Friday, November 30, 2007

A complete plan for city

A complete plan for city
R Jayaprakash outlines the comprehensive plan envisaged to ease traffic conditions in the city, in the face of increasing vehicle population

Ahost of corridors, doubling the length of Metro Rail, mono rail, commuter rail, bus rapid transport and a slew of new roads, realignment of ring roads, parking bays and integrated freight complexes are on the anvil. Bangalore, which is teeming with traffic and vehicle population explosion, needs to put in place a comprehensive circuit of projects to see it through till 2025.
All this will come with an investment of Rs 44,029 crores. According to a comprehensive traffic and transport plan (CTTP) for Bangalore which was conducted by RITES over 20 months, commissioned by the government, is ready with its report.
The projection is mind-boggling. By 2025, the city's vehicular population will be 1.2 crores and commuting in Bangalore can be normal if only a massive effort is made - an integrated multi-modal mass transport system. The system, once executed, will add 650 km of additional lines of mass transport and facilitate seamless movement, and will encourage 73 percent of people to use public transport.
The city's four corridors will have to be spruced up to accommodate the vehicle explosion. The four corridors worked out are metro rail corridors of 88.2 km, monorail/LRT corridors of 60 km, commuter rail corridor of 204 km and bus rapid transit corridors 265.5 km. The corridors should be in place in two phases over 17 years. While the I phase will involve Rs 25.872 crores from 2007 to 2012, the phase II will involve Rs 17,017 crores up till 2025.
In the metro corridor, in addition to the existing alignment, 88 km has been added - extension of north-south corridor from R V terminal upto the PRR; Byappanahalli to Benniganahalli along Old Madras Road, Yelahanka to PRR via Nagavara, Electronic City; Indiranagar metro station to Whitefield via 100 ft road
For monorail corridor with a length of 60 km, the suggested routes are Hebbal to JP Nagar via Bannerghatta Road along the western portion of ring road; Kathriguppe Road to National College; Hosur Road-Bannerghatta Road to PRR.
The report has mooted commuter rail corridors running upto 204 km. This would mean putting to use the existing railway line for local transportation with the introduction of local trains. The bus rapid transport (BRT) corridor means a dedicated bus lane cutting across the main areas of the city.
On the road development sector, a Rs 8,000-crore comprehensive plan has been listed out. Apart from PRR, core ring road and expressway to airport, new roads and missing links, road widening, grade separators, re-alignment of outer ring road, parking facilities and integrated freight complexes have been suggested.
Will this become a reality or will the report gather dust like several other reports? Here is the route map - to integrate transport planning and development of infrastructure, the government has set up Directorate of Urban Land Transport under UDD. This will in association with Bangalore Metropolitan Land Transport Authority act as an umbrella organisation, coordinate planning and implementation of urban transport programmes and projects.
New road circuit
New roads - 208 km, Rs 5,522 crores.
Outer Ring Road realignment - 13.6 km, Rs 191 crores.
Road improvements to ORR - 169 km, Rs 571 crores.
Grade separators - 29 km, Rs 690 crores.
Over and under bridges - 9 km, Rs 246 crores.
Pavement and skywalks improvement - 418 km, Rs 214 crores.

More transit centres for city

More transit centres for city
As part of a JNNURM scheme, 10 TTMCs have been sanctioned for the city in the first phase. Sai Prasanna reports

In a bid to ease traffic congestion in the city, the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) came out with the idea of having 45 Traffic Transit Management Centres (TTMC) throughout the city. These centres are bus stations dotting the city that make it convenient for the public to park their private vehicles and take a bus to commute. They also come with convenience stores and other facilities.
Initially, 10 TTMCs have been identified under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) scheme and detailed project reports were prepared and sent to the Government of India for approval through the Karnataka Urban Infrastructure Development and Finance Corporation (KUIDFC). The Jayanagar TTMC was sanctioned as a pilot project at an estimated cost of Rs 8.9 crores. This project is estimated to be completed by January 2009.
Seven other centres - Vijaynagar, Kengeri, Bannerghatta, Banashankari, Koramangala, ITPL, and Shantinagar were approved in October this year. The project reports for the last two out of the 10, Yeshwanthpur and Domlur, were sanctioned a few days ago. The BMTC has called for tenders for these centres. Work on these centres should commence by the beginning of 2009. The total project cost for all the 10 centres comes to Rs 333 crores.
"Our aim is to promote public transport by offering the park-and-ride facility so that congestion in the city comes down. We have not gone for the public-private partnership model as we are focussing on the quality of transport infrastructure and common use. Since mass transport covers only 25 percent of the population in the city, bus transport must become more efficient as it has to cover almost 76 percent." says a senior official at the BMTC.
In a bid to make the TTMCs more user-friendly, 32 amenities will also be provided to the public. Facilities provided are categorised under six heads - basic, health, service, finance, transport, and household requirements.
Basic facilities:
Provision of clean drinking water Separate restrooms for gents and ladies Waiting rooms with landscaping and comfortable seating Multi-level two-wheeler and car parking Police outpost as a safety measure
Health, service and finance-related facilities:
BBMP's counter having a public health centre 24-hour drugstore Post office Electricity, water and telephone bill payments Bangalore One centre BBMP centre to obtain birth and death certificates Payment of property tax Payment or submission of income tax returns Payment of excise and commercial tax returns Cyber cafe Public telephone and photocopying centres Bank and ATM
Transport facilities:
Bus station or bus stops in the premises KSRTC bus reservation counter Railways reservation Air travel reservation counter Counter for flight check-in facility for domestic flights Courier services - both domestic and international Taxi services Tourism services ITDC counter for booking out-of-state tickets by road or rail
Household facilities:
Food bazaar Cafeteria Household articles
All these facilities will be provided on the ground and mezzanine floors. Parking will be provided in the basement and two upper floors. Depending on the topography of the site, there will either be a basement or two upper floors.

City roads to wear new look soon

City roads to wear new look soon
The BBMP has plans to upgrade and widen city roads. Prathima Nandakumar reports

The road map to a global city seems to be emerging. Bangalore that winds through a road network of 7,000 km is simply not designed to take all the traffic load of 30 lakh vehicles. The Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Commissioner S Subramanya, has the responsibility of providing the city with good roads, free of potholes, craters and water-logging in the monsoon, and has set an agenda. An allocation of Rs 220 crores for resurfacing and pothole-filling of arterial roads within the old BMP areas and some main roads in the newly-added areas of Greater Bangalore has been made.
The challenge also lies in garnering funds for the Herculean task as the BBMP's revenue has remained seriously deficient. "Resurfacing of roads has to be done at least once in three years. The cost involved to resurface one km is Rs 30 lakhs, which translates to around Rs 800 crores every year. But we spend just Rs 50 crores because a majority of capital investments goes for new roads. Since we don't have this kind of money, resurfacing is done once in five years", explains Subramanya.
Traffic is a major reason for disruption of life in Bangalore, believes the Commissioner, who is now chalking out plans for road intersection management. "We are widening 10 arterial roads at a cost of Rs 100 crores, building grade separators and road-over-bridges, for which Rs 130 crores has been sanctioned, planning an elevated, inner core road in central Bangalore, planning to convert a few arterial roads into six-laned roads and constructing elevated roads over storm water drains".
The first phase will see an allocation of Rs 50 crores for resurfacing arterial roads, Rs 40 crores for other main roads and Rs 250 crores for laying roads in the newlyadded areas. With monsoon receding, the BBMP has taken up filling up of potholes on all major roads.
The engineering division of the BBMP has identified about 29,140 potholes and 3,928 road cuttings across the eight zones. The tenders were issued on the basis of the number of potholes in each division and the estimated cost for the exercise is Rs 10 crores. Some of the roads that have or will get rid of potholes are 18th Cross Malleswaram, Rajajinagar Road, Nagarabhavi Main Road, Banaswadi Road, Kingston Road, Jayamahal Main Road, K H Road, and some other main roads.
A major boost to the road network in the city is the inclusion of 85 arterial roads for road widening in the Master Plan. The BBMP is now promoting the Transferable Development Rights scheme for government and private property owners, whose lands have been identified for acquisition for development projects.
As of now, the BBMP has started widening the existing 30-metre-wide Bellary Road to 45 metres, and increase the width of Race Course Road from 19 to 30 metres. These roads are expected to be ready by March 2008.
The BBMP had set a target of widening eight roads this year, and is starting work on Palace Road, Seshadri Road and Kasturba Road. Apart from Bellary Road, Hosur Road, and Nrupathunga Road are other roads that will be widened on priority.
Even as the BBMP is finally set to widen the roads mapped in the first phase, it is treading carefully. It needs to put in place systems for better co-ordination with various service agencies like BWSSB, Bescom, BSNL and private service providers for shifting of utilities, strike a green balance to retain or translocate trees along the project alignment and pushing the TDR scheme forward.
Progress report
Work on Bellary Road and Race Course Road begins Topographical survey completed for 30 roads
Road alignment for 12 roads has been approved DPRs for six roads completed
Major roads identified for widening
Bellary Road: From Hebbal Flyover to Minsk square Race Course Road: Ananda Rao Circle to Basaveswara Circle Palace Road: Mysore Bank Circle to High Grounds Police Station Kasturba Road: Siddalingaiah Circle to Queens Statue Circle Seshadri Road: Central Jail Cross to K R Circle Hosur Road: Central Silk Board to Yenkay Factory Bellary Road: Hebbal Flyover to Minsk square

Metro Rail gets longer

Metro Rail gets longer
The Metro Rail length has been extended along both corridors to increase the number of passengers estimated to use it daily. R Jayaprakash reports

The Bangalore Metro Rail will chug a few miles further. In a bid to capture the catchment areas, the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) will extend the tracks to the Outer Ring Road and Peripheral Ring Road on the north-south and east-west corridors in the first phase itself.
According to sources in the BMRCL, the board has given the nod to extend the link up to Hesarghatta Cross on the north end and Banashankari II Stage on south end; K R Puram on the east end and Nayandahalli on the west end.
"The board has in principal agreed to the extension of the links to the outer and peripheral ring roads. We will incorporate the changes in the proposal and send it to the government for approval next week. Around 5.6 km will be the additional rail length to connect Hesarghatta Cross for which a detailed project report has been finalised. Another study is underway to extend the link to Banashankari II Stage with an extension of 2.5 km on the same corridor. On the other corridor, we have conducted a feasibility study and plans are on to extend the track up to K R Puram and Nayandalli at the two ends. In all, the extended link will connect the Outer Ring Roads and Peripheral Ring Road at the Hesarghatta end", BMRCL sources said.
The move is to extend connectivity and increase the metro rail ridership. While the initial figure was pegged at one million passengers per day, it is now projected that it would go up by 1.15 million. "Since the ring road is connected on all the four terminal ends, it is easier to integrate other modes of transport, be it mono rail or BMTC bus service. A massive workforce heads towards Peenya, Yeshwanthpur and Whitefield, and having the metro rail to penetrate through traditional residential areas in the western and southern parts of the city will lead to more ridership", officials said.
Earlier, 33 km of total rail length was planned in the Phase I across the two corridors with north-south of 14.9 km and east-west of 18.1 km with 32 stops. Now, with the new extensions, it will be 36 stops with the extended rail length of around eight km. The Hesarghatta extension itself will cost the BMRCL an additional Rs 900 crores. However, the total cost for the new extensions is yet to be arrived at. Each km will cost the BMRCL Rs 150 crores apart from land acquisition.
The Reach One of Phase I between M G Road and Byappanahalli will be commissioned by March 2010 and the entire Phase I will be opened by December 2011.
Revised route
Hesarghatta Cross, Yeshwanthpur, Mahalakshmi Layout, Rajajinagar, Malleswaram, Majestic, Chickpet, City Market, K R Road, South End Circle, Jayanagar, R V Road Terminal and Banashankri II Stage.
East-west corridor
K R Puram, Byappanahalli, CMH Road, Ulsoor, Trinity Circle, M G Road, KSCA Stadium, Vidhana Soudha, Central College, Majestic, City Railway Station, Magadi Road, Tollgate, Hosahalli, Vijayanagar, Deepanjali Nagar, Mysore Road Terminal and Nayandahalli


TOI correspondents Ashwini Y S, Bansy Kalappa and Chandrashekar G visit Water Adalats at three CMCs and get a fix on people’s problems

It has taken over three years for the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) to come to this stage. On Thursday, board officials connected with consumers of 72 wards in erstwhile 7 CMCs to explain to them the procedural formalities to get a water connection.
Adalats are being conducted in phases, and on Thursday officials touched upon a few wards which will be supplied water in December in Phase-1.
Adalats were conducted in wards 19, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30 and 31, where nearly 400 applications were distributed. So far, BWSSB has laid around 8,200 connections. Individual houses will be connected to main lines once sanctions are given.
B Narendra Baliga of Arsikere complained that he and the other residents of the area had paid the user fee before April 30, 2004. “BWSSB would have accrued interest all these years but we are at the losing end, not receiving water in these months. We have shelled out an additional Rs 1,500 every month to get water from tankers. I’m still not sure if we’ll get water,’’ he said.
In April 2004, residents were told about the scheme and the user fee. Last year too they were told that water would be supplied in 15 days when the connections were being laid. To date, there is no sign of water, said Shantaram.
Residents of Samrat Layout on Bannerghatta Road are worried. “We thought water would be supplied in the first phase. But nothing has happened. Wonder how much longer we have to wait,’’ said Raghupathi Rao, secretary of the Residents Welfare Association
The adalat was conducted in wards 1, 2, 10, 12 and 14, wherein 130 consumers availed of applications. K N Doreswamy, president, residents’ welfare association of AECS Layout, said, “We pay about about Rs 1,000 to Rs 1,500 per home for water. We expect it to come down by about Rs 250-300 once the scheme is implemented.’’
Rajalakshmi, a resident of Gurumurthyreddy Layout, pointed out that several women will be thankful to BWSSB if Cauvery water was supplied to homes.
“It would put an end street brawls while collecting water. We have paid connection charges for Cauvery water in 2004 and been waiting for water supply ever since. Officials have been giving us hope every time. Only time can tell whether BWSSB will stick to its word.’’
Jagannath, a resident of Devasandra, said the adalats should have been organized on a Sunday. He also said a major portion of his salary went towards purchase of water, something he hopes will change soon.
The adalats were conducted in ward numbers 6,9,10,11 and 16. Around 350 applications were distributed to the public. BWSSB has provided 400 connections.
Varadaraj, a resident of Ramamurthynagar, said, “We have a borewell connection for our house. Once Cauvery water supply begins, will the borewells become defunct?’’ was his apprehension.
However, officials clarified that individual private borewells will not be touched. Even the bulk water supply schemes and erstwhile CMC borewells would be retained as supplementary water supply.
Rama Rao, a resident of Devasandra, said fetching water from public taps after standing in serpentine queues every day was a difficult task. “Each house in this locality has been paying Rs 1,600 to 1,800 per month. We don’t mind paying initial deposits to get water in our taps.’’
In the past two days, demand for drinking water has risen so much that water supply operators in and around the city are spending extra time attending to calls. Mohammed Suhail of M S Water Supply said that he received at least 20 to 30 calls extra on Wednesday and Thursday. “We usually supply water to Bannerghatta and Madivala areas. Over the past two days, calls have been coming in from Rajajinagar, Vijaynagar, M G Road and Peenya. It is not possible for us to supply water to these areas as we cannot cover the distance in this traffic.’’ Ashok of Revathy Water Supply was even busier day by couldn’t supply water. “I received over 100 calls. To my bad luck, there’s been no electricity all day, and I haven’t even been able to supply water to my regular customers. Yesterday, I supplied water to people in other areas also,’’ he said.
“Can we have bilingual forms because over 60% of the city’s residents cannot read Kannada?’’ This summed up the sentiment at the BWSSB’s Water Adalat where forms only in Kannada were distributed. In Mahadevapura, residents said they preferred English or bilingual forms. K Varadarajan, president of Maheshwarinagar Residents Welfare Association, Mahadevpura, said, “Many find it difficult to know what is written. They are welcome to print bilingual forms. Many don’t know what to do with the forms.’’ K Varadarajan’s neighbours T R Vasudevan and Muthukumar cannot read what is written in Kannada and are forced to seek an interpreter’s assistance.
Fill in the free application form distributed by BWSSB Attach documents — 3 copies of building plan sanction or rough plan; tax paid receipt; address proof; receipt of user fee if paid Cash payment of Rs 1,740 as connection charge Additional charges in form of fine if user fee not paid as on August 2005 Rain water harvesting (RWH) documents to be produced if site dimension is above 1,200 sqft Submit at respective BWSSB office Road cutting charges exempted BWSSB officials will inspect the house and then sanction water supply
Meter fee Rs 550 Inspection charge Rs 250 3 months minimum deposit Rs 315 Fixing charge Rs 25. Sanitation charge Rs 600 Pro-rata charges are added for apartments and houses with two floors and more
When will water be supplied? Within 15 days after approval of applications
How to obtain connection to slum areas? Slum dwellers have to pay only meter charge of Rs 550 (for 600 sqft).
Why penalty for delayed payment when water is being supplied only now? Penalties have been levied as per revised government order of July 2005.
Is there a provision for payment of penalty in instalments? It can be paid in 24 instalments. Penalty to be calculated from August 2005 to December 2007.
Will water be supplied for commercial purposes? Initially water will be provided for domestic purposes, after which water will be supplied for commercial purposes.

Zip to new airport in signal-free traffic

Zip to new airport in signal-free traffic
Five Underpasses To Come Up Between High Grounds And Hebbal Flyover

Bangalore: The high-level task force set up to look into infrastructure leading to the international airport has stepped on the accelerator to get commuters in time for their flights.
At its first meeting on Thursday, sweeping shortterm measures were proposed. The meeting, attended by several heads of government departments and industry representatives, decided to put in place a signal-free road between High Grounds police station and Hebbal flyover. BBMP will put up five underpasses in the stretch for a smooth traffic flow.
Infrastructure secretary V P Baligar told TOI: “We will put in place a number of underpasses, which will be built from pre-cast RCC structures, at various bottlenecks to allow free flow of traffic.”
The underpasses, each of which will take no more than two days to put up, will come at Windsor Manor junction, BDA junction, Cauvery junction, Sanjay Nagar junction and CBI junction. The estimated cost for each one is between Rs 60 lakh and Rs 1 crore. “It was stated at the meeting that while the underpasses are being constructed, the work will in no way disrupt the traffic flow,” said Reguraj, chairman of CII, Karnataka, who was present at the meeting.
The BBMP, which will undertake the construction of these underpasses, will commence work on December 15, and has set a deadline of January 30, 2008.
Closer to the airport, the trumpet interchange that BIAL is working on — one leading from the direction of Hyderbad to the airport and the other leading from the airport towards Bangalore — is proposed to be finished before March 30, 2008, the opening date of the international airport. However, the main trumpet leading from the Bangalore side to the airport and from the airport to the Hyderabad side will only be completed by August 2008.
The public works department has undertaken the task to get six arterial roads leading to the airport ready before February next year. Some of these include SH 104 Bangalore-Nandi Road, Devanahalli to airport via Anneswara village. The NH4 to the airport and NH7 to the airport are also proposed to be improved.
Baligar said the second meeting of the task force will be either on Dec 17 or 18.
Cut it, fit it and shut it. This is BBMP’s new mantra to clear bottlenecks. Cutting down on money, time and traffic hassles, the BBMP is taking refuge in these new-age pre-cast boxes that can be fitted onto roads in no time.
For the first time, BBMP has introduced a Malaysian technology, Elements, which is an RCC arch segment box and square box that can be fitted onto the road at a cost of just Rs 1 crore.
The first stretch identified for the project is Bellary Road and work is proceeding in three casting yards — Okalipuram, Peenya and Hebbal — using machinery from Malaysia and Germany.
While the cost of precast blocks is Rs 60 lakh, fixing it, constructing the ramp and road will cost Rs 40 lakh. BBMP has identified 26 bottlenecks for the project.
Excavating the earth takes a day. Laying concrete base will take another two. Next will be lowering the precast structure, which will take two days. Thirty interlocking blocks of 1 metre each, nailed to the ground with weld mesh, will avoid earth caving in. The embankments will be reinforced by concrete panelling. Finally, earth will be filled on top of the box and ramps will be put up.
Underpass will be 15-metre wide to allow two buses to pass simultaneously. It will be fitted with solar lighting, vents for rainwater and pedestrian walkway. The arch segment, which is unidirectional, will be used for 9-metre clearance and box element for 4.5 metre.

Metro Rail phase II to have more corridors

Metro Rail phase II to have more corridors
Bangalore, DHNS:

The Comprehensive Traffic and Transportation Survey (CTTS) prepared by RITES (Rail India Technical and Economic Services) has suggested extending ‘Namma Metro’ to Hebbal, Central Silk Board, Electronic City and Whitefield in phase two of the project.

Announcing this at a presentation on ‘Progress of Bangalore Metro Rail’ organised by the Institution of Engineers, Mr B S Sudhir Chandra, Director (Projects and Planning) Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) said, the CTTS report submitted to the government has suggested extension of the project for it to be viable.

“Phase one from cricket stadium to Byappanhalli is not an end in itself. The second phase would include having a MRTS (Mass Rapid Transit System) including mono-rail, BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) supporting the metro as a feeder on a PPP (Public-Private- Partnership) model as in other cities,” Mr Chandra said.

BMRCL has also increased the corridor from Yeshwantpur to Hesaraghatta Cross and from R V Road Terminus to Kanakapura Road Cross.

The first trial run of the Metro Rail will be in September 2009, with state-of-the-art stainless steel coaches (2.9 metre wide) capable of carrying 356 passengers, said Mr Chandra. “General Consultants will suggest on the best consortium to be selected that would manufacture the coaches. Bids from global firms have been received,” he added.

Extending the metro up to Devanahalli is not feasible due to fewer stations leading to increased fares. A dedicated link such as a high-speed rail is a better option, Mr Chandra explained.

Underground tunnels of the metro will have evacuation pathways which can be used as emergency get-away exit points. After disbursement of compensation and property acquisition, dismantling of buildings on the alignment will begin by December 15, Mr Chandra said.

A city of dreams

A city of dreams
Aruna Chandraraju
All cities change with time but in Bangalore the change has been most visible and mostly for the worse. Traffic has gone from bad to nightmarish, trees are fewer, civic amenities have deteriorated, and temperature have risen.

For many, Bangalore been the city of promise and dream-fulfilment. A city where fortunes have been made by entrepreneurs and techies in software, where BPO has meant big salaries for even less-educated small-towners, and where huge profits have been made from the consumer boom. Yet, for those who lived in the graceful old world Bangalore was and those locals who missed out on the boom benefiting in no way from it, it feels a little like a paradise lost.

We asked author Shashi Deshpande to comment on this. She is a true-blue Bangalorean having lived here for the past 51 years. And, as accomplished writer, she is an articulate, objective commentator on all things Bangalore.

Shashi says: "All cities change with time but in Bangalore the change has been most visible and mostly for the worse. Traffic has gone from bad to nightmarish, trees are fewer, civic amenities have deteriorated, and temperature have risen. When I came here in 1956 we wore socks and sweaters even in summer! In our Malleshwaram home, we never had a single fan! Also, where there was one house, today there are 30. I am nostalgic for the gracious, sedate way of life Bangalore was known for. I especially miss the strolls down Malleshwaram’s streets––fragrant with jasmine and sampige. In fact, most Bangloreans enjoyed the luxury of leisurely walks down beautiful, tree-lined avenues. Bangalore was then more of a town not so much a city. A true pensioner's paradise. Today, its beauty and grace have succumbed to industrial growth, globalisation, developers and builders."

There are people all over with loaded bank accounts but little sense of belonging, not connected emotionally to the city, she feels. "They are not rooted in the city, so they don't feel a bond, or sense of belonging. The apartment culture also contributes to this phenomenon.”

But isn't much of that inevitable in modern cities given their vertical growth and the world having become a global village? "Yes, I agree, but this constant shifting from one city to another and constant interaction with a world thousands of miles away--which IT and BPO jobs entail— takes away people's roots. Even the international schools are contributing to this trend by training students to enter educational institutions abroad after schooling."

Shashi finds little to celebrate even in the much-touted health-tourism boom. "Large, posh hospitals are okay, but they cater to a miniscule number––the very rich. Lower and lower middle-classes still can’t easily access high-quality medical care. We need a boom in primary-care clinics and tertiary-care hospitals for the poor.”

So, isn't there any good news, any redeeming feature about today's Bangalore? "Of course, there is. The money that has flowed in has meant a more vibrant art and culture scene in terms of more sponsors for music concerts, dance programmes, theatre. Many art galleries have sprung up and are flourishing given the greater purchasing power of Bangaloreans. There are more NGOs fighting for Bangalore. And all the economic progress and software-boom has made Bangalore an internationally recognised city. Several years ago, when I went abroad with a group of writers from India, the only city the foreigners recognised was Kolkata. Later, at a Festival in Munich, the focus was very much on Bangalore."

And what does she see as the city's future? "It will get worse. All this growth and attendant overcrowding and civic problems will accelerate to a point when things will go so bad that people and industries will start moving out. Electricity, transport and water will be the biggest problems."

Yet, for all this, Shashi concedes Bangalore is "still the best Indian city to live in. I feel this especially when I return from visiting other places in India.

It's a road to chaos

It's a road to chaos
Marathahalli boasts swanky apartments, IT firms and glitzy showrooms. Amid mounds of garbage and muck. Here you will see luxury vehicles moving on mud tracks. Today we take a look at the mind-boggling traffic woes.


Marathahalli was a village 15 years ago, but now it’s a booming residential and commercial hub. With many factory outlets selling branded garments and concentration of IT firms, it is growing in leaps and bounds.
It’s also home to the first multiplex in the City - Innovative Multiplex. The multiplex offers best of facilities - game zone, theatre, food court and ample parking space.

It is an area with rich residents but poor civic amenities. It is just 2 km from HAL airport. Shoppers do business in lakhs everyday, but there is no space for customers to park vehicles. Same is the fate of the common public. Many residents own property worth crores, but struggle hard to get drinking water. Those having borewells sell water at Re 1 per pot.

Come weekend, the Marathahalli Main Road is flooded with thousands of vehicles. Hundreds of customers throng shops. Four-wheelers are parked on sidewalks as there are no parking yards.

Professionals, particularly those wor king in IT firms and enjoy two-day holiday during weekends, find Marathahalli the best place to shop. Reason: Outlets of more than 250 factories, be it apparel industry, leather industry or jewellery, are located here.

“This is the best place in south India to shop for consumer goods. Business here is bigger than that of MG Road, Brigade Road or Commercial Street. You should see how we struggle to manage our customers, particularly during weekends,’” said Niranjana Murthy, manager of Colour Plus, ready-made garment shop.

Shops on the road are open throughout the week. “Employees enjoy holiday on a rotation basis. We do good business when IT professionals get holidays. On any Saturday, our shop makes over a lakh rupees. During festivals, sales increase,” said Tahir, manager, Park Avenue showroom.

However, all is not well on the road. Shoppers feel they can do better business provided traffic woes are addressed properly. “I have to leave home (Koramangala) by 8.30 am if I have to each my shop in Marathahalli by 10.30 am,” said Ananth, manager, Colour Plus.

Every day, he spends nearly four hours riding his motorbike to and from the store. “Though business is good, we lose many customers because of the traffic. Many customers who get fed up with traffic jams on Marathahalli Road choose to visit either Commercial street or Brigade Road,” he said.

Infrastructure upgradation

Marathahalli is the area where Bangalore City is growing at a high speed. Many IT firms are setting up their firms in the locality. It is the area where high-storey apartment complexes are coming up in large numbers. As a result, traffic movement is increasing by the day. The Palike has taken up upgradation of roads in Marathahalli sub-division at a cost of Rs 10 crore. We have taken up upgradation of all major roads in the area. The work will be completed by end of the present financial year.

Another major problem in the area is drinking water supply. The BWSSB has taken up a project to provide Cauvery water for residents of new areas of the Palike. As much as 80 per cent of the work is complete, pipelines have been laid and feeder line set up.

Narayanaswamy, JC,
Mahadevapura Zone (BBMP)

Apartment complexes

There are 4,000 apartment complexes in the erstwhile CMC and gram panchayat areas. Now, the have been brought under BBMP. Of these, 1,000 apartments are in Marathahalli alone.

Builders feel there is a huge demand from the public for houses in the locality. Mr D V Raghu, general secretary, Bruhat Bangalore Builders’ Association, said new apartments are coming up in the area. However, meeting the demand for water is a difficult task. There is no supply of Cauvery water. Builders have to depend on borewells, while the groundwater table has got depleted. Water is available only at 800 ft deep.

Mr Raghu said builders are going in for rainwater harvesting to meet the demand for water. Every new apartment is coming up with such a rainwater harvesting system.


Marathahalli is a hub of IT companies and high-rise apartments. Many new complexes are coming up here. A new shopping mall with over 200 showrooms is coming up on the road.

“Our customers come in four-wheelers, but there is no parking space. On week days, we try to provide space in front of our shops, but during evenings and weekends, it’s difficult,” says Niranjana Murthy of Color Plus.

Abdul Raheem, who runs a shoe shop, says BBMP should consider setting up a parking complex close to Marathahalli Main Road. “You will not find any space on sidewalks during weekends. Vehicles are parked everywhere. Police find it hard to handle traffic during peak hours. A parking complex is the only solution,” he said.

Nicole Fernandes, a businesswoman, said residents have to deal with traffic congestion every day. “During peak hours, travelling on Marathahalli Main Road is a cumbersome task. Police deployment has to be increased.

Besides, the bad condition of roads has affected traffic movement,” she said.

Ridhima Gupta, a housewife, feels effective measures must be taken to prevent traffic snarls. “Traffic jams need to be controlled. Schoolchildren face a big problem while crossing roads. They should be provided with safe roads,” she said.

According to K C Ramamurthy, Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic), Marathahalli Main Road sees heavy traffic due to the construction of a bridge. “More traffic police personnel will be deployed to ensure smooth flow of traffic apart from making use of services of Home Guards. Unless the number of vehicles comes down in Bangalore, there is no end to the traffic woes,” he said.

Property price

The price of a built-up area in Marathahalli varies from Rs 1,600 to Rs 2,000 per sqft in apartment complexes with 50 flats. However, price goes up to Rs 3,000 per sqft in bigger apartment complexes. The price of sites varies from Rs 1800 to Rs 2,300 per sqft.

Special Features

Hub of IT firms, apartments
Best choice for IT professionals for weekend shopping
Nearly 1,000 apartments in an area of 40 sqkm
More than 250 factory outlets
Shoppers do business worth lakhs on weekends
Has the first multiplex of the City

Task force has focus on NH 7

Task force has focus on NH 7
DH News Service, Bangalore:
Reshaping of existing roads was in focus as members of the task force constituted to address issues of connectivity to the upcoming international airport in Devanahalli met for the first time, on Thursday.

During the meeting, the task force identified core issues of concern and worked towards formulating short-term and long-term plans to address them, according to sources.

With the proposed 33.5-km elevated rail link still on paper and road projects including the Special State Highway from Outer Ring Road to Devanahalli yet to take off, the focus was brought back on NH 7, that is the only major connecting road. The airport is set to commence operations on March 30, 2008.

The task force comprises senior officials from various government departments and agencies, including the PWD, Infrastructure Development Department, BDA, BBMP, BMRDA and the police, apart from industry leaders. Sources said the BBMP, represented by Commissioner S Subramanya, detailed short-term plans to make the nearly 40-km ride from the Central Business District to the new airport less tiresome.

BBMP plans

The BBMP is already working on a contingency plan, that covers innovations like readymade underpasses at choke points, in this connection. The first series of underpasses is expected to be ready by January, 2008.

Widening of roads between Vidhana Soudha and Hebbal and creation of more service roads have been brought to the table. The task force will also have streamlining of traffic from the city up to Hebbal as a priority task.

Government land up for grabs

Government land up for grabs

Special Correspondent

Panel asks whether situation can be remedied

Bangalore: The final report of the Joint Legislature Committee on encroachment of government land in Bangalore Urban district states that 45,000 acres of land worth a whopping Rs. 50,000 crore even by conservative estimates has been grabbed.

On the list of 46,000 encroachers, submitted in seven volumes, are many rich and powerful people, including politicians, industrialists, builders, film personalities and heads of religious institutions.
Plea to Governor

Since the committee has been wound up with the dissolution of the Assembly, its Chairman, A.T. Ramaswamy, and members met Governor Rameshwar Thakur on Thursday and urged him to take steps to stop of the “loot of land and natural resources through encroachments and mining”.

They brought to the Governor’s notice that the Karnataka Prevention of Land Grabbing Act, 2007, had been awaiting the President’s assent for eight months. The Act provides for special courts to try land-grabbing cases.
Positive response

Speaking to presspersons here, Mr. Ramaswamy said the Governor had responded positively and promised to hold further discussions.

The Revenue Department heads the list of departments from which land has been encroached, with 33,877 acres. Other departments/agencies that have lost land (in acres) are Forest (2,223.33), Bangalore Development Authority (2,878), lakes/tanks/water bodies (1,848), Wakf (263.18), Cooperative (7.6), Animal Husbandry (53.26), Muzrai (61.0), Slum Clearance Board (12.19), Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (13.09), Bangalore University (13.19), Karnataka Housing Board (34), Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Board (10.25), Agriculture (3.19) and NIMHANS (3.26). Individual reports on each department have been submitted to the Speaker.
Even more

Mr. Ramaswamy underlined that the actual extent of land grabbing was higher than what had been detected. “This is also because of mischief and corruption at all levels, with public servants creating and abetting bogus records on the basis of which government lands are grabbed fearlessly by builders and others,” Mr. Ramaswamy has noted in his letter to the Governor.
‘Rot and corruption’

He has also expressed apprehensions that “the rot and corruption that has consumed the system” makes him “doubtful whether this alarming situation can be remedied at all”.

Of the total extent of encroachments detected, by the committee only a little over 8,000 acres of land had been recovered by the Revenue Department, said Mr. Ramaswamy.

Board decides to fleece ‘defaulters’

Board decides to fleece ‘defaulters’

Staff Reporter

The amount can be paid in 24 instalments

Houses measuring 600 sq. ft. and below exempted

BANGALORE: For property owners in 72 wards in newly added zones of the city, Cauvery water will be available from December but at a premium.

Property owners will have to pay the Beneficiary Capital Contribution as per the dimensions of the site, then a fine upwards of Rs. 100 will have to be remitted along with the contribution.

While there is no contribution for houses of 600 sq. ft. and less, for sites measuring between 1200 sq. ft and 2400 sq. ft, Rs. 5,000 will have to be paid.

The fine, counted from August 1, 2005 is Rs. 100 a month. For sites 2,400 sq. ft and above, the contribution is Rs. 10,000 and the fine is Rs. 200 a month.

The contribution along with the fine can be paid in 24 instalments along with the water bills, according to a Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) spokesperson.

The applications for water connections, earlier priced at Rs. 30, are now freely available at the BWWSB sub-divisions at Yelahanka, BEML Layout in Kodihalli Main Road, ITI Quarters at Old Madras Road, Outer Ring Road in Nagarabhavi V Block, TVS Cross Road in Peenya and Kothnur Dinne.

The BWSSB has warned people not to approach plumbers for the connections and to apply directly. For installing meters, the property owner needs to pay Rs. 1,740. People in slums can pay only Rs. 550.

Water supply will be started 15 days after all documents are submitted.

12 parks to have bird corners

12 parks to have bird corners

Special Correspondent

BANGALORE: Birds, driven away from the city because of excessive industrialisation and construction activity will soon have a safe haven exclusively built for them.

Such an initiative has been launched in Rajajinagar by N.L. Narendrababu, MLA. This will not only enthral children, who visit the parks, but also provide an occasion for them to be bird-friendly and love environment.

Mr. Narendrababu told presspersons that there were 32 parks in his constituency out of which 12 had been selected for creating bird corners, also known as Pakshidhama. Bushes and nests would be developed in the corner of a park welcoming different species of birds to settle there.

Instead of planting only ornamental trees, indigenous saplings of Indian origin, which will yield flowers and fruits for helping insects and birds, will be grown in the parks.

There are still 128 species of birds in the city despite excessive industrialisation and construction. Numerous varieties of birds have either migrated or have become extinct, thanks to the destruction of tanks at Saneguruvana Halli and Dasarahalli in the constituency.

Mr. Babu said that small bathing places with half a foot depth would be built near the nests and bushes in these parks. There would be resting spots within the ponds, so that the birds could take rest after the bath. Peepal and neem saplings would be planted. Aromatic plants supplied by the GKVK campus would be planted in two parks to attract birds.

He said that the citizens could see the full development of these bird corners in four years and trees had been planted one year ago.

Many slums get water once in 90 days

Many slums get water once in 90 days

Staff Reporter

BANGALORE: Urban poor from over 40 slums in Yelahanka Assembly Constituency protested in front of the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) on Wednesday against lack of water supply in these areas on Wednesday.

“For the past three months there has been no water supply. People have to wait for more than four hours to get water at Rs. 3 a pot,” said Sheela, organising secretary of Women’s Voice, which led the protests.

Terming it “a violation of human rights”, Ms. Sheela said the burden was most borne by women as they were the ones who had to walk long distances.

In a memorandum submitted at Governor Rameshwar Thakur’s office, the group said the BWSSB’s failure had encouraged private players to take over the supply of water and charge exorbitantly for it.

The memorandum requested the Governor to direct the BWSSB to provide water supply to all slums in Yelahanka Assembly Constituency and to build a water storage tank to supply water to Idagha Mohalla slum, Tank Mohalla slum and Medina Mohalla slum, located in the elevated terrains of D.J. Halli.

A BWSSB official when contacted said the BWSSB could not lay pipelines in the area as the roads were narrow.

The BWSSB is providing water through tankers.

Metro trial runs to begin in Dec 2009

Metro trial runs to begin in Dec 2009
Friday November 30 2007 02:41 IST

Express News Service

BANGALORE: "The test and trial operations of Metro Rail coaches will begin from August 2009. About three coaches in the East-West corridor, from Byappanahalli to MG Road, will be on trial runs," said BS Sudhir Chandra, director, Project and Planning, BMRCL, on Thursday.

Presenting the latest update on the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation, Chandra said, "The entire stretch of Reach I, from Byappanahalli to MG Road, will be completed by the March 2010 and the works are moving as per schedule."

Talking about the extensions he said, "An extension of 5.5 kilometres has been made in the North, from the Yeswanthpur terminal to Hessaraghatta Cross. The detailed project report has already been submitted. About 3.5 kms in the South corridor, from the RV Road Terminal to Kanakapura, will also be extended. A survey is on," pointed out Chandra.

Talking about the noise levels, he said, "As per the tests conducted, the noise generated by the BMRC works were well within safe limits. This report has been submitted to the Archaelogical Survey of India and awaits clearance for the Tipu Summer Palace area."

UPDATE Additional geotechnical investigation in the North- South and East-West corridor has been completed.

About 60 per cent of utilities- shifting in Reach 1, East corridor, has been completed, and the utilities-shifting work in Reach 2, West corridor, Reach 3, North corridor, and Reach 4, South corridor, has begun.

Results of the Geo Hydrological Survey, conducted by the Indian Institute of Science, will be given in March 2008.

Sub-committees will be constituted to provide integrated travel for the public.

BIAL to take wing in four months

BIAL to take wing in four months
Friday November 30 2007 03:29 IST

Get free fuel worth Rs.1000

BANGALORE: The Bangalore International Airport will go live in about four months as the works are almost complete. The tests and trials are scheduled to begin in December 2007.

"The test and trial operation at BIAL will begin from December. In the first year of operation, the International Airport will cater to more than 10 million passengers. The runway, apron and terminal works are completed. However, the connectivity to airport still remains a question," said Marcel Hungerbuehler, Chief Operation Officer, BIAL.

Talking about the Trumpet Flyover, Marcel Hungerbuehler said, "the two loops or the road overbridges of the Trumpet flyover will be completed on par with the date of opening as of March 30 2008."

The Airport Operation Readiness Programme (AORP) will begin by mid January and the testing of the each commodity and service will commence in about two to three months.

"During the AORP all the stake holders will be called in for the trial of each services. The airport will be completely ready by March 22, 2008," said Francis Rajan, Head-ICT, BIAL.

BWSSB chips in with Rs 166 cr drainage works

BWSSB chips in with Rs 166 cr drainage works
Friday November 30 2007 03:53 IST

Get free fuel worth Rs.1000

BANGALORE: Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) is undertaking the construction of major infrastructure projects in areas of Rajarajeswarinagar and Byatarayanapura, which were recently brought under Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) at a cost of Rs 166.80 crores.

These projects are being undertaked under JNNURM. Rs 125.16 crores will be spent for the construction of underground drainage systems at Byatarayanapura and Rs 41.54 crores at Rajarajeswarinagar.

These projects will be jointly taken up with the financial assistance of the central government which is bearing 35 per cent of the cost and the remaining 56 per cent will be borne by the state government and World Bank.

Underground sewerage system measuring upto 463 kms at Byatarayanapura and the 117 kms at Rajajinagar will be constructed in which importance will be given to construction of trunk sewers.

Two sewer cleaning machines each at a cost of Rs 72 lakhs would be purchased for each of this arae under the scheme.

Construction of the underground drainage systems in the newly added areas of former Yelahanka CMC and Kengeri Municipality has commenced which includes construction of trunk sewer and lateral network, said an official release here.

Wow! Three days, seven underpasses

Wow! Three days, seven underpasses
Friday November 30 2007 03:39 IST

Basavaraj Itnal
Get free fuel worth Rs.1000

A simple but innovative technology adopted by Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) is going to revolutionise the creation of underpasses across city roads.

The innovation had been tried by Palike at a test site on the premises of Indian Institute of Veterinary Research on Hebbal Road. Further, the same technology was used by BBMP two years ago during construction of underpass on Wind Tunnel road.

Palike has now proposed seven underpasses on Hebbal road to create a signal free corridor till Hebbal Flyover - all in three days. On Thursday, the high level task force on infrastructure inspected the test site and approved the projects to be exectuted and commissioned latest by Republic Day - much ahead of scheduled inauguration of Bangalore International Airport.


Palike has proposed underpasses at KR Circle, Maharani College junction, Windsor Manor junction, BDA junction, Cauvery junction, Sanjayanagar junction and CBI junction on Bellary road. The seven junctions would have underpasses to divert traffic from cross roads (except KR circle and Maharani college) to Bellary road and thus avoid traffic halt at signals. The total cost of all projects is about Rs 18 crore and except for KR Circle project, they would be finished in three days.


Task Force chairman and additional chief secretary Neerja Rajkumar said that the technology called ‘Segmented Element Technology’ uses precast box elements which are ‘assembled’ on site. Conventionally the underpasses are constructed by cutting open the ground and then casting retaining walls and slabs.

However, the pre-cast boxes make things easier as they can be cast on mass scale elsewhere and brought to the site only to be assembled. It is much cheaper than conventional methods. By conventional methods, the seven underpasses would have cost about Rs 100 crore - more than five times they would do now.

Palike engineer-in-chief AK Gopalaswamy told this paper that Palike first used the technology two years ago on underpass near Wind Tunnel road. The technology is developed by L Ram Prakash of Rohini Constructions.


Principal secretary to Urban Development Department K Jothiramalingam said that government prefers to disturb traffic for three days at a go for all underpasses instead of troubling the motorist for every project.

"We will take up all underpasses on Bellary road simultaneously and complete them in three days," he said.


Palike commissioner S Subramanya said that more such underpasses would be taken up at Kodigehalli junction, Hudson Circle, Ravindra Kalakshetra and Minsk Square.

The Task Force comprises principal secretaries to Finance, PWD, Urban Development department, Infrastructure, commissioners of Police, BMRDA, BDA, BBMP, MDs of KUIDFC, KSIIDC, BMTC, BMRCL, representatives from CII, FKCCI, BCIC, KASSIA and CEO of BIAL. Director of Urban Land Transport, TA Parthasarathy, is convenor-member.

International airlines rush to touch down on Bangalore

International airlines rush to touch down on Bangalore
The Economic Times

INTERNATIONAL air carriers are making a beeline for connecting Bangalore. Swiss Air, Qatar Airways, Oman Air and Etihad are planning to touch Bangalore while US-based Continental and Northwest are looking at launching operations from the city.
These airlines will look at covering Bangalore once the new greenfield airport at Devanahalli starts operations from March 2008. With these new entrants, the number of international carriers operating out of the city is expected to go up from the existing the 12 to around 20 from the new airport. International traffic too is expected to go up from 1.4 million to over 2 million next year. According to Airports Authority of India (AAI), Bangalore reported highest growth in international passenger traffic; about 40% as against the national average of 16% from September 2006 to August 2007.
“Considering that corporate international travel is highest out of Bangalore, the city has become a strategic location in India. We plan to launch flights from Bangalore to Doha and Qatar early next year. Frequency of operations is subject to bilaterals. Meanwhile, we have already set up an office in Bangalore,” Qatar’s regional manager, Naveen Chawla, said.
Connectivity to the Gulf from the city is catered by Emirates, Air Arabia and Gulf Air besides domestic carrier Air India. Oman and Etihad is set to join the list soon and domestic carrier Deccan is also eyeing the Gulf region. Acting Country Manager of Etihad Airways Neerja Bhatia says, “we are very keen on operating flights from Bangalore to Abu Dhabi. We have requested the Indian government for traffic rights. Ideally we would want to launch daily flights from Bangalore.”
Connectivity to the US and Europe is also set to improve with international and domestic carriers such as Air India, Jet and Kingfisher Airlines planning to start operations to New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Canada and London. Existing international carriers such as Lufthansa and British Airways too could look at increasing their seat capacity from Bangalore.

Thursday, November 29, 2007


Twin-track approach to solve traffic and transport woes
Solutions will come about only when agencies work in tandem, say Ramesh Ramanathan, Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw and M Laxminarayan

There is a new mobile phone advertisement on TV, where people give out advice at the drop of a hat. One of them shows a group of cricket lovers criticizing the batsman, saying: “Square cut maarna tha, yaar!” Only the real cricketers know how difficult it is, but all Indians are armchair gurus of the sport.
I feel the same way when we talk about city issues, often putting myself in the position of BBMP commissioner or BMTC chairman, and wondering how well I would do. The reality is that these are often good people caught in poor systems and working hard against massive odds.
But there is no escaping the fact that our quality of life is terrible on almost every front: traffic and transportation problems; intractable slum settlements; poor planning resulting in building and zoning violations; poor quality water and sanitation services resulting in health issues; thousands of tons of untreated garbage being dumped every day. Our problems are going from 100mph to 200mph, while the solutions are moving from 10mph to 20mph the gap is only getting wider.
So the question is how do we fix the systems issue, rather than just putting bandaids to treat a disease. Given the limitations of this article, I will focus only on one issue: traffic and transport. It’s a problem that affects all Bangaloreans and will determine our city’s development for years to come.
Footprint of the area
The first thing to get right is the footprint of the area we are talking about: it cannot be the 750 sqkm of the BBMP area alone. We need to take a much bigger canvas, zoom back a little bit like Google Earth, and look at the entire region. Let me provide one example: the international airport is coming up at Devanahalli, which is a village 28 km north of the city. But is this going to have a massive impact on traffic issues over the coming years? Absolutely. Similarly, all mass transport solutions require large capital investments that need to be planned for the entire region, not in a piece-meal fashion.
If we are to take a regional view, what’s the right size? Imagine a map that includes the Greater Bangalore city area, and also encompasses the BIAL Airport in the north, the industrial belt of Peenya and Nelamangala in the West, and the IT and industrial belt that stretches from Athibele in the south to Hoskote to the east. This is called the Bangalore Metropolitan Region (BMR), and is an area of 8,800 sqkm. Coincidentally, it’s around the same size as the metropolitan region of Shanghai in China. Every large city in the world is viewing its urban challenges at a regional level. We should be doing the same.
Institutional structure
The second aspect is the institutional structure. What do I mean by this? There are several government agencies involved in one or other aspect of Bangalore’s traffic and transportation issues: BBMP, BMTC for buses, Bangalore Traffic Police, BMRC for the Metro, the RTO for new vehicles, BDA, the National Highways, State PWD, Railways and so on. And I am leaving out many related institutions.
Our solutions to traffic and transport will only come if we have these institutions working together in an organised, integrated manner. While this has been said umpteen times before, the good news is that a thorough report on traffic and transport was placed before the Governor just a month ago, called the RITES report on Comprehensive Traffic and Transportation Plan for Bangalore. One of the key recommendations of the RITES report has been implemented by the Government of Karnataka, which is the setting up of the Bangalore Metropolitan Land Transport Authority (BMLTA) to co-ordinate all transport programmes in Bangalore Metropolitan Region (BMR). BMLTA is exactly the institution that we need to support and strengthen. So, we have the regional view, and the right institutional structure. Now what? Unfortunately, BMLTA is a new organization, with very little technical capacity to
carry out its responsibility. Our bureaucrats are being overwhelmed by the problems, and cannot solve things themselves. They have to necessarily partner with other city stakeholders.
This is in keeping with international good practices. For example, London’s integrated transport authority Transport for London (TfL) includes a diverse mix of politicians, bureaucrats, union representatives, market players and social activists.
Public-private initiative
We need a public-private initiative to help solve the immediate problems, but in a manner that works with and strengthens BMLTA in the long run. But for this, we also need to organize ourselves outside government, so that we can bring our passion, skills and concerns to bear in the most productive manner. A common platform for city stakeholders has recently been established, called Bangalore City Connect, meant for all those who subscribe to this approach. Floated by the CII and Janaagraha, City Connect has the support of all the industry bodies we have approached. Soon, membership will expand to other organizations like Rotary, NGOs, Resident Welfare Associations, etc.
The Public-Private partnership that we are suggesting is called Bangalore Traffic and Transport Initiative (BTTI), to function in close coordination with BMLTA. BTTI should be a fully empowered body, chaired at the most senior level in government, and bring in concerned and competent voices from the outside: industry, NGO, technical experts and so on. Key opinion leaders in Bangalore are already supporting the idea of BTTI.
How can a platform like BTTI work? Let me offer one example. In the past few months, a group of us at City Connect worked on one specific issue: the connectivity to the upcoming International Airport. The BIAL airport will be ready for operations on March 30, 2008, as per current plans. The road/rail connectivity to the airport is extremely poor and this will create enormous stress on all air passengers business, personal and budget — if the infrastructure issues are not resolved with great urgency.
A number of people from multiple institutions came together over the past several weeks to give their time and skills. Having invested over 6,000 personhours in understanding the problem and studying the various proposals currently with government, we put together a detailed note. In this, we are suggesting a two-track approach to addressing the connectivity issues for BIAL:
Upgrading Existing Rail/Road infrastructure like ROBs, grade separators, road widening/resurfacing, crossing stations etc. City Connect has identified 15 such projects that can be taken up right away on topmost priority; most are already in the RITES report. Envisaged to be completed within 12-18 months, these can be part of a short-term solution to improving BIAL connectivity.
Building new infrastructure like Metro link, expressway etc., in a time-bound manner. These can be part of a long-term solution to improving BIAL connectivity.
The approach suggested for airport connectivity can be extended to other traffic and transportation issues throughout the city. What we need is a BTTI that can work with BMLTA along a 2-track approach of fast-track solutions that can give people the sense that things are really moving, which simultaneously addressing the longer-dated issues.
Examples of fast-track projects are plenty, and many have been written about in this paper:
Improving the design of traffic junctions, changing school timings, enforcing lane discipline, integrating databases of vehicles and drivers so that repeat traffic offenders can be booked, toll-free number for feedback on BMTC drivers, shifting bus shelters to have bus bays, making the complete road width available for traffic movement, etc.
Examples of reform-track projects could be:
Incentivising the creation of multi-storeyed car parking, establishing a state-of-the-art traffic control centre with camera feeds, building a region-wide integrated mass transport system, imposing congestion fees in the central business district, augmenting and building technical capacity in key government agencies, creating a GIS-based spatial data centre for the metropolitan region, and so on.
The specific projects are not so important, what is the key is to get the regional footprint and institutional structure right, and then use public-private energy to drive change. Ideas for projects will naturally emerge from people.
One note of caution: We need to keep the list short, no more than 10 projects in each category. As we implement the first project, we can bring in the 11th project. This way, people can see that things are getting done. All interested stakeholders should be given a chance to engage in a structured, systematic manner, including communities in their neighbourhoods. Slowly, as people see that the changes are visible, they will go from being part of the problem to becoming part of the solution.
Five years ago, when we told people that we need a systematic approach to solving urban problems, that it would take time, most people rolled their eyes, We need quickfixes, immediate results, things that can be done in six months.
Five years later, we are clearly worse off. People are slowly beginning to realize that fixing the problems of our cities isn’t easy. We need systematic solutions that can bring public and private energies together, and work at two levels: deliver quickly on selected fast-track ideas, while simultaneously investing in the longer-term reform-track needs.
A BTTI that works in collaboration with BMLTA could be the answer. If we can get BTTI going in right earnest, at least we can stop being armchair critics of government, and get our hands dirty in helping them solve our citys nightmarish traffic problems.
(Ramesh Ramanathan is co-founder,
Janaagraha; Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw,
chairperson and MD, Biocon Ltd and
M Laxminarayan, joint MD, Mico Ltd)

Ramesh Ramanathan

Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw

M Laxminarayan

‘Project on track’

‘Project on track’

Bangalore: Considering that Karnataka may not have a government by April next year, will the Rs 2,500-crore Bangalore International Airport take off as scheduled?
Well, BIAL is confident it will. “Government or no government, BIAL airport will be operational starting March 30, 2008,’’ said Marcel Hungerbuehler, COO of BIAL, on the sidelines of a press briefing.
Trials of various facilities and processes will kickoff beginning December. “Most of the work will be completed by the year-end, barring some work inside the terminal building, which will get done early next year,’’ said Hungerbuehler. He said the trials of test flights will begin by February. In a first of its kind among Indian airports, BIAL has put in place an integrated passengerbaggage reconciliation system — developed by SITA, an IT solutions provider for the air transport industry — to ensure minimal loss of baggage. Currently, each airline has its own baggage tracking system at every airport. The cost of the BIAL baggage project will be passed on to the passenger, which works out to Rs 1.1 per bag.
Once the airport opens, it will cater to 10.5 million passengers and handle about 8 million baggage items.

Infrastructure task force has its task cut out

Infrastructure task force has its task cut out
Anshul Dhamija | TNN

Bangalore: As the date draws nearer for the opening of the greenfield Bangalore International Airport, the heat is on to set the house in order and provide the requisite infrastructure.
On Thursday, a high-level task force set up to oversee the development of roads and other infrastructure leading to the airport, will meet at 3.30 pm in Vidhana Soudha. It will be headed by the state’s additional chief secretary.
Chairman of Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Karnataka, Reguraj, told TOI: “The task force will discuss ways to improve the travel time of passengers as well as devise a number of short- and long-term measures relating to infrastructure.’’
The Times of India reported on November 6 that a task force was to be formed. Three days ago, the chief secretary formally approved the task force. Sources told TOI that short-term measures being considered include setting up of signboards, widening existing national highway leading to the airport to eight lanes, construction of service roads and underbridges and construction of a dedicated bus service corridor.
The task force will also look into the progress of the construction of the trumpet flyover at the junction where the road from the airport meets Bellary Road. “The design of the trumpet interchange has been finalised in coordination with the NHAI to accommodate the expansion to eight lanes. The interchange work will not be delayed. Most of it will be ready for the airport opening date of March 30 and completed by July 2008,’’ said Albert Brunner, CEO, Bangalore International Airport Ltd (BIAL). Also proposed in the short-term is the re-alignment of traffic going from the city towards the airport, and the setting up of an entry point on the eastern side of the airport.
The Times of India has learned that a schedule for implementation of these short-term measures will be drawn up in the meeting.
In the long term, the task force is thinking of an express train service, a Peripheral Ring Road and an Express Highway Ring Road, sources said.
The meeting is expected to be attended by principal secretaries in the departments of finance, PWD and infrastructure development, commissioners of the BDA and BBMP, representative of BMRDA, managing directors of BMRC, BMTC, KSIIDC, KUIDFC, commissioner of police, chairman CII, presidents of BCIC and FKCCI and the CEO of BIAL.

Taps run dry, tanker rates touch the sky

Taps run dry, tanker rates touch the sky

Bangalore: Those living in Hanumanagar, Someshwaranagar, Srikanteshwaranagar, Thippasandra or Domlur understand the gravity of the water shutdown better than most others. Mahadev M N and other residents of Ganesha Block in Mahalakshmi Layout depend on their neighbours’ sumps for water. “We haven’t received water for three days. How can we store water for the next three days? Many residents have also called tankers, but it’s costing us a heavy sum. BWSSB should have made alternative arrangements,’’ he said.
Hemalatha Devanga of Someshwaranagar says community borewell in her area has dried up. “How many houses can store water in sumps? We have no choice but to depend on tankers, and most of us are apprehensive about the quality of water.’’
Developed areas like Hanumanagar in Jeevanbimanagar haven’t been spared either. Water is supplied here once in three days, and at best for an hour. Fortunately, given the early warning, some residents called tankers and made arrangements for the week. Not everybody is as lucky in this area, said R L Nathan of J B Nagar III Stage.
Jayakumar, a businessman of the same area, added: “Water suppliers are acting pricey. Since there was no pressure in the past two days, we couldn’t store any water. I was charged Rs 450 for one tanker load.’’
In some parts of Rajajinagar, there’s been no water supply since Sunday and residents could not store water as there was no supply even on Tuesday, complained N Radhakrishna. Supply will resume on Dec. 1
Bangalore: Will water be restored after the promised deadline? That’s the question citizens are asking.
Here’s the work status at the project site. The plan was to stop water supply early on Tuesday morning, so that work could be started on linking the new supply
line to the Cauvery water supply at T K Halli on Wednesday.
“There should be no trace of water when the existing pipeline is cut, and then welded with the new pipeline. Else, the welding won’t hold. But water kept flowing into Bangalore till late Wednesday morning and this has delayed the work by a few hours. We plan to finish linking by tomorrow morning,’’ said BWSSB officials working at the T K Halli reservoir plant, where work is going on at the 1915-mm gravity main of Cauvery Water Supply Scheme, Stage IV, Phase II.
Officials said once the pipes are fixed, water supply will resume. It will take over 24 hours to fill up all the ground level reservoirs across the city. “If all goes well, water supply to consumers will resume from December 1,’’ said officials.
In hot water
Watch out, your solar heaters and geysers could be damaged. Since these need an uninterrupted water flow from overhead tanks, lack of sufficient back-up might harm these devices.
Women demand BWSSB supply
They pay as much as Rs 3 per bucket they collect from taps installed 3 km away. Now, their patience has reached breaking point.
Around 200 women from slums in Yelahanka made their voice heard in front of the BWSSB office on Wednesday. These members of Women’s Voice submitted a memorandum to the board chairperson and demanded water supply immediately.
“Only 28 areas have water connections. We want BWSSB to make arrangements to supply water through tankers at least,’’ said Shyamala, a member.
Water Adalats on Nov. 29, 30
BWSSB will conduct Water Adalats on November 29 and 30 from 9 am to 12 noon in the new BBMP areas, which will be provided with water supply in December. Water will be supplied to 72 wards in the 7 CMC areas, and details on the new connections and formalities will be given at these Water Adalats.
On November 29
Mahadevapura: Wards 1, 2, 10 at BBMP office White Field Road, Mahadevapura; Ward 12 at Government of Samyukta Poorva College, Hoody; Ward 14 at Basavanagar Government High School, White Field Road, Rajya Palya.
Krishnarajapura: Wards 6, 9, 10, 11 at Vikasa High School, Ramamurthinagar Main Road, Gurumurthy Reddy Layout; Ward 16 at Government High School, Devasandra.
Rajarajeshwarinagar: Wards 3-6 at Kuvempu Rangamandira, Health Layout, Annapurneshwarinagar; Wards 7-10 at Kanyakumar School ground, 80 Ft Ring Road, Mallathahalli; Ward 31 at Venkateshwara Temple Ground, Elachenahalli; Ward 30 at Kanakanagar, Indian Public School, Kanakanagar 6th Cross.
Dasarahalli: Ward 24 at R V English School, Ramaiah Layout, Peenya 2nd Stage; Ward 25 at Dr Rajkumar Playground, BFW Layout; Ward 26 at K M Geeta Kannada Middle School, Lakshmidevinagar.
Byatarayanapura: Wards 19, 15 at Tatanagar, Kshemabhivruddhi office, near water tank. Bommanahalli: Wards 19, 26 at Varasiddhi temple ground. Ward 27 at Vivekananda Govt Middle School, Puttenahalli Main Road.
On November 30
Mahadevapura: Ward 16 at Prashanthinagar Layout, White Field Main Road; Wards 25-26 at Cauvery School, Marathahalli.
Krishnarajapura: Ward 18 at Temple ground, Singayyapalya; Ward 22 at New Oxford School, Rajiv Gandhi Road, Shastrinagar; Ward 29 at Nivasi Kshemabhivruddhi Sangha, Pai Layout, Old Madras Road.
RR Nagar: Ward 16 at Sri Anjaneya Swami temple, Pramod Layout, BSK 3rd Stage; Ward 28 at Deodate Public School, Bikaasipura, Banashankari 6th Stage; Ward 29 at Ganesha temple road, Chikkalsandra Main Road.
Kengeri: Wards 1-7 at Samudaya Bhavan, Kengeri.
Dasarahalli: Ward 22 at Government Middle School, Nelagadharanahalli Circle; Ward 12 at Dasarahalli Nagarsabha office.
Byatarayanapura: Ward 4 at NTI Nivasi Kshemabhivruddhi Sangada office, Vidyaranyapura.
Yelahanka: Ward 1, 12, 14, 15, 20, 23, 24 at BWSSB office, Yelahanka.
Bommanahalli: Wards 28-29, behind Inchara Hotel, Sarakki, JP Nagar 6th Phase; Ward 30-31 at Jaraganahalli, Government Middle School, Kanakapura Main Road.

SITA to run Bangalore Intl Airport’s baggage system

SITA to run Bangalore Intl Airport’s baggage system

Deal struck for 5 years; BIAL to make monthly payments

Our Bureau

Bangalore, Nov. 28 Bangalore’s greenfield international airport will be the first airport in India to use an integrated automated passenger baggage reconciliation system (PBRS) when it begins operations in March next year.

Air transport services major SITA will deploy and manage its own bar code-based solution at the airport, according to top officials of the two companies.

The PBRS will serve a common goal of the aviation industry – which is to convey baggage efficiently back to the passenger and cut the huge $3.8-billion global cost (2006) due to mishandling or loss.

Bangalore International Airport Ltd (BIAL) and SITA have struck a five-year managed services contract by which the airport will make agreed monthly payments to SITA, BIAL’s COO, Mr Marcel Hungerbuehler, said.

“Nothing is more frustrating than being separated from your bags. We intend to reduce this risk to the minimum possible” through an integrated central infrastructure, he told a news conference here. SITA engineers stationed at the airport will manage the system.

Mr Elyes M’Rad, SITA’s South Asia Regional Vice-President, said the $1.4-billion company generated a significant 40 per cent of its business from this segment. It was also in the race for similar contracts at other upcoming airports in the country.

The baggage reconciliation system developed by SITA, which tracks baggage in 220 countries, combines bar codes, wireless LAN and global connectivity. It enables quicker offloading and saves aircraft delays when passengers do not show up and automatically redirects bags that missed their connection on to alternative flights.

Of the two modules being used at BIA, BagManager works through check-in, baggage sorting up to integrating with flight information systems. It also allows for high security screenings for explosives and other devices. BagMessage offers latest bag information on demand.

Mystery lingers over M'lore, B'lore train

Mystery lingers over M'lore, B'lore train
Thursday November 29 2007 06:59 IST

Nandini Chandrashekar
Get free fuel worth Rs.1000

BANGALORE: Nine days to go for the grand inauguration of the Mangalore-Bangalore train by Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav.

That is the only assured fact about this train. All other details like availability of tickets, fares, composition of the coaches and even whether the train from Bangalore to Mangalore is starting on Dec 8 are still under wraps.

Bookings for the train were expected to be open from Dec 1, but Railway officials claim that no official notification has been received yet on any of the details and hence they have not entered the information into their systems.

So, nine days to inauguration and no date has been set for reservations. Though the designated stops and timings enroute have been finalised, official refuse to confirm it for the same reason.

Bangalore Divisional Railway Manager Mahesh Mangal says they expect the notification to come through in the next three days. Incidentally, he points out that though the inauguration of the train from Mangalore on Dec 8 is confirmed, the starting date for the running of the train from Bangalore to Mangalore has not been confirmed yet.

Fares also have not been disclosed though Railways follow a formula based on the distance between two stations. Mangal however claims that a week’s advance notice is enough to set the ball rolling.

While Railway officials are unconcerned about the hue and cry stating that things will sort themselves out in the coming few days, criticism has come in from some quarters about the travel time. Twelve hours of travel to cover 453 kms is something the industry representatives are unhappy about.

They now intend to request Laloo to introduce another express train on the track which will complete the journey in a shorter time.

'Sakrama to benefit big builders, not commoners'

'Sakrama to benefit big builders, not commoners'
Thursday November 29 2007 06:14 IST

Get free fuel worth Rs.1000

BANGALORE: Karnataka government’s amendment to Karnataka Town and Country Planning (KTCP) Act to extend onetime amnesty to violators of building bylaw seems to have invited criticism from all segments of society. Former mayors of Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), civic society, builders and common men are apprehensive of the move.

Palike officials always colluded with violators and issued occupancy certificates (OC) to buildings with deviations. Once OC is issued, the Palike will have to take action against the official who issued it despite deviations.

BUILDERS: On Wednesday, Greater Bangalore Builders’ Association condemned Sakrama and termed it a mere device to harass builders and individual property owners. Association president Shripathi Rao told reporters that the government decision to fix slabs to regularise violations was arbitrary.

"They say that 50 per cent deviations in case of residential buildings and 25 per cent in case of commercial buildings can be regularised but there was no survey conducted before fixing these limits. Further, Sakrama demands separate penalty for setback violations and Floor Area Ratio (FAR) deviations.

"There can be no FAR deviation without setback violation and the citizen ends up paying twice for the same violation. In fact, the owner of a two-storeyed building ends up paying about Rs 4 lakh for regularisation," he said. The As sociation urged the Governor to put on hold further implementation of Sakrama.

CIVIL SOCIETY: Abhyudaya, a resident welfare association, has filed a PIL before the High Court against Sakrama. The HC observed on Tuesday that Palike was aiding violators through Sakrama and that ‘sharks’ of building industry were benefitting the most.


Most of Bangalore MLAs had been against it right from the day it was proposed by HD Kumaraswamy government.

The amendment was rejected by the Governor twice. The amendment was still pushed through legislature. Former minister R Ramalinga Reddy and former mayors P R Ramesh and J Huchchappa have written to the Governor urging him to put Sakrama on hold till a popular government is formed in the State. Most big building complexes comprise serious FAR and setback violations.

As a consequence, mayors and town planning committee heads ‘visited’ these buildings and builders had to ‘spend’ heavily everytime. In the guise of Sakrama, the builders would get relief forever from the harassment.

Many builders have taken up projects with more FAR accounting for new compoundable limits to make most of the drive, said sources.

On the other hand, individual dwelling units were never on Palike enforcement radar as it was violation out of need as against builders’ violation for greed.

Devanahalli trials in Dec

Devanahalli trials in Dec
DH News Service, Bangalore:
The Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL) will commence basic trials at the upcoming greenfield airport in Devanahalli in December.

Marcel Hungerbuehler, Chief Operation Officer, BIAL said on Wednesday that the advanced, integrated trials at the airport will begin in January next year.. The airport is set for a March 30, 2008 opening. The construction of the airport is almost complete and work on the runway is over. In its first year of operation, the airport is expected to handle 10.5 million passengers.

Connectivity issues

Addressing the much-debated issue of poor connectivity from the City to the airport, Hungerbuehler said long-term plans including a mass transit system, were the need of the hour. “The growth in air traffic is going to continue and unless we have a mass transit system for passengers commuting to and from the City, the issue of connectivity will stay,” he said.

The Chief Operation Officer said there was a need to improve the traffic situation at road junctions. Work on the trumpet interchange, that diverts traffic from NH 7 to the airport, is on.


*Basic trials in December, advanced trials from next year
*Airport set for a March 30 opening
*To handle 10.5
million passengers in first year

Sakrama: Protests gather storm

Sakrama: Protests gather storm
DH News Service, Bangalore:
Protests demanding withdrawal of Sakrama, the scheme for regularisation of unauthorised constructions and developments, are gaining momentum in Bangalore.

According to constitutional experts, the Governor is legally empowered to annul the rules under which Sakrama came into effect.

The Karnataka State Legislature amended Karnataka Town and Country Planning Act 1961 to provide an opportunity for owners of unauthorised properties to get their properties regularised, at its special session in Belgaum in September 2006.

The draft of the amended rules was published in the State gazette on May 17, 2007. A 30-day time was given for filling objections. Finally, the rules came into effect from September 15.

Congress MLAs from Bangalore City had at a press meet set November 30 as deadline for the withdrawal of the scheme.

The Left parties on Tuesday staged a massive protest in front of the Palike demanding the scrapping of the scheme.

Palike stand

BBMP officials argue that political parties should have raised their voice against the scheme when the relevant legislation was tabled in the Assembly. “There is no point in opposing the scheme now. When the draft was notified in the gazette there was a 30-day time to file objections. There is no way out than filing the applications before December 14,” a senior BBMP officer said.

A former advocate-general of Karnataka opined that as the framing of the Rules the under which Sakrama was brought into effect was an executive act of the State government, the Governor who now sits in its place can annul it, if he deemed it necessary.

The Governor acting under President’s rule is not supposed to take any decisions of policy nature unless necessitated by extra-ordinary circumstances.

Former law minister D B Chandre Gowda said though the Governor cannot withdraw the scheme he can defer its implementation until a popular government assumes power.

MLA Jayaprakash Hegde said when the State is under the President’s rule the Governor cannot withdraw a decision or a scheme being implemented on the basis of a law passed by the previous government. But he can extend the last date for submitting applications.

Sakrama aiding violators: HC

Sakrama aiding violators: HC
Bangalore, DHNS:

“Is it necessary to implement ‘Sakrama’ scheme which seems like protecting those violating law?” “People are violating rules since they have understood they can pressurise the government to bring out such a scheme after violating laws.” These were the comments made by a HC division Bench hearing a PIL by City-based ‘Abhyudaya’ against the government’s Act and Rules under which ‘Sakrama’ scheme has been framed.

The division Bench, comprising Chief Justice Cyriac Joseph and Justice Ashok B Hinchigeri, said though the scheme may help the poor and the middle class, the big “sharks” seemed to be enjoying greater benefits. The Bench adjourned further hearing of the case to December 4.

Cauvery water a pipe dream!

Cauvery water a pipe dream!
By Fathima Sumaya Khan, DH News Service, Bangalore:
Marathahalli is a classic example of how civic bodies are blind towards former city municipal council areas, which have come under the jurisdiction of the newly formed BBMP zones.

No matter is which part of the City you are located, you are bound to suffer from civic problems. Even the far-flung areas have infrastructure problems.

Marathahalli is a classic example of how civic bodies are blind towards former city municipal council areas, which have come under the jurisdiction of the newly formed BBMP zones. A number of problems plague this booming business and residential hub. And this despite the fact that Marathahalli is just 2 km from HAL Airport.

Residents narrate how lack of basic amenities has made their life miserable.

“The BWSSB has laid pipelines for providing Cauvery water close to two years ago in our area, but only the pipes exist. Water connection has not been provided to any of our houses till today,” complained Meenakshi, a resident.

Like Meenakshi, many depend on borewell, or will have to purchase water at Rs 1 per pot. “Marathahalli is a hub of IT industries but ironically, locals crave for basic amenities. Most of the street lights require maintenance,” points out businessman Gopi Reddy. Bad roads add to the existing problems. Most of the internal roads are cratered and have not been asphalted.

No improvement

Puttamma has been residing in Marathahalli for the last thirty years, and has not seen any improvements in the conditions of roads. Residents also have to put up with sewage water overflowing on roads. Most residential lanes face this situation. Sewage water gets accumulated and remains stagnant for days. Open drains also act as breeding ground for mosquitoes and vacant sites have turned into garbage dumping yards.

Residents also complain about traffic congestion - which is an everyday affair in their locality. “During peak hours, Marathahalli Ring Road witnesses heavy traffic jams. It takes almost twenty minutes to enter this road from our gate. Its very problematic,” said Uma Shivakumar, resident of Paramount Raghavendra Arisht Apartments.

Housewife Geetha Vasant is also fed up with traffic snarls in Marathahalli. “We need immediate deployment of traffic police personnel wherever road dividers exist on the Ring Road, to enable smooth flow of traffic, and to avoid vehicle pile-ups. It will make life much easier for residents.”

Habba 2007 reinvents itself

Habba 2007 reinvents itself

Staff Reporter

Nandini Alva speaks about Bengalooru Habba

Celebration of creativity: A file photo of an earlier edition of the Bengalooru Habba. The festival promises a sensory feast for connoisseurs.

Bangalore: Bengalooru Habba is back with its repertoire of cultural events ranging from Carnatic music to rock, from Yakshagana to fashion shows, starting November 30. This year, the Habba will also feature a “swim meet” for children. Nandini Alva, trustee, Artistes’ Foundation for the Arts (AFFA), the organisers of the Habba, speaks to The Hindu about future plans for the Habba, and the constraints of commerce.

The Hindu : What is your vision for Habba 2007?

Nandini Alva: Our focus this year is to make the Habba a truly international city event. The festival has the makings of a carnival, with the potential to draw tourists from all over the world for the occasion. We want to make ourselves a global cultural event, which is why we are introducing genres like jazz.

TH: What is the concept behind the sports events at the Habba?

NA: We are trying to go beyond the performing arts to an exhibition of talent, and talent need not only be entertainment. This year we have added a swimming competition to the sport events. Next year we would like to see billiards and badminton, and in future perhaps bring in cricket and tennis too to attract more visitors. We intend to have a venue dedicated to creative writing and debating next year.

TH: What is the role of the State Government in supporting the Habba this year?

NA: The AFFA has never taken funds from the Government. The Department of Kannada and Culture will organise events at Ravindra Kalakshetra and the Town Hall. It makes sense to partner with the department because of their huge database of artistes and information on fine arts, folk tradition, theatre and poetry. The Government will also be helping with publicity in terms of hoardings.

TH: There was feedback last year of corporate sponsors being more visible than the ‘brand Habba’. The hoardings, some felt, distracted from the event…

NA: The visibility we give to the sponsors is justified as theirs is an advertising budget.

They don’t interfere in creative content or in the event itself. As organisers, we have a tough time raising money, and if we preach too much idealism, who will be the takers then? We need a meeting point between creativity and commerce.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Sakrama: banks to extend loans

Sakrama: banks to extend loans

Staff Reporter

BANGALORE: Five banks will give loans for paying regularisation fees under the Sakrama scheme, Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Commissioner S. Subramanya has said at a press conference.

These are the State Bank of Mysore, Indian Overseas Bank, Bank of India, Axis Bank and HDFC Bank. The banks will treat the loan as personal loan, home loan or real estate loan, depending on the borrower, some representatives of the banks present said. Some have even drawn out schemes specifically for Sakrama.

“People will have the facility to pay the loan over the next 10 years even,” Dr. Subramanya said. He added that people can enter into an agreement with the bank and the BBMP, where in the bank pays the regularisation fees to the palike directly. “In case the application for regularisation cannot be processed, then the BBMP will refund the loan amount to the bank,” he said.

That apart, people can take loans with the banks directly and pay the regularisation fees through demand drafts, he said.

This move comes after the feedback received from certain sections of the public who have complained about the high rates charged for regularisation. They have asked for payment of the regularisation fees in instalments.

“But allowing for instalments, extending the last date from December 14 or even incorporating other violations not set in the scheme is not up to the BBMP. It has to be the Government’s decision,” Dr. Subramanya said.

The BBMP will start processing of the applications from next week. It will be done according to seniority basis and names of people whose applications will be processed on a particular date will be put up in the respective zonal offices, he said.
On website

The list of engineers is put up on the palike website,

The Institute of Engineers has also opened a phone line for public assistance. The number is Ph: 22264698. The palike, which receives nearly 120 calls a day, has opened two more hotlines which will function on all days from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The phone numbers are 32440101, 32446161 and 32448181.

Senior BBMP officials are responsive: Chandrashekar

Senior BBMP officials are responsive: Chandrashekar

Special Correspondent

Action sought against engineers party to construction of unauthorised buildings

Bangalore: Chairman of the Legislative Council B.K. Chandrashekar has clarified that what he said at the Rotary felicitation here on Sunday was that the “compounding fee under the Sakrama scheme was based on the 2005 guidance value which several residents feel was on the higher side and he had said that the government/BBMP had rejected the 2007 guidance value which would have been much higher.”

In a rejoinder to the report published in The Hindu on Monday, Mr. Chandrashekar denied that he had said that the BBMP “was charging an exorbitant compounding fee” and that “the BBMP had failed in maintaining cleanliness, roads, footpaths and streetlights.”

Prof. Chandrashekar said that the engineering staff at the lower level often failed in their responsibilities of maintaining roads while senior-level officers in the corporation were responsive.

Indeed, he said that he had explicitly referred to responsive and positive disposition of Joint Commissioner Yashwanth, Commissioner S. Subramanya and others. He strongly recommended that action be taken against engineers, who were party to construction of unauthorised buildings for the last three decades.

He added that the commissioner was not empowered to initiate action against engineers working on deputation from the Department of Public Works and this needed a change.

They had been the beneficiaries of unauthorised structures, the Legislative Council Chairman added.

Prof. Chandrashekar said, “it will not only be unfair on my part, but will demoralise BBMP officers — especially at the middle and higher level — who are doing their best under unfavourable political conditions.”

Funds for two more traffic transit management centres

Funds for two more traffic transit management centres

Anil Kumar Sastry

The project is at a cost of Rs. 84 crore

Jayanagar TTMC to be completed by January 2009

BANGALORE: Two more traffic transit management terminals (TTMC), proposed by the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) at a cost of Rs. 84 crore, to offer park and ride facility, will get funds under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM).

The proposal to build TTMCs at Yeshwanthpur and Domlur was cleared at a meeting convened by the Ministry of Urban Development in New Delhi on Friday.

BMTC Managing Director Upendra Tripathy told The Hindu that with the two projects, 10 TTMCs proposed by the corporation will get funds under JNNURM. Under the mission, the Union Government provides 35 per cent of the project cost, the State Government provides 15 per cent and the corporation has to bear the balance.

While the work on Jayanagar TTMC is to be completed by January 2009, the foundation stone for the work on Vijayanagar TTMC was laid in October this year. The corporation is in the process of inviting tenders for TTMCs at Bannerghatta, Kengeri, Banashankari, Shanthinagar, Koramangala and ITPL and is hopeful of commencing the work by January 2008, according to K.M. Nandagopal, BMTC’s JNNURM consultant.

Detailed project reports for all the TTMCs were submitted to the ministry and the estimated cost was put at Rs. 332 crore. The corporation has proposed to construct 34 more TTMCs across Greater Bangalore to decongest city roads of private vehicles and popularise public transport. Though the ministry has asked the corporation to consider public-private partnership (PPP) for these projects, the BMTC claimed that it is difficult to attract PPP as entrepreneurs anticipate less scope for commercial exploitation of the premises.