Sunday, January 31, 2010

Kengeri struggles for a foothold

Kengeri struggles for a foothold

Article Rank

FOOTPATHS ENCROACHED BY HAWKERS, COVERED WITH RUBBLE There is a need to scientifically manage so lid waste. Garbage strewn carelessly is attracting stray dogs and cows apart from creating a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

Elizabeth H., resident of Kengeri Satellite Town Though BDA has taken up work to rejuve nate two important lakes, there are other lakes which need immediate attention to improve their ground water levels.

Suresh N., resident near Kengeri Railway Station Kengeri has a wellmaintained bus stand. However, the bus stops have not been designated appropriately. There must be bus stops close to railway stations.

C.B. Umesh Chandra, retired university employee

Pedestrians in Kengeri have to tread carefully: The few usable footpaths in the locality have been encroached upon by hawkers and the remaining are inaccessible owing to the debris piled on them from various sites.
Locals allege that civic agency Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has invested its money only in projects that will benefit motorists, ignoring the needs of pedestrians. "BBMP has been concentrating on widening major roads and is not bothered about providing footpaths, over bridges or underpasses for pedestrians," says Pramila U., a resident of Kengeri Satellite Town.

Work will soon begin on widening Kengeri Main Road which connects Mysore Road and Magadi Road near Beggar's Colony and buildings on either side of the road have already been marked for demolition. "When the work begins, existing footpaths will be covered with rubble, leaving no space for pedestrians. BBMP has failed to make any alternate arrangements," adds Ms Pramila.

Also, while the widening project is in progress, traffic will be diverted to narrow residential lanes where there are no footpaths. "The few footpaths available in the area are used as parking space for vehicles or for mini-gardens. BBMP must ensure that the footpaths are free of obstructions for easy movement of pedestrians," she says.

Though repeated complaints have been made to BBMP officials in Rajarajeshwarinagar zone, they have not been addressed yet, say the disgruntled residents. Unlike the main roads, the residential roads are in a bad shape with potholes causing frequent accidents.

Residents also stress that a pedestrian subway or skyway is urgently needed due to the heavy volume of traffic moving towards Ring Road. "Pedestrians are given a very short time to cross the wide road. It is not possible for all to cross the road in such a short span of time," says a traffic cop.

BMRCL mulls over Metro connectivity to BIA

BMRCL mulls over Metro connectivity to BIA
Bangalore, Jan 30, DHNS:

The Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) is mulling over a proposal to establish Metro connectivity from Yeshwantpur to Bengaluru International Airport.

At an interactive meet organised by the Bangalore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCIC) on Thursday, BMRCL MD N Sivasailam said the proposal was being considered after a survey conducted by Rail India Technical and Economic Services (RITES), indicated that two thirds of the people going to the airport were coming from the Yeshwantpur-Yelahanka areas.

The proposed area would cover stations beginning from Yeshwantpur and head towards the railway line and then go underground all the way to Mathikere with an exit at BEL. Thereafter it would take a left turn towards Yelahanka and another stretch of underground on the right to Kannur. From there, it would be elevated all the way to the airport.

Four stops planned

A total of four stops were planned at the airport including one for existing terminal and one for the proposed terminal. The entire stretch would be 33 km in length and the cost estimated for this project is Rs 7,500 crore.

Sivasailam said they would advise the Government to allow this stretch to proceed on a Public Private Participation (PPP) model, where the concrete structures would be owned by the Government, while the rolling stock would be owned by the private operators.

First station

Meanwhile, Swastik near Majestic will be the first station to be constructed on a PPP model with Mantri Developers. The station, which split the surrounding Mantri property in two, will now be developed by Mantri and the BMRCL has entered into a revenue sharing agreement with them.

Sivasailam also spoke about the BMRCL’s plans to plant saplings in a catchment area owned by the BWSSB near Tippagondanahalli reservoir. He said they faced difficulties planting saplings in other areas and as a result had chosen this area to develop green space. The area which measures 350 acres would be bigger than Lalbagh or Cubbon park when developed, he said.

LEDs cut BBMP power bill

LEDs cut BBMP power bill
Bangalore, Jan 30, DHNS:

The Karnataka Renewable Energy Development Ltd (KREDL) replaced 110 sodium vapour bulbs on the flyover at Richmond Circle in Bangalore with LEDs (Light Emitting Diode) a month ago.

This has minimised monthly electricity bill of the BBMP by Rs 23,776. In a year, the total savings will be Rs 2.85 lakh.

The Bureau of Energy Efficiency, based in Delhi, had taken up the project on a pilot basis in association with the Karnataka Renewable Energy Development Limited in Bangalore.
The total money spent on the project is Rs 14 lakh.

The 110 sodium vapour lamps, each with capacity of 250 watts, had been replaced by LEDs of 79 watts. As a result consumption of energy has come down drastically. In a yea,r the LEDs will be consume 75,357 kWh (1 kWh - amount of power consumed in one hour) of power lesser than the sodium vapour bulbs.

LEDs are based on semiconductor diode. When electricity is supplied the energy is released in the form of photons. Unlike in sodium vapour or mercury vapour bulbs, energy is not wasted in generating heat.

KREDL Managing Director H G Shivanandamurthy said the power sector had been the major contributor to carbon emissions in the globe. Use of advanced energy efficient equipment would reduce the emissions. He said that 40 per cent of power generated in the State is being consumed by Bangaloreans. If the hotels, colleges, institutes, hospitals shifted to energy efficient LEDs, a good quantity of power could be saved. LEDs suitable for domestic lighting are also available in the market.

In parks
The agency has also taken up replacement of mercury vapour lamps in JP Park and Hanumanthanagar park at a cost of Rs. 5.58 lakh, replacing the 133 mercury vapour lamps of 125 watts with LEDs of 30 watts. Energy consumption would be reduced by 22,719 kWh per year and cut the power bill Rs 1.36 lakh a year.

Similarly in case of Hanumanthanagar park 125 mercury vapour bulbs will be replaced by LED bulbs and the agency has already floated tenders for bulbs.

KREDL is also working on a proposal to convert street lights in select cities in the State into solar lights. In the first phase five cities - Shimoga, Hubli-Dharwad, Mysore, Mangalore and Belgaum will be taken up for the project.

KREDL special officer B Ramesh said the local body of these cities would be involved in the project. The Centre would offer financial assistance for the project, he said.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Painting the city beautiful

Painting the city beautiful
Meet the artists who converted the drab and ugly walls of our city into works of art

Bangaloreans who take a trip down Belur and Halebid everyday cannot help but admire the umpteen paintings on the walls of all the government buildings. The credit is usually given to the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), but the real heroes are the painters who worked day and night to beautify the walls. Surana College honored the painters on Friday on the occasion of Saraswathi puja.
The band of painters did not just include professional painters but also students fresh out of college! Manjunath completed his post graduation from the renowned Chitrakala Parishat in 2008. He then did some art work in films like Prem Kahani and Psycho. “I heard through my friend that the BBMP was looking out for artists to paint the walls in Bangalore and I was very interested as I love public art,” he said. He then approached Ramesh B T, Chief Engineer, BBMP West, and he landed the job. The paintings at the Anand Rao Circle Flyover and at Yelahanka have been done by this artist. Manjunath wants to bridge the gap between art and the common man. “Most people feel that art is for the intellectual. I have spent most of my time during the PG course in Majestic drawing portraits of common people like vendors etc. I want to send out the message that art is not as complicated as it seems,” he says.
Here is another artist who came all the way from Hampi to paint the walls here. P Vishwanath has just completed his M Phil in Visual Arts from the Kannada University at Hampi. “The BBMP had put ads in the papers for artists interested in the project,” he said. “I painted historical pictures and it was a different kind of experience to paint the walls,” he said.
About 25 painters were honored in all. “We were out of our jobs and were managing with daily wage work. The BBMP helped us to get back to our profession and gave us a new lease of life,” said Sampat, one of the artists. The brain behind the idea, Ramesh B T, was also present and honored by the staff and students of Surana College.

Expressway witnesses maiden accidents

Expressway witnesses maiden accidents

It seems the traffic cops’ warnings not to overspeed on the new elevated expressway over Hosur road fell on deaf ears. Exactly six days after its inauguration the engineering marvel on Thursday witnessed its first set of accidents. Luckily, those involved in the mishaps escaped with minor injuries.
The first accident took place around 8:30 pm when a car speeding towards Electronics City crashed onto the median. “The car, while trying to overtake another vehicle, crashed on to the median before ramming into another car which was passing by,” said Sunil S, a software engineer with Infosys who was on his way back home at the time of incident.
A few minutes later, a twowheeler coming towards Madiwala also crashed on to the median while trying to overtake a car. “The guys on the bike were riding at high speed. They were about to overtake a car when the rider lost balance and hit the median. They were riding so fast that the bike got stuck in the barricade,” said Thejesh, a techie with a reputed firm in Electronics City who witnessed the accident.
The traffic wardens quickly cleared the area and averted a traffic pile up besides taking care of the victims who suffered only minor injuries.

Ultra-modern bus terminal for Yeshwantpur

Ultra-modern bus terminal for Yeshwantpur

Srikanth Hunasavadi. Bangalore

The state government has decided to build an ultra-modern bus terminal in Yeshwantpur, on the lines of the satellite bus terminus on Mysore Road, to ease traffic congestion on Tumkur Road and the pressure on the Kempe Gowda bus stand. The new terminal will come up on a 10-acre land belonging to the now defunct Mysore Lamps.
"We have decided to build a mega bus terminal in Yeshwantpur to ease the pressure on the Kempe Gowda bus stand, the main terminal for KSRTC buses," transport minister R Ashok said on Friday. "Buses plying towards North Karnataka, Mangalore and Shimoga can use the new terminal," he said. Almost 70% of KSRTC buses plied in the Tumkur route, Ashok noted.
"The state-owned, and now defunct, Mysore Lamps was closed down after it suffered heavy losses," Ashok said. "It owed Rs180 crore, which was taken as a loan, to the state government. The state commerce and industries department has decided to sell the company's 25 acres of land to recover the loss," he said. "We have sought 10 acres of land. The department has agreed in principle to sell the land to the KSRTC, but the payment modalities are yet to be finalised."
He said the Majestic bus stand would be shifted in stages to make way for the Metro. Ashok also announced that the state transport department would issue free passes to family members of armed forces' personnel who had laid down their lives defending the country. The passes would be issued to the wives and parents of the martyrs, he said.
He said the KSRTC was adopting various measures to increase revenue. Allowing advertisements on buses was one of them. It was also planning to start its own courier services, he said.

They refuse to buy new problems

They refuse to buy new problems

Jayanagar and its neighbourhood is no longer a halcyon residential area as it witnesses a growing commercial activity that opens up civic amenity problems like parking, sanitation and congestion. Talking to Shwetha S, the residents demand steps to bridle the Metro work and resolve their parking woes which are making their life miserable

While Metro work kicks up a lot of dust, the stench in Jayanagar's BDA Complex makes residents' stomachs churn

Shwetha S

This won't make Namma Metro bosses happy. The young in Jayanagar are pretty cut up with the Metro for the way it is polluting their air by kicking up tonnes of dust — the singled most important issue, they insist, their new civic leader must take up for them.
Jayanagar, with the largest planned residential areas in Asia, is also the 'Nalanda' of Bangalore housing 32 educational institutions. But this pride of city, befriended by many luminaries, most prominent of them being the Infosys mentor NR Narayana Murthy and late actor Vishnuvardhan, has also grown into an extremely busy commercial area. This has added to its prosperity but stolen its charming ambience which attracted the bigwigs.
"The BBMP is bereft of any aesthetic sense," this is how a student in his early twenties describes the Palike for ignoring the infrastructural needs of a residential locality graduating to commercial segment.
Jayanagar is personified by the Cosmopolitan Club and the nearby playground with the skating rink. The young and old frequenting here, who beam at being called 'Jayanagarian,' have many quarrels with the Palike but nothing is so pronounced as their angst against the "mindless" metro rail project that goes about the work in a cavalier manner, trampling environmental concern under its iron wheels.
"We know the Metro will help us in the long run. But it need not destroy our greenery and parks and kick up tonnes of dust and smoke," protests Avinash Hegde, a second year degree student with National College.
"Yes, da," chips in Rakesh Shetty, another student and Avinash's buddy, "We have parks but we no longer go there because the metro project spews tonnes of dust and all greenery is coated with a thick layer of dust."
Nursing mothers are angrier than others on this count. "My two-year-old daughter's cough is turning to a chronic disease. The doctor says it is due to the constant imbibing of dust," says Divija M, living near Lalbagh. If she had had a magic wand, she would have used it to complete the Metro in one day and be done with it.
"Look at the way they work," points out Meghanad, an engineer in his 40's. "They ram right through the greenery and parks. They could have planned and executed the project skirting precious parks," says he.
"I stay near the road parallel to the Rose garden," says Meghashree, an interior designer. "To speed up the project, the Metro people work even in late nights violating all rules. As their heavy machines keep pounding the ground, we can't sleep peacefully anymore," she adds angrily. The metro work has also damaged the power cables and often power goes off. This adds to the discomfort of citizens.
Students compelled to take different routes, overnight conversion of roads into one-way or two-way and rise in theft cases due to power failures are some of the other problems people in this constituency attribute to metro.
"For going to college, we take Nanda Road but every second or third day, the traffic police keep changing the diversion from one route to another, which is annoying," says Krishna Rao, a student of KIET Engineering College.
Jayanagar BDA complex is a sprawling commercial hub housing some 500-odd shops, six government offices, a railway booking centre, a regional transport office, tutorials and restaurants. "But what do you see," asks RN Bandey, a bank official. "The whole complex is kept untidy. People spit and pee anywhere they like."
Maybe, this is due to lack of comfort stations. But boys are urinating in front of a girls' college. That is shocking and Malini Gowda, a student, does not know whom to approach to put an end to this nuisance.
The transformation of a peaceful residential area to a commercial hub was made without a debate on the part of the BBMP, says Bhaskar B, executive committee member of Residential Welfare Association (RWA). "The problems of sanitation and parking are now the most pronounced in this area," he says.
The RWA has been asking for a multi-story car parking space in Jayanagar complex. But shopkeepers are not co-operating for fear of losing their space. Residents of Jayanagar wards hope their new civic leader will solve their problems.

Complex of promises needs a push for fulfillment

Complex of promises needs a push for fulfillment

Shwetha S

Jayanagar's heart is the BDA complex. And there was once a soul, the Puttanna Theatre. Both are sickly. The complex, the beehive of commercial activities, urgently needs mending and a multi-layered parking lot. Puttanna theatre, named after the sandalwood director Puttanna Kanagal, remains closed for long, and it hurts the Jayanagarians.
"Our MLA Vijay Kumar had sanctioned budget to renovate and restart the Puttanna Theatre," explains Mukund Narayan, resident of 4th block. "The theatre is to be converted to a convention centre. Till now, the civic authorities have not started the work. We wish we had a forceful civic representative who would do the needful."
Another resident of Jayanagar 1st block Bhaskar Nayak reflects a collective demand for urgent repairs and a roomy multi-story parking lot for Jayanagar complex. "Hundreds of vehicles are parked on the road at any point of time, leading to traffic chaos in our area," says Nayak.
"When the authorities promised us that they will renovate the Jayanagar complex, they also told us they will build an auditorium in the complex as Bangalore South does not have an auditorium. So now we want the new auditorium in Jayanagar to be named after the late star Vishnuvardhan as he was a resident of Jayanagar 4th T block. But it looks like the authorities have forgotten about their promises. If we had a committed corporator, the work would have been done," says KV Bhaskar Murthy, a member of the Residential Welfare Association of Jayanagar.
Murthy admits part of the problem is the unwillingness of the shop owners in the complex to move out for the work to begin. "They fear they will lose the ownership. Civic authorities should take initiative to make them understand," says he.
Weekends are the most dreaded time when thousands of vehicles roll in and the once-peaceful Jayanagar complex becomes a battle ground. "It is the residents who bear the burden," says Amritha Raj, a shopper, who resides nearby.
To an extent, it is the failure of the public transport system, admit thoughtful residents. They say that if the BMTC had a scientific schedule catering to the needs of the people, this many private vehicles would not have been on the roads. "I, for instance," says RM Patil, a man in his 40's from nearby Byrasandra, "would love to come by bus but the buses are blindly run without any purpose. What to do?"
"The RWA insists it had asked the BMTC to provide a shuttle service to Bangalore south specific, especially on the weekends, But who cares," says an office-bearer of RWA.
Pranjali Kumar, a sportswoman and resident, is sad that the civic authorities have not kept the promise to remodel the Kittur Rani Chenamma Stadium in Jayanagar 3rd block to accommodate more public. There are many schools and colleges around the place and this will be an immense help for students of these institutions.
"We are all looking for the bigger stadium. It seems every time an amenity is needed, people must agitate," she says wistfully.

Complex of promises needs a push for fulfillment

Complex of promises needs a push for fulfillment

Shwetha S

Jayanagar's heart is the BDA complex. And there was once a soul, the Puttanna Theatre. Both are sickly. The complex, the beehive of commercial activities, urgently needs mending and a multi-layered parking lot. Puttanna theatre, named after the sandalwood director Puttanna Kanagal, remains closed for long, and it hurts the Jayanagarians.
"Our MLA Vijay Kumar had sanctioned budget to renovate and restart the Puttanna Theatre," explains Mukund Narayan, resident of 4th block. "The theatre is to be converted to a convention centre. Till now, the civic authorities have not started the work. We wish we had a forceful civic representative who would do the needful."
Another resident of Jayanagar 1st block Bhaskar Nayak reflects a collective demand for urgent repairs and a roomy multi-story parking lot for Jayanagar complex. "Hundreds of vehicles are parked on the road at any point of time, leading to traffic chaos in our area," says Nayak.
"When the authorities promised us that they will renovate the Jayanagar complex, they also told us they will build an auditorium in the complex as Bangalore South does not have an auditorium. So now we want the new auditorium in Jayanagar to be named after the late star Vishnuvardhan as he was a resident of Jayanagar 4th T block. But it looks like the authorities have forgotten about their promises. If we had a committed corporator, the work would have been done," says KV Bhaskar Murthy, a member of the Residential Welfare Association of Jayanagar.
Murthy admits part of the problem is the unwillingness of the shop owners in the complex to move out for the work to begin. "They fear they will lose the ownership. Civic authorities should take initiative to make them understand," says he.
Weekends are the most dreaded time when thousands of vehicles roll in and the once-peaceful Jayanagar complex becomes a battle ground. "It is the residents who bear the burden," says Amritha Raj, a shopper, who resides nearby.
To an extent, it is the failure of the public transport system, admit thoughtful residents. They say that if the BMTC had a scientific schedule catering to the needs of the people, this many private vehicles would not have been on the roads. "I, for instance," says RM Patil, a man in his 40's from nearby Byrasandra, "would love to come by bus but the buses are blindly run without any purpose. What to do?"
"The RWA insists it had asked the BMTC to provide a shuttle service to Bangalore south specific, especially on the weekends, But who cares," says an office-bearer of RWA.
Pranjali Kumar, a sportswoman and resident, is sad that the civic authorities have not kept the promise to remodel the Kittur Rani Chenamma Stadium in Jayanagar 3rd block to accommodate more public. There are many schools and colleges around the place and this will be an immense help for students of these institutions.
"We are all looking for the bigger stadium. It seems every time an amenity is needed, people must agitate," she says wistfully.

BBMP elections put off

BBMP elections put off
New Dates After Ward Reservation Process

Bangalore: It’s official. The BBMP elections will not be held on February 21. The state election commission called off the elections on Friday. The exact date of election will be decided depending on the final take on the reservation of wards.
This follows a day after the Supreme Court vacated its stay on the December 8, 2009 order of the division Bench of the Karnataka High Court, the state government on Thursday initiated the first step of writing to the State Election Commission.
“We told the SEC the government would study the SC order and get back to them on the government’s next course of action. But, we need a minimum of two months’ time to redo the reservation list’’ law minister S Suresh Kumar told TOI.
The government will now file a compliance report before the Karnataka High Court early next week which will outline the time required by the government. “We need to prepare a fresh list and then invite objections which would take approximately 45 days.
The state election commission itself had told the apex court that it would not be able to conduct the elections according to the revised schedule in the absence of the ward list from the government,’’ he said. On Thursday, the apex court made it clear that it would not interfere in the BBMP polls and it was between the state government and the high court.
The SEC wrote to the government on Friday, asking for an immediate reply on its stand on the reservation list. “We’ll be able to decide on the exact poll date only after the government replies. With the elections called, the existing calendar of events is also nullified. Voters can continue to get themselves updated on the list. The last date for the inclusions and deletions will also be fixed with the revised poll schedule. As of now, the election machinery is prepared. Readying of the voters’ list and training of booth officers are in progress. We only need the final reservation list,’’ SEC officials told TOI on Friday.
There’s still hope for a direct elected mayor with an extended term and elected ward committees. The possible delay in BBMP elections might rekindle efforts in bringing these much-expected citizens’ demands into effect before the actual polls.
The Agenda for Bengaluru Infrastructure Development task force is all set to get the blocks cleared for the Bengaluru Region Governance Bill. The Bill was submitted to the government a few weeks ago. It was shelved till the elections citing time constraints. ‘WAIT A WHILE FOR CLEAR PICTURE’ Advocate General Says Govt Will Have Little Option But To Obey HC Order Bangalore: The wait for BBMP elections continues. The pending procedural formalities clearly indicate an inevitable delay. Advocate general Ashok Harnahalli on Friday said: “A clear picture will be out only next week. Even before reservation, plight of the existing calendar of events must be decided.” Excerpts from an interview:
What’s the latest on the reservation list? Has the government made its stand clear before the court?
It’s not clear yet. The government will file its application next week.
Why the delay till next week?
First, the State Election Commission must clear its stand on the calendar of events. No doubt fixing of reservation is government responsibility. But once election schedule is announced, the SEC becomes responsible for the calendar of events. It must make its stand clear.
What are the options available for the government?
It really doesn’t have much option but to go as per the court order. There might be a few people unwilling or unprepared for the elections for various reasons. But court proceedings must also not be ruled out. The government did not expect this sudden turn of events.
Will there be a delay now?
Well, that’s difficult to answer. It’s likely to be influenced by two major procedural aspects. As far as reservation guidelines are concerned, the government has reworked and submitted the revised guidelines as per the high court directive. But this was based on operative part of the judgment and needs to be thoroughly reworked. That needs time. It is unlikely to be completed before February 1, when the notification comes into effect.
CONGRESS WILL APPROACH COURT The Congress has decided to move the court for early elections to the BBMP council. “We have no other option but to move the court as the BJP is not interested in holding the election,” KPCC president R V Deshpande said. The party will also approach the State Election Commission in this connection.
Deshpande said this situation would not have arisen had the BJP allotted reservations in a transparent manner as directed by Justice Gopala Gowda in his verdict. “The ruling party is under the fear of losing the election owing to some unsavoury development within the party,” Deshpande claimed.
Opposition leader in legislative assembly C Motamma said BJP MLAs fear their power will be curtailed following the BBMP elections. She demanded that a legislative session be convened immediately to discuss various issues, including BBMP polls and church attacks. TNN CONG AND JD(S) WON’T RETURN CANDIDATES’ APPLICATION FEES
Political parties have decided not to return application forms and money collected from aspiring candidates. The JD(S) has issued over 600 applications at Rs 10,000 each. The SC and ST candidates were given an exemption of Rs 2,000. The Congress has issued over 1,800 applications by collecting Rs 100 each. While receiving the applications, it collected Rs 5,000 from general category people and Rs 2,500 from SC, ST and women candidates. The BJP hasn’t issued application forms.
Both Congress and JD(S) leaders feel the elections will be held sooner or later and hence have decided to keep the applications. “The elections can’t be deferred indefinitely. None of the aspiring candidates are asking for return of money. So, we will keep the forms and scrutinize them before the elections,” said JD(S) Bangalore city unit president Narayan Rao. KPCC general secretary Ramachandrappa echoed the opinion. TNN
The last day for Bangaloreans to submit forms for inclusions and deletions on the voters’ list has been extended. But there was no crowd at many centres on Friday, the original last date, due to confusion surrounding the polls. Even the usually busy ones like the centre on Queen’s Road wore a deserted look.
The process of registering as voters and updation is a regular one that can be done any time of the year. But past experience shows the activity gaining momentum only before elections. The unsettled BBMP election agenda seems to have kept most voters still confused. Many also complained about lack of proper information in spotting centres. The State Election Commission had earlier ruled out immediate extension of the deadline. “It’s set procedure. Ignorance of law cannot be an excuse. Regular voters keep themselves updated. Genuine names will not be missing from the list. But, we deliberately avoided the ward-wise submission to reduce time. At least three days will be lost in trying to collect these forms,” an official had said. TNN

BBMP chief wants to quit

BBMP chief wants to quit

Meena tells CM he's not interested in the job anymore

Sunitha Rao R. Bangalore

Is BBMP's hot seat too hot to handle? It certainly appears so. BBMP commissioner Bharat Lal Meena has written to chief minister BS Yeddyurappa, requesting to be moved out of BBMP, sources privy to the communiqué told DNA. This is happening within seven months after the former BBMP chief, S Subramanya, was shunted out of the post following a boy's drowning in the drains during a heavy downpour on May 31, 2009.
Yeddyurappa is yet to take a decision, but there are clear signs that Meena is not interested in continuing in the post and wants to be relieved as BBMP commissioner. Meena is likely to be placed in the urban development department as its principal secretary, sources in that department said. This may happen soon as the state election commission on Friday withdrew the civic poll code of conduct with the elections not likely to happen as per schedule.
There are several reasons behind Meena wanting to be relieved, sources in BBMP said. Meena, who is considered to be a top-notch officer in the state cadre, is fed up with recent developments, including allegations against him on the overnight tender scam, and with former chief minister HD Kumaraswamy's accusation that he had bribed to get the coveted post of BBMP commissioner.
He is also upset with the joint commissioners and engineers for not keeping pace with him when it comes to delivering the goods, sources said. Interestingly, Meena's letter to the chief minister was issued a few weeks ago – well ahead of Supreme Court vacating the stay on the high court order to force the state government to postpone the BBMP elections. Now, Meena is proceeding on a 20-day leave from February 7. This means, if the civic polls were on schedule on February 21, Meena would not have been at work as he applied for the leave much before any decision on postponement of the civic polls had been taken.

Heavy traffic, unusable footpaths are their bane City Ballot Problems

Heavy traffic, unusable footpaths are their bane City Ballot Problems

Chitra V. Ramani
An old area struggles with rapid growth minus the infrastructure

ROAD TO CHAOS: With footpaths either in need of repair or encroached upon, pedestrians in Malleswaram are forced to step on the road.
Bangalore: Malleswaram is one of the oldest residential localities in the city. It is a growing commercial hub and figures among the posh areas of Bangalore. Yet, residents here have plenty of grouses, and bemoan the fact that the once idyllic and green locality has become congested and polluted. Traffic is a major problem, accentuated by lack of parking space in most wards coming under Malleswaram Assembly Constituency, which comprises Aramanenagar, Mathikere, Malleswaram, Rajamahal Guttahalli, Kadu Malleshwara, Subramanyanagar, and Gayathrinagar wards.

“With increasing commercial activities, the number of people coming to Malleswaram has seen a rise. This has created problems for residents and shoppers alike,” said Meera Kumar (name changed), a resident of Rajamahal Guttahalli.

Wing Commander S.S. Padbidri (Retd.) from the Malleswaram Swabhimana Initiative, a residents’ welfare association, said Malleswaram lacked well-laid footpaths. “In many areas, footpaths are in dire need of repair. At a few other places, they remain unusable by pedestrians, as either construction material is dumped on them or they have been encroached upon by shops and vendors.”

Senior citizens’ plight
He said that Malleswaram had a huge population of senior citizens. “They are put to a lot of hardship because of the state of footpaths. They often end up walking on the main road, with heavy traffic on one side and vendors and shoppers occupying the footpaths.” He said that the civic agency had also not been able to do anything about encroachments.

K. Subramaniam, president, ITI Layout Residents’ Association, Mathikere, said the major problem in his area was lack of a proper sewer outlet. “The area gets flooded even after a small spell of rain. We have complained several times (to the authorities), but to no avail. The elected civic representatives earlier, and now the MLA, have only been making

Friday, January 29, 2010


With the apex court order on Thursday likely to delay BBMP elections further, TOI spoke to residents and other stakeholders
Resident Welfare Associations were probably the most enthusiastic about the elections, and now, they are the most disappointed. Members react to Thursday’s big news from Delhi.

It looks like elections to the BBMP will be a unique election in the history of our country. Bangaloreans are not sure of elections till they cast their votes and results are declared. It is unfortunate that many candidates have started campaigning and the media has started discussions in anticipation of polls, but the unanswered question is: when will elections be held? It would be good if our government and State Election Commission put an end to this confusion.
It is most disappointing. We had thought that after three-and-ahalf years, the elections would finally be held. We definitely need local corporators and citizens should take up cudgels because it is against the Constitution. We need to take up the matter, hold a protest. We want elections. There is no reason for putting them off. A mass movement across the city is needed and people must get together and demand elections.
Meenakshi Bharath | SECRETARY,
The truth is that MLAs do not want corporators to be elected. If corporators are not there, politicians will wield more power and get bigger cuts in funds. They don’t want to give power to corporators. The government itself cannot get the elections postponed so they it is doing it in a de facto manner.
Ireally don’t know what to make of it. It has come as a bit of a shock now. We were working on a lot of things to get people to register and to create awareness among them to come out and vote. But as and when the elections happen, I hope they will lead to some betterment in our area.
Joseph Meneaud | PRESIDENT,
My focus was on getting more independent candidates to contest this time and I was not following the court case thoroughly. But being a democratic country, there should not be any undue postponing of elections. It is not fair to further delay polls, if not for some unavoidable reasons. I firmly believe that this time there were no unavoidable reasons for postponing the elections.
It is a huge disappointment for us. In a democracy, we need someone to represent us. This postponement of elections is not a good thing and may affect development in many areas. We were expecting a lot of reforms too.
BBMP has had an administrator since 2006 Last elections held in 2001 2006: Petition filed in HC on holding elections FEBRUARY 2007: Judgment reserved JULY 2008: Court gives three months to hold elections NOVEMBER 10, 2008: Court seeks time till March 10, 2009 JUNE 1, 2009: As Parliamentary elections were scheduled, court permitted two more months SEPTEMBER 17, 2009: Court says election schedule should be announced on or before October 23 OCTOBER 1, 2009: July 21 guidelines on reservation of wards stayed OCTOBER 29, 2009: Decks cleared for elections with reservation guidelines stayed earlier being upheld by court NOVEMBER 16, 2009: HC asks state to announce ward-wise reservation list by November 30, and SEC to notify election schedule before December 7 NOVEMBER 30, 2009: Reservation list for 198 wards announced DECEMBER 7, 2009: State Election Commission announces poll schedule
BBMP elections slated to be held on February 21, 2010 Polling was to take place from 7 am to 5 pm at 6,598 stations This was to be first BBMP elections to use Electronic Voting Machines There were supposed to be serial numbers in Braille too, again a first for BBMP elections
JAN 15-FEB 25: Election code of conduct in effect FEB 8: Last date for candidates to file nomination FEB 9: Scrutiny of nominations FEB 11: Last date to withdraw nomination FEB 21: Polling between 7 am and 5 pm FEB 24, 8 AM ONWARDS: Counting and results FEB 25: Election ends

Biz ventures from homes trouble residents

Biz ventures from homes trouble residents

Several pockets of upmarket residential areas have turned into commercial hubs due to lack of an upgraded market place, soaring real estate prices and demand for services like fitness centres

Monica Jha

Samantha hates using the lift during the weekends. For she has to wait for long as it keeps going up and down loading and offloading hordes of young visitors to her apartment building in Frazer town. Life was going smoothly for her till a few enterprising citizens opened a spa in the residential building.
"I don't know if they have the licence to operate from here. But they seem to be doing good business. There's a steady stream of clients, especially during the weekends. But this also created a huge problem for us. They do not have a separate elevator for customers and we have to wait a good 10 minutes to get the lift," says Samantha.
Commercial ventures operating from homes are troubling residents living in high-rise apartments and individual homes in the upmarket areas of Pulakeshinagar constituency. Besides spas, beauty salons and clinics, gyms, fitness centres, and dance schools have invaded the privacy of residents living here.
People, who started these ventures, say they are inspired by the good response.
According to them, lack of an upgraded market place, soaring real estate prices and big demand for the services have forced them to start operating their businesses from homes.
Initially, these services were confined to the elite class of the society. But gradually, clients from the middle-class too joined them. And the result: overcrowded lifts and constant traffic snarls outside.
Parking is a big bone of contention between the owners of such establishments and the residents.
"My neighbour runs a beauty clinic. We don't mind her operating from her house but her customers park their vehicles all over the road, sometimes in front of my gate, blocking my way. The road in front of our houses is narrow and we find it difficult to drive on this road. Even walking becomes a painful exercise," says Sulochana Prakashraj, an HR manager with an MNC.
Besides spas and beauty salons, there are illegal pre-schools and other services operating from these apartments.
"My neighbours run a dance school. There is loud music and a stream of people going in and out. It's difficult to keep a check on who is entering the building. There is a constant fear of anti-social people entering the area in the disguise of dance students. We often see strange people loitering," says Hemantha N, a software engineer.
"Initially, it was quite nice to see tiny tots coming to my neighbour's house. I, sometimes, used to go there and play with them. But then I found that those running the school had no intention to keep the kids under control. Their loud steps and music which went on for hours soon became a headache for me," says Maria of Frazer Town.
Apartment owners want these businesses enquired into and properly licensed so they follow the rules instead of making life difficult for residents. "Nobody knows the quality and credibility of these services," says a lawyer who lives opposite Frazer Town police station. Those running them, however, are not readily communicative and they say things are all in order.

They want to get out of their towns

They want to get out of their towns

Serene avenues, decent parks, good neighbourhoods, clean roads and modern cafes and restaurants used to be the collective USP of Pulakeshinagar area. But the quality of life provided by the facilities in the area today does not match the residents' aspirations. The global young crowd yearns for more, reports Monica Jha

Upmarket residents have taste for good things which is available elsewhere

Monica Jha

If all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, the maxim easily fits in the cases of the old city's Frazer Town, Cleveland Town and Richards Town where achievers and well-heeled want a good life but find facilities lacking.
"Fine living space, but no good life," is how a young mother sums up the situation in this part of upmarket residential area coming under the Pulakeshinagar Assembly constituency bearing seven civic wards.
This is what Katherine Winderson, a young expatriate living in Frazer Town, says: "My baby is two years old and I'm looking for a good play school. The locality is full of nice schools but no quality pre schools. The same happened when I was looking for a creche for her. I finally decided to give up my job to look after her."
Katherine reflects the general aspirations of the residents who want to live a full life, bringing up their kids in a global perspective, snatching the best moments with an ideal mix of entertainment, intellectual stimulation and wealth-earning vocation. But the area woefully lacks all these.
The forward-looking and Western-oriented residents here want their civic representative to help set up modern facilities. "Infrastructure for a comfortable living is what we want," says Pragathi Shankar, a beautician operating on Mosque Road.
Listen to Sunitha Peter, a fashion designer and a resident of Cleveland Town: "I have seen this locality change a lot over the last many years. Some old houses have been replaced by new buildings, some new department stores have come up, but this still does not match the aspirations and needs of the new young generation."
A Canadian living in Frazer Town joins the issue.
"While there are a few places on Wheelers Road, which sell international brands, there are hardly any exclusive stores selling them here," says Mary Fullerton. She has to motor up the crowded Commercial Street or Koramangala to get what she likes.
And, why not, asks Prateek Sunderraj Williams, a resident of Frazer Town. "Everybody is going global. Now that our needs and demands have changed, we must have an option of getting the things we want in our own area," says Prateek.
Complaints of lack of modern facilities are widespread. Elizabeth, a British expat residing in Cleveland Town, points out.
"No international schools around, you know. I may be going back to my country in a couple of years and that's why I prefer international curriculum for my child. The area has too many foreigners and not having an international school is disappointing," Liz says.
"I like the area but I must go to MG Road or other parts of the city for the things I want. Sadly, there may not be many options but they offer better variety than what we get here," says Mohammad Said, a native of Oman residing on Mosque Road.
Sizeable presence of expatriates is a major feature of this part of the town. "We have all changed a lot. But our locality remains the same," says Ashiya Aslam, a resident of Frazer Town.
"We want to retain the good things of the past like the grand architecture and spacious buildings but we also want the modern facilities that make life worth living," says Suma, a BSc student and resident of Richards Town.
If the nursing mothers talk of the lack of global standard schools, the youth too have their share of woes, especially when it comes to entertainment.
"We hardly have any options for a mug of beer and dance floor," says Revathi RK, a marketing professional in Frazer Town. Night life is nil, says she.
"There are a few pubs but they are no match to those on Brigade Road or MG Road. Night life is zero," laments Sameer Ramakrishana, a resident of HBR Layout.
The pathetic condition of the footpaths and irregular clearance of waste and stray dogs are other factors that worry residents. "Almost every house has a pet but it is dangerous to take them for a walk," Shankar, says.
If the facilities are lacking, how's it that properties are highly priced?
"Many areas in Pulakeshinagar assembly constituency have been a favourite of high-income class and expats," says PK Balakrishna, a bank official. But when it comes to nocturnal security, especially of women, Frazer Town takes the knock. "There is no visible police patrolling at night, making the area unsafe for women travelling alone," says Nazia Hasan, a student

'E-way needs more work'

'E-way needs more work'
By: Madhusudan Maney Date: 2010-01-29 Place: Bangalore

That's the consensus of those who have tried the newly inaugurated elevated high-speed road between Bomanahalli and Electronics City

The newly inaugurated Hosur Expressway has not made Bangaloreans overly ecstatic. Those travelling by it claim agree it is the fastest way to reach the city, but believe it can be made even more commuter-friendly with a few changes.

Manjunath BS, a lead engineer with HCL, said, "It is very beneficial for somebody going towards Electronic City, but the same results could have been achieved with underpasses near Bomanahalli. Exits towards Madiawala, BTM and Sajjapur road would have made things easier."

Manjunath B S, an engineer, feels underpasses would have served the same purpose as the Hosur expressway

Added Varun George, a finance executive, "The walls are so low that if any vehicle hits them, it will fall off the flyover. The walls should have been made a little higher and the divider should have been made more easily visible."

H Prakash Rao, CEO, Electronics City Industries' Association, said, "Many have used the expressway and enjoyed the aerial view of the surroundings. But the authorities should do something about the traffic that gets blocked at the beginning of Silk Board junction."

Solutions promised

However, authorities say these are only teething troubles.

"The traffic jam at Silk Board junction happens because people get confused as to which road they should take. This confusion will be there initially, but it will get cleared up gradually," said B A Muthanna, DCP, Traffic East.

IT park near BIA cleared

IT park near BIA cleared
Bangalore, Jan 29, DHNS:

In a big boost to the IT sector, the State Cabinet on Thursday approved setting up of an Information Technology Investment Region (ITIR) spread over 10,000 acres with an investment of Rs 1 lakh crore near Bangalore International Airport.

The ITIR, which is a Central project, seeks to create nearly 12 lakh jobs in IT and IT-enabled services. It will be developed jointly by the State and Central gvernments under the public-private-partnership model, Urban Development Minister S Suresh Kumar told reporters after the Cabinet meeting.

The ambitious project will be located 15 kilometres from the BIA. The Centre will provide infrastructure support like roads, railway lines and telecom, besides extending the viability gap funding.

On its part, the State government will acquire land and find a private partner to invest in the project. All concessions will be extended to the developer in accordance with the State government’s IT policy. The developer will be identified through an open bid selection. It is learnt that the Cabinet also decided to bring the entire 10,000 acres for the proposed ITIR under the jurisdiction of Bangalore International Airport Area Planning Authority.

A separate legislation, a long-standing demand of the IT industry, will be enacted to govern the proposed ITIR area.

It was decided to appoint State-owned Keonics as the nodal agency and the IT and BT departments as the nodal departments for the project.

HC orders status quo on Turf Club

HC orders status quo on Turf Club
Bangalore, Jan 28, DH News Service:

The Bangalore Turf Club, facing march orders from the government, got a breather from the High Court in the form a status quo order on Thursday.

Hearing a petition by the management and staff association of BTC, Justice Ajit Gunjal ordered to maintain status quo till February 10. The court directed the Principal Secretary, Finance, to consider the application of the petitioners (Club) seeking renewal of betting licence. Advocate General Ashok Harnahalli submitted that the Club is not entitled for the land as it was only a lease holder. It is only a concession given to the Club, and not a grant.

Panel constituted

The Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike has constituted an experts’ committee to conduct a feasibility study of Yeshwanthpur-Yelahanka link road passing through University of Agricultural Sciences campus.

During the hearing of a Public Interest Litigation in the High Court on Thursday, BBMP counsel stated that the committee will submit its report in ten days. The committee headed by Dr Shetty, Dean, National Institute of Advanced Studies includes experts like Dr Subramanyan Prasanna of Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, Professor Sharath Chandra of Indian Institute of Science (IISc), S G Neginhal, former DCF, Bangalore Urban, D A Muthanna, DCP East (Traffic) and Suresh Heblikar, cine artist and environmentalist. The matter has been adjourned.

On ‘fast track’

The State government seems to be overworking when it comes to Bangalore Turf Club. It had taken pains to despatch a letter to the president of the Club on January 26, a National Holiday on account of Republic Day.

The letter dated January 26, 2010, a copy of which is with Deccan Herald, is signed by the under secretary to government, Revenue Department.

Citing two letters from the Turf Club as references, the “even dated” letter informs the Club about the expiry of the lease period of the land allotted to it and allotment of alternative land in Bangalore Urban District, Bangalore North Taluk and Jala Hobli. It also goes on to say that the Club has not responded to its letter dated 2.11.2009 on registering the lease agreement relating to 85 acres of alternative land.

While stating that the government was not bound to grant alternative land to the Club, the letter rejects the plea for extension of the lease and tax holiday for construction of the new race course.

However, the question is what exigency prompted the government to despatch the letter, apparently of no grave import, to the Club on a National Holiday?

Gowda’s dharna disrupts traffic

Gowda’s dharna disrupts traffic
Bangalore, Jan 28, DHNS:

Former prime minister H D Deve Gowda, on Thursday, chose Nrupathunga Road, where the Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Board (KIADB) office is located, to stage a protest against alleged acquisition of excess land for the BMIC project.

Leaders of the Left parties and people from villages where the land had been notified for the project accompanied the JD(S) chief in the dharna.

The procession, which started at Race Course Road culminated at KIADB office on Nrupathunga Road. Vehicles moved at snail’s pace leading to congestion on surrounding roads as motorists started taking different directions. The police had a tough time in ensuring smooth flow of traffic. Protesters gathered at the KIADB office for nearly two hours.

The dharna was to demand the Board to release details of the land acquisition process for the BMIC project.

Gowda said there were many confusions over the land notified for the project.
The public whose land had been notified for the project were unaware whether their land was notified as per the original framework of the project or the subsequent changes that successive governments brought in the project or the Outline Development Plan.

Storm-water drain work cuts off access to homes in Whitefield

Storm-water drain work cuts off access to homes in Whitefield
Bangalore, Jan 29:

Chris L Johnson writes an open letter to BBMP Commisssioner Bharat Lal Meena on the problems created by the storm water drain work undertaken by the civic body in Whitefield.

An open letter written to BBMP Commissioner BL Meena

Dear Mr. Meena,

Let me begin by saying that the inclusion of Whitefield under the purview of the BBMP has seen some significant improvements in the amenities available to its residents. In particular we have seen great improvement in the roads in the area which are now among the best in the City.

We are also pleased to see the construction of pavements for pedestrians as well as the construction of storm-water drains as these will greatly benefit the resident taxpayers. The road widening efforts have also been greatly appreciated.

I however wish to complain strongly about the manner in which the Whitefield BBMP authorities have taken up the construction of a storm water drain outside my home on the morning of Monday, January 25th. on the Whitefield main road.

1) First and foremost, when a project of such a magnitude is taken up, it is incumbent on the BBMP department concerned to advise all the houses concerned the particulars of the project informing them of the likely date of commencement and the planned date for completion of the work. This is particularly important when the nature of the work is such that residents will not be able to utilize their vehicles (cars/motorcycles etc.) for a number of days. Advance warning will enable the persons concerned to make alternate arrangements for parking/access to their vehicle/s during the period of construction.

In my case had my security guard not informed me that the JCB was already digging the road in front of my house, I would not have been able to remove vehicles required for my daily use out of the premises.

2) Secondly, when the BBMP department concerned is undertaking a project which involves digging of a trench some 4 feet deep and 6-8 feet wide, it is incumbent on the department to advise the other Bengaluru Service Departments, ie. BSNL, BWSSB, BESCOM etc. that they propose to dig up the road. This would enable the concerned departments to depute personnel to the site to ensure that the services provided by them are not adversely effected.

The JCB operator who was given the duty of digging a trench for the storm-water drain in front of my home was successful in cutting the main telephone cable connecting many Whitefield residents who had to suffer without the use of their internet or telephone services for the next couple of days. He was also successful in cutting the pipes through which municipal water is supplied to my home and those of my neighbours. Photographs of the damage done the water and telephone supply are attached.

Incidentally when I approached the Whitefield office of the BBMP to complain about the cutting off of my water supply, I was given the name and telephone number of the concerned Engineer. The Engineer when contacted on the telephone advised me that the problem had nothing to do with the BBMP and I would have to contact the water supply authorities!
There was no hint of regret at the inconvenience caused by the department. This I did and I am happy to report that the concerned Engineer dispatched his personnel to the site within 30 minutes of my speaking to him. Although the costs of repair had to be borne by me, since the water mains was not damaged, the technician repaired the rupture and I have now got my water supply functioning again.

Had the contractors employed by the BBMP been properly supervised ,care would have been taken to ensure that the digger did not damage the other services provided to the area.

3) Thirdly, when the construction work involves digging a ditch of the above mentioned dimensions and when quite clearly it is impossible for any person to cross without the aid of planks of wood etc. to place across the gap, ( see photographs attached ) it is incumbent on the BBMP to ensure that such facilities are provided so that persons can enter/exit the homes/offices etc. so effected.

As can be seen from the photographs attached no such measures were taken either at that stage on even 5 days following the digging of the trench!
As can be seen in one of the photographs, one of the most popular doctor’s clinics is adversely effected. Even the nurse who works at the clinic was unable to go inside the premises. Several persons (including children, sick and aged persons, persons with moving difficulties ) could not meet the doctor as a result of the negligence of the BBMP contractor.

In subsequent days I and the persons affected had to prepare makeshift arrangements over bamboos, wooden planks etc. to be able to access our homes/premises. In the unfortunate event that a person attempting to cross over the ditch fell in and was injured, who would be responsible? Would the BBMP accept responsibility and pay for any injuries caused? Who will provide answers?

This is not acceptable in a so called world-class city which Bengaluru claims/hopes to be. One would think that with the international travel that public officials take at taxpayer expense they would have seen how civic authorities in countries in the West and in the Far East conduct civil engineering works in a manner that causes the minimum inconvenience to the city’s residents.

My purpose in taking the time and effort to bring this incident to your notice is to ensure with your active participation that other taxpayers and residents of this lovely city do not have to face personal inconvenience and aggravation when the BBMP undertakes civil projects of this nature in other locations.
Perhaps meetings could be held with the senior officers/engineers under your control where some of the basics mentioned above could be brought to their attention and focus. When the BBMP contracts work out to third parties the concerned engineers cannot and must not abrogate their responsibilities and allow largely uneducated labourers and workers to undertake such projects without supervision.

I trust that you will accept these comments in the spirit that they are made – ie. to see that the BBMP and its various departments work efficiently and professionally so that the rights of the citizens of this city are not trampled on but are respected and that Bengaluru does achieve its ambition to be one of the best cities in India/the world to live in.

With kind regards.

Yours sincerely,

C.L. Johnson
276, Main Road
Bengaluru 560-066

Enjoy the free ride as long as it lasts!

Enjoy the free ride as long as it lasts!
No Date Fixed For Toll Collection Yet

Bangalore: Bangaloreans can continue to enjoy the butter-smooth elevated expressway to Electronic City for the next two weeks, without paying toll.
Though toll collection to ride on the expressway, that was thrown open to the public last week, at the five plazas was slated to begin next week, they are yet to start operating.
Sources told TOI that construction and testing of the plazas will be done next week. National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) officials said they are going to hold a meeting in a couple of days and the starting date of toll collection will be notified accordingly.
Right now, the 9.5-km stretch from Central Silk Board to Electronic City and Attibele takes 8 to 10 minutes.

Traffic biggest concern, water a close second

Traffic biggest concern, water a close second
Aarthi R | TNN

Bangalore: February 21 is D-day for the BBMP elections. But the aam janta is already thinking beyond it. Many have started engaging in discussions on what the elected and expanded BBMP council should focus on.
Just a week old, the website is already witnessing serious debates and getting people to vote on various issues the council should focus on. So far, traffic and transportation tops the list with 17% of the votes. This includes road improvements, buses, traffic police, public transport, regulated parking, etc.
Next on the list are water and sanitation, and public spaces, with 15% and 13% of the votes respectively. The increasing green concerns have got a 12% vote share. Issues of governance rank quite low, with just 9% of the votes so far (see box for complete list).
The site is a part of the Net Citizen initiative of Mapunity.

You can still make it to voters’ list

You can still make it to voters’ list
January 29 Is The Last Date To Submit Applications | Volunteers Do Their Bit

Bangalore: It’s just a day away now: January 29 is the last date for Bangaloreans to get themselves updated on the voters’ list
for the upcoming BBMP elections. Thursday is technically the last day to submit applications for exclusions and inclusions in the list.
“It’s a set procedure. After the deadline, the applications are scrutinised by
Electoral Returning Officers (EROs). This will be followed by a call for objections, with a seven-day deadline. The voter list will then be finalised, after the last date of nominations. This will be the third supplement. Alterations cannot be made after the last date of filing of nominations,’’ State Election Commission officials told The Times of India.
The process of registering as voters and updation is a regular process that can be done through the year. But, experience shows that this activity gains momentum only before an election. Publicity and awareness has no effect on the voter, and every election has a new set of voters, besides the old ones who may or may not be visible on the list. The growing migratory population apart, increasing errors on the existing voter list also put off voters, observe volunteers.
Is it time for a change? What’s the real problem?
“In a place like Bangalore, migration is definitely a cause. Further, people don’t update themselves on the voter list as a majority of them still find the entire exercise complicated. The desire to vote is always there, but the process needs more transparency. Today, when we submit the application, there is no proper tracking system available to the voter. The acknowledgement given is useless. Why don’t we have a system where we respect the voter’s right to vote?’’ said Jasmine Shah, national coordinator of the Jaagte Raho! campaign.
Though woes are a-plenty, people joining the electoral process as volunteers is heartening. Here are three intrepid crusaders who are working to get the common man to the booth, getting more than 1,000 voters registered in less than a month.
Last elections, Rajesh Shankar Pillai, 36, was rather shocked to see just 500 of 1,500 voters in his area cast their votes. But this year, he has managed to get more than 100 new voters to register, apart from submitting a few other applications for correction — all in less than a week. A software engineer from Banaswadi, he and his team of RWA members made made of the best use of technology, sending bulk SMSes and e-mail alerts to ensure they were heard.
Aparna, 37, resident of Domlur, submitted her pile of 200 forms from the area on Wednesday. “It’s taken me almost a month. Everybody says voters don’t come out and vote, but on the ground, I realized it’s also to do with a systemic failure. Most people are just furious. They are fed up of repeatedly being struck off the list for no proper reason!’’ she explains.
M Saravanan, 43, also managed to collate 350 applications from his enclosed residential complex at Gunata Vihar near Mehkri Circle — his tool was simple oral publicity, going doorto-door and even pasting xerox copies of the existing voter list.
These individuals are working as part of the Area Voter Mitra initiative of Janaagraha’s campaign.
Form 6: New voter registration Form 7: Deletion of names on electoral roll Form 8: Correction of names and details entered on roll Form 8A: If a person has shifted from one area to another
http://www.bbmpelections. in/ : To check which ward you belong to and other details regarding BBMP elections 2010 voterlist/: The website enables people to access information on voters across the 198 BBMP wards. Various search options — like ward number, part of voter name and door number, among others, attempt to make the search simpler. The page can also be printed, reducing lastminute tension at polling booths on D-Day.

SOUTH ZONE - Down south, Bengaluru sends a stinker

SOUTH ZONE - Down south, Bengaluru sends a stinker

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BBMP south zone is a blend of the old and modern with areas synonymous with old Bengaluru like Jayanagar, Basavanagudi and Banashankari rubbing shoulders with the new and fast developing Koramangala with its modern malls and multiplexes. Some of the best landmarks of the city like Lalbagh and the Bull temple of Basavangudi are found here. Ranga Shankara in JP Nagar fifth phase adds to the intellectual ambience of the locality, which is home to many celebrities, officials and scholars.

Visit Bengaluru south and you see some of the biggest malls of the city in the fast developing Koramangala and also the broad tree lined avenues of Basavanagudi and Jayanagar.
But this says only one side of the story. Move deeper into the zone and you need to hold your breath as the stench from the Vrishabhavathi valley, which runs across the less affluent Bapujinagar, Deepanjalinagar and other areas, is overwhelming.
A river of dirty black water skirts through several areas as nearby industries and houses let their untreated sewage into the valley, letting off not only a stink but also putting at risk the health of the people living nearby. In the absence of supporting walls, the water from the valley often overflows into nearby localities, adding to the unhygienic conditions. Over a 100 people living in Shamanna Gardens recently came down with severe gastroenteritis as the sewage leaked into their drinking water supply.

Come the monsoons and roads here are often flooded by overflowing storm water drains. BTM layout sees such flooding quite regularly, particularly on the Central Silk Board, Tavarekere stretch where the storm water drain is narrower than elsewhere. It was in one such drain that one and half year old Vijay, was washed away last year after he accidentally fell into it at Royal Residency layout, off Bannergatta Road. His body was never found.

The rain is a nightmare for other localities like JP Nagar too, where people need to wade through water flooding their streets and homes during a heavy spell.

Step out of Basavangudi's palatial homes and you may be greeted by one of its many manholes, which regularly overflow as a result of its old and narrow sanitary lines. A trip down Nagarbhavi main road near Govindrajnagar in Vijayanagar gives you an eyeful of this filthy scene.

And while Koramangala may be turning into a shopper's paradise with its many malls and upmarket stores, the garbage lying on its roads is an eyesore that takes away from its otherwise upmarket ambience.
The same is true of Basavanagudi, where the carts donated to BBMP by the local residents' association, have not only never been used, but have also disappeared since.

It is the same story in Vijayanagar and BTM Layout, Hanumanthanagar, Srinagar,and Girinagar where heaps of garbage lie uncleared on the roadsides.

Water is in short supply in some areas due to low pressure and people of BTM Layout often need to depend on tankers for their supply as a result. Slow pace of work on the underpasses at Kadirenahalli and at 15th cross ring road in JP Nagar first phase,is giving commuters a very hard time. As the construction of an underpass at KR road and the Metro Rail on RV road and in Vijayangar, hobbles along, traffic jams have become the order of the day. Like elsewhere stray dogs are a nuisance in many of the localities here.
The south zone is also beginning to see a rise in petty crime, especially in Jayanagar, Koramangala and BTM Layout, leaving women feeling insecure when outdoors. Congress vs BJP Both the BJP and the Congress have a good following in different parts of Bengaluru south. While in Jayanagar, MP Ananth Kumar and MLA Vijayakumar, give the BJP a strong hold, in Padmanabhnagar the party has staunch support as this is the constituency of transport minister, R. Ashok. It was also from here that Mr Ramalingareddy of the BJP was elected to the assembly.
The Congress, meanwhile is strong in BTM layout and dominates in Vijayanagar.
But Koramangala sees people divided in their loyalty between the two parties.

A shopping experience gone sour, almost

A shopping experience gone sour, almost

Shwetha S

Trendy Commercial Street may not be Bangalore's Fifth Avenue but it is the city's ultimate shopping experience. The young converge here to shop branded goods.
At any point of time, you can see a mix of locals, young workers of the sunrise industries, and foreigners trooping in or coming out of shops that display a variety of things. Crowded, yes, but it is where the quality-conscious customers head for when they need anything from Rs20 trinket to 24-carat diamond.
This pride of the city is, however, surrounded by pathetic civic conditions. Shoppers and residents say the civic agencies have made the adjoining Kamaraj Street a training ground for diggers and amateur road makers. Kamaraj Road is vital to the vibrancy of Commercial Street.
"This street gives much to the civic coffers and to the government but is treated shabbily. Half the street is covered with debris and pipes and cables and the other half by men and machines. Those living alongside the street have no space to move about," says Vani Kumari, a resident of Kamaraj Road.
If residents are unhappy, businessmen are resigned to their fate. Businessman Pradeep Kumar says no matter who gets elected their fate is going to remain unchanged. "Recently," Kumar points out, "the Palike started work on constructing a culvert, blocking the approach road for vehicles from all directions. The shoppers had to take extra two kilometres via the parallel road and Halasoor Road to come here. Local MLA Roshan Baig had promised us the completion of work in three months but it will take any number of months."
After a pause, Kumar adds, "Our business has been hit badly. Who cares?"
Now, listen to students' woes.
"My friends and I usually travel by bus. After the construction began, civic workers have demolished the bus shelter on Kamaraj Road. Now to get a bus, we've to travel two kilometres. In this maddening traffic, it is no easy proposition," says Sumana N, a commerce student.
If normal days are bad, weekends are worse. "In the absence of parking discipline and space, what little road remains is strewn with automobiles of all sorts. Residents and shop owners have no leeway to go about their business," says Arjun Prasad. "Why should residents suffer? Parking arrangement is the job of the police. We don't blame shoppers, after all they must park their vehicles somewhere," Prasad reasons.
The curse of Commercial Street is not limited to traffic and parking horror, says Pradeep Kumar, who is also the president of the local Traders, Temples and Residents' Welfare Association. "Kamaraj Road is the main approach road to Commercial Street, but, for the past five years, this feeder road lay damaged without mending and resurfacing."
Children and senior citizens often trip over the debris and fall into craters at Commercial Street and Kamaraj Road, adds Kumar.
Bangaloreans have tremendous patience and they suffer in silence. Will the new civic body deliver us from this hell?

Thursday, January 28, 2010



Shivajinagar, the heart of Bangalore, is a Cinderella whose worth is not counted or rewarded by the authorities. Its neighbouring Commercial Street, and feeder areas that contribute much to the municipal chest are in a pitiable state, eagerly awaiting a saviour in the coming civic polls, says Shwetha S

Everybody visits Shivajinagar and Commercial Street but nobody cares

Shwetha S

The Shivajinagar constituency comprises seven BBMP wards — Jayamahal, Bharatinagar, Halsoor, Sampangiram Nagar, Vasantnagar, Commercial Street and Kumarakrupa Road. But it is the core Shivajinagar with its flourishing business areas like Commercial Street, MG Road, Brigade Road that help the BBMP earn its bread with the highest collection of commerce and property tax. Again, Shivajinagar is the transport nerve centre that redistributes men and machines to various parts of the city.
The core is socialist at heart. For it is here the young and old, the sick and healthy, the poor and the rich, the employers and employed, come shopping. No visit to Bangalore is complete without a tour of Shivajinagar and the surrounding commercial hubs.
A kilometre and half to the West comes Vasatnagar. Here one suddenly faces a different world where top educational institutions, malls and shaded alleys reign. Students from the society's creamy layer hang out in Sigma Mall, Infinitea tea bar, Pizza Hut and half-a-dozen other bistros. They discuss anything but politics: cinema, cricket, job market, career, friendship and love. And, each one is well 'wheeled', with modern bikes, some of them with fanciful modifications that generate unseemly sound and seem to echo the owners' thrill of adventure.
More often than not, the youths out to get their fill of snacks and oxygen, cross over to the nearby Millers Road, a residential area surrounding the Cantonment Railway station, where hawkers sell chats and snacks. They are popular with the young brigade.
But their roaring bikes with funny horns, though innocuous pranks, have been a cause of complaint for the residents in this locality.
"It's a nightmare for us. On one side, students come in large numbers blocking the waysides with their bikes and cars, and on the other, hordes of autorickshaws are parked haphazardly. They seem to care little about police," says Meera Kumari, a resident of Millers Road.
"Why blame us? We are innocent," says Riya Ratnakar, a student enjoying chat on the Millers Road. "We normally come here because there are good chats available. Yes, the young bikers do stunts like the wheeling. But you better ask them for more info," she tells this reporter. The search for the boys ends at Kumarakrupa Road. "What stunt," asks a tall commerce graduate, Rahul Sharma. It is a good life here, say his friends.
But Ashika, a student who has come down to Bangalore for the first time from Sweden, tries to correct their view.
"Think of the foreigners who come here and what image will they carry home if people here don't have any traffic sense and mountains of garbage rot everywhere," she asks.
Neighbouring Bharatinagar, part of Shivajinagar constituency, is a study in contrast. A shack town, all problems associated with a low-lying, slum-dwelling area are pronounced here.
"We are sought only when election comes," says Rahman Faiz, who runs an auto-workshop at Thimmaiah Road. "You must come here during rainy days to see the situation," he says.
But, it is not just Bharatinagar, it came out loud and clear that piles of garbage dumped by hotels and residents on the roadsides are the bane of Shivajinagar, Halsoor, and Sampangiram Nagar. On this score, the high-profile Commercial Street joins the lowly Bharatinagar.
"We are most troubled by the sanitary problem in this area. Look at the perennially leaking sewage pipe. It floods the roads. After after several complaints, BWSSB comes and mends it only to be back to square one the very next day," says Afdul Raufuddir, a resident of Commercial Street.
"What to talk," says Pratigna, a post-graduate student of Mahaveer Jain College, who cautiously measures her steps to avoid the slush and water on the street. "If customers are treated like this by the municipal authorities, God save them," she says angrily.
The resilient youth, however, take it in their stride. Pramod Mehta and his three friends gleefully derive fun from the road situation. "We come for a drink and some shopping, yaar," says Mehta.
But, Ajay Motwani, vice-president of Commercial Street Shoppers' Association, is crestfallen when his discusses his proud street's present state. "Shoppers have begun to avoid this street, and we can't blame them," says he


A five-star hotel on HAL airport road will soon open the city’s first semi-automatic multi-level car parking system

In Bangalore, every day 300 new cars get on the road where already 4.5 lakh of them are jostling for space. As proposed sites for parking lots are turned into sprawling malls and the BBMP looks the other way, finding a 8x22 metre space has become next to impossible. From basement parking to multilevel parking facility, solutions are mooted only to become redundant in a short while. Now, The Leela Palace on Old Airport Road has come up with Bangalore’s first semi-automatic multi-level parking system. ABORTED PROJECT
The idea of automated parking lots has been doing the rounds in BBMP corridors for the last ten years, but typically nothing has happened. In fact, the idea had gained momentum when techies from Bangalore started making frequent trips to the USA and Europe, which have automated parking systems.The BBMP had proposed to construct a four-storey car park near M G Road on a 70x41 metre area with a capacity to accommodate 384 cars. The car park was to be fully computerised and equipped with a vertical lift to park cars. But the project never took off because of opposition from the parking contractor lobby.
It is the first of its kind in India to be housed outdoors.
“We at Leela had parking space for about a thousand cars, including the basement. But during weddings and similar occasions, we’d have a situation at the parking lot. The numbers swell considerably and add that to our guest list who visit the restaurants and come to shop, it would get uncomfortable,” said Shailendra Verma, Director of Engineering, The Leela Palace.
So, instead of waiting for the problem to become a crisis, the hotel got a Turkish parking solutions company to install the facility. All it requires you to do is drive your car straight into the designated spot (if you don’t opt for the valet) and a hydraulic motor will then lift the plate and park the vehicle for you. Every unit is called a stacker and three cars can be parked in each of them, one above the other. There are 198 stackers that will be thrown open to the guests of the hotel in three months, increasing the hotel’s parking capacity to 1600 cars. The technique which has been used in the US and the UK also has a mechanical safety lock and a manual lever to ensure safety.
There will be a parachute valve for extra protection. The plates which will lift the vehicles are made of galvanised iron that an carry up to three tonnes. Verma refused to divulge the details of the cost of the project, but acknowledged that the amount ran into crores of rupees.
Bangalore has only two major multi-level parking facilities in the city - J C Road and Maharaja Complex on Kempe Gowda Road —- apart from a few government complexes that provide parking space.These parking lots can hardly accommodate 5,000 vehicles (including two-wheelers). Though experts say that about 40 new complexes with a parking space for more than one lakh vehicles is needed, just six more multi-level complexes have been shortlisted. They are:
— Gandhi Nagar — opposite Sukh Sagar Hotel — Gandhi Nagar — Old Central Jail Campus (Freedom Park) — Shivajinagar — Russel Market — SP Road — Behind LIC building — Gandhi Bazar — Near the flower market — Kengeri Satellite Town — opposite Surana College
Garuda Mall, Magrath Road — 1070 cars Forum Mall, Koramangala — 700 cars U B City, Vittal Mallya Road — 1610 cars

Saleable land figure inflated in BMIC project

Saleable land figure inflated in BMIC project

RTI documents disclose how Cabinet notes were subsequently modified
BANGALORE: Documents made available to The Hindu under the Right to Information Act (RTI) reveal how officials in the State administrative hierarchy altered a decision of the Cabinet in 2000 with respect to land for the Bangalore Mysore Infrastructure Corridor (BMIC) project.

While the State Cabinet granted exemption from stamp duty for 5,850 acres of acquired land, the exempted area was inflated more than two-and-a-half times in the notifications issued subsequently.

What is worse is that subsequently the State Government itself considered the altered versions as the base for its future decisions on the project.

Stamp duty
The Cabinet — the highest decision-making body of the State administration — on November 20, 2000 had ordered that Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprises (NICE), which is executing the BMIC project, be exempted from paying Rs. 56 crore as stamp duty when the Government sells to the company 5,850 acres of acquired land, situated in the five proposed townships between Bangalore and Mysore as part of the project. However, the then Deputy Secretary of the Revenue Department on January 4, 2001 changed this figure to 14,337 acres of land (including both government and private lands) as approved by the Cabinet. Interestingly, the Deputy Secretary had stated that the amount of stamp duty exemption remains at Rs. 56 crore even after enhancement of land to 14,337 acres of land.

The Deputy Secretary altered the Cabinet decision by making the following noting in the file:

“In Para 63 of the Cabinet Note it is indicated that 5,850 acres of land is available for sale. But according to the information supplied by the NICE and supported by the Public Works Department (PWD) it is 14,337 acres.”

The note further states: “The KIADB is acquiring 14,337 acres of land and will hand it over to NICE for implementation of the project on which the Government has to accord exemption of stamp duty to the extent of Rs. 56 crore. Therefore, to this extent, Para 63 of the Cabinet Note stands modified. Since the payment of stamp duty to the extent of Rs. 56 crore accorded by the Cabinet remains unaltered, only the extent of land is changed, we may therefore issue Government Orders accordingly.”

This noting, okayed by a few higher officials, paved the way for the Government Order dated January 24, 2001, through which 100 per cent stamp duty exemption was granted for selling 14,337 acres of land to NICE. This Government Order acted as government approval to selling 14,337 acres of land instead of the 5,850 fixed by the Cabinet as per the Framework Agreement (FWA).

Also, this order was issued without indicating that the sale of land is permissible only in townships as per the FWA and as approved by the Cabinet. As per the FWA, except 5,850 acres of land which the NICE was permitted to sell after purchasing from the Government, the remaining land was to be given to the NICE by way of lease deed.

Based on this Government Order, the Stamps and Registration Department allowed registration of sale deeds in favour of NICE for land other than what was notified for the townships, particularly land situated within Bangalore city as the Government Order did not give specifications.

It started as a residents’ initiative success

It started as a residents’ initiative success

Staff Reporter

Bangalore: Door-to-door garbage collection started as a residents’ initiative, perhaps for the first time in the city, in 1995 in Mahalakshmipuram, which is part of Mahalakshmi Layout constituency.

The initiative was started by the West of Chord Road Residents’ Welfare Association when it was a norm in the city to dump garbage in bins at streets.

“Garbage bins were a public nuisance. The bins would remain uncleared for weeks and all waste would be strewn around them,” said Sushila Vasudeva Rao, president of the association.

“We started door-to-door garbage collection to put an end to the practice of dumping waste in the bins.”

The association roped in five rag-pickers, including three women, for the task. They were given training and provided uniform, safety equipment and pushcarts. “First we had to create awareness among people about the benefits of door-to-door garbage collection and segregation of waste. The local corporator supported us in this endeavour,” said Ms. Rao.

Each of the five workers was assigned the task of collecting garbage from 100 houses in the locality. A monthly fee of Rs. 10 was collected from each household and the money was used for paying salary to the workers.

A year later, the RWA, in association with a private company, set up a compost pit in a wasteland under high-tension power lines in the locality.

However, the compost pit became defunct after a park was developed under the power lines in 2004.

“In 2007, we handed over the task of garbage collection to the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) which, in turn, assigned the task to a contractor,” Ms. Rao said, and lamented that segregation of waste never happens at the collection point.

The Mahalakshmi Layout constituency boasts 45 parks. Stretches of waste land under high-tension power lines and along water supply pipelines have been developed into beautiful parks with a variety of plants, walking track, children’s play areas, waterfalls, and solar lighting.

MLA Narendra Babu, who has put in place an effective grievance redressal system, has a website for the people to contact him.

Sidewalk? Where is it on Lavelle Road?

Sidewalk? Where is it on Lavelle Road?
S Lalitha , Bangalore, Jan 27, DH News Service:

Pedestrians walking along Lavelle Road find themselves in an unenviable position...

This narrow stretch of road extending to a mere 400 metres, has no footpath on one side. The footpath on the other side is crowded at some spots with broken bricks and stones. Even the space along the road is taken over by cars and vehicles of commercial establishments here.

An NGO, Transparency International India (Karnataka chapter), is taking up cudgels on behalf of the pedestrians and has shot letters to top officials of the BBMP and the Traffic police to ensure walking space here.

B V Shetty, Honourary Secretary of the NGO, charged that hired taxis (bearing the yellow board) used by customers who frequent the hotels here and an automobile concern ate up much of the parking space along this road.

Top government officials conceded that there was a problem posed by vehicles while the commercial establishments denied that their vehicles encroached the road.

Assistant General Manager (Sales and Marketing), P K Bittu Nair, said his company vehicles were parked along the 2nd and 3rd cross roads and not on Lavelle Road. B S Muniraju, Assistant Manager at Hotel Regaalis, said his establishment had enough space to house numerous cars and there was no need for them to use the road space.

However, repeated visits by this reporter last week revealed haphazard parking of vehicles, particularly four-wheelers, on this road.

Cubbon Park Traffic police inspector, Mallikarjun, said the police tried their best to clear the space of vehicles on a regular basis. “We impose fine on 30 to 40 vehicles each week for parking along this stretch,” he said.

The real issue, however, is that some parking space needs to be allotted by BBMP for this area, which was conferred a commercial status from its earlier residential category. “The parking area alloted at the backside of Bowring Hospital previously has been closed now and vehicles are forced to hunt for space,” the Inspector said.

BBMP Assistant Executive Engineer in-charge for the area, Ashok conceded that pedestrian space was encroached in a big way on this road. “We have received complaints. Since the kerb of the platform is very low, vehicles manage to park them here. We are working towards increasing the height of the kerb so that vehicles cannot reach the platform,” he said. Ashok also assured that work in this connection will begin shortly.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Mummy, not the park!

Mummy, not the park!
The pavement in front of Lakshman Rao Park on R V Road is being fouled up by metro workers

The ongoing Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) work is attracting a lot of criticism from the residents of R V Road.
The visitors to Lakshman Rao parks C and D on R V Road simply cannot bear the foul smell emanating from park C. About 10 to 12 sheds have been built for the workers of the metro project along the footpath in front of the park. The problem starts here. “They urinate on the footpath and this is giving out such a bad smell,” says Captain Prabhakar, a resident of the area. What’s more, the workers have tied strings to dry their clothes. If this isn’t bad enough, there are water tanks placed at the end of the footpath. “They also take bath on the footpath itself in full view of the public,” says a frequent visitor to the park.
Complaints made to the BMRCL have gone in vain. “The BMRCL promised that they would maintain the place but that has not happened. When we had a meeting with the BMRCL about a month ago, they said that they would do their best to maintain cleanliness. But the whole place is stinking. As a result, the number of people visiting the park has also decreased,” says Lakshmikanth, another resident of Jayanagar 6th Block where the park is located.
When contacted, the BMRCL Public Relations Officer (PRO), Yeshavanth Chavan, said, “Let me inspect the place first before I pass comments.”
Another problem is that the swings and slides have been dismantled in park D. “It has been this way for the past one and a half years or so. All we want is for them to make the park functional and child-friendly again,” says Prabhakar.
R V Road comes under Reach 4 of the BMRCL project and the metro work here is expected to be completed by September 2012.
The R V Road and Jayanagar stations have been awarded to M/s IVRCL-CR18G at a cost of Rs 71.52 crore.
60 per cent of piling work has been completed in the R V Road area

Malleswaram market needs a civic champion

Malleswaram market needs a civic champion

Vaishalli Chandra

A walk down Malleswaram's narrow lanes and famous market place is not without its temptations. Want a taste of brands and street fashion? Malleswaram market on both sides of Sampige Road and nearby lanes is the ideal place. Be it kitchenware, clothes, footwear, fancy trinkets or electronic gadgets — all are there for your pick. In fact, the market is Malleswaram's mascot because people from afar refer to it as a swell of a place to get things at reasonable rates.
But there ends the happy note. Shoppers have a long list of complaints. They concern lack of upkeep and absence of amenities in the market place. "Many parts of footpaths are in dire need of repair," says Sujatha N, a frequent shopper and resident of Mathikere. The popularity is also its bane, it appears.
Swelling crowds and lack of elbow room make the market not an easy place to shop. "It's now become congested," complains R Harish, a Malleswaram resident. He remembers not long ago this market was a pleasant place to come to. But it is not all of people's making though. Harish points out at a newly laid footpath that remains unused as construction debris is still covering the footpath, making it unfit for pedestrian use. "Who is to blame," he asks.
"Often, shoppers end up walking on the main road," says Sukanya Sai, another resident. "On the one side is heavy traffic and on the other are squatters and vendors encroaching whatever little space is available on the footpath," says she.
Brinda, a homemaker and a resident of Malleswaram for three decades says, "Earlier, it was a pleasure to shop at the market place as we could bargain and get the best deal. But now it has become difficult to stand and check goods as there is so much mad rush and din."
The commercial competition between the shop owners and vendors has also created problems for shoppers and passersby. "Even those with shops often extend their displays on the footpath, making it difficult to use the footpath," says Sumathi, a school teacher. And the poor vendors, whose livelihood is threatened, abuse the shop owners creating frequent law and order problem.
"I think these vendors should be moved to another place as they crowd the footpath. The young crowd is happy buying everything from vegetables to clothes from swanky stores that sell branded products," says Yogita Jain, a frequent visitor to the market.
"There is a fresh vegetable store, so why would I buy from the street," asks Lakshmi, a mother of two.
Even elders find it difficult to walk on these crowded areas. Many of them prefer to stay within their apartment complexes. "I once sprained my ankle, trying to balance on an uneven tile," complains Yogita Manekar, a homemaker.
While many feel the vendors are an inevitable part of the shopping experience at Malleswaram, there are others who want them removed to another spot — to make more leg space for public in general. Residents' Associations of Malleswarm want the market given a facelift.



Malleswaram with conservative tag marches reluctantly into modern times

Malleswaram's narrow lanes are reminiscent of its glorious past. But today this once quiet neighbourhood is struggling to grapple with a multitude of problems born of its ultra-growth, observes Vaishalli Chandra. Residents vow they will back only those candidates who will fulfil their needs

Vaishalli Chandra

Malleswaram is still not ready to reach to the level of its residents' aspirations. Its well-heeled citizens find their locality reluctant to leave the comforts of the traditional stable although the young brigade is urging it to race ahead.
This assembly constituency has seven BBMP wards. Malleswaram, known for its temples and peace, has of late been trying to fall in with the general march of faster life. Only, the pace does seem to be dull. Not for nothing is it called the "most conservative part of the cosmo city."
Community sentiments are the key elements in any debate in Malleswaram assembly constituency. The middle class bastion has also strong Mahila Samaj movement.
Now, bursting at the seams, Malleswaram is still considered a 'catch' for those wanting a balanced life. The canopied roads in most parts of this area cut out the maddening rush. Even though Bangalore is losing its green tag, Malleswaram has maintained its green cover with the exception of 5th Cross in Malleswaram junction. In fact, it hosted the first Hasiru Santhe near Sankey Tank, recently.
Meanwhile, new icons of modernity — big malls, shopping complexes, beauty parlours, cafes —are coming up in good number. But the resultant problem of traffic annoys all.
The residents complain in one voice about the nuisance of the beast and the machine. With the road-widening work taking away the footpaths, they are being put to risk. And the brave ones have to tackle the untethered growth of stray dogs.
"As a kid, I remember cycling to school," says 28-year-old Jahnavi Pai, a research associate with ATREE.
Today not only is cycling risky, even crossing the road is an art one must master. "We need exclusive pedestrian path," Jahnavi says. She agrees the comforts of life have seen many-fold increase.
While spurting complexes have made living convenient — everything is available at a stones throw— it has also added to the residents' woes. Narrow lanes are shrinking further as more machines than men occupy the roads. It is all because of the violation of building rules.
"Shopping complexes lack adequate parking space. Whose fault is it," asks Divya Hegde, a young architect. "During the weekends, it is a nightmare for residents in our apartment complex to drive out," she rues.
Malleswaram Circle was once an important halt for out-bound buses. Now, it is an underpass and a general cause of complaint. "Ugly and dangerous," is how Remya Vasan, a post-graduate student, calls the underpass. It was planned to streamline traffic movement at Malleswarm 5th Cross and Sampige Road Junction. Traffic has eased out in the direction of Navrang theatre and Seshadripuram. However, the bottlenecks lead to congestion during rush hour. All the green cover was axed for the underpass and this was done without a thought, says she.
But, Malolan R Cadambi, an architect, disagrees. "Since I am a resident of 6th Cross Road, which is parallel to the underpass, I can personally vouch for the big reduction in traffic on my road as well as the pressure on Sampige Road."
The youth in the area bewail the loss of the green cover. "The heat is unbearable. There is no tree cover at this underpass stretch," says Gokul Das, a young professional with IBM staying at 6th Cross.
Similarly, Sampige Road at the underpass junction has 'No parking/no stopping' signs, but cars and autos are seen parked throughout the day. "Pedestrians have no choice but to walk on the roads," says S Jagruti, a resident.
Mathikere, however, has a consolation of having a popular park, Jayaprakash Narayan Biodiversity Park. This area also has the MS Ramaiah Group of institutions.
Sadashivnagar, part of which is Malleswaram constituency, is often held aloft as the benchmark of "quality life." This place has all the movers and shakers of the society. And walking through avenues, one may even forget we live in the bustling city.
However, despite its overall daintiness, Malleswaram has its share of woes. Most pressing problems are inadequate sewage and irregular clearance of garbage. "We told a hundred times to the civic authorities to make a foolproof system for garbage disposal," says Simon Das, a MBA student at Aramane Nagar.