Saturday, September 30, 2006

Get khata in less than 30 days

Get khata in less than 30 days
Lok Ayukta Asks BMP To Maintain Transparency In Road Projects
The Times of India

Bangalore: Bangalore Mahanagara Palike’s (BMP) cumbersome khata (possession certificate) procedure is all set to go for a make-over.
In an effort to minimise corruption, the Lok Ayukta has directed BMP commissioner K Jairaj to simplify the khata procedure. “The BMP has taken our suggestion positively. With khata simplification the procedure would be reduced to less than 30 days,’’ Lok Ayukta Justice N Santosh Hegde told reporters on Friday.
During an interaction with BMP officials last week, Lok Ayukta also asked the authorities to display a transparency board showing details of the amount spent, date of commencement and completion of the major road projects in Bangalore.
However, the modalities of working to implement the suggestions will be done by the BMP.
Besides, Hegde has also taken cognizance of the mounting complaints against illegal hoardings, deviation in building plans,
unauthorised construction and occupancy of BMP property, non-residential activities in residential areas.
In another major decision, which is expected to have far-reaching effect, Justice Hegde and Upa Lok Ayukta have decided to scrutinise the accounts of the Rural Development and Panchayat Raj (RDPR) department. “Huge sum of money flows from national and international agencies to the RDPR, we want to know how and where the money is being disbursed,’’ Hegde said.
Turahalli land scam
The alleged 500-acre Turahalli reserve forest scam has come under Lok Ayukta scanner. Justice Hegde said the institution has taken a serious note of it and has directed the revenue and forest department to provide documents relating to the scam. During the course, Justice Hegde regretted that professional bodies like Bar council, Indian Medical Council, Chartered Accounts Association have done little to remove corruption from the society.
CDs: Fake or real?
Here’s some reprieve for suspended BJP MLC G Janardhan Reddy. His purported CDs on bribery allegation against chief minister H D Kumaraswamy and forest minister C Chennigappa that failed to make an impact, can be given to the Lok Ayukta for ‘scientific examination’ to prove whether the contents in the CD are original or fake. Upa Lok Ayukta G Patri Basavana Goud said anybody, including Reddy himself, by filing an affidavit for their claim can bring the CDs for examination. However, they should be ready to face the music involving punishment, if they fail to prove their claim.
Chikungunya corruption!
When the official Prevention of Corruption Act and other anti-corruption acts have defined corruption, Upa Lok Ayukta Justice G Patri Basavana Goud came out with his own definition and categorised corrupt people into four types: chikungunya, chupa rustum, ashadabuthi (hypocrite) and gentleman.
At a press conference here on Friday, Justice Goud, who has made indepth research on corruption, defined each type. Chikungunya: Here, the only aim is to make money through corrupt practices. They don’t care for the society. Even if a patient (society) is on the death bed, mosquitoes (corrupt men) will suck the blood (money) till death. “They are bold in making money and do not care for the victim.’’ Chupa rustum: Double-faced people. This category of corrupt men pose as honest individuals in the public, but are most corrupt. Ashadabhuthi: They are honest but will not respond to the problems. Goud says “Intellectual dishonesty is dangerous than other categories. They don’t cooperate with the society and follow only favouritism and nepotism.’’ Gentleman: Totally harmless and decisions are taken based on merit. This category of persons is not blatant corrupt, but accepts whatever they give. “Regardless of the amount, they will accept it.’’
Action against former medical education director Shivarathna Savadi for violating integrity and causing loss to the government in the purchase of a medical equipment worth Rs 61 lakh. Lok Ayukta sleuths to oversee the implementation of Transparency Act while awarding major contracts by the departments. Letter to the chief secretary to bring in a comprehensive transfer policy. Retired special deputy commissioner appointed to report on the corrupt practises in sub-registrar offices.

BMP: Time for change

BMP: Time for change
Deccan Herald

Will the Greater Bangalore merger rein in better administration ? Or succeed in making the City cash-rich by sheer virtue of its size - 148 wards? The answer is a big no. Not unless, every citizen makes an informed choice of his/her elected representative, say citizen groups.

One look at the profile of elected representatives of the Bangalore Mahanagara Palike’s Council leaves a lot to be desired. Out of the 100 councillors, 13 councillors have not completed schooling, 30 are SSLC pass, 21 have cleared PUC, while only 25 are graduates. Two post-graduates and nine professionals including civil engineers, lawyers and a doctor is almost a pleasant surprise.

Is a City’s future dependent on the quality of its elected representatives? The growing challenges of the IT-BT City can be tackled by only educated and pro-active councillors, say experts.

According to Samuel Paul, Public Affairs Committee, winnability of the candidate is the only criteria for any political party. PAC, which has conducted citizen awareness programmes and scrutinised the background of the candidates in the 1996 Parliamentary elections and the local body elections is promoting the concept of informed choice of candidates.

“When parties don’t give a commitment of fielding only worthy candidates, the other way to tackle the problem is to build an informed electorate - citizens, who will reject the undeserving candidate. But, this too, might solve only half the problem, as people are given a limited choice by the parties,” explains Mr Paul.

“Basic education is a must. But in a democracy you cannot deny anyone a chance to contest elections. Worse still, we have candidates with criminal backgrounds contesting polls. One of our studies shows that 25 per cent of the candidates fielded in the Parliament elections (1996), had criminal cases against them,” he laments.

Dr Neeraj Patil, an Indian doctor, who is now the elected Councillor of Lambeth (London) says, “Quality and competence of elected representatives is reflected in the City’s development. It bothers me no end to note that even illiterates are allowed to contest.

“In the West, there is a system of filtering out prospective candidates. Every political party subjects the aspiring candidate to a written test to assess his knowledge of the laws, local body governance, his constituency profile and issues and a general knowledge, current affairs and problem solving ability. They also face the voters at public meetings before being selected as the candidate. Only the best can contest!”

“The gift of gab alone does not make a lawyer, as one has to digest volumes of literature on laws and acts to excel in his field. Same is the case with every profession. But what are the qualities and standards set for politics?” asks Patil.

The catalysts for any change in a democratic set-up happen to be the political parties. But sadly, the political stand on the issue remains divided. Dearth of candidates, reservation policy and caste politics are major hurdles, say Party leaders.

The forthcoming elections might see some major changes though. The JD(S) has decided to raise the bar for all its prospective candidates.

Says Nanjundappa, leader of the Opposition in BMP Council, “The Party has decided to field candidates based on their social work and experience in the Ward. However, we will insist on SSLC, as higher qualification will be a hindrance to deserving candidates in some of the wards with poor literacy and education. My engineering background has helped me understand many technical details in the engineering works. The officers or the contractors cannot take you for a ride when you are well informed.”

Mr Nanjundappa also rues the fact that many candidates are mere dummies, who have a family member or a relative calling the shots. “Sadly, we have dummy women candidates, as parties try to please a male partyworker, who was denied a ticket. Moreover, the shortage of good candidates surfaces when the reservation category changes in the ward. It is also because the educated class keeps away not only from politics but also exercising their franchise,” he adds.

However, BJP members maintain that education has little to do with leadership. “We recognise the contribution of the member to the party and his or her experience in social work, before choosing him as our candidate. Even the most educated person might fails to perform,” contends AH Basavaraj, BJP corporator and leader.

Corporators’ Report Card

The Bangalore Mahanagara Palike has 100 wards and the below table shows the break-up of corporators with varying educational qualifications.

8th Std or Less 13


PUC/Diploma 21

Graduation 25

Post-graduation 02

Professional 09

Total 100


Public Affairs Centre (PAC) - a non-profit organisation dedicated to the cause of improving the quality of governance in India, has involved itself in several electoral Intervention programmes between 1996 and 2005.

PAC quotes - “The quality of governance in a democracy is assessed by its elected representatives. It is observed that several ills plaguing the society are attributed to those in power namely the politicians and the bureaucracy. On one hand, the political institutions seldom reflect the mandate of the people and therefore lack legitimacy. On the other, it is felt that the root cause of the crisis is also the apathetic, indifferent and illiterate citizens.”

In one of its many initiatives, PAC had launched a Citizen’s Manifesto, urging all political parties to commit themselves to a set of issues that matter the most to citizens. The manifesto emphasised a set of eligibility requirements for any candidate like:

*Proven track record of community services,

* Submission of property / income tax returns,

* No standing criminal or corruption charges,

* Being a resident of the constituency,

* Following the code of conduct laid down by the Election Commission


Education gives confidence and better understanding. Some technical aspects, estimates need to be studied. I personally feel apart from experience, seniority, education qualification should be made one of important criterion for selecting a candidate, especially since we are talking about a world-class city like Bangalore. The issues here are definitely larger. Sadly, not many professionals are willing to enter politics. This misconception that politics is ‘dirty’ should change.

BG Mangala


My engineering background has helped me understand many technical details. The officers or the contractors cannot take you for a ride when you are well informed. Moreover, it is time to set high standards for the people’s representatives, as the City is facing modern day challenges and is still evolving. It is important to have pro-active candidates rather than dummies and more professionals to take the plunge into politics.

BR Nanjundappa

JD (S)

The Congress Party gives priority to candidates with popularity and experience in social work. We have a separate cell for doctors and advocates who are willing to contest the elections. This gives an opportunity to professionals and helps representthe various sections of the society. However, we still cannot insist on a degree, as the minimum qualificationbecause not many educated women are coming forward and professionals stay aloof from politics and city’s development too.

H Ravindra


Demolitions: Citizens can breathe easy

Demolitions: Citizens can breathe easy
Deccan Herald

Citizens need no longer fear demolitions of buildings which have violated bylaws. It is a win-win situation for both the citizens and the State government, as the new bill passed at the special session in Belgaum on Thursday has hailed the regularisation of deviation of buildings...

Citizens need no longer fear demolitions of buildings which have violated bylaws. That’s only if the deviation is below 50 per cent of the approved plan. It is a win-win situation for both the citizens and the State government, as the new bill passed at the special session in Belgaum on Thursday has hailed the regularisation of deviation of buildings across the State, but with a prescribed penalty.

While the ramifications of the new law will be Statewide, in Bangalore alone, the Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP) can rake in at least Rs 400-crore revenue this year.

Says BMP Commissioner K Jairaj: “This bill is basically an amnesty which will allow a one-time regularisation of deviation up to 50 per cent of the sanctioned plan in case of both residential and non-residential premises, but with a different rate of impact fee. We hope to generate a revenue of Rs 300-Rs 400 crore. Another implication is that the uncertainty surrounding the whole issue of building violations, following demolitions in Koramangala, has been put to rest. As for the buildings that have already been demolished by the BMP, this bill will have no impact, as the deviation in these buildings was up to 80 per cent.”

The Karnataka Town and Country Planning and Certain Other Laws Amendment Bill 2004, which was passed in the Legislature, has given relief in cases of violations like deviation of the sanctioned plan, change of land use and setback area violations by imposing a prescribed penalty. The law will not provide shield to those who have misused the basement space meant for parking of vehicles.

Says Vijayan Menon of Koramangala Initiative: “A one-time regularisation of violation seems more like a revenue-earning model rather than a solution.

The base law needs to be changed if we want a permanent solution. More important is the building violation pertaining to zonal regulations. The government should have given priority to such violations, rampant in residential areas.”

Citizens can breathe easy as they can regularise the deviation after paying up a one-time impact fee. However, the aggrieved parties in Koramangala who faced demolition, can hope for little respite. Reason: The BMP claims that violations (deviation) were exceeding the permissible limit of 50 per cent.

The bill was passed in the legislative council on Thursday amidst a walkout by the Opposition Congress members. Medical Education Minister V S Acharya, who tabled the bill on behalf of CM, said the amount collected as penalty would be given to local bodies to be utilised for developmental works.

Road-digging: BWSSB fiat to contractors

Road-digging: BWSSB fiat to contractors

The Hindu

BANGALORE: Contractors executing work for Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) can no longer perform shoddily. Board chairman N.C. Muniyappa has directed the contractors to adopt a five-point action plan to restore roads that are dug up for repairs and laying new lines.

According to a press release, Mr. Muniyappa has asked all BWSSB contractors to put an end to manual digging and take up scientific methods such as trenchless digging by using road-cutting machines. This is to ensure that the roads can be easily restored to their original condition soon after the work is completed, the release said.

The guidelines, which were announced at a recent meeting of contractors, specified that contractors should put up barricades with the logo of BWSSB around the work spot.

Blue tapes should be wrapped around the barricades so that people can easily identify that BWSSB work is on. This apart, details of the work, name and address of the contractors should be displayed at the work spot, the release said.

The contractors should ensure that the debris and silt removed after digging roads should be immediately shifted from the work spot and the road should be restored to its original condition immediately after the work is completed.

All contractors should adopt these guidelines before October 31. Those who do not follow the guidelines will be blacklisted, according to the release.

Greater Bangalore: single corporation likely to be set up

Greater Bangalore: single corporation likely to be set up

The Hindu

Committee formed to prepare a blueprint

BANGALORE: Setting aside all suggestions of forming two or three separate corporations under the Greater Bangalore project, the State Government is likely to set up a single corporation by merging seven city municipal councils (CMCs), a town municipality and 106 villages with the BMP.

This is to ensure that the 12-lakh population of the CMCs, TMC and surrounding villages does not feel left out from the core area of Bangalore.

The process has already been set in motion and BMP Commissioner K. Jairaj has set up a committee of top BMP officials to prepare a blueprint for a single corporation. This committee will study the aspects of setting up new administrative patterns, zones, bringing in uniformity of taxes, asset management and how to put in place proper governance in the new body. Headed by BMP Special Commissioner Gaurav Gupta, the committee has been asked to submit its report by October 10.

Mr. Jairaj told The Hindu that the formation of a single corporation was aimed at easing administration and also improving the quality of life of citizens of the CMCs, TMC and the surrounding villages.

But most residents of CMCs have different views. "We want the Government to set up at least two corporations so that the needs of old and new areas are addressed separately. To have a uniform taxation system in the entire Greater Bangalore area, the kind of infrastructure in the newly added areas should also be the same as that in the old," Lakshman Kumar, convener of the Bommanahalli CMC Area Residents' Welfare Association, said. "It is not that we do not want development. We are particular about having it in a systematic manner. A single corporation may not be able to handle the administration of additional wards," Mr. Lakshman Kumar said. This welfare association, the Democratic Youth Federation of India, the All-India Democratic Women's Association and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) have come together under the banner of Citizens' Welfare Association to put forth their views. But Mr. Jairaj is confident that "an effective administration and a good political leadership will be able to manage the greater corporation and improve the quality of life of CMC residents".

The number of wards is likely to increase from 100 to 135 with a population of 48,000 to 50,000 in each ward taking the total population of Greater Bangalore to 55 lakhs. "A comprehensive delimitation exercise will enable blending of old and new areas in each ward. There is no reason for citizens to fear that allocations will be made only for new wards or for old areas because they will not be separate entities. It will be need-based development in each ward," Mr. Jairaj explained.

Greater Bangalore: Public views to be sought

Greater Bangalore: Public views to be sought
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: Vice-Chairman of the Planning Board of Karnataka Dr A Ravindra on Friday said that the draft rules of the proposed ‘Greater Bangalore’ would be made available to the public in order to incorporate their views before finalising it.

Participating in a discussion on ‘Greater Bangalore’ conducted by Mahithi Hakku Adhyayana Kendra here, he said that there was a lot of apprehension among the people regarding merging of CMCs and TMC surrounding Bangalore with the Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP).

But the public will be given a chance to reciprocate to the provisions of amendments made to Greater Bangalore.

He also advocated a need for creating awareness about the project. “Though this was not a new concept, there was need for greater awareness,” he said.

Though there are questions about the credibility of the body and issues with management, it will be sorted out gradually, said Ravindra.

Ravindra said that more professionals with technical expertise were required in order to manage a metropolis and to tackle the issues, under ‘Greater Bangalore’ project.

He said that the creation of Greater Bangalore will avoid the confusion of belonging to different urban bodies and will bring whole of Bangalore including CMCs under a single elected body.

Besides, it would also help address the issues of the City. Traffic, transportation, water, electricity and land price were some of the issues that need to be tackled in both urban and rural Bangalore apart from environmental and economic challenges, he said.

Calling for a better coordination at the administrative level, he said, “responsibilities should be allotted at subdivision levels, the revenue should be utilised for upgradation of underdeveloped and neglected areas and people should be provided with good quality of life through decentralisation,” said Ravindra.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Prime land scam right under BDA’s nose!

Prime land scam right under BDA’s nose!
The Times of India

Bangalore: A scam right under BDA’s nose and it is looking the other way as it involves big names. While only 37 allottees are allowed to go ahead with construction by the court, building works are going on in full steam all over the place at Bank Colony in Banashankari.
Compounds are being built all along the vast stretch of land and houses have been springing up overnight. One acre here is about Rs 5 crore.
These are the constructions being put up by the site allottees of Vishwabharati Housing Society, as per the
high court order. But in reality, the land in question belongs to BDA.
The history of the case: 79 acres of land in Hosakerehalli village was acquired by the BDA two decades ago to form a layout. Five years after it was acquired, the Vishwabharathi Housing Society claimed ownership over the property and moved the court. So much so, the society has gone on record that a hefty bribe was paid to politicians and BDA officials to show them favours.
The society, during the tenure of the then BDA chairman L R Shivarame Gowda, brought pressure on BDA and got a Board resolution passed stating that the land has been allotted to the society through bulk allotment.
Taking advantage of this resolution, the society has formed 790 sites of various dimensions and has done the allotments.
However, when Jayakar Jerome took over as BDA commissioner in 1999, he noticed the blunder and wrote to the government asking it to cancel the resolution terming it as “illegal.’’ The resolution was cancelled and government declared that the property belonged to BDA.
“Such a resolution should not have been passed by BDA in the first place as it is contrary to the BDA Act. There are a lot of procedures involved in bulk allotment and BDA could not have given it to the housing society. I wrote to the government to cancel the resolution and subsequently it was done,’’ Jerome explained.
In the case of Vishwabharathi Housing Society, the court ordered that the 37 applicants can go ahead with construction and that nobody “should interfere for 8 weeks.’’
BDA commissioner M K Shankarlinge Gowda told TOI: “We are aware of the constructions but cannot interfere as per the court’s orders. We will move the high court division Bench on appeal.’’
He said the land belonged to BDA and all the constructions would be demolished after eight weeks.

Vishwabharathi Housing Society had passed a resolution in its general body meeting that a bribe of Rs 4.5 crore was paid to BDA officials and politicians for the allotment of land during the tenure of Shivarame Gowda as the chairman.
The resolution, passed in September 2001, stated that bribe was paid to get out-of-court settlement of the dispute over bulk allotment and to help the society to form the layout; Rs 20 per sqft was paid as bribe for Girinagar fourth stage housing project which amounted to Rs 4.5 crore.

Land sharks grab forest, but Bhoomi tracks illegal deals

Land sharks grab forest, but Bhoomi tracks illegal deals
The Times of India

Bangalore: The sprawling Turahalli minor forest in Bangalore rural which is in news for encroachments, has a primary school, a house, agriculture patches and a layout. A major chunk of the forest might have been just lost to the land sharks but for the Bhoomi project which could track the illegal land sale transactions.
Of the 597.19 acres of the forest, 343 acres, 38 guntas were “sold’’ by four city realtors by forging the documents. The Times of India is in possession of the inspection reports of the forest department which has identified various kinds of encroachments.
Tipped off by an NGO, the department discovered that a huge chunk of the forest had been ‘sold’ to Hyderabad developer Rajendra by realtors B Chandrashekar, V Mohan Kumar, Narasimhamurthy and A T Krishnamaurthy. The four had forged land records and mutation, which had been granted to the forest department on Aug 24, 1934, and ‘sold’ 343 acres, 38 guntas of shrub jungle in survey number 5 of Uttarahalli Manavarthe Kaval. Subsequently, a Forest Offence Case was filed at the Talgatpura police station.
“We’ve identified the encroachers and booked a case against them. Rest assured the sale is only on paper. We are physically in control of the entire stretch of forest,’’ district forest officer A M Annaiah told TOI.
This incident was just the tip of the iceberg. Large-scale encroachments came to light during an inspection on August 14 but the transactions were only on paper, thanks to Bhoomi (land record computerisation) project which identified the bungling.
For instance: Sale agreement for 39 acres of land was recently executed at Kengeri sub-registrar’s office. When the documents were submitted to the tahsildar for khata transfer, the scam came to light. Bhoomi showed the land records as “forest area’’ and the khata was rejected. Subsequently, the revenue department has asked district registrar to initiate action against the sub-registrar.
The inspection revealed that on survey number 42 in the east of the forest, trees were felled and land was levelled for agriculture; there was an attempt to dig a tube well. Three villagers — Shankarappa, Suresh and Byrappa — had encroached upon 16.32 acres in Gubalu village, Uttarahalli hobli, and a case has been registered.
In survey No. 41 of Kariyanapalya, a social service organisation has constructed a building housing a government primary school. What next? The forest department plans to convert the area into an eco-tourism, birdwatching and adventure sport venue.
Four persons had forged records and “sold” the forest land.
The forest dept discovered the crime after an NGO tipped it off.
The department now says it is in full “physical” control of the land.

State likely to come to standstill on Oct 4

State likely to come to standstill on Oct 4
Deccan Herald

The ‘Karnataka bundh’ call given by several Kannada organisations to oppose the Centre’s stand on the Belgaum-Maharashtra boundary issue, is expected to...

The ‘Karnataka bundh’ call given by several Kannada organisations to oppose the Centre’s stand on the Belgaum-Maharashtra boundary issue, is expected to bring the State machinery to a standstill, as the State Government Employees’ Association has pledged its full support to the bundh.

Association president L Bhyrappa told Deccan Herald that barring officers of the Health Department, all others have been asked to keep away from duty on October 4. “Government offices across the state will not function, and close to six lakh employees are taking leave on the day as a mark of support to bundh,” he said.

This decision will affect the functioning of schools and colleges also.

The Kannada Chalavali Vatal Paksha and Kannada Vedike jointly gave the bundh call condemning the Centre’s decision to withdraw the “prepared affidavit” it was to file before the Supreme Court. The affidavit said that Maharashtra’s petition seeking transfer of Marathi-speaking areas of the border district or imposition of president’s rule in those areas was “not maintainable in law”.

Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy has also supported the bundh call along with coalition partner BJP.

Truck Owners’ Association president P R Shanmukhappa said that over 2.25 lakh trucks will be off the roads on that day. “Trucks from neighbouring States have been asked to stop at the border on the day. Trucks carrying vegetables have been told to reach their destination one day in advance and milk-trucks will run till 7 am,” he said.

Movement of KSRTC buses is also expected to be affected as the Kannada Kriya Samiti of KSRTC has decided to support the bundh.

Former MLA and Kannada Vedike president Prabhakara Reddy said except hospitals and medical shops, all other business establishements would be closed on October 4.


Will the bundh call given by Kannada Rakshana Vedike on October 4, two days after the Gandhi Jayanthi holiday on Monday, extend the break by another day? IT and IT-enabled services companies are hoping it does not. This “unscheduled holiday” has only increased their apprehensions.

WiMax to unwire Bangalore for seamless connectivity

WiMax to unwire Bangalore for seamless connectivity

New Indian Express

BANGALORE: India's silicon hub Bangalore is all set to become the country's first tech city to be unwired with WiMax technology providing seamless integrated digital connectivity, a top official said here on Thursday.

"Keeping pace with the latest technologies in convergence, we are moving from Wi-Fi (wireless fidelity) to WiMax (worldwide interoperability for microwave access) for providing last mile wireless broadband access in place of cable and DSL (digital signal link)," Karnataka principal secretary (IT) Anup K Pujari told reporters.

In the run-up to the upcoming Bangalore IT in 2006 event next month, where WiMax equipment would be deployed on a pilot basis, the State Government has sent RFPs (request for proposals) to five vendors, short-listed from 13 companies that showed expression of interest (EoI).

"The Rs.200-million project covering the city and its peripheral areas will be executed by K-BITS (Karnataka Biotechnology & Information Technology Society), a nodal agency of the IT department, under the supervision of IIIT-B (Indian Institute of Information Technology-Bangalore) director S Sadagopan.

"Once we receive the RFPs, the nodal agency will select two-three of the short listed vendors to award the contract, scheduled to be completed in the next 12 months. To achieve economies of scale and greater reach in terms of density, a flexible tariff will be reached for providing the last-mile connectivity," Pujari said.

Though WiMax is not a technology per se, the term is used to certify the high-tech equipment that meets the IEEE 802.16 standard, set by WiMax Forum for conformity and interoperability. It is a notch above Wi-Fi, whose equipment is based on 802.11 standard and used for wireless local area networks (WLAN).

Forest dept. acts to save lung space

Forest dept. acts to save lung space
VIjay TImes

BBa an ngga allo orree:: At last, the efforts of Adventure Activists seem to have paid off after the Forest department finally woke up to the problem of encroachments at Turahalli Reserve Forest, the nearest forest stretch to the City.

However, the department is said to have already lost land worth crores of rupees due to encroachments.

Of late, it has been noticed that a patch of land at Turahalli has been encroached by the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) and private individuals, while complaints have been lodged against 28 persons in this regard. “We have found that about 50 acres at survey number 5 has been encroached by the BDA, while another 15 acres is encroached at survey number 42 in Uttarahalli Manavarthekaval village. Even the temple and a choultry atop the hill are on encroached land," Annaiah, Deputy Conservator of Forests, Bangalore Urban, told VViijja ay y T Tiim mees s. He said that considering the issue, the Range Forest Officer, Kaggalipura, on Sept 28, filed cases against 28 persons. Cases have been booked against B Chandrashekar, V Mohankumar, Narasimha Murthy, A T Krishnamurthy for fabricating documents and trying to sell the land. Two persons, R Dinesh Kumar and Hyderabad-based K Rajendra, were the buyers.

Ironically, the Citys adventurists had repeatedly brought this to the notice of the forest department and requested it to declare the spot as the worlds first ‘Bouldering Nursery.’ "We have been visiting this place since the past 15 years. We requested the department to act upon the same, but this did not yield results," K H Raju, a City-based rock climber said.

Thuppil Venkatesh, a founder member of SPARK, an adventure group, says that following his complaint, several officials visited the spot, but no action was taken. Raju says that the place, situated on Kanakapura Road, is the nearest forest patch to City and can be good lung space if left alone.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Demolitions galore along valleys in Oct. TIMES NEWS NETWORK

Demolitions galore along valleys in Oct.
The Times of India

Bangalore: Demolitions alongside the valley paths and drains will begin from October. Encroachments, obstructions and houses would all be razed, BMP commissioner K Jairaj said on Wednesday.
At the council meeting, Jairaj informed said encroachments have been identified and will be brought down in tandem with BMTF, BWSSB, and the city police. Some demolitions have apparently already taken place at the Koramangala, Hebbal and Vrishabhavathi valleys.
At the second day of the council meeting, corporators once again charged that desilting had not taken place in certain areas. The Jalahalli corporator alleged that storm water drains and sewage lines were non-existent at his ward as also Yeshwantpur. Officials had an answer to this — they are planning to reduce height and depth of manholes, lock them and have a plan of sewage lines running parallel to storm water drains. Another demolition: The BDA on Wednesday demolished unauthorised constructions on its property in Hennur village and recovered land worth Rs 24 crore.

NURM of an idea: new look for CDP

NURM of an idea: new look for CDP
Projects Worth Rs 22,000 Cr Await Centre’s Permission
The Times of INdia

Bangalore: Just like the name, Bangalore to Bengaluru, the city’s infrastructure is set to undergo a massive haul. The City Development Plan (CDP) of Bangalore is being prepared for the second time, with a “sea change’’.
This CDP (not to be confused with BDA’s Comprehensive Development Plan) is getting spruced up and will be submitted to the Centre to be eligible for the prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Reforms Mission, JN-NURM. The city’s metamorphosis into a global metropolis depends on the Centre’s approval of Bangalore’s CDP.
Between December 2005 and now, urban local bodies have learnt their lessons. Miffed by the Centre’s rejection of the earlier submitted City Development Strategy Plan, CDSP, the BMP has, this time around, cleaned up its act and come out with a CDP, which is apparently radically different from the previous one.
Explains BMP special commissioner Gaurav Gupta, “One of the grounds for rejecting the previous one was that a CDP is not merely a list of projects. So we have formulated 8 DPRs (detailed project reports) for NURM. There has been a complete rewriting of the CDP keeping in mind the guidelines that were prescribed. For instance, before submitting the plan for funds, we had to hold public discussions and debates. Accordingly, we had public meetings at the ward levels, involving legislators, resident welfare associations and NGOs. The priorities have been culled out from citizens.’’
In this CDP, the primary emphasis is on roads for the city, and funds allocated for this singularly stands at Rs 7,536 crore. The suggestions offered from the public fora have been distilled into sector-wise reforms. The draft CDP will then be sent to the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIM-A), for appraisal.
Till the final nod, projects
worth Rs 22,000 crore are here.
On blueprint.

Oct 4 bandh to hit essential services

Oct 4 bandh to hit essential services
The Times of India

Bangalore: Public utility services, including supply of essential commodities, are likely to be hit on Oct 4, when pro-Kannada organisations observe a bandh to protest against Centre’s stand in the Supreme Court on the Karnataka-Maharashtra border row.
Thousands of autorickshaws, taxis and lorries will stay off the road. Federation of Karnataka State Lorry Owners’ Association G Shanmugappa said the entire fleet of 2.25 lakh trucks will not ply. “Essential commodities too could be hit,’’ he said.
Adarsha Auto and Taxi Drivers’ Union president Manjunath said autorickshaws too will not ply. The Karnataka City Taxi Operators Association has expressed support for the bandh.
KSRTC and BMTC haven’t decided yet on withdrawing services. “We’ll take a decision on that day based on the law and order situation,” said MD Upendra Tripathy.
Though the education department has not issued any circular declaring a holiday, schools which are closed for Dasara holidays have decided to reopen on Oct 5.
Members of the state government employees association too have decided to support it by abstaining from work. Train and air service will not be hit.

Govt nod for amendments to Revenue Act

Govt nod for amendments to Revenue Act
Land-grabbers to get jail term
Deccan Herald

Those grabbing revenue land will now be liable for imprisonment up to three years. The punishment applies not only to land-grabbers, but also to the officials and others who are hand in glove with them.

The State Cabinet on Wednesday gave approval for amending the Karnataka Land Revenue Act to include an imprisonment clause for land-grabbers.

The proposed amendments also provide for slapping a fine of Rs 10,000. While the proposed amendments cover the encroachment of revenue land, their scope would be soon extended to deal with encroachment of all kinds of government land, sources said.

Airport development

Briefing reporters after the Cabinet meeting held in Belgaum before the commencement of the third day’s session of the State legislature, Primary and Secondary Education Minister Basavaraj Horatti said even those officials who indirectly help land-grabbers by regularising encroachments would be liable for punishment. The Cabinet also gave clearance for upgrading the airports at Hubli and Belgaum at a cost of Rs 20 crore each. While the Belgaum airport will have 300 acres of land, the Hubli airport will have 400 acres. To improve inter-State connectivity, the Cabinet decided to upgrade the 50-km stretch of road between Belgaum and Goa at a cost of Rs 65 crore.

The road, which comprises stretches of State highway as well as main district roads, will be upgraded to national highway standard, Public Works Minister H D Revanna said.

Besides, the Cabinet gave its clearance for calling tenders to take up construction of the building for the Karnataka High Court circuit bench in Gulbarga at a cost of Rs 65 crore.

Mr Revanna said the construction would commence shortly.

It was also decided to take up 750 villages for infrastructure development this year as against 1,000 villages under the Suvarna Gramodaya scheme. From next year, 1,000 villages would be taken up under the project, he said. Each village will get Rs 1 crore for infrastructure development under this scheme.

The Cabinet also decided to provide additional powers to Regional Commissioners, thus reviving the old system of Divisional Commissioners.

The post of Divisional Commissioners was abolished on the recommendation of the State Administrative Reforms Commission. Mr Horatti declined to comment on reviving the old custom.

BPL ration cards

The other decisions of the Cabinet include providing a bank guarantee to the Karnataka Power Corporation for availing itself of a loan of Rs 188.65 crore for the maintenance of Raichur Thermal Power Station, and directions to the Deputy Commissioners to distribute BPL ration cards at the earliest without changes in the list of beneficiaries already prepared.


*Revenue land-grabbers to get 3-year jail

*All kinds of govt land encroachments to be tackled

*Punishment for officers helping land-grabbers

*Hubli, Belgaum airports to be upgraded

*Belgaum-Goa road to be upgraded

*More power to Regional Commissioners

It will be `Bengaluru', resolves BMP

It will be `Bengaluru', resolves BMP
THe Hindu

Objections from public invited and proposal awaits government approval

# BMP Council approves ambitious projects with Rs. 22,000 crore outlay
# Demolition drive planned to clear encroachments in four valleys

Bangalore: Bangalore will be renamed Bengaluru, if a resolution passed by the Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP) is accepted by the State Government and the public.

A major step towards overhauling the city's infrastructure was taken with the BMP Council approving projects under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission.

The resolution on changing the name of the city, taken by the BMP Council on Wednesday, will now be forwarded to the Government.

The BMP has invited objections from the public for the proposed change, which would have to be filed within a month.

The idea was mooted by Jnanpith Award-winner and litterateur U.R. Anathmurthy, who said that cities in the State should be renamed from colonial names to more regional forms.


The BMP has drawn up nine projects with an allocation of Rs. 22,536 crore under the JNNURM, a major urban renewal initiative taken up by the Centre.

The projects approved by the Council include Rs. 2,783 crore for drinking water and drainage, Rs. 800 crore for solid waste management, Rs. 7,536 crore for roads, Rs. 3,511 crore for other road development, Rs. 1,339 crore for storm water drains, Rs. 14 crore for beautification, Rs. 307 crore for other civic services, Rs. 212 crore for tourism and Rs. 6,034 crore for the urban poor.

Demolition drive

Following discussions on the storm water drains in the four valleys of the city, BMP Commissioner K. Jairaj said a demolition drive would be conducted in October.

Mr. Jairaj said that encroachments would be cleared with assistance from the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board, the Bangalore Metropolitan Task Force and the Police Department.

He said that 18 encroachments had been cleared in Koramangala Valley, 30 in Hebbal Valley and 12 in Vrishbhavathi.

50 instances of encroachments have been identified at Challaghatta Valley and would be removed soon. It will be `Bengaluru', resolves BMP

Staff Reporter

Objections from public invited and proposal awaits government approval

# BMP Council approves ambitious projects with Rs. 22,000 crore outlay
# Demolition drive planned to clear encroachments in four valleys

Bangalore: Bangalore will be renamed Bengaluru, if a resolution passed by the Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP) is accepted by the State Government and the public.

A major step towards overhauling the city's infrastructure was taken with the BMP Council approving projects under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission.

The resolution on changing the name of the city, taken by the BMP Council on Wednesday, will now be forwarded to the Government.

The BMP has invited objections from the public for the proposed change, which would have to be filed within a month.

The idea was mooted by Jnanpith Award-winner and litterateur U.R. Anathmurthy, who said that cities in the State should be renamed from colonial names to more regional forms.


The BMP has drawn up nine projects with an allocation of Rs. 22,536 crore under the JNNURM, a major urban renewal initiative taken up by the Centre.

The projects approved by the Council include Rs. 2,783 crore for drinking water and drainage, Rs. 800 crore for solid waste management, Rs. 7,536 crore for roads, Rs. 3,511 crore for other road development, Rs. 1,339 crore for storm water drains, Rs. 14 crore for beautification, Rs. 307 crore for other civic services, Rs. 212 crore for tourism and Rs. 6,034 crore for the urban poor.

Demolition drive

Following discussions on the storm water drains in the four valleys of the city, BMP Commissioner K. Jairaj said a demolition drive would be conducted in October.

Mr. Jairaj said that encroachments would be cleared with assistance from the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board, the Bangalore Metropolitan Task Force and the Police Department.

He said that 18 encroachments had been cleared in Koramangala Valley, 30 in Hebbal Valley and 12 in Vrishbhavathi.

50 instances of encroachments have been identified at Challaghatta Valley and would be removed soon.

Tourism Department plans major convention centre at Devanahalli

Tourism Department plans major convention centre at Devanahalli

The Hindu

The project is aimed at attracting the big names in the corporate world

# The centre will have a seating capacity of 5,000
# The boarding accommodation will be for 3,000 people

BANGALORE: To attract international tourists and create a "brand" for Bangalore, the Department of Tourism is planning to build an international convention centre near the International Airport in Devanahalli.

This centre, with a seating capacity of 5,000 and hotel accommodation for 3,000 tourists, has been planned to attract the corporate world and promote meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) tourism, Tourism Commissioner G. Kumar Naik said here on Wednesday.

Mr. Naik told The Hindu that tenders for the centre had been called and several big construction companies had applied. "We will soon evaluate the tenders and finalise the work orders," he said.

He said the department was working out strategies to promote medical tourism in a big way. The construction industry, hospitality sector and medical fraternity would work together for this project. Private hoteliers, travel agents, 13 star hotels and companies such as Tata, Reliance, and L and T had already signed for this programme, he said.

The department had tied-up with international brands such as Hilton, Taj, Intercontinental and a few leading European hotels and brands as well, Mr. Naik said.

Shortage of staff renders scanner redundant at airport

Shortage of staff renders scanner redundant at airport

The Hindu

Long queues frustrate passengers at international departure terminal

# Passengers advised to be at the airport three hours before the departure of the flight
# AAI scanner lying idle because there are no trained personnel to operate them

BANGALORE: Wondered why you had to wait endlessly in that serpentine queue outside the HAL airport's international departure terminal? Because, only one of the two X-ray scanners inside is being used while one perfectly working machine sits idle unmindful of the collective travel worries of the waiting passengers.

The Hindu discovered that two Air India personnel operated the working scanner and the second machine owned by the Airports Authority of India (AAI) was idle for want of manpower.

International airlines, barring British Airways and Sri Lankan Airlines, are forced to rely on the Air India scanner because they had no manpower or scanners of their own. The machine operators had to be trained men approved by the Directorate-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).

Paucity of space

When contacted, a top Air India official at the airport blamed paucity of space and men for not using the second scanner. But he claimed that the machine was operated when "required." Since the machine was installed just at the entrance of the departure terminal, a canopy was necessary to provide cover to a second queue of passengers waiting outside.

With hardly any space outside, the canopy was ruled out. "There is no space even for five to six passengers to stand with their luggage," the official said.

Sources said the AAI had urged some of the international airlines discontinue the contract with Air India and look for alternative facilities. But the solution was not so easy. Indian had its own scanner, but was not ready to get into any contract with other airlines. As the Air India official put it, even if the X-ray scanners worked, the rush could not be controlled.


The result: unending queues in front of the departure terminal, adding to the chaos. Passengers bound for West Asia, Singapore, Thailand, Australia and other countries were forced to slug it out with their bags and baggage. Tension writ large over their faces, the passengers often worry whether they would report for the flight on time. A Sydney-bound passenger, who arrived just an hour before the flight departure, was shocked to see the long queue that stretched across the length of the airport building. But she had to join in, pushing her luggage behind a crowd that had Japanese businessmen, Chinese tourists and Australian activists jostle for space with cars and pickup vehicles. The cacophony of the vehicles, some parked, some moving, made it worse.

The latest extension of the airport terminal space meant there would be more seats and counters inside. But outside, the terminal expansion took away even the standing space. The peak hour traffic of international flights between 9.30 p.m. and the early hours of the next day brings hordes of passengers during a short period, increasing the pressure on the airport infrastructure.

Waiting time

Sensing trouble, the airport authorities had advised passengers to reach the place at least three hours before their flights. Yet, many passengers unaware of the airport problems end up arriving late or at the usual time. The scene at the airport never fails to shock them.

'Display name-boards in Kannada or face action'

'Display name-boards in Kannada or face action'
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: The Karnataka Government has made it mandatory for all the shops and commercial establishments to have their name-boards written in Kannada or else face legal action.

According to an official release from the State Labour Commissioner, though the government had made it mandatory to display name-boards in Kannada, considerable number of shops and commercial establishments were yet to implement it.

However, the Labour department officials and the Kannada development authority would jointly hold a weeklong campaign in all districts and initiate action against the owners of shops and commercial establishments that have failed to adhere to the government directive by October 31.

Land scandal finds an echo in both Houses

Land scandal finds an echo in both Houses

The Hindu

I need not resign as the charge is baseless: Chief Minister

# Congress seeks to move adjournment motion in both Houses
# Speaker Krishna rejects adjournment motion

Bangalore: The coalition Government has dismissed the land scam allegation as yet another attempt to pull down the Government and defame Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy. It was, however, another matter that the Chief Minister was visibly upset with the developments. The last three

months have been marked by allegations and counter-allegations and a considerable amount of time has been spent on such matters.

The land scam topped the discussions in the two Houses of the legislature on Wednesday with the Congress led by N. Dharam Singh in the Legislative Assembly and H.K. Patil in the Legislative Council seeking to move an adjournment motion in the two Houses. Even as the preliminary submission was on, the Chief Minister said the revelation did not warrant his resignation since it was a "baseless and concocted" charge. The adjournment motion was subsequently rejected in the Assembly following a ruling by the Speaker Krishna.

Meanwhile, Governor T.N. Chaturvedi will address the special session of the legislature on Thursday. There is no change in the Governor's programme although earlier in the day it was reported that the Governor may cancel his visit following another round of allegations

being made against the Government.

Sources in the Government told The Hindu that the Minister for Home and Parliamentary Affairs M.P. Prakash spoke to the Governor who has agreed to address the session since it had been organised for the first time in Belgaum and since it also coincided with the Suvarna Karnataka celebrations.

The Governor's address will be witnessed among others by some special guests of honour invited by the State Government. The Governor is said to have himself prepared his speech, with the Government providing some inputs pertaining to certain issues confronting the State. Early in the day, Mr. Patil who had made a brief mention of the land scam in the Upper House on Tuesday, produced copies of the compact discs pertaining to the revelations of the scam made by the TV channel and released it to the legislators and the media.

Sources in the Government said that a damage control exercise had been initiated, more so, since the legislature was in session. All the requisite information pertaining to the forest land

in question and the reported encroachments therein had been collected.

On the floor of the legislature, the Government put up a bold defence. Earlier, a discussion was sought to be raised on a reply of the Governor to Mr. Patil wherein the Governor had stated that he was disturbed by the controversies and allegations and counter-allegations of corruption plaguing the coalition Government which, according to him, would affect the governance of the State.

Land grabbers to get jail term

Land grabbers to get jail term
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: Those encroaching or grabbing government or municipal lands will face a jail term. Those helping them do so, including officials, are liable for punishment.

The State Government is amending the Karnataka Land Revenue Act for the purpose and the Cabinet cleared a Bill to this effect on Wednesday.

The State Cabinet has also decided to develop 1000 villages in a year under the Suvarna Grama programme. This year, 750 villages will be developed.

Education Minister Basavaraj Horatti briefed reporters after the Cabinet meeting and said that 528 villages had been identified so far. The Government will spend Rs 1 crore on each village, he said.

The other Cabinet decisions are: Upgrading Belgaum- Chorla- Goa road to national highway standards at a cost of Rs 64.39 crore.

Upgrading Belgaum and Hubli airports at Rs 20 crore each; Providing guarantee to Rs 189.65 crore loan availed by the Karnataka Power Corporation Limited (KPCL) for maintenance works at its Raichur Thermal Power Station.

Cops to hotels: Use mini buses, ease traffic

Cops to hotels: Use mini buses, ease traffic
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: Traffic snarls and back-ups on Airport Road might ease up substantially if the traffic police have their way.

To lessen the traffic congestion on this busy road, the cops have asked the management of star hotels in the city to use mini buses instead of cars to ply their customers from the airport to the hotels.

Airport road has one of the slowest moving traffic in Bangalore. The problem of congestion exists even inside the Airport parking lot.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (Traffic East) M A Saleem told this website’s newspaper that the new initiative might ease up traffic congestion on the busy road.

“We are trying to convince the hotel authorities to operate mini buses instead of one car for one customer. A single luxury mini vehicle can reduce at least four cars. Nearby hotels can jointly use a single vehicle for the transport of their customers. This will reduce unnecessary plying of vehicles on the road,” he said.

Saleem said that their main intention was to reduce the number of private cars, hotel cabs and taxis. “Using public transport will keep 50-200 cars off the road, which makes traffic movement much more flexible,” he said.

The traffic police have also spoken to the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) officials to operate Volvo buses. “Operating these luxury buses will make the car users switch to the bus to some extent,” he added.

However, BMTC sources said that they are planning to operate ‘Rajahamsa’ buses for this purpose.

English-medium fine for Ministers’ kids in Karnataka, banned for others

English-medium fine for Ministers’ kids in Karnataka, banned for others
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: The Karnataka government is threatening to jeopardise the education of 2.73 lakh school students in its zeal to make Kannada the compulsory medium of instruction at the primary level. But its ministers have one policy for themselves and another for the people.

As many as 15 ministers of the 30-member cabinet have sent their children to English-medium schools. They include Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy and Primary Education Minister Basavaraj Horatti, who has ordered the closure of 1,416 state syllabus schools for violating a 1994 ‘Kannada schools only’ rule.

Kumaraswamy’s son Nikhil studied at Carmel English School at Bangalore, Deputy Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa’s two sons Raghavendra and Vijendra went to the English-medium Lion’s School in Shimoga.

Horatti’s oldest son Vasanth, now an MBA student, initially studied in an English-medium school in Mumbai before moving to St Michael’s at Hubli. His second son Bharath, now an engineering student, is a Kendriya Vidyalaya product, and his daughter Lakshmi was at a Hubli convent school.

“My children were in English-medium schools before the 1994 rule came in. We are not saying don’t study in English schools. These schools gave an undertaking that Kannada will be their medium of instruction. They have violated the rule,’’ Horatti argues.

Each minister has an interesting excuse. “We made a mistake (in admitting children to English-medium schools), we don’t want others to be making the same mistake. I support the move initiated by the government,’’ Science and Technology Minister Ramachandra Gowda says. “Though my children study in an English-medium school, I have told them to learn Kannada as well. Language options in their schools allow them to learn both,’’ says Labour Minister Iqbal Ansari.

The government has issued closure notices to 1,416 schools over the past month and has proposed to retrench students from these schools to Kannada government and private schools, when schools re-open after a Dussehra break. The schools are being shutdown for violating a 1994 government notification that made it mandatory for all new schools to use Kannada as the medium of instruction.

“We have been forced to take action to implement the language policy after the schools ignored warning notices,’’ Kumaraswamy said. The government has come up with no plans for the 2. 73 lakh students.

Perhaps the lone voice of difference in the government is that of a man who did not send his children to English-medium schools. “The students must not be put through this in the middle of the academic year. Going to a good Kannada school is not a handicap, but knowing English gives children better opportunities in the liberalised world,’’ says Medical Education Minister Dr V S Acharya whose five children have been educated in Kannada-medium schools.

His colleagues who sent their children to English schools are: Public Works and Energy Minister H D Revanna, Minister for Revenue Jagadish Shettar, Transport Minister N Cheluvarayaswamy, Labour and Minority Welfare Minister Iqbal Ansari, Health Minister R Ashok, Industries Minister Katta Subramanyam Naidu, Science and Technology Minister Ramachandra Gowda, Housing Minister D T Jayakumar, Forest Minister C Chenigappa, Tourism Minister B Sriramulu, Wakf Minister Zameer Ahmed Khan and Minister for Food Govind Karjol.

Among the exceptions are Water Resources minister K S Eshwarappa and Higher Education Minister D H Shankaramurthy who sent their children to Kannada-medium schools.

At Rs 9 crore, Dr Raj death violence is second cosliest

At Rs 9 crore, Dr Raj death violence is second cosliest
Vijay Times

The violence and damage to public and private property in the aftermath of the death of matinee idol Rajkumar is the second highest loss suffered in such violence by the State in recent memory, according to official figures.

The highest loss was caused during the 1991 Cauvery agitation, when property worth Rs 19.85 crore was lost. The loss in the violence after the demise of Rajkumar and during the funeral procession is put at Rs 9.17 crore (Rs 9,17,57,848 to be precise).

Eight people including a police constable were killed in the mob violence. Over 400 vehicles including 80 police vehicles were damaged. Of the 721 arrested for their involvement in the violence, 321 are in judicial custody, 399 are out on bail.

Additional Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) Bipin Gopalakrishna told : "We were told that proper arrangements had been made to keep the body at the Palace grounds for the public to pay their last respects. Believing it, we took the body there, only to find an open ground.

"The crowd was getting angry and a group approached hurling abuse at police and the government. If some politician passes away, you people treat them in a great way. But what have you done with our Annavaru ? The government is treating his body like that of an orphan, they said, Gopalakrishna recalled.

The other major incidents which have resulted in loss of public and private property are Rajkumars kidnap by Veerappan (Rs 57 lakh), the Babri Masjid demolition aftermath (Rs 9.46 lakh) and the row over introduction of Urdu News on DD (Rs 6.74 lakh).

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

K'taka runs for cover over land scam

K'taka runs for cover over land scam
Deepa Balakrishnan

Bangalore: Both Houses of the Karnataka Legislature on Wednesday witnessed scenes of uproar after CNN-IBN exposed the Rs 800 crore land scam in Bangalore.

It was in the Karnataka Legislative Council that questions over the CNN-IBN expose were first raised.

Opposition leader H K Patil moved an adjournment motion over the CD recording of the scam. This came after all members of the Legislative Coucil watched the recording.

Opposition Leader, Karnataka Legislative Council says H K Patil, "There are five ministers sitting with heaps of notes. The evidence is there for everyone to see. If this is an everyday affair, don't you think people are going to be nauseated with all the malpractices in the state?"

The Assembly Speaker rejected the adjournment motion on the Bangalore land scam issue, even while the government dismissed the expose as fake.

It said the recording could have been manipulated.

Karnataka Chief Minister, H D Kumaraswamy, says, "I don't know how genuine the recording is and nowadays media is not doing justice to its work in any case."

CNN-IBN, on Tuesday exposed the land scam in Bangalore, in which 500 acres of government forest land was being sold off illegally.

The state Congress has demanded a CBI inquiry into the scam.

Drain remodelling slow; courtesy encroachments

Drain remodelling slow; courtesy encroachments
Deccan Herald

Just about 15 per cent progress is achieved in the Rs 490 crore Storm Water Drain (SWD) remodelling works in the City due to the yet to be resolved issues like encroachments, obstructions from utility cables, sewage pipelines, narrow and inaccessible drains and the like, says the official report of the Bangalore Mahanagara Palike.

Joint Commissioner (Works) Harsh Gupta on Tuesday, informed the BMP Council that survey on encroachments along the SWDs was itself a long and time consuming process and the BMP was faced with shortage of surveyors too. Additional help by way of six surveyors brought in on deputation, was procured three months ago, he said.

It was noted that there are labour problems too. The presence of sewage in SWDs have meant that workers don’t stick to the work for long, he said.

A report which was submitted to the council on the occasion noted that 14.84 per cent financial progress is achieved in the SWD remodelling project across the four valleys (Koramangala, Challaghatta, Hebbal and Vrishabhavathi). The project which is being taken up under 15 packages began in April 2005 with the Koramangala Valley - Package I (SWD from Majestic to Viveknagar). For example, the scheduled date of completion of this package is October 19, 2006, but its progress is reportedly is 22.44 per cent only. The following are listed as issues affecting the progress of SWD remodelling project:

*Encroachment on SWD land

* Buildings constructed exactly on the drain walls and on the covered drains

* Buildings constructed without leaving setbacks

* Large number of cables and utility lines laid inside and across the SWD near the culvert locations

*Raw sewage entering directly into SWD from residential/ commercial buildings

* Large quantity of sewage flow observed inside SWD due to incomplete sewer system

* Due to unhygienic conditions there is frequent change in manual labourers

* Indiscriminate dumping of garbage/ debris into SWD

* Non-availability of adequate survey personnel and revenue survey details to procure additional land required for drain widening.

n Resistance to drain widening and providing service roads

Is it Bengaluru from Nov. 1?

Is it Bengaluru from Nov. 1?
The Times of India

Bangalore: With little more than a month left to rename Bangalore as ‘Bengaluru’, the BMP is expected to discuss the issue
at the council meeting on Wednesday.
The urban development department, which is the nodal agency to implement the move, said it is awaiting nod from the BMP, which has to pass a resolution.
Speaking to TOI on Tuesday mayor Mumtaz Begum said: “We will have a discussion on this and pass a resolution in Wednesday’s meeting. Once the resolution is passed, it will be sent to the state government for amendments and approval.’’
Notwithstanding this, last week, CM H D Kumaraswamy announced in Magadi that Bangalore Rural district will be named as ‘Kempe Gowda district’. Former CM Dharam Singh had announced to rename Bangalore city as Bengaluru. His successor Kumaraswamy too echoed and said Bangalore will be called Bengaluru from November 1. But the process stopped at the announcement.
The state government decided to implement a suggestion from Jnanpith awardee U R Ananthamurthy that the IT city, on the lines of Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai, should revert to its pre-colonial Kannada name, ‘Bengaluru’.

It’s officials versus corporators in BMP

It’s officials versus corporators in BMP
Deccan Herald

With just about 60 days to go before their term ends, the Bangalore Mahanagara Palike Council on Tuesday saw the corporators, led by leader of the ruling Congress H Ravindra, blur political identities and re-draw the battle lines in the BMP as officials versus corporators.

With just about 60 days to go before their term ends, the Bangalore Mahanagara Palike Council on Tuesday saw the corporators, led by leader of the ruling Congress H Ravindra, blur political identities and re-draw the battle lines in the BMP as officials versus corporators.

The Council meeting was largely about - why no work is being done? Why no funds are released? Why tender processes are taking time? — and more. Corporators, largely from the Congress and BJP benches, appealed to the officials to buck up and help them finish whatever work they can in the short time that is left of their term.

The main Opposition JD (S) put in its complaint mildly - bar Ms Marimuthu (Ward 90, Saggayipuram). She noted that though exclusive funds from under the Mayor’s grant and MLAs grant have been sanctioned for asphaltation and footpath works in her ward and work code is also identified, the work per se has not taken off.

Among others, the corporators also charged the officials with delaying file clearance.

Refuting these charges Commissioner K Jairaj noted that spill over works amounting to over Rs 100 crore has been taken up since April. The pending works worth around another Rs 100 core will be completed by October 15, he said.

In a bid to ensure discipline across the host of its works, spillover works are being taken up on priority, other works will follow them, he said. The tenders for the programme of works (as drawn from the BMP-budget 2006-07) will be called shortly, he added.


Gist of spillover works and pending files according to the information provided to the BMP council by the Commissioner:

*Spill over works completed since April 2006:

East Zone: No of works - 560, cost - Rs 26 crore

West Zone: No of works - 564, cost - Rs 33.69 cr

South Zone: No of works - 160, cost - Rs 66.90 cr

*Cost of pending spill over works:

East Zone: Rs 18 crore

West Zone: Rs 36 crore

South Zone: Rs 49 crore

*Number of pending files as on date:

East Zone: 390

West Zone: 272

South Zone: 240

City land sharks stung in the act

City land sharks stung in the act
Deccan Herald

Yet another police-politician nexus came to light while the land mafia were cutting deals to sell around 593 acres of the Turahalli reserve forest land, 5 kms from Bangalore, at an estimated value of Rs 800 crore...

Yet another police-politician nexus came to light while the land mafia were cutting deals to sell around 593 acres of the Turahalli reserve forest land, 5 kms from Bangalore, at an estimated value of Rs 800 crore. A private English channel in one of their sting operations on Tuesday showed footage of three land developers operating from the Unity building boasting of their connections with the police and politicians. They also showed fabricated land documents of the Turahalli forest land being gifted to their forefathers decades ago by the Dewan of Mysore. However a government notification dated August 24, 1934, from the chief secretary’s office clearly declares that Turahalli is a reserve forest. Deputy Conservator, Forests, B M Parameswara says: “It is 100 per cent reserve forest owned by the Karnataka forest department for which we have all records.”

“Certainly a complaint is there. We have as a precautionary measure, referred it to the police department.” The channel showed Transport Commissioner M C Narayan Gowda and former joint commissioner (crime) facing the camera, wearing a green check shirt. During the course of discussion, he said: “some NRI is close to the CM and it can be done. Sanctions can be sought from CM.”

Mr Narayan Gowda denied all charges. He said: “the NRI topic came up while i was referring to one Amaranath Gowda who lives in the US. I don’t have any dealings with any land developer, especially in this regard. Since I am close to the CM’s family, I knew there could be trouble. So I have kept myself at a distance soon after Kumaraswamy became the CM.”


*It’s an outdoor enthusiasts’ and rock climbers’ paradise.

*On way to Kanakapura. Beyond the KoNaNa Kunte cross there is a petrol bunk after 2 kms on the left side of the road.

*There is small road opposite the petrol bunk, which will take you to Gubba Lala village. From here Turahalli village is about 1.5 kms.

Remodelling project: main works ready

Remodelling project: main works ready

The Hindu

BMP launched work to remodel storm water drains in 2005

# Presentation cites problems affecting work
# Six more officers taken on deputation

Bangalore: Only 14.84 per cent of work under the storm water drain remodelling project had been completed but these included critical components of the projects, Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP) officials told the BMP Council meeting here on Tuesday.

In April 2005, the BMP had taken up remodelling of the storm water drains in the city under four packages that include Koramangala, Challaghatta, Hebbal and Vrishbhavathi valleys. In a presentation made to corporators, Harsh Gupta, Joint Commissioner (Works), cited the same problems that had continued to affect work under remodelling project. He said the encroachments of storm water drains across the city were still in the process of being surveyed. Six more officers had been taken on deputation to complete the survey and identify encroachments on drains, he said. Mr. Gupta said that in many places, buildings constructed near drains put immense pressure on retention walls of these drains, leading to their collapse. In such cases, demolitions would have to be carried out and/or new retention walls built, he said.

There was more than 160 km of storm water drains in the city but bed treatment work, an important component of remodelling, had not taken off on 90 km of roads, Mr. Gupta said. He attributed the delay in work to sewage lines that intersect or run along these drains.

Mr. Gupta said that the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board was of the view that shifting sewage lines would cost them nearly Rs. 400 crore. They were yet to identify spots where work was needed and tenders were yet to be called for, he said.

Shivashankar, Superintending Engineer in-charge of storm water drains, said that land was yet to be given by the Golf Club and permission from HAL authorities was yet to be taken to use of land for drains. Inaccessible secondary drains also posed major problems while cleaning, he said.

Mr. Shivashankar said that encroachments had been cleared at the end of the drains near the four valleys and the tunnels widened. With a nominal extension of six months, work would be completed, he said.

Gaurav Gupta, Special Commissioner, said that work on storm water drains would be incorporated into the project reports being prepared under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission.

Vanishing water bodies

Vanishing water bodies
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: The lakes in the city are endangered - thanks to encroachments and pollution. Bangalore had 262 lakes in 1976 and today there are only 81. Of these, only 34 are live.

Even these surviving lakes are reduced to cesspools due to direct discharge of industrial effluents and unregulated dumping of solid wastes.

The Deputy Conservator of Forests, Bangalore Urban, A M Annaiah told this website’s newspaper that many of the surviving lakes could be encroached. He said that some were converted by BMP for residential or public purposes.

The Karnataka High Court had passed an interim order that directed not to make any grant or allotment of the land within BMRDA area in Aug 22, 1995. But layouts continue to be formed in this zone.

Some of the worst affected lakes are Vibhutipura, Hoskerehalli, Madivala and Jaraganahalli among others. The other few polluted lakes are Yediyur, Varthur, Ulsoor, Belandur and Rachenahalli.

Karnataka Lake Development Authority also looks after the lakes in the entire state and blames pollution for decaying of lakes in city areas. CEO of LDA B K Singh said that first the untreated sewerage needs to be arrested by BWSSB and BMP. Private participation could help a great lot, he said.

“We are receiving many agencies who are interested in adoption of lakes. But majority have shown a keen interest in lakes situated at the periphery than central areas because of the same reason. Who would like to take up polluted lakes,” Singh added.

BMP to enforce protocol on road digging

BMP to enforce protocol on road digging
New Indian Express

The Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP) has revised the protocol for digging roads by BWSSB, BESCOM, BSNL and other agencies.

While the civic body receives all the flak for bad roads, the utilities get away with the damage they cause to the roads. The civic body has stopped all digging to lay optical fibre cables and would allow work only by HDD (Horizontal Directional Digging) technique.

“The civic body needs greater cooperation from other service providers. While it is mandatory to obtain BMP permission to dig roads, there is haphazard cutting of arterial and sub-arterial roads. BMP will ask all agencies to follow the protocol and take care to close the trenches after the work has been completed.”

Harsh Gupta, Joint Commissioner (Works), Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP)

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Plastic paves the way for IT-BT roads

Plastic paves the way for IT-BT roads
17 Done Up With Best Technical Specifications,Though After Extended Deadline
The Times of India

Bangalore: Plastic is good! That’s what the 19 IT-BT roads in the city have proved.
Good news: Of the 19 roads, 17 have been done up, though after the deadline was extended.
All these roads, leading to the famed IT Corridor, had a deadline of Jan. 2006. That dispensed with, there was no fixed deadline thereafter. But they have been finally revamped with the best technical specifications. Two roads — Commissariat Road and Lower Agaram Road — are still awaiting work.
Check out the technical specifications on these roads — the asphalting layer stands at 60/70 instead of the usual 80/100. Engineers who worked on these roads explain that the asphalting grade layers work in descending order and hence even 30/40 would be considered a high level. These roads also have a mix of 8% polyblend, which is plastic waste combined with the hot mix to yield a good riding surface. “With plastic, we have seen that the cohesiveness of the surface improves,’’ they say.
Explains Rasool Khan of KK Plastic Waste Management, “The 19 roads add up to a total of 60 km. The plastic has been sourced from the solid waste of the city, so it even contributes to reduce the choking of plastics on city’s drainage.’’ The other point that BMP personnel moot is that roads with these high specifications don’t need repairs or maintenance for 10 yrs.
These roads were selected for upgradation on a fast-track basis, after an interface between the government and industry representatives circa September 2005. Work was supposed to have started in October last year, with a deadline of January 2006. People at the helm of affairs changed, and the person incharge of the project was abroad for a while and a new person was designated only in March, which was when work began on the IT-BT roads.
Says member of empowered committee on infrastructure R K Misra who often accompanied the teams on their inspections and whilst the specifications were being laid out: “The quality of roads is reasonably good. It still needs a better finish though. People’s expectations are exacting, which means some things like the undulating surfaces at the road ends, should all be looked into. As also the Trinity junction, Brunton Road, Koramangala 7th and 8th main.’’

You’ve to pay if you take the EH way

You’ve to pay if you take the EH way
Deccan Herald

There is always a first, and two-wheeler riders, in future will have to pay a price to reach a specific destination in the City.

The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) has fixed its toll rates, for users who will take the Elevated Highway (EH) on Hosur Road, where two-wheeler riders will also be charged.

For the first time in the City, Rs 10 is being charted as a fixed price to be collected from two-wheeler riders who will use the 10 kilometre stretch, to get to Electronic City.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, NHAI officials said that the rates were fixed as per the financial viability of the project. “All Build Operate and Transfer (BOT) projects have rates fixed according to the project specifications and requirement. Since the Elevated Highway project runs into hundreds of crores of rupees, we have take into consideration the financial returns as well. Hence we have to charge the two-wheelers also,” revealed a source.

NHAI usually fixes Base Rates for four-lanes on a ‘per kilometre rate’, which can vary from project to project. However, an average charge of Rs 2 is fixed for buses and trucks, while 0.60 paisa is charged for cars per kilometre, as returns in big projects.


Since the EH project not only has a 10-lane provision, it also provides for a 10 km stretch flyover, which facilitates high density traffic movement.

NHAI will build three Toll Plazas, on the EH. While one will be towards the end of the ramp leading into Electronic City, the second one will be on the end of ramp leading into Electronic City Phase II. The third Main Toll Plaza will be located towards the end of the EH, because locating it at the beginning of the flyover, would mean traffic congestion again, sources said.

However, the charges have to be paid by only those using the EH, who will either be headed toward the Electronics City, or towards Hosur. Those taking the ground route will pay the user charge only when they are crossing the Karnataka border.

Details of user charges

Type of vehicle At-grade section Elevated section

Two wheelers 0 10

Car 15 25

Mini-bus 25 35

Bus 50 70

Light Commercial 25 35

Vehicles (LCVs)

Trucks 50 70

Earth moving 150 140

equipment &

Heavy Construction Machinery

All figures in Rs

Bulging Greater B’lore may contradict Constitution

Bulging Greater B’lore may contradict Constitution
Deccan Herald

The State Cabinet has recently favoured the merger of Bangalore Mahanagara Palike and its surrounding local bodies into one entity as - Greater Bangalore, though options like formation of two or three different corporations of the local bodies concerned were also available.

Going by the Cabinet’s leaning, the area and population of the envisaged entity would be in the order of 696 sq km with 65 lakh plus population.

But these factors concerning GB may end up contradicting the Constitutional provisions on decentralisation.

The Administrative Reforms Commission headed by Mr M Veerappa Moily, recently held a two-day closed-door discussion on ‘Urban Reforms’ at IIM, Bangalore. As per a copy of the draft discussion report, the commission has already taken note of the lack of progress in urban decentralisation.

On structural changes, the report speaks of examining the existing structure of urban civic bodies and analysing “the need for splitting large municipal corporations into smaller outfits.” The report notes that “Leadership is sorely lacking in urban decentralisation”.

It is noted that the representation ratio between the citizens and their elected representatives in rural and urban Karnataka is 10 times wider: rural - 380:1, urban: 3,400:1 The Bangalore specific ratio is 42,000 citizens: 1 elected representative.

“One possible interpretation of this could be that the government is more than 100 times further away for the resident of Bangalore than the average rural dweller,” says the report.

Furthering the gap

Speaking on the issue, revenue experts in the BMP note that the ratio of the citizens: elected representatives will only increase further, if one goes by the State government’s intentions on GB.

Under GB as one entity (measuring 696 sq kms) - the government is looking at forming 150 wards as against the present 100 wards in the 226 sq km BMP limits. At the rate of 65 lakh-odd combined population (of BMP and the incoming local bodies), the 150 wards will account for about 50,000 plus population in each ward, note the revenue experts. The citizen:elected representative ratio as per the 2001 census will therefore be 50,000: 1.


Meanwhile, the complete implementation of the provisions of the 74th Constitutional Amendment (aimed at decentralising the powers and functions to Urban Local bodies), is one of the mandatory reforms expected of the State governments of cities slotted for urban renewal under the Centrally-funded Jawaharlal Nehru-National Urban Renewal Mission.

It is about 10 months since JNNURM was launched. Programme cities are expected to submit a City Development Plan (a 10 to15 year vision for the city) to the Centre. Bangalore’s CDP is yet to be submitted.

Queried whether the Centre’s funds come first or the reforms - BMP Commissioner K Jairaj noted - “Reforms of course!”.

Another IAS officer (of the Karnataka cadre), now serving in a Central ministry noted thus: “It is a question of who blinks first.”

Urban Karnataka

Population 1.7 crores

Level No. of units No. of Reps

City Corporations 6 410

City Municipal Councils 40 1,308

Town Municipal Councils 81 1,919

Town Panchayats 89 1,373

Total No. of Elected Reps 5,023

Citizen: Elected Reps Ratio 3,400:1

* Rural Karnataka - Citizen: Elected Reps Ratio is 380:1

`Greater Bangalore' project opposed

`Greater Bangalore' project opposed

The Hindu

BANGALORE: Members of the ruling Congress in the Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP) are against the State Government's proposal to merge the surrounding local bodies with the BMP and form a Greater Bangalore.

At the BMP Council meeting scheduled for Tuesday, the party members are likely to adopt a resolution demanding that the Government retain the BMP as it is. "We want the Government to merge the surrounding seven City Municipal Councils (CMC), one Town Municipal Council and neighbouring villages and form a separate corporation," ruling party leader H. Ravindra told The Hindu on Monday. He said the party would write to the Government explaining the civic body's inability to develop the 27 wards that were added into BMP's limits in 1995.

Parks to be made accessible to people with disabilities

Parks to be made accessible to people with disabilities

Staff Reporter

Coles Park in the city will be the first to install ramps

# 11 other centrally located parks to become disabled-friendly
# Project taken up at the initiative of Kilikili

BANGALORE: Merry-go-rounds and slides in the parks in the city will henceforth be accessible to children with disabilities.

The Coles Park in Fraser Town will be the first to have ramps helping persons with disabilities to play like any others.

According to Chief Horticultural Officer of Bangalore Mahanagara Palike, V. Narayanaswamy, 11 other centrally located parks are to follow suit. These include Basavanagudi's M.N. Krishna Rao Park, Silver Jubilee Park opposite Town Hall, Mahatma Gandhi Park on M.G. Road and Malleswaram's Bhashyam Park.

The Office of Commissioner for Persons with Disability in association with two U.S.-based non-governmental organisations Pro Vision Asia and Joni and Friends, are providing the material and helping in setting up the disabled-friendly infrastructure at Coles Park.

The project was taken up at the initiative of Kilikili, a network of parents of children with disabilities. At present, most parks and playgrounds in the city are not accessible to persons with disabilities.

The disabled friendly infrastructure includes merry-go-rounds that accommodate wheel chairs; equipment that make sounds for the visually impaired; slides that have railings and ramps; smooth pathways to help the visually impaired from stumbling and to allow easy movement of wheelchairs.

Jairaj reviews condition of roads

Jairaj reviews condition of roads

The Hindu

Officials say all repair works will be completed over the next month

# 1,884 of the 2,000 potholes identified in the East Division have been repaired
# Removal of debris from roadsides and footpaths and relaying of pavements reviewed

Bangalore: The long-felt needs of road users for lasting repairs to Mysore Road within city limits may be answered if BMP Commissioner K. Jairaj means business.

Mr. Jairaj asked the engineers to take serious note of numerous complaints about the bad state of the roads, after holding meetings with the area engineers. Similar meetings have been planned with other stakeholders such as the power and water utilities and telecom agencies.

Mr. Jairaj told the engineers that he was closely reviewing the road works taken up under Suvarna Bangalore as also works related to parks, street lights and filling up of potholes, carried out for two months now. In the East Division, 2,000 potholes on roads were identified and 1,884 were repaired. In the South Division, 85 per cent of road repairs and in West Division, 95 per cent works were completed so far. The engineers assured that all repairs to roads would be completed over the next month.

The Commissioner reviewed the removal of debris from roadsides and footpaths and the relaying of pavements construction of road medians and renovation of road roundabouts at various places. Other works reviews included planting saplings and improvements to public gardens. Removal of unauthorised hoardings, maintenance of streetlights, including tower lights, were also being monitored.

Mr. Jairaj said he would soon convene a meeting with BWSSB engineers and ask them to relocate water mains and sewerage lines which held up road widening works. In the next month, all major roads would be repaired with special emphasis on main roads. Strict action will be taken through stiff fines on people damaging roads, putting up unauthorised banners and throwing garbage on to roads and streets. All road works will include repainting of medians, road humps and zebra crossings to make them more visible to road users including pedestrians. The fountains in all parks will be restored and their regular maintenance taken up.

The zonal officers were empowered to resolve local disputes themselves by holding regular meeting with the citizens.

BMP's concrete road plan yet to take shape

BMP's concrete road plan yet to take shape

The Hindu

Corporators are worried that they may not get the credit for implementing the idea

# BMP had decided seven months ago to build concrete roads across the city
# The civic body had planned to use 50 per cent of the annual ward grants to build concrete roads
# Over 25 km of roads in each zone to be cemented this year

BANGALORE: Seven months after the Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP) decided to build concrete roads across the city in a phased manner, the proposal still remains on paper.

Fed up with frequent complaints about bad roads, the civic body had planned to use 50 per cent of the annual ward grants (from this year onwards) to build concrete roads. It was also announced in the BMP budget for 2006-2007.

Like several other proposals, this one too is lost in the bureaucratic muddle in the BMP. With the term of the present BMP Council ending in the next two months, corporators from all parties are doubtful whether the proposal is really "concrete."

This decision was also taken to avoid the BMP being "blackmailed" by asphalt contractors, who had boycotted the road tenders floated by the civic body under the second package of the "Complete Blacktop" asphalting project last year.

While top BMP officials said that the proposal was being finalised and tenders for the works would be called soon, several corporators including members of the ruling Congress in the BMP are worried that they may not get the credit of implementing the novel idea.

"We want Commissioner K Jairaj to ensure that this proposal is implemented at the earliest. What is the use if work starts after our term ends. We will discuss and demand the speedy implementation of this proposal at the Council meeting on Wednesday," ruling party leader H. Ravindra said.

Though the allocation for ward grants was increased from Rs. 1 crore to Rs. 1.5 crore this time, it was reduced to Rs. 1 crore after the State Government approved the budget. During the presentation of the budget, the then Commissioner K. Jothiramalingam had requested the corporators to use a major chunk of the ward grants on concrete roads in their wards.

According to a top official in BMP's Engineering Wing, over 25 km of roads in each zone would be cemented this year. "We have requested a few experts in civil engineering to conduct a survey and submit a report on the roads that need to be cemented.

The report is ready and based on it we have decided to initially take up roads that are four metres wide for cementing," the official said.

Narrow roads in slums and low-lying areas, where people cook and wash have to be cemented because the asphalt mix on such roads gets washed away soon.

A three-km stretch in Kalasipalyam and an 800-metre stretch on the Silver Jubilee Park Road have been cemented, the official added.

BMTC bus stops to have corresponding auto stands

BMTC bus stops to have corresponding auto stands

The Hindu

The move is to safeguard the interests of commuters

# Autorickshaw drivers have to park their vehicles only at these designated stands
# Autorickshaw stands to be set up near all major malls, cinemas

BANGALORE: To ensure better transport facility to the public and also to rein in "loitering" autorickshaw drivers, the traffic police are setting up corresponding autorickshaw stands near all the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) bus stops across the city.

Autorickshaw drivers have to park their vehicles only at these designated stands. Any driver found loitering at other places in search of passengers would be booked by the police, Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic) M.N. Reddi told The Hindu on Monday.

Autorickshaw stands would be located close to the bus stops so that a person alighting from a BMTC bus can easily find an autorickshaw to reach his further destination or vice versa, Mr. Reddi said.

Such stands have already come up near 160 bus stops, mainly in the southern and northern parts of the city. Signboards have been installed at these places. Autorickshaw stands will be opened even near all major malls, cinemas and traffic-generating points in the city, Mr. Reddi said. The setting up of autorickshaw stands is part of several measures that are being initiated by the traffic police in association with the Regional Transport Authority (RTA) to safeguard the commuters' interests.

In view of the increasing complaints against autorickshaw drivers, the RTA has recently passed an order that the Section 16 of the Karnataka Motor Vehicles (KMV) Rules, 1989, will be one of the conditions governing the autorickshaw permit. The Section 16 of the KMV Rules deals with the duties of drivers of autorickshaws and motor-cabs.

According to one of the 17 clauses of the said Section, "a driver shall not allow his cab, when it is not engaged, remain at any place other than a stand appointed for the purpose and shall not loiter for the purpose of his cab being hired in any public place."

Mr. Reddi said they would start enforcing the said rule from the first week of October. The police will levy fine on the drivers who do not park their autorickshaws at the designated stands and loiter to pick passengers. If the driver repeats the violation, the police will impose a higher fine and even write to the Transport Department to cancel his permit, he said.

To sensitise the drivers about the new rule, the police will distribute one lakh pamphlets in various languages and run advertisements in the media. The police have held meetings with autorickshaw drivers' unions in this regard, Mr. Reddi said.

The KMV Rules also says that a driver "shall always park his vehicle in a queue at notified places and move the cab as and when vacancies occur. The driver shall not prevent or attempt to prevent the first cab in the queue from being hired."

Illegal slum dwellings close entry to park

Illegal slum dwellings close entry to park
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: Residents around Kempambudhi Lake are agitated, as a slum has come up illegally around the historic place and has been causing much nuisance to everyone.

The sheds constructed by the slum dwellers prevent the residents from entering the park developed and maintained by Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP).

According to General Secretary of Kempe Gowda Kendra Samithi Marimalliah, it is illegal to construct buildings in the park area. But, vested interests have allowed people to put up houses there.

“Kempambudhi lake was renovated recently at a cost of Rs 4 crore. The same money was utilised for the beautification of the garden adjacent to the lake. Since sheds have come up, people are not able to enter the park to jog along the periphery of the lake and visit an ancient temple,” he added.

Hundreds of slum dwellers use Kempambudi lake to bathe and other daily needs. During monsoon, the situation turns worse, as the garbage begins to accumulate around the houses and mosquitoes begin to breed.

Monday, September 25, 2006

400 new buses to reduce congestion!

400 new buses to reduce congestion!

As many as 400 hi-tech buses will shortly be introduced to reduce traffic congestion in the City, said N Cheluvarayaswamy, Minister for Transport on Sunday.

Speaking to reporters at the Mysore Satellite Bus Stand, he said, after introduction of Volvo City services, the usage of two and four wheelers has considerably reduced.

Inline with efforts to reduce traffic congestion, Upendra Tripathy, Managing Director of Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) and KSRTC, told Vijay Times, apart from addition of new buses, BMTC will introduce a branded service during peak hours shortly, aimed at providing efficient, economic, safe, reliable and punctual services to commuters, especially during peak hours. The branded service, to be encouraged for use by commuters, is aimed in this direction.

"Presently, an attractive design of buses to be used for the service is under preparation. Once the design is approved, BMTC will build the bodies," he added.

He said it may take between two and four months to introduce this service. The service will run between 7 am to 11 pm and 4 pm to 7 pm.

The Park and Ride facility, which was introduced from Aug 25 to ease traffic congestion, is also being encouraged. Under this facility, commuters can park their vehicles at the bus depots by paying a nominal parking fee each month. They can then take BMTC buses to their destinations in the morning and return by BMTC buses in the evening to take back their vehicles.

Dasthagir Sharief, Chief Traffic Manager (Operations), told Vijay Times, the facility is yet to gain popularity, but the programme is gaining popularity. Park and Ride is presently available at Vijaynagar (depot 5), Yeshwanthpura (depot 8), Kathriguppe (depot 13), Chandra Layout (depot 17), Jeevan Bimanagar Bus Station and Banashankari Bus Station, To popularise this, BMTC is also offering discount in parking fees to monthly pass holders.