Saturday, January 31, 2009

Bengaluru to swelter under heat

Bengaluru to swelter under heat

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The city, which has just left behind a very cold winter, is heading for a very hot summer if the weatherman is to be believed.

May could see people sweating it out under a scorching sun with the temperature rising to 38 degrees Celsius, warns the Indian Meteorological Department.

Even before summer could set in the maximum temperature is already touching 32 degree Celsius in the city and the heat is only going to get worse, says the IMD. The clear skies are contributing to the rising city temperature, it adds .

“The prolonged dry weather and the delay in pre-monsoon activity are indicators of things to come. Also the northernly wind which carries heat waves could push up the tempera ture to 38 degree Celsius this summer,” says A. Muthachami, director, IMD.

With cooling tree cover having disappeared from vast stretches of the city, Bengalureans could have a harder time still this summer.

“The large trees which lined most city roads last summer have been reduced to stumps. This will obviously increase the heat in small pockets such as at traffic signals, on busy roads and in buildings with poor ventilation. The trees absorbed the suspended particulate matter (SPM) besides the dust and noise of the automobiles. But in their absence summer on the roads will be difficult,” says A.N. Yellappa Reddy, chairman of the BBMP’s biodiversity management committee. He suggests people take to tree planting seriously to beat the heat.

Roads over drains to ease traffic

Roads over drains to ease traffic

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Confronted with growing traffic, the BBMP has decided to increase the city’s road network by at least 13.5 km. But instead of widening the roads by demolishing buildings on either side, the civic agency will this time build the roads over drains, reveals BBMP chief engineer (stormwater drains) Chikkarayappa.

The project could be one of the most expensive the city has seen as each kilometer could cost up to Rs 60 crore to build. The proposal, which has received in principle approval by the Agenda for Bengaluru Infrastructure Development (ABIDe) Task Force will soon be sent to the government for clearance, Mr Chikkarayappa adds. “To begin with the BBMP has identified two stretches of drains for building roads on. They are between Double Road and Koramangala stretching over 5.5 km and from Rajiv Gandhi Circle near Seshadripuram to the Gali Anjaneya Temple on Mysore Road covering a distance of 8 km,” he adds.

The idea is to allow commuters from Seshadripuram to reach Gali Anjaneya Temple without going through the congested Majestic area, he explains.

A detailed project report (DPR) has been prepared by Subhash Projects Marketing Ltd (SPML) for the stretch between Double Road and Koramangala and placed before the BBMP’s technical advisory committee for its approval. With the completion of this ambitious project, commuters may be able to travel between Double Road and Koramangala in just 10 minutes.

A detailed plan is being drawn up to build roads over drains on more stretches in the city. Elevated roads will be built to ensure smooth flow of traffic and columns will be laid on the beds of storm water drains to allow smooth flow of drain water.

The drains will be strengthened with reinforcements and retaining walls before the roads are constructed over them. The primary drains identified are at least 7 meters wide which is considered adequate to accommodate two-carriageway roads.

“Roads over drains serve two purposes. They decongest roads and prevent dumping of garbage in drains. So besides improving the look of the city, this will also check breeding of mosquitoes,” the officer explains.

BIAAPA activity set to take off

BIAAPA activity set to take off

Master plan 2021 gets government nod with 1,000 hectares for commercial activity

Rohith BR. Bangalore

landowners' relief: With the government's approval of Master Plan 2021, BIAAPA now has an expanded jurisdiction which includes parts of Yelahanka, Doddaballapur and Devanahalli

Here is good news for all those aspiring to own a house or commercial establishment within a short distance from the Devanahalli Airport.
The state government has finally given its nod for Master Plan 2021 of the Bengaluru International Airport Area Planning Authority (BIAAPA).
The cherry on the icing is that 7,284 hectares of the total 14,627 hectares of the conurbation area, has been reserved for residential purposes. "This covers almost 50 per cent of the master plan area. Land owners can now go ahead with construction plans after obtaining permission from the government," said an official from the Urban Development Department (UDD).
UDD officials also said that the master plan includes all the land conversions that have taken place up to September 2004, when the provisional master plan was approved. "Similar deadlines apply to land spaces undertaken by the Karnataka Industrial Area Development Board (KIADB) in these areas," said an official.
Apart from residential land, around 1,000 hectares have been reserved for commercial and industrial purposes under the plan. "We have also declared 1,742 hectares in and around the BIA as the airport zone, where in strict measures on FAR and other building bylaws have been adopted," a UDD official said.
The expanded jurisdiction of BIAAPA now includes many parts of Yelahanka, Doddaballapur and Devanahalli.
It may be noted that the government had received 1,816 objections against the provisional master plan that was made public in 2004. "All the objections were taken into consideration before approving the final master plan notification," said another UDD official.
The Gazette notification for the master plan was approved on Wednesday and with the modifications attached on January 29.

Take a bus ride back home from Sunday, it's cheap

Take a bus ride back home from Sunday, it's cheap

Formal announcement likely today

Senthalir S. Bangalore
Here's good news for those who travel by buses. State transport minister R Ashok on Saturday is likely to announce a cut in bus fares.
"In view of the recent reduction in petrol and diesel prices, bus fares would be reduced from February 1. The matter has been discussed with various transport departments," Ashok told DNA.
"The fares of all the four transportation services — Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation, Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation, North East Karnataka Road Transport Corporation and North-West Karnataka Road Transport Corporation—- would be decided taking into consideration the reduction in petrol and diesel prices as also wage revision of the employees," the minister added. This means auto fares will also go down in some cases. "About 80 per cent of the autos use LPG. Since the price of gas has not been reduced, auto fares will not be reduced for autos running on gas. However, those autos that run on petrol will have to make a cut. I have asked the district commissioner to hold talks with the Auto Drivers' Association and take a decision by this week," Ashok added.
Contending that all the autorickshaws in Bangalore use LPG and not petrol, M Manjunath, president of Adarsh Auto Drivers' Association, said: "The government had made it compulsory for all the autorickshaws to use LPG instead of petrol. We have not been given the option of using petrol. How, then, can the minister talk of reducing auto fares?"

Now, you can’t outsmart cops

Now, you can’t outsmart cops
RTOs In Karnataka Will Issue Smart Cards To Track Traffic Offences
Manu Aiyappa | TNN

Bangalore: Driving licences, vehicle registration booklets and plastic cards will soon be a thing of the past. After much dilly-dallying, the government is giving final touches to a new system of smart card driving licences and registration certificates at all regional transport offices of Karnataka.
“From May, all those applying for new DLs and RCs in the 55 RTOs of the state will be issued a smart card, embedded with microprocessor chip with 4 KB memory. This can be availed of within a day of application by paying Rs 200,’’ said Bhaskar Rao, transport commissioner.
Joint commissioner of transport M K Aiyappa said the smart cards will provide relevant information about the vehicle at once, i n cl u d i n g date of purchase, registration, age and address of licence holder, previous owners, and traffic offences. Traffic police and RTO officials will be provided handheld machines to enable them to read the cards. Those with three offences will have to forfeit their licence.
The transport department has also taken steps to include fingerprints to prevent the holder from taking licence in any other state when his DL is cancelled. “The new licences will require candidates to compulsorily visit our office to get photographed. The photo will be saved in our database and replicated on the licence. This will eliminate touts,’’ Aiyappa said.
Easy to carry and long-lasting compared to paper documents Card holders will be covered under insurance for 1 year (Rs 1 lakh for death; Rs 50,000 for permanent disability) Blood group and other data will help during accidents Serves as an ID card Enables tax payment anywhere in state
Existing driving licence holders will have to wait for 7-8 months to avail of this facility. The computerization process of the department, which once had the honour of implementing changes early, has taken a beating over the past five years, which officials claim is due to political instability. Only 10 RTOs in the state, including five in Bangalore, have been fully computerized. In another six months, all other RTOs in the state will follow suit and be linked with software developed by National Informatics Centre, called ‘Saarathi’ for DLs and ‘Vaahan’ for RCs. This will help extract data for preparing smart cards, besides helping law enforcement agencies track history of motorists and vehicles anywhere in the country

Green signal for extension

Green signal for extension

Bangalore: As Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation (BMRC) readies the first phase of the city’s showpiece rail network, a high-level administrative group has given the go-ahead for extension of the phase by 9.3 km. An empowered group of ministers accorded the approval for the north-south corridor of Namma Metro’s first phase. This will be taken up from Yeshwantpur and R V Road terminal directions. The estimated budget for the extension project is Rs 1,763 crore. It will also cover nine elevated stations on the two corridors. BMRC had recently invited fresh tenders for station escalators, in the backdrop of the proposed extension and increase in number of stations. The empowered group headed by external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee also includes chief minister B S Yeddyurappa, minister for urban development S Suresh Kumar, principal secretary (finance) M R Sreenivasa Murthy and BMRC MD N Sivasailam.
On Friday, minister Suresh Kumar told reporters the first Namma Metro train will run on Reach 1 (Byappanahalli to M G Road) in 2010. According to BMRC projections, the commercial operations of Namma Metro will commence in December, 2010.

More room for housing projects around airport

More room for housing projects around airport
BIAAPA Out With Masterplan For Developing Land There
Anil Kumar M | TNN

Bangalore: Half the area has been reserved for residential purposes, while less than 4% earmarked for the industrial sector. Bangalore International Airport Area Planning Authority’s recently announced masterplan 2021 was expected to give much-awaited boost to industrial development around the airport. With this announcement, proposals awaiting the government’s nod will now be put on the fast track.
Of the 14,627.63 hectres identified under the masterplan, 7,284.34 hectres have been reserved for residential purposes. This constitutes 49.80% of the total area. For industrial and commercial purposes, 566.70 hectres (3.87%) and 470.33 hectres (3.23%) has been respectively earmarked. And to perhaps escape criticism, BIAAPA has reserved 1,841.89 hectres (12.59%) of the area for parks and open spaces.
Karnataka Town and Country Planning Act, 1961, empowers the urban development department to chart out development of the international airport region. Accordingly, Masterplan 2021 was approved by the government. Guidelines for plot coverage, floor area ration, building line and space for parking are defined in the plan.
The proposed Satellite Town Ring Road, Intermediate Ring Road, Town Ring Road and expressways around the airport are also included. A good amount of the area — 1,982.61 hectres (13.55 %) — is reserved for transportation. Apart from the area already identified under the plan, 1,800 hectres of a special agriculture zone exists in the region. The plan permits construction of housing facilities in the zone exclusively for BIA, Airports Authority of India and Central Industrial Security Force personnel.

Title deeds for slum dwellers soon: Govt

Title deeds for slum dwellers soon: Govt
DH News Service,Bangalore:
The State Government, on Friday, announced that over a lakh families residing in 400 odd slums in the City would get title deeds/registration certificates for alternative housing facilities in a months time.

Addressing presspersons here, Minister for Transport R Ashok, who is also the Bangalore District In-charge Minister, said a decision has been taken to provide accommodation to the economically backward who have been residing in slums, which constitute government land for the past 40 years.
“We have held a meeting with officials of all the civic bodies under the Urban Development Department (UDD) to provide registration certificates to those in slums within one month. In phase one, we will concentrate on those residing in government lands. Only genuine applicants who have been residing in the slums for the last 40 years would be accorded priority. The BDA alone has 6,000 applications pending, the BBMP has 15,000 and the Slum Clearance Board has 2,000,” Ashok said.
The government has reverted to the old fee of Rs 100 for applying title deeds, from the present Rs 1,000, as it was found to be unaffordable for slum dwellers.
“All applicants will get land of the same measurement they are presently residing in. Priority would be given to tenants and those residing on the land and not in whose name the house is registered” the Minister added.
As many as 20,000 applicants would benefit from the scheme, with a majority of them residing in the 400 odd slums in BBMP limits. Out of these, 150 are under the Karnataka Slum Clearance Board, 60 under the Bangalore Development Authority and the rest under the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike, informed government sources. Under the scheme, SC/ST’s would be given free title deeds. Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa is expected to distribute the registration certificates.
In phase two, slums on private land would also be considered, by offering TDR (Transfer of Development Rights) said Ashok who added, “Those slums that have come up on lake-beds and graveyards will also be considered later. At present those notified from the Slum Board will be taken up”.

Interest waived off

Ashok further said that the government has decided to waive off interest amounting to Rs 12 crore due to BWSSB on account of water bills of the slums. “Each house owes Rs 20,000 to Rs 25,000”, he revealed.


Bangalore Development Authority has taken up a special drive to issue sale deed/ possession certificate to slum dwellers, residing in 54 slums coming under areas of its jurisdiction.
Slum dwellers under BDA are requested to submit all the documents to the office of deputy secretaries concerned in the head office of BDA on all working days between 3 pm and 5.30 pm.

Don’t force views on people

Don’t force views on people

We have a democracy in place and the chief minister has the right to express his views. But we live in a free society and people also have the right to decide whether to go or not to go to pubs. We cannot force people from going to pubs saying that it is against society. Going to pubs is also not against any public policy. So let there be a debate, instead of violence.
If somebody thinks that women should not go to work, he can think that way but cannot force his thoughts on others. Similarly, the CM cannot force his views on other people. If young people or middle-aged people want to go to pubs, that is okay. There should be no force from any corner to prevent people from going to pubs when they do so at their will. As long as they are not under age, it is fine.
This difference in views is a classic, inter-generational fight. It is for the political leadership to understand that India is a very young nation where 65 per cent of the population is below the age of 35. The views of the youngsters are very much different from those of the elders and hence, there will be a difference in attitude. So, I doubt whether the CM’s attitude will go down well with it.
The key points are that there should be no violence, no intimidation and no force over this issue.

Mohandas Pai, director- HR, education, research and administration, Infosys

Friday, January 30, 2009

Plan to green city graveyards may be buried

Plan to green city graveyards may be buried

Bosky Khanna. Bangalore
Most people in Bangalore would like their final resting place to be an islet of peace surrounded by birds, flowers, tall trees and an open sky.
Conservation groups are ready to fulfil this wish by greening the graveyards but no help is coming from the state or local governments.
As the city's greenery continued to shrink in the name of development, urban forest officials came up with an idea to give more lung space to graveyards two years ago. Their plan was to translocate trees, which are facing the axe due to development projects, to graveyards. Though environmentalists welcomed the plan, the government did nothing.
A senior forest department official, who did not want to be identified, said the idea was shelved due to lack of support from the government and the department concerned. The plan was then referred to the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike's (BBMP) forest cell. Still there was no response.
As officials continued to ignore the plan, Bangalore lost 34 sq km of green cover from 2003 till date. About 40% of the city's trees were lost in the past few months due to road widening works. Nature lovers fear that the proposal may be unceremoniously buried.
But BBMP forest cell's deputy conservator of forests U Bert said, "We have not received any written proposal. Our initiative is to green Bangalore. If people want us to green graveyards too, we will do,'' he said.
Environmentalists say that the idea must have been shelved due to religious reasons. But religious leaders disagreed. MB Krishna, a green campaigner, said " Trees must be planted in large graveyards or in exteriors. Using graveyards for greening is a good idea.''

Residents urge railway level-crossing bridge

Residents urge railway level-crossing bridge
DH News Service,Bangalore:

In the wake of a car-train mishap which occurred under the Lingarajpuram Flyover a week ago, the residents of the locality took to the streets on Thursday. Led by Dalithara and Minority Pragathipara Rakshana Vedike (DMPRV), people in and around Lingarajpuram staged a protest demanding immediate construction of a railway level crossing bridge below the flyover and to deploy guards at the level crossing for the safety of people.
More than 300 residents marched from Kariyanapalya on the flyover and converged at the railway track under the flyover. They later submitted a memorandum to the Railway Local Engineer. “School children, women, people with physical disabilities are facing a lot of trouble as there is no space to commute. We will protest indefinitely if the Government and the Railway department do not provide a level crossing here at Lingarajapuram” said M Raju, president, DMPRV.
Ravindran, a physically disabled person, said, “The flyover is narrow and there is no footpath on it for people to walk. I cannot use the flyover to commute from one end of Lingarajpuram to the other due to lack of space for the movement of wheelchair”.
“Women and children are finding it very difficult to commute ever since the Railway Department closed the passage here. Children and adults with physical disabilities are facing enormous problems as they have to travel upto one kilometre in their wheel chair to travel to the other side of the railway track. There are many schools located in this vicinity and the school children are late due to the closure of the passage” said Raniamma, staff, Divya Shanthi School at Lingarajapuram.
A Railway Protection Force official said, “A railway level crossing is not possible at Lingarapuram due to the poor visibility caused by the construction of buildings. However the Railway Department has already given clearance for construction of an underpass for the easy commutation of pedestrians and light vehicles”.
The official further said that most trains were being diverted from City railway station and routed to Yeshwantpur Terminal due to the over crowding at the city railway station terminal.

City to have ten water storage reservoirs

City to have ten water storage reservoirs
By S Lalitha,DH News Service,Bangalore:
To augment the drinking water supplied to the newly added BBMP areas under the Second Phase of Cauvery Water Supply IV Stage, the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) has decided to construct nine storage-cum-balancing reservoirs at key locations in these areas. One reservoir will come up in the core BBMP area.

The total cost incurred will be Rs 46 crores.
According to BWSSB sources, this sum has been earmarked out of the Rs 100 crores the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) had provided it recently. BDA had given this sum out of the Rs 700 crores that the State government permitted it to raise out of its own resources, three months ago.
One Ground Level Reservoir (GLR) each will come up at Bommanahalli, K R Puram, Byatarayanpura, Mahadevapura and Hebbal (core area), while Rajarajeshwari Nagar will have two reservoirs and Dasarahalli will have three reservoirs (see box). Only one reservoir will be constructed on land belonging to the BWSSB, while the others will come up on BBMP land, sources added.
BWSSB had taken charge of water supply for the 250 wards of the newly added areas from BBMP in April last year. So far, it has been able to supply drinking water only for 72 of those wards.
The first round of tenders issued in connection with the GLRs has elicited no response, a source said. The conditions of the tender mandated the contractor to design and construct the reservoir. That clause has been altered now and a second round of tenders has been called for. BWSSB has decided to take care of the designing aspect while the contractor needs to carry out the construction work alone, he added.
Of the balance sum of the allotted Rs 100 crore, a sum of Rs 45 crore has been set aside for converting the water at Kelkere lake for potable uses and for procurement of 30 sucking-cum-jetting sewerage cleaning machines at a cost of Rs 9 crores.

KSRTC, BMTC fares to be cut

KSRTC, BMTC fares to be cut
DH News Service,Bangalore:
Two fuel price cuts in less than two months have raised a demand for a commensurate reduction in bus fares.

Though the State government chose to ignore the demand earlier, Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa and Transport Minister R Ashok have now indicated that a reduction in the bus fares of the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) was just round the corner. A formal announcement is expected within two to three days.

While Ashok’s assurance came at a press conference in Mysore on Thursday, the chief minister said in New Delhi that his government would soon take a decision on reducing the KSRTC fares. He hinted that a decision may come in a week.

On Wednesday, the Centre cut diesel prices by Rs 2 a litre. With a diesel price cut of over Rs 4 in the last two revisions, pressure had mounted on the government to go for a transport fare revision.

The Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) has also hinted that the existing fares would be reviewed. BMTC managing director Syed Zameer Pasha told Deccan Herald: “We will examine the existing fare structure and come up with revised fares during the course of the week.”

This assurance should come as a relief to commuters using the Volvo buses in particular, who pay a minimum fare of Rs 15 to the shortest of distances, against Rs 3 in regular buses.

But despite the price revision, autorickshaw and taxi owners in the city were in no mood to cut their fares. President of Adarsha Auto Union, Manjunath, contended: “Unlike BMTC and KSRTC, our prices are not dictated by fuel prices but by the cost of living in the city. There’s no question of reducing the fares.”

While taxi operators had cut fares by up to Rs 3 a kilometre in December last after the first cut in fuel prices, autorickshaw drivers and their unions have repeatedly resisted attempts to bring down the fares, much to the growing disenchantment of the commuters.

Revised rates from Feb

However, the Bangalore Tourist Taxi Owner’s Association had some good news for the commuters: “Customers can expect a fare reduction of anywhere between Rs 20 and 40, depending upon the the size of the cab and usage. They can expect the revised rates to come into force by the beginning of the next month,” said Ravindra, secretary of the association.

Signal JAM

Signal JAM
Innovations in managing junctions are under way, but responsible driving is really the key to unlock our gridlocks
R Krishna Kumar | TNN

Bangalore: As rush hour gets redefined at traffic signals across Bangalore, the traffic police department is investing funds and thought in innovative projects. The hitch, according to experts, is that the realization of these projects depends heavily on spacing of signals, effective enforcement and importantly, responsible practices of the motorists.
Bangalore has about 38,000 junctions, of which more than 5,000 are considered ‘problematic’. As part of B-TRAC 2010, 150 signals have been proposed in addition to the existing 260-plus signals.
According to M N Sreehari, traffic and transportation expert and adviser to the government, spacing of traffic signals has been an area of concern for years.
“The B-TRAC projects can make a positive difference to the city’s traffic situation. But greater care has to be taken in the manner in which these new signals are spaced. In many areas, traffic pile-ups are the result of signals located within short distances,’’ says Sreehari.
The flurry of signals and subsequent pileups have also impacted the enforcement of traffic rules. While there are many unmanned signals in the city, where rushing motorists often create logjams, key signals in bustling areas are manned by three or four traffic constables. A case in contrast is the junction near Honeywell, on Bannerghatta Road, with the Ring Road-Sarjapur Road Junction (near St John’s Hospital in Madiwala).
The first — where traffic from residential areas near Vijaya Bank enclave merges with the bustling Bannerghatta Road — doesn’t have a constable stationed all through the day and whenever he is off duty, there are signal violations. At the second junction, especially during morning and evening peak hours, it takes three or four constables to keep the rush in check.
Bangalore has around 2,000 traffic constables, a figure well short of the booming city’s requirement. According to traffic police sources, many ambitious plans are on fast track. But on the ground, the force is grappling with the rush and traffic rule violators. “At least twice during the shift, I have to deal with an offender. When I’m dealing with the violator, other motorists see an opportunity and jump the signal,’’ says a traffic constable who mans a signal in J P Nagar 2nd Phase.
Traffic Engineers and Safety Trainers (TEST), that conducts educative sessions on traffic awareness in the city, has been dealing with this tendency to violate rules on the road. For a city where conversations are increasingly centred on its traffic snarls, Bangalore has not quite opened up to innovations like civilian traffic wardens and the ‘Yield’ concept — put in place at the Windsor Manor bridge rotary — either. The signal-less rotary still requires constables to man the traffic, beating the purpose of the voluntary yield-and-makeway concept.
38,000 Junctions 5,000 Problem points 265 Signals 150 Signals in the pipeline 2,000 Traffic constables
Closely erected signals impact monitoring
Traffic violators an increasing problem
The traffic policemen, even while struggling with the rush, have something going for them in the proposed intelligent transportation system. Under the area traffic control model, the traffic volume in different directions can be predicted at the traffic signals. A variable message system is also on the anvil, indicating at the signals the expected time to reach various destinations.

Panel will confirm old news: BDA allotted 300 illegal sites

Panel will confirm old news: BDA allotted 300 illegal sites
By: B V Shiva Shankar
Date: 2009-01-29


But inquiry committee's report to be submitted on Saturday says nothing about punishing culprits. A report without action is meaningless, says RTI activist who unearthed the scam

BDA is expected to cancel all illegally allotted alternative sites, next month, based on an inquiry report to be submitted on January 31.

After missing two deadlines, the inquiry committee will finally report its findings at the end of the month.

The committee was constituted under the superintendent of police in Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) based on MiDDAY reports that had triggered heated arguments in the Legislative Assembly and Council, last year.

Deadline given

The committee was given a deadline of three months from August, which was extended to December and then again to January 31. "We cannot go on asking for more time, and this time we have to meet the deadline," said Mallikarjunaiah, SP, BDA. "It should not be a problem, as we have completed investigation."

According to sources in the BDA, the committee had found several irregularities and the report would recommend cancellation of about 300 alternative sites allotted illegally. However, the report is understood to have kept mum about punishing the culprits.

"Cancelling sites alone won't help," said B M Shiva Kumar, who unearthed the scam using the Right to Information (RTI) Act. "Culprits have to be booked."

Conniving with scamsters, officials in BDA had allotted high-end sites as alternative ones against cheaper sites, flouting norms. As a rule alternative sites can be allotted only when the original site is not fit for occupation due to litigation or other reasons. But, the alternative sites were given in exchange of the sites that were free of problems.

There were instances where commercial sites in prime locations were allotted as against domestic sites ten times less than the actual worth.

In a startling revelation, a particular family had got 80 alternative sites, and the head of the family who was an auto driver a couple of years ago became a multi-millionaire.


Following the MiDDAY reports, several BDA officials including the commissioner and secretary were transferred.

But, an enquiry was ordered only after legislators raised the issue in the House.

"We will submit the report to the chairman of the Legislative Council on January 31," said Siddiah, BDA commissioner. "It's for the House to decide on it."

However, RTI activists are not happy. "Earlier, an inquiry report by a deputy secretary had clearly indicted the then secretary and commissioner. Even the department of personnel and administrative reforms was asked to take action against them," said Shiva Kumar.

"But nothing has happened yet, and another report is coming. It would be meaningless without a definite action."

Panel will confirm old news: BDA allotted 300 illegal sites

Panel will confirm old news: BDA allotted 300 illegal sites
By: B V Shiva Shankar
Date: 2009-01-29


But inquiry committee's report to be submitted on Saturday says nothing about punishing culprits. A report without action is meaningless, says RTI activist who unearthed the scam

BDA is expected to cancel all illegally allotted alternative sites, next month, based on an inquiry report to be submitted on January 31.

After missing two deadlines, the inquiry committee will finally report its findings at the end of the month.

The committee was constituted under the superintendent of police in Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) based on MiDDAY reports that had triggered heated arguments in the Legislative Assembly and Council, last year.

Deadline given

The committee was given a deadline of three months from August, which was extended to December and then again to January 31. "We cannot go on asking for more time, and this time we have to meet the deadline," said Mallikarjunaiah, SP, BDA. "It should not be a problem, as we have completed investigation."

According to sources in the BDA, the committee had found several irregularities and the report would recommend cancellation of about 300 alternative sites allotted illegally. However, the report is understood to have kept mum about punishing the culprits.

"Cancelling sites alone won't help," said B M Shiva Kumar, who unearthed the scam using the Right to Information (RTI) Act. "Culprits have to be booked."

Conniving with scamsters, officials in BDA had allotted high-end sites as alternative ones against cheaper sites, flouting norms. As a rule alternative sites can be allotted only when the original site is not fit for occupation due to litigation or other reasons. But, the alternative sites were given in exchange of the sites that were free of problems.

There were instances where commercial sites in prime locations were allotted as against domestic sites ten times less than the actual worth.

In a startling revelation, a particular family had got 80 alternative sites, and the head of the family who was an auto driver a couple of years ago became a multi-millionaire.


Following the MiDDAY reports, several BDA officials including the commissioner and secretary were transferred.

But, an enquiry was ordered only after legislators raised the issue in the House.

"We will submit the report to the chairman of the Legislative Council on January 31," said Siddiah, BDA commissioner. "It's for the House to decide on it."

However, RTI activists are not happy. "Earlier, an inquiry report by a deputy secretary had clearly indicted the then secretary and commissioner. Even the department of personnel and administrative reforms was asked to take action against them," said Shiva Kumar.

"But nothing has happened yet, and another report is coming. It would be meaningless without a definite action."

No helmets, no gloves, no safety net...

No helmets, no gloves, no safety net...
It’s a Rs 6,400-crore project but those on whose toil the Metro Rail is coming up expose themselves to mortal danger everyday in the absence of even minimal safety gear

Barely hours before a roof collapse at a Metro Rail construction site at Mahalakshmipuram on Thursday, a Bangalore Mirror team visited another construction spot in the vicinity, near the Chord Road-Modi Road junction, and found that safety measures remained only on paper. There were around 25 labourers at the construction spot, all sans any protective gear — and this despite Metro Rail tender requirements clearly specifying that demolition and dismantling of buildings identified for acquisition, and all construction work, should be carried out in accordance with the standard safety measures.
The labourers were using tools like wire saws, wall saws and floor saw machines for cutting the RCC beams and roof slabs. They were standing at the floor edge while hammering the side walls. Shockingly, none of them was provided with a helmet or boots, and neither was there any safety net to break a fall.
When we brought these points to the notice of Raful, supervisor with the West Bengal-based company to whom the demolition work had been outsourced, he nonchalantly said the company had demolished “much taller” buildings without using any safety equipment. Even more incredibly, he added, “There is no need of any such safety equipment as all our labourers are professionals. They just look for a hammer and a drilling machine to demolish a building and are not interested in safeguarding themselves.”
P N Nayak, Chief Engineer, BMRCL, said it is an absolute must for labourers hired for demolition work to wear safety gear. He said he was unaware of the demolition activity we had witnessed, but added that he would bring it to the notice of the officials concerned. Nayak went on to say that on all his inspection visits, the labourers were found wearing the specified safety gear. But he admitted that it was difficult to monitor what labourers were wearing everyday.
Another BMRCL official said that workers employed in demolition work should be provided with helmets, safety boots, protective clothing, face shields, hearing protection devices, safety belts, gloves and masks to block out dust or chemicals.



On Thursday, five days after the horrific attack by a fringe group on women at a pub in Mangalore, Karnataka chief minister BS Yeddyurappa (Yes, we know he doesn’t like being called Yeddy), made the first categorical statement on the incident. Condemning the violence — “Nobody should take law into their hands, it’s a very unfortunate incident”— he then went on to proclaim that he would not allow “Pub Culture in Karnataka to grow,” without quite specifying what he means by pub culture. Speaking to reporters in New Delhi where he is attending the BJP chief ministers’ meet, Yeddyurappa continued to waffle on the demand to ban the Sri Rama Sene.
However, it is the CM’s pub culture remark that has sparked a wave of concern among citizens in Bangalore, known for its emancipated, liberal culture of happy hours

Thursday, January 29, 2009


Stripped of the water hyacinths and aquatic weeds, the smelly lake which had turned into a breeding ground for mosquitoes is now a sylvan sight

Imran, Haseeb and Salman, ninth standard students at a city school, have been visiting the Madiwala lake since quite a few years. However, off-late, they have been witness to a lot of changes in and around the lake. But they have no complaints to make.
The Madiwala lake which was once covered with stinking water-hyacinths and aquatic weeds is now brimming with crystal clear water. What’s more, the forest department has started boating services as well. An elated Imran quips, “We used to frequent the lake to play at the park but now, we come only for boating.”
The crystal clear refreshing look of the lake which has brought a smile on the faces of regular visitors is the result of four months of hard work by the personnel of the Karnataka State Forest Department. They made a decision in Aug 2008 to clean up the lake and restore it to its original beauty. “When I came here in late August, the lake was filled with weeds. In the last three-four months, we have done what we could to clear the lake of weeds and other pollutants. Around 90 per cent of the work has been completed and only 10 per cent work involving the removal of weeds is pending,” said S S Chandrashekar, the Range Forest Officer (RFO) of the area.
Y Yarappa, a retired government official and resident of Madiwala, speaking to Bangalore Mirror said, “The officials have made it look so beautiful now. Previously, there were a lot of mosquitoes in this area thanks to the stinking and filthy lake water. Children in the area used to fall sick especially in the rainy and summer seasons. Now that the lake has been cleaned, the problem has been solved to a great extent.” Rajkumar Sharma, a timber merchant and resident who visits the lake for morning walks said, “It’s first class now! The foul smell of the water was unbearable till a few months ago but now, the air is clear.”
The Madiwala lake spread over 276.8 acres with an island sporting bamboo bushes at the centre attracts rare birds during the post-monsoon season. “We have already spent Rs 6,00,000 on rejuvenating the lake. A lot more work needs to be done at the earliest and the Lake Development Authority has also agreed to contribute and help us in this regard,” the officer said.
Currently, with an intention of attracting more and more visitors, the department has identified a part of the lake to be used solely for boating purposes. “As of now, we have been operating two peddling boats and more than a 100 people have enjoyed the boating facility. The department has been getting a revenue of around Rs 1,000 per day with Rs 20 being charged for a two-seater boat ride and Rs 40 for a four-seater ride,” said Chandrashekar.
Even though the lake has six pedal boats, only two have been in running condition. Officials said that the remaining boats will also be pressed into service in a few days. The department does not want to use speed boats as the sound of the boats will disturb birds nesting on the island. Utkarsh, a student at a nearby college who visited the lake along with his friends appeared to have completely enjoyed the boat ride. “It was a fantastic and thrilling experience. I did all the pedalling. Though it was tiresome, it wasfun,” said Vasu Singh, a friend of Utkarsh.
The officials said that the boating facility will be officially inaugurated by the end of this month.

‘Palike’ will catch property tax evaders

‘Palike’ will catch property tax evaders


GIS-based database on all properties getting ready

Declarations will be matched with this database

Bangalore: This year, you cannot get away with false information in property tax returns.

The new software, called “Palike,” developed by the National Informatics Centre (NIC) for the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) would track down false declarations within minutes.

The software would create an automatic property register which would be on BBMP’s website within a couple of weeks from the commencement of property tax payment.

According to BBMP officials, the software would contain pre-determined fields such as zones, types of property and Unit Area Value (UAV).

The software would match the declaration made by the property owner with that of the pre-determined fields.

If there was a mismatch and the calculations were wrong, it would generate a report.

Details submitted in the returns would be fed into the system the same day, the officials said.

It was in this context that the provision to file “revised returns” had been made in the BBMP Property Tax Rules, 2009, an officer pointed out. The software would scrutinise details such as built-up area, number of floors, and usage of the property once details of the survey of properties based on Geographical Information System (GIS) was completed and fed into the system.

Keonics, the State Government undertaking which was preparing GIS database of properties, had already covered 650 sq km of the city. It was expected to cover the rest of the city in 30 days, said an officer.

Where have the ordinary buses gone?

Where have the ordinary buses gone?

Anil Kumar Sastry

— Photo: Sampath Kumar G.P.

Obstruction: Vajra and Suvarna buses lined up at the BMTC terminal in Majestic area in Bangalore.

Bangalore: “Even if you do not want one, we will ensure you have a ‘comfortable’ journey”, appears to be the mantra of the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) when it plies Vajra (Volvo) and Suvarna buses.

Particularly during off-peak hours, these beautiful buses in red and silver colours respectively, ply while Parisara Vahini buses are nowhere to be seen. Though this is the time for the crew to change shift, Suvarnas and Vajras operate unaffected as the crew is on day shift.

Between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., one can see Vajra and Suvarna coaches lined up along all platforms at BMTC’s terminal in the Kempe Gowda Bus Station, especially on Ring 3, where there are platforms for buses plying towards Jayanagar, B.T.M. Layout, Koramangala, Electronics City, Whitefield and Krishnarajapuram. Personnel manning the bus station, however, claim that they do not allow these buses to wait for long on platforms.

Kenche Gowda, who has a petty shop near Begur, off Hosur Road, said that he had waited for an ordinary bus to his destination for at least 20 minutes. As Vajras and Suvarnas had occupied the bays, he was unable to get ordinary buses and finally had to wait on the bus passage area itself.

“I don’t see any difference between the Suvarna and Parisara Vahini coaches except the colour scheme and the exterior design. If Pushpak fares are charged, I could have taken a Suvarna as I travel using day pass,” he said. Ram Prakash, a sales executive, said he was pained to see Suvarnas and Vajras running empty. “This is sheer waste of resources,” he said, suggesting that fares should be cut.

Authorities had claimed during its launch that Suvarna buses will be operated four hours each in morning and evening. Limited stops and comfortable travel with seats for all passengers were promised. So, the fares were kept on a higher side. However in reality, these buses operate throughout the day and buses are overcrowded during peak hours on trunk routes such as Hosur Road and Old Madras Road.

The BMTC’s fleet of 5,300 includes 320 Suvarna and 200 Vajra coaches, besides 44 Vayu Vajra coaches. Except Vajra routes on the IT corridor, Electronics City and Whitefield, most other routes are running under loss, according to the BMTC officials. Batting in favour of these premium services, the officials argue that it will take some more time for people to get adjusted to these services.

Taxi, auto drivers unhappy with bulk permits

Taxi, auto drivers unhappy with bulk permits

Special Correspondent

Government urged not to issue bulk permits to private taxi companies in Bangalore

Unions apprehensive that autos may be phased out

Demonstration to be staged on January 31

BANGALORE: Taxi drivers and autorickshaw drivers in Bangalore are up in arms against the State Government’s decision to issue permits in bulk to private taxi companies plying their vehicles in the city.

The Bangalore District Taxi Drivers’ Union (BDTU) and Autorickshaw Drivers’ Union (ARDU), both affiliated to Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), have taken exception to the State Government’s move to issue bulk permits to private taxi companies, which would not only threaten the livelihood of autorickshaw drivers, but also denying taxi drivers service benefits and wage security.

At a joint press conference in Bangalore on Wednesday, the BDTU and ARDU have urged the State Government to stop issuing fresh permits to the private taxi companies and adhere to labour laws.

The BDTU and ARDU along with Bangalore International Airport Taxi Drivers’ Union would be staging a demonstration in front of the office of Bangalore Urban District Deputy Commissioner on January 31 to register their protest against the issue of bulk permits to private taxi companies by the State Government.

“We will gather in front of the office of Bangalore Urban District Deputy Commissioner, who is the chairman of Regional Transport Authority, and submit to him a memorandum,” said BDTU president K.N. Umesh.

The indiscriminate issue of bulk permits to the private taxi companies threatens to push autorickshaws out of operation in the city. “The earnings of autorickshaw drivers in the city has dipped ever since hundreds of taxis operated by the private companies hit the road a couple of months ago.

With the private taxi operators seeking fresh bulk permits and the Government eager to oblige them, the fate of autorickshaw drivers hangs in balance. We can’t figure out whether the Government is conspiring to phase out autorickshaws from the city,” said C.N. Srinivas, who is the organising secretary of ARDU.

The taxi drivers, who had been recruited in hundreds by private taxi companies, were being forced to work without proper wages, job security and other service benefits such as a holiday and rest. “The taxi drivers are being exploited by the private taxi company.

The drivers are forced to work for long hours throughout the week without proper rest and holiday,” said Mr. Umesh.

The BDTU urged the Government to ensure that the provisions of Motor Transport Workers’ Act 1961 and Karnataka State Motor Transport Workers Rules 1964 are incorporated in the permits issued to the private taxi companies so that the taxi drivers were not exploited.

People walk on roads for want of space

People walk on roads for want of space
DH News Service,Bangalore:

Once famous as the Garden City, Bangalore now has only 300 parks and gardens to cater to a population of around 70 lakhs. There are actually around 550 parks but many are victims of official apathy and are on the verge of extinction.
This stark reality was brought to light when Deccan Herald dug up information regarding the available lung spaces in Bangalore, which are used by the health - concious. Due to this paucity the Bangalorean is compelled to jog or walk on killer-roads sans pavements.

Garbage dumps

According to the sources in the horticultural department, there are around 150 small and medium parks, besides major parks like Lal Bagh and Cubbon Park. There are also around 150 walking paths in gardens dotted across the City. Many areas reserved for parks have been converted into garbage dumps, while people are left with no choice but to walk on the city roads. These are unsafe with the volume of traffic at any given time on our roads.
Consider this - the Bharath Housing Cooperative Society has earmarked around five acres of land for a park near Uttarahalli. Now this space has become the BBMP’s garbage dump. People living in the surrounding areas have no alternative but to use the footpath to exercise.
However, making matters worse, this footpath is used to park vehicles, so people are left with no other option, but to walk on the narrow and busy road, where heavy vehicles ply constantly.
The city hasn’t forgotten the death of eminent collage artist V Balu, who died in a hit-and-run case one-and-a-half years ago. He was hit by a scooterist while he was on a walk in the Basavanagudi area.
And recently in Indiranagar, four morning walkers died in a freak accident, because it lacks enough parks for people to use while on their morning constitutional.

We will not give up, say Citys pub-goers

We will not give up, say Citys pub-goers
By Nandini Chandrashekhar,DH News Service,Bangalore:
The city is not new to invasion of pubs by self-proclaimed protectors of Indian culture, the most recent being KRV acitivists going on rampage at Fuga, last December.

The attack on women at a Mangalore pub has unsettled many regular pub goers, but is hardly likely to discourage them. Deccan Herald spoke to women, who though horrified by the incident, refused to stay cowed by it.
Arpitha, a new age media professional fumes that it was totally uncalled for. “I am very, very angry. What they have done is not something new. It is the same old politicisation of issues and in the name of religion. I hope the police take stringent action against these people.”
Pavithra, who hangs out at Hard Rock Cafe says, “This form of moral policing is totally uncalled for, by religious body or otherwise. It is a mere publicity stunt. They have now succeeded in making sure that such an organisation exists and gives them a degree of credibility, which is unfortunate. All these incidents also portray us in bad light.”
The visuals of the attack has horrified many people and Vincy, an undergraduate student, says that it is a huge embarrassment for the girls’ family and it terrified her.
But then, she poses a question asking, “The law allows a person to drink after they are 21 years of age. Who are these persons to stop us?”
Not discouraged
All of them stated that they were not in the least bit discouraged from visiting pubs due to the incident. An opinion, pub owners will be heartened about.
Elango, owner of Pecos and Mojos says that no amount of security can stop a mob. “I can put two additional men if I want to increase security, but how can they stop a group of 50 men, if it intends to cause trouble?” he asks. He strictly believes that only the Government can put a stop to such destructive activity.
Fuga’s management, however, believes that there is no likelihood of another skirmish in their pub. None of the pub owners have approached the City police for any assurance or additional protection.

It's business as usual at Forum

It's business as usual at Forum

The section which caught fire was closed to the public at forum mall on tuesday
Express News Service
First Published : 28 Jan 2009 08:37:22 AM IST
Last Updated : 28 Jan 2009 03:26:30 PM IST

Saved from a nightmare that could have been worse, the shopowners and authorities at Forum Mall ensured that the show goes on.

Tuesday morning saw them putting their best foot forward.

The shops were open as usual at 10.30 a.m. and it was difficult to believe that they had passed by a traumatic Monday evening of fire and fear barely 16 hours ago.

Expresso observed that only the Transit Food Court was closed to the public.

Quoting eye-witnesses, Police Inspector of Adugodi Police Station, Shiva Shankar Reddy said that the fire broke out in one of the food counters at the Transit Food Court and spread to other areas within the restaurant.

“The mall has returned to normalcy now,” he said.

All the shops, restaurants, and the multiplex, at the Mall started to function as usual and were opened to the public. The customers were flocking to the Mall as usual.

Yogesh, manager of the Zodiac showroom at the Mall, acknowledged that business was slightly dented on Tuesday but was confident that things would be back to normal in a matter of days.

Jermina Menon, Forum’s marketing head said, “The renovation work would be undertaken once the insurance company is through with its investigation. We are working at reopening the food court as soon as possible.”

Winter till February

Winter till February

First Published : 29 Jan 2009 08:25:12 AM IST
Last Updated : 29 Jan 2009 11:35:28 AM IST

BANGALORE: The temperatures in the city may be rising, but winter is likely to continue until the end of February, according to Meteorological Department officials.

“The minimum temperature is slowly increasing, but will continue to be around 15 degrees celsius for some more days,” says meteorologist Puttanna. This winter has seen temperatures as low as 12 degrees celsius, but the average temperature has risen during the past decade. Air pollution and high rise buildings have contributed to the city being warmer by 1-2 degrees celsius compared to suburban areas. The lowest temperature ever recorded for Bangalore was 7.8 degrees celsius in 1884, but such a dip in temperature will never happen again due to the city’s industrialization, says Puttanna. In recent times, the coldest winter was on January 8, 1991, when the minimum temperature was 10 degrees celsius. The maximum temperature ever recorded in winter is 32.4 degrees celsius on January 24, 2000. “Unlike North India, Bangalore is not prone to cold waves or abrupt changes in temperature.” Puttanna says.

Jan 31: Taxi may go off-roads

Jan 31: Taxi may go off-roads

Express News Service
First Published : 29 Jan 2009 03:28:00 AM IST
Last Updated : 29 Jan 2009 01:02:12 PM IST

BANGALORE: The terms under which private transport operators like the popular Meru and Easy Cabs, have been hiring drivers for their services, have come under flak with the Bangalore District Taxi Drivers’ Union and Auto Drivers’ Union, accusing them of exploiting the drivers in the guise of taking them as business partners.

The drivers have threatened to strike work on January 31, as a symbolic protest. The drivers have faulted the government for issuing bulk licences to operators like Meru and Easy Cabs. Bangalore District Taxi Drivers Union president K N Umesh told reporters here on Wednesday that the government’s move has come in handy for the private operators. Instead of employing people as drivers, the private operators are letting out their taxis to the drivers for Rs 900 a day and have even designated the drivers as trade partners, he said.

The drivers have been forced to sign agreements where it is stated that the provisions of Motor Transport Workers Act 1961, are not applicable to these agreements.

These companies are collecting Rs 900 per day from each of the drivers, except one day in a month. If the driver fails to remit the money the taxi is taken away from him. Further, the drivers are forced to pay for general repairs and the ones due to accidents.

7 pm horror show on Bangalore roads

7 pm horror show on Bangalore roads

More than 50% of accidents happen between 7 pm and midnight, says a study

Bhargavi Kerur. Bangalore
Modernisation has led to a decline in the communicable and infectious diseases, but rapidly increased the rate of injuries in recent years, said National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS) in a surveillance study, supported by the World Health Organisation and Indian Council for Medical Research.
"The motorisation pattern has changed in Bangalore and in India, leading to an increase in number of vehicles on roads. This has resulted in more number of accidents-related injuries and deaths," said G Gururaj, head of the epidemiology centre of NIMHANS.
The motorisation index of Bangalore showed an increase from 164 to 310 over a period of 10 years. While the number of vehicles increased from 0.7 million in 1995 to 3.1 million in 2008, road deaths increased from 639 in 2000 to 1,100 in 2007.
"Eighty per cent of accidents happen on highways on the city outskirts and 20% within the city," the study said, adding that 53% of accidents happen between 7pm and 12 midnight. "There is a need for efficient measures for outer ring roads to reduce the speed of motors and also build safe footpaths and crossing zones," D Nagaraja, NIMHANS diretor, said.
Two-wheeler riders and pillions have been the second leading road-user category for both deaths (38%) and injuries (51%). Two-wheeler mishap deaths have doubled in recent years. Bangalore has 11th place in pedestrian safety index among 15 cities in India. As many as 550 pedestrians are killed and 10,000 others injured every year. Among deaths 1/5th of them were hit by cars followed by bikes (19%) and buses (18%).
Around 209 children aged below 18 died and 5,505 are hospitalised last year, and 1/4th of the deaths were due to road traffic injuries. The study warned that the death and injury figures will double in a few years, in the absence of preventive measures.
Senior citizens too fell under high risk category as 360 died due to injuries in 2007 and 2,643 were hospitalised. The highest number of deaths and injuries occurred between the age of 60 to 65 years.

17,000 abide with ABIDe

17,000 abide with ABIDe
By: Chetan R
Date: 2009-01-28


Bangaloreans sign up to help develop the city

Namma Bengaluru: Joining hands to spruce up city File pic
For the first time ever, 17,000 Bangaloreans have volunteered to build a better Bangalore.

They have done it by logging on to, an online portal that invites Bangaloreans to join hands in a change that the chief minister B S Yeddyurappa-led ABIDe (Agenda for Bangaluru Infrastructure and Development) taskforce aims for the city.

With an overwhelming response from public, ABIDe will entrust responsibilities to volunteers.

The final list will be shortlisted after four major consultations in Bangalore North, East, West and South, presided by Yeddyurappa. The public can directly interact with ABIDe members on plans and policies the city requires.

"We have received an overwhelming response," said Trigam Mukherjee of

"People have responded to our online appeal by offering their services."

While thousands have visited ABIDe's online portal that envisage a plan for better Bangalore Plan Bengaluru 2020, 17,000 Bangaloreans have consented to take part in changing Bangalore. Many more are expected to offer voluntary services by enrolling themselves for various services.

Citizens to serve

The next process is a first of its kind initiative by ABIDe that aims at active citizen participation by entrusting responsibilities to volunteers.

Few Bangaloreans including technocrats, retired people, college students and professionals will be included in list of volunteers.

"They will be given responsibilities that fit their expertise. An engineer may be given charge to monitor engineering works in the ward," said Mukherjee.

With such a huge response, the initiative has been appreciated by officials who had been in city administration since many years.

"ABIDe's initiative involving public participation in administration is a success. No such initiative in the past got such a good response from public," said Bheemappa Khandre, PRO, BBMP.

>>ABIDe (Agenda for Bengaluru Infrastructure and Development) taskforce, an initiative by CM Yeddyurappa, scores over a similar initiative by BATF (Bangalore Agenda Task force) by former CM S M Krishna for its public participation.
>>While BATF was a task force of elite people that helped the CM frame policies for city, ABIDe, besides corporate bigwigs like Biocon MD Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Infosys' Mohandas Pai and FICCI president Rajiv Chandrashekar, also has experts like former chief secretary A Ravindra and traffic expert M N Srihari.
>>While Bangaloreans had no role to play through BATF that worked with local service providers like BDA, BBMP, BESCOM, BMTC and BWSSB to improve city infrastructure, wider scope is given for public participation in ABIDe.
"They are two different initiatives," said Ramesh Ramanathan, member BATF. "ABIDe plans policies, people execute and monitor it."

Beating congestion, pollution on roads

Beating congestion, pollution on roads

Staff Reporter

Bangalore Cycling Inclusive Planning workshop to be held on January 30, 31

Bangalore: RideAcycle Foundation has organised a two-day Bangalore Cycling Inclusive Planning workshop on January 30 and 31.

The workshop will be held at the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation’s Central office in Bangalore.

Pradeep B.V. from the foundation said that Bangalore was plagued by problems of congestion and pollution.

Traffic studies cited poor condition of pavements, low travel speeds, high intersection delays, and poor or non-existent parking facilities, he said.

“Traffic problems cannot be resolved by taking up measures such as introducing one-ways, constructing flyovers and widening of roads. There is a need to rethink the entire paradigm of transportation in a manner which is sustainable and inclusive. The first step for that is to encourage and plan for low-energy, less-space consuming and zero-pollution modes such as cycling. Bangalore wants to not only be a cycle-friendly city, but be a model for other cities in India to emulate.”

He said that the workshop was organised with an aim to understand the current international and Indian discourses on cycling-friendly cities to formulate a base awareness of the issues involved.

The workshop would also discuss ways to reach an informed consensus together with all stakeholders as to what approach would work best for the city, to formulate a base structure for capacity building of the city and outline a plan for inputs needed to make the city self-sufficient to implement plans on cycle inclusive transport systems and put together an action plan and get commitment from the stakeholders to their roles in its implementation.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Bridge to ease road chaos

Bridge to ease road chaos

Said to be first of its kind in the country, it will carry only light vehicles

Basavaraj Itnaal. Bangalore

Commuters using JC Road, one of the most congested roads in the city, will have a smooth ride in another six months, thanks to a proposed steel bridge that will carry light vehicles from Minerva Circle to Hudson Circle.
Although only one-way traffic is allowed on this stretch, the flow is more than twice the road's carrying capacity. However, the steel bridge may not lead to withdrawal of one-way traffic.
Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagar Palike (BBMP) has proposed the bridge after conducting a survey of the traffic on the road between Minerva Circle and Hudson Circle.
While Minerva Circle has four roads bringing traffic to JC Road, Hudson Circle is a maze of six roads around Hudson Memorial Church and Kempe Gowda tower. Between Minerva Circle and Hudson Circle, traffic halts at Urvashi Cinema Junction, opposite town hall and near Badami House.
What worsens the traffic situation is the varying width of road on the 2.5-km stretch. While the width of RV Road at Minerva circle is 25.50m, it is just 18.30m on VV Puram side. The width of the JC Road till Town Hall varies from 21.5m to 24.5m and from Town Hall to NR Square it is 25m. The road is as narrow as 17m opposite Badami House while it is 21m near Ulsoor Gate Police Station.
Sources in BBMP engineering department said the bridge would not carry all the traffic from JC Road. Only two-wheelers, three-wheelers and cars would be allowed on the bridge. All heavy vehicles would continue to ply on the existing surface road. There would be an entry ramp from Urvashi Cinema while exit ramps will be provided near Town Hall towards KR Market.
Capt Raja Rao, member of BBMP's technical advisory committee (TAC), said the proposal was cleared by TAC and the civic body might invite tenders any time next month.
On why a steel bridge was proposed, instead of the traditional concrete structure, he said, "Only light traffic will be allowed on the elevated corridor and a steel structure can take care of the load. Steel structures are faster to erect. The bridge will be ready in six months."
He said this would be the first steel flyover on any urban road in the country. Steel structures require higher maintenance.

Expressway halted

Expressway halted

Article Rank

[Click To Enlarge]
The state govern ment’s intention to convert the existing four-lane Bengaluru-Mysore expressway extending up to Nanjangud into six lanes has been temporarily halted.

The court has stayed further proceedings and the re-tendering process called towards the project in September 2008. Sensing the ever growing traffic on the BengalurueMysore route, the state had decided to convert the existing four lanes into six lanes including the construction of service roads on both the sides of the expressway.

Twelve Constructions Company had applied for the project and among the five short listed bidders, the petitioner, KMC Constructions Ltd, a Hyderabad based company stood as the highest bidder for the project. Later the state again decided to call for a re-tendering process, reportedly stating that it would create problems if the project is handed over to a single construction company.

Know what the building bylaws say

Know what the building bylaws say

Staff Reporter

Staircase should not be provided around a lift

Owners of buildings should maintain

fire-fighting system

Bangalore: The Building Byaws of the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) mandate that occupancy certificate to all the high-rise buildings can be granted only after the Fire Service Department gives a “no objection certificate” after inspection.

For high-rise buildings, the bylaw prescribes the design and construction that are provided under the Fire Protection guidelines in the National Building Code of India.

For safe passage of fire tenders into the premises of high-rise buildings, the byaws permit parking space in the set back area after leaving a minimum set back of six metres around the building. It also allows construction of ramp in the set back area in such a manner that it does not affect the free movement of fire tenders.

Where a basement floor is permitted in apartments (residential flats) and hotels, the owner has to display the basement plan at the entrance. The Thimbles will have to be provided in the roof of the basement and their positions clearly indicated in the plan. Also, one fire extinguisher should be provided for every 100 square metres of basement area.

A staircase should not be provided around a lift unless the latter is entirely enclosed by a material of fire resistance rating. All fire escapes above ground level will have to be directly connected to the ground and not lead to the basement floor and all entrances to a fire escape will have to be separate and remote from the internal staircase.

Also, the route to the fire escape shall be free of obstruction at all times except a doorway leading to the fire escape which shall have the required fire resistance.

Spiral fire escape stairs, as per the bylaw, is permitted only in buildings having low occupant load and to buildings of not more than nine metres height, unless they are connected to platforms such as balconies and terraces to provide for a pause during escape. A spiral fire escape should not be less than 150 cm in diameter and should be designed to give adequate headroom

Officials in the BBMP Engineering Cell point out that it is the responsibility of the owners to properly maintain all fire extinguisher systems as prescribed by the Fire Service Department.

“There is no provision in the bylaw to inspect any building except in case of new buildings and in case of specific complaints. There is no need for provision for regular inspection of the high-rise buildings for the BBMP as it is the duty of the property owners to follow the norms.”

“They (property owners or occupiers) need to get pre-approval by the BBMP whenever the structures are altered contrary to the original sanctioned plan. The quality and maintenance of fire extinguishing systems is the domain of the Fire Service Department,” an officer pointed out.

Electronic meters to be mandatory

Electronic meters to be mandatory
DH News Service,Bangalore:
The government is contemplating making electronic meters compulsory for autorickshaws in Bangalore.

Transport Minister R Ashok said that the government would soon hold a meeting with representatives of autorickshaw drivers and owners, to take a decision in this regard.
Now, electronic meters are optional for autorickshaws. The government contributes a sum of Rs 1,000 towards the purchase of each meter.
As electronic meters have not been made compulsory, very few autorickshaw owners are making use of the benefit, he said.
The Karnataka Autodrivers’ Union has welcomed the government’s proposal to make electronic meters compulsory.
Union working president Srinivas Murthy said that the government should have taken this decision much earlier.
“As long as the government does not make it compulsory, autorickshaw owners will not purchase the meters. The government should declare a deadline for installing electronic meters. The government should seize autorickshaws that do not have digital meters installed by the deadline,” he said.
Srinivas Murthy said that electronic meters would give autodrivers lesser chances of tampering with them.
Mechanical meters could be tampered with to charge customers up to 40 per cent more than the actual price. However, in case of electronic meters it would be difficult.
“Some tamper with electronic meters by connecting an additional wire from the meter to an iron material. Customer can easily notice the additional wire and complain to the authorities concerned about tampering,” he said.


The government had delayed deciding on the issue of electronic meters, as continuing with mechanical meters was profitable for officers of the Legal Metrology, RTO, and Police Departments. “Most of the complaints regarding tampered meters were not taken seriously. This attitude helped autorickshaw owners continue with mechanical meters,” he said.

Will truck terminals become a reality?

Will truck terminals become a reality?

The stationary trucks choke up the Chamrajpet Road in Bangalore, causing traffic snarls.
Y Maheswara Reddy
First Published : 27 Jan 2009 04:49:00 AM IST
Last Updated : 27 Jan 2009 01:40:18 PM IST

BANGALORE: Heavy transport trucks are considered an impediment for smooth movement of vehicles on roads in Bangalore city.

These trucks always shoulder blame for causing chaos on the roads, especially Old Madras Road, Tumkur Road, Hosur Road and Bellary Road. Many attempts were made to ensure these trucks do not enter the city, but in vain.

The truck terminal at Yeshwantpur, set up by D Devaraj Urs Truck Terminal Ltd, a state government undertaking, was able to mitigate the problems of truckers to some extent.

The then Minister for Transport Aziz Sait in the S Bangarappa cabinet had inaugurated it in 1992. Strange is the irony, that on the occasion of World Environment Day every year, the chief minister or transport minister promise to set up more truck terminals.

But it turns out to be lip service considering not a single truck terminal has been set up ever since 1992.

According to the Rule 117 of the Motor Vehicles Act 1988, the state government or any authority, in consultation with the local authority having jurisdiction in the area concerned, has to determine the places at which motor vehicles may be parked either indefinitely or for a specified period of time.

The Bangalore City Lorry Transport Agents' Association (BCLTAA) has represented several times to the officials concerned in the transport department demanding that truck terminals be established.

But the demand, yes, is yet to be met.

Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa has proposed to establish truck terminals in Hubli-Dharwad, Belgaum, Bellary and Mysore through public private partnership, but no such project has been envisioned in and around Bangalore.

"We have made several representations since 2005. Their promises remained just that. The need of the hour is to provide truck terminals to mitigate traffic woes in the city," says S K Chand Basha, president of BCLTAA.

According to Basha, around 10,000 trucks enter Bangalore city every day.

The choked roads at Mamulpet, Chamrajpet, Jolly Mohalla, Kalasipalya, New Tharagupet and Sultanpet, which are both an eyesore and constant triggers of traffic jams are shining testimonies to this long standing demand.

On January 30, 2008, Bangalore Development Authority's special officer for land acquisition had informed the managing director of D Devaraj Urs Truck Terminals Ltd, Muddhu Mohan, that BDA was in the process of acquiring 259 acres of land for establishing truck terminals at the junctions of the peripheral ring roads.

However, the BDA is yet to hand over the land to the authorities concerned even after a year.

Mohan, on the other hand, has made it clear that work on the truck terminals would commence as soon as the BDA handed over the land.

"We plan to establish six truck terminals.

We have already paid Rs 6 crore to BDA towards land acquisition. The remaining money will be paid as soon as the government releases the funds.

These truck terminals will be developed under public private partnership," he said.

Thus, the billion-dollar question is: When will BDA handover the land to D Devaraj Urs Truck Terminals Ltd? History, by the way, is not on the side of those demanding the terminals.

How safe are our malls?

How safe are our malls?
A T Subrahmanya | TNN
Bangalore: A day after thousands of people had a miraculous escape at The Forum mall, security and safety seems to be the ‘mantra’ for most malls and multiplex cinema halls in Bangalore. The city has more than 15 malls and another 10 coming up. Times City gives a lowdown on safety measures at three malls.
Location: Magrath Road Total area: 7,50,000 sq ft. There are five floors besides ground level MD Uday Garudachar says latest safety equipment employed Fire officer present Measures: Two fire exits on all floors, alarms, public address system, spark detectors, smoke detectors, sprinklers Footfall: 25,000 on weekdays, 75,000 on weekends
Location: Marathahalli Two levels Director A Anuradha says it’s safe Two emergency exits on both sides Footfall: 3,000 on weekdays and 5,000 on weekends Measures: Fire extinguishers, manual call points (MCP) from where one can raise an alarm, hooters, four hydrants to spray water, 50,000-litre water tank Security in-charge Shivaprakash says though it’s a small multiplex, security measures are in place.
Location: Cunningham Road Facility manager Amathi L says there is a fire officer and several personnel who have undergone specific training. Measures: Sprinklers, hydrants, fire panel which indicates which floor is hit, mock drills Area: 2,50,000 sq ft, three levels besides ground floor Footfall: 6,000 to 7,000 on weekdays, 15,000 on weekends
75 per cent of fires are caused from electrical gadgets. Rest are from arson, careless smoking and soldering works Not planning plug points as per necessity. After occupying the shop, connections are made by unqualified electricians or plug points drawn using buzz bars Faulty air-conditioning system; ducts not maintained
Don’t block passages Don’t overload material in escape passages Have good signages that lead people towards stairways In centrally air-conditioned buildings, there must be ventilation on top so that smoke gets out Ensure people don’t panic, which may lead to a stampede

When SAFETY comes second

When SAFETY comes second
A day after tragedy was averted at The Forum mall, Fire Force officials say sprinklers were removed from the food court level after obtaining occupancy certificate. Reason: interior decoration
Vinay Madhav | TNN

Bangalore: Monday’s fire at The Forum mall has exposed some lastminute interior alterations that could have had dangerous consequences. Fire Force officials said sprinklers, that were fixed on the ceiling of the food court level, were removed or blocked during interior decoration.
“Though nothing serious happened due to the fire on Monday, it’s still a matter of concern,’’ an official said. Before issuing occupancy certificate, the fire department had issued a ‘no-objection certificate’ for the mall. “At that time, sprinklers were present on all floors. Even now, they exist in the cinema halls and some other places. Elsewhere, they’ve either been removed or sealed while doing interiors for various shops,” he explained.
Sprinklers are attached to pipes running through ceilings. They draw water from both the overhead tank and underground sump. This way, continuous supply is ensured, which is important during an emergency.
What is a sprinkler?
The sprinkler consists of a bulb filled with a liquid. When room temperature crosses 60 degrees Celsius, the liquid expands and bulb breaks. Water is sprinkled all around to extinguish the fire.
Deviations are not uncommon
What happens when a commercial building deviates from the original plan, posing a safety threat? Fire and emergency services director B G Chengappa said his force can do little in such cases, as it’s not the enforcing agency. As per rules, owners have to obtain an NoC twice. First, when they get the plan approved from BBMP, and the second when construction is complete and they apply for occupancy certificate.
“At the second stage, we can reject the application and submit a report to BBMP. This was done in the case of Bangalore Central mall as the promoters had added an extra floor to the original plan. We sent reminders to the BBMP, but the building continues to be operational. There are several instances where the plan is changed after obtaining occupancy certificates. Shops or restaurants come up in parking areas.
Building safety
The problem dates back to much before the mall culture hit Bangalore. The Public Utility Building and Visveshwaraya Towers had no firesafety plans. While they were built in the 1970s, the fire force was authorized to check their safety measures only in 1983.
“There were no rules and regulations followed for such buildings. But we fought to ensure safety measures were adopted. An extra staircase was added in both buildings, to act as an escape route during fire or other emergencies. Fire-fighting measures have also been upgraded. The PUB has five fire personnel on deputation to keep track of minor incidents within the building,’’ Chengappa said.
Usual buzz missing
Though there were quite a few visitors at The Forum on Tuesday, the buzz usually witnessed here was missing. Authorities said footfall was normal, even though the food court ‘Transit’ is closed for renovation. Shops did business as usual. Mall manager Mohammed Ali said the personnel worked overnight to ensure shops opened on time. TNN

Pay your property tax from Feb 1

Pay your property tax from Feb 1

Bangalore: The collection of property tax in areas coming under Bruhut Bangalore Mahanagara Palike will commence on February 1. The tax will be collected up to March 31 without any penalty, minister R Ashok said on Tuesday.
It was expected that BBMP would earn about Rs 560 crore from property tax and the 20 per cent hike effected by the government would not burden people, he said. Those paying property tax in full will get five per cent rebate, Ashok said.
In the recent legislature session held in Belgaum, the government brought in an amendment to the Municipal Corporation Act to facilitate introduction of self-assessment tax system under BBMP areas.
Ashok said government was contemplating not to regularize the property constructed on lake, tanks and government land and gomala (grazing land). Traders eager to pay property tax Will Help Them Claim Rebate On Income Tax S Kushala | TNN
Bangalore: Landlords in the city, especially commercial property owners and traders, are eagerly looking forward for the property tax collections to open up. They fear losing out on rebate in income tax returns, to be filed by March-end, if the government does not begin collections without further delay.
Property owners get 100% reduction under income from rentals in the income tax, provided they have paid property tax. Marchend is crucial, especially for traders and owners of commercial buildings, who stand to benefit more compared to residential building owners. They normally file IT returns by then.
After BBMP stopped collecting property tax for 2007-08, those who paid income tax in July could not claim rebate. “Normally, people file IT returns by July-end, but traders stretch it to March. The 100% rebate on property tax is a huge relief for us. Our main worry is BBMP not starting collection of the tax before we file our returns,’’ said B K Goyal, secretary, Federation of Trade Association of Central Bangalore.
The BBMP, on its part, hopes to start the collections and enable people to pay the taxes before March and claim rebate. “Since legislature has approved property rates as of 2000, we will issue final notification shortly and publish the rates and other changes in the law. A handbook will be published, after which property tax collections will open up in February,’’ a BBMP official said.
The legislature has given the go-ahead to collect tax for the year 2007-08 from February 1, and also to extend the deadline if necessary. Subsequently, after closure of the current financial year, BBMP will have to open tax collections for 2008-09 from April 1.
With the government deciding to stick to 2000 rates for property tax, BBMP is looking at untapped sectors to augment revenue. The authorities are banking on tax to be collected from unauthorized properties. The new rules provide for collection of taxes from such properties without any assurance of regularization. Also, certain new tax bases like on hoardings and telecommunication towers, though limited, will help bridge the gap in revenue. With the 2.5 times cap being removed, about 20-25% of the properties that enjoyed this concession will have to pay the same amount as applicable to others. The only concession property owners will get is the depreciation, the bandwidth of which has been increased to 60 years and beyond. It was earlier 55 years and above. How is deduction claimed?
Deduction in income tax returns can be claimed for rented buildings Owner-occupied premises don’t fall under this category Income (rent) from properties will have to be declared in IT returns Property tax receipt should be submitted to avail deduction
Why deduction?
Property tax is treated as investment, and hence a rebate is given Example: Your annual rental is Rs 30,000 and property tax paid is Rs 7,500, then you will be taxed only for Rs 22,500
Long way to go
Minister R Ashok has announced property tax collections will open on February 1. However, the following procedural requirements are yet to be completed: Waiting for a couple of directives from the government Issuing notification along with rates and other changes Uploading rates on website Printing 10 lakh booklets Delivering it to revenue offices

Smugglers cash in on BIA ‘chink’

Smugglers cash in on BIA ‘chink’
Customs does not have its own X-ray machines for outbound baggage

The spurt in seizures of contraband drugs at Bangalore International Airport in recent months makes one wonder what the flaw in the airport set-up is. The answer is apparently simple: the customs department’s lack of X-ray machines.
“In spite of repeated requests to the BIAL authorities, we have not been allowed to install our own X-ray machine to check outbound baggage,” some customs officials said.
“Cases where we have seized contraband were based on our own intelligence and not through detection machines. The large consignment of hashish detected recently had passed the five-layered X-ray machines installed by BIAL for security purposes and was discovered only while the carrier was about to board the flight,” they said.
The customs officials said they had their own X-ray machines at the erstwhile HAL airport. Carriers of contraband were aware of that and thought twice before smuggling anything out. But they had become bolder now, knowing that the customs department did not have its own X-ray machine at BIA.
Besides, HAL airport had different conveyor belts for domestic and international baggage. At BIA, there is no such segregation of baggage, making it difficult for customs officials to concentrate on international baggage.
The customs officials said, “The BIA X-ray monitoring staff have only 20 seconds to decide whether to allow baggage to pass through or not. They just check whether the baggage has any articles that are unsafe for the aircraft or the airport. They give a go-by if they have any doubts about contraband.”
Some of them questioned the logic of the BIAL management in allowing the customs department to have its own X-ray machines for incoming baggage but not for outgoing baggage.
The staff crunch is another concern. According to a customs official, the staff are deputed from the central excise department. Even the Air Intelligence Unit has a manpower shortage. Unlike at Hyderabad and Chennai, the unit here has to struggle with only 30 per cent of its sanctioned strength. A senior official from the department of central excise and customs said, “As Bangalore is an inland customs area, the staff crunch has not been taken seriously by the authorities.” But seeing the growing number of cases of contraband smuggling from BIA, it’s high time the authorities revised their view.
Customs department doesn’t have own x-ray machine at BIA
No segregation of baggage
Just 20 seconds to decide
Staff crunch



The incongruity is glaring. Vittal Mallya Road is Bangalore’s Rodeo Drive. Louis Vuitton, Omega, Burberry, Stella Mccartney and Salvatore Ferrigno vie to indulge the slightly chastened but still formidable Indian middle class. UB City, the jewel in the crown so to speak of this road, alone houses more than 23 corporate houses, 40 international retail brands and 177 service apartments.
Some of the richest and most famous personalities of Bangalore, including the Goenka family, Vijay Mallya and Captain Gopinath stay on this road. It is among the largest contributor of revenues, be it sales, road or property tax. Last year UB City was the single largest commercial property tax payer, coughing up close to a whopping Rs 4.5 crore as property tax. But what their glass windows overlook are dug up drains and broken footpaths. The roads and surroundings of UB City, the city’s first multiused development project, are a real eyesore. Potholes greet the approach to UB City even as exotic cars navigate their way in and out of the mall.
“Mr Harris the MLA of the constituency held a public meeting about six months ago. All the officials were there and a lot of action was promised. But there has been no follow up. How do you deal with it?” asks Arjun Sajnani, who runs Sunny’s, the Italian restaurant situated here. A manhole close to his restaurant is the confluence of three sewage drains running from Lavelle Road, the start of Vittal Mallya Road and Grant Road. “We call it the Triveni Sangam” he said, only half jestingly.
But no one is laughing when sewage from this manhole spills over which is often. “We have had this problem ever since we moved in in 2005. The situation gets even worse when it rains, because we are at the lowest point on a sloped road. So I have ankle-level water and sewage for my customers to wade through. Though the BWSSB promptly comes and clears the mess, the solution is always temporary,” said Sajnani. Despite repeated attempts Harris remained unavailable for comment.
The BWSSB however said that measures are being taken to rectify the problem. A new 1.5 feet wide sewage line starting from the Coffee Day Junction will join the sub main line that runs through the perimeter of Kanteerava Stadium. Chief Engineer Maintenance, Venkata Raju told Bangalore Mirror, “Tenders have been called for changing the sewage lines. The procedure will take about 25 days and the we will complete the work in another 25 days from the date of its commencement.” So that is another couple of months at least. With summer showers fast approaching, one can only imagine the mess.
Java City Mocha Cafe Coffee Day Coffee Day Square
Sunnys - Italian Shiro - Japanese Tasty tangle - Chinese Rajadhani - Indian Ecstasy - Dessert joint
FFolio- One-stop shop for Indian designer wear both pret and couture Nautica - Causal wear Ritu Kumar - Exclusive outlet for the designer’s clothes Pause - Furniture and home accessories Shimmer - One stop shop for bridal needs by Jamila and Seema ( Designers for Shekar Kapur’s Elizabeth)

• The Vittal Mallya Road as we know it today was actually christened Grant Road. It was renamed in memory of former chairman of the United Breweries, Vittal Mallya in the late eighties. The area, which was part of the old Cantonment area during British rule, was formerly called Maciver Town.The official name is Shantala Nagar now.

• Grant Road originally stretched from Bishop Cotton Girls School to what was called Tiffany Circle and along Sampangi Tank. All that changed when Kanteerava Stadium was built on the tank. Today the road includes the original Grant Road and also extends from the Raja Ram Mohan Roy Circle to Mallya Hospital. Kiran Majumdar Shaw grew up next door to the Mallya residence (Brewery House). Her father was the Chief Brew Master in United Breweries.

• At an estimated price of Rs 15,000 per square feet, it’s among the most expensive localities in the country. In 2007, the property tax alone that was collected from here came close to Rs 12 crore.
Sales Tax revenue - Rs 160 cr (approx) Service tax - Rs 12 crore (approx) (A service tax of 12.36% is levied on the rent amount for commercial establishments) LEGAL ISSUES
Atul Kumar, Chief Operating Officer, City Properties Maintenance Company Limited, who is responsible for the upkeep of UB City, said, “We presented a proposal to BBMP about maintaining the road ourselves about a year back. The Prestige and UB group will take up the financial responsibility for any such development project. Last I heard it has been approved.”
The BBMP Chief Engineer for East zone, Ananthaswamy confirmed the same and said. “Yes we have received a proposal from them, but there are technical parameters that need to be adhered to. I have sent a letter to them about it but have not received a reply for it.” But why hasn’t the BBMP maintained the road themselves? Sources in the Palike said, “UB City obtained a stay order when part of their occupancy certificate was cancelled after we found problems with their building plans. There are legal issues about property encroachment, including a Lokayukta case. It isn’t that the BBMP is short of funds to set the road right. The estimates are ready, but we cannot do anything about it till the legal issues are solved.”


Vittal Mallya Road is Bangalore’s most posh address, but the road itself is in a poor condition. Liquor baron Vijay Mallya has pulled out from his promise of maintaining the road after a fight with the BBMP

The pride of Bangalore,Vittal Mallya Road, is in tatters
Road houses some top-end, high-value brands in UB City including Louis Vuitton and Salvatore Ferragamo
Not repaired for over two years
Vijay Mallya and BBMP at loggerheads over road laying
UB City is Bangalore’s largest commercial property tax payer, coughing up close to Rs 4.5 crore

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Lalbagh turns dumpyard

Lalbagh turns dumpyard

Article Rank

[Click To Enlarge]

I Flower show visitors leave piles of garbage across the garden I
Walkers at Lalbagh got a rude shock on Monday morning as the garden resembled a garbage dump, a day after an unprecedented number of people visited the garden for the Republic Day flower show.

There were piles of garbage across the garden and the rock formation where the Kempe Gowda tower is located and the glass house were also not spared.

“It will take us at least a week’s time to clean the entire premises. As many as 150 sweepers are involved in cleaning the place. Botany students and environmental volunteers have also pitched in. We clean the garden two times a day but it has become extremely difficult to prevent people from littering,” said Dr G.K. Vasanthkumar, director, horticulture.

“We had to keep a check on the crowd and the hawkers. We were also busy handling security. We tried our best to penalise those who littered the place by imposing fines ranging up to Rs 50. We collected at least Rs 5,000 in fines on the last day alone,” Dr Vasanthkumar added.

Over 2,000 flower pots kept at the Glass House were broken and plants were trampled upon by visitors. A record number of over one lakh visitors came for the flower show.

The rose garden too was not spared from public onslaught with juice cans and plastic thrown all over the place.

Meenakshi, a regular walker at Lalbagh, expressed her anguish saying: “There are many dustbins here, but people don’t bother to use them,” she added.

“Our day begins here. It is very disturbing to see this filth in such a beautiful garden.

Lalbagh authorities should have monitored and initiated stringent action against those who violated park rules. It is best not to have a flower show here,” said Sridhar, another walker.

City set for searing summer

City set for searing summer

The maximum temperature during April and May is expected to be 39 degree Celsius

Bosky Khanna. Bangalore
Life in Bangalore is sure to get a cauldron-like air in a few days, with the summer temperatures expected to touch 390 Celsius in April and May.
In fact, the city has already getting a taste of what is in store the next summer, with maximum temperatures hovering around 310 Celsius these days.
January is considered winter according to the seasonal calendar of the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD). And the lowest minimum temperature during the month dipped to 9.20 Celsius.
The highest maximum temperature is three degrees above the normal for January, IMD, Bangalore director-in-charge A Muthachami told DNA.
The maximum temperatures in May, when summer peaks, during the last three years has been hovering around 370 Celsius.
Muthachami, however, added that the weather fluctuations and soaring temperatures are not an uncommon phenomenon and are controlled by local and global factors, he added.
Meteorological officials attributed the weather fluctuations to changing lifestyle, rapid urbanization and increasing felling of trees. The global factors contributing to change in weather conditions are increasing wind speed, change in wind direction and cyclonic storms in Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea. The local factors are clear sky, change in wind's direction and change in vegetation.
Muthachami said, "Towards the end of January and beginning of February, which are winter months, the temperature will gradually start increasing. Last year, the City experienced unusual rainfall and thunder showers during February and March due to which people did not feel the heat. But this year, the global and local features are not favourable for any such weather variations. Thus Bangaloreans will experience the prickly heat during the hot and dry summer season.''
In 2008, Bangalore had recorded a maximum of 31.20 Celsius on January 28 and the lowest minimum of 17.60 Celsius on January 17. On January 25 this year, the minimum temperature was 9.20 Celsius and on January 24, the month's maximum of 310 Celsius was recorded.
Muthachami said there are no specific reasons for the current extremes. Cool winds blowing from north India are reducing the minimum temperatures, while the clear sky is increasing the maximum temperature.