Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Now Volvo fares at bus shelters

Now Volvo fares at bus shelters
BMTC has decided to display the fares and routes of its Volvo buses at all bus stops

Tired of running behind the driver or conductor of a red Volvo to find out if the bus reaches your destination? Or feeling too shy to ask for the bus fare? Then, hang on! The Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) has come up with a solution - displaying fare charts of Volvo buses as well as route maps in all bus shelters.
Realising that many commuters were not stepping into the Volvos presuming that the fares in these swanky air-conditioned buses are quite high, the BMTC has decided to change the commuters’ perception. Chief traffic manger (operations) K S Vishwanath said, “Many people have the notion that fares in Volvo buses are very expensive. But in reality, we charge only one rupee more than the Suvarna buses. To clear the doubts, we have decided to display bus fares along with the arrival-departure timings at the bus shelters.”
In Bangalore, there are 2,387 bus stops. The move, BMTC officials say, will increase the number of commuters patronising Volvos. Though BMTC operates more than 300 Volvo buses in the city, it has done little to increase the occupancy rate. Its latest promotional bid was a few months ago, when the BMTC allowed people to travel in Volvo buses for one rupee.
Another BMTC official said displaying the fares in the bus shelters will help the commuters make up their minds before the bus arrives.
Already, BMTC has commenced the exercise of putting the bus route maps at 160 bus shelters across the city. This apart, BMTC is all set to re-launch its website www.bmtcinfo.com with updates on the new routes, bus fares and the arrival and departure timings of Volvo buses.


Yelahanka, where former BBMP commissioner Subramanya stays, has the highest number of parks in the entire city

Yelahanka, the gateway to Bengaluru International Airport, is now a green paradise. No guesses for the hard work as former BBMP commissioner S Subramanya resides in the locality
Former Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) commissioner S Subramanya’s contribution to the IT city is debatable. While a few feel his tenure has witnessed the highest number of infrastructure projects, a few h o w e v e r dismiss the opinion.
N e v e r - t h e l e s s , Yelahanka and adjoining areas have received more than they could during the tenure of Subramanya. With its close proximity to the international airport, the locality - that has largely been occupied by defence establishments and public sector enterprises - is now a green paradise.
Barely a few years after its inclusion into the administrative jurisdiction of Bangalore Mahanagara Palike, the area has been developed with more parks and gardens wherever possible. As a result, you will see nothing but sprawling parks in the entire area, making Yelahanka an area with the maximum number of parks in the city.
Sources said 108 parks, including big and small ones, have been developed across the area. While 50 have already been commissioned and opened, the remaining are being developed on war-footing.
On the other hand, the east zone has eight parks and the west zone 10. Among the erstwhile CMCs, Rajarajeshwari Nagar has one park, Bommanahalli three and Dasarahalli six, all developed by the BBMP. Surprisingly, not a single park has been developed either in the South or in Mahadevapura zone in recent times.
Speaking to Bangalore Mirror, a senior BBMP official said, “We have spent nearly Rs 400 crore for the development of parks in both Yelahanka and Yelahanka New Town. The idea of developing the parks was to recover encroached land from private builders and retain them as fully developed parks.”
Clarifying that no special treatment was accorded to Yelahanka, he said the BBMP could not find much of encroached land in other parts of the city for developing parks.
Unlike the parks located either close to the main roads or some corner, the newly-developed parks in Yelahanka are unique. Irrespective of the size of the land, every inch of available space has been developed into a park. It has been designed in such a way that the back door of every house in the locality opens to a sprawling park interspersed with ornamental plants, aromatic plants and verdant lawns. Speciallydesigned joggers’ tracks have been laid out along the periphery of the parks. “While maximum effort has been made to raise new plants, some decadeold like mango and neem have been retained,” said a gardener at one of the parks.
Though all parks in general have been fenced using iron railings, those in Yelahanka do not have much iron except for the gates as the entire park is covered by sequentially-built houses.
While a few parks have just walkers and joggers’ tracks, a few others have shelters in the form of ancient ‘kuteers’ and children’s play areas. One or two parks have basketball courts with floodlights.
A senior BBMP official, on condition of anonymity, admitted Subramanya took keen interest in the development of 65 parks across Yelahanka and they were developed in a record span of eight months. However, the former commissioner said, “Then chief minister H D Kumaraswamy recognised my work. I was made the BBMP commissioner and sufficient revenue raised for development activities.”
B Chandrappa, one of the contestants in the 2008 Yelahanka Assembly election, said, “If Subramanya has developed parks, then it is good for citizens as parks cannot be used for personal reasons.
“Parks not only promote greenery but also increase the oxygen content. Though Subramanya has developed the parks, he should have given preference to other zones too.”
Chetan Deshpande, a techie with a leading MNC, who resides in Vidyaranyapura said, “I feel residents are lucky if their neighbours are either Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa or the BBMP commissioner.”


The Yeddyurappa government finds itself on a sticky wicket after allotting land around Chikkajala for a new race course. It seems to have willfully ignored a Karnataka High Court directive that explicitly prohibits commercial use of a notified lakebed area

The move by the Karnataka government to have the Bangalore Turf Club (BTC) shifted from Race Course Road might backfire, thanks to a legal hitch. The land identified by the Yeddyurappa government for the BTC, in and around Chikkajala and measuring a total of 152.02 acres with a tank bed area of 56.01 acres, is not meant to be sold or gifted.
According to a Karnataka High Court ruling, land belonging to tank bed areas in Bangalore Metropolitan Areas is not to be granted for any purpose, or to any person or organisation. The state government has filed an interim application before the high court for modification of the act and the matter is likely to he heard shortly.
In what could be a breather to the complacent BTC authorities and the thousands of workers whose livelihood depend on the race course, Green advocate Sunil Dutt Yadav said, “It is difficult to get the law amended. If you look at past cases (filed against the Oberoi group and others), the court had made it pretty clear that tank bed areas cannot be granted to any private entity.”
Desperate times call for desperate measures and the Karnataka Race Horse Owners Association (KRHOA) is doing everything possible to keep racing alive in the city. A statement by KRHOA highlighted the adverse effects of shifting racing from Bangalore to Mysore. The statement said the suggestion was only possible on paper.
The statement read: “MRC is yet to come to terms with providing stables for the 450 horses based at Mysore. The race track at Mysore cannot handle 1500 race horses. There is no equine hospital to cater to the need of about 1500 race horses and even facilities like a swimming pool for the horses is not available. The chances of the entire labour, support staff, professionals like trainers and jockeys shifting base to Mysore is very unlikely as all of them have been based in Bangalore for several years and have their families in Bangalore with their children either studying or employed in the city.” The statement added that the owners along with Karnataka Trainers Association (KTA) and Workers Union were planning to take the matter to court.
The owners are the backbone of the sport. They have invested around 250 crore on around 1000 horses based in Bangalore and the government decision will hurt them badly. The government decision has also left over 16,000 employees in the lurch. “The livelihood of 16,000 workers for whom racing is the only source of livelihood, the support staff and employees including about 500 women, about 150 handicapped persons and about 50 blind persons, will be left high and dry.” Also to suffer will be the breeding industry, the producers and suppliers of oats, bran and grass.

frequent and arbitrary power cuts drive Bangaloreans mad,

frequent and arbitrary power cuts drive Bangaloreans mad, a clueless government and Bescom conveniently cite non-existent ‘maintenance’ work

Bangalore is facing an emergency. In the past 96 hours, the entire city has witnessed a power shutdown for 60 hours! While Bangalore North was plunged into darkness for 56 hours since last Thursday, when the power crisis worsened, Bangalore South was without power for nearly 65 hours. On Sunday alone, 193 localities in the central, southern and eastern parts of the city went without power for more than eight hours. On Monday morning too, citizens in several parts of the city either woke up to power cuts or had to alter their daily schedule as power supply was disrupted later in the morning. What has increased the frustration of ordinary Bangaloreans is that nobody knows when there will be power or when it will conk off. From school students to homemakers to corporate honchos, erratic power supply is taking a heavy toll on everybody’s patience.
However, the authorities have a different take on the issue. While Bescom officials cite ‘maintenance drive’, the state government and the power generating companies point to the elements. Power minister K S Eshwarappa, who has been maintaining that there is no scheduled load-shedding, admits that hydel resources in the state have been depleting because of lack of rains. The situation is likely to worsen in the future, he warned. But he did not
mention the measures being taken to handle the power crisis. The state, which consumes on an average more than 1,300 million units per year, is currently running short of more than 300 million units of power, according to sources in the power department.
Though the magnitude of citizens’ anger across the city is yet to reach the level of Delhiites who have taken to the streets, frustration is mounting. IN LAST 96 HOURS
The Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (Bescom), which handles the power needs of the city, has been seeing telephone lines in its control room ringing incessantly.
“No authority informs us about power cuts. On Friday, when there was no power for more than two hours in the evening, we tried calling up engineers from Bescom. However, they keep passing the buck saying our area does not come under their jurisdiction. We don’t know what exactly is happening. If there is a shortage of power in the state, the authorities should notify the timing of power cuts,” rued Mahima B, a resident of J P Nagar III Phase.
The problem is acute in areas on the outskirts of the city. “As power is being cut according to the whims and fancies of Bescom officials, our daily life has become hell. We are not sure when to switch on the grinder in the kitchen or the iron-box, it makes tempers fly in the house,” said Rajnitha Shravankumar, a housewife and resident of Karthiknagar in Marathhalli.
The state faced the same situation before the recent Lok Sabha polls. Yet, it managed to ensure steady supply by sourcing power from private generators. Now with the ruling BJP government recording a thumping victory at the hustings, the government’s contention is that it has no option but to face the crisis. REALITY CHECK
Power minister and his officials contend that it is to enable maintenance work. “It is due to maintenance work undertaken by the Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation Limited. Further, there has been a shortage in generation of power itself at the major generation stations. All these factors have led to the power failures,” explained Tushar Girinath, Bescom Managing Director
“These are taken up in a phased manner and accomplished in less than 24 hours. As of now, around 60 per cent of the maintenance work has been completed and the remaining areas that are located on the outskirts of the city including K R Puram, HSR Layout, Sarjapur Road and areas off the ring road near Hennur Cross will also be taken up at the earliest and during such works it is common to cut power,” explained a senior engineer from KPTCL.
Bangalore needs 32 million units of power everyday, but the availability of power is only 29 million units. The demand for power increases by 25 per cent every year in the city on account of an increase in the number of people seeking new connections. While demand is on the rise, the government has done little to increase supply, forcing people to suffer. The central parts of Bangalore itself face power cuts up to three hours everyday. To tide over the impending crisis, Bescom authorities are contemplating increasing power cuts in the rural areas and divert the same to the city.
As a major portion of the state’s power requirements are met by hydel reservoirs, inadequate rainfall this monsoon has forced the state government to plead with the rain gods. “There is no water in the reservoirs and the skies have failed to open up. In such a situation, we can only pray for heavy rains,” said Eshwarappa. He simply refused to acknowledge the fact that Bangalore is witnessing frequent powercuts.

• Store enough candles

• As temperature is low in Bangalore during night, buy mosquito
coils or battery-operated swatters.

• Charge your mobile phone in
your car

• Charge laptop at office before you
leave (Offices usually have generators or uninterrupted power supply systems)

• Check your overhead tanks in the
house (Switch on the water pump
whenever there is power)

• Grind masalas whenever there is
power and store them.

• Press your clothes when there is
power or know where the nearest
coal-based laundry is.

Is maintenance work a convenient excuse for frequent power cuts?
Maintenance works are routine events taken up by the department. “In a year, as many as three times we undertake maintenance works. Pre-monsoon, postmonsoon and winter are generally the times during which we undertake these works. The maintenance includes clearing of jumbled up and dangling cables, cleaning of transformers and pruning of trees spreading over the transmission cables,” explained a senior technical officer with Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation Limited

‘BBMP not involved in Lalbagh demolition’

‘BBMP not involved in Lalbagh demolition’

BANGALORE: The State Government on Monday submitted to the Karnataka High Court that the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike had not demolished part of a compound wall of Lalbagh in Bangalore. In an affidavit filed before the court, Secretary to the Agriculture Department, S. Subramanya, said the compound wall of Lalbagh belonged to the Horticulture Department and it had demolished it.

It said several trees on roads adjoining Lalbagh were not cut byBMRCL but following a request by Basavanagudi police.

Amenities remain a distant dream

Amenities remain a distant dream
Poornima Nataraj, Bangalore, DH News Service:

Living with adversities has become a daily affair for these residents. Even basic facilities such as water, roads and drains have become a distant dream.

The areas they live in are located only eight kilometres away from Vidhana Soudha: Bhadrappa Layout, Maruthinagar, Devinagar and Balaji Layout.

As Bytarayanapura Joint Commissioner Virupaksha Mysore puts it, "These areas were under CMC earlier and were later included under the BBMP limits. Only Rs six crore has been sanctioned for each ward, where there is a need of Rs 1500 crore to undertake developmental work of the entire constituency".

These areas were in news during the rain-triggered floods in 2005. People had to be rescued by boats. Now with the onset of the monsoons, the situation remains the same, and the flood threat is even more formidable.

For water, people survive on borewells. Underground drains (UGD) have never being laid, and so there is no question of manholes. Many roads here have never been asphalted.

One of the residents, Retd Defence Officer K P Subbaiah regrets to have constructed a house in this locality. He says, "In spite of paying all kinds of taxes and charges, we are given step-motherly treatment. We still have to struggle for our basic needs".

Water connections

Here’s what the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) officials had to say on the water problem: More than 2,000 residents need Cauvery water connections.

Of them, only 60 residents here have paid Rs 8,500 for the pipelines in 2004 and Rs 3,600 for the water metres last year.

BWSSB Chief Engineer T Venkataraju said, "Only a handful of them have paid the water connection charges. I am ready to provide water, if at least residents of one road pay up the connection charges.”

Rajakaluve maintenance

Following the 2005 floods, an 18 kilometre stretch of the main drain (rajakaluve) was built at a cost of Rs 39 crore last year. But maintenance work has not been undertaken, weeds have overgrown here, leading to water stagnation that has in turn resulted in mosquito breeding.

Raghavan, a senior citizen residing here, said, "During summer, evenings were hell due to mosquito menace. There is no one to listen to our request for a medicinal spray or fogging”.

Confronted with these problems, BBMP Chief Engineer (Storm Water Drain) Siddagangappa said, "As this Layout is located below the SWD level, incidents of water entering does happen when it rains heavily. We have taken up de-silting work near Bhadrappa Layout bridge recently, shortly cleaning of weeds will also be carried out”. As there are no UGD lines, residents here make a huge pit to let out their drains. A few residents even let out their drains on to the gutters located on either sides of the roads.

What is more shocking is that sewage water flows dangerously close to the borewell taps making it vulnerable for contamination. An active resident of Balaji Layout G S Kumar said, "Water contamination always exists here. We nearly spend Rs 3,000 to Rs 4,000 for buying drinking water in a month. People who drink the borewell water here have been suffering silently".

BWSSB official informed, "UGD work is a Rs 800 crore work for which tenders have been called. But no one has come forward to take up the job".

BBMP to kickstart new EPIC drive tomorrow

BBMP to kickstart new EPIC drive tomorrow
Bangalore, DH News Service:

The BBMP will launch the Election Photo Identity Card (EPIC) drive afresh from July 1, with an aim to cover 90 per cent of the eligible voters in the city.

The drive will be held for 100 days in 21 Assembly constituencies in the City.

Joint Commissioner (Administration) Srirama Reddy told mediapersons, here on Monday, that the drive will be launched at KR Puram, Rajarajeshwari Nagar, Mahalakshmi Layout, Malleswaram, Hebbal, Pulakeshinagar, Sarvagna Nagar, C V Raman Nagar, Shivajinagar, Shanthi Nagar, Gandhi Nagar, Rajajinagar, Govindaraj Nagar, Vijayanagar, Chamarajpet, Chickpet, Basavanagudi, Padmanabhanagar, BTM Layout, Jayanagar and Bommanahalli.

Voter facilitation centres will help voters get EPIC and will function from 8.30 am to 12.30 pm. After a two-hour lunch break they will resume work from 2.30 pm and conclude the day’s work at 7 pm.

People should use Form 6 for registration of new voters, Form 7 for cancellation, Form 8 for correction and Form 8A in case of change the names of voters from one part of the constituency to another within the Assembly segment, the officer added.

He said the Election Commission of India wants 95 per cent of EPIC coverage but due to certain practical problems the Palike had fixed a target of 85 to 90 per cent. The drive will be held from July 1 to October 10.

Reddy said the entire city was divided into three districts namely North, South and Central election districts, with each district covering seven Assembly segments. The Palike also proposed to provide mobile Designated Photo Location (DPL) centres. In this regard the Palike is sending notices to people to enroll themselves and get EPIC.

‘Parking rates highest in Bangalore’

‘Parking rates highest in Bangalore’



Mumbai: Among four Indian cities covered in a global survey, car parking rates in the central business districts of Bangalore and New Delhi were the highest in the country with median monthly-unreserved parking rate of approximately $32.10 each. In terms of daily parking rates Bangalore ($1.50) took the lead followed by New Delhi ($1.28) and Mumbai ($1.07).
The survey conducted by Colliers International, a global real estate firm, has ranked Mumbai lowest among world’s major financial cities in terms of car parking rates. The survey tracked rates in 140 downtown parking districts (central business districts) from around the world.
The most expensive city is London, which retains its top spot in the world — London City’s monthly unreserved median rate at $1,020.29 (roughly Rs 49,400) leads the way and West End taking the second place at $955.51 (Rs 45,840). Interestingly, London’s parking charges were 13% lesser in 2009 compared to last year.
Mumbai, on the other hand, is barely $25.68 (around Rs 1,232) a month and just over a dollar a day on an average. Chennai’s daily charge is slightly under a dollar.
“Whether to park for a day or to have access to parking anytime during the month, the world’s top financial centres are among the most expensive in the world. No one region dominates with a smattering of cities from North America, Europe and Asia Pacific all represented in the top ten,’’ said the report.
According to the survey, Hong Kong retains its top ranking in Asia Pacific and is ranked the fourth most expensive worldwide in 2009. Its median monthly parking rate was $748, registering merely 1% increase from last year. Except Hong Kong and Perth, the other three locations in the top five recorded negative changes from the previous year, with that of Sydney falling the most by 24%.
Interestingly, parking charges in Amsterdam increased by 90% from last year—in 2008 it was $423 a month while in 2009 it shot up to $805. In the United States, despite a loss of six million jobs and a significantly more challenging business environment, few markets in that country have seen a meaningful pullback in parking rates. Daily and monthly parking rates in the US diverged over the past 12 months (ending June), with daily rates up 1.2% ($0.18) and monthly rates sliding slightly by 0.9% ($1.47). The monthly median parking rate now averages $154.23 in the U.S.
Even though the economy is expected to remain sluggish, and the labor market lackluster, drivers should not expect this weakness to manifest itself in lower parking rates. While higher fuel prices across North America have reduced the total number of miles driven, demand for parking seems to be more recession-proof, and this affords garage owners and operators the opportunity to hold prices close to yearago levels. Moreover, when the economy rebounds, the markedly rising parking rates of years past are expected to return, according to Colliers Boston.
In Canada, parking costs have increased nationwide for a sixth consecutive year as owners and operators of parking lots resist the economic downturn. The average daily parking rate in Canada rose 9.89 per cent over last year to CAD17.78 daily, with an average monthly parking rate of CAD 222.75, up 9.94 per cent from 2008.
Ian MacCulloch, Vice President of Research, Canada for Colliers International said the Canadian results were indicative of the stability of the Canadian economy when compared to the US. The survey results from the US show a decrease in daily and monthly averages which is probably a good indication of some of the challenges their property markets face today.

Too frequent, too long

Too frequent, too long. Rain-starved Bangalore is facing unscheduled power cuts which are taking a toll on everyday life

Jayashree Nandi | TNN

Frequent and long power cuts have made life miserable for residents, but they seem to realize that less rainfall is to be blamed. Their only complaints: why didn’t the government anticipate the situation, and why are the power cuts unscheduled?
Most localities in the city are shrouded by dark streets for hours on end. What’s worse is that water supply has also been affected by this.
The situation in Basaveshwaranagar is grim. “There is power cut almost every other hour. Most localities don’t have power for 8 to 16 hours a day. We understand they could be doing this in anticipation of monsoon failure, but the energy minister says there are technical problems. The Met department says monsoon has been delayed this year. We can manage with scheduled power cuts, but what’s happening is unreasonable,” said M Venugopal, member of Basaveshwaranagar Residents’ Association.
Roads in nearby Rajajinagar and Malleswaram are eerily dark after sunset and residents are stuck indoors. “There are intermittent power cuts even after 8 pm. People are scared to go out because street lights are off. We haven’t complained to Bescom yet because this is not just happening in our area. If this continues, carrying on with the daily routine is going to become very difficult,” said T N Lakshman Rao, member of the Rajajinagar RWA.
In some areas, the cuts are on alternate days and seeing the trend, residents are preparing accordingly. “In our area, there are 5-hour power cuts almost every day. It’s not that bad. We are not against the government but it will be good if we are alerted. Some children have exams. Also, water supply is affected,” said S Ramasubramanium, a resident of BTM Layout.
Jayanagar seems unaffected so far. H Keshawakumar, a resident of 4th Block, said there haven’t been frequent power cuts in the past few days. But they are worried as KPTC reports suggest severe shortage. Parts of Koramanagala have been severely hit. “We have power cuts at least three times a day. Commercial establishments can get generators but we can’t afford them. Drawing water is a problem and we are worried the situation will get worse,” said B S Anantharam, resident of Koramanagala ST Bed Layout.

Monday, June 29, 2009


People living near JP Nagar Sixth Phase are facing a myriad of problems with the work on Puttenahalli underpass moving at snail’s pace

When you walk into H N Ramesh’s house at JP Nagar 6th phase, you’ll either mistake him to be a very rich man or his house to be a parking lot! At any point of time his drive way will have at least five sedans parked. But wait...Ramesh is only helping out his neighbours, as access to their compounds has been cut off by the ongoing construction work of the underpass at the Puttenahalli Junction.
Once a preferred residential area for the affluent families, the locality has turned into a nightmare of slush and impending danger. This JNNURM project began in May 2008 and was to be completed in February, 2009. But the Rs 23-crore project has already exceeded its deadline by four months and only 42 per cent of the project has been completed. The 100-feet ring road is the major connecting road between Bannerghatta and Outer Ring Road and this underpass is expected to reduce traffic congestion in roads connecting JP Nagar, Sarakki and Bannerghatta Road.
But the delay has made life difficult for the people living at the stretch. Ramesh said, “My neighbours can’t get their cars into their premises because the road has been dug up till their compound walls. About six or eight families have vacated their homes after accessibility to the houses was totally cut off.”
But that is only the tip of the iceberg. The 20 odd homes along the construction site have been facing a barrage of civic problems including drinking water crisis, electricity shortage and disrupted telephone lines. “We pay our taxes regularly to the BBMP and we don’t even have a road to get into our homes. Why should we give any money to the Corporation?” asks 70-year-old Narasingh Rao.
Rao, a retired Executive Engineer with the CPWD department, had a stroke a year ago and needs a walker to navigate even the flattest of surfaces. So moving through the dug up area leading to his gate is a nightmare. He said, “I have been an engineer with the government and know how these projects work. If you have just 20 people working where you need at least a hundred, when do you think it will be completed? I don’t think this project will be finished for the next three or four years at the current pace.”
Manjunath C, a chartered accountant, has had no Cauvery water supply to his residence for the last six months. He has complained to every official in the BBMP who visits the site for inspection and all he gets are promises. “I carry water from my neighbours’ homes when we run out of canned water. Even my LPG dealer refuses to deliver the cylinder at home.”
But the worst hit are the students. Amitash R, an 18-year-old boy who passed out of second PU this year from Sri Kumaran’s College just 3 km away, said daily he had to leave an hour and a half early. “I had to take a detour through Banashankari, which is another 3 kms, to get to college. I also had tuitions, so a good night’s sleep has been a luxury last year,” he said.
It is a harrowing experience for the parents as well. Manjunath who has an 8-year-old daughter has to return from work around 4.30 in the evening to take her home safely through the dug up area. “My wife and I both work, so one of us has to take time off to get the children home safely. We have seen many people fall into the pits so often. The rains are only making the matters worse. How can we expect small children to make their way?” he asks.
BBMP commissioner Bharat Lal Meena, who recently visited the spot, has issued a warning to the officials and asked them to speed up the project. The official reason for the delay is that the main Cauvery pipe line that goes through right in the middle of the project. Though the EPIL has paid Rs 44 lakh (just a month ago) as deposit for shifting of the pipe, it has not been done yet.
The EPIL officials at the site refused to comment on the delay in the project. Deputy general manager S Manoharan said he could not give an official reason for the delay and refused to meet Bangalore Mirror. Project manager M P Jadav, too, did the same.
But, other officials from EPIL say that this project has been delayed the most. “Yes we have had problems with the water pipe not being shifted and the slush created by the pouring rain is causing problems in placing the concrete boxes. But those problems cannot extend the deadline by a year. Though we have asked for an extension of another 4 months, it is unlikely that the work will finish in another six months,” said an engineer who wished to remain anonymous.
Chief engineer of the project A K Gopalaswamy said the project will be completed latest by October. “They have been given an extension and we should be out of the place by October at most,” he said.
The residents of this road just hope that it will not be a stretch beyond that, but
they know

— Chandana Herur, IT professional

— Ramesh H N, Industrialist

— Surya S, Student, AV School

— Manjunath C,
Chartered Accountant

Mysore Road: Highway of woes

Mysore Road: Highway of woes

Article Rank

INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS IN RAJARAJESHWARINAGAR ZONE REMAIN UNFINISHED re Road: Highway of woes The longstanding plan to extend the Sirsi Circle flyover to the congested Mysore Road right up to Bangalore University has not gotten off the ground yet.

Round-the-clock traffic snarls, clogged sewers and overflowing drains, and uncollected garbage — the residents of Rajarajeshwarinagar zone have got no respite from these although it is now under the BBMP. Many infrastructure projects earmarked for the zone have remained on paper
For one, the longstanding plan to extend the Sirsi Circle flyover to the heavily congested Mysore Road right up to Bangalore University has not gotten off the ground yet, leaving residents of Nayandahalli, Jnanabharati and other areas in the lurch even as traffic density on the road has grown by orders of magnitude in the last few years
Not surprisingly, whether during peak hours or nonpeak hours, you will almost always encounter a traffic jam on Mysore Road that extends right upto Kengeri. The Outer Ring Road, too, is congested as all the available lanes are taken up by the heavy vehicles. On one project, though, the BBMP has spent crores of rupees — remodeling the Vrishabhavathi, once a serene river, now a polluted, black stream. But all that money seems to have gone down the drain, too. Year after year, the areas along either side of Mysore Road get flooded during the monsoon season
In fact, it turns out that a majority of the works on drains, such as providing retaining walls, clearing debris and silt have been left half-done. Rampant encroachment and unauthorized construction over the drains add to the problem, with the result that the BBMP is unable to control flooding during rains
When such is the state of affairs in the areas that have been in the BBMP zone for a long time, can Rajarajeshwarinagar, the newest addition to it, expect to get anything better from the civic authorities. The new area is yet to get its share of proper roads, drains and public toilets, let alone a clean, rejuvenated lake. On something as basic as water, residents are still waiting for a Cauvery water connection, although they have paid for it. They are still making do with a miniwater scheme that was started by the erstwhile Rajarajeshwarinagar City Municipal Corporation (CMC). As in most other areas under the BBMP, the civic authority does a very poor job of garbage collec tion even in Rajarajeswarinagar — one can find garbage strewn across the street in one place, or dumped on the roadside and set on fire in another — either way, residents are exposed to pollution and health hazards
Repeated complaints to BBMP officials have fallen on deaf ears, allege residents of the area. ‘Implement existing plans’ IT DOES not matter whether the government merges our area with the BBMP or some other administrative body. What it must ensure is that we get better roads, drains, power and water. Right now, people are being fooled into thinking that since the Rajarajeshwarinagar zone has been merged with the BBMP, all problems have been solved automatically
First of all, let BBMP and other authorities implement what has already been planned to build motorable roads, streamline traffic and prevent flooding during rains. Supply of drinking water has been poor, people have been left dependent on tankers, and we have to shell out hefty money for it
Desilt drains and save peo ple from the trauma of flooding every year during rains. Political representatives and officials can’t get away with making false promises during elections
They must now act to keep those promises

Veteran warriors

Veteran warriors

Young trees take several years before they can offset pollution, writes Marianne de Nazareth batting for Bangalore’s hoary green cover
Photo: Murali Kumar K.

Leafy lane Mother nature’s air conditioner
If you take a trip up to Ooty or Coonoor even today, the air-conditioned climate in the cities is what strikes you immediately. That was Bangalore way back in the Seventies when tree cover was optimum and homes were sprawling, old, colonial bungalows . Trees grew in abundance and were of a massive girth with canopies that spread across roads and buildings. The city was famed for its ‘air-conditioned’ ambience. Today we use fans even in January and the city has warmed up to a level that makes air-conditioners essential.

In a recent Climate Change meeting of the UNFCCC in Bonn, an organization called the Global Canopy Programme (GCP) from the UK explained that “old trees go beyond carbon sequestration and storage, and act as giant utilities providing vital ecosystems services to the city. They generate rainfall, buffer the climate, maintain biodiversity and also stabilize the soil. Although we all benefit from these services, nobody pays for them.Therefore keeping them safe, keeps us safe.”

Dr J.K. Vasantkumar, the former director of horticulture, Lalbagh says, “A new tree takes 25 years to grow, whereas an old tree already has a huge canopy which not only gives shelter, but also prevents evaporation of water and soil erosion. Old trees absorb the carbon in the atmosphere and give out oxygen helping to reduce pollution in the city. A sapling is like a child, it has several years to grow before it can contribute to off-setting pollution.”

Trees act as air-conditioners, cooling the atmosphere near the ground through evapo-transpiration. According to the GCP, “one square metre of the oceans surface evaporates one square metre litre of water, old trees release eight to 19 times more moisture into the atmosphere. The Amazon forest’s trees release 20 billion tonnes of water into the atmosphere each day. The energy used by this process is equivalent to 80,000 power stations.”

The Associate Director of Research, UAS, Dr. Nutan says, “the value of a tree over 60 years old is more in terms of oxygen and micro-climate effects. This tree absorbs 3,000 kg of carbon dioxide and gives us back 2,000 kg of oxygen everyday besides regulating moisture in the atmosphere. There is also an economic value dimension of an old tree in terms of produce and seeds for propagation.”

The complex chemistry released by tropical old trees according to the GCP helps generate rainfall that stabilizes local weather patterns. And the tree root mat of an old tree is large and spreading. This plays a crucial role in holding together the substrate upon which they grow. This prevents soil erosion and loss of valuable top soil.

“A few years ago, old or mature trees were regarded as carbon-neutral. As such, they were considered irrelevant as carbon sinks and, consequently, of no importance to the climate change regime. Their relevance was solely recognised from the biodiversity viewpoint. How fortunate we are that today’s science dispelled this notion,” reveals Sergio Serra, Ambassador for Climate Change, Ministry of External Relations, Brazil

“Old trees definitely support the environment,” says Mr. Hubert, Deputy Conservator of Forest, BBMP, “But during the recent rains the fall of old trees is higher than the new trees. In Bangalore, Rain trees and Gulmohur have grown old and with the rains, huge branches fall causing massive destruction of property. Therefore trimming of avenue trees is definitely needed. After the rains people should call the BBMP control room on 2221188 and inform us about weak trees and branches. I do not disagree with the need for old trees, but this is the practical problem we face with avenue trees.”

Old trees have a huge canopy, which not only gives shelter, but also prevents evaporation of water and soil erosion.

They absorb the carbon and give out oxygen helping to reduce pollution in the city

A tree over 60 years old absorbs 3,000 kg of carbon dioxide and gives back 2,000 kg of oxygen everyday besides regulating moisture in the atmosphere.

There is also an economic value in terms of produce and seeds for propagation.

Parking chaos on Bangalore’s Brigade Road

Parking chaos on Bangalore’s Brigade Road

Chitra V. Ramani and Raghava M.
Notice on the automated parking meters on the road says they are not working ‘today’ as they are being upgraded
The BBMP and the BSEA shared revenue during the five-year contract which ended on June 21

‘The civic authority will call for tenders to operate parking, BSEA is free to participate in it’

Bangalore: Parking on Brigade Road has now become free with the expiry of the contract between the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) and the Brigade’s Shops and Establishments’ Association (BSEA).

This has also given freedom to the shoppers to park their cars for hours on end without any restriction unlike before when they could park for just a few hours at a stretch. Though this has affected the movement of vehicles, neither the City Traffic Police nor the BBMP is ready to prohibit parking here.

Meanwhile, all the parking meters on the road, which were imported and functional until recently, now carry a notice (dated June 22) put up by the association that reads: “Parking meters will not be working today due to upgradation work. Inconvenience is regretted.”

Suhail Yusuf, president of BSEA, claimed that the association had written to the BBMP on June 19 but had not got any reply till date. “We created an automated parking model for the first time in the country. Our contract with the civic authority was for a period of five years and the revenue generated was shared equally.”

He said that in five years the BBMP had earned revenue of over a crore. “The association used its share to maintain the footpath, lighting on the road and employed security to man the imported parking machines.”

Mr. Yusuf ruled out the possibility of the association encouraging shoppers to park in Garuda Mall, which has a dedicated parking space. “Garuda Mall does not have enough parking for its own visitors. There will be no parking space available for the Brigade Road shoppers,” he said.

S. Puttaswamy, BBMP’s Additional Commissioner (East), maintained that the civic authority would call for tender to operate parking on Brigade Road in which the BSEA can also participate along with the others.

“The agreement with regard to metered parking with the BSEA was initially for a period of two years that could be extended to five years. The agreement ended in 2007 and had not been renewed,” he said.

Praveen Sood, Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic and Security), told The Hindu that there were no proposals to ban parking on the busy Brigade Road.

“There is no multi-level parking facility or a dedicated parking space nearby. If such an alternative was available, parking could have been banned on the stretch,” he added.

The Isro Centre Will Revive Two Lakes On The Campus To Augment Supply

The Isro Centre Will Revive Two Lakes On The Campus To Augment Supply
Prashanth G N | TNN

Byalalu: Isro’s Byalalu Indian Deep Space Network (IDSN) centre, off Mysore Road, does not face a water crisis, but has plans to augment its reserves and stay comfortable in future. With no Cauvery connection, the IDSN centre has requested BWSSB to explore options of supplying water to the centre from Manchinabele dam, located just a few kilometres from the campus.
Isro’s senior civil engineer Vijayendra Itagi told The Times of India that a request has been made for receiving 75,000 litres of water per day from the dam.
Currently, the campus manages with 1 lakh litre of water per day, which it generates from three borewells. “While we are not facing a water crisis, we will certainly be more comfortable if we get an additional 75,000 litre per day from the dam. This will enable us to store extra. Air cooling systems need a good amount of water. With more storage we can rest easy. As of now, we are managing with what we have,” Itagi explained.
Civil engineers had built eight borewells across the campus, but only three generated water. There are no plans to get a Cauvery connection.
Instead, Itagi said it will take time for BWSSB to work out the logistics of supplying water from Manchinabele. “They have to lay pipes from the dam to the campus. The routing and topography have to be examined to ensure easy flow. We know it’ll take time.”
As an additional measure, two lakes on the campus will be revived to augment supply until a connection to the dam is designed and installed. “We plan to go for rainwater harvesting, and for this, we’ve started work on water storage facilities in two small natural lakes within campus,” Itagi explained.
Engineers have already built a small barrage and a stone wall across one lake. They will build another barrage and stone wall across the second lake. “Isro plans to link local and natural solutions with modern ones within a single setting,” Itagi added.
The revival of the lakes also signals coexistence of local technologies with hi-tech ones.
IDSN centre requested BWSSB to explore options of supplying water to the centre from Manchinabele dam
BWSSB will take some time to work out the plan The water board has to lay pipes from the dam to the campus. The routing and topography have to be examined to ensure easy flow
Has three borewells Borewells generate 1 lakh litre water per day Request for additional 75,000 litre BWSSB asked to explore options from Manchinabele dam Isro working for revival and linking of two lakes on its campus Focus on rainwater harvesting

Ride free: no more side stops to check papers

Ride free: no more side stops to check papers
A T Subramanya | TNN

Bangalore: You could be in a hurry to keep an appointment and, besides the red signals and traffic jams, there is one other stop to contend with: men in white and khaki flagging down motorists to check vehicle documents. Well, having zeroed in on this traffic blockage of its own creation, the department has put a stop to such stops.
Additional commissioner of police (traffic) Praveen Sood has given written directions to traffic personnel against unnecessary checking of documents — to keep both road and motorist hassle-free. But this does not mean that the public should stop carrying vehicle papers.
Those who violate traffic rules will be stopped, their documents checked and duly penalized. Sood told TOI: “All officers have been instructed not to stop motorists merely for checking documents. Only when the motorist has committed some visible traffic violation will he/she be stopped. The police will ask for all documents and the motorist will be penalized for non-possession, if documents are not in order.’’
Sood clearly stated that the focus is on good road use behaviour rather than documents. “We are mainly concentrating on traffic violations and to maintain smooth vehicle flow,’’ he said. But commuters who have violated rules like jumping signals, drunken driving, entering one-ways, riding on pavements or riding without helmet will be stopped. Transport vehicles like buses, taxis and autorickshaws should carry permit and fitness certificate. These should be produced for inspection if asked for by a police officer.
Sood explained: “There is a provision of a master card from RTO, which is proof that the driver has all valid documents. If one is carrying the master card, he/she need not carry any other documents.’’
But it is mandatory to carry an emission certificate. However, police have been instructed not to stop motorists merely to check the emission certificate. “In case of emission certificate, traffic police don’t have the provision to fine erring motorists. The department will have to send a notice regarding it to court. The fine amount is at the discretion of the court,’’ Sood added.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Metro woes for commuters

Metro woes for commuters

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With work on underground stations for Metro Rail at Minsk Square and near Vidhan Soudha expected to begin July-end or early August, Bengaluru Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (BMRCL) is exploring options for diverting traffic in the area
The underground Metro project, which is estimated to cost over Rs 3,000 crore, will require railway stations, air-conditioning and electricity
Once the earth is excavated for the stations, work will begin on building the required tunnels and diaphragm walls. The pro ject is expected to take around two-and-a-half years to complete
Raj Bhavan Road will be cordoned off for traffic from Minsk Square to the General Post Office once the work on the underground Metro The underground Metro rail will run from Minsk square to Majestic via Vidhan Soudha and Central College on this stretch. The stations enroute have been finalised and the traffic police have been requested to make the necessary diversions to ensure that neither the project nor the people are inconvenienced, BMRCL chief engineer B.L
Yeshawanth Chavan told Deccan Chronicle. rail begins there. However, traffic will not be stalled completely on Ambedkar Veedhi. Instead the narrow roads in front of Vidhan Soudha and around the high court will be used to divert it
Light motor vehicles and two-wheelers may be allowed to use the road in front of Press Club
Mr Chavan said a survey on the final coordinates is being carried out to ascertain the width of the road and other factors to allow traffic diversion. The volume of traffic is also being studied
“Traffic will flow normally on other roads around the area,” official sources said.

Pay your property tax by Tuesday

Pay your property tax by Tuesday

If you pay the levy before June 30, you can avail of 5 per cent rebate; otherwise, arrears would carry 2 per cent penal interest per month

Basavaraj Itnaal and Senthalir S. Bangalore

Only two days are left to pay the first installment of property tax without penalty.
If paid before June 30, people can enjoy a rebate of 5%, otherwise, arrears would carry a penal interest of 2% per month.
To help people pay their taxes before June 30, BBMP has decided to open help centres today. "As the deadline is nearing, the help centres would be open on Sunday from 9.30am to 2pm. People can drop in and pay their taxes. We have so far collected more than Rs700 crore," said UA Vasanth Rao, deputy commissioner (resources), BBMP.
BBMP has started collecting property tax after a gap of one year under the self-assessment scheme (SAS).
Though a capital value system CVS) was mooted, the government bowed to public pressure and retained SAS. The only modification to SAS being the penal rate of interest. This was 5% per year; it has now been increased to 2% per month. BBMP revenue officials say the tax can be paid at all citizen service centres and citizen help centres.

City heads into watery jam

City heads into watery jam

Bangalore has exceeded its share of Cauvery water allocated by the dispute tribunal

Basavaraj Itnaal. Bangalore

The receding storage level at the KRS reservoir is only half the tragedy facing Bangalore as far as its drinking water woes are concerned.
The other half of the story is that the city has already exceeded its share of Cauvery waters allocated by the final award of the Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal (CWDT), while the Central Ground Water Board has already banned exploitation of ground water way back in 2005. This means that Bangalore can neither draw anymore water from Cauvery basin, whether the KRS has water or not, nor can it use ground water.
Former PWD secretary Capt Raja Rao, who also headed various high-level committees, has submitted a report to the government last week suggesting remedial measures.
Rao told Sunday DNA that the government was not doing enough to augment the water resources while it was spending huge amounts on distribution networks and pumping systems.
"What is more, the government formed Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) without considering the consequences on water demand. The BWSSB too does not have any plan to create additional resources," he said.
No more Cauvery for city
The CWDT order apportions 8.75 thousand million cubic (TMC) feet of water for drinking purposes not just for Bangalore but for the entire population of Cauvery basin.
Capt Rao said in his report that BWSSB has already exceeded this limit. Further, the highly water intensive crop of sugarcane is being grown in Cauvery basin in an area of about 1,20,000 acres, which is much above the CWDT cap of 40,000 acres.
"We will land in serious trouble if the Tamil Nadu raises objection to this. On one hand we cannot ask farmers to grow a less profitable crop to save water and then divert more water to Bangalore. It is a grim situation," he said.
According to sources in the BWSSB, the city is already drawing 12 TMC feet of water from the Cauvery river.
No tubewells
The Karnataka Mines and Geology department along with Central Ground Water Board had in 2005 reported that entire Bangalore Urban and Bangalore Rural districts had over exploited ground water.
This means that no more tube wells can be allowed.
In fact, the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board has made it mandatory for developers to depend only on BWSSB water and not ground water. The BWSSB on its part is assuring the developers that water would be supplied only if it is available.

No new permits for autorickshaws in city

No new permits for autorickshaws in city

Special Correspondent

BANGALORE: A decision has been taken not to grant any more permits for autorickshaws in the city. The reason behind the decision was to check congestion and pollution.

Speaking to presspersons, Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa, who chaired a meeting of Ministers and officers on Saturday, said the Government had taken into account the views of experts and citizens in this regard. A 3,000-acre plot would be earmarked on the outskirts of the city to dispose of solid waste. He said 40 plots in the city had been identified for parking vehicles, and the BBMP would develop the sites for the purpose. The racecourse in the city would be shifted to the outskirts at the earliest.

A mini-Lalbagh, a hospital and a bus stand would be built at the Central Relief Committee (Beggars’ Colony) on Magadi Road after shifting it to a place on the outskirts of the city. The meeting discussed the possibility of developing the Devika Rani Roerich Estate (Tataguni Estate) on Kanakapura Road. He said a case connected to the estate was before the Supreme Court, and a decision would be arrived at based on the directions of the court.

Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Minister Shobha Karandlaje said that she was leaving for the U.S. to meet World Bank officials seeking extension of the Swajaladhara scheme beyond December this year. She said the State Government was seeking an assistance of Rs.1,500 crore for the project.

Multi-storeyed complex to come up on railway land

Multi-storeyed complex to come up on railway land
S Lalitha, Bangalore, DH News Service:

For the first time in the City, unutilised land belonging to the Railways will be put into use for commercial purposes.

The stretch of railway land on Platform Road, near the City railway station where a commercial complex is proposed to come up. dh photo The land in question is a sprawling stretch on Platform Road, near the City railway station. It encountered a technical problem with Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL), which has been resolved now.

The Bangalore Division of the Railways recommended this portion of the land, measuring over one hectare (1.112 hectares), to the Railway Board for commercial development as it did not foresee its utilisation for operational purposes in the near future. The Board has handed over the land to the Rail Land Development Authority (RLTA), a statutory body constituted under the Railway Ministry nearly three years ago. RLTA aims at generating additional revenue for the Indian Railways by exploiting surplus railway land.

The land, located adjacent to a petrol bunk, has been segregated into two plots as one portion lies at an elevated plane, informed Divisional Railway Manager (DRM) Akhil Agrawal. “One portion has an area of 0.662 hectare while the other measures 0.450 hectare,” he said. “It will be the first such instance in the City when a commercial structure will come up on railway land ever since the RLTA was constituted,” the DRM added. Tenders will be called for in this connection shortly.

Tests underway

As the Metro Rail would pass under this stretch of land, there were apprehensions related to safety of passengers in case the soil loosens under the weight of the proposed mammoth structure. “We are now conducting fissure testing on the spot to strengthen the soil,” said a representative of BMRCL. “Things are proceeding smoothly and we do not foresee any problems if a building comes up,” he added. The RLTA would pass over the revenue generated to the Indian Railways. At present, there are 43,000 hectares of railway land unutilised all over the country and the RLTA is in the process of transforming these vacant spaces into revenue grossers.

RLTA is already constructing a multi-storeyed complex near Bandra railway station at Mumbai and similar constructions are in the offing in few parts of the country.

BBMP delimitation: Suggetions pour in

BBMP delimitation: Suggetions pour in
Bangalore, DH News Service:

Amidst indications of possible delay in conducting elections to the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike, suggestions and objections to the draft notification on delimitation of wards are pouring in.

Nearly 500 objections have been received by the Bangalore Urban Deputy Commissioner, till date.

“Most suggestions are related to changing the name of the ward where the citizen resides. The demands are currently being processed and have been forwarded to a committee that looks into the merit of the suggestion. But for now, we are awaiting the final Gazette notification on the election,” said Deputy Commissioner, Bangalore Urban , G N Naik.

Inclusion sought

The ex-councillor from Koramangala, B Mohan, who was the chairman of the Taxation Committee in the last Palike council, has suggested that the Kormangala village and the Harijan Colony should be included in the Kormanagala ward. Mohan has claimed that the village and the Harijan Colony in Kormangala have a history of 700 years and also houses the grave of Kempegowda’s daughter Lakshmi Devi. Mohan suggested that both them should be deleted from the current ward no 147 of Adugodi and be included in Kormanagala, to be renamed as Lakhsmi Devi Ward.

Herculean tasks ahead

Herculean tasks ahead
On Day 2 of Manthana, BBMP unveils ambitious plans to take up mammoth projects that will require a whopping Rs 14,500 crore

Bangalore: The numbers are mind-boggling: 200 markets, 1,000 parks and 40 parking lots. All these to be built by the BBMP.
There’s more — two 50-kmlong elevated corridors connecting east and west, and north and south, to decongest traffic in the city. Again, all these have been planned by the corporation.
A plethora of ideas emerged at Manthana-2 on Saturday to make the city a better place to live in. The BBMP and BDA gave a presentation, which included details about plans to develop 40 road-over-bridges (RoB) and road-under-bridges (RuB).
On lake and drain development, both agencies promised to desilt 160 km of storm water drains with citizens’ participation. All lakes will be fenced on a war footing, besides encouraging adoption of drains. An environment cell will also be set up.
To address public complaints, BBMP will set up 200 help centres. Extensive use of information technology is expected, and GIS will be used to track complaints. Also, delegation of power with accountability has been planned to make work transparent.
However, the suggestions were not without financial implications. For building signalfree roads, elevated corridors, development of lakes, parks and markets, BBMP has estimated Rs 14,500 crore.
It has also presented how the resource could be mobilized. Accordingly, BBMP will raise Rs 2,500 crore; government will provide Rs 2,000 crore; the Centre through Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission will give Rs 2,000 crore; bonds and loans will add Rs 5,000 crore; BDA will contribute Rs 2,000 crore, and Rs 1,000 crore will come from private parties.
The BBMP asked the government to shift infrastructure cess to the Palike. Then it asked the revenue department to allot 3,000 acres for waste disposal at 10 areas in the city.
No more new
Chief minister B S Yeddyurappa said the government won’t issue permits to autorickshaws anymore. There were more promises: there will be more signal-free roads in the city; Beggars’ Colony on Magadi Road will be shifted, and a park and hospital will be built on the land.
The government will also develop Devika Rani Reorich Estate within the limits of the Supreme Court’s direction. Yeddyurappa made it clear that his government won’t extend the lease period of Bangalore Race Course beyond December 31. “Hoarding fee will also be hiked to bring in more revenue. This is a priority,” he added. TNN

No parking, no shopping Sales Dip On Chaotic Saturday At Brigade Road

No parking, no shopping Sales Dip On Chaotic Saturday At Brigade Road
Bangalore: It was the first weekend without the metered pay-and-park system on Brigade Road. And as expected, there was chaos all around, with motorists having to wait too long to find a parking slot.
Traffic volume increased as the day progressed. Relentless honking by frustrated drivers, waiting to go past cars looking for a slot, was to no avail. Many complained of not finding parking space for hours. Without any efficient control, there was confusion galore. Anticipating this, some people opted to take a bus or auto to get here.
“Many people now prefer to drive down to Garuda Mall or Bangalore Central to shop. Our store saw an extremely low footfall for a Saturday. Few of our regulars turned up, but they were complaining about not finding parking space and having to walk a long distance to our shop. The guards deployed by BSEA maintained some order but it’s a shame that the pay-and-park system has ended abruptly,” said Mohammad Ajmal, a salesman.
Another shopkeeper echoed this sentiment: “The pay-and-park system forced people to park for a fixed time. Only those shopping on Brigade Road would park. Now, since this area is a free parking zone, even those who don’t shop on Brigade Road park for the entire day, making slots unavailable for our customers. Naturally, they go elsewhere.”
BBMP additional commissioner (East) S Puttaswamy said the Palike will float tenders for the parking contract in a day or two. “The new system should be in place within 15 days. On Commercial Street, the request for renewal submitted by the association is already under consideration,” he said.

Brace yourself for parking cess

Brace yourself for parking cess

Bangalore: You’re already paying several cesses, with little or no direct benefits. Now, if the government greenlights a bureaucrat’s proposal, you could pay a parking cess when registering a new vehicle and an impact cess if you stay in high-rises.
All these proposals were tossed around at Manthana-2, the second edition of the closed-door brainstorming session between BJP ministers and bureaucrats. They also included an electronic tax register system in business establishments.
But, there was some reprieve for the common man. On the anvil is a token system in police stations in which people receive reference numbers when they file complaints and cite them during follow-ups.
M R Srinivasmurthy, finance principal secretary, is said to have mooted the parking and impact fees which were widely welcomed. State Planning Board deputy chairman D H Shankaramurthy apparently opposed the parking fee.
Emphasizing revenue resources, Srinivasmurthy reportedly justified both the fees. The parking fee will be levied during vehicle registration on the lines of the lifetime tax.
The impact fee on high-rises is built on the assumption that their residents use many government services but pay less tax. This tax could be utilized to provide better facilities. Commercial tax commissioner B A Harish Gowda too is said to have presented ideas on tax reforms.
To enable the common man register his complaint with the police, DGP Ajaikumar Singh reportedly mooted the token system. Complainants needn’t be put to hardship or be at the mercy of station officers. A person can walk into a police station, leave his complaint at the desk, take a token which records the time of his visit and other details. Using this token, the complaint can followed up. In most police stations, the complainant is turned away for various reasons, including the one that the officer concerned is out for investigation.
A bureaucrat reportedly suggested that there’s scope for an education cess after a person gets a job. Once an individual starts earning, he’d be happy to repay the state through a small contribution. Currently, only the central government follows this system, but state governments do not levy educational cess.
Electronic tax register system: This is apparently on the lines of the Kenyan system. Srinivasmurthy explained this would help crack down on sales tax evasion by traders. “If Indians elsewhere can make an impact, why can’t we do it here?’’ Srinivasurthy reportedly said. Energy principal secretary K Jairaj emphasized reducing energy theft and bringing in reforms in power production. The 13-hour session concluded on Saturday and ‘An Inconvenient Truth’, a film on global warming by Al Gore, was screened on Friday night.
I’m satisfied with the Manthana. Such a meeting will be held once in three months to give new direction to the administration. We’ll boost non-tax revenues to enlarge the resource base in the backdrop of the global economic slowdown without burdening the common man.
B S Yeddyurappa |

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Posh localities but dirty streets

osh localities but dirty streets

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‘ DC Impact: South BBMP COMMISSIONER Bharat Lal Meena says a team has been formed to help BBMP coordinate with BMRCL to expedite the work on the metro rail project . “A meeting will be held with the contractors and the garbage will be cleared. Other problems relating to drains and roads will also be addressed,” he promises. BBMP EAST report: day 3 Chronicle highlights the woes of residents in Bengaluru East
In the third part of the 8-part series on infrastructure, Deccan : BBMP East zone may boast of posh areas like MG Road, Brigade Road, Indiranagar, HAL, and Commercial Street, but it also has localities, poor in hygiene, that are prone to regular outbreaks of diseases like dengue, chikungunya, cholera and malaria
Although people of the eastern zone are the highest tax payers in the city, they still suffer from poor drains, have piles of garbage on their streets, and see flooding of their areas during the rains
While people in Shivajinagar, DG Halli, KG Halli, and Thimmaiah lane who live in unhygienic conditions, regularly fall ill with one or the other disease, the slaughterhouse makes the lives of people miserable on Tannery Road
Neither the BBMP nor the state government has done anything about shifting the slaughterhouse to the outskirts of the city, despite orders from the high court directing them to do so
Shortage of Cauvery water forces many people of Bengaluru East to depend on tanker water or private borewells
While drinking water shortage is acute in DJ Halli, Machalipattanam, KG Halli, and parts of Lingarajapuram and Shivajinagar, flooding is common in low lying areas, including in some parts of HAL and Indiranagar, during the monsoon
‘ The Old Madras Road, National Highway 4 too gets flooded near the Indiranagar RTO making commuting extremely difficult at this point
The people blame the poor drainage system for the flooding
Overflowing of storm water drains in some parts of east Bengaluru, like Lingarajpuram, has led to tragedies getting washed away in the rains. Poor streetlighting is another grouse among the people here
with people Delay in completion of infrastructure projects like the Metro Rail creates traffic bottlenecks in Indiranagar, HAL, Ulsoor and on MG Road, much to the irritation of the residents and commuters
The extreme east section is the most neglected with no political representative or official apparently interested in improving the infrastructure here

It’s a nightmare for motorists

It’s a nightmare for motorists

M.T. Shiva Kumar and Deepika Arwind
Incomplete underpass near Maharani’s College has aggravated problems
— Photo: Bhagya Prakash K.

Tough to negotiate: The area near K.R. Circle in Bangalore has become frustrating for motorists.
BANGALORE: The arterial underpass at Kantharaj Urs Junction near Maharani’s College and the yield junction at K.R. Circle which were supposed to offer “signal-free and police-free” movement for vehicles, have instead become frustrating for motorists.

The partially complete underpass was thrown open for motorists on June 13. Since then, vehicles come to a grinding halt near K.R. Circle and Maharani’s Women’s Science College on Palace Road during peak hours.

The Rs. 10-crore project was intended to reduce traffic congestion in and around Seshadri Road and K.R. Circle. But the incomplete project appears to have aggravated the problem. Bangalore city traffic police officials complained that the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) had not taken steps to complete the project within the scheduled time. Moreover, the BBMP has not installed blinkers and signboards to help motorists navigate, they say.

“Due to the slow pace of work, the project is causing congestion every day,” said an Assistant Commissioner of Police (Traffic), who did not wish to be named.

Vehicles from SBM Junction on Palace Road going towards K.R. Circle on Seshadri Road earlier had to cross the underpass and take a ‘U’ turn in front of the Technical Education Department building and return to Seshadri Road by taking a free left turn. Now, that has been changed. Buses move on the right-side service road of the underpass and join Seshadri Road (towards K.R. Circle) in front of the Agriculture Department building.

“All this is confusing motorists,” said Shivappayya Kambalimath, a State government employee who has been travelling through K.R. Circle for the last eight years.

According to him, before the underpass project began, it took him 15 minutes to reach Vidhana Soudha from Ananda Rao Circle. Now it takes 25 minutes.

“Such projects are often touted as symbols of development. But nobody knows when this underpass will be completed. The BBMP doesn’t understand the hardships of motorists,” said Pratima Kothari, an advocate and a resident of Banashankari.

BBMP response
“The speed limit within the city is 30 kmph. If motorists stick to this, there will be no confusion. Within 15 days the BBMP will install permanent signboards and blinkers,” BBMP Chief Engineer (Major Roads) Chikkarayappa told The Hindu.

The project will be completed by the end of October. We have finished nearly 80 per cent of the work, said another BBMP official. He said the re-laying of asphalt is the real reason for the delay.

“If we had done asphalting and signage work in the past month, rains would have damaged it. A detailed traffic signage plan for the junction is being prepared at a cost of Rs. 8 lakh,” he said.

Police defend decision on closing time for city hotels

Police defend decision on closing time for city hotels

Staff Reporter
BANGALORE: The Bangalore city police on Friday defended before the Karnataka High Court a notification issued by them ordering eateries to close down by 12 midnight.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (Administration), Shiva Prasad, filed a statement of objection before the court in a case filed by Empire Hotels challenging a notification of May 19, 2009.

The notification ordered all eateries and hotels to close down by midnight. The Empire Group had challenged the notification, saying that many VIPs visited their chain of hotels after 11 p.m. The group filed a statement detailing the number of visitors who visit their chain of hotels in the city. Challenging their claim, the police said they had registered several cases against the hotel chain for keeping their establishments open after the specified hours. They said Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) had written to them asking them to step up security around the HAL Corporate office and HAL.

The police said the Empire Hotel in Shivajinagar was very near to the Vidhana Soudha, High Court, Income Tax office, General Post office, Air Force establishments, and VIPs who are categorised under X, Y, Z, and Z-plus security regularly moved around in this area.

There was, therefore, a need to ensure that business establishments and eateries did not function beyond the specified hours.

Justice N.K. Patil adjourned further hearing of the case.

Sites needed to dump waste

Sites needed to dump waste

As Bangalore expands, the BBMP is looking for safe sites to dump the mounting waste. While it is closing illegal dump sites used by contractors, experts want it to focus on the scientific disposal of waste, Bosky Khanna reports

Bosky Khanna

Every day, the city generates about 4,000 metric tonnes of solid waste which is dumped in two landfill sites on its outskirts in Mandur and Mavalipura located 40km and 50km away respectively. But as the city expands, these two sites are becoming too small to handle the additional waste.
Apart from the two, there are many illegal dumping sites. While the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) and the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) close these sites, new ones emerge elsewhere posing health risks to residents in their vicinity.
To resolve this problem, the BBMP had proposed to set up four landfill sites across the city. But the idea was shelved due to litigation and non-availability of vacant sites. Two landfill sites set up by the Karnataka State Development Corporation on Mysore Road and in Tara Farm at Dodaballapur were closed due to public agitation and legal issues.
"Bangalore needs more landfill sites. But availability of space is a matter of concern," says MA Baig, BBMP's deputy commissioner in charge of solid waste management.
The BBMP officials say they are following the Supreme Court rules for dumping and composting solid waste in landfill sites. But contractors question this claim.
SN Balasubramani, general secretary of Bangalore City Garbage Contractors and Lorry Owners Association, says that the BBMP is merely collecting the garbage and dumping it. Nothing is being done to scientifically dispose it, compost it and sell the 'gobra' as manure. They have also not created a leaching system by constructing concrete floors.
"There are 30 contractors under the BBMP. Their task is to merely collect waste and dispose it. While the waste should be ideally segregated at the source, it's not done. Of the 4,000 metric tonnes of waste produced, 600 metric tonnes are dumped in Mavalipura and 500 metric tonnes in Mandur. The remaining is being dumped by contractors in various illegal sites. Of the 100-acre landfill site in Mavalipura, 35 acres is used for landfill by Ramkii while the rest is under litigation," he says.
Thus the city has a provision of handling only 1,000 metric tonnes of waste. But as it grows, steps should be taken to clear more waste.

Composting units in your backyard
As the city is struggling to clear the waste generated every day, experts and NGOs want citizens to set up own composting units in their backyard. The plan is feasible and will eliminate the garbage spill on roads made by open trucks carrying them to landfill sites.
Setting up such units is easy and cost-effective. It has been successfully tried in many residential and commercial establishments in the city, says Wilma Rodrigues of Saahas, an NGO.
An apartment complex of about 50 houses needs two tanks measuring 6x4 ft each. The total investment comes to Rs40,000. Residents have to segregate the waste into recyclable and non-recyclable. Recyclable waste comprises paper, bottles and other plastic and e-waste, while non-recyclable waste comprises domestic and sewerage waste.
All recyclable waste is dumped into the well-aerated tank and is closed with a lid after introducing microbial culture like yeast, curd or earthworms. They convert the food waste into composite (gobra) which can be used as manure.
"In some places, there is reluctance as people complain of the foul smell. But it is important for people to realise that it is part of nature and should be returned as manure. With a little investment and segregation of waste at source, the garbage being piled up in the city can be reduced and people can recycle it and use for greening Bangalore,'' she says.
Such practices are being followed across the city by various organisations and large apartment companies like SBI, Bangalore Club, Bangalore Golf Club, Eagleton Club, Wipro, L&T, Info-Tech Park and apartments built by Shobha Developers, Purvankara, Prestige, Mantri Group, Brigade group and DRDO Colony.

Plug this water leak on Campbell Road

Plug this water leak on Campbell Road

Odeal D'Souza

A water pipe burst has left Campbell Road, which connects Johnson Market to Lifestyle, in a slushy mess.
As cars, autos, and two-wheelers move slowly on this narrow and poorly asphalted lane, officials of the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) have not taken any steps to plug the leak. Pedestrians moving on this stretch to reach the main road hop to avoid puddles along the way.
Since the one-way system has been routed to Campbell Road, vehicles enter this road from Hosur Main Road, Mother Teresa Road and the road opposite St Philomena's Hospital to reach D'souza Circle. Hence, there is too much chaos on this stretch. When it rains, the road gets flooded and the situation goes beyond control.
"We stay on the proper Campbell road. To go there, we've to use this stretch. However, when it rains, it's difficult to walk on this road," Srinidhi R, a resident, says.
"Even if we go in a vehicle, we get stuck in the jam," she says.
This stretch runs across the Campbell main road to a residential and shopping area.
There are about 20 houses on this road and the residents have been facing hardship for 20 years because of bad pavements. Although the BBMP did some repair works, they never bothered to complete them.
"The pavements were not properly constructed. They were laid about 20 years back and the work was abandoned half way through," says Oliver D'souza, a resident.
"Due to the uneven pavements, senior citizens often trip and fall while taking morning and evening walks," he says.
"We've complained to the BBMP authorities many times. But they've not yielded any results so far. The drains are overflowing on the cross road which has added to our woes," says Gloria M, another resident.
Another problem the residents face is poor street lighting.
"After many complaints from the residents, the authorities have finally fixed two street lights," says Yogesh, a resident.
"There were no problems of waterlogging when we came here 30 years ago. However, we are facing many problems now. The overflowing drain is a repulsive sight for residents. Otherwise, this area is quite a nice place to live in," says another resident.
The Campell Road was once a pride of Bangalore where many Anglo-Indian used to stay. They have moved out of the place now.

Buses to lord it over ORR soon

Buses to lord it over ORR soon

Dedicated lanes on 62-km outer ring road will give a boost to mass modes of transport

Senthalir S. Bangalore

Dedicated bus lanes will soon come up along the 62-km Outer Ring Road (ORR) in an effort to boost mass transportation modes and decongest traffic inside the city.
Experts feel that this would also provide an opportunity for IT professionals to take to public transportation at the time of economic slowdown.
The dedicated bus lanes are part of the state government's efforts to provide speedy commuting in Bangalore.
As a first step towards this, chief minister BS Yeddyurappa on Friday laid the foundation stone for a Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) project to provide for a signal-free corridor from the Central Silk Board to the Hebbal Flyover junction, by building flyovers and underpasses at six junctions on the 31-km stretch of the ORR.
The flyovers and underpasses will come up at the HSR 14th main, Bellandur, Devarabeesanahalli, Kalyan Nagar, Hennur and Veerannapalya junctions.
"It is for the first time that a dedicated bus lane is being implemented on ORR. The BDA has the provision to provide a bus lane, which is also called Bus Rapid Transport System (BRTS) as part of the project. The bus lanes will come up at the all eight junctions along the ORR," said a senior BDA officer.
He added that the width of the bus lanes would be 3.5metres and would be provided on both sides of the road. The bus lanes would be implemented first on the ORR and later on the Peripheral Ring Road (PRR). The estimated cost of the work is Rs239.31 crore.
"The average capacity of the junctions is 10,000 PCUs (passenger car per unit). The construction of flyovers is likely to reduce the traffic woes," said the official.
Laying the foundation stone for the works at the six junctions along ORR, Yeddyurappa said: "The 31-km stretch will be made signal free for commuters. This is for the first time, that work on six junctions would be executed simultaneously. The project will be completed in 18 months.

Bonsai grouse in Lalbagh

Bonsai grouse in Lalbagh
Famous Bonsai expert Srinivas alleges the Horticulture department is not maintaining properly the Bonsai Park in Lalbagh, to which he donated 453 of his bonsai plants

The Horticulture department’s maintenance of the Bonsai Park in Lalbagh has drawn sharp criticism from renowned Bonsai expert S Srinivas, who gifted his collection of 453 bonsai plants in 2003, to get the park started.
Bonsai Srinivas, as he’s popularly known, donated the plants to the department on the following conditions: A separate garden should be set up for the plants and it should be named after his parents, he should be given a monthly honorarium, an institute should be set up to impart knowledge about bonsais, and he should be made the chief advisor to the department. The department agreed to his conditions and things were all fine until problems cropped up in 2006 when Srinivas returned from his threemonth US trip.
Srinivas now alleges that the department has harassed and humiliated him despite his valuable contribution. He says, “I have appealed to officials many times in the past. I was made to run from pillar to post. Despite assurances by ministers and senior bureaucrats, nothing has been done. The only mistake was to wait patiently all these days hoping to get their attention. My patience is coming to an end after waiting for seven long years. I will go before the public in the interest of the state through media.”
After Srinivas wrote to the Lok Ayukta seeking justice, Upa Lok Ayukta Patri Basavanagoud inspected the park and directed the department to submit a detailed report about the project. The department has submitted its report and the order is awaited.
Senior officials in the Horticulture department maintain no injustice has been done to Srinivas. A senior official on the condition of anonymity says, “Though the department could not fulfil all his conditions, it has done whatever it could within its rights. He was paid a monthly honorarium of Rs 15,000. After returning from the US, Srinivas was determined to claim honorarium even during his absence period. Further, he demanded a designation and facilities on par with the director. We do not have powers to fulfil these demands.”
Sources in the department told Bangalore Mirror that Srinivas is still a chief advisor and officials are open to his suggestions. The department had also constructed a Pagoda Gate and displayed a board bearing the name of his parents. The board was removed as the construction work was undertaken and would be replaced once the work is completed, the sources clarified. They allege, Srinivas himself stopped coming to the office and stopped giving suggestions. “Utilising the services of the department’s experts, who have doctorates, we increased the number of plants to 1,250 from the original 453. He pressed for signing a memorandum of understanding in maintaining the park. These rights are with the government,” the sources add.
Bonsai is a Japanese art of rearing trees and plants in small containers.The art, including aesthetic pruning of plants in various shapes that are later grown permanently in a small size, dates back to China. Chinese called the art as Penzai and the same was pronounced as Bonsai in Japan.

Signal-free Ring Rd finally gets moving

Signal-free Ring Rd finally gets moving

Bangalore: Chief minister B S Yeddyurappa laid the foundation stone for six grade separators on Outer Ring Road on Friday. The project undertaken by the BDA will see the grade separators coming up at six junctions of the 31-km stretch of ORR from Central Silk Board junction to Hebbal, to ensure seamless travel. This includes five flyovers and two underpasses at one junction. The project cost is Rs 240.03 crore. It is expected to be completed in 18 months.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Brigade Road - Smooth ride ends, woes return

Brigade Road - Smooth ride ends, woes return

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The much appre ciated automated parking system introduced by the Brigade’s Shop and Establishment Association (BSEA) in collaboration with BBMP has run into trouble
The BBMP has not renewed its contract with the association which ends on June 26, and has instead called for tenders from other parties to run the pay and park system on the road, which generated an annual revenue of Rs 2,02,21,827 over the past five years. As much as 50 per cent of this revenue went into BBMP coffers
But despite the huge profit it made, the BBMP has made no move to renew the contract with the associa tion, which has shut down the parking lot meters as a result, for the last few days
But the BBMP refuses to take the blame, claiming the BSEA did not discuss the renewal of contract with it and left it with no choice but to call for tenders to run the Brigade Road parking system. BBMP commissioner, Bharat Lal Meena says the tenders will be processed shortly
But Suhail Yusuf, secretary, BSEA, says a letter dated June 19 was given to the BBMP commissioner for extension of the automated pay and park system on Brigade Road
“The agreement dated June 21, 2004 between BBMP and BSEA expires on June 26 this year. As there was no response from the BBMP to our letter the contract has now expired. We closed the automated system as we didn’t want to work illegally after the expiry of the contract,” Mr Yusuf says
”We appointed 14 security guards 24x7 to take care of the whole system. Most of the revenue we got from running the system, went into maintaining the machines. It was a no profit no loss venture for us. But we kept it going for the convenience of the public,” he explains
The BBMP’s decision to invite tenders has given rise to fears about the parking mafia making its way into Brigade Road
The BBMP has in the past been forced to drop parking contractors following allegations of large scale misappropriation of revenue, duplicate ticketing and harrasment of the public. It was in this scenario that the BSEA came up with the idea of automated parking metres which became an instant hit, bringing in orderly parking on Brigade Road and security for the cars
The system worked particularly well as it put a two-hour cap for parking on the road. The question now is: Will the BBMP be able to duplicate the efficiency of the automated parking system with another contractor, who may not have as much reason to see that it functions well, as the shopkeepers themselves?

Fraught with ecological issues

Fraught with ecological issues

A stretch of the Shanthinagar drain, over which the proposed 5.5 km road-over-drain from KH Road to Koramangla Inner Ring Road will pass.
Monica Jha First Published : 25 Jun 2009 02:43:03 PM IST
For a city grappling hard with flooding in low-lying areas, the fact that the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagar Palike (BBMP) is mulling over a big infrastructure project of building road over storm water drains (SWDs), cannot be good news.
The BBMP has received a proposal from SPML Infrastructure Limited, a private company, for the development of an elevated Road-Over- Drain (ROD)
corridor over the SWD from KH road to Koramangala Inner Ring Road, a distance of 5.5 km. The Detailed Project Report (DPR) submitted by the company in January this year has pegged the project cost to Rs 400 crore.
The DPR states that the signal-free road corridor would help in decreasing the commuting time from 45-60 minutes to 5-10 minutes. Town planning experts say that if the BBMP goes ahead with the project the city will only get more flooded. Areas like Ejipura, Viveknagar, Koramangala VI block and other parts of the Koramangala valley will be especially vulnerable.
“Piers within the drain would obstruct the flow of water. The major reason for flooding is stagnant or slowmoving water in drains. Civic agencies see SWDs as no man’s land and potential real estate. They lack a holistic approach,” says Dr TV Ramachandra, of the Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science.
The technical committee of the BBMP had also raised this questions when the Expressions of Interest were called for the project. However, the DPR clearly states that no flood control mechanisms have been incorporated in the project. On the issue of drain obstruction the DPR says that piers would be constructed within the width of the drain wall with a difference of 16 metres to 18 metres between two piers. It also says that the SWD wall will be strengthened near the pier locations.
According to the DPR, water supply pipes cross the drain at Bannerghatta Road and Hosur Road but it clearly states that installation of a sewage treatment plant (STP) is not a part of the project.
Land acquisition
The project cannot be undertaken until land is acquired at various portions of the proposed stretch to ensure uniform road width. A part of the land is to be used for commercial development and parking also. The DPR says that the BBMP should acquire the land. According to the DPR, the total acquisition required is 2430 sq. metres at one end and 11,600 sq. metres at the other end. To get uniform road width, land needs to be acquired on two stretches: 860 sq. metres including 16 properties
near Anepalya, and 2760 sq metres including 11 properties, vacant land and a park near National Games Village.
Past blunders
The city is still suffering from the civic bodies’ decision in the past to use tank beds for development of residential and commercial layouts. “A SWD is an independent utility and an integrated part of the natural drainage system. Any further infrastructure on SWD or multi use of the SWDs would adversely affect the whole system,” Dr Ramachandra said. Advisor to the state government on Traffic, Transportation and Infrastructure, Prof MN Sreehari agreed that RODs would enhance the possibility of floods, especially in Ejipura and the Inner Ring Road, when water level goes up during rains.
Commercially not viable
The DPR says that toll, lease rentals from commercial and advertisement spaces for 35 years would not be enough to make the project financially viable. Therefore, the developers had asked 25 acres of land near the BIA to be commercially developed to recover the project cost.
Project status
The DPR, prepared at a cost of Rs 2 crore, was submitted to BBMP in January 2009. It was vetted by the BBMP’s technical advisory committee. The proposal was discussed during the fifth meeting of state level single window agency on February 17, 2009. It will now be discussed by ABIDe.

Rs 20 lakh for two ‘star’ toilets

Rs 20 lakh for two ‘star’ toilets
G Manjusainath , Bangalore, DH News Service:

Probably these would be the costliest public toilets Bangalore ever had. Built by the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) at a whopping Rs 20 lakh, these should definitely qualify for the five-star tag at least going by the money claimed to have been spent on them.

These ‘star toilets’ are coming up in Rajajinagar near ESI Hospital and BESCOM office. With a built-up area of around 400 square feet, each of these toilets has been constructed at a cost of Rs 10 lakh. The expenditure per square feet works out to be Rs 2,710, the rate offered by real estate developers for flats in the City.

But why the high price tag? Land is not an issue, because the land for the public toilets built by the BBMP, belongs to the Palike itself. Since the toilets have been built on the footpath, the length of the water supply line and sewerage line from the BWSSB is reduced, Srinivasan, chartered engineer and registered valuer, noted. After a site inspection, he assessed that that under any circumstance, the cost of each of these public toilets cannot exceed Rs 6.31 lakh. According to him, the structures of each of these single-storeyed load bearing buildings costs Rs 2.59 lakh. The sanitary fittings, power connection, electric wiring and fittings, overhead tank costs somewhere around Rs 2.2 lakh per toilet. If the cost index of Bangalore as on date of inspection (May 15, 2009) is included, an extra sum of Rs 1.18 lakh can be added for each construction. Srinivasan claimed that the cost of each toilet should be Rs 6,30,475.

“The estimated expenditure of Rs 20 lakh for these two public toilets, is considered very high as residential buildings with nice toilets are available in the City at this price range,” he asserted. According to the sign board put up near the toilets, construction began on February 7 this year and was supposed to be finished on May 7 this year. However it is yet to be completed.

When contacted, engineer-in-chief of BBMP sought two days’ time to inspect and find out the ‘truth’. Rajaji Nagar Executive Engineer Gurunatha said details of not this particular toilet but of the toilets across the area must be displayed.

However, Srinivasan said the board near one of the toilets specifically mentions the toilets at Ward-15, Rajaji Nagar, in the west side of the ESI hospital, 2nd stage and 12th main. “This money has been spent on these two particular toilets,” he claimed.
He has sent the copy of his detailed observation to the Lokayukta Justice Santosh Hegde and the BBMP Commissioner Bharat Lal Meena seeking and action.

Individual, not post, makes a difference

Individual, not post, makes a difference
BBMP Commissioner Says Bangalore Must Plan Long Term. Knee-Jerk Reactions Must Be Avoided
Seethalakshmi S & Aarthi R | TNN

BBMP commissioner Bharat Lal Meena is confident he can change the city and also the mindset of the corporation staff. But he has no false dreams for Bangalore
Bangalore: Troubled by the long wait for good roads, problem-free drains or day-to-day garbage clearance? Very soon, you might have to just drop in at BBMP ward offices to get it done. Ward offices equipped with funds to solve civic woes and civilians given a chance to participate — the new BBMP chief has many plans on his agenda for Namma Bengaluru.
In his first interview after taking over as commissioner, a confident Bharat Lal Meena tells The Times of India that team work and adequate planning coupled with a passion to deliver is the key to governing a growing city like Bangalore. The keywords on his agenda for development are ‘change’ and ‘wait to watch it’. Excerpts:
You have taken over at a crucial time — monsoon. Garbage clearance, overflowing drains, roads that give way after a shower. The list is endless. What’s on top?
Cleaning drains and desilting them is immediate priority. We are working out a big project for this to combat the monsoon. Waste disposal and recycling needs attention.
As for garbage clearance, we will study best practices in international cities and implement them here. We don’t need to reinvent the wheel. All we need to do is to bring in efficiency.
One of the major problems with development work in the city is that they are hardly time bound. Any attempts to change this?
Yes. We’re working on getting in a change. It needs a few amendments. But it’s too early to comment on the details.
BBMP is mammoth. There are allegations that officials are corrupt and development work remain on paper. How will you nip this?
I agree there must be overall transformation in the corporation. The mentality of people itself must change. I have done that in my previous assignments in KPTC and Housing Board. It’s not that everyone in BBMP is bad. Unlike the private sector, we cannot adopt the hire-and-fire policy. We must take people along, identify talent and work unitedly to beautify this beautiful city.
Successive governments have spoken about making Bangalore a Singapore. But beyond visits to that country, Bangalore has seen nothing. How will you go about transforming Bangalore into Singapore?
I have no such dreams. I agree that we have a lot to learn from them in terms of civic sense. But in my view, Bangalore must maintain its identity. There is no doubt that infrastructure in Bangalore must be improved. What perhaps stands out in those cities is long-term planning and not knee-jerk reactions.
People’s participation is perhaps a crucial factor in governing a city. How will you ensure that Bangaloreans are involved in the growth of their city?
I believe in de-centralized governance. As a first step in this direction, I’ll set up citizen centres in all wards. The BBMP will give Rs 1 lakh to a junior engineer of that ward (which needs upgrade). It’ll be a revolving fund, and this fund will be used for improving greenery in the area concerned or repairing roads. For this, the engineer will involve resident welfare associations (RWAs) so that the project is locally supervized and there is accountability.
Earlier, the BBMP had plans to issue notices to all vacant site owners across the city to keep them clean, else pay up for the cleaning expenditure incurred by the BBMP, along with property tax. When is it likely to take off?
Well, we do have some plans for vacant sites but there are some pending formalities. This process also demands some legal provisions.
The BBMP commissioner’s post is the hottest seat. From drains to rains to poor roads to potholes, the commissioner is blamed for just about everything.
I believe that every post is crucial. The job of a Bescom chief or a Housing Board c o m m i s s i o n e r is tough too. The public interface of this job makes expectations high. Post should not make a difference; the individual must.