Sunday, August 31, 2008

BBMP gets busy, takes stock of the situation

BBMP gets busy, takes stock of the situation

Bangalore: On Saturday, BBMP commissioner S Subramanya visited Mariyannapalya in Dasarahalli. This low-lying area with a narrow stormwater drain has been severely affected due to the recent rain. According to officials, the area is inundated by water overflowing from Jakkarayana, Racchenahalli, Agrahara and Betadahallasuru tanks.
The commissioner promised that the stormwater drains’ capacity will be increased and in case of heavy rainfall, emergency measures will be initiated. “At Munivenkatappa Garden near Ulsoor, 57 families had homes built on the stormwater drain. They have been shifted to Lingarajpuram Housing Board Colony,’’ said S Puttaswamy, additional commissioner, BBMP East division. Sriram Reddy, additional commissioner, BBMP West division, said except for a few trees crashing, there is not much rain-related damage in the area.
K R Ramakrishna, additional commissioner of BBMP South division, said locations that usually have rain-related problems — like Shammana Garden — are better placed this year. “In Venkataswamy Garden at JJR Nagar, around 15 houses are partially damaged and water entered 13 houses in JJR nagar itself. About 27 houses in Govindarajnagar and 100-odd houses in ward 32 have been affected. Some of these areas have been affected due to old stormwater drains,’’ Ramakrishna said.
Maintenance work to be outsourced
Urban development minister S Suresh Kumar has issued directions to BBMP officials to outsource maintenance work on flyovers, subways and grade separators, lay a dedicated line to drain out clogged water, and create a separate cell to monitor distress calls.
Speaking to STOI, Kumar said BBMP does not have adequate maintenance staff. In light of the recent complaints of water-logging at grade separators, flyovers and subways, it has been decided to outsource maintenance work, he said.
“The BBMP control room can handle distress calls only when the rainfall is 50 mm or less. In case of 80-100 mm rainfall, the workforce is unable to cope with the number of calls. Hence it is decided to have a separate cell to attend to calls after heavy rain,” Kumar said.
Rainfall more than expected
After heavy rain for a week, there were signs of recession with the city clocking just 0.6 mm rainfall on Friday. However, Saturday again saw an increase, recording 10.4 mm rainfall.
According to the meteorological department, heavy rain will continue till the revival of monsoon winds. “State interiors are receiving rain since monsoon winds are in the easterly direction. Because of this, the coastal parts have not received sufficient rain this week. Once the winds are revived and coastal regions start receiving rain, there could be a decrease here. Till then, the city will continue to receive these showers,’’ said department director A Muthuchami. “Surprisingly, the city has received more than double the rain expected when actually other parts of the state have received only normal rainfall,’’ he added.
Health hazards lurking
Stagnant rainwater pools continue to be the biggest concern for civic authorities during post-rain relief measures. If the water enters drinking water lines, there is a risk of epidemic outbreaks.
After the rain over the past few days, water has accumulated for days together in some areas. Fear of an outbreak of epidemics is high due to increase in the number of mosquitoes and in the backdrop of the recent cases of chikungunya and dengue in the city.
This year, the city has witnessed an outbreak gastroentrities and chikungunya every other month.
According to officials, the main concern is evacuating residents to safer places and draining out stagnant water. The BBMP has not lined up any health-oriented plans for Sai Gardens.

Township not approved: BDA

Township not approved: BDA

Staff Reporter

Bangalore: The Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) has cautioned people against buying sites in the “European Township” being developed by Granity Properties at Boodigere Cross near Old Madras Road as it has not been approved by the BDA.

In an official press release, the BDA said that anyone “who bought property in this unauthorised township would be solely responsible for any problems emerging out of such transactions.”

“It has come to the notice of BDA that a private developer Granity Properties Pvt. Ltd. has advertised through print/electronic media and outdoor publicity that the proposed European Township falls within the local planning area i.e., BDA limits,” the release said.

“As per Section 32 of the BDA Act of 1976 and Section 17 of Karnataka Town and Country Planning Act 1961, it is mandatory to get the layout plan sanctioned by the BDA to form any residential layouts in BDA jurisdiction. In this case, neither the company has submitted any proposals for sanctions nor has the BDA approved the layout,” the release said.

A list of BDA sanctioned layouts has been posted on the for the benefit of public, the release added.

Rain disrupts traffic

Rain disrupts traffic

Staff Reporter

BANGALORE: The already dull sky since Saturday morning got suddenly darker and there was a downpour in many parts of the city in the afternoon. It worsened the chaotic weekend traffic.

Motorists, particularly two-wheeler riders, struggling hard to drive on inundated roads were the common scene.

Rainwater was flowing like streams in Hudson Circle while it created a cess pool in front of Vidhana Soudha and Coffee Board.

Almost all arterial roads and circles in the central parts of the city resembled storm water drains.

A tree branch crashed near the residence of the Lokayutka in Sadashivanagar and a tree was uprooted near Rama Mandira in Rajajinagar, according to BBMP control room.

Formation of committee raising more dust

Formation of committee raising more dust
By P M Raghunandan, DH News Service, Bangalore:
Who should probe the alleged violation of contract agreement by BIAL in constructing Bengaluru international airport? A joint House committee or a Legislative Assembly committee?

The two Houses of State legislature have now locked horns over this.

While the Legislative Assembly members are of the view that the government announced constitution of the House committee, the Council members argue that the promise was to form a joint House panel. So much so that Council Chairman Veeranna Mattikatti had recently asked Speaker Jagadish Shettar to look into the records of the proceedings before taking any decision, official sources told Deccan Herald.

But the Chairman, before taking off to the US on Thursday, forwarded a letter proposing the names of six MLCs to be part of the joint house committee, to the Speaker, sources said.


As a result, the Legislature has not been able to constitute the proposed committee even one month after the government announced it on the floor of the House.

Minister for Tourism Janardhana Reddy made this announcement after Congress member D K Shivakumar raised the issue of lack of minimum facilities at the airport during the budget session. The members alleged that the airport lacks facilities like toilets, seating arrangements, and refreshment centres. They had termed the airport as bus depot and a godown.

According to sources, Home Minister V S Acharya’s statement led to all the confusion. Acharya, who is the leader of the ruling party in the Council, announced that it will be a joint House Committee. “So the the Council Chairman has been insisting that it should be a joint House committee,” sources said.

Moreover, neither the Opposition nor the ruling party is showing any interest in the constitution of the committee. “One month has gone by. None of the Opposition members have approached the Speaker to hasten the process of committee formation. Hence, it has been delayed,” sources said.

When contacted, Jagadish Shettar admitted that the Council Chairman has said there is a need to look into the proceedings of both Houses in this regard. “I was told that the Home Minister announced joint House committee in the Council. I have directed officials to go through the proceedings,” he said.

He further said that Opposition and the ruling parties have not submitted the names of their members to be part of the committee. “If they give the list, I will constitute it in two days,” he stated. \


* Lower House says it is only Legislative Committee, but Council Chairman argues it is joint House panel.
* Chairman asks Speaker to look into the proceedings
* Chairman claims Home Minister announced joint House committee
* Committee not constituted even one month after the announcement

Debris in lake triggers flood

Debris in lake triggers flood

Article Rank

It was not just rain that caused the flooding of Sai Garden Apartments in Kadugodi on Wednesday.

The apartment, that has about 450 flats, was built about 10 feet below the Medalli lake bed. The dumping of debris in the lake led to it overflowing and inundating the apartments.

According to BBMP official Chikkarayappa, the layout does not come under BBMP limits but is under the gram panchayat. The residents have also not lodged any complaint regarding the flooding of the area.

The president of Sai Garden Apartments told Deccan Chronicle that digging work and debris dumped into the Medalli lake near the apartment was responsible for the flooding in the area.

“The apartments were constructed five years ago. Similar flooding had occurred in 2005 when another apartment was being constructed. Even this year, there is an apartment coming up next door and the debris from the construction is being dumped into the Medalli lake which has led to the flooding,” Sunil Kumar, president of the apartments, said.

The water has now been drained and only the pathway leading to the apartment is still waterlogged. On Thursday, the flats on the ground floor were inundated with water.

The residents had to use coracles to get out of the building. There water was over two feet deep inside the homes.

Rain woes continue

Rain woes continue

Article Rank

The rain god is showering attention on Bengaluru and the record precipitation over the city is creating chaos on the roads, with traffic snarls and vehicles crawling bumper-tobumper becoming commonplace.

Heavy rainfall in several parts of the city on Saturday left commuters a wretched lot.

“It didn’t matter if commuters were travelling on two-wheelers, four-wheelers or by public transporta tion to their offices or back home — everyone seems to have reached their destinations late and wet,” said S. Krupali, a resident of Banashankari.

With 10.4 mm of rainfall recorded in the city (till 5.30 pm) and the weekend crowd adding to the congestion on the roads, the traffic problems seemed endless.

“There was water logging at the Kaveri junction again, resulting in a traffic jam for some time till the rain stopped in the afternoon. Most people driving new cars hesitate to drive on waterlogged roads and vehicles are held up for kilometres,” said a senior police officer.

He said traffic from the new international airport was diverted at Mekhri Circle, as Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan arrived in the city for two-day visit.

Traffic jams were also reported at the CBI junction on Bellary Road as the stretch was flooded on Saturday afternoon. Water logging was reported on Mysore Road (near Gali Anjaneya temple) and Bellary Road.

“I took the bus to work on Saturday. While returning home the bus moved at snail’s pace for what seemed like eternity and then was stuck CBI junction. Even if it rain heavily, I will use my two-wheeler to go to work from now on. At least I will get home earlier even if it means getting wet,” said Shantila Kumari, a bank employee.

BMTC chief traffic manager (operations) Dastagir Sheriff said buses were delayed due to traffic jams at Majestic, Mysore Road, Nelamangala, Hosur Road and at Marathalli.

BBMP commissioner S.

Subramanya said that engineers in charge of wards were told to stay alert and be present at the spots affected by rain.

“Each engineer has been equipped with two JCB vehicles to immediately address the water logging and other problems,” he said.

Several tress have been uprooted in the heavy showers over the past week in Vijaynagar, Tyagarajanagar, JP Nagar, Sadashivanagar and Koramangala and water logging has been reported on Queens Road, said a BBMP official.

City Dasara loses ground

City Dasara loses ground

: While the Mysore Dasara is the more famous one, Bengaluru also has its own Dasara.

For the last nine decades people of Jayachamarajendra Nagar and surrounding areas have been holding a Dasara festival in their locality, which culminates in the congregation of 72 gods and goddesses on the 10th day on Army land, the chosen venue for a long time .

The procession with the chariot carrying the statue of Mysore king Jayacham arajendra Wodeyar followed by the idols from the Munishwara temple in JC Nagar, Ganga Bhavani temple in Ganga Nagar, Shani Mahatma in Sulthan Palya and the Ganesha Temple in Vyalikaval, begins at 6 pm and ends early morning next day. The entire locality celebrates Dasara with relatives from other parts of the city arriving in JC Nagar to participate in it.

“During the 10 days of the Dasara the entire locality wears a festive look. Even Muslims, who are in large numbers here, participate in the festival. Cultural programmes and games are held for the children,” says Mr Raghavendra Rao, member of the Anjaneya Sangha in JC Nagar.

This year too similar programmes have been chalked out. But the people are taken aback as for the first time in nine decades, the venue of the Bengaluru Dasara is being changed with the defence land being no longer available.

The Bengaluru Dasara Festival Committee is now looking for alternative grounds. The defence land belonged to the Parachute Regiment and will now be occupied by accommodation for married couples in the Army, which has already started the civil work on the site.

“We have got a court order in the favour of Army and so the construction has begun. The structures are nearing completion,” Army officers said. The locals are however not ready to shift the festival out of JC Nagar and Muniredyy Palya.

Secretary of the Ganesha Temple on JC Nagar Main Road R. Prakash Rao says minister Katta Subramanya Naidu had assured them that the festival could be held at the Palace Grounds facing JC Nagar. But people were not ready to shift the venue to the grounds, he said.

“The other alternative is holding the festival in the school grounds near the Army land,” Mr Rao added.

While the hunt for the right venue is on, people of the area are keeping their fingers crossed that nothing should dampen the festivities this year.

Some feel that enthusiasm for the festival has fallen over the decades. “Every year, there is less and less interest among people to celebrate Dasara here. We must do something different so that the tradition continues for the years to come,” says 85-year-old Gajendra of JC Nagar.

Only good roads mean good govt

Only good roads mean good govt

Good roads make a good city. Visit any top city of the world. Your eyes will first feast on its well-maintained roads. Why can’t our cities be like them? We have the expertise. We have funds. Road-users are taxed heavily. Why then is the condition of our roads so pathetic? Why are we not able to prepare roads that last long? Why are our city fathers blind to this basic requirement?
Take Bangalore. It’s a global city. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh once said that people across the globe knew more about Bangalore than India. Thanks to the strides it has made in information technology. The city has grown leaps and bounds in the last decade. It generates bulk of the state’s revenue. Our politicians bask in its glory but fail to provide infrastructure that can match the city’s growth. Roads are narrow and poorly maintained. Unable to withstand the burden of growing vehicular population. Chock-a-block with traffic throughout the day. Imagine the fate of smaller cities.
Our netas and babus keep going on foreign trips, at the cost of the exchequer, ostensibly to study the condition of roads there. They do come back enlightened. Address press conferences to announce their intent to change Bangalore into a Singapore, a Shanghai, a Tokyo... Only to forget about it till they embark upon another such junket. No effort is made to find out where the problem lies. Why do roads crack so soon? Is there a check on the quality of work? Is there no accountability? The Times of India’s campaign on crumbling roads threw up some startling facts:
Quality of asphalting is not monitored. Contractors do shoddy work so that they keep getting work after every few months. Obviously, they are hand in glove with officials. Taxpayers’ money is thus siphoned off. Why are the culprits allowed to go scot-free?
There is no coordination between civic bodies. Each works independent of the other. Rather, they keep blaming one another for the ills. The BBMP asphalts a road — usually a thin layer. Within days, the BWSSB digs it up to plug a leak or lay a new pipeline. Once the work is done, it doesn’t care to patch up the stretch. BSNL follows suit. That’s why we find perennial digging on our roads. Why can’t these agencies work together?
A number of innovative ideas, proposed time and again by some bright minds, have remained on paper. For instance, whatever happened to the BBMP’s tall claims about installing ducts to curb road-digging and ensure that all service providers use them to run their lines? Why is no follow-up action taken on such ideas?
Resident welfare associations are willing to act as watchdogs — be it in execution, planning or supervision of road projects. Their members are ready to physically inspect work and see that asphalting is done according to norms. But civic authorities are reluctant to empower them. Is the contractor-official lobby afraid that its corrupt ways will be exposed?
Here is an opportunity for the BJP, which is running its first government in the state, rather the entire South, to prove that it is citizen-friendly and proactive. It should take quick measures to widen and build roads, ensure that quality is maintained, encourage public-private partnership, crack the whip on lethargic and corrupt staff, unleash efficient and hands-on officials, blacklist erring contractors, set up monitoring cells, and involve RWAs. It should earmark an engineer for a set of roads. Make him accountable — for quality, maintenance, coordination between various agencies, involvement of RWAs, etc. Punish him if he errs. Things will definitely improve.
Why only Bangalore? Roads in other cities of the state too should get this attention. And, as promised, urban facilities should be given to rural areas. Empty promises or lip sympathy won’t do.
After rain misery, vicious whirlpool
One downpour, and you see storm water drains in Bangalore overflowing, inundating roads and low-lying areas. Citizens are put to a lot of misery. Year after year, we have been witnessing this. Each occasion, the authorities promise to set things right. But nothing happens. Civic agencies resort to blame game. Politicians try to derive mileage against opponents. Tax-paying citizens remain helpless. What is the disaster management cell doing? Does anyone in power care for the people?

Price of uncoordinated work: bad roads

Price of uncoordinated work: bad roads

Bangalore: While the official blame game on the pathetic roads in the city continues, there is still no concerted effort to check the problem that stems largely from lack of coordination among civic agencies. The BBMP has, time and again, pointed out that there isn’t much it can do when roads are dug up by other civic agencies for their own projects.
The city has had enough examples to show that works taken
up by other agencies only compound the bottlenecks faced by the BBMP. The absence of an overseeing body that coordinates work of various agencies and departments without allowing one to affect another is clearly the missing link, as urban planners maintain.
According to Shubhendu Ghosh, principal general manager, BSNL, Bangalore telecom district, the agency cannot even dig a trench without the BBMP’s permission. “Only after sending the proposal and documents do we get the demand note. Then, we pay the charges and carry out digging work after erecting barricades and signboards till completion of the work,’’ he said.
Ghosh explains that there are two kinds of work: developmental work, like providing new connections, and maintenance work, like restoring lines. “It is not possible in a city like Bangalore to carry out work without getting necessary permission and, in some cases like restoration of hospital lines, we need to work swiftly. Only after getting permission do we go ahead with work,’’ he said.
Ghosh acknowledges the need to develop a portal wherein all telecom industry players, including BSNL, can submit a proposal and share the costs of a trench. This would substantially reduce time and money spent on work.
BWSSB chief engineer C Venkataraju said works are initiated only when complaints regarding leakages are received. “In some areas, we are restructuring and replacing old water pipes with non-corrosive pipes. As a precautionary measure, on broad roads we lay drinking water and sewage lines on either side of the stretch to avoid contamination,’’ he said.

‘Construction in Cubbon Park will be a disaster’

‘Construction in Cubbon Park will be a disaster’

Bangalore: A group of 70 city advocates, opposing any construction inside Cubbon Park, submitted a memorandum to the chief justice of the high court on Saturday.
In their representation addressed to Justice P D Dinakaran, the advocates said the court should not permit construction of a multi-storeyed car parking complex and a canteen within Cubbon Park, claiming it will be an environmental disaster.
The PWD proposal to construct a basement car parking complex at a cost of Rs 31.5 crore got the HC nod in April. The advocates claim setting up of circuit Benches at Gulbarga and Dharwad has already reduced the number of visiting lawyers and litigants by 50%. So an expert committee may be set up to study the parking complex proposal to find out whether it is necessary, they said.
“Permission has also been sought to construct a temporary canteen at a place where many trees exist. This and the parking complex will be detrimental to the interest of the 150-year-old heritage HC building,” they said, adding that the horticulture department should be directed to recover 1.2 acres of land from the Press Club to be utilized for parking.
In 1975, the government enacted the Karnataka Parks Preservation Act and notified boundaries of Cubbon Park. Despite this, the park area is shrinking, the advocates’ memorandum stated.
Cubbon Park is the largest park in Bangalore and a tourist attraction. It was conceived and formed in the 19th century when it had a sprawling area of over 300 acres. Vidhana Soudha was built in 1954 and ever since, the park is shrinking and several government buildings have come up. These include Legislators’ Home, Press Club, Election office, Century Club, KSLTA tennis stadium, Fisheries building, Youth services building, RBI, YMCA, Criminal courts complex, GPO, CTO, Aquarium, Museum and art gallery. In 1997, amidst protests, the authorities denotified 32 acres of land to accommodate construction of the Legislators’ Home Annexe building

Feeling uneasy at home

Feeling uneasy at home
RAIN MISERY: The situation continues to be grim for those forced out of their flooded homes

Avalahalli: Saturday was a shade better, but it was not yet completely safe to move back into Sai Gardens in Avalahalli near Whitefield. Many residents and authorities maintained that in the absence of any further heavy rain, it would take at least a week to get back to normal life.
On Thursday afternoon, water from the Elemallapa lake flooded the residential complex housing around 200 families. Residents were stranded in their homes and later evacuated by boats.
Water levels were seen fast receding on Saturday with the Prema and Satya blocks almost completely drained out. However, residents of Shanti and Dharma blocks, located at the lowest level, are still battling with knee-deep water. Many who planned to return after seeing the receding water had to change plans after seeing their flats.
The walls and floors were left completely discoloured and damaged by rotting weeds and moss. Adding to the worries was the fact that there was no water or power supply and the sumps were highly contaminated. The light shower on Saturday evening did not help matters either.
Many residents, fearing outbreak of diseases, are already on their way to their native places to leave the kids there. Others plan to continue with the temporary stay at hotels and houses of friends and relatives.
Some of the housekeeping staff working on the relief works are bruised and affected by rashes because of prolonged exposure to the stagnant water. “We have been trying to take care of them as well, taking them to clinics and trying to keep them away from standing in the water for too long,’’ says Rekha, one of the association members who moved back to her home monitor the progress.
Only three or four families, living on the first and second floors, have moved in to start cleaning their flats. Sarita, the association secretary who stays at Shanti block, is among them. “The condition is not completely restored but we are returning to do some cleaning ourselves. Our kids are away at native places, safe from this mess. We don’t want them affected by any rash or infection,’’ she says.
Officers from the taluk and district levels continued spot inspections. “There is no major damage to the structural components due to its pillared construction. But the walls and the floors might need to be worked on,’’ one of the panchayat officials told Sunday Times of India. The residents declined the zilla panchayat’s offer of a temporary shelter and food at a nearby school and have no plans to rethink on this.
“We don’t want any refuge, but only a final solution to this problem. We are all happy that this time, both the officials and local people have been very co-operative in offering assistance. This also includes the efforts of Dr Shantakumar who offered us life jackets and boats on Thursday,’’ says Rekha.
What is being done to keep the water away?
While the association organized a truckload of sandbags to block the water gushing in from an adjoining real estate project, tahsildar of Bangalore East taluk B Venkatesh said efforts were on to dig another nala to divert the water into the lake. Work on this will begin at the earliest if no rain continues, he said. “In addition, the real estate project authorities have been asked to construct a high wall to stop water draining into Sai Gardens. If required, we are also ready to help with additional workforce for the relief operation,’’ he added.
Meanwhile, the association maintained the members will continue the work. With a majority of flats empty and water levels coming down, most members are keeping their fingers crossed that there is no heavy rain till the operation is complete.

UDF talks on hold till high court judgment

UDF talks on hold till high court judgment
Anshul Dhamija |TNN

Bangalore: The ministry of civil aviation has shelved all discussions regarding the future of the new Bengaluru International Airport (BIA), including the proposal for a user development fee (UDF).
Senior ministry officials told STOI that discussions on BIA would resume after the Karnataka High Court’s judgment on various issues pertaining to BIA, which is likely to be given in mid-September.
“We have submitted the Airports Authority of India (AAI) report on BIA to the High Court”, said a senior ministry official. The AAI report on BIA states that BIA is under capacity as its terminal can accommodate only 9.78 million passengers annually as against Bangalore’s current passenger traffic of over 10.5 million passengers. It also suggests that HAL be reopened for domestic operations in order to ease the load on BIA.
The UDF to be charged on departing domestic passengers, which was to come into effect on August 24, has also been put on the back burner. “We have the proposals made by BIAL. We have not looked into the matter yet. The ministry has three months’ time to decide and we are in no hurry now,” added the official.
However, it is unlikely that BIAL would get the UDF of Rs 675 (plus taxes) it has quoted. In fact, airlines are now at loggerheads with the promoters of the Hyderabad airport, GMR, over the issue of incorporating UDF in the cost of ticket. “Travel agents have told airlines that if they have to charge passengers the UDF they want a commission of around 5%”, said a senior airline official. This, even as airlines are moving towards a ‘zero commission policy’ from November

We pay tax, but why no good roads?

We pay tax, but why no good roads?
Though Crores Collected, Civic Infrastructure Still Bad
Vinay Madhav |TNN

Bangalore: Rajni pays the price twice for bad roads. It’s bad enough for this call centre cab driver to shell out vehicle tax on his four-wheeler but he also ends up spending about Rs 5,000 every month on maintenance on tyres, tubes and suspension, among other problems. He drives on an average about 250 kms all over the city and knows a thing or two about bad roads.
He’s just one of lakhs of Bangaloreans who pay vehicle registration tax and a cess on petroleum products in the hope that the road infrastructure will be improved. But, how much does the government invest in developing the infrastructure? Going by the cratered roads, not much seems to be percolating down to the BBMP for implementation of road-related projects.
The vehicle tax collected in Bangalore during registration of new vehicles in RTO offices was over Rs 1,554 crore (2007-08). The BBMP allocation in its recent budget for road and sewerage works put together is just around Rs 1,100 crore. This includes funds allocated under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JN-NURM) and other Centre-allocated funds.
In 1994, the state government introduced a lifetime tax for two-wheelers, three-wheelers and light motor vehicles (LMVs), like cars. Till then, the government collected vehicle tax on an annual basis. Commercial vehicles like vans, buses and trucks still pay in instalments. The revenue generated through lifetime tax was to be spent on developing infrastructure.
Bangalore contributes the most when it comes to vehicle tax collection in the state. During the past five years, tax collection through vehicle registration has doubled. In 2003-04, the revenue generated through vehicle tax in Bangalore was Rs 776 crore, and has steadily gone up over the years. The transport department aims at collecting over Rs 1,800 crore this year through vehicle tax. From 2003 to 2008, vehicle registration in Bangalore has generated Rs 5,657 crore in the form of tax.
But, the government has been rather tight-fisted when it comes to spending money on improving roads. As per the recent BBMP budget, allocation for road and sewerage infrastructure works for entire Bangalore is Rs 1,100 crore. This includes funds for new flyovers, widening existing roads and improving infrastructure in newly-added areas.
Rs 776 crore
Rs 936 crore
Rs 1,105 crore
Rs 1,286 crore
Rs 1,554 crore
(target) Rs 1,882 crore

Saturday, August 30, 2008


‘Privatization will improve quality of roads’

While several readers believe privatization is the way forward to solve the problem of bad roads in Bangalore, some are sceptical about it
Privatization will ensure accountability
It is a fact that civic bodies are unable to ensure better-quality roads because of corruption. Roads made under such an administrative system will not last long. It is better to entrust the responsibility of laying good-quality roads to private organizations so that accountability can be expected. I B S RAGHAVENDRA RAO
Yes. The work should be given to a reputed company with a guarantee clause so that if the roads have any defect, the contractor should attend to it at his own cost during the guarantee period. I M N KESARI
Major arterial roads need privatization. It will result in a quality finish. Private work culture encourages healthy competition, transparency, accountability, and responsibility. Better results can be expected. I MANJUNATH
Privatization is the panacea for many ills including bad roads. Ensuring accountability will imply less corruption and, hence, better quality. So, privatization will lead to better-quality roads. Government projects are often plagued by lack of accountability, which is mainly responsible for the shoddy, poor quality of work executed. I USHA G RAO
Yes. Then there will be more accountability as we know how the government works without privatization. I AYUB
It will ensure better roads
Privatization is certainly a good measure which will prove successful when entrusted to different popular agencies. Some city roads should certainly be entrusted to these private agencies. Those areas which were inundated in water in recent rains and those adjacent to the airport can be privatized on a trial basis. Chief secretary/ additional chief secretary may be entrusted with the task of monitoring any corruption between the BBMP and different agencies. This is in order to ensure better accountability. The name of the agency should be displayed prominently on such roads. I T S PRASAD
Since roads are nobody’s baby and it’s difficult to avoid bad roads in the city, the time for privatization has arrived. The concept has brought success in other areas, and, so, dedicated parties must be given a chance to create wonders. They must be asked to use the latest technology. I TARUN K JAIN
Privatization will definitely help in the drastic improvement of certain roads. When international airports can run smoothly after being privatized, naturally, even roads can also expect a sea change depending upon the standard of the agency that takes up the responsibility. An obvious truth is that private agencies are faster than government in various areas. Hence, it won’t be wrong for the government to try it, as it will not only lessen their burden but also be beneficial to the exchequer. I P A SUKUMARAN
Raj Bhavan Road from GPO to Balekundry Circle cries for immediate attention. It requires concreting to last at least 20 years. This road is fit for privatization on a build-own-operate-transfer basis. Also, newly added CMCs and a few TMC roads should be made concrete through privatization. I R GURU RAO All roads should be 100% privatized. But the work should be carried out by a single-window agency. I LALIT SOLANKI
Privatize all roads as this is the only solution to make proper roads. I VIA SMS
Yes, it can be privatized. This will change the total map of Bangalore. I RAMYA
Try it out on trial basis
Yes, it is worth trying on an experimental measure. Perhaps owing to severe shortage of staff compounded by lethargy and rampant corruption, BBMP could do little to improve the pitiable condition of roads. The government has to outsource to reputed and time-tested private companies and not to firms which bend over backwards, scurrying for favour from corrupt officials. I H P MURALI
The BBMP has failed to deliver the results with regard to maintenance of roads in city. Rampant red-tapism, poor planning and execution, procedural delays, absence of a time frame and coordination and, above all, poor quality of roads are factors responsible. Even entrusting it to private agencies may not bring desired results. But it can be tried and tested. I P V PRAKASH
It’s a novel idea to privatize roads if big corporates come forward. The area’s corporators should take responsibility and be accountable for all roads in his respective ward. All these years, none of the corporators took a keen interest in setting things right. I NORBERT BROWN
Some city roads should be privatized immediately on an experimental basis. Roads should be selected where large number of people commute, for example, city bus stations, market, office complexes, etc. and not in posh localities or residential areas of VIPs. Reputed companies may be entrusted with construction of concrete roads, asphalting, and maintenance of roads including pavements. I B N GOVINDARAJULU
Privatization is not the solution
Privatizing some roads is not the solution. If they are to be privatized, all roads should be covered. Privatization in India has not proved itself better in many spheres. Instead, construction of major road projects such as national highways and flyovers should be privatized. They should be given to those who can do a better job and can be held responsible. Before that, proper planning is a must. Laying of cables, water and sanitary lines should be fixed for only a particular period and not permitted as and when requested. The authority damaging the stretch should reconstruct it in a quality manner so that it lasts as long as it’s supposed to. Covered trenches/ ducts/ tunnels be provided on all roads to eliminate digging. I D R PRAKASH
Privatization is not the key. Award contract based on performance. While a susbstantial advance should be paid to the contractor, the balance should be settled upon satisfactory execution.
This will ensure better quality and accountability. Privatization will only increase the cost which the taxpayer has to cough up. A third-party quality certification authority can be appointed
Private road diggers spoil the roads, so government should have control over privatization. I N R RAMESH
No. The government should take to task the erring official. I PRATHIBHA
Bangalore’s concrete roads are the best. I don’t think they need to be privatized.

Cox Town reels under double whammy

Cox Town reels under double whammy
Readers Join TOI In Drawing The Authorities’ Attention To The Pathetic Condition Of Our Roads

It isn’t just the flooding of drains here but bad roads that worry the residents of Cox Town. The road, stretching from MM Road till Buddha Vihara Junction extending right up to Assaye Road, is punctuated with potholes. The rain on Wednesday night flooded not just the drain but also the roads causing a severe traffic jam. Many commuters were trapped in traffic for hours, desperately trying to find a way out of the slushy pool.
But, this is not the first time. This area was badly hit earlier this month, on August 14. As in most other flood-prone areas, water does not stagnate for long but poses serious problems for people while it lasts.
The situation is worse during rainy days when potholes get filled with water and pose serious threat to both vehicles and pedestrians. During peak hour traffic, it’s particularly bad — traffic slows down to a crawl, and it takes hours for the mess to be cleared.
There are two major ongoing development projects — the ITC-Wheeler Road flyover and repair work of the storm water drain and this placed further stress on the traffic. Many residents and shop dwellers here say the disposal of debris is highly unorganized with the material not cleared for days on end. These heaps further block traffic.
The BBMP is hopeful of some changes. “The roads have been surveyed and potholes here will be filled up on priority. Work will begin after the rainy season. In addition, the work on the flyover has also been progressing despite the initial hitches due to escalating prices of steel. However, we have cleared up most of the obstacles from our end, including transfer of additional land,’’ says BBMP special commissioner (projects) K R Srinivasan.
According to BBMP chief engineer (SWD) Chikkarayappa, work on the storm water drain will be complete in all respects in another 15 days. DESPATCHES FROM EXASPERATED DENIZENS ALL OVER THE CITY

This rain is 10-yr record

This rain is 10-yr record

Bangalore: According to the meteorological department, the city has received over 298.8 mm of rain in the past 29 days. The showers began on Tuesday, when 66.2 mm was recorded, with 56 mm on Wednesday and 2 mm on Thursday.
Met department director A Muthuchami said steady, heavy rainfall is the reason behind waterlogging in some areas and overflowing of tanks.
Bangalore has a 24-hour disaster management cell to address calamities, but no one seems to know about it. Its duties include alerting the public, evacuating them to a safer place during sudden rain or flooding, dispatching emergency services like ambulance, fire, etc.
“So far, we have not received any calls. But we’re prepared to handle any kind of emergency in the state. Rather than panicking, people need to alert us and we will alert the department concerned for immediate action,” said M S Desai, deputy secretary, disaster management cell.
Contact 9449446182/22354321.
In August, Bangalore received 300 mm of rain — reportedly the highest for the month in 10 years.
August, September and October are the wettest months. In September 1988, the city received 180 mm of rain — the highest for that month. Here are the figures for the highest rainfall received in August.

Residents wage lone battle

Residents wage lone battle

Avalahalli: Residents of Sai Garden Apartments here enjoy a fantastic view of the tranquil Elemallapa lake. Once it starts overflowing, however, their peace is shattered.
The residential colony, housing 200 families, is on saucershaped terrain, allowing in and retaining water. All have vacated — many rushing to the temporary refuge at hotels and houses of friends and relatives and a few even staying at their workplace.
Sai Garden Apartment’s woes are many. No power, no drinking water and now, no residents. All you can see is water. Everywhere. Occasionally, a cars floats down the slush and a snake slithers amid the dripping weeds. The flood water, which began seeping in early on Thursday afternoon, hasn’t receded. The water has brought muck into the flats. Water levels came down on Friday, but it will take another 4-5 days to completely drain it out.
Relief measures have little impact, say residents, all from wellto-do families. The floods on Thursday were controlled only after a wall was broken to let water into the drain.
Most relief operations in the apartment, which comes under the Seegehalli village panchayat, are being carried out by the residents’ association. Kamatchi, Nagaratna, Vasantha, Geetha and Narayanamma, the house-keeping staff, have been working from 8.30 am till 6 pm since Thursday.
This is the third time residents have been forced to contend with floods. It got flooded in 2001 and again in 2004, during the heavy rain. “I was terror-struck last time and the floods damaged property worth Rs 3 lakh. I am yet to recover from it. This time, I am firm about a final solution,” says resident Arvind Yedavalli.
Venugopal has decided to bid adieu. “There is no point in staying. What is the point in blaming the government or anyone else when the foundation has been laid on the canal side,” he says.
Every time the Elemallapa lake overflows, the apartments, situated near its tank bed, get flooded. Residents’ miseries are compounded by its proximity to a nala that channels water from the lake to Varthur Kodi.
Encroachments have considerably narrowed the drain, which was originally 80-100 feet wide. Silt and garbage dumped by hotels and houses have also made it shallow. In some places, the depth has reduced from 30 feet to just six.
The lowest point of Sai Gardens is 12-13 feet below the level of the bridge over the storm water drain. The ground-floor flat is eight feet high; with two feet of foundation, it stands at 10 feet. This means even under normal conditions, the ground floor is two feet below the bridge level.
Authorities apathetic
The area is under Seegehalli village panchayat, Hoskote taluk, and comes under BMRDA. But rescue operations were carried out by resident association members. The boat used for rescue on Thursday was also a private one. Apart from the police, civic authorities have not visited the area.

Residents leave their homes in a coracle on Friday

Flooded layout cries for help

Flooded layout cries for help
After 4 days of rain, Bangaloreans have been forced out of their homes by overflowing drains, lakes

Bhadrappa Layout: Young Shilpa was initially upset that “uncle” did not come to see what a bad shape her house was in. “There is nobody else who can speak for us; my sister is physically challenged and I am the only one,” she tells us. The Class VIII student finally musters the courage to call out to “uncle”, Yelahanka MLA Krishna Byregowda. Her house is one of the first to have been built in Bhadrappa Layout, one of several low-lying areas that are flooded after every bout of rain.
Shilpa goes to school only two days a week. The rest of the time, she has to stay back and scoop out the water in her house. Another worry for her is that she does not have a place to do her homework. Byregowda promised a solution and assured Shilpa’s sister of the benefits which physically challenged persons are entitled to.
Byregowda inspected the layout and surrounding lanes which were flooded this week from the rain. He heard the same complaints: overflowing drains and flooding every monsoon.
Bhadrappa Layout is a mess. The layout, inhabited by the working class, is at the lowest point of Hebbal lake and does not have vents for water to flow out. Streets are narrow and houses are built right next to open drains. It is a potential health hazard, with kids playing near the drains. Apart from the flooding, drinking water is a problem.
A resident, Govind, says, “There is no regular supply of water to this area. We just rush to wherever there is supply; it can be in one corner of the area on one day and in the other corner the next,” he says. Some houses have sunk little wells inside their compound for non-drinking purposes. But with the floods, even this has been rendered useless, said Damodara’s family, supervising the cleaning of the tank next to their front door.
Every house has a story to tell. Satya’s two little children peep from behind her as she points out to her compound. The water rises to cover over half of the walls of her house. “When it rains at night, where do I go with small children?” she asks.
The situation in the area is bad, admits Byregowda. Speaking to the The Times of India, he says only a technical solution would improve the situation, something that they are working on. There are only two solutions, one would be to raise the level of the area by another two feet; the height was raised by three feet earlier. The other would be to construct a drain on a parallel road. “But there is a lot of resistance from residents to this,” he says.
Woman washed away: The floods in the Bhadrappa Layout washed away an old woman. Her body was found on Friday morning. Police and residents say she was an old woman who lived beneath a tree. She was swept away in an under-construction drain.

Bangalore, beware of your ‘Kosi rivers’

Bangalore, beware of your ‘Kosi rivers’
Flooding As Eight Tanks Can’t Hold Water

Bangalore: In Bihar, the Kosi river changed the course and flooded several villages. But in the backyard of IT city, 300 mm rainfall over the past four days and consequent overflowing of eight tanks left peripheral areas marooned.
The city, once known for its placid lakes, is drowning after a four-day spell of rain. A sample of the calamity was witnessed in low-lying areas on Thursday when these tanks overflowed.
If the city continues to receive heavy rainfall, then greater overflow from the chain of these eight feeder tanks in the northern part of the city and Elemallapa Lake in Avalahalli near Whitefield can further worsen the situation in the already flooded areas.
In the northern part, the chain begins at Bettahalasuru tank near the Bengaluru International Airport and runs along Agrahara, Kogilu, Yelahanka, Rachenahalli, which is between Jakkur and Hennur, and cuts through MS Ramaiah North City, Hebbal, Nagawara and finally joins Kalkere Lake.
Thursday’s flooding of Bhadrappa Layout, Hennur Garden, Bhairaveshwaranagar, Hennur Bande, Sainagar and surrounding areas in Byatarayanapura zone was the result of a chain reaction of lakes overflowing — the narrow ducts of the lakes could not take excess water.
In the east zone, the Elemallapa Lake overflowed and flooded the Sai Garden Apartments, a private residential colony housing about 200 families and 440 units. On Thursday noon, water from the lake started flowing into the colony and the water level gradually rose. People were stranded in their homes and were later evacuated by boats.
According to BBMP commissioner S Subramanya, with 122 mm rainfall, the lakes could not hold excess water. But now the water levels have receded in Byatarayanapura zone. “Now that the situation is under control, we have started draining water from the tanks into the storm water drains. On normal days, without much pressure, excess water will flow easily through drains. So if it rains heavily in the coming days, the tanks will be able to hold water to some extent,’’ Subramanya explained.
According to BBMP joint commissioner, Byatarayanapura zone, Virupakshappa Mysore, these tanks are in the alert zone and residents in the adjacent areas will have to be cautious. “Since many of these layouts have come up on tank beds which have blocked the flow of excess water, naturally water will flow into the areas that are at lower levels. Residents have to be alert during rain,’’ he added.
Lakes in the alert zone
Northern zone:
Bettahalasuru, Agrahara, Kogilu, Yelahanka, Rachenahalli, Hebbal, Nagawara, Kalkere
East zone:
Vulnerable Areas
Manyata Layout, North City. Jakkur, Hennur, Hebbal, Balaji Layout, Bhadrappa Layout, Tata Layout, Hennur Bande, Veerendra Layout, Bhairaveshwaranagar, Benssatya Layout, Vaddarapalya, Sainagar, Sonnappa Layout

Volvo faces competition

Volvo faces competition
By: Chetan R
Date: 2008-08-29


Volvo will soon have competition from Tata's Marco Polo.

The cost-efficient Marco Polo buses will be introduced on the city roads in the first week of September.

Initially two buses will be commissioned on a trial basis. Experts will check its road- worthiness, especially if it is suited for Bangalore roads. Its performance will be compared with that of the existing Volvo buses.

Trial run

Confirming the news, transport minister R Ashok said, "If the buses meet our expectations during the trial run, we will go ahead with it."

M N Srihari, traffic expert, said, "Marco Polo buses will be evaluated for important aspects like roadworthiness, turning radius and pollution level. Whether they will perform on par with Volvo buses, only a trial run will tell."

Officials in transport ministry will submit a report after evaluating its performance, including its operating costs.

Based on the report, the transport ministry will take a decision on whether to add Marco Polos to the existing Volvo fleet or to replace the Volvo buses entirely. If the Marco Polos' performance is on par with that of Volvos, then they will be added to the existing fleet of 150 Volvos. "We will phase out ordinary buses if we are happy with Marco Polos," Ashok said.

Though Marco Polos will cost half as much as Volvos, there are no plans to cut fares.

Monsoon not welcome in city

Monsoon not welcome in city

19 Aug 2008 12:36:00 PM IST

BANGALORE: As Bangalore welcomes the monsoons after a hot dry summer, its residents face huge hospital bills. Various diseases like jaundice, diarrhoea, cholera and gastro-related problems such as indigestion, acidity and gastric disturbances are very common.

It is imperative to take a few precautions to keep ourselves safe.

Suggesting some do's and dont's, Dr Sheela Chakarvarthy, physician,Wockhardt Hospital, said: "Precautionary measures should always be taken so as to fully avoid the diseases.Wash all fruits and vegetables thoroughly and store them in potassium permagnate that is diluted in water.

Eat in moderation, as the body finds it harder to digest food during the monsoon. Avoid consuming roadside food as they are high in germs. Finally, drink boiled or filtered water only."

She also said: "Vegetables should be cooked thoroughly and steamed in order to kill the germ content. It is better to avoid spicy and fried food. Water should not be stored in one place as it becomes the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes.

Taking preventive vaccines also helps in keeping water-borne diseases at bay."

Task force set up for infrastructure development

Task force set up for infrastructure development

Express News Service
29 Aug 2008 06:24:00 AM IST

BANGALORE: The government has set up a task force under the chairmanship of Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa to oversee Bangalore’s infrastructure development.

The task force, to be called Agenda for Bangalore Infrastructure Development (ABIDe), will include political leaders, NGO representatives and corporate leaders.

MPs Ananthkumar and Rajeev Chandrashekar,Ministers in charge of Bangalore, Katta Subramanya Naidu and R Ashok, Former Chief Secretary A Ravindra, Dr Devi Shetty of Narayana Hrudalaya, Kiran Mazumdar of Biocon, Ramesh Ramanathan of Jannaargraha, traffic expert MN Shrihari and Lakshmi Narayan of Bosch will find a place in the task force.

Principal Secretaries of Urban Development and Housing Departments, the City Police Commissioner, as well as heads of the Bangalore Development Authority, Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike, Bangalore Water Supply and Sewarage Board, Metro and Bangalore Mahanagara Transport Corporation will also be part of the task force.

Blaze off Commercial Street

Blaze off Commercial Street

Express News Service
30 Aug 2008 06:12:00 AM IST

BANGALORE: There was mayhem on Commercial Street on Friday evening when one of the complexes on Kamaraj Road caught fire. At around 6.30 pm, people noticed smoke coming out of the fourth floor of Commercial Plaza, which is a store room for crockery and antique goods.

Atheek Ahmed, one of the shop owners at Commercial Plaza, took the initiative and sent around 45 men to put off the fire. But, as the fire spread they informed the Fire Brigade, who took almost 20 minutes to reach the spot because of heavy traffic.

Four fire tenders were pressed into service. A senior fire personnel who was at the spot said: “The reason for the fire is not known. There is a possibility that a short circuit could have ignited it.” The shopkeepers blame the ongoing welding work on the fourth floor. Atheek also said: “Because of the recent incessant rains, the welders had placed a sheet over the building to avoid water leak. The spark from the welding work could have set off the fire.” Although Commercial Plaza caught fire, other shops on Commercial Street remained open. This contributed to the heavy traffic.

The complex houses around 60 to 70 stores on the first floor, two big showrooms on the second floor and the entire third floor is taken over by Showoff, which was inaugurated last Sunday.

Some of the shop keepers blamed the lighting in this store as the cause of the fire.

However, the fire was under control by 7.20 pm and no casualties were reported. As the traffic towards the plaza on Kamaraj Road was blocked, a severe traffic jam was reported in the surrounding areas.

Land auction fetches 13 cr

Land auction fetches 13 cr
DH News Service, Bangalore:
To raise funds for infrastructure projects, the Revenue Department on Friday began auctioning of prime government land in Bangalore, amidst protests from various organisation against it. As many as 27.28 acres were auctioned for Rs 13.06 crore at Bangalore urban district office.

The police was forced to take nearly 200 protesters, mainly members of Dalit Sangharsha Samithi and CPM, Samatha Sinika Dal and Prajavimochana Sangha at the venue when they tried to break the police barricade to prevent the auction. The protesters demanded that the government should not auction land and, instead, distribute it to the poor in the form of residential sites.

They were released later in the evening after the auction was over.

Of the 30 plots located at Anekal, Bangalore North (additional), Bangalore South and Bangalore East taluks, 19 were auctioned. There was no takers for 10 plots.

Bidding price

While 14 plots were auctioned at higher than the bidding price fixed by the government, five of them got much lesser than the minimum bidding price.

A 25-gunta plot at Bhoganahalli in Varthur hobli was auctioned at the highest Rs 1.75 crore. Maneesh B Katariya is the final bidder for the plot located in the hi-tech zone. The government had fixed Rs 40 lakh per acre in this area.

Umra Developers took away the lion’s share of the entire auction. It placed the final bid for a total 15.26 acre, covering six plots.

For instance, it’s final bid for 3.30 acres at Bidarahalli hobli in Bangalore South taluk was Rs 5 crore. It is 333 per cent more than what the government had fixed. Similarly, Apna Constructions placed final bid for 7.07 acres.

B Z Muzmil Ahmed Khan, brother of Chamarajpet JD(S) MLA Zameer Ahmed Khan, too took part in the bidding. He placed the final bid of Rs 27 lakh for 21 gunta land in Kumbena Agrahara in Bangalore east taluk.

Surprisingly, Karnataka House Board was also one of the bidders in the auction. It submitted the final bid of Rs 51 lakh for 1.29 acres in Chokkanahalli in Bangalore North (additional) taluk. The government had fixed Rs 6 lakh per acre here, but KHB’s bid was 492 per cent higher. The government has issued a notification to auction 24 acres land in various taluks of Bangalore urban district on September 5.

Rulers fiddle as City sinks

Rulers fiddle as City sinks
DH News Service, Bangalore:
Even as residents of the water-logged Sai Garden Apartments in Kadugodi remained trap-ped in a virtual island for the second consecutive day on Friday, the widespread rain damage across the City has had little impact on the ministers...

No minister came forward to enquire about the citizens’ problems, altho-ugh the City boasts of six representatives in the B S Yeddyurappa ministry: two of them in-charge of its upkeep and the chief minister himself holding the Bangalore development po-rtfolio.

Forget relief announcements, even a review meeting was not held at the Vidhana Soudha during the day.

Hundreds of houses and residential flats have been marooned in several low-lying areas of the City, following the heavy downpour over the last three days. While residents in Whitefield were rescued using boats, the rains have reduced the City roads to a rubble with huge craters pockmarking virtually every other stretch.

Yet, the ministers preferred remaining oblivious to the sorry state of affairs. While Katta Subramanya Naidu who is in charge of Bangalore South, was away in the US along with the chief minister, R Ashok who is the Bangalore North in-charge, Suresh Kumar, Arvind Limbavali, Shoba Karandlaje and Ramachandra Gowda were occupied with their own work.

Suresh Kumar though managed to find some time to inspect the ongoing underpass work at Malle-swaram Circle which was affected due to the rains. He had visited the rain affected are as in Rajajinagar on Thursday.

No meetings were held with any BBMP officials. Besides the half a dozen ministers, Bangalore has 10 Member of Legislative Council and two MPs.

Last year, Ashok, a minister in the then JD(S)-led coalition government, had monitored the situation sitting in the BBMP control room through a night when the City experienced a similar situation.

Dreams drowning

An apartment with a swimming pool is something people dream of while buying a flat but the residents of Sai Garden Apartments had never dreamt that they would be surrounded by a swimming pool.

Thanks to Wednesday’s heavy rains and the apathy of the BBMP, the apartment complex continued to look literally like an island on Friday.

Stranded in their houses even after two days of the heavy downpour, the residents only had canoes to link them physically to the rest of the world.

As the two canoes proved insufficient, people were left with no other option but to wait. The possible presence of snakes, scorpio and other poisonous insects deterred the potential bravehearts among the residents to swim across to fetch essentials.

Some residents who had come out of the apartment complex and hired a room or taken refuge in lodges, waited in vain for the waters to recede. All that the people prayed for was the intervention of the government to drain out the water.

Special forces to man IT firms in City

Special forces to man IT firms in City
From Ajith Athrady, DH News Service, New Delhi:
Elite troops of the India Reserve Battalion (IRB) will provide security cover to the IT companies of Bangalore in the wake of the July 25 serial bomb blasts that rocked the City.

The government of Karnataka has set up a high level committee under the chairmanship of the State director general of police (DGP), Sri Kumar, to prepare the road map in this regard.

“The government is waiting for the committee’s report and as soon as we receive it, we will provide security to the IT companies in consultation with the firms,” Karnataka Home Minister V S Acharya told Deccan Herald here.

“The private IT companies may have to pay the charges,” Acharya said, citing the example of the Delhi Metro paying the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) for security cover. He claimed that several companies in Bangalore, which houses more than 1,700 IT and IT enabled service companies, have come forward to bear the security cover expenses, he said. The IRB is a Centrally funded police force trained to handle both security and law and order situations. Though raised by the Centre, IRB is deployed on request from the states. The states are in charge of the IRB troops on deployment and pay their maintenance expenses.

The government has already established an IRB battalion in Koppal district and troops from this battalion are being currently used for security maintenance.

“Now we are planning to set up two more battalions in the State. Each battalion will comprise 1,300 to 1,500 troops and will be trained in anti-terror warfare, crises management and other related issues,” he said.

As the cost to raise a battalion runs up to Rs 10 crore, the State would request the Centre for financial assistance, he said and added: “We have already discussed with the Centre issues like arms and other latest security equipment.”

The minister said the government has identified 52 major installations including reservoirs, power projects and premier institutions for being provided with IRB cover, while 280 other installations will be provided security by District Armed Reserve (DAR) personnel. The security cover would be under constant scrutiny with a high-level committee comprising the chief secretary, the home secretary and the director general of police (DGP) monitoring it at the State level.



For almost five days the residents of Defence Enclave in Mariyannana Palya have not been able to stir out of their homes. Without power and surviving on tinned food, they are waiting for the waist-high waters caused by the recent rains to recede

By Niranjan Kaggere
Posted On Saturday, August 30, 2008

Almost all of them have braved bullets, crossed raging rivers on pontoon bridges, and endured the privations of active military duty. But they were certainly not prepared for this. For the retired military officers of Defence Enclave in Mariyannana Palya, near Outer Ring Road (Nagavara), it’s been baptism by fire of a different kind. They are learning first hand what it is to encounter the effects of poor urban planning.

For the past five days around 50 houses in this upscale locality have been cut off from the rest of the city. Located on the banks of the rainwater canal connecting the Rachenahalli and Nagavara lakes, the colony has been marooned, its streets submerged under water up to waist height.

With their belongings, furniture heaped atop terraces, living on tinned food amidst intermittent power cuts, many retired colonels, brigadiers and squadron leaders are spending sleepless nights.

For retired Squadron Leaders T R Sharma and M V Uthaman, who opted for Bangalore following retirement from the Armed Forces, Defence Enclave was pensioner’s paradise, the peaceful idyll they so desired. That is, till the monsoons struck and brought regrets in its wake. “Our family came to Bangalore five years ago and settled in this colony. No one told us about the flooding problem during monsoons. Last year owing to less rains there were not much problems, but this year it has been quite traumatic for the last four days with no power and potable water,” lamented Sharma.


When Bangalore Mirror visited the colony early morning on Friday, the retired military personnel were found fighting a different kind of war this time: they were trying to ward off the rising waters, mixed as it was with seeping sewage, and bringing snakes and other reptiles into their homes.

“Last year I reconstructed the entire garden with artifacts, potteries and unique plants, but again the rains have washed them away completely. At least today the level has receded to knee-deep level. Till yesterday it was waist high and entire furniture sets were in submerged in water. However, at the last minute we managed to heap them on the top of the terrace,” explained Uthaman standing on top of the terrace with his grandson.

A retired colonel, who didn’t want to be named, said, “All these years it was fine and there was not much water. But once the canal was deepened by local construction engineers, the problem started. Not knowing the elevation of the canal, they deepened the canal at one stretch adjacent to our layout and left the other stretch in the same elevation level. Hence much of the water started moving into our area and clogged it up for many days as the draining out passage is very narrow.”


However, the visit of local MLA Krishna Byregowda brought some respite to many of the residents. “On Thursday, the MLA and officials had come down and immediately JCBs were put into action. Hence there has been some respite for us. But still, when we complained to BBMP officials and area engineers there were no efforts to solve the problem,” said Velayudhan, another resident of the locality. “Equipments in all rooms, wardrobes, kitchen, beds, and electric junction boxes have gone under water. You cannot even switch on the borewell to get water. Our workers are getting packed food from outside,” explained a retired Lt Colonel.


“Now the water is constantly moving. But once the rains stop, it will stagnate because and mosquitoes will start breeding in the water and you can expect all sorts of fevers. Besides you need to be vigilant constantly as water snakes and other reptiles might creep in. For the last three days we have had sleepless nights. With all equipments being dumped atop there is no place to rest also. The milkman and vegetable vendors too refused to come till Thursday and today a few have finally relented,” said a retired Brigadier.

Friday, August 29, 2008

‘Resident associations should certify road quality’


Involve citizens during planning stage
Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs) and the civic heads of the area could meet every week to review projects in the area, and if required, they can have one person from the association monitor the work and give feedback. Authorities must act on the feedback. The corporator of every area should be easily approachable so that RWAs can discuss the issues with him and civic authorities. I G PADMANABHAN
Welfare associations act as a key to communicate, coordinate, and cooperate between various divisions. Many model roads are created under their monitoring and have proved to be successful. Association heads can meet civic heads of all departments and discuss the ongoing projects. They can also share the latest technology information and act as watch dogs, monitor the work round the clock and conduct quality checks too. I TARUN K JAIN
Strictly monitor quality
Identify a non-political person in the locality and include his approval as a mandatory requirement for clearing payment to the contractor. I RAMAN M RWAs in each area must appoint a head for each department — civic duty, traffic management, and so on. These heads must make sure that civic authorities do the job well in their department. Else, they should complain to BBMP authorities. If they see no changes, then they should report the sloppy work to the media. I AKSHAY AGARWAL
Federation of RWAs must appoint dedicated, upright, retired engineers to supervise roadworks, etc. in their neighbourhood. They should be given an honorarium for their supervision.
Make RWAs’ certification mandatory
RWAs should extract information on roads that are yet to be repaired, and the organization entrusted with this task. Associations should be informed about the proper mixture of tar and jelly, proper excavation over width and breadth, etc. The government should make quality checks by resident associations mandatory, so that BBMP authorities don’t enter into other deals. I T S PRASAD
These associations have to be involved right from the planning stage about what has to be done for the area, how it should be carried out, etc. Also, while awarding the contract, they must be briefed about the nature of work, type of processing, the contractor’s details, the time limit for completion of work, etc. Also, a certification from RWAs should be made mandatory before bills are paid. It is 99% assured that these associations will never be hand-in-glove with either the contractor or officials for the works are for their areas and benefit. I PRAKASH D R

Stretch bears brunt of neglect

Stretch bears brunt of neglect
Aarthi R | TNN

It’s nobody’s baby, and it shows. A 150-metre stretch of road is paying the price of abject neglect when it comes to maintenance. Open to heavy traffic from schools, offices and adjoining industrial areas, this stretch was last tarred in hurried patches two years ago.
A major link to the Air Force Technical College (AFTC) and adjoining industrial areas, this part of S M Road (Subroto Mukherjee Road), from Jalahalli Cross right up to to the Ayyappa temple, is caught in administrative limbo.
On January 16, 2007, this road was transferred to BBMP limits. Prior to this, the areas on the right side of the road were under BBMP and the CMC took care of the areas on the left. However, both civic bodies have neglected this link road that lies bruised.
Even after the BBMP took over, there has been a delay in action due to the uncertainty over which division should handle it. After the BBMP’s west zone maintained it for two years, it was transferred to Dasarahalli division. Surprisingly, even long-time residents are not aware of the transfer of rights. But, they’re painfully aware of the potholes, many of which have slowly deepened far and wide into craters. The heavy rain over the past few months seems to have washed away most of the road, making it very difficult for vehicles to negotiate their way forward in the remaining space.
On rainy days, it’s very difficult to step into your house without taking in wet mud, says Rajesh K, who has been living in the Premier Grihalaxmi Apartments for the past eight years. Bouncing through the rain on these waterlogged puddles, he manages to reach home mostly on slushy feet. “Irrespective of who owns the road, we need to use this stretch to go to our schools and offices. Dropping my daughter to school that’s about 800 metres away takes more than 30 minutes now,” he says.
Mohan, another resident here for the last 15 years, says he has almost forgotten when he last saw the road complete. “The stretch from my house to the circle should take less than a minute but now it takes 15-20 minutes due to the bad road,” he says.
When asked about relief measures, BBMP officials said that the potholes would be filled up from Friday. Also, there are major plans to resurface the road but this would be possible only after the monsoon.

BBMP does damage control

BBMP does damage control

Where is the crater on Richmond Road flyover? On Thursday, TOI published the picture of a huge gaping hole on the flyover which had BBMP men at work instantly. By evening, the crater was filled. Will the BBMP call this too “an old photograph”, as it did in a note about our photographs of Rest House Crescent Road?
While citizens have responded with positive feedback over the last two days to our Crumbling Roads campaign, the BBMP in a rather smug way, continues to say all is well with the state of roads. This, even as its workers have been repairing roads we have been pointing out.
On Wednesday, the BBMP engineer-in-chief A K Gopalaswamy tried to dismiss the campaign stating that the pictures published are old. All he has to do is take a walk along Vittal Mallya Road which continues to be in deplorable shape. The rough track on Rest House Crescent saw a little work after its pathetic plight was featured in the campaign. A huge crater on Sankey Road near the CM’s home-office was also repaired, after TOI carried a front-page photograph of the bad condition.
Also, the BBMP gave TOI the amount spent on road repair work, which is quite small compared to the whopping sum spent on capital works, which includes construction, maintenance, etc.
Meanwhile, the BBMP Engineers Association claimed that roads are laid as per the Indian Road Congress standards — two layers for relaying and four layers for new road construction. The road work is not only the responsibility of the engineers but also private consultants and technical advisers appointed to monitor quality of construction. The BBMP spends an estimated Rs 1 crore to Rs 1.2 crore per km with all quality checks.
So, the question is: If such standards are maintained, why don’t Bangalore’s roads last longer?


There’s No Point Just Fretting And Fuming. Civil Society Too Can Play An Active Role. So...

It’s difficult to avoid bad roads in the city, when almost every third road has more potholes than a decent stretch of tarmac. Residents, more so the associations which they form and put the force of numbers behind their cause, are up in arms against civic authorities for repair and maintenance of roads.
But, does anyone listen to Resident Welfare Associations? Nobody among the authorities, RWAs complain. Several RWAs in the city have retired civil engineers and other experts who can give authorities not only their suggestions for improvements, but also provide sound technical support if and when needed. Most are willing to physically stand by the roads and supervise works, if need be.
H Keshawakumar, member of the Jayanagar 4th Block RWA, said government officials would never give room for such intervention from residents of the area. “Roads in Jayanagar are fairly all right but the ones in other areas are in very bad shape. We give representations by the dozen to the authorities, but nothing came of it,” he said.
Expressing his and the association’s willingness to help in supervision and in giving suggestions to improve roads, he said government officials would never allow residents to directly participate in the works.
Residents all over the city would like to help make their roads and their city look better. There are suggestions aplenty and so is the willingness to help. “But who is bothered?” asks Vijay Kumar Mishra, secretary, UVCE Layout Welfare Association, West of Chord Road. “We are willing to help the civic authorities at all stages — be it in execution, planning or supervision. But no one listens to us or bothers with our suggestions or complaints,” he added.
Members of RWAs all over the city echo this sentiment. There are times when discrepancies in the entire contract for repair works also impede their ability to intervene more actively. Ranganathan, secretary of Residents Forum in Jeevan Bima Nagar said most residents would gladly inspect all the works on roads. “The BBMP has specifications for laying roads. In some places, these specifications are not given to contractors at all. What do we monitor then?” he asks.
RWAs act as watchdogs to the way civic authorities function and there is tremendous drive among them to not just give suggestions, but also intervene directly and help make Bangalore better. But all they are reduced to is to giving endless representations that only gather dust in offices and under other files. All residents get to do when their roads are being dug up is stand by as mute witnesses.

Fight rain on your own

Fight rain on your own

Article Rank

[Click To Enlarge]
: Residents of posh apartments, and high rise and commercial buildings in low lying areas of the city have formed Rain Brain and other similar associations to find solutions to the problems caused by rain in their localities.

People of such apartments have decided not to park their vehicles near dilapidated walls, drains, buildings and under old trees.

They plan to start a letter campaign mentioning the problems and suggesting solutions to draw the attention of the authorities.

People here have decided not to rely on the BBMP, but to come up with their own methods to fight rain fury.

“We in our area, have formed an association called Rain Brain and the members will brain storm with experts to come up with some solutions to prevent clogging of drains, mixing of sewage water with drinking water and flooding of our houses,” Mr Divesh Kale, a resident of JP Nagar 6th phase said.

“What do we do? We are left with no choice but come up with our own solutions,” said Ms Chandrika Ravi, a teacher from Puttenahalli.

Wednesday’s rain didn’t affect only houses in low lying areas but also posh apartments in upmarket areas like CV Raman Nagar and Indiranagar.

Some of the shops on Brigade Road and Commercial street were also flooded. Many couldn’t go to work or even send their children to school.

Mr Padmanabha H., of Metro Layout at Jagajeevanramnagar, said his family had to stay in their tenant’s house as the ground floor was completely submerged in water.

“We hired a pump to flush out water from our house. I had to shell out Rs 5,000 for diesel, pump and labour. Some important documents were soaked while some were destroyed,” he said.

“BBMP officials attend only to temporary works and don’t look at long term or permanent solutions,” said Roopa, who lives in an apartment in CV Raman Nagar.

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Steep hike in KSRTC, BMTC fares

Steep hike in KSRTC, BMTC fares
DH News Service, Bangalore:
After the hefty fuel price hike, Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) and the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) have delivered a twin shock for passengers...

BMTC has hiked fares by nine per cent, while KSRTC has increased its fare for ordinary services by 10 per cent and other services by 12 per cent. The revised fares comes into effect from Thursday midnight.

The two transport corporations justified their hikes citing increased operational costs. BMTC said it’s annual expenditure for 2008-09 has gone up by Rs 151.23 crore due to increase in the cost of HSD, release of four installments of DA, impending wage revision for employees and steep increase in the cost of steel, tyres, tubes, lubricants, assemblies and other spare parts.

The “very modest hike”, BMTC officials said, would help them recoup at least a part of the additional expenditure. BMTC had last hiked bus fares in June 2006. The revised fares, they said, were still less than those permitted under the provisions of a Government notification dated July 7, 2005.

The revenue from the revised fares would help BMTC introduce 450 peak-hour services, augment existing services to 5655 schedule level, build more bus depots, stations and ten Traffic & Transit Management Centres and introduce Bus Rapid Transit System on the Outer Ring Road.

BMTC and KSRTC had been demanding a fare hike ever since diesel prices increased. But the State government had deferred a decision in this regard.

KSRTC justification

In a press release, KSRTC maintained that the hike was to offset its financial burden and to undertake various expansion plans.

According to KSRTC, its fares were last revised on June 11, 2006, and there was no further increase despite increase in HSD DA rates and diesel prices.

KSRTC said it plans to build eight new depots and 12 new bus stands at an estimated cost of Rs 45 crore, in the current financial year. Besides, the Corporation incurs an additional expenditure of Rs 30 crore per annum due to wage revision for its employees, the release said

Nightmare at daybreak in City

Nightmare at daybreak in City
DH News Service, Bangalore:
It was nightmare at daybreak for hundreds of families trapped in Bangalore's low-lying areas, flooded by early morning showers on Thursday...

If four-feet deep rainwater had over 50 families stuck in Byrathi Cross, residents of 200 flats in Sai Garden apartments at Shigehalli near Kadugodi had to be rescued from their waterlogged abodes.

At Avalahalli, a strong stone wall, surrounding a private firm on Old Madras Road and running a length of over 200 feet, came crashing down. Water gushed into the office premises forcing shutdown of operations on Thursday and Friday.

Elsewhere in the City, heavy downpour flooded roads, lakes and storm water drains, causing miseries aplenty to people. BBMP, BESCOM and BWSSB personnel had a tough time restoring a semblance of order.

At Byrathi Cross, it was an undeclared holiday as the rainwater entered homes at 3 am, rising to almost four feet.

Residents lay the blame on BBMP and the blockage it constructed in a stormwater drain, which was being upgraded on Hennur Main Road. The water thus blocked rushed onto the streets, they charged. BBMP officials were spotted desilting another stormwater drain and temporarily diverting the water.

At the Kadugodi apartment, the buildings’ proximity to the Elemallapa lake causes a recurring problem. Every year the lake overflows due to rain and floods the apartment complex. To make matters worse, electricity was shut off on Thursday. Panicked residents scrambled to pick valuable items and move out of their flats, with the elderly rescued in boats.

Four cars and five two-wheelers were completely submerged in the rain water which stood at 7 feet.
Meanwhile, BBMP distributed food grains, compensation and clothes to rain-affected people at VS Garden and IPD Salappa extension area. Temporary shelter has been provided to affected citizens at Ambedkar Bhavan.

Heavy rain on Monday and Tuesday damaged 28 houses. The walls of 15 houses partially collapsed and household articles of 13 houses were damaged.

A compensation of Rs 5000 each to those whose houses were damaged and Rs 1000 to those with damaged household articles, was distributed. Bedsheets, towels and clothes were distributed to all.

Time for some action

Time for some action
By: B V Shiva Shankar
Date: 2008-08-28


On Slippery Ground: Purvankara group's luxury apartment and Vydehi hospital (right) constructed on encroached land may soon be evicted
The district administration has finally issued orders to evict bigwigs like Puruvankara, MP Adikeshavulu from the land they have encroached.

MiD DAY had reported on August 19 that the district administration had evicted farmers from land they were cultivating without permission while letting off rich and influential land grabbers.

"We have gone through the MiD DAY report," said N Shanthappa, special deputy commissioner, Bangalore urban district. "Based on the report I have issued orders to assistant north and south districts to evict the encroachers."

Orders issued

He said he had issued the order on Tuesday, and given a week's time to the ACs to come back to him with reports of the action taken.

"We will assess the encroachment before initiating the eviction process," said Shanthappa. "And we will demolish the buildings on the land if we feel it necessary."

The government has taken back land from farmers and the poor from in and around the city based on the A T Ramaswamy committee guidelines and part of the land is kept for auction.

But the authorities were silent about politically powerful developers and builders who have helped themselves generously to government land.

Return our land: CPIM members protest against land auctioning yesterday pics/Satish Badiger
The encroachers

While the Puravankara Group has built a sprawling apartment complex on the land encroached near HAL airport, Oxford Eductaion Society has set up a dental college on Hosur Road.

MP and liquor baron D K Adikeshavulu has built a hospital near ITPL after encroaching more than three acres.

Now, with the special DC's orders, these huge structures are facing a threat of demolition.

"We welcome the government's orders," said K Prakash, secretary, Bangalore district committee, CPIM, who is fighting against the auctioning of government land. " But, they should not stop at this. The orders must result in eviction in a true sense."

But, the encroachers seem unfazed. "We have not received any notice," said S Narasa Raju, chairman, Oxford Educational Society. " And we are not scared of government action as we have not done anything wrong. Let them prove the encroachment and then take back the land."

The court has meanwhile stayed the auctioning of 55 acres of government land scheduled for yesterday. The district administration had planned to auction the land taken back from the farmers.

The court issued the stay order as there were a slew of petitions against the auctioning. The district administration cancelled the auction as the left parties staged a protest against the auctioning in front of DC's office.

However, the government is going ahead with the next auction plan. "We are going to auction 47 acres on 29 Aug as there is no stay for that," said Shanthappa. "The bidders are responding well and I hope all goes well."

A city of monsoon pools

A city of monsoon pools

It has been pouring woes at areas like Hennur Road in the city

By Bangalore Mirror Bureau
Posted On Friday, August 29, 2008

It’s not just potholes filled up with muddy water that Bangaloreans are wading through this rainy season. Now they have to pass over ‘swimming pools’ that have formed in many parts of the city. The condition of Byraveshwara Layout near Hennur Road was nothing better than a swimming pool as water entered almost all houses in the area, after rain lashed the city on Wednesday night.

Damage repair in the area was still continuing on Thursday evening as Palike officials and local politicians made repeated visits to the affected Layout. But it was a nightmarish experience for the residents of the area. “This year we are experiencing our worst misery due to floods. We are planning to stay over with our relatives till the monsoon season gets over,” said V Muniraju, a resident. In Nayandahalli, an area located next to Vrishabhavati valley along Mysore Road, rain has been lashing the residents for five days.

It is not just layouts next to drains that are being affected by floods. On Wednesday night, Vittal Mallya road and surrounding areas were submerged in knee-deep water and those with two-wheelers were put through a bad time. “The road in front of UB City and most parts of Lavelle Road resembled a pool. We want the government to introduce boats if they want us to commute through roads like these,” said an angry man on a two-wheeler.

A shocker was waiting for those driving towards the railway underbridge in Seshadripuram. The narrow bridge space was lying under water and one could see long queues of vehicles stuck on both sides of the bridge. The situation of the underbridge near Mount Carmel College was no different. Drainage near Byatarayanapura along Bellary Road ballooned and submerged the main road and the houses surrounding it. “Passengers moving to Devanahalli airport had to face inconvenience here as well as at the CBI junction where the Palike is working on the Magic box structure,” said a traffic cop. In Tatanagar, resident kept cursing the rains throughout the night as water-logging was a common scene in the area.

Rents fly with BIA

Rents fly with BIA

House owners in Devanahalli are merrily reaping the ‘BIA dividend’, demanding huge rentals from airport employees keen on staying close to their workplace

By Sridhar Vivan & Rohith B R
Posted On Friday, August 29, 2008

If you’re looking to rent a two-bedroom house in Shanti Nagar, be prepared to cough up anything between Rs 8,000 and Rs 10,000, besides an advance of upto Rs 1 lakh. Well, that’s the realty reality in Bangalore, you say, little suspecting that the Shanti Nagar we are talking about is not the one in the heart of the city, near Double Road, but its start-up namesake 40 km away in Devanahalli.

The layout’s cachet, if you haven’t already guessed: it’s a stone’s throw from the three-month-old Bengaluru International Airport (Devanahalli is just six km from the trumpet flyover), and there’s no such thing as traffic congestion, at least not yet. Naturally, airport employees wanting to stay close to their workplace are making a beeline to this and other localities in what was once just a sleepy village on the periphery of the city.

Not surprisingly, a single bedroom house which was available for Rs 1,500 now commands a rent of Rs 4,000, while owners of two- and three-bedroom houses, which were available just a couple of months ago for rents ranging between Rs 3,000 and Rs 4,000, are demanding as much as Rs 10,000.

Then and now

Recalling the pre-BIA scene, S M Rajanna, a local resident and social worker, said the rent for a two-bedroom house hardly ever crossed Rs 4,000 and there were very few houses available anyway. “Today, rents have doubled across the board. And there are people who are building houses just to rent them out and make money,” he said. In fact, one can see multi-storied houses coming up on almost every road in areas like Shanti Nagar.

In Prakash Nagar, another locality, airport employees form the largest number of tenants. “For a single bedroom house, the rent is anywhere between Rs 5,000 and Rs 7,000. All those land owners who had left their sites — purchased earlier from farmers — vacant are into house construction now,” said Raju Gowda, a long-time resident of Devanahalli.

In the upcoming Aishwarya Layout, another ‘posh’ locality, rents are expected to go through the roof as many ‘palatial’ houses are coming up to meet the rush by airport employees.

Take it or leave it

Taking a house on lease is no less expensive. Depending on the locality, deposits range from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 3 lakh. “However, there are very few house owners who are ready to give houses on lease,” said Ramesh, a realtor. Rentals of shops too have gone up from Rs 2,000 a few months ago to Rs 5,000 today.

House-seekers have no option but to cough up these hefty amounts if they want to balance their professional and family life. N Narendra (name changed) was working in the cargo division at the HAL airport and resided at Ulsoor. “When the airport operations shifted, I found it difficult to cope and had to shift to Devanahalli,” he said. Narendra pays a monthly rent of Rs 6,000 for the single bedroom house that he and his family occupy there.

Pricey mess

The flip side of this breathless realty show is that Devanahalli’s infrastructure remains in a pathetic state. “Many roads are yet to be tarred and the existing tarred roads in old Devanahalli are full of potholes. Moreover, there is no drainage facility,” said Ashok, an airport employee who has shifted to Devanahalli. “There is no drinking water facility. Borewells have been sunk up to 1,000 feet without striking water,” he added

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Bangalore slums set to go vertical

Bangalore slums set to go vertical

Bangalore: The horizontal Bangalore slums may go vertical, with parks, grounds and schools around them. All this at no cost to the government!
This proposal based on public-private partnership has been mooted following the success in Dharavi (Mumbai), Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat.
“We are thinking of this to make urban areas slum-free. Each house costs Rs 2.5-3 lakh. The developer will be responsible for the project and pay premium to the government,’’ Karnataka Housing Board (KHB) chairman G T Devegowda told TOI.
After attending a presentation on the proposal, chief minister B S Yeddyurappa showed interest in taking up a pilot project in a few Bangalore slums.
New sites and houses
The KHB on Wednesday announced the allotment of 5,426 sites in 21 places and 654 houses in 10 places. It also launched 11 new projects consisting of 1,719 sites and 284 houses.
The sites and houses allotted are in Chitradurga, Bijapur, Gulbarga, Haveri, Uttar Kannada, Belgaum, Bidar, Bellary, Raichur, Dharwad and Mysore districts. The new project will come up in Koppal, Belgaum, Bidar, Bellary, Kodagu, Chamarajanagar, Dakshina Kannada and Shimoga districts.
The urban poor will get 20% of KHB houses/apartments at 50% subsidy. Gowda said the government had planned to build 300 apartments at Allalasandra.
KHB’s ambitious 100 housing projects and 50 Suvarna Karnataka Housing projects in 87 locations across the state is under way. This will provide 15,000 sites and 13,500 houses at an estimated cost of Rs 850 crore with assistance from several financial institutions.

Another road patched up. But what do engineers say?

Another road patched up. But what do engineers say?

Rest House Crescent Road on Monday, August 25: Pockmarked with potholes, surface crusty
Rest House Crescent Road on Tuesday, August 26: Quick patchwork done by BBMP workers (Needless to say the downpour at night did wear it off a bit)
Sankey Road on Tuesday, August 26: Bad patch of road leading to CM’s official residence
Sankey Road on Wednesday, August 27: Quick action by BBMP to cover the crater
TOI carried photographic evidence of both these sections of roads on Tuesday and Wednesday. But what does BBMP engineer-in-chief A K Gopalaswamy have to say? “I got the roads inspected based on pictures published by TOI. The pictures are six months old and were taken when the roads were in a bad state. There are no problems now...’’
BBMP’s justification for bad stretches
Vittal Mallya Road
The photo published in the newspaper appears to be a very old one. The BBMP inspected this road on Tuesday and the pothole shown has already been filled. The BBMP has also commenced repair work of Vittal Mallya Road and will be continued during fair weather.
The rough track on Rest House Crescent Road
BWSSB has dug up the road for laying sanitary lines and it has completed the work. But the restoration that has to be carried out by the water board is yet to be completed. After the restoration of the cut portion is done by BWSSB, the BBMP has a proposal to take up asphalting work for the entire road. The photo published refers to the water supply leakage portion on this road about which a letter has been addressed to BWSSB to repair the leaking joint. The patching of this portion will be done immediately after BWSSB does the repair work. The pothole formed by the leakage of water supply line has been magnified and published. BBMP cannot function in isolation and hence cannot be blamed in isolation.
Unpaved surface of Annaswamy Mudaliar Road
The BWSSB is laying pipes upto 900 mm diameter and the earth is excavated for width of 2.5 m and depth up to 3-5 m along the Annaswamy Mudaliar Road. The BWSSB has to restore the road cut portion but it is yet to rectify the cut portion because of which the entire road has been damaged. In this regard, the BBMP has addressed a letter to BWSSB to remit a sum of Rs 30 lakh for restoration of cut portion. Once the restoration is complete, BBMP will take up asphalting work of the road.

BBMP personnel fill the pothole opposite chief minister B S Yeddyurappa's home-office ‘Krishna’ in Bangalore on Wednesday