the name of the stat changed.

This was close on the heels of establishing High Courts in India by the British via the ’Indian Hig Court Act’ of 1861, which vested in H er M the Queen of England to issue letters patent unde the Great Seal of the U nited Kingdom to erect and establish High Courts of Calcutta, Madras an Bombay . Since then, the legislations made b y the governments have been being interpreted in t building.

The Mysore High Court’s jurisdiction got extended on Nove 1 ,1956 when many areas integrated with Mysore to form the new stat Mysore, under the States Re-organisation Act which drew up new states on linguistic basis.

Another story goes that the Attara Kacheri built by T ipu S ultan. His offices included 18 d ments of revenue and general secretariat that grew to such a size during his reign that it c accommodated in his palace. So he constructe new building and named it Attara Kacheri. T echnology has sure gone a long way . Seni Counsel Pramila Nesargi says, when she start practice in the late 50s, the scenario was different. There were only 9 court halls with hardly ernment pleaders apart from an AG and an S There are 36 court halls now . Stenographers used Remington typewriters, which has been replace by computers. There were no policemen posted at all in the High Court, unlike now when there are a least two policemen stationed in each court Public Interest Litigations, which are filed dozen these days, were then unheard of.

Govt to work with industry for better infrastructure

Govt to work with industry for better infrastructure
Business Standard

After coming under fire over infrastructure woes in the city, Karnataka government on Friday said that it will work along with the IT and BT sectors in Bangalore to provide the infrastructure required for the development of these industries.

The government was acutely aware of the need to improve and upgrade infrastructure in and around Bangalore, governor T N Chaturvedi said in his address to the joint session of the state legislature.

Promising to resolve all infrastructure problems in a fixed and limited time frame, he said, “It is the firm resolve of the government to ensure that Bangalore’s unique position as a prime destination for investors is maintained.”

Flyovers under construction in Bangalore shall be completed ahead of schedule and roads damaged by rains repaired in the next two months, Chaturvedi told the House.

Additionally, 1,000 kms of roads in Bangalore will be asphalted in the next 15 months, he said.

Chaturvedi said that all efforts will be made for the speedy completion of the Bangalore International Airport.

Apart from metro project which awaited a final approval from the Centre, the government proposed to introduce other mass rapid transport systems in areas not covered by the metro, indicating that mono rail was also under consideration.

The state will endeavour to promote investments in specific sectors where it has core competence like engineering, automobile, food processing, apparel and textiles, oil refining and petrochemicals, electronics, steel and cement, pharmaceuticals, IT and BT and infrastructure, he said.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Its destination Bangalore for Daimler Chrysler

Daimler Chrysler may offshore operations to Bangalore
Indo-Asian News Service

German auto major Daimler Chrysler plans to offshore some of its engineering operations to its Bangalore research facility in the next three years, a senior company official said Friday.

"We are looking to see how to combine our research and development operations with our set-up in Bangalore," said Bharat Balasubramanian, vice president of the Mercedes Car Group.

"We hope to have enough areas where there is scope to combine the research and development operations of the company here. We have found that the talent in south India is very strong in computation analysis and so allied research work in these areas will be offshored to Bangalore, which will become a captive centre."

Balasubramanian was speaking to reporters here on the sidelines of the launch of the new Mercedes S-class and M-class cars.

While the company carries out a majority of its research and development activities in Germany where it employs about 9,500 people, it also has engineering facilities in Japan and the US.

The Bangalore facility currently employs about 200 people with most of the work done in simulation modelling, night vision systems and other active and passive safety systems apart from fuel cell and hybrid technology.

Face-lift for Bangalore police stations

Face-lift for Bangalore police stations
Business Standard

Bangalore now has some of the most modern looking and well-appointed police stations in the country, vastly more efficient places, than they were earlier, from which the police can work.

This is the result of a public-private (or corporate, there are some public sector firms too) partnership launched two years ago, in which a section of corporate executives took it upon themselves to redesign and upgrade selected police stations so that hopefully the police force would become more efficient.

This is part of a wider programme of the Karnataka government to modernise Bangalore’s police force, with the corporate sector sharing some of the burden to improve infrastructure.

“This exercise is on in full swing with 25 police stations being given a facelift,” said Bangalore city police commissioner Ajai Kumar Singh.

Firms are spending anywhere between Rs 10 lakh and Rs 40 lakh per station. “This should help the police serve the people better, with faster response time,” said Ajai Kumar Singh.

According to M Mariswamy, former police commissioner who initiated the involvement of the private sector, and is now director general director of police, “The old police stations occupied a huge amount of space and were not compatible with modern gadgetry. Now the emphasis is on optimum utilisation of space with deployment of appropriate gadgets.”

Mariswamy says that during the entire rebuilding exercise no money will change hands between the police and the corporates. More than spending the money, the corporates will spend time in redoing things and thus get involved. “We believe every corporate executive should shoulder some responsibility towards society and this is a step in that direction.”

After renovation, many stations now have a meeting hall, upgraded lockup rooms, separate rooms for regular office work, rest rooms, computer rooms and facilities for the public who visit the station to lodge complaints. The police stations are getting new customer-friendly furniture and data (files) storage facilities. Some police stations are getting computers and internet access.

Companies like Wipro, TCS, Sasken, Canara Bank, Syndicate Bank, Toyota Kirloskar Motor, State Bank of Mysore and the GMR Group have taken up prominent police stations for renovation and redesign.

Atsushi Toyoshima, managing director, Toyota Kirloskar Motor, says his company believed in helping people by improving their quality of life. “Technology-enabled police stations will help to induce better policing and this in turn will ensure a safer and more healthy society,” said Rajiv Mody, CEO, Sasken Communication Technologies.

Presently, only a few renovated police stations are ready, and some are running out of temporary facilities nearby while the main police station gets the makeover.

Toyota Kirloskar Motor has taken up the Bidadi police station on the Bangalore-Mysore highway, near the Toyota factory. The company has spent Rs 50 lakh on the station, which has a built up area of 5,200 square feet.

Hyderabad-based construction company, the GMR Group, has renovated the Jayanagar police station, spread over 2,500 square feet and two floors, at a cost of Rs 30 lakh.

Mantri Developers have taken the responsibility of upgrading the Malleswam police station, changing both the exterior and interiors. It has been given a complete facelift and looks much better with new panels for the front elevation. It also has more floor space —from 5,900 sq ft to 9,600 sq ft.

The Halasur police station at Ulsoor, which Sasken renovated, has been made to look new and elegant with some deft work on the exterior.

It has also become hi-tech with computers linked by both data and voice networks. Additionally, said Rajiv Mody, the police station will have a more open work area with a ‘skylight’ on the first floor that lets in a lot of natural light.

The whole idea is that if we can improve the quality of life — the workplace — of the police, then they will get sensitised to the public’s need for a better life. Now let’s see if it works.

HC says no gopuras on roads

HC says no gopuras on roads
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: The High Court on Thursday directed the Commissioner of Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP) and the Commissioner of Police to ensure that the religious endowments department does not construct gopuras on roads.

Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Cyriac Joseph and Justice Manjula Chellur issued the order to the respondents following a petition filed by former deputy mayor Srirame Gowda.

The petition contended that a part Kanakapura Road, in front of the Banashankari temple, had been closed to traffic due because of the construction of a gopura.

BMP looking at sweeper machines

BMP looking at sweeper machines
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: Machines could soon be sweeping Bangalore roads. The Bangalore Mahanagara Palike is looking at mechanised sweepers, each of which costs Rs 1 crore.

Taking a cue from the Delhi Municipal Corporation, the BMP is considering sweepers that can cover large stretches quickly. Distributors of the equipment are expected to meet BMP officers on Friday.

The sweeping vehicle has been on display at the ‘Clean India Show’ at Kanteerava Stadium and BMP officers were reportedly impressed with its performance.

The road cleaning machine is currently being used by Delhi Municipal Corporation to clean that city’s outer ring roads. Jindal steel plants at Bellary and Hissar are also using these vehicles to sweep their campuses.

A vehicle which costs about Rs 1 crore sweeps 10 km in an hour. Apart from sucking smaller particles, the vehicle picks up bigger material like stones, plastic bags and garbage. The vehicle also sweeps footpaths and sideways with the help of circular brooms.

“Since cities in India are witnessing continuous increase in vehicular traffic, speed sweeping has become necessary. That is where these vehicles prove vital. This vehicle can be used during the night hours also,” said Ajay Katara of Lion Services, who provides sweeper vehicle services in India.

These vehicles are also economically viable and roads are cleaned quickly, said Sumeet Khurana of Western Floor, distributors of the sweeper vehicle in India.

He said many state governments were showing interest in buying these vehicles. Rajasthan and Chattisgarh governments are keen, he said.

Auto drivers oppose move to ban 15-year-old vehicles

Auto drivers oppose move to ban 15-year-old vehicles
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: Two days after Transport Minister, Chaluvarayaswamy announced that the Government was contemplating ban on 15-year-old vehicles inside City limits, transporters are up in arms against the proposed move and have questioned its legality.

Karnataka Lorry Drivers Association president Chennareddy has said there is no provision in the Motor Vehicle Act to prohibit 15-year-old vehicles from entering the city.

“Vehicle manufacturers do not give any validity period to the vehicles. Then how can the Government ban old vehicles,” Reddy wondered.

The Fitness Certificate (FC) is issued once a year after checking the condition of the vehicle and if a old vehicle is in good shape, it should not be banned, he said.

Reddy, however, suggested that Government should ban vehicles which are not in good condition.

Even autorickshaw drivers oppose the proposed move.

“There are over 7,000 autorickshaws which are 15 years old. The Government can ban them only after transferring the same permits to new autorickshaws.

It should also give 75 per cent loan to buy a new autorickshaw,” said Narayanaswamy, general secretary of Adarsha Autorickshaw Drivers Association.

“There is no meaning in banning old vehicles that are in good condition,” said M N Venugopal, president of Government and Government Concern Driver’s Federation.

Work on IT-BT corridor on track

Work on IT-BT corridor on track
Some much-needed civic infrastructure is falling in place here
The Times of India

Airport Road, which never had the concept of a pavement, now boasts of spanking new compaction and pressure capacitated pavements certified by experts. Hosur Road, one of the worst affected in last September-October's deluge has a drain, including shoulder drains, to prevent water-logging. And as a pre-emptive measure, drains and pavement openings have been provided with ducts to avoid road cutting by private players in future. All thanks to the BCC's initiative to set right things in the famed ITBT corridors between Indiranagar and Hosur Road.

Says Jayaram, BCC Commissioner (East), "we have taken up road and pavement restoration works in the ITBT corridor at a cost of Rs 37 crores. Relaying of roads, removal of disturbed and damaged interlocking blocks, fixing pre-cast drain covers, bus bays and laying PVC pipeline in sidewalks are some of the works we have taken up and all the works will be completed by March. We are maintaining a daily work schedule dairy and constantly monitoring the works being carried out by the Karnataka Land Army Corporation (KLAC). We are happy that we are sticking to deadlines".

"The KLAC, which has the task of upgrading eleven select roads, has thought up a fresh design for the roads with specifications better than those laid down by the Indian Road Congress. Also, they maintain that the roads will have a time-span of three to five years during which time the stretches would not need repairs at all", he said, and added that the public-private partnership model has worked well with a few IT companies coming forward in funding the lighting on Hosur Road beyond BCC limits.

Says S V Venkatesh Murthy, Joint Director, KLAC (BCC Division), "the quality aspect will be given much emphasis in all our projects. While preparing the subgrade and to tackle any undulation, 4-5 inches of mud and gravel has been laid to level it, and then proper compaction by machine is done. Then interlocking cobble blocks are laid and pressed using a German machine that ensures proper compaction. All the materials used here are tendered and machine-made. These materials are tested and even test reports are given to us. We have also provided shoulder drains along the existing drains. The water won't run on the asphalted roads, thereby increasing the life of the roads".

Flyover at Yeshwanthpur Circle proposed

Flyover at Yeshwanthpur Circle proposed
This new flyover will ease traffic at this crucial junction
The Times of India

The Bangalore City Corporation (BCC) is venturing into yet another infrastructure project - a flyover at Yeshwanthpur Circle. Estimated at a cost of Rs 14 crores, the project is aimed at decongesting heavy traffic movement at this five-arm junction.

Rame Gowda, Chief Engineer, BCC said: "This project is one of the 19 grade separators suggested by the Karnataka Road Development Corporation Limited (KRDCL) in 1991. The tenders have been called and soon the BCC will shortlist appropriate firms for the project. Once the flyover is complete, relief to the junction will be 33 percent. The construction time for the flyover will be 12 months while service roads will take three months for completion.

A flyover here will ease traffic on Tumkur Road (NH4), C V Raman Road, Malleswaram Road, and Mathikere Road, said the Chief Engineer, and added that this junction is one of the oldest and most crucial intersections of the city. The peak traffic at the junction is 7,533 (passenger car unit) PCU per hour in the mornings and 8,028 PCU per hour in the evenings with around 55 percent of the traffic being two-wheelers and autos, around 37 percent being cars and trucks, and seven percent buses. "In view of this, we have proposed a bi-directional four-lane divided flyover on Tumkur Road-C V Raman Road. This flyover can carry peak traffic of 3,600 PCU per hour. Also, presently the buses heading to Yeshwanthpur bus station from C V Raman Road, Malleswaram Road and Yeshwanthpur Market Road are moving up to 1.5 km from the junction towards Tumkur and taking a U-turn to the bus station. In the proposed traffic arrangement the bus movement will be at grade separator. In order to have service roads and footpaths on both sides, the BCC has planned to go for land acquisition of 3,000 square metres on Tumkur Road and C V Raman Road".

With the construction of the flyover, the signal-related delay in the traffic on C V Raman Road to Tumkur Road will reduce from the present 42 seconds per PCU to no time. Similarly, the signal-related delay for traffic from Tumkur Road to C V Raman Road will reduce from the current 44 seconds per PCU to no time. The signal-related delay for traffic on Malleswaram Road to C V Raman Road, Yeshwanthpur Market Road and Mathikere Road will reduce from 52 seconds per PCU to 26 seconds per PCU and increase to 31 seconds per PCU in the year 2012 in view of increasing traffic. The signal-related delay for traffic on Yeshwanthpur Market Road to C V Raman Road, Tumkur Road and Malleswaram Road will reduce from 45 seconds per PCU to six seconds per PCU and increase to 12 seconds per PCU in the year 2012. The traffic on Tumkur Road-C V Raman Road will move smoothly on the flyover.

It is proposed to have a bidirectional four-lane divided flyover along Tumkur Road and C V Raman Road since the option is cost-effective and does not interfere with the metro rail. The flyover will have a width of 16.8 metres, said Rame Gowda.