Monday, January 31, 2005

More Bangalore for your buck

More Bangalore for your buck
The Age, Australia

Bangalore was home to 13 companies that generated foreign software services income of $US8 million in 1990-91. There are now more than 1400 IT companies in the graceful city that sits on India's southern high plains, and they generate export income of more than $US5 billion ($A6.4 billion) a year.

The Bangalore IT cluster is the biggest in India, and the fourth largest in the world. And it will continue to grow, says B.V. Naidu, director of Bangalore's software technology park, "because it is now simply too big to ignore. If companies want to find the right people, this is the place to be."

Naidu's contention is backed by Bob Hoekstra, chief executive of Philips Software Centre Private, a Bangalore-based research and development laboratory for the Dutch electronics giant, Philips. Hoekstra's unit employs one out of four of Philips' software engineers worldwide, and Hoekstra says the group has a beachhead in India "because India has an unlimited supply of software engineers".

The impact of the IT revolution on India is profound, says Ghanshyam Dass, managing director, Asia, for the Nasdaq stockmarket. "The traditional path for economic development has been for agricultural economies to develop manufacturing, and then to develop a strong services sector," he says. "India might be the first country to leap from an agricultural base straight to services, and from there back to manufacturing."

Dass is continually looking for companies with the potential to be brought to market, and says he "discovers hidden diamonds every day".

One of them might be the next Infosys, which was launched in 1981 by seven software programmers who had less than $US300 between them and now is capitalised at about $US10 billion.

Infosys is part of an industry that now exports software services and products worth $US12 billion a year. An industry report tips exports to hit $US50 billion by 2008. Even then there will be room for growth. It is estimated India has only captured about 1.8 per cent of the potential market.

Unmanned parking lots will pose problems

Unmanned parking lots will pose problems
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: Bangalore City Corporation’s (BCC) decision to scrap parking fee seems akin to cutting off the nose to cure a cold. Without parking fee, there will be no parking attendants in the 268 public parking lots in the city, and this according to one expert, can complicate issues concerning traffic congestion, orderliness and security of vehicles.

Instead of taking action on alleged official-parking contractor nexus within and bringing the corrupt to book, the BCC has chosen to revoke the fee and worsen traffic woes. Without providing an alternative to the parking lot monitoring system whose problems it could not handle, the BCC seems to have erred in scrapping a system that worked.

Parking attendants, though blamed for being exploitative, served three purposes. First, they would question anyone removing a vehicle from the lot without a ticket and prevent thefts. Their mere presence acted as a deterrent.

Second, they ensured optimal use of parking space to maximise their daily collections. By guiding and personally adjusting haphazard parking, they ensured that more vehicles, specially two-wheelers were packed into the available space. This had mitigated the parking space paucity to a great extent.

Third, the attendants ensure that parking is within designated areas and often warn those who parked outside the line. Without attendants, parking in no-parking zones is likely to increase manifold thereby increasing the burden on the traffic police in regulation.

M.N. Sreehari, chairman, Traffic Engineers and Safety Trainers (TEST) and professor, M.S. Ramaiah Institute of Technology (MSRIT), was of the opinion that the BCC was being penny-wise, pound-foolish. ‘‘Two lakh new vehicles are being added to the city’s current tally of 25 lakh vehicles each year. Parking is already the biggest problem. With no attendants, wrong, parallel, angular and perpendicular parking of two-wheelers will rise and clog roads. With this, no amount of road widening and multi-storeyed parking lots will help ease congestion,’’ he warned.

The professor was scathing in his criticism of the BCC. ‘‘This is being done to suit the Mayor’s whims and fancies. A scientific study is required before such a policy decision is taken,’’ he added.

A few rupees an hour in exchange for order on the roads is indeed a small price for any motorist. In any case, one pays three to five times the fee at private parking lots.

Holy cow: Cattle makes daily traffic battle tougher

Holy cow: Cattle makes daily traffic battle tougher
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: Very often while driving on a busy day, we encounter the holy cow and when you are late to work its all abuse from your boss. Who would you blame? The traffic jam or the unrelenting bovine? But you could still sneer at the way the Bangalore City Corporation (BCC) has dealt with the menace.

‘‘Stray cattle are a problem when I am driving to work in the Cantonment area, especially during the rush hour (9 a.m. and 11 a.m.). They plonk on roads and mess up the already terrible traffic system. They get up only if someone chases them away,’’ said Shreedhar, an employee of a private firm.

Charan, a chartered accountant, has had terrible experiences with cattle, especially during night. ‘‘Once, when I was returning from a late audit I crashed trying to avoid a cow at a turning near West of Chord Road and Basaveshwaranagar junction. Who would I curse, it was just a cow,’’ he said. ‘‘Do cattle owners understand that they are not supposed to be on the street in a developed city?’’ he asked.

It’s more likely that it’s their owners’ poverty that pushes these animals astray. Shaniyappa, in Jayanagar IX block, owns about 15 cattle heads and he said, ‘‘I cannot afford fodder, it’s easier if I let them astray to graze. I don’t know if they are a traffic hazard because I have been letting my cows out for three decades now.’’

Dr. Shashi Kumar, of the City Veterinary Hospital on Goods Shed Road said, ‘‘I have investigated into the matter of cattle ownership within the city and most of the old owners have not accepted urbanisation. I have known many families who own cows for religious reasons. We cannot stop them from living their lifestyle.’’ He finally added saying, ‘‘The growing city discourages cattle rearing, but there are areas like Koramangala and Chickpet where the problem is rampant.’’

Mixed response to Mayor's decision on pay-and-park

Mixed response to Mayor's decision on pay-and-park

The Hindu

BANGALORE, JAN. 30. The Bangalore Mahanagara Palike's (BMP) decision to scrap the pay-and-park scheme may be a relief to several Bangaloreans. But many, including members of the ruling Congress in the BMP Council, are doubtful about the feasibility of the decision.

"Will it be really implemented or is it an April 1 gift?" is their doubt. While many people say there will be chaos on Bangalore roads after free parking is made available from April 1, some have welcomed the move and feel it means a saving of at least Rs. 20 every day.

While the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is the main Opposition party in the BMP Council, and several other organisations have congratulated the Mayor, R. Narayanaswamy, on his decision despite criticism from his party colleagues, several Congress leaders wondered about regulation of free parking zones, security of vehicles, loss of revenue and abrupt termination of the existing contracts.

Sources in the BMP told The Hindu on Sunday that the Mayor did not discuss the matter with the Congress members in the pre-council meeting on Friday.

"We have not been consulted on the matter. We should have included this decision in the BMP budget for this year. As the BJP claims it has taken up the issue in a big way, this decision will only give credit to that party," a senior Congress member said.

At the BMP Council meeting on Saturday many Congress members were not sure of the resolution (to scrap the scheme) being adopted.

The sources said the BMP has not evolved an alternative system to maintain and regulate vehicle parking on the city roads. "We also need to repay the earnest money deposit made by the contractors. This and many other issues need to be worked out before implementing the Mayor's decision. There should not be any problem for the smooth movement of traffic or the security of vehicles parked," they added.

The Janata Dal (United) leader in the BMP Council, Padmanabha Reddy, who is against free parking, said if private companies are entrusted with the task of regulating free parking zones, they might put up hoardings right on the footpath, causing inconvenience to the people.

The Austin Town corporator, M.K. Kuppuraj, said the scheme is being discontinued as the BMP plans to impose new cess. "The solid waste management and infrastructure cess may come through this year. So, may be, Saturday's decision is only to enable citizens to pay the new cess," he added.

Janaagraha comes under fire

Janaagraha comes under fire

The Hindu

BANGALORE, JAN. 29. The Bangalore Mahanagara Palike Council on Saturday came down on the private urban initiatives — Janaagraha and PROOF (Public Record of Operations and Finances) — for "interfering in the civic body's functioning."

At the BMP Council meeting here, members cutting across party lines, criticised the organisation and accused it of "running a parallel government."

Raising the issue, the former Mayor, K. Chandrashekar, who is also the Basavanagudi MLA, wondered how the BMP Commissioner could allow the private voluntary organisation to "interfere in the BMP's functioning."

Asking the commissioner, K. Jothiramalingam, whether he is involved in corruption as indicated by Janaagraha in its reports, the former Mayor alleged that the organisation is conducting a signature campaign against the BMP's taxation system. Other members joined Mr. Chandrashekar, and asked the commissioner whether the organisation has been permitted to survey two wards to find out tax evaders there.

The commissioner replied that the organisation has submitted a proposal to conduct a survey. "We forwarded it to the Standing Committee on Taxation and Finance. Meanwhile, we told the NGO that they can survey wards of our choice along with our officials and not alone. But the organisation wanted to take up wards that are not chosen by us. When we refused, they went back on their word," he said.

Extortionists find non-Karnataka students easy prey

Extortionists find non-Karnataka students easy prey

The police say that many of the victims hesitate to lodge complaints apprehending that they may be troubled by the criminals later, writes K.V. Subramanya
The Hindu

INCIDENTS OF students of reputed colleges being threatened and relieved of mobile phones, gold ornaments and cash are being reported from the city.

Criminal gangs have been mainly targeting students from other States studying here.

According to the police, who recently arrested two persons on the charge of extortion, the criminals gain acquaintance with students from other States and frequent their place of stay, rooms or hostels.

After ascertaining their financial strength, the criminals threaten the students with weapons and withdraw money using their ATM cards.

They also relive them of mobile phones, gold chains and rings.

"They mainly target students from other States as they normally have a few thousands in their bank accounts and also do not have much local support," said a police official who played a key role in arresting Suresh alias Suraj Yesupal (30) of Hesarghatta and Murugesh alias Ayyu (28) of Mallasandra, who had extorted cash (using ATM cards) and taken away mobile phones from students of Acharya Engineering College in Peenya.

In another incident reported on Wednesday, a four-member gang barged into a house in Viveknagar police station limits and robbed five MBA students of five gold chains, six rings and five mobile phones, together worth Rs. 44,000, after threatening them with swords.

Using the ATM cards of the students, they also withdrew Rs. 13,000 from two ATMs.

The victims, all from Kerala, are students of a management college on Dickenson Road.

"We suspect some one who had keenly watched the movements of the students to have committed the crime," says B.B. Ashok Kumar, Assistant Commissioner of Police (Ulsoor Gate Sub-division). Some time ago, the police, in three separate cases, arrested a six youths who threatened the students of B.E.S College in Jayanagar, Acharya Polytechnic in Peenya and Bhagwan Mahaveer Jain College in Visveshwarapuram, and relieved them of gold chains and mobile phones.

The Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime), M.C. Narayana Gowda, says that before robbing the students, the criminals either befriend them or approach them stating that they are involved in an assault case. "The robbers accosted the MBA students in Viveknagar by stating that they had assaulted one of their friends," he says.

Mr. Gowda, while terming these incidents as "stray" ones, says the situation is not alarming.

"To check robberies, chain snatching and extortion we have intensified patrolling from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m."

According to a police official, software engineers and employees of multinational companies, mainly those from other States working here, too have been extorted of cash and their mobile phones taken away.

Some of the students do not lodge complaints fearing that the criminals will trouble them later. Thus, some cases go unreported, he says.

`More cars yes, but where are the roads?'

`More cars yes, but where are the roads?'
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: As poor infrastructure concerns CEOs and captains of the Indian economy, even academicians of Indian origin engaged in the US universities have started voicing grievance against bad roads and shoddy airports.

Akash Deep, a Harvard University associate professor and a member of the American Finance Association and the Global Association of Risk Professionals, who was in Bangalore for a CEO forum on `Global Perspective on Financial Risk Valuation' organised by IIPM and Planman Consulting felt no different.

Speaking to this website's newspaper on the current Indian economic scenario, Deep said, ``there is no foretelling that India is poised for excitement in not just IT, but infrastructure problems worry me. It is wonderful that the country's financial structure has allowed more number of people to own cars, but the roads can't handle them. Bangalore is the world's IT destination, but where is the international airport to welcome them?''

The 36-year-old financial expert, who has led executive development programmes at the National University of Singapore, Goldman Sachs, the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank also does not find it favourable to compare India with China. He admits China's infrastructure is far ahead of India, but then, ``though China has generated significant volumes in manufacturing and the US market can't think of other than `made-in-China' products, India can excel in its service quality. We can still source cheap from China and build on it with our service quality leading to an integrated economy.''

He wants India to grow independent of any world economic model and have more coherence in its policies, despite changing regimes.

``There is no underlying political continuity among policymakers, which investors would certainly not like. When regimes change at the Centre, politicians change policy for the heck of it. It will help the economy if there is a coherence in the policies in spite of political interests,'' avers Deep. He cautions that if India gets highlighted for its good news now, it equally gains importance if there is bad news also.

Railways announce arrival of ‘Parivartana’ at City

Rlys announce arrival of ‘Parivartana’ at City

‘Parivartana’ campaign undertaken by the South Western Railways holds the promise of keeping railway stations clean.

Deccan Herald

‘Ambience’ is not a word one would usually associate with a railway station, but that is exactly what the South Western Railways has in mind with its campaign ‘Parivartana’, which was flagged off in the City on Sunday.

So what’s new. Cleanliness campaigns, as well as the customer relation ones, have come in the news, only to slide off everyone’s radar.

However, explains Mr T N Perti, General Manager of the South Western Railways, who flagged off the campaign, this time it is different indeed. For one, it is not a one-off cleanliness drive.

Rather, it is an ongoing process which encompasses infrastructure, customer services (already seen in the form of ‘139’, the soon-to-be-introduced enquiry hotline, an increased number of booking counters and so on); and cleanliness.

Cops and corps
Now what is interesting about the cleanliness angle is that it will involve diverse groups. There is the NCC, the senior citizens’ forum, the Bharat Scouts and Guides, an orphanage and an NGO. Their efforts at promoting cleanliness will complement those of a ‘core group’, comprising the Government Railway Police (GRP), the Railway Police Force (RPF) and ticket inspecation officers.

While this core group will work round the clock, the rest will take turns in going around the station to ensure people keep the premises tidy. The presence of the ticketing officers is significant, since they are the only ones who have the authority to impose penalties. But the penalties will only be a last resort, explains Mr Perti. Their aim, he says, is “to educate, rather than deter”. And for that, he says, the “informal authority” in the guise of senior citizens, or young men and women, could make a bigger difference than the fear of penalties.

Joined effort
All three wings of the NCC will be involved in the process. Subedar Major Sukhdev Raj estimates that there will be between 75 to 90 of them who will take turns at the job. The senior citizens hail from the ‘Federation of senior citizens’ forum of Karnataka’.

The biggest hurdle will no doubt be that most of the visitors are hardly regulars. As one official explains, it is not like a bank or an educational institution, where the same set of people frequent the premises.

“A lot of educated people who come to the stations might think twice before littering, but, as for the others..” he puts two fingers to his lips to imitate someone spitting out betel juice.

If ‘Parivartana’ doesn’t go off the rails, the red stains on the walls might yet become a distant memory.

Happy, but more chaos likely

Happy, but more chaos likely

Deccan Herald

Bangalore Mahanagare Palike’s decision to do away with collection of parking fee has evoked mixed reactions from a cross-section of Bangaloreans.

Some of them were clearly overjoyed at the prospect of free parking. Others feared that such a system would only aggravate the existing chaotic conditions when it came to finding parking spaces. When Deccan Herald sought reactions about BMP’s decision, this is what they had to say;

Twenty three-year-old Shankuntala was visibly relieved when she heard that she may not have to pay parking fees in future. Most contractors in the parking lot were prompt in collecting the fee, but did not do a good job when it came to looking after the vehicles, she said.

However, Ananthakrishnan, a car owner, felt that scrapping the fee was a bad idea. He felt that Bangalore’s greatest problem of finding a parking space would not be solved by this, he added.

Shrimal, employed in an MNC, was a bit apprehensive about the move. He feared it would lead to a situation where private people allotted spaces at exorbitant prices to vehicle owners.

But 25-year-old Vinay is thrilled about not having to pay any parking fee. Saying that paying the fee was a futile exercise from the beginning, he said he was looking forward to parking his vehicle without any thought of money being spent as the minutes ticked away.

But, there were others who felt that paying a minimal amount as parking fee would go in the betterment of city’s infrastructure and provide the much-needed revenue to BMP.

No automated parking meters on MG Road

No automated parking meters on MG Road

BMP has entered into an agreement to install parking meters and to terminate the contract it has to pay huge amount says BMP Commisssioner

Deccan Herald

Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP) is likely to drop its plans to introduce automated parking meters on M G Road following its decision to scrap parking fee collection on Saturday.

However, it may go ahead with its similar plans on Commcercial Street.
BMP Commissioner K Jothiramalingam told the BMP council said that BMP has already entered into an agreement with traders’ associations on Commercial street for five years to install parking meters as has been done on the lines of Brigade Road.

The agreement for installing the meters is signed under Indian Contract Law and not KMC Act. “Hence, it is not as easy to terminate the contract,” he said.
If BMP has to terminate the contract with traders on these roads, it has to pay huge amount of money as compensation, besides returning the earnest money deposit. “Any decision should therefore be taken after a thorough discussion,” he suggested.

Mr Jothiramalingam, however, said that BMP council is the supreme authority and whatever decision it takes will be implemented. On multi-storey parking complexes -- on J C Road, K G Road and Magrath Road, he said: “BMP has spent huge amount of money in constructing them. We may have to discuss in detail before taking a decision on introducing free parking in these places.”

Regularise parking in City: Trades Assn

The representatives of the Bangalore Trades Association are already up in arms against the BMP for their decision to scrap the pay and park system in the City. The Association fears that such a move would reduce profits and drive the customers away from the shopping areas for want of parking spaces, reports DHNS from Bangalore.

“I object to such a move. Scrapping the parking fees altogether will create a lot of confusion in the City. At least the major commercial hubs such as M G Road, Brigade and Commercial must have parking fees,” secretary Bangalore Trades Association Bhoopalam P Srinath told Deccan Herald.

People will park their cars on M G Road at 10 am and will move out only at 10 at night. The shoppers and those visiting M G Road will not have parking space and we (traders) will lose out on our customers and our business will be hit. We will call on the Commissioner of Bangalore Mahanagara Palike and will put forth our problems, he added.

BMP scraps parking fee

BMP scraps parking fee

The Bangalore Mahanagara Palike’s Council passed a resolution but is yet to evolve an alternative system to regulate vehicular parking in the City.

Deccan Herald

The City’s pay-and-park system is at the end of its lot.

The Bangalore Mahanagara Palike Council on Saturday passed a resolution — which is likely to come into effect from April — scrapping the collection of parking fee.

However, the BMP council has reserved its decision on introducing free parking in its multi-storied parking complexes and in places where automated parking machines are installed.

The resolution passed by the council will be forwarded to the government for its decision.

Mayor R Narayanaswamy, after passing the resolution, said the existing parking contracts on 128 roads will be terminated by returning the contractors’ deposits. “This will help the common man,” he said. He said the BMP has the power to terminate the contract as per its convenience. “It is clearly mentioned, as one of the 34 contract conditions, that the BMP can terminate the contract at any time,” Mr Narayanaswamy added.

‘Not much revenue’
The BMP will initiate suitable measures to plug revenue leaks in various departments in order to make good the revenue loss from parking, he said. “The BMP is not earning much from this system. It can augment its revenue through various other sources.”

Though the council passed the resolution, the BMP has not yet evolved an alternate system to maintain and regulate parking on the city roads. “We need to work this out and many other issues before introducing the free parking system.
“There should not be any problem either for smooth movement of traffic or the security of vehicles parked,” BMP Commissioner K Jothiramalingam told reporters. Special Commissioner Subash Chandra said the BMP is thinking of entrusting the responsibility to maintain and regulate parking zones to private firms on roads the companies have put up advertising hoardings.

On roads where there are no hoardings, the task can be entrusted to private firms by giving them permission to put up ads on poles, he added.

Though the council passed the resolution by and large unanimously, several corporators raised doubts about the feasibility of the new system. The members were apprehensive about the regulation of free parking zones, security of parked vehicles, loss of revenue, abrupt termination of the existing contracts and related issues.

Private firms
JD(U) leader Padmanaba Reddy said private firms that are given charge of regulating free parking zones may put up hoardings right on the footpath, causing inconvenience to pedestrians.

Besides, it may lead to unauthorised collection of money from people claiming to be guarding parked vehicles, he said.

Congress’ A Krishnappa expressed concern over the loss of revenue. “You (the Mayor) are planning to plug revenue leakage to make good this loss. But it is easier said than done,” he said.


* Automated parking may stay
* No decision on parking at BMP complexes
* Existing contracts to be terminated
* Private companies may take over

Loony mayor cuts loose

Mayor calls for free parking
Deccan Herald

Mayor R Naraya-naswamy has proposed a free vehicle parking system on City roads, cancelling the existing pay-and-park contract, DHNS reports from Bangalore .

“I will put up this proposal before the Council and allow a discussion on it.

“I am against collecting fee for parking vehicles and will try my best to stop this,” Mr Narayan-aswamy told Deccan Herald.

The Bangalore Mahanagara Palike Council meeting is scheduled for Saturday at 11 am.

In fact, Karnataka Lokayukta Justice N Venkatachala in a recent letter to the BMP had suggested that the system be done away with as there was resentment from citizens towards it. Over and above, various residents welfare associations and political parties, especially the City BJP unit, have been charging that there are loopholes in the existing contract, which has given room for irregularities.

Mr Narayanaswamy explained that the common man, especially those from the middle income group, are badly hit due to the existing system. “One has to spend an average of Rs 15 to 20 per day just for parking a vehicle. The same could be used to meet other daily expenses,” he felt.

The BMP earns a revenue of around Rs 4 crore per year from parking fee. “If members (corporators) oppose this move citing revenue as a reason, I will show them plenty of other areas where there is revenue leakage,” he added.

BMP collects parking fee on 128 City roads under the existing parking contract, which is awarded to 81 contractors for a year.

Land owners at mafia mercy

Land owners at mafia mercy

As the real estate prices have shot up of late, the land mafia is out to make mega bucks and is striking with impunity.

Deccan Herald

Do you have a vacant site in Bangalore? If yes, then watch your back. For, you might soon be haunted by the land mafia.

Once a covert activity of the netherworld, the operations of Bangalore’s land mafia have apparently become a part of our culture now. Instances of site-owners being threatened, extorted, kidnapped and assaulted by the land sharks are on the rise. With the real estate prices having shot up by 200 per cent in the last 18 months, the land mafia has decided to make a fast buck and started striking with impunity. At least, half-a-dozen persons have been murdered in property-related disputes in the City in recent times.

The modus operandi of the land sharks is simple and straight: they identify vacant sites in localities where the real estate prices are high, forge documents and stake claim over the site by constructing a shed with hollow cement bricks. They normally bribe Bescom officials and get a power connection for the shed. When the shocked site-owners question them by showing original documents, they unleash terror.

The hatchet job is done by hired men, who usually get Rs 100 in cash, a biryani packet and two bottles of liquor (whisky or rum) per day. In the face of so much pressure, the original owner has to either sell his site for a meagre price or pay ‘protection’ money to retain it.

This is precisely what is happening in the serene Brindavan Layout near R T Nagar these days. As the land price in the area shot up from Rs 750 per sft (square foot) to Rs 1,500 per sft in the last six months, peace lies shattered.

An office-bearer of the Brindavan Layout Residents’ Association said: “Of the 20 vacant sites in the area, five have already been taken over by the land-grabbers. The sites are of different dimensions — from 30’x40’ to 100’x80’. We live under constant fear as goondas keep moving around in the area all the time.”

Speaking to Deccan Herald, Mr C Venkatesh, who owns a site in the area, said: “I had bought the site in 1980 thinking that it will come in handy during my daughter’s wedding. I have all the original papers and tax receipts. But now some persons are staking claim to it.”

Though a complaint has been lodged with the police, the land sharks continue to have a free run, he said. The two land-mafia gangs that operate in the area reportedly enjoy political connections.

Physical threats
Threats from the land mafia are not just verbal, but also physical. Recently, a man was kidnapped by a gang when he staked claim to a site in Yelahanka’s Balaji Krupa Layout. When passers-by tried to stop the kidnappers, they fired three rounds in the air to scare them away. The man was badly assaulted and later released.

The worst thing happened in Ulsoor’s Jogupalya: an elderly citizen was murdered right in front of his residence when he challenged the land mafia that tried to grab his land, worth crores of rupees.

Things have come to such a pass that a majority of the people in the queue at the Bangalore City Police Commissioner’s office are those who are fighting to save their sites.

Senior police officers said complaints of this kind were mainly reported from the revenue pockets in Madivala, HAL, Subramanyapura, Kengeri, Yelahanka, Banaswadi, Ramamurthy Nagar and K R Puram police limits.

As the underworld of this uncontrolled economy pays well, police officers too have started donning the role of negotiators.

“When a person comes up with a complaint stating that he has been dispossessed of his site by some unknown person, policemen ideally should investigate as to who has forged the documents.

“Instead, they settle disputes in the station itself and get commission from both the parties,” a senior police officer said.

*Ensure that you have all the relevant documents establishing your right over the site.
*Obtain a khata and pay the property tax. Keep the tax receipts.
* Take possession of the site by constructing a compound. If possible, put up a shed.
* Put up a name board and take photographs of the property.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Photos from the Lalbagh Flower Show

Exquisite photographs from the recent flower show at the Lalbagh here

Keep repeating a lie and it become the truth

Jayadeva grade separator by February
The completion of this project will come as a relief to commuters as it is a crucial junction connecting the 'IT triangle' of the city, says R Jayaprakash
The Times of India

Come February and people in the city commuting towards Bannerghatta and Hosur Road will have much to cheer about as the flyover part of the grade separator at Jayadeva Institute of Cardiology will be thrown open to them. This is expected to happen around the middle of February.

Thanks to some quick measure taken by the authorities, the work on the project which had come to a grinding halt once, has finally reached the completion stage.

It may be recalled here that the work was entrusted to UP State Bridge Corporation at a contract value of Rs 17.56 crores with the scheduled date of completion as April 2004. The project hit roadblocks after issues of payment of differential cost of reinforcement steel and release of security deposit against bank guarantee surfaced.

The issues were resolved by M N Vidyashankar, Commissioner, BDA and fresh deadlines were slated for the pending grade separator project. And according to the revised deadline, the completion of grade separator at Jayadeva Institute was by February 2005. Also, advance payment for procurement of reinforcement steel to a tune of 75 percent has been made for speeding up the works.

Speaking on the project, Vidyashankar said, "while the flyover portion of the work will be completed by mid February 2005 and will be open to public, the underpass work which is going on in a rapid pace will be completed by May 2005".

Vehicle movement

This grade separator is a mix of an underpass and a flyover as in the case of Dairy Circle. It consists of a two/three unidirectional flyover and a four-lane bi-directional underpass. While the flyover connects Banashankari and Central Silk Board (leading to Hosur Road), a loop from Bannerghatta Road joins the main flyover to provide free right turning movement along Outer Ring Road towards Central Silk Board. The underpass joins the road from Dairy Circle junction and Bannerghatta Road.

The grade separators at Jayadeva Institute of Cardiology and Dairy Circle were crucial as both these junctions connect to the 'IT triangle' of the city. A BDA study carried out two years ago had revealed that the traffic volume in these two junctions was 11,000 PCU/hour. The project, once completed, is expected to provide substantial relief to commuters who pass through these junctions that are extremely congested right now.

Flyover at Ananda Rao Circle

This project has been entrusted to Simplex Concrete Piles (I) Ltd. at a contract value of Rs 27.60 crores with the scheduled date of completion as November 14, 2005. While the peak hour traffic recorded at Ananda Rao Circle is 15,125 PCU/hour, traffic volume at Subbanna Circle is 9,669 PCU/hour. The work comprises a main flyover along Seshadri Road for a total of 646 metres with five-lane undivided one-way flyover up to Ananda Rao Circle with a two-lane one-way down ramp towards Basaveshwara Circle and four-lane one-way flyover along Seshadri Road crossing Ananda Rao Circle and Subbanna Circle. A loop is provided towards Race Course Road with a unidirectional 7.5 metres wide carriageway grade level service road for free turn towards Seshadripuram.

Residential Property market: IT sector driving demand

Residential Property market: IT sector driving demand
The Times of India

The skyline of the Bangalore residential property market has undergone a major transformation over the last few years. The idea of living in apartments has caught the imagination of city dwellers. This amounts to nearly 60 percent of the home buyers segment. The 40 percent of the population interested in constructing their own homes primarily comprise local residents of Bangalore. If the local resident still prefers to construct a home, who then, is driving this demand for the large apartment complexes in Bangalore? The growing migrant population mostly employed in the IT, ITES and BPO industries are the main demand drivers.

Housing finance companies and banks claim that the migrant population accounts for almost 60 to 70 percent of the demand for apartments. Further, 75 percent of these buyers are employed in the IT sector. Relatively higher salaries in the IT sector, double income families, and more importantly, tax benefits on availing a housing loan and attractive interest rates are primary reasons contributing to the demand for apartments in Bangalore.

While new developments have been noticeable in almost all localities in Bangalore, certain localities clearly stand out. The highest stock generation has been in the south and south-east of Bangalore. Within these zones, Bannerghatta Road and Sarjapur Road have been
witnessing a large proportion of the construction activity. Out of the total number of projects that have commenced construction in the last two years, the stock in the south and south-east constitute 30 percent and 35 percent of the total stock across all localities. The level of proliferation of stock within these zones could be explained by the proximity of the locations to places of work especially in the IT and ITES sectors.

Says Manisha Grover, Associate Director, Strategic Consulting and Research, Jones Lang LaSalle: "There is no concrete outlook on 2005 though we feel that the absorption of prime apartments in the city would grow, albeit at a lower percentage due to the higher base than last year. Although the market across Bangalore has been largely buoyant, the proportion of stock and absorption has been pronounced in the 3-bedroom segment. Out of the total stock, 3-bedroom apartments constitute almost 58 percent followed by the 2-bedroom segment, which is almost 25 percent. The absorption levels match the proportion of stock, which explains the attraction of these segments within the overall residential market. The two and 3-bedroom segments are available within an average budget which makes it attractive for purchase. On an average, two and 3-bedroom apartments get absorbed early primarily due to the budgets".

This market scenario has certainly created plenty of anticipation and positive sentiments amongst developers. Projects have been selling prior to completion, which has given the developer segment enough to cheer about. "This phenomenon is not only true for the established developers but is also being experienced by the new entrants. Not surprising then that first-time developers have been constructing a significant bit of the total stock. More specifically, the first-timers are focusing on Yelahanka and Jakkur in the north, Sarjapur Road in the south-east and Kanakapura Road in the south west," she added.

In the experience of housing finance companies and banks, 50 percent of home loan seekers in Bangalore have annual salaries between Rs 4 to 6 lakhs while 25 percent each have salaries less that Rs 4 lakhs and above Rs 6 lakhs. Given the permissible sanctioning limits, the approximate EMI for 50 percent of the home loan seekers in Bangalore ranges between Rs 20,000 to 30,000 for a loan tenure of 20 years, which corresponds to a total budget (including stamp duty, registration, maintenance deposits) of Rs 25 to 35 lakhs for an apartment.

Also, considering the fact that the average age of borrowers is reducing, the incremental demand is coming from the middle to bottom band of the salary bracket (Rs 4 to 6 lakhs). In order to sustain this interest, it is important to maintain budget levels. Hence, future price increases should also be based on an increase in cost of steel, cement etc. rather than just buoyant market sentiment. Coupled with this price rationale, infrastructure such as access roads, water and power will also play an important role.

BIAL still 3 agreements away

International airport just three agreements away
The Times of India

Bangalore: Just three agreements are now standing between Bangalore and its dream international airport.

Replying to a question by Vatal Nagaraj (independent) in the assembly on Thursday, industries minister P.G.R. Sindhia said: “There are only three internal agreements which are to be signed. After this, the financial closure will be achieved in February-March and work will begin in March-April.’’

Terming them as formalities, Sindhia said the Bangalore international airport limited (BIAL) will be signing agreements with the Airports Authority of India (AAI), the contractors and the consortium.

“As far as I know there are no other agreements which the state or central governments have to sign,’’ he said.

Sindhia added, the Karnataka government had handed over 3,284 acres through the land lease agreement while the rest is in the process of being handed over.

Asked if the government intended to lay another foundation stone, since the previous state and central governments had laid one even before any of the major agreements had been signed, Sindhia declined to make a commitment.

Is situation under control?

Is situation under control?
Last week’s mob violence over Benny Hinn caught the Bangalore police on the wrong foot. With their personnel occupied with other duties, the miscreants ran amok and held the city to ransom for a few hours. Could the police have prevented this, Ashwin Raj asks police commissioner S. Mariswamy.

The Times of India

Bangalore has never seen such unprecedented crowds. Was the police prepared to h a n d l e them?
T he crowd was i n d e e d huge, perhaps the largest we have hand l e d . T h o u g h similar bandobast has been made for earlier programmes, including the one by RSS in 2002, the situation was different this time. Additional forces, including a company of Rapid Action Force, were deployed at the venue and in sensitive areas. By and large, the city remained peaceful except for stray incidents of stone-pelting.

Can police exercise control over mobs when they go on the rampage?
The main role of police is to maintain law and order. With adequate deployment, the force can handle any eventuality. Additional forces can be mobilised as and when required. In some cases, preventive arrests are made when there is fear of violence breaking out.

Was the police caught offguard when violence broke out on the first day of the Benny Hinn event?
We did apprehend trouble in some parts of the city. Though a large number of personnel were at the venue, many were deployed in sensitive areas for Bakrid and for security of the Chilean President who was on a two-day visit to Bangalore. One group had also called for a Bangalore bandh.
Miscreants attacked vehicles, mainly BMTC buses, in many parts of the city. Personnel were mobilised quickly and the situation was brought under control in a short time.

What action was taken against culprits? Will it be a deterrent?
Over 150 persons have been booked under various charges, including rioting and damage to public property. They are punishable under various sections of the law. Preventive measures can be taken to avoid such violence. Though strict action can be a deterrent, there is a law for every offence.

In the DOCK

Name: S. Mariswamy
Age: 59
Qualification: BA, Mysore University
Address: Office of the Commissioner of Police, Infantry Road.
A 1972 batch IPS officer, Mariswamy hails from Sattegal in Kollegal taluk. He took over as Bangalore police commissioner in May 2003 and has since been witness to various changes in the city, including compounding traffic and civic problems. A practical officer who says there cannot be a city like Bangalore without crime, he also believes it can be curbed with adequate measures.

Before taking over as commissioner, he was ADGP (administration) where he was instrumental in setting up welfare measures for personnel. After his first posting as additional superintendent of police in Shimoga, he served in various posts, including secretary in the home department and IG (technical services), in his service spanning over 30 years.


S.C. BURMAN, former DGP

When police have to handle such large numbers, a format needs to be followed. And that includes crowd-control and management. It also demands a study into the nature of issues involved, the kind of protesters and political parties. A thorough assessment should be done, and apart from mobilising officers, personnel should be briefed about the anticipated trouble, which is most important. The answer to such a situation is not mere deployment of thousands of policemen, but how they are utilised.

In the context of the recent event, many common techniques of crowd management hadn’t been applied and the police were taken by surprise. Knowing the mood of the protesters, the police needed to be more vigilant.

Preventive arrests of important activists and interception of mobs rushing to the city from rural areas in vehicles were the minimum steps they could have taken.

Let the purdah remain

In response to this piece that appeared in the Business Standard last week

The proposal to replace the stone wall that surrounds Lalbagh with an iron fence needs to be thoroughly denounced as it will lead the garden down the path of destruction.

The writer acknowledges that the garden has not deteriorated. He should pause to think why that is so. One of the reasons is definitely the stone wall that secures it. In addition to humans with any negative bent of mind, it keeps the noise and foul air that permeate
every bit of Bangalore out. The writer attempts to question how a stone wall could be more secure than a iron fence. The 'out of sight, out of mind' principle works well here. What people cannot see they cannot damage.

All that one needs to debunk the writer's arguments is to take a look at the other large garden in Bangalore - Cubbon Park. Cubbon Park is surrounded by a transparent iron fence as the writer desires. The point is, Mr. Writer, the relatively dilapidated state that the Cubbon Park is in, is precisely because the iron fence has not been able to keep out pollution, miscreants, vagrants and stray animals. And there is a practical limit to how much policing can be done to keep such elements away. The writer's idea of locating ministerial bungalows
alongside the Lalbagh is so preposterous it doesn't deserve a response.

While I agree that private funds should be sought, they should be deployed for better maintenance of the garden and not in pursuit of such harebrained ideas.

Lalbagh is a botanical garden, not a mere roadside public park. Nay, it is paradise in today's polluted environs. The writer should realize that paradise is not served on a platter. If he wants to savour it, then he has to spare 10 minutes of his time and step inside the garden.

Like the writer himself says, its ultimately a question of mindsets. In times where there is scant regard for the environment, should we seek ephemeral joy or preserve paradise for posterity? I think the answer is resoundingly the latter. The writer chopped off 100 acres off
Lalbagh's total area of 240 acres with what was perhaps a wrong fact or a typographical error. But if his proposal is implemented then those 100 acres are sure to disappear in reality as well.

There is a saying in Kannada on one of the gates of Lalbagh - 'Idhu Sasya kashi, kaii mugidhu olage baa' which loosely translates to 'This is the heavenly abode of green-life. Bow before you enter'. I hope people like the writer will let it remain that.

Wilful construction despite notification: BDA

Wilful construction despite notification: BDA
Vijay Times

Bangalore: The Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) on Thursday told the Karnataka High Court that some people had “wilfully” constructed houses on land meant for formation of Arkavathy layout despite being aware of a notification that Government would be acquiring the land.
The BDA’s submission before Justice Gopal Gowda came while replying to a petition filed by over 400 persons challenging the Feb 23, 2004 notification which proposed to acquire land for the formation of the layout.

It was further submitted that a major chunk of land on the proposed layout was government owned.

Counsel for the BDA stated that the proposed layout is the biggest in the City.

It was also submitted that the contentions advanced by the petitioner that the BDA has no authority to acquire land outside the City limits is not sustainable in law.

A spate of petitions have been filed in the High Court challenging the notification dated Feb 23 2004.

The petitioners contended that they had built houses on the land and if the same is demolished they will be put to hardship.
They also stated that the land was acquired on the basis of records and none of the officers had inspected the spot personally.

International arrivals up 58 pc

International arrivals up 58 pc
Vijay Times

Bangalore: Stamping its growing international stature, the City has recorded a 58 per cent increase in international arrivals and 68 per cent rise in departures during the first nine months of this fiscal.

Between March and December last year, more than 2.53 lakh international arrivals were reported at the City airport as against about 1.65 lakh during the corresponding period in 2003.

For the whole of 2003-04, the total arrivals were 2,37,798 and total international departures numbered 2,70,441 during the same period with the corresponding figures for the previous year being 161,457.

Underlining the significance of the City in international aviation traffic, Bangalore Commissioner for Customs P R Chandrasekharan said the number of international flights at the City airport rose by 89 per cent and the number of passengers by 181 per cent in the last three years.
"This very well underlined the need for an International airport," he said speaking at a function at the HAL Convention Centre to celebrate the International Customs Day.

He said the Bangalore Air Cargo Complex continued to be the fastest custom station in the country in terms of time taken for clearance of goods and other performance indicators.

NICE opposes peripheral ring road project

NICE opposes peripheral ring road project

Vijay Times

Bangalore: Chief Minister Dharam Singh’s ambitious project of constructing a peripheral ring road (PRR) to ease traffic is being opposed by the Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprise (NICE), which is implementing the Bangalore-Mysore Infrastructure Corridor (BMIC) highway project.

NICE’s contention is that a part of the PRR, to be developed by the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA), is parallel to the proposed 41-km peripheral road being constructed by it, from Tumkur Road to Hosur Road. Sources in the State Government told Vijay Times that NICE had written a letter to the Government saying that if the PRR was constructed parallel to the BMIC Road, it would lose revenue in the form of toll tax.

“Why will people pay and use the BMIC Road? They will instead use the PRR, which will be toll tax free,” BMIC officials said.
The BMIC Road starts near Anchepalya on Tumkur Road and touches Hosur Road, near Konnappa Agrahara, passing through Mysore Road. This stretch of the road will be taken up in the first phase of the BMIC project.

On the flip side, the proposed PRR will cover a distance of 109 km and will be located approximately between 2.8 km and 11.5 km away from the existing outer ring road, and 14 km to 22 km away from the heart of the City. This 60-metre-wide road will have two carriage ways and six lanes, which will connect major highways like Tumkur Road, Mysore Road, Old Madras Road and Hosur Road.

It may be recalled that the then chief minister S M Krishna had mooted a proposal to construct the 68-km PRR that would meet the BMIC Road near Anchepalya.

The BDA had planned the road at an estimated cost of Rs 750 crore. However, the present Government has revised the plan and wants to construct the entire stretch of the 109-km road.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

How does your Garden City grow?

How does your Garden City grow?
With Bangalore’s burgeoning population mini townships are springing up on its fringes
The TImes of India

BANGALORE’S bursting at the seams and residents are moving farther and farther out. With several apartments and houses coming up along Sarjapur Road, Bangalore North, Bangalore South, Whitefield and other areas, residents say that there has been a lifestyle change too. And there are both plus as well as minus points to reckon with.

The plus points are that the apartments are self-contained and provide many facilities. “We have a gym, a club house and a supermarket within the complex, so a lot of our needs are met. Though, in the initial stages, it was tough and we had to go Yelahanka Town to buy fresh vegetables,” says Rajkumar Naik, who moved a year ago to an apartment complex in Yelahanka. But, there are few hospitals of repute around that area, he says. “We must go to Mathikere and RT Nagar for these. And if you want the movies, you have to come to the city.”
The story is quite the same along Sarjapur Road. Manasi Sinha who also moved there recently says, “You certainly have quality of life. There’s pure air, sunshine, lots of walking and jogging space. A lot of the people who live here are techies, who work at offices nearby. Many are also yuppies. Our area is particularly convenient for those without active professional

lives, namely doctors and creative people who work from home, and don’t have to visit the city every day, simply because the commute to the city is a pain.”

The flip side is that since she doesn’t live in an apartment, but in an independent house, and parts of the area are still in the process of development, there are not enough convenience stores. “If you want broccoli, mushroom or fresh vegetables, you don’t get them there. And for entertainment, I go to multiplexes a little into the city, depending on which ones are closer.” Another minus point is that not all roads are welldeveloped, “so you have to walk on mud tracks in some areas.”

Sanjay M, who moved to Whitefield from the heart of the city says, “At the moment, we get all the basic needs catered to. There are some good hospitals here. There’s adequate choice in restaurants too. But for higher quality of entertainment, like films, you must come into the city. Another change in lifestyle is also that the commute into the city is long. So we need to plan our day well. There’s no question of “going back” if you want anything at home. Socialising is nil during the week, it’s just work and back. At other times, there is socialising, but it’s intra-Whitefield.”

Schooling too is adequate, each area has a cluster of schools coming up, many of them international. But, for some who are already attending schools in the city, “it’s a long haul.”

Another plus point is that most apartment complexes have bus facilities at specific times, making coming into town easier, as also going back home. This means that members of the family don’t stay out needlessly, and hence there is more quality family time.

Focus: JP Nagar

Aptly termed Jayanagar’s cousin — J.P. Nagar — an unobtrusive village has now turned into a bustling hub. Sarakki village as it was once known, JP Nagar has the right blend of tradition, modernity and development.

The boundary of JP Nagar starts after Raghavendra Swamy mutt in Jayanagar fifth block and stretches all the way till Puttenahalli. In the early 1980s, the erstwhile Sarakki was a vast expanse of vacant lands, with very few houses. Once upon a time, it was also an agricultural belt. Vegetables and greens are still grown in hamlets that are adjacent to JP Nagar.

Development of the layout has taken place at a fast pace with the area accommodating the spill-over of Jayanagar. The demography of JP Nagar has changed over the last decade in such a way that it has become a self-contained area — housing a host of educational institutions, IT companies, food marts, banks, hospitals and commercial complexes. With the government putting J.P. Nagar in the proposed IT corridor map, the influx of software firms has been unhindered.

The proximity of J.P. Nagar to Electronic City through the Ring Road has also been one of the important reasons for its growth, due to which property values have also shot up — it ranges between Rs 1,800 per sqft and Rs 2,200 per sqft.

J.P. Nagar is dotted with parks, thanks to the Bangalore City Corporation taking up development of parks two years ago. The area is also blessed with good civic amenities — good garbage collection, litter-free and dustbin-free roads and fairly good water supply.

But the residents have their share of problems. With the development comes chaos. Traffic has increased by leaps and bounds and roads are perennially clogged with vehicles. Illegal commercial establishments have sprung up adding to parking problems.

The latest feather in the area’s cap is Ranga Shankara, an artist’s dream. With this theatre, the cultural life of JP Nagar is expected to undergo a transformation.

Despite shortcomings, JP Nagar will continue to be Bangalore’s upscale locality.

The Times of India

Chirp, chirp — a birdwatcher’s paradise

Chirp, chirp — a birdwatcher’s paradise
The Times of India

Did you do it? Why did you do it? Did you do it?...goes the relentless call of the red wattled lapwing! Or take for instance, the melodious call of a magpie robin, tu wit tu wit ta wu.

Where on earth do you get to hear and see them? To give your kids a taste of the lovely outdoors and give them a glimpse
of our wonderful flora and fauna, you need go no farther than Lalbagh gardens!

It’s 8 am on a second Sunday and at the Lalbagh Glass House, an unusual group of children and adults has assembled. Most of them are equipped with a notebook and binoculars. One gentleman has already taken charge of the group. He points to a bird on the road ahead that is bigger than a sparrow but much smaller than a crow. Someone in the group describes the bird: brown body, buff underpart, yellow beak and a yellow patch near the eyes. “What’s that bird?” the

gentleman asks. Even as the group debates on why it is the common myna and not the jungle one, another gentleman calls out to look for the Striped Tiger. Nothing to worry. It’s only a beautifully hued butterfly going by that name owing to tiger-like stripes.
The avian life in Bangalore is among the best and most varied. For instance, Lalbagh itself is home to over 135 species of birds and butterflies, says M.B. Krishna, a professional ornithologist.

These outings organised by Birdwatchers Field Club of Bangalore (BWFCB), goes on for about three hours starting at 8 am. Along with the avian life, the group discovers the insects, butterflies, some common tips to identify trees and shrubs. Interesting topics related to geography and geology are discussed and debated.

These outings are a must for kids for they get to see life at close quarters. And it does not cost a single paisa. So, why miss it?

Bird Watching

Every second Sunday of the month

7.30 am

Lalbagh Glass House

Approximately 3 hours

Anything comfortable and preferably dull coloured clothing

A notebook and a ball-point pen; binoculars if possible

Students sweep Lalbagh neat and clean

Students sweep Lalbagh neat and clean

Hundreds of NSS and scouts volunteers with Horticulture Department personnel went on a cleaning mission.

Deccan Herald

Did you know that Lalbagh botanical garden, one of the most sought after tourist destinations and an eco-sensitive place in Bangalore, is left battered and scarred after the close of each public event.

This time around, it is the annual flower show that has left its trail of destruction.
According to official sources, the clearing up of the garbage and litter discarded by thousands of tourists on Thursday alone would take at least three days to clean up. More than two truckloads of garbage is likely to be collected, as nearly one lakh visitors have reportedly stepped into Lalbagh to enjoy the last day of the flower show on Wednesday. The Horticulture Department has employed 15 extra personnel to speed up the cleaning work.

Meanwhile, all is not lost in this dismal scenario. Samarpana, a city-based voluntary organisation along with hundreds of National Service Scheme and Scouts volunteers have picked where the visitors have left off. Volunteers from as far as Tumkur and Kolar joined hands to make success the ‘Keep our Lalbagh clean’ campaign.

Week-long drive
This week-long drive launched on January 20 was aimed at inculcating a sense of ‘civic sense’ among visitors who were found littering the place. The volunteers even interacted with some of them about keeping their environs clean and even readily cleaned up the garbage thrown by them to drive home their points. Some of the visitors were heard complaining of shortage of dustbins in the garden.
Elaborate street plays which depicted the need for using dustbins along with chanting slogans formed part of the week-long campaign.

Then why not restrict the tourist entry into the botanical garden during public shows? For this, Horticultural Department Director Vasanth Kumar says that such drastic measures would not be adopted as Lalbagh provided a wealth of information to the general public. However, he was quick to add that his department was planning to take measures to restrict the entry of plastic into the garden.

Hundreds of fish perish, lie afloat in Ulsoor Lake

Hundreds of fish perish, lie afloat in Ulsoor Lake

An initial investigation has revealed that the mass death of the freshwater fish indicated that a decline in water quality could have caused the incident.

Deccan Herald

Hundreds of fish were found afloat in Ulsoor lake on Wednesday, falling prey to lack of oxygen in the water.

Grass carp, Silver carp and Catla, the major Indian carp and Mrigal fish varieties, which were introduced in the lake nearly a year ago, were all found dead.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, the Joint Commissioner (East), Bangalore Mahanagara Palike, Mr N Jayaram, said initial investigations by experts from the civic body and the Department of Horticulture revealed that the high mortality of freshwater fish in the lake was due to a sudden and considerable fall in dissolved oxygen levels.
And over crowding in the lake also resulted in asphyxiation.

The increase in the aquatic weeds and algae has also contributed to the situation.
Mr Jayaram said that decline in the quality of water could not be ruled out. Fish and water samples have been sent to the Bangalore University Laboratory for analysis.

The population of fish had grown tremendously in the recent past and for about a year now harvesting was not done and it started only recently, said Mr N Jayaram.

The fishing contract was given to Fishing Society, added Mr N Jayaram.
The Bangalore Mahanagara Palike had introduced a stock of 61,500 fish into the lake in November 2003, following the recommendation of the University of Agriculture, Fisheries Department.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

BPO plans new staff transport system

BPO plans new staff transport system
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: It was over a cup of coffee that the Sykes staff discussed the rising transportation cost for the company. While they debated and brainstormed, they stumbled upon an idea – a single window transport system for the Business Process Outsourcing units across the city.

‘‘We are now networking with the other BPOs in the city. Most of them seem excited. A meeting will be organised and we would chalk out an action plan,’’ said Raghavendra Sridhar, manager, Infrastructure and Facilities, Sykes. The meeting has been slated for January 28 at Hotel Le Meridien. Transport department officials will participate.

There are over 6,000 vehicles running in Bangalore daily to pick and drop employees of BPOs. Most of these shuttles are run by private transport operators, he said. ‘‘We foot a bill of about Rs. 40 lakh every month. I am confident this expense will come down by at least 40 per cent if we have a single window system.’’

According to the preliminary plans, a global positioning system (GPS) will be fitted into buses for mapping the city’s BPO requirement. ‘‘We would then assign buses to operate on different shifts, catering to employees of different BPOs. A hub for the operators will be created. Booking for buses will be made at this hub alone,’’ said Raghavendra Rao, head of transport, Sykes.

‘‘It saves us time as well. And it is a win-win situation. The private operators will make profit by providing GPS systems, which they already have,’’ he said.

Rajesh N, head of the Work Force Management in a company added, ‘‘The idea initially sounded far fetched. Today, it looks possible.’’

Spare the rogues and hit at the handicapped

Police turn blind eye to protestors’ rights

Deccan Herald

Cubbon Park police took a group of visually challenged persons into custody when they tried to block traffic at the MG Statue junction on Tuesday morning. Four protesters sustained injuries when the cops forced them out of the road.

The visually challenged persons under the aegis of Akhila Karnataka Andhara Samyuktha Kriya Samiti are on an indefinite dharna in front of MG Statue from Monday pressing for their various demands including appointment of visually challenged persons to the posts of music teachers in all primary and high schools and aided schools.

The protestors who were denied permission to pitch a tent the previous night were upset when the police stopped them from using the public address system on Tuesday.

In protest against the police behaviour, they went on the road to block traffic. But the police pulled them out of the road, huddled them into police vans and took them to Adugodi grounds. However, later, the police brought them back to the venue of the protest and freed them.

Some of the demands of the protestors are as follows - to filling up of posts identified for visually challenged persons in 99 departments of the government; provide reservation of at least one post under D group in all Zilla Panchayats and Taluk Panchayats; and TCH and BEd courses for blind should be treated on par with the general DEd and BEd courses.

Night riders fall prey to robbers

Night riders fall prey to robbers

Deccan Herald

Don’t pull over, just keep driving when you are behind the wheel late in the night. For, you might become the target of roving ruffians.

Instances of motorists coming under attack from robbers is on the rise in Bangalore City in recent times. The soft targets are those who stop their vehicles alongside the roads - either to attend a call on their mobile phones or because their vehicles have suffered a breakdown.

One such person who became a victim of roving ruffians on Monday night was Sudhakar, a partner of the New Sri Sagar Hotel in Victoria Layout. A resident of Yellappa Garden, Sudhakar was on his way to his house when he stopped his two-wheeler near the Command Hospital to answer a call on his mobile phone. While he was answering, four persons walked up to him and assaulted him with a knife. Before Sudhakar could react, the four robbed him of gold ring, bracelet, mobile phone and Rs 1,000. The four escaped in an autorickshaw. Following this, Sudhakar lodged a complaint at Ulsoor police station.

Lack of policing
This is not an isolated incident, many such robberies have taken place in the last few months. The near-zero visibility of police personnel on the streets is one of the factors that prompt robbers to strike on busy roads. Recently, a family of four was attacked by a gang and robbed of cash and valuables when a punctured tyre of their car was being replaced.

There have also been instances of people getting robbed right in front of their homes. Recently, a software engineer was threatened by three motorcycle borne miscreants at knife-point and was robbed of his mobile phone in Koramangala 8th Block.

The victim, Srikanth, was talking over the phone standing outside his house.

Arkavathy: Permanent structures to remain


10,000 applicants to get sites in I phase

Permanent structures especially of the poor will be spared from demolition in the acquired land.

Deccan Herald

Chief Minister N Dharam Singh revealed to the Assembly on Tuesday that the government had earlier planned to take up allocation of 10,000 sites, out of the total 20,000 sites to be distributed in the proposed Arkavathy Layout, in the first phase.

Replying to the Leader of the Opposition in Legislative Assembly B S Yediyurappa and BJP member P C Mohan during question hour, the chief minister said even the names of allottees had been finalised for 10,000 sites. However, the Karnataka High Court had struck down such plans. The government had planned to allocate 10,000 sites in the first phase as the Bangalore Development Authority had acquired only 1,224 acres of land out of the total 2,750 acres of required land.

Sites after HC ruling
The case regarding the land acquisition was coming up for hearing before the Court on January 27. Depending upon the outcome of the case, allocation of sites would be taken up, the CM said. He assured the members that the government was committed to allocate all the 20,000 sites as promised by the government.
He said following litigations, the land acquisition process had become a difficult task. However, the government would try to find a way out to ensure that all the 20,000 sites were distributed to the applicants who numbered around 2.35 lakh.

Buildings to remain
The chief minister also assured the House that no permanent structures, especially those belonging to poor people, would be cleared to make way for the proposed Arkavathy Layout.

Pointing out that several buildings were existing on the land proposed to be taken over for converting into sites, he said out of humanitarian consideration the government had decided not to clear permanent structures belonging to poor people. The CM also assured Congress member V Somanna of inspecting the Rajajinagar grade separator works to know the reasons for its delay.

BMP to widen city roads

BMP to widen City roads

Deccan Herald

Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP) will take up its mega project of widening nearly 150 kms of roads in the City, utilising for the first time, the Transferable Development Rights (TDR) model of land acquisition.

The first phase of the project, which will include widening of 52 kms of roads, will commence from April this year, soon after completion of the topography survey by a private firm, highly placed BMP sources told Deccan Herald. The roads have been identified on the basis of traffic volume, density and localities, wherein alternative routes to impose one-ways are not available, sources added. However, what is unique to the project is that BMP will be utilising the Hyderabad model for road-widening work - the TDR scheme.

Recent amendments to the Karnataka Town and Country Planning Act 1961 by the state government facilitates transferable development right against acquisition for road widening purposes.

The model, which has been successfully implemented in Hyderabad, works as follows: If the owner gives up his land voluntarily, he will no longer get compensation from the government. Instead, he will be given an additional floor area ratio (FAR), which is 1.5 times the market value of the plot.

A certificate will be issued to the owner for additional FAR, which is the legal document for trading.There are two ways of using the TDR. The owner can sell his or her TDR to a builder, who then utilises it in another part of the city. The other method is to utilise the TDR by building a new structure in the same compound, if there is space, without demolishing the old one. They said it was too early to specify the quantum of private land that will needed to be acquired . “The acquisition of private land will be kept minimal as government land abuts most of the roads shortlisted,” sources added.

To ensure smooth traffic, 40 roads and stretches have been identified for widening, Chief Minister Dharam Singh told the Assembly on Tuesday. The stretches to be widened include:

Bellary Road - Hebbal flyover to Minsk Square; Palace Road - Mysore Bank Circle to High Ground Police Station; Seshadri Road - Central Jail Cross to KR Circle; Nrupatunga Road - KR Circle to Hudson Circle; Vidhana Veedhi - Gopala Gowda Circle to KR Circle; Mission Road - NR Road to KH Road; Devanga Hostel Road - Hudson Circle to Mission Road; Sankey Road - Cauvery Theatre jn to Yeshwanthpur Circle; Lalbagh Road - KH Road to Richmond Circle; Jayamahal Road - Mekhri Circle to Cantt Railway Station; Hosur Road - Central Silk Board jn to Yankey Factory jn; Hosur Luskar Road - D’Souza Circle to Airport Road; Victoria Road - D’Souza Circle to Airport Road; Lower Agram Road - Hosmat Hospital to National Games Village, Koramangala; Sarjapur Road - Kendriya Sadan to Yankey Factory via Dairy Circle; 80 ft Road, Koramangala - National Games Village to Sarjapur Road; Dickenson Road - MG Road to Ulsoor Road; Ulsoor Road - Dickenson Road to Kensington Road; Kensington Road - MG Road to Murphy Road; Murphy Road - Ulsoor Lake to Old Madras Road; Old Madras Road - Trinity Circle to Murphy Road via Ulsoor; Richmond Road - Airport Road to Richmond Circle; Airport Road - Trinity Circle to Airport Helicopter division.

Roads to be widened:
Goodshed Road, Cottonpet Road, Balepet Road, OTC Road, Avenue Road, AM Road, South Link Road, MTB Road, Lalbagh Fort Road, Gandhinagar I Main, Gandhinagar II Cross, A S Char Road, Vani Vilas Road, Subedhar Chatram 4th Main Road, and Mysore Road from Sirsi Circle to Ring Road.

Mr Singh said the BDA will soon complete flyovers at: Jayadeva Institute of Cardiology; Airport Road- Ring Road jn and Ananda Rao Circle. Other projects to be completed in 2005 include:

Banasawadi Road Over Bridge; Modi Road- Chord Road grade separator; National College flyover; Rajajinagar entrance grade separator; Madhavnagar RUB and Cantt Railway station RUB.

Padma awards for Premji, Kiran, Kumble

Padma awards for Premji, Kiran, Kumble
Deccan Herald

The late National Security Advisor J N Dixit and cartoon maestro R K Laxman have been awarded the Padma Vibhushan, the second highest civilian honour of the country, while WIPRO chairman Azim Premji and Biocon chief Kiran Majumdar Shaw have been conferred with the Padma Bhushan and cricket star Anil Kumble, Bollywood ‘badshah’ Shah Rukh Khan and singer Kavitha Krishnamurthy with the Padma Shri this year, reports DHNS from New Delhi.

President A P J Abdul Kalam has also approved the names of Australian social worker Gladys Steins, the wife of slain missionary Graham Stuart Steins, Olympic silver medalist Major Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, former All England Badminton champion P Gopichand and Sunita Narain of Centre for Science and Environment which raised the issue of pesticides in soft drinks for the Padma Shri award. Ninety-six names people have been selected for this year’s Padma Awards.
Altogether nine persons have been selected for the Padma Vibhushan. Apart from the late Dixit and Mr Laxman, they are Attorney General Milon Kumar Banerji, senior Congress leader and philosopher Karan Singh, social worker Mohan Dharia, industrialist Bhai Mohan Singh, doctors Bal Krishna Goyal and M V S Valiathan and artiste Ram Narayan.

The Padma Bhushan award has been conferred upon 30 people, including singer Manna Dey, noted journalist Mark Tully, film director Yash Chopra, Left-leaning historians Prof Irfan Habib and Romila Thapar and environmentalist Chandi Prasad Bhatt.

Padma Bhushan awardees include former J&K Chief Minister Syed Mir Qassim, doctors Tarlochan Singh Kler, K Srinath Reddy, Anil Kohli and Hari Mohan, economist Mrinal Datta Chaudhuri, sociologist Andre Beteille and educationists Balraj Puri and Mrinal Miri. Writer-filmmaker M T Vasudevan Nair and Urdu litterateur Qurratulain Hyder have been honoured with Padma Bhushans. Among the Padma Shri award winners are Hindustan Times vice-chairperson Sobhna Bhartia, Kashmiri singer Shameem Dev Azad, civil liberties lawyer Indira Jaisingh, dancer Komala Vardan, Mammen Mathew of Malayala Manorama, filmmaker Muzaffar Ali, former athlete Gurbachan Singh Randhawa and skydiver Rachel Thomas. Prominent Padma Shri award winners include dancer Kumkum Mohanty, violinist K K Vaidyanathan, social worker Nana Chudasama and folk singer Puran Chand Wadali.

State corners 10 awards
New Delhi, dhns: Karnataka shone in the Padma Awards cornering 10 of the 96 awards.

The Karnataka brigade is led by WIPRO chairman Azim Premji and Biocon chief Kiran Majumdar-Shaw, both of whom won the Padma Bhushan. Retired civil servant T R Satish Chandran and scientist Dr Narasimhiah Seshagiri are the other two Padma Bhushan awardees from the state. There are six Padma Shri winners from the state- cricketer Anil Kumble, theatre personality K V Subbanna, scientists Prof Bhagavatula Dattaguru and Dr Mahadevappa Madappa, civil servant K C Reddy and singer Kavita Krishnamurti.

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via Keep Talking

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Airport set for flight, farmers grounded

Airport set for flight, farmers grounded
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: With the signing of State support and land lease agreements, the proposed International Airport at Devanahalli is ready for take off. But problems of farmers who lost their lands for the project are far from over.

The sons of the soil in Devanahalli, Arasinakunte, Bavapura, Chikanhalli, Gangamuthanhalli, Mylanhalli, Begur, Doddasonne and other villages are not against the project coming up on lands, which is their only source of livelihood. All that they demand is adequate compensation and proper rehabilitation. Unless that is done, people are not willing to move out of their villages.

While farmers have lost lands, others in villages like Arasinakunte have lost everything. The entire village has been acquired and people have been asked to move out to Balepura, where free sites have been allotted to them.

‘‘We feel like orphans in our own land,’’ said Chikkatayappa of Arasinakunte. ‘‘What can we do with the meagre compensation? They have given Rs. 5 lakh for an acre. Land prices have increased several fold.

How can we purchase lands for farming?’’ asked Venkatesh, another villager. Land prices in Devanahalli and surrounding villages have skyrocketed. They now stand anywhere between Rs. 15 and Rs. 50 lakh an acre. That has certainly helped people whose lands were not acquired for the project.

Villagers complain that many are yet to get the full compensation. ‘‘We have to bribe many people to get compensation. Wherever needed, our signatures were taken and now no one is concerned about our problems,’’ villagers alleged.

The Government has also promised to give Rs. 5,000 to transport their belongings to Balepura.‘‘Unless all our dues are settled, we will not leave the villages,’’ they said.

Last week, the Government and the Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL) signed the State support and land lease agreements paving way for financial closure in the next one month. As per the land lease agreement, the State Government will transfer about 4,000 acres of land acquired for the project to BIAL.

The State support agreement relates to provision of State’s financial support of Rs. 350 crore soft loan which is repayable after 10 years. Ground work is expected to start from March this year.

After Hinn show Jakkur turns into dumping yard

After Hinn show Jakkur turns into dumping yard
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: A day after controversial evangelist Benny Hinn’s programme, the Jakkur airfield looks more like a dumping yard littered with garbage and ravaged by trenches all around. It may yet take months to undo the damage.

The once neatly maintained ground is now full of waste -- plastic bags, paper, pamphlets and even footwear thrown all over. Even the hangars, where aircraft are parked, have not been spared. Except the runway, the entire ground is full of small trenches dug for tents and cabling for the huge screens.

The only airstrip in the city used by a number of aviators from both Government and private agencies, was saved as the Government Flying Training School had taken precautions. But after the event was over, the runway has become a virtual road to transport materials used during the event and that may damage it.

"It will take a few months to prepare the airfield for flying activities and much more time is required to grow the grass, which has been completely destroyed,’’ sources said.

That apart, it would be a tough task for policemen to protect the aircraft parked inside the hangars as the giant hangars have no doors. For the high-profile event, blessed by the State Government, the peripheral wall was breached at over 10 places by automated diggers to create entries and exits.

Till the wall has been reconstructed, police and the Flying School authorities have to guard the newly created entry points to protect the runway and aircraft from miscreants.

Apart from the flying school, the airfield houses the NCC Air Wing, Agni Aviation, Deccan Aviation and is also used by by hobby flyers. Ever since preparations for the event began, all flying and ground activities came to a standstill.

Flying School Director Pradeep S. Rajnal maintains that the event has not damaged the airfield. The organisers of the Festival of Blessings will repair the ground in the shortest possible time, he added.

"Let Infy, WIPRO business drop"

Let Infy, WIPRO business drop

K Nagappa, a farmer in the Bellandur village on the outskirts of Bangalore, goes to the local temple everyday and remembers software giants like Infosys Technologies and Wipro in his prayers.

His prayer: 'Let the business of Infosys and Wipro go down. Let there be no more software companies in Bangalore.'

Nagappa is one of the thousands of aggrieved farmers on the outskirts of India's Silicon Valley earnestly praying against more technology firms coming to the city.

Bangalore has been witnessing explosive growth as hundreds of global technology and software companies set up their base in the city.

But the city no longer has any more space for new tech firms to come. So, it is villages like Bellandur that are being slowly transformed into technology parks, with IT firms acquiring farmlands and setting up their operations there.

"These IT companies have killed our villages. We have lost our lands and our cattle. And we are left jobless," laments Nagappa, whose four cows earlier fetched him enough money to run his six member family.

But that was three years ago. The paddy fields he worked in no longer bloom with rice crop.

In Bellandur village, situated on the Sarjapura Outer Ring Road, is the epicenter of the IT satellite township that the Karnataka government has proposed. Scores of IT firms have already acquired farmlands in the village, and construction is going on at a frenzied pace.

As Bellandur's metamorphosis began, adversity visited the lives of farmers like Nagappa. He was forced to sell his one-acre of farmland to local real estate sharks. He sold his cows too. Now Nagappa stays in a shantytown on the outskirts of Bellandur.

The explosive IT boom in and around Bangalore is uprooting dozens of villagers on the city's outskirts. Like Bellandur, there are other villages that are becoming IT satellite townships. They include Bomsandra, just outside the Electronic City, where tech giants like Infosys, Wipro, Hewlett-Packard and Siemens are based.

But even as the IT boom transforms their farmlands into concrete jungles, a team of zealous villagers has stood up to fight and save their pastoral settings from 'preying' IT giants.

"It is a battle we will fight to the end. We will not allow the IT companies to destroy Karnataka's villages. If you lose a village, you lose the soul of a state," says K Jagannath, the Bellandur gram panchayat president.

For two years now, Jagannath has been leading what he calls 'the battle against the software industry.'

His battle began in 2002, when he organized the Bellandur villagers against Infosys. The company was planning to set up its second largest campus at a 100-acre campus in Bellandur, when the villagers took up cudgels against it.

Infosys came under attack from the Bellandur villagers who alleged that the IT major was grabbing wetlands at rates much lower than the prevailing market rates.

According to the villagers, the price of land at Bellandur area ranged from Rs 40 lakh (Rs 4 million) to Rs 1.5 crore (Rs 15 million) per acre in 2002. But the Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Board -- under whose jurisdiction the land falls -- agreed to sell 100 acres to Infosys at a uniform rate of Rs 9 lakh per acre.

So to take up the fight against Infosys, Jagannath travelled to New Delhi during an annual economic summit seminar where Infosys mentor N R Narayanan Murthy was a key speaker.

As Murthy spoke, Jagannath stood up and charged Infosys of grabbing the villagers' land. "The means to develop information technology is not by grabbing the villagers land for low rates," an angry Jagannath shot at Murthy.

Murthy denied the charges of land grabbing saying that the company was unnecessarily being dragged into a controversy.

The land grabbing charges forced Infosys to abandon its second biggest development center in the company's home state of Karnataka.

Jagannath says that the villagers' fight would continue till social and economic justice is meted out to them. The gram panchayat president who has seen the sleeping Bellandur village being transformed into an IT hub says that a few years back selling one's farm was considered sinful in the area.

"Farmers here looked at their land and cattle as God-given property. Now they are homeless, rootless and many of them are ending up in slums that are coming up around these IT towns," Jagannath says.

"Look around the outskirts of Bangalore. The IT industry is bringing in growth to that particular industry, but it is bringing only devastation to the villagers," he says.

To get a sense what is going on, just travel outside Bangalore. The road to the Electronic City is neat. Inside the City, beautiful glass front buildings with landscaped gardens greet you. But no sooner do you get out of the Electronic City and head for Skikaripalaya village, that the darker side of things hits you.

The roads in Skikaripalaya are all muddy; opposite the village stands the glamorous Wipro office. In Skikaripalaya, regular power supply is rare, as is tap water. Garbage heaps -- a legacy of the IT town -- are found all over the village.

But amidst the chaos that Skikaripalaya is witnessing, frantic construction work is also going on. K Ramachandra, a resident of Skikaripalaya, says that almost every week, the foundation stone for a new IT company is being laid.

"Each week, some part of our village is being lost forever. Together with that, also ending is the peaceful lives of many villagers," he says.

Bangalore-based urban planner and architect Kann Krishnaraj justifies the anguish of the uprooted villagers.

"Urbanisation of villages on the outskirt of a city like Bangalore is unavoidable. But it should be done taking into account the sensitivities of the villagers," says Krishnaraj.

Krishnaraj, who conducted a field study in a cluster of villages outside Bangalore for a multinational real estate company, says he saw many villages losing their 'culture and identity because of the unplanned growth.'

"The government has to put in place a mechanism to safeguard the interests and lives of the villages who are being uprooted outside Bangalore because of this IT boom," the architect adds.

Officials at the Karnataka Industrial Area Development Board, which is in charge of acquiring land for IT firms, argues that villagers have not been uprooted because of the IT explosion.

"The city has to grow outside Bangalore, and it is a logical process of development, especially in Bangalore," he said.

He says there have been few cases of land encroachments on the outskirts of Bangalore. "Only those lands that have been notified for buyouts are being acquired," the official said.

He said the government and organisations like the Electronic City Industries Association are doing a lot to improve the lot of villagers, especially whose lands are being acquired.

For instance, ECIA has set up a Trust that runs charity works like mid-day meals for village schools, provision of books for students and jobs for jobless villagers.

Be that as it may, the farmers are up in arms against the idea of setting up more IT firms in villages around Bangalore.

Steel Mills Give Way To Tech Parks, Residential Townships

Steel Mills Give Way To Tech Parks, Residential Townships
The Times of India

Bangalore: The Whitefield mills are giving way to gleaming modern highrises.

It is a phenomenon similar to that in Mumbai, where hundreds of acres of textile mill land are being sold to property developers. In Whitefield, the steel, metal and engineering hub is giving up traditional businesses and using the land to develop large residential complexes and technology parks.

Cap Steel has sold its 39 acres in Whitefield to the Brigade Group, which is setting up a large integrated township on that property. GR Steel has entered into a joint venture with Salarpuria to develop its 15 acres into a technology park. Bhoruka Steel, sitting on some 40 acres in Whitefield, is said to be in negotiations to sell part of it (about 15 acres) to property developer DLF, and use the rest to develop a technology park. Kamani Metals & Alloys, according to sources, has recently sold its 30 acres to a Mumbai-based developer. Usha Martin Industries has given its 20-acre property to Rohan Builders.

“Land prices have gone up to between Rs 3.5 crore and Rs 5 crore. So many land owners are either in sell-mode or entering into joint ventures for development of property,” says Mahesh Laxman, head of Chesterton Meghraj Property Consultants, Bangalore.
The Whitefield Industrial Area is one of the oldest industrial zones in Karnataka. Large amounts of private investment came into the area to service public-sector majors like HAL, BEML, ITI and NGEF, all of which had huge facilities close to Whitefield.

Today, many of the older small and medium industries are closing down because they are either not viable, or it has become more lucrative to convert it into residential or commercial spaces for the Bangalore technology industry.

Many manufacturing companies like Graphite India, Southern Steel, Bhoruka Gas, United Oxygen, Alfred Herbert still operate in Whitefield. But industry sources say it’s a matter of time before most move out of the area altogether.

The area is attractive to the tech industry because many facilities are of high standard. “There are good powerline and water connections since the area is earmarked as an industrial zone,” says Rupa Bidap, urban planner with SCECreocean India, a France-based organiser putting together a new comprehensive development plan for Bangalore.

However, roads and safety are concerns for residents. There is only one police station in the entire area. “Many roads are not lighted and can be a scary experience, specially for women returning home late from work,” says Sudha Bhakthavatsalam, a resident of Whitefield.

Set the slaughter houses in order

Set the slaughter houses in order
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: Another festival has just passed. This year too, animals including camels, cows and sheep were slaughtered openly violating the Animal Sacrifices Act.

Like every other year, civic authorities and police turned a blind eye. Not because the matter was sensitive or highly politicised since some minister’s themselves supported slaughter. But also because the city does not offer adequate facilities to help legalise slaughter houses.

The health officer of the Bangalore City Corporation (BCC) issued notices urging the public not to buy meat of animals that have not been slaughtered in legalised slaughter houses. Nevertheless, with just three slaughter houses authorised by the civic body, he himself admits that it is not possible to stop people as the market was going to be flooded with meat from different sources.

Slaughter of animals on streets and backyards unscientifically is not only painful for the animal and a repulsive sight, it is also extremely unhygienic.

It is doubtful if these animals are certified by the veterinarians. Infections in them can cause severe health problems for human beings. Also, witnessing the bloody slaughter often causes psychiatric problems. Instances of women and children seeking help for counselling and medication after watching big animals being slaughtered at their doorsteps have increased in the past few years.

Animal welfare activists who were were up in arms against the slaughter, have themselves agreed for a compromise. For the first, time they are demanding a state-of-the-art slaughter house where animals can be slaughtered in a more humane manner. They are also demanding an animal house where the civic authorities can shelter the animals they have seized from unauthorised sources.

An animal house and state-of-the-art slaughter houses, if ever considered by the BCC, will not just make slaughter less painful for animals, prevent gruesome sights and ensure hygiene but will also help avoid controversies surrounding such festivals.

Defensive driving, the new mantra

Defensive driving, the new mantra
The Hindu

BANGALORE, JAN. 24. The city has more than 21 lakh vehicles registered as on December 2004. Last year saw 9,101 road accidents involving the death of 903 people.

The traffic police now recommend an approach of "defensive driving" to prevent accidents, and, possibly more deaths and injuries from accidents.

Vehicles hitting with the ones ahead of them is common on many roads. Though the impact may be minor in most cases — one really cannot speed on most city roads — there could also be serious effects. "You have to be alert and even expect the driver ahead of you to apply brakes without warning. You should also watch out for trouble ahead like another vehicle suddenly swerving or a pedestrian attempting to cross the road and the vehicle ahead of you being forced to stop," the police say.

Stopping the vehicle

Even with good brakes and equally good reflexes, it takes a lot of room and time to stop the vehicle and this may not be possible in steadily moving traffic, especially on one-way stretches where one is tempted to step a bit on the accelerator. Maintaining a safe distance from the vehicle in front helps; at least two metres if that is possible. When you know you just have to stop, slow down gradually, show a hand signal to alert the vehicles behind you and do not wait till the last moment. Stopping smoothly like this may prevent multiple accidents. If the vehicle behind you belongs to the "bumper chaser" category, allow it pass you; you will be safer. Same with the drivers who keep honking behind you, such impatient drivers may easily cause an accident.

Stay left

The best way to steer clear of a two-car crash is to stay left and not crowd the central diving lane. If an oncoming driver appears to be crossing the yellow line, warn him with your horn or headlights.

When approaching an intersection, slow down and have your right foot poised over the brake pedal.

Look both ways at every intersection. The police also suggest slowing down at every curve, irrespective of the volume of traffic.

It helps to take the turn always on the left side. While making a right turn at any turning off a main road, you are advised to signal, wait for other vehicles and check your rear view mirror.

Overtaking on roads leads to accidents, the police caution. Even when you are being overtaken by another vehicle, it helps to slow down and make sure it passes you safely before resuming normal speed.

Even on relatively less crowded roads, drivers are advised to keep watching out for cyclists or pedestrians suddenly darting across. They may not be careful but you have to be.