Monday, February 28, 2005

Naxalites operating from Bangalore?

Naxalites operating from Bangalore?

The Hindu

BANGALORE, FEB. 27. The naxalites (members of the Communist Party of India- Maoist) are active not merely in the Kudremukh National Park area but also in Madhavan Park at Jayanagar in Bangalore.

The naxalites, who were hitherto sending anonymous letters to the press, are now sending statements bearing an address on Third Main Road, Madhavan Park, Jayanagar.

In their latest missive to the press, they have dubbed the Rs. 60-crore package announced by the State to rehabilitate the tribal people in the Kudremukh National Park area as a ruse to evict them.

They have blamed the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister, Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, for the killing of the former naxalite-turned-Telugu Desam Party MLA, Paritala Ravi., as he was reportedly a rival to him in the Rayalaseema region.

The statement issued by one Paramesh, calling himself secretary of the South Western Regional Bureau of the CPI (Maoist), criticised the State Government for deploying two battalions of the Special Task Force to crush the naxalites. The Government is not deploying the force to curb or kill the timber mafia operating in the Malnad region in collusion with several politicians, bureaucrats and police officers, they alleged.

The police have not even registered cases against those who burnt or damaged over 150 government buses and other vehicles protesting against the Benny Hinn public meetings in the name of protecting Hinduism, the statement said.

The coalition Government in the State is implementing the policy of the United People's Alliance Government at the Centre, which has promised all assistance to the State Governments to suppress the Maoists, the statement added.

Not a NICE precedent

Sunil Jain: Not a NICE precedent
Business Standard

It is with great fanfare that the government announced the opening up of the construction sector to foreign investors last week, and presumably the Budget today will take this process a bit further.

While that’s all very well, would-be investors would be well-advised to take a trip down the Mysore-Bangalore highway, which Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprise (NICE) Ltd began work on in 1995.

Of course, since there is no highway as yet that could be a bit difficult, a possible solution may be spending a few hours with Ashok Kheny, or his partner Baba Kalyani, whose billion-dollar forgings and auto components group’s biggest claim to fame is that there is not a single car of any repute in Europe that does not carry a Kalyani part in it.

Kheny has been responsible for various mega infrastructure projects in the US such as an 800-mile fibre optic cable design and construction project for US Telecom and was a senior member of the team that developed the Hubli-Dharwad bypass in Karnataka.

Kheny’s story is frightening, not just because he’s been given a raw deal by the Karnataka government after he spent Rs 350 crore already on the Rs 2,250-crore project, including paying Rs 7 crore as salaries of government officials who spent time working on his project, but frightening since even the Congress-run government at the Centre appears helpless to do anything in a state that they are also supposed to be in command of.

Indeed, one of the stories doing the rounds is that, when he is in Karnataka, Dr Manmohan Singh will fly over part of the project’s route to signal his commitment to the project to the state’s chief minister! Clearly no one thinks Dr Singh can directly order his own party’s chief minister to do anything, and certainly his clout over the other alliance partners in Karnataka will be less than minuscule.

Two years after the initial MoU, the government of Karnataka signed a framework agreement with NICE to build the Mysore-Bangalore Infrastructure Corridor, which included a 111-km expressway from Bangalore to Mysore which will cut travel time from 3.5 hours to 1.5, a 41-km semi-circular peripheral road connecting National Highway 7 (NH 7) with NH 4 on the southern part of Bangalore, a 9-km link road connecting the expressway to State Highway 17, and five towns for one lakh people each between Bangalore and Mysore—the project will have a 400-MW power plant, a sewage treatment facility, and its own water supply system.

In addition, the highway would have 16 interchanges of around 200–300 acres each, which would have petrol pumps, schools, warehouses, workshops, among other facilities.

Since it began, according to Kheny, the project has dealt with seven Prime Ministers (tolls levied by private firms on state highways required a change in the central act, for instance), six chief ministers, and an equal number of public works department ministers, eight PWD secretaries—all told, nearly 300 IAS officers and several hundred departmental officers had to be approached for clearances. Not surprising, for a project of this size, there were a host of court cases as well, in the Karnataka High Court as well as the Supreme Court, which cleared the project.

Since the project was one of the few (you can count such projects on the fingertips of one palm) that had genuine private funding, as opposed to the much-touted Golden Quadrilateral ones, where all funds/risk is taken on by the central government, it was a high-profile one, and work on it proceeded at a pretty rapid pace.

That’s when the politicians once again stepped in, and leading them was former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda, who, when he was Karnataka chief minister, had cleared the project (indeed, when the current chief minister was the state’s PWD minister, he too had been pushing clearances for the project).

As a result of this, Kheny’s got just 3,000 of the 6,200 acres (one acre is 4,840 square yards) he requires for Phase I of the project (the semi-circular road, 12-km of the expressway, 10 interchanges and one township). Indeed, according to Kheny, he’s been sent details of land (which was previously supposed to be part of his project) which are now to be de-notified.

One possible reason for the problem is that since the expressway is ring-fenced, land around it may not appreciate in the manner expected—indeed, the only land whose prices will really appreciate in a big manner are the ones at the interchanges, and it is this that the state government now wants to denotify.

According to Kheny, the government is now planning to build another road parallel to his and he plans to go to court on the matter—while this will undoubtedly help those who bought property in anticipation of the NICE project, it will play havoc with NICE’s financial returns.

What complicates matters further is that Deve Gowda’s son is now the state’s PWD minister and has appointed a review committee (the head of the committee just got a Padma Shri this Republic Day!) which has said the project doesn’t need so much land—Kheny went to court again and got a stay last month against the government’s orders telling various departments to act upon the committee’s recommendations.

Any promises made by the government, today or later, have to be judged against what happens to projects on the ground such as the NICE one, and the unhampered ability of the political system to derail them as and when they please.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

How do we get Bangaloreans to shun litter?

The Times of India

Question of the week
The BCC plans to introduce an anti-littering law. How can it ensure that Bangaloreans obey this law?

Offenders should be fined heavily

Awareness should be created by the enforcing agency and the merits of the law and its impact on daily life should be explained through posters and the media. It should be backed by stringent punishment.
Setty Gowda, Palace Guttahalli, Bangalore

Involve resident welfare associations in the enforcement process.
M.N. Kesari, Vijaynagar, Bangalore

Introduction of law is easy but how far it will be put in practice remains to be seen. Collect heavy fines from violators.
Vimala Kesari, Vijaynagar, Bangalore

There should be surprise visits by BCC officials and garbage collection should be streamlined. Garbage trucks often distribute the garbage all over the place.
Asfia Kamaluddin, BTM II Stage, Bangalore

Impose fines on people who litter. Educate housewives with a door-to-door campaign and crack down on spitting in public.
Leina Malhotra, Indiranagar, Bangalore

Sensitise people through handbill and strategically placed hoardings. Award clean areas on a wardwise basis. Litter-free areas will help bring down the stray dog population.
R. Gururao, BSK II Stage, Bangalore

The BCC plan is indeed noble but Bangalore is no Singapore. In a city where almost roadside bin is overflowing with uncleared garbage, it’s extremely doubtful whether the authorities will be successful in implementation. Love for one’s city and the need to keep it clean must come from within. Will the BCC be able to awaken the collective conscience of the citizens?
Usha G. Rao, BSK III Stage, Bangalore

Let it first introduce the law. In any case, a litter-free attitude must come from within. Introduce fines and ensure strict monitoring.
Om Shiva, Indiranagar, Bangalore

First, crack down on those who defile public places by urinating in public. It’s impossible for the BCC to implement this law unless it educates the citizens on the importance of civic sense through an intensive media campaign. Imposing fines may help but these penalties should not result in the harassment of people.
S. Sundara, R.R. Nagar, Bangalore

It should be implemented in phases at bus-stands and railway stations otherwise it’ll be the biggest joke of 2005. People are hard to change. Until their mindset changes, we can’t expect miracles. Educate people about cleanliness and hygiene.
Norbert Brown, N.R. Mohalla, Mysore

The enforcement officers should be upright. The law will be implemented best when it hurts people the most — their purses become lighter!
Madan Singh Rawat, City Market, Bangalore

Enacting a law is easy but without citizen participation it’s very difficult to ensure cleanliness. Provide garbage bins at more places. Involve school children, NGOs and use the media to educate people.
Naharmal Mandoth, Chickpet, Bangalore

i) Utilise the services of the 650 Suchi Mitras (registered volunteers under the BATF-BCC initiative); ii) Fines collected must be used for aesthetically designed garbage bins to avoid the NIMFY (Not In My Front Yard) syndrome; iii) Door-todoor garbage collection should be twice a day.
M. Vasanth Kumar, Rajajinagar, Bangalore

The law should also include the implementation process clearly indicating the duties and responsibilities of the citizens and the BCC. There should be a code of ethics, discipline and civic sense. Dereliction of duty and non-implementation of the Act should invite deterrents.
K. Chandrashekar, Kuvempunagar, Mysore

People should be made to realise why this law is being implemented. Littering should be strictly monitored.
Anil Nair, Infantry Road, Bangalore

BCC health officials should implement this law. They should start with kalyan mantaps, hotels, bus & train termini and later shift their attention to homes. Encourage voluntary organisations in this effort. Disciplinary action should be taken against offenders and heavy fines imposed. Without self-discipline, no law can help.
Jagadish Kalmath, Yelahanka

The BCC’s plans to introduce the anti-littering law is welcome but execution will be a priority. i) There should be adequate means to dispose of the litter and trash cans should be available at all place; ii) BCC should also plan for proper people awareness before considering fines; iii) Start small. Let the law be strict only in some areas i.e. on the same lines as zero tolerance zones. Learn from this experience and move ahead with improved plans to other areas.
Anuj Magazine, recd via email

Polythene bags are here to stay and form a very high percentage of litter. Their collection is difficult and of little value since volume to weight ratio is high. And they get blown about easily. The last feature could be tackled by having spikes (like the wire hooks used to collect bills in the old days) placed conveniently, so that used bags can be skewered onto them. They will remain in place till collected. This new habit will also have to be enforced by citizens as well as official watch-dogs.
I. Iyengar, recd via email


The antilittering law can be implemented only after a sustained campaign to provide enough dustbins or garbage disposal means conveniently to all citizens with easy access. Laws only fall into place and are obeyed if there is a wider social consensus. This consensus needs to be created after providing the means to everybody to be good citizens and after an effective information campaign winning over the citizenry. I do not think these conditions have been achieved as yet. Another strategy would be to begin with smaller zones of no littering like M.G. Road and Brigade Road and to focus on richer areas like Koramangala and Indiranagar before gradually spreading to the entire city. The enforcement should only be through BCC employees to begin with and subsequently through designated wardens with proper badges, identification and receipts for fines or ‘administrative charges’ to be levied. These charges too should not be outrageously high but somewhere around Rs 10 or Rs 20, enough to hurt but not enough to make one angry. Policng should be the last resort after persuasion and publicity.

H. Vishwanath, urban planner

MindTree Opens West Campus in Bangalore

MindTree Opens West Campus in Bangalore
The Hindu Business Line

A benchmark in innovation, the new campus will house 1,300 ‘MindTree Minds’

MindTree Consulting, an international IT Services and R&D Services company, today announced the opening of the first phase of its West Campus in Bangalore. This is MindTree’s fourth development center in the world. MindTree also has development centers in Bangalore, Hyderabad and New Jersey in the U.S.

The 12-acre MindTree West Campus is based in Global Village, the most beautiful IT Park in the city. The first phase of the campus will have a capacity to house 1,300 ‘MindTree Minds’, the Company’s preferred name for their employees.

“From the beginning, we were conscious of the commute that many IT professionals undertake while working at other IT parks in the city. MindTree’s West Campus is less than a 10-km drive for IT professionals staying in the south and west parts of the city. The campus will help them reduce their daily commute time significantly,” said MindTree Consulting Chief Operating Officer Subroto Bagchi.

The first phase of the MindTree West Campus is ready for occupation. Work on the next structure will commence in a phased manner. The 500,000-square feet campus, when completed, will house 5,000 IT professionals.

“The opening of the MindTree West Campus is yet another milestone for MindTree. The three structures of the campus, when completed, will together symbolize the DNA of MindTree – Imagination, Action and Joy,” said MindTree Consulting Chairman and Managing Director Ashok Soota, adding,”we are growing significantly ahead of the industry rate. This means that we must prepare ourselves for the future demand. MindTree’s West Campus will help us meet the demand and attract superior talent.”

The facility is being dedicated in the hands of His Excellency T.N. Chaturvedi, the Governor of Karnataka, and Cendant Travel Distribution Services’ Chief Information Officer Mickey Lutz at a unique ceremony in which earth from many parts of the world will be poured at the base of a living logo on Saturday, the 26th of February 2005. Invited college bands from Bangalore city will perform.

MindTree’s West Campus has been designed by renowned architects RSP Architects Planners & Engineers India Pvt. Ltd. The interior design was carried out by Chandavarkar &Thacker in collaboration with Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology.

As has been the norm for MindTree, the MindTree West Campus would be adorned by the beautiful paintings of the children of Spastic Society of Karnataka.

This is perhaps the first instance where an organization has collaborated with a design institution for such a project. After studying in detail the communication needs of an IT professional and the team that he/she is a part of, Srishti's interdisciplinary team of art/design students and faculty developed a unique interior that encourages each individual to effectively participate in the creative articulation of corporate culture.

"The strategy was to deploy a mix of fixed and dynamic graphic elements; the latter - Graffiti Walls and Project Boards – will be present on every floor. Each is a dedicated space for MindTree Minds to scribble, draw, think, innovate, and express themselves visually in a public space," pointed out Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology Professor Arvind Lodaya.

Besides expression, the History Gallery provides Campus visitors a pictorial glimpse of MindTree’s impressive growth over the last five years. The Hero’s Gallery is a symbol of MindTree’s respect and love for those who continue to inspire all its MindTree Minds, to encourage the Company to walk the extra mile in pursuit of higher standards.

The Rain Forest, on the ground, floor, consists of The Kalpavriksha, a 200-seater, state-of-the-art dialogue room, and two learning rooms – each capable of handling 45 learners. Near the learning rooms is The Arboretum, where new MindTree Minds, who join from other organizations, will be assimilated into the MindTree culture and provided special care. The Arboretum is specially equipped to handle their needs – including a 50-DVD set brought from Stanford University on subjects as varied as leadership to innovation.

Contractor abandons work on flyover projects

Contractor abandons work on flyover projects
The Hindu

BANGALORE, FEB. 26. Work on two major flyover projects in Bangalore — one on the Airport Road and the other at the intersection of the Ring Road-Bannerghatta Road (Jayadeva Flyover) — have come to a halt with the contractor virtually abandoning the work site after making a vain bid to "arm twist" the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) into accepting the demand for an enhanced payment on grounds of escalating costs of steel and cement.

The construction sites resemble a haunted area with the heavy machinery and steel lying all over the place and none to take care of them.

This is in stark contrast to the feverish construction activity at the two sites only a few weeks ago.

Sources in the BDA told The Hindu here today that owing to the poor performance of the contractor and the frequent demands for enhancement of rates, the authority decided to invoke certain provisions in the contract to call off the agreement.

New contractor

A notice has been served on the contractor and the latter has said that the project can be completed only if the BDA agrees to pay an additional Rs. 11.5 crores for the two projects. The BDA has reportedly decided to re-tender the two projects and the work order for the new contractor is likely to be issued in a month.

Residents of Indiranagar and the HAL area in the proximity of the Airport Road flyover project and the residents of Jayanagar and J.P. Nagar in the vicinity of the Bannerghatta Road flyover project who have been hit hard by the slow movement of motor traffic have to bear with the BDA for a few more months. Unlike the other projects, which were hit by paucity of funds, here is a case of the BDA being flush with funds but being let down by a contractor who has been paid promptly soon after a given piece of work was completed. The contractor is the Uttar Pradesh State Bridges Corporation (UPSBC), which is an agency of the Uttar Pradesh Government.

This is not the first time that the UPSBC has brought the construction to a halt.

Soon after the coalition Government took charge and was under pressure to upgrade the road infrastructure in Bangalore, the UPSBC stopped work on all the three flyover projects, including the Bangalore Dairy-Bannerghatta Road intersection which has since been completed.

The Chief Minister, N. Dharam Singh, after protracted discussions agreed to pay an additional Rs. 5.5 crores for the three projects. The sources pointed out that the UPSBC has reportedly bungled with the two projects.

Merely to obtain the work, the government agency allegedly under quoted to an extent of around Rs. 8 crores in the national tender that was floated by the BDA.

In the case of the dairy flyover project, which was commissioned in November last, the UPSBC was realistic, the sources said.

The airport road project, which comprises the main flyover to link the Indiranagar main road and the inner Ring Road, four loops and four grade level roads, was tendered for Rs. 27.5 crores and the Jayadeva flyover, including the underpass, for Rs. 17.56 crores.

The main flyover near the Jayadeva Hospital was inaugurated recently.

The flyover arm to link the Bannerghatta Road with the main flyover is yet to be completed.


The BDA authorities have promised that the two flyover projects, irrespective of the difficulties being encountered with the contractor, will be completed in about seven months.

The BDA has apparently sounded some other big contractors who have agreed to undertake the remaining part of the work.

Budget neglected City, feel Bangaloreans

Budget neglected City, feel Bangaloreans

The minister could have included a special package for the city, a resident said.

Deccan Herald

Bangaloreans apparently are at one in welcoming the Union Railway budget -- 2005-06, for not hiking the fare charges. But they were quick to express displeasure for “neglecting” the IT city in particular and Karnataka in general.

“It is good that there is no hike in II class fares. Middle-income group who form the majority section, can breathe ease. But it (Government) should stick to the budget proposals through the year and should not resort to any measure in future that burdens the common man,” says Mr Ashish.

Ms Gayatri Sharma hopes that Railway Minister Laloo Prasad Yadav would not swerve from his proposals in coming days. “Though his (Mr Laloo) proposal to not to burden the common man is fine, there should not be any compromise on the quality of service in the name of presenting pro-poor and pro-common man budget,” she adds.

Mr Prasad is not too happy with Laloo’s proposals as there isn’t much for IT city. “It is an emerging metro and the fastest growing city. If there was any project to upgrade the existing railway stations within the city, besides adding additional trains and stations, the city would have benefited a lot. The minister should have had a special package for Bangalore in the budget,” he adds.

“At the outset it is a pro-poor budget. It is nice that travel concessions are offered for rural students and farmers. But the Government should ensure that the new schemes are not misused. For, among farmers many are well off. So, care should be taken that only the poor avail the scheme,” says Mr Ashok.

Mr Shilaja feels that budget is not development-oriented. No major project is planned and the industry sector will not benefit at all. “With the country bracing up for the FDI, the government should have planned the budget in a better way so that it gives a fillip for the development of the economy,” she points out.

Populist Laloo gives mixed signals for Karnataka track

Populist Laloo gives mixed signals for Karnataka track
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: Seven new trains, four extensions, some funds for doubling and 40 km of electrification is what the Railway Budget 2005 means for Karnataka. It has allocated Rs 183.79 crore for the State, a mere Rs 73.79 crore more than last year's budget.

An additional Shatabdi train from Bangalore to Chennai will run six days a week while a direct train will link Bangalore with Lalooji's capital Patna.

Other new trains include a Jan Shatabdi from Madgaon to Mangalore six days a week, Hubli-Chikkajajur daily passenger and Belgaum-Miraj passenger six days a week. However, no long distance trains to Varanasi, Amritsar or Jammu, as expected, have materialised.

In addition to these, there are three other trains in the pipeline, awaiting the completion of the Mangalore-Hassan gauge conversion - the Mangalore-Shravanabelagola passenger and two trains from Yeshwanthpur to Mangalore, one via Mysore and the other via Arsikere. However, a 40 km stretch, pending since the last decade, remains to be completed. The line will be operational by June this year, railway officials here assured.

Extensions have been announced for four trains in the State: The Jaipur-Bangalore Express will run upto Mysore, Kachiguda-Shantinilayam train upto Yeshwanthpur, Mysore-Thanjavur upto Kumbakonam (after gauge conversion on that section) and Sanghamitra Express from Rajendranagar, Patna, upto Bangalore City.

The budget also proposed an increase in the frequency of the Howrah-Yeshwanthpur Express from twice a week to daily, with a diversion via Tirupati. Extra coaches will be added to at least six trains, including Rajdhani, Ajmer and Ahmedabad Expresses due to increased demand.

The Railway Budget has also approved electrification of tracks in the Bangalore division. This includes Bangalore-Yeshwanthpur, Yeshwanthpur-Yelahanka, Yelahanka-Channasandra-Byappanahalli and Yelahanka-Hebbal-Byappanahalli. This will mean that trains starting from Yeswanthpur and going towards Chennai will not have to change from diesel to electric engines at Channasandra-KR Puram.

Of the total 935 km gauge conversion announced for the country, around 111 km will be in Karnataka. Rs 15 crore has been allocated for gauge conversion between Bijapur and Gadag. Survey will be taken up on the long-pending Kolar-Chikkaballapur gauge conversion and the Kotturu-Chitradurga track via Jagalur.

Funds have also been allocated for doubling of the following lines: Rs 35 crore for Yeshwanthpur-Tumkur; Rs 15 crore for Bangalore-Ramanagaram which has been completed upto Kengeri near the city.

New lines to be completed this year include the Hassan-Shravanabelagola and Bangalore-Nelamangala stretches. The minister also announced that the doubling of lines between Mangalore and Shoranur in Kerala will be expedited.

For better utilisation of line capacity, two new stations have been introduced between Yelahanka and Dharmavaram. Sufficient funds have also been allocated for safety works in the State. They include track renewal, bridge works, interlocking and signal improvement works, sources said.

Kannada activists deface boards

Kannada activists deface boards

The Hindu

BANGALORE, FEB. 26. A group of Kannada activists applied black paint on the boards of some 20 shops on Brigade Road early on Saturday in protest against the non-use of Kannada on them.

According to Brigade's Shops and Establishments Association, the activists came in two trucks around 2 a.m. and painted the English boards with black paint.

Such an act, the association said, had caused a loss of around Rs. 20 lakhs to the shops.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Frills free fare

India Today's monthly supplementary magazine Simply South carries a feature on where to find simple but sumptuous eats in Bangalore. Click below to read

Page 1
Page 2
Page 3

For Jerome, home is where the heart is

For Jerome, home is where the heart is
The Times of India

Bangalore: Out of Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) for the past seven months, ‘demolition man’ and senior bureaucrat Jayakar Jerome’s passion for his old posting as the Authority’s commissioner still lingers.

“As a sixth generation Bangalorean, I got a chance to do something for the city to which I belong. Very few get such opportunities,’’ Jerome, who takes over as Maharashtra governor S.M. Krishna’s secretary, told The Times of India here. Credited with turning around BDA as commissioner from 1999-2004, the ‘demolition man’ tag stuck to him for reclaiming 760 acres of BDA land in and around Bangalore from those who had put up illegal structures.

Candid that people seek private developers only when the BDA is inactive he said: “The difference between BDA and private developers is the former develops a layout and then hands it over to the local civic body.’’ With the city bursting at the seams, his prescription for BDA, whose jurisdiction also extends beyond Bangalore, is : “The future of Bangalore lies in outskirts like Anjanapura. In old parts of Bangalore there is nothing much one can tinker with. Roads are narrow and flyovers and underpasses have their own constraints.’’

Except when he was former Karnataka governor Khurshed Alam Khan’s secretary and Karnataka Housing Board commissioner for a brief period, Jerome always made news. “I got the maximum support from deputy chief minister Siddaramaiah when he was in charge of labour and I was labour commissioner. The government abolished contract labour in industries. Managements challenged the decision, but the Supreme court upheld the government’s move,’’ he stated.

Packing his bags to report in Mumbai on March 1, Jerome, who was shunted to a corner in his last posting as secretary, minority welfare deparment, said: “The governor is not new to me. The government can utilise a bureaucrat’s service where it thinks best. But it is better to go where you are wanted.’’

Task force on traffic to elicit public opinion

Task force on traffic to elicit public opinion
The Times of India

Bangalore: The first meeting of the task force, set up to tackle the problem of traffic density in Bangalore, will be held on Monday under the chairmanship of principal secretary (home) Brahm Dutt.

The committee’s brief is work out modalities for staggering school timings. The first meeting will be attended by commissioners of the city police, BDA and BCC, chiefs of Bescom and BMTC, DCP traffic (East), secretaries of finance and urban development departments.

Dutt told The Times of India on Friday that they will shortly be holding discussions with schools managements. Prior to this, the task force has decided to elicit opinion from the public who can either write or fax or email to DCP traffic (East) M.A. Saleem.

The postal address is DCP traffic (East), No. 5, Infantry Raod, Bangalore 560 001. Fax: 22860787. Email: or dcptraffic(east)

The task force was constituted by chief minister N. Dharam Singh, who will review its progress every month.

New Udupi experience

New Udupi experience
Deccan Herald

An offshoot of a 78-year-old eatery at Balepet, the Udupi Krishna Bhavan at Koramangala offers good food at affordable prices and a cool ambience.

Ever been to the Udupi Sri Krishna Bhavan at Balepet? Or wanted to but couldn’t think of driving in the narrow, crowded streets of old Bangalore?

You can now indulge in those tasty dosas, sweets and other items at their branch in Koramangala which also goes by the name Udupi Krishna Bhavan.

Third gen. endeavour
Run by third generation entrepreneur Subramanya and his wife Rashmi, the Udupi Krishna Bhavan in Koramangala is a multi-cuisine vegetarian restaurant with an Indian fast foods section and a chaat corner included.

“Our strength lies in the masala dosas, idli-sambar and our sweets,” says Subramanya.

“The dosas and North Indian items are fast moving. Nowadays we have to cater to all tastes.

“That’s why we also have North Indian and Chinese cuisine in addition to our South Indian specialities. Our South Indian food items are from the typical Mysore region,” he said.

The food is mildly spicy to spicy but quite tasty. If you order Chinese, don’t expect authentic noodles /fried rice, but what is served is definitely as good as the ‘Chinese’ in any other hotel. For starters try the Chinese special vegetables Veg/ Gobi/Baby corn/ Paneer Manchurian, Gobi /Baby Corn /Paneer Chilly or even the Gold Coin Veg.

Or take your pick from spring rolls, fried rice, noodles and chopsuey.

North Indian variety
For those who enjoy North Indian food, there’s an array of items to choose from. The menu lists some 40 curries, among which we tried Bhindi Fry and Paneer Shahi Kurma with Naans.

The Baby Corn Green Masala, Alu Rajma and Dal Fry are also quite popular, we were told. Among the rice specials are pulavs and biryanis, which go down well with any of the four raitas offered - tomato, alu, onion and boondi.
Down these with a glass of thick Lassi (sweet/ khara/ kesari) or ask for a fresh fruit juice or a milk shake.

Plate meals
If you want to have lunch without the hassle of going through the menu, simply ask for Meals and choose (according to the needs of your stomach) from North Indian mini/ deluxe meals or the truly South Indian meal/ special meal. There’s also a Lagu Aahara (light meals) for just Rs 20.

For dessert you could choose from 19 ice-creams, including Gud Bud, chocolate fudge and sundaes, or take your pick from the sweets corner. The Badam Halwa and Mysore Pak are not to be missed! An a la carte meal for two costs approximately Rs 230-280.

The restaurant is open from 7 am to 10 pm. Breakfast is a good time to try the Indian fast foods.

The masala dosa is a must-eat as is the rava dosa, which simply melts in the mouth and tastes great even without the chutney/sambar.

Personal touch
Subramanya and Rashmi personally supervise the service. The restaurant seats about 115 people and there are three separate seating areas, including one for large groups upto 15 people. The self-service wing seats about 25 people.

The interiors have soft colours, stone and cement walls, wooden cushioned seats and sofas in the A/C room. Service is quick. The ambience has a modern feel to a traditional place. Quite like the restaurant and its new address.

Udupi Krishna Bhavan is at #91, Jyoti Nivas College Road, 5th Block, Koramangala Industrial Layout, Bangalore-95. Ph: 51507101.

BMTC’s ‘safe route’ faces roadblocks

BMTC’s ‘safe route’ faces roadblocks

After a grand launch, the BMTC has temporarily withdrawn the service but is set to re-introduce it in June.

Deccan Herald

On February 10, the Bangalore Traffic Police launched its most ambitious project - Safe Route to School - at Baldwin Girls High School located on the busy Richmond Road. Six BMTC buses were pressed into service to ferry over 300 students to different parts of the City. A fortnight later, there are no buses standing outside the school at closing time. The security guard claims ignorance, and parents, who have come from far-off places like Banaswadi and BTM Layout to pick up their wards, are clueless about such a service.

Back in June

As it turns out, the Bangalore Traffic Police has withdrawn the BMTC service “temporarily” to the school following a lukewarm response from the students and parents. The service will be reintroduced in June, at the beginning of the new academic year. More schools will be targetted under the project, says DCP (East- traffic) M A Saleem. “Most students are now travelling by private buses under contract basis. But these contracts will end in March at the close of the academic year. We will take over when the new session begins, and we are certain of a good response,” adds Mr Saleem.

Presently, the BMTC has deployed 230 buses that caters to 34 schools. But under the Safe Route to School project, it is willing to offer more buses based on the needs of each school. The objective, according to BMTC Managing Director Upendra Tripathi, is not only to ensure safety of students, but also to decongest the roads.

However, not many parents are keen to take up the offer. Chitra, parent of a Baldwin School student, dismisses the whole project as hype. “I read about it in the newspapers, but when I went to the school administration to find out the details, they didn’t know anything. As information is not being channelised properly, it fails to help parents like us who have to travel from distant places,” she rues. Sricharan, another parent, believes that this BMTC project will bring relief only to the select few who stay close to pick-up points. “I would rather choose a private vehicle which offers door-to-door service,” says Sricharan, a resident of BTM Layout.

Mixed opinions

As for the issue of safety, the opinions are mixed. Following an accident of a BMTC bus ferrying school students of Bishop Cotton Girls School on Thursday, Parveen, mother of a Class I student of Baldwin School, accuses the BMTC bus drivers of rash driving and lack of accountability. “I can never send my children in these buses,” she says. Contradicts Bhubhaneshwari, another parent: “Children are safer in heavy vehicles than a two-wheeler. If those students were on a two-wheeler, the accident would certainly have turned fatal.”

As for the students, bus service would only mean longer hours. “Those who stay far will be picked up first and dropped last by these buses. This would be a waste of time,” points out Abhishek of Stracey Memorial School.

Schools can decide the number of BMTC buses required
Schools will chart the bus route
Schools will mark the pick-up and drop points
BMTC will display the name of the school on its board

Another flyover to ease traffic on JC Road

Another flyover to ease traffic on JC Road
Vijay Times

Bangalore: If the Bangalore City Corporation (BCC) has its way, it will go ahead with its plan to construct another flyover linking the Poornima Theatre on the Mission Road to the Town Hall on the JC Road at an estimated cost of Rs 12 crore.

The 200-metre flyover is basically intended to ease out traffic congestion at the various points falling on the busy J C Road. The BCC, it may be mentioned, had floated tenders for the construction of the Minerva Circle flyover on the JC Road and the additional flyover entails diverting traffic from the Minerva Circle on to the flyover to reach the Shivaji Theatre and thereafter proceed on to the Town Hall to reach Hudson Circle or the KR Market.

The only hurdle for the smooth flow of traffic was being posed by the signal near the Shivaji Theatre and has now drawn the BCC into mooting the proposed flyover on the Mission Road. However, those willing can also take the grade level road, but cannot criss-cross the road to enter the KR Market with the traffic being allowed one-way. Similarly, the commuters from the Minerva Circle cannot take a right turn before the Ravindra Kalashetra.

Initially, the BCC had proposed a flyover to link Nrupathunga Road to the Town Hall with a 900-metre underpass on the KG Road to connect the Hudson Circle which was, however, dropped on the basis of a feasibility report. Talking to Vijay Times, BCC Technical Advisor R Jaiprasad said, "The Town Hall is a heritage structure and the flyover would have spoilt its facade. Even the Bangalore Metro Rail had to realign its route for the same reason.''

As an alternative, the BCC is proposing to divert all vehicles from the Hudson Circle to take a left turn to emerge on the Mission Road and then take a right at the Devanga Circle. ''We are building a mini flyover at this place to enable buses to have a smooth passage through the first cross on the JC Road and take the flyover,'' Jaiprasad explained. Number of studies have been conducted since 1992 for constructing a grade separator at the Hudson Circle.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Ramesh Kumar appointed as BDA chief

Ramesh Kumar appointed as BDA chief
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: The State Government on Thursday appointed Ramesh Kumar as the chairman of the Bangalore Development Authority.

Prior to his appointment to the new post, Ramesh Kumar, an IAS officer of the 1971 batch, was on deputation to the Government of India.

Traffic offence? Pay up at centre near you

Traffic offence? Pay up at centre near you
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: In a month’s time, the number of traffic enforcement automation centres in the city may go up to 30 from the existing seven. This will help traffic offenders pay fine at a place closer to them.

The centres currently work at Basavanagudi, Indiranagar, Cubbon Park, Upparpet, Rajajinagar and Adugodi traffic police stations besides the Public Utility Building. Plans are afoot to set up one at each traffic police station.

Registration numbers of vehicles violating traffic rules are either videographed or noted down by a constable and sent to the jurisdictional automation centre, where notices for the offence are generated specifying the fine amount. The vehicle owner receives the notice and is told to pay up the fine in a week’s time at one of the centres.

Though the system is working well, there still are some hiccups. The notice itself normally reaches the offender a month or two after the offence. In some cases, the offender gets a second notice even after the fine is paid, apparently because the data is not updated at the central automation centre at Utility Building where the server is located.

There are occasional computer breakdowns or power cuts at the centres and people will have to come back another day to pay the fines. Computers are also not repaired on time since bureaucratic approvals are involved.

This, some officers’ say, is unbecoming of the IT capital. The tech-city can live up to its nickname by having a system where fines can be accepted online.

For this, systems in the automation centres must be made online so that payment data automatically gets updated. One can go further by displaying the video clips online so that offenders can see proof of violations on their own PCs.

Officers also call for an increase in the number of video cameras with mobile traffic squads which videograph offences like signal jumping, wrong parking, rash and negligent driving, and crossing the yellow line.

The officers are happy about the collection performance. Each centre collects about Rs. 40,000 a week, which works to about Rs. 12 lakh from all centres a month. This is apart from the fines that traffic policemen on the roads collect.

Development work on in Bangalore East

Development work on in Bangalore East
From two new road-over-bridges to covering open drains, the BCC has a host of projects planned in this part of the city
The Times of India

Comprising 33 wards with a total population of around 30 lakhs, Bangalore East, considered as a high profile zone of the silicon city has witnessed some major development work in the last one year.

On civic amenities in the east zone, Deputy Commissioner, Bangalore City Corporation (East) Jayaram said, "the Citizen Service Centre opened at the Public Utility Building is a big hit with the residents. This year alone the BCC has given away 30,000 birth certificates, 7,000 death certificates, and 12,000 Khata certificates on the spot and plans more such counters to meet the increasing demand. This move has brought in transparency between the public and the BCC, and has also streamlined the administration".

New wards added

Ten new wards were added to Bangalore East zone including Murugeshpalya, C V Raman Nagar, Lingarajapuram, and Hebbal among others that were earlier with CMCs and Grama Thanas. Most of these localities had many private layouts which meant that there were no civic amenities including roads and drains. Hence, a special package of Rs 50 crores was awarded to take up basic infrastructure work. gramme was drawn to lay a major drain near the Airport Road at a cost of Rs 1.5 crores that connects to the Bellandur Lake. Further, he said the Koramangala and Hebbal Valley projects are being taken up at a cost of Rs 100 crores.

Covering drains

Another major accomplishment, according to the DC, was covering of primary and secondary drains. One open drain claimed a life during the last monsoons. Apart from this, a pro-

Road works

Giving details about the road widening work from Basaveshwara Circle to Hebbal Flyover and from Mekhri Circle to Cantonment railway station, he said since the TDR regulations are in, it becomes easy to take these works up soon. Also, since the density of traffic on these two roads has increased over the years, the BCC is emphasising on taking up the road works shortly. He added that two 'Road Over Bridges', one at ITC factory in Banaswadi and another at Byappanahalli costing Rs 15 crores each will be taken up soon as tenders for these projects have already been called and selected.

On asphalting of roads in the east, he said, the road work is divided into 32 packages costing around Rs 50 crores, out of which, nine are completed and the rest will be completed before the rains start. On the public ire over road cutting and digging by Bescom, he said, "earlier Bescom had blanket permission to lay cables. Now it is stopped and permission is granted case-by-case after ensuring the agency has restored the damages".

On parking, he said the Magrath Road multistoreyed car parking-cumcommercial complex will be ready in three months. Here, 1,100 cars can be parked at a time. Since the BCC Council has scrapped the pay-andpark scheme, the civic authorities are working towards regulating orderly parking.

Public-private partnership

The BCC has tied-up with several corporates under the public-private participation schemes where medians, traffic islands, and several parks were redone that today add to the charm of the city. The BCC in its previous budget had sanctioned Rs 20 lakhs to each of the wards to take up footpath work where interlocking cobble blocks were laid and this year the work is expected to get over. Beautification of Ulsoor Lake at a cost of Rs 1.65 crores has already been tendered and works on landscaping, laying jogging tracks etc will start soon.

Cognizant plans major expansion in city

Cognizant plans major expansion

Deccan Herald

Cognizant Technology Solutions, one of the leading IT services provider, plans to invest $76 million (about Rs 335 crore) in establishing development centres in India during 2005 and 2006.

It will build development centres in Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai and Kolkata that would accommodate over 8,000 professionals. This apart, it also plans to set up training centre in Chennai, which can house over 1,000 professionals.

In Bangalore, it will invest $ 28.7 (about Rs 130 crore) in the state-of-the-art techno-complex at C V Raman Nagar, which will be ready occupancy in a phased manner, starting December 2005. “The new facility in Bangalore will accommodate about 2,250 professionals,” Cognizant President & CEO Lakshmi Narayanan told reporters here on Thursday. He said they have signed up 10 acres of land in Electronic City to meet further expansion needs in Bangalore. The US-headquartered Cognizant has nearly 90 per cent of its 15,300 employees in India and plans to hire 7,200 people in 2005, he said, adding 60 per cent recruitment would be through campus interviews. It aims to touch a total strength of 22,500 by December 2005, he said.

In Bangalore, the company plans to double its headcount from existing 1,000 within next 12 months. He said, “Bangalore will its global centre of excellence for advanced solutions using new technologies, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and IT Infrastructure services.”

He said the firm was eyeing acquisitions in the open source, high-end BPO, banking, finance and insurance areas. Salaries for programmers in India are rising in double digits while in its Europe and US centres, it was less than five per cent, Mr Narayanan said. Cognizant’s revenues in 2004 stood at Rs 2,600 crore and expects it to increase to Rs 3,700 crore in 2005.

Bescom — a ‘cut’ above the rest!

Bescom — a ‘cut’ above the rest!
The Times of India

First road cutting or digging, then shoddy refilling.Thanks to the Accelerated Power Development Programme in the city.Yes, what you see is ‘accelerated road cutting programme’.Hemali Chhapia asks Bescom’s managing director Bharat Lal Meena as to how long the people have to put up with this ‘cutting’ edge technology.

Owing to the Bescom’s cable works, the city is dug up everywhere and there are complaints pouring in from every corner.
We are carrying out our Rs 330 crore Accelerated Power Development Programme in the city. There is immense underground cable work that is on as we are integrating the various power stations. We have been cutting the roads, but we are also filling them up as soon as the work in a particular area is completed.

The programme was supposed to end in December 2003 but to date the progress has been extremely slow. Why?
The programme should be complete by March-end this year if we don’t face problems with getting the required permissions. We have already completed 200-odd kilometres, about 70-kilometre of work is still pending.

With the completion of the APDP project, will the city have less power interruptions?
Of course. With the networking of stations, if there is a fault in the local area, power will be supplied from the other station.

There are complaints of Bescom not filling up the roads well.
We are not just filling up the roads, but also putting concrete in the portions we cut. We are spending almost Rs 7 lakh per kilometre and in some cases, we are also improving the footpath for the Bangalore City Corporation.

In the DOCK

Name: Bharat Lal Meena
Date of Birth: February 5, 1957
Address: Managing Director, Bangalore Electricity Supply Company, K.R. Circle, Bangalore
Educational Qualification: M.A. (Political Science) from Rajasthan University and M.A. (Rural Development) from East Anglia University, UK

Hailing from the back-of-beyond village of Sundari in Sawai Madhopur of Rajasthan, Meena started as a clerk-cum-coin note examiner in the Reserve Bank of India, then as a probationary officer at the State Bank of Patiala and then served for a year in the Rajasthan state administrative service before he joined the IAS in 1984.

Karnataka is his second home, since he has climbed the ladder of success here. An author and a soft-spoken officer, Meena, at Bescom, is well-known as the “boss who is not bossy.’’
Meena’s book Life and Peace is all about “practical aspects of life of a person seeking peace of mind.’’
But before his stint with Bescom, Meena was Lingsugur assistant commissioner, health and family welfare department deputy secretary, KEB secretary, tourism director, woman and child welfare additional secretary, Uttar Kannada DC, mass education director and director of the steel ministry.

KALPANA KAR, former BATF member
Firstly, I would like to congratulate Bescom on its APDP prog r a m m e which Bangalore certainly needs as basic infrastructure. The city had declared a road cutting and refilling protocol in partnership with BATF outlining some essentials that must be adhered to by all road-cutting agencies to ensure minimum standard quality.

It appears like adequate focus has not been given to these processes deemed adhered to nor have they been enforced to ensure that the means of achieving APDP justify the end. Appropriate managerial capability in Bescom through sufficient training and exposure to mechanisms and systems and transparency needs to be inculcated in a programme of such high magnitude.

Meena is an officer of high repute and the task at hand ambitious and involves multiple agencies. On that basis I give Meena the benefit of doubt.

Integrated township to come up at Whitefield

How will such expensive housing decongest the city?

Integrated township could show the way
The Times of India

Bangalore: In scale, size and concept, this is an absolute first for Bangalore. And it could be the beginning of a trend that some see as a way to decongest the city.

The Prestige Group, in association with D.K. Audikesavulu, member of Parliament and managing director of Chaitanya Properties, announced on Thursday the launch of what will be Bangalore’s first integrated township. The Rs 1,500-crore project will come up on the 105-acre Shantiniketan property in Whitefield owned by Audikesavulu. It will boast of a trade centre on the lines of the World Trade Centre and have over 3 million sqft of office and commercial space, more than what the ITPL currently has. It will have close to 3,000 apartments spread over 24 high-rise towers, a Forum mall with a five-screen multiplex, and a world-class convention centre.

The complex will also have the 5-star Radisson hotel, with 350 rooms and service apartments. The planning and design of the project has been done by RSP Architects Planners & Engineers, the group that did the planning and design for ITPL.

“We will complete the project by April 2008,” Irfan Razack, chairman and MD of Prestige Estates Projects, said. “It will be a fully integrated, ultra-modern township.” Audikesavulu had tried to develop this property in association with Unitech Ltd six years ago, but a crash in the property market soon after compelled a postponement of the venture.

Some half-a-dozen or more integrated township projects for Bangalore are said to be in various stages of planning. Shriram Properties and Sri Lanka-based Ceylinco Consolidated recently formed a joint venture which said it plans to set up an integrated township on the Old
Madras Road in an area of over 100 acres.

With foreign investment allowed in large integrated townships, foreign developers too are seen to be getting interested in such projects. Some urban planners see such projects bringing benefits in terms of encouraging people to stay away from the city centre and thereby decongesting it.

More piecemeal efforts: 36 roads to be widened

Mayor’s order on 36 roads

Deccan Herald

Khatas and building sanction plans will not be issued until further notice on properties along some 36 roads that have been identified for road widening projects in the city.

Directions in this regard was given by Mayor R Narayanaswamy on Thursday.

These roads fall in the first phase of the road widening project where a total of 135 km along 80 roads has been proposed to be widened to ease traffic congestion.
Owners and lease holders of land required for the project may apply to the BMP Commissioner for grant of Transferable Development Rights.

The following are the 36 roads:
1. Bellary Road: Hebbal Flyover to Minsk Square
2. Palace Road: Mysore Bank Circle to High Ground Police Station
3. Sheshadri Road: Central Jail Cross to K R Circle
4. Nrupatunga Road: K R Circle to Hudson Circle
5. Vidhana Veedhi Road: Gopal Gowda Circle to K R Circle
6. Mission Road: N R Road to K H Road
7. Devanga Hostel Road: Hudson Circle to Mission Road
8. Sankey Road: Cauvery Theatre junction to Yeshwanthpur Circle
9. Hosur Road: Central Silk Board junction to Yankey Factory junction
10. Hosur Luskar Road: Yankey Factory Circle to Richmond Road Shooley Circle
11. Victoria Road: D’Souza Circle to Airport Road
12. Lower Agaram Road: Hosmat Hospital to National Games complex Koramangala
13. Sarjapura Road: Kendriya Sadan Road to Agaram Road Ring Road Cross
14. Hosur Road: Lalbagh Main Gate to Yankey Factory via Dairy Circle
15. Dickenson Road: MG Road to Ulsoor Road
16. Ulsoor Road: Dickenson Road to Kensington Road
17. Kensington Road: MG Road to Murphy Road.
18. Murphy Road: Ulsoor Lake to Old Madras Road
19. Old Madras Road: Trinity Circle to Murphy Road junction via Ulsoor
20. Airport Road: Trinity Circle to Airport Helicopter division
21. Cottonpet Main Road: Kempegowda Bus Station to Mysore Road
22. Avenue Road: R Market to KG Road (SBM Circle)
23. Mysore Road: Sirsi Circle to Ring Road
24. Mahalakshmi Layout & Nandini Layout via Ayyappa Temple and Singapore Layout: WoC Road to Outer Ring Road Netaji Circle in Nandini Layout & Mahalakshmi Layout bus-stand
25. KR Road: Subbaram Chetty Circle to MM Industries behind Yediyur Tank
26. Sulthan Road: Royan Circle to Briyand Square
27. Ist Main Chamrajpet: Royan Circle to 3rd Cross Chamrajpet
28. 3rd Cross Chamrajpet & Bull Temple Road: BHS School to 1st Main Chamrajpet
29. Link Road: Githanjali Theatre to 1st Main Sheshadripuram
30. Padarayanapura Main Road: Pipeline Road Vijayanagar to Binny Mill Tank Bund Road
31. Bull Temple Road via NR Colony Channamma Tank bed & 30th Main BSK 3rd Stage: BMS College to Ring Road in BSK 3rd Stage
32. KG Road: Mysore Bank Circle to Elite Hotel and Upparpet Police Station
33. Dr Ambedkar Road (Tannery Road): Madhava Mudhaliar Road to Ring Road.
34. Kurubarahalli Main Road: Shankar Mutt to Pipeline Road
35. 17th Main, JC Nagar: Pipeline Road to Bridge in Outer Ring Road
36. 5th Cross Road Malleshwaram: Mohammedean Block to Geethanjali Theatre.

BMP smells nothing fishy in Ulsoor lake

BMP smells nothing fishy in Ulsoor lake

The BMP has apparently kept the investigation report under wraps and has not bothered to take remedial measures to prevent fish deaths in Ulsoor lake.

Deccan Herald

Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP) refuses to learn from its experiences. Even a fortnight after Karnataka State Pollution Control Board’s (KSPCB) report that mass death of fish in Ulsoor lake was due to discharge of pollutants, the BMP has turned a blind eye and not taken any remedial measure s to avoid the recurrence of such accidents.

KSPCB’s investigation — laboratory testing of water samples and dead fish – had revealed that oxygen level in the lake depleted considerably due to mixing of pollutants like sewerage water, which led to the mass death. It was also revealed that the fish started dying from January 25, while BMP first learnt about the incident only on January 27.

However, the civic body has apparently kept the report under wraps. It has neither tried to examine on its own the reason how pollutants entered the lake nor has it sought any explanation from Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) in this regard, BMP sources told Deccan Herald.

Rejuvenation project

It was BWSSB which implemented the work to divert sewerage water from entering the lake at the cost of over Rs one crore — as part of BMP’s Ulsoor Lake Rejuvenation project. Besides, BMP had set up Sedimentation Tank — where rain water will be stored before it enters the lake. This was to prevent solid wastes from entering the water body.

Besides, the incident had exposed BMP’s laxity in maintaining the lake. It used to get the laboratory test of the water quality only once a month, as against experts’ suggestion to conduct the test once in every two days.

“Had the BMP ensured that the tests were done every two days, it would have come to know about pollutants entering the lake and the incident would not have occurred at all,” experts noted. BMP has turned a deaf ear to experts suggestions too. Soon after the incident, experts from Department of Fisheries, UAS, suggested to install aerators (which keeps stirring the water) to keep the water in the lake clean and take steps to let-in some quantity of fresh water.

These measures are necessary to enhance the water quality in the lake and avoid recurrence of such incidents, said Prof C Vasudevappa of the department of Fisheries, UAS.

BMP move

The only initiative BMP took following the incident is spraying of potassium permanganate and zeolite to enhance the oxygen level and absorb the pollutants in the lake.

When contacted, Technical Advisor to BMP Commissioner R Jaiprasad agreed that BMP is yet to ascertain how pollutants entered the lake. “I will soon hold a meeting with BWSSB officials in this regard,” he said, adding that BMP has taken all taken corrective measures and oxygen level is up to the required standards.

BMP to impose infrastructure and SWM cess

BMP to impose infrastructure and SWM cess

Both measures, passed by the BMP Council are said to be a follow up exercise to amendments brought into Karnataka Municipal Corporations Act.

Deccan Herald

The Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP) Council on Thursday set the citizens on a warm-up lap for the season of budgets by approving the proposals on an annual ‘basic infrastructure cess’ on vehicles and a monthly ‘cess on solid waste management (SWM)’.

The cess on vehicles will pay for the transport infrastructure like roads and flyovers the BMP provides to make the drive and ride in the city easier. The cess on waste will pay for BMP’s role in the disposal of waste. Both measures are a follow up exercise to the amendments made in the Karnataka Municipal Corporations Act.

The annual basic infrastructure cess on vehicles is applicable to vehicles registered in the BMP limits and the proposal had in fact figured in the BMP’s budget proposals for the last three years.

Self-assessment mode

To facilitate payment of the cess through the self-assessment mode, the application forms and challans will be made at all BMP offices, citizen service centers, authorised banks, and if necessary in petrol bunks in the city too.

In the case of new vehicle registrations, the BMP proposes to tie up with the regional transport authorities or with vehicle insurance firms, Commissioner Jothiramalingam said. The cess on vehicles shall be paid before 90 days from the beginning of the year.

Those making the payments in the first 30 days will get a five per cent waiver. Payments made after 90 days will attract 2 per cent additional cess for every month of delay.

Varying slabs have been fixed on SWM cess for residential units, commercial establishments, industries, hospitals, hotels, kalyan mantaps and others. (For details refer box)

The responsibility for collection of SWM cess will be entrusted to the contractors who manage the waste collections or to residents welfare associations.

Property tax assesses of BMP can remit their SWM cess along with property tax returns. A waiver of 5 per cent may be earned by making the payments for all the 12 months at one go, before the first 30 days of the year.

Meanwhile, heeding to the suggestions made by the BMP members, Mayor R Narayanaswamy has said that he will speak to the chief minister seeking exemption of two wheelers and three wheelers from the ambit of infrastructure cess and the exemption of SWM cess for residential units of size below 40 x 60 ft.

The BMP council on Thursday also approved a proposal recommending to the State government, an increase in the service tax levied on private educational institutions who are exempted from property tax. These institutions will be charged service tax at the rate of 50 per cent of their property tax estimate against the presently charged 25 per cent, the BMP council’s proposal said.


Infrastructure cess on vehicles (Annual)
Two-wheelers: Rs 50
Light motor vehicle / three-wheelers: Rs 100
Four-wheeler: Rs 300
Medium and heavy vehicle/ passenger transport vehicles: Rs 400
Goods transport vehicles: Rs 500

Cess on solid waste management: (Monthly)

Residential buildings:
Upto 1000 sq ft plinth area: Rs 10
1001sq ft to 3,000 sq ft: Rs 30
3001 sq ft and above: Rs 50

Commercial buildings:
Upto 1000 sq ft: Rs 50
1001 sq ft to 3000 sq ft: Rs 100
3001 sq ft and above: Rs 200

Industrial buildings:
Upto 1000 sq ft: Rs 100
1001 sq ft to 3000 sq ft: Rs 200
3001 sq ft and above: Rs 300

Hotels, Kalyan Mantaps and Nursing Homes:
Upto 1000 sq ft: Rs 300
1001 sq ft to 3000 sq ft: Rs 500
3001 sq ft and above: Rs 600

Real Estate FDI: Land prices will shoot up in City

Land prices will shoot up in City
Deccan Herald

Land prices in Bangalore are likely to shoot up once again in the coming months, realtors said while reacting to the opening up of the construction-development sector, reports DHNS, Bangalore. The City is likely to be the most preferred destination for investors, they felt.

While welcoming foreign investment, as it would increase competition in land development and construction activities, realtors felt that it would have an impact on land prices, which have gone up nearly 50 times in the last one year alone.

CEO of Feroze Estate and Properties Feroze Abdullah noted: “Bangalore would be the favourite. FDI will help in creating jobs and increasing realty activities. And 100 per cent FDI will be a catalyst to increase prices further. How this will help the have-nots is another question.”

Director of Silverline Realty Zaheer Mahmood said foreign companies have already begun scouting for land. “We already have enquiries from two companies, who earlier had problems sourcing land,” he added, refusing to name the clients.

The move will increase quality of construction in infrastructure projects too, said advocate S Selva Kumar who specialises in realty issues.

Multi-national corporate real estate consultants Equis Corporation felt that FDI in construction will also help the ailing construction industry which uses the age-old methods of construction practices. Equis vice-president (Asia-Pacific operations) Shrinivas Rao said the impact of FDI approval may not be immediately felt.

“Foreign firms won’t be allowed own land and will have to depend on Indian developers. Traditionally, Indian developers are used to selling assets as against the international developers’ strategy of leasing assets,” Mr Rao said. “In the long run international firms will bring in an era of ‘intelligent buildings’ that focus on maximisation of usable space.”

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Speaking of governance

It appears the author can't recognize English when she sees it

Speaking of governance
The New Indian Express

I am settling down in Bangalore, I told them with pride brimming in my voice. Ah, they said wiping their streaming sweat with unmistakable envy. Nice weather. A very civilised city. Lucky aren’t you?

I am in the midst of a traffic jam that Bangalore has become notorious for. Traffic jams in fact have become part of a Bangalorean’s life. It is amazing how the average Bangalorean has reconciled to his fate. It is amazing too how the government thrives in a blissful state of ignorance (there are 5,460 English pages on Bangalore’s bad roads in the web) and ineptitude.

It finds attending prayer meetings organiSed by shady American evangelists more important than attending to the repeated prayers of the locals to redeem the city’s roads. The evangelist boasted of curing incurable diseases with just hand push. I would have been happier if he had used his persuasive powers with the Lord to heal the heaving roads of Bangalore. I suspect all the top brass politicians that attended the mammoth meeting were in fact hoping for a miracle.

What Bangalore needs now is nothing short of a miracle. The name Bangalore no longer invokes images of lush green lawns and riotous flowers. At least that was the image I had as part of my childhood and adolescent memory, having grown up here. Six months’ stay was enough to bring about a disillusionment that I have never before experienced in my life. I am haunted everyday by nightmares even during my waking hours — of getting caught in traffic jams that are chaotic; my senses getting numbed by the crazy noise pollution that I am unable to escape from; of having a fall as I walk in the street and breaking my hip on the incredibly shameful potholes that never get repaired.

Visitors, if they are not already dead choked by air pollution and bumpy roads, are always nervous and edgy at the thought of the traffic jams and missing a flight or a train. The tourism brochure still calls it a Garden City. There cannot be a crueler joke than that. Do you say the colour of leaves is green? Think again. They are all muddy here with dust and virtually merge with the unkempt roads, having lost the chlorophyll-their identity.

And where have the flowers gone? They seem to appear only at Lal Bagh’s annual flower shows. There are no flowers on the round-about circles at cross roads that Bangalore was famous for. Even the road from the airport leading to the city has no flowerbeds on road dividers. Nor is it the retired peoples’ paradise. The poor old ones dare not take a walk like old times. With innumerable potholes on every road, the dust that emanates from traffic and ah, the killing noise of the speeding vehicles- you are bound to reach vaikundam earlier than you were destined for. I felt ageless six months ago; I now feel like an ancient.

Every time I visit Chennai, I undergo a metamorphosis. I become young again; life seems full of hope. As the cab glides smoothly on the roads from the airport or the railway station, I draw a deep breath and suck in the air as if I had been deprived of it all my life. The huge hoardings and posters with Jayalalithaa’s smiling face and words hailing the tireless work that she does for the welfare of the Tamil people no longer seems to me an exaggerated encomium of the party sycophants.

My heart fills with parochial pride and by the time I reach my destination I become a fan of the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. Look at our Chennai I want to tell my co-traveller. Look at the roads, how even and satin-smooth they are. Look how well the traffic is controlled. Look how clean the atmosphere is. Is it not wonderful to see that the leaves are green and there are actually flowering beds on the road dividers and traffic circles?

Do you see the flyovers? They may not be world class; they may have been built across roads that were not designed for flyovers. But you will surely agree that they have eased the traffic to a considerable extent. Remember they were built in record time during the previous government.

As the cab moves on I find it amazing that all the roads, even by- lanes, are smooth without potholes. The boards and signals indicating the names of the roads are bold and big and mercifully in English too, that will relieve an outsider. Oh, by the way, you have to know the Kannada script to travel in Bangalore. If you are lost, it is your problem. The road signs on the roads and on the buses are written in Kannada only.

My heart becomes heavy with regret for having left Chennai. After moving to Bangalore I had almost forgotten that roads could be without potholes. That any flyover started by the government would ever be completed. BSP — Bijili (electricity), Sadak (road), Paani (water) — still remains the slogan of all elections. I think it is only Tamil Nadu that is focused on fulfilling the promise among the southern states.

The detractors of Jayalalithaa have only to shift to Bangalore to turn into her ardent supporters in no time. At least regarding matters of governance. Governance — the most sustaining factor in the relationship between the State and the public. What is governance? It is something not covered by the traditional term ‘government’. It springs from a genuine desire to improve the living conditions of the public; to respect the rights of the people for better life, enhance environmental protection and deepen confidence in government and public administration.

What is missing in Bangalore as it fights to retain its India’s Silicon Valley tag? Good, smart governance. Bangalore, we are told ‘‘became a victim of its own success’’. The exploding growth of Bangalore as an IT hotspot has not gone hand in hand with infrastructural facilities.

Whose fault is it? What measures did the State government devise to tackle the situation when Bangalore was bursting at the seams? Why do we not see any one with a vision or even dedication to duty and commitment to the taxpayer? ‘‘We believe the problems are serious,’’ said Azim Premji, Chairman of Wipro Ltd, three years ago. The situation is worse today as the problems persist and the IT companies are seriously thinking of moving house. They even want to look outside Karnataka for expansion, sick of the lack of smart governance here. The PWD Minister can only blame the IT industry for the chaos. And the Chief Minister is always on the defence with — ‘‘Bangalore cannot become Singapore’’.

Why can’t it even compete with Chennai?


Monorail: Route to jam-free B’lore, says Metrail

Monorail: Route to jam-free B’lore, says Metrail
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: For all those Bangaloreans who have resigned to live with the traffic snarls and pothole stretches, monorail rings in a future without clutter.

Metrail India Private Limited, the Indian face of the Switzerland-based Metrail AG has proposed a hybrid monorail system above ground level to ease traffic congestion on Bangalore roads. The project report that has been approved by the Cabinet is now under scrutiny of a High Power Committee. Proposed to integrate with the metro rail network, monorail is a vision that has worked to great effect abroad, with Japan being the leader.

‘‘Monorail’s integration with metro will ensure that more of Bangalore is covered under the network. Since it is above ground level, there will be minimal traffic disruption, land acquisition and demolitions. Further, with a 24-month start-to-finish implementation and virtually no investment from the State Government, this is one system which could make a lot of difference to Bangalore’s traffic problems,’’ says Rehan Khan, director, Metrail India.

Metrail has budgeted the system at around Rs. 40 crore a kilometre. With a proposed headway (gap between trains) of less than two minutes, the trains will have independent battery-run compartments. The system doesn’t need grid power and has a pollution-free record.

But the real edge is the connectivity it can provide. ‘‘With a turning curve radius of a mere 20 metres, monorail can wade into Bangalore’s farthest nooks and corners. Further, connectivity with Electronics City and ITPL will be ensured by the network.

“And in more than 100 years of monorail operations (the first one was launched in 1901 at Wuppertal, Germany), there have been no fatalities,’’ says Khan adding that the State Government has shown genuine interest in the proposal.

According to Khan, since the build-up system requires small foundations by offsite fabrication of precast columns, beams and station structures, traffic disruption during the implementation would be minimal. The rates proposed by Metrail are compatible with existing tariff.

Up to two kilometres, the rate will be Rs. 4 and beyond 22 km, it will be Rs. 18. At three tonnes per fibreglass carriage, monorail is certainly light when pitted against the 45-tonne steel variety. The flexibility is a definite plus as well. ‘‘Since it runs on independent carriages, we have the option of cutting down their number during non-peak hours,’’ reasons Khan.

He insists that integration with metro rail is the company’s immediate concern but doesn’t mince words when it comes to the concept of metro rail systems in the Indian context. ‘‘In a city like Hong Kong, it works fine because people collectively move to and from townships to business hubs. That’s predictable traffic. In India, it doesn’t work that way. Further, if the Indian Railways insist on a 200-metre turning curve radius like they did in Delhi, you can imagine how a city like Bangalore would take it.’’

Khan is still keeping his fingers crossed on the proposal, which is of a two-phase implementation to be run on Build Operate Transfer . The jazzed up vision of fibre glass carriages and sleek rail stations above ground is still a tad departed from space-strapped Bangalore. But Khan believes in the route. That’s one for the future.

Modernity nudging out old-world charm here

Modernity nudging out old-world charm here
The Times of India

Bangalore: What happens to an area which retains its originality but is swamped by burgeoning traffic? More often than not, chaos prevails.
Yeshwanthpur, once considered the northern outskirts of Bangalore, is today a fine example of an old Bangalore hub turning into a chaotic part of the city.

Thickly populated residential blocks, a mega wholesale store, a nodal railway station and commercial establishments have cropped in an area which once boasted only of a market and the homes of industrial workers. However, development has remained largely unplanned. Among the oldest areas in the city, Yeshwanthpur is still mainly a working class locality. Its proximity to industries in Peenya and surrounding areas make it an ideal location for families of industrial workers. The Indian Institute of Science (IISc) and Iskcon temple too are among prominent places around the area.

Though dotted with commercial establishments, it is primarily a residential area having its own problems like lack of proper civic amenities, traffic regulation and law and order problems. There are a number of slums located in the area which otherwise has a mix of rich, middle class and low income group populations. The area falls under four corporation wards with a population of over two lakh. Over the last five years, the area has seen a huge inflow of factory workers and labourers from other states too.

Yeshwanthpur has, in recent times, also turned out to be Bangalore’s Kurla. The railway station, which earlier handled goods trains, is now a nodal centre for passenger and express trains. With many trains starting from this station and many more coming from North India halting at this junction, it has a crowd all the time.

The station in a way is decongesting the city of a large number of its floating population - who now disembark or embark at Yeshwantpur instead of travelling upto the city railway station. With the Iskcon temple located within five minutes of the Yeshwanthpur station, it gives easy access to many people visiting the temple from other parts of the country.

On the flip side, the Yeshwanthpur-Tumkur Road junction is a nightmare for both motorists and pedestrians, especially during peak hours. With the junction serving as a vital link for those coming from north Bangalore and those travelling towards Peenya, the roads are packed beyond capacity during peak hours and traffic moves at snail’s pace. Even roads in the interior residential areas are packed with vehicles.

The Yeshwanthpur market remains a key landmark and is a place that can, through its gaiety and rural tradition, provide a glimpse of the culture that prevailed in Bangalore years ago. For people living in residential areas around Yeshwanthpur - Malleswaram, Rajajinagar, West of Chord Road, Mathikere, and adjoining areas - the Yeshwanthpur market still offers some of the best bargains on all kinds of farm produce.

World looks to ‘Dr Bangalore’ now

World looks to ‘Dr Bangalore’ now
The Times of India

Bangalore: Former cop from Bradford, UK, George Marshall fretted over his physician’s advice three months ago. The advise — to undergo a coronary bypass surgery — left him with two options. Either wait for six months to get a free surgery done at National Health Service or cough up 15,000 pounds for an immediate surgery at any private hospital in Europe.

Surfing the Net opened a third option for him and the 73-year-old Briton decided to fly 5,000 miles to IT city Bangalore for his operation at a private super-speciality heart hospital. The whole affair cost Marshall just 4,300 pounds. Marshall is reportedly the 50th patient from the first-world countries to undergo intensive life-saving procedure in Bangalore.

The increasing number is forging new definitions for medical tourism in a city, where medical tourists, until now, consisted only of those from third-world countries (in Africa and south-east Asia) or those visiting the city for traditional Indian medicine.

A study by the Confederation of Indian Industry and a private consultancy firm has estimated “medical tourism’’ could be worth Rs 100 billion by 2012.

Last year, some 1.5 lakh foreigners visited India for treatment, with the number rising by 15 per cent every year, the study has stated.
With a large pool of highly trained doctors and low treatment prices, the city’s healthcare sector aims at replicating the software success. So far, patients falling in the NHS backlog who have been considering other options in Germany, Belgium, Thailand, Singapore and others have been looking towards the Indian shores. “The present NHS referrals to hospitals within three hours’ flying time will eventually be lifted, bettering India’s health tourism prospects,’’ say industry sources.

“I can say that the care and facilities in India are easily comparable,’’ says Marshall, who underwent the surgery at Wockhardt Hospital and Heart Institute.

Wockhardt Hospital vice-president (operations) Vishal Bali calls it global connectivity. “There used to be a time gap in terms of medical technology reaching India, but not anymore. Also, with every third doctor in UK or the US known to be an Indian, first-world patients attach a reasonable amount of confidence and comfort in being treated in India.’’

The number of health tourists from countries like Singapore and the Gulf doubled in the later half of last year, say administrators at HOSMAT and Manipal Hospital. At Narayana Hrudayalaya, over 30 per cent of their patients are from third world countries.
Industry experts also peg Bangalore’s USP in health tourism to a host of other innovative facilities such as airport-to-hospital bed car service, concierge facility, Internet access, private chefs, in-house interpreter services, sightseeing packages, etc. Suggestion books in hospitals also indicate that patients from the developed world have been impressed by post-operative nursing care and public relations.

Comparing Costs

Heart bypass
UK: 15,000; France: 13,000; US: 13 ,250; India: 4 ,300

Hip replacement
UK: 9,000; France: 7,600; US: 15,900; India: 3,180

Cataract operation
UK: 2 ,900; France: 1,000; US: 2,120; India: 660 (All figures are in pounds )

In demand
Cardiac procedures, neurosurgery (especially treatment for prolapsed discs, neck and spine injuries), neurology, joint and hip replacement, plastic surgery, dental procedures, dermatology, vascular procedures, urology.

Changes planned in traffic movement on Hosur Road

Changes planned in traffic movement on Hosur Road

Vijay Times

Bangalore: To avoid traffic congestion on the Hosur Main Road and allow smooth flow of the BMTC buses from the new BMTC bus stand at Shanthinagar, the City traffic police are working out a design entailing diversions in the traffic movements on Hosur Road, Siddaiah Road and roads falling in the Wilson Garden area.

According to the plan report made available to Vijay Times here on Wednesday, vehicles plying on the Siddaiah Road from the JC Road towards the Nimhans will have to continue straight after the Urvashi Theatre, instead of the present practise of taking a right on the Lalbagh Road to cross the Wilson Garden Crematorium, and then take a right turn at the 10th cross followed by a left turn towards the Diary Circle. The Siddaiah Road stretch from the JC Road to the 12th cross of the Wilson Garden will be made one-way.

The vehicles plying on the Hosur Road from the Lalbagh Main Gate towards NIMHANS have to take a left turn at the Double Road, and a right turn on to the Siddaiah Road, next to the Wilson Garden Crematorium, and then continue taking a right turn near the 10th cross of the Wilson Garden.

The vehicle movement on the Hosur Road from the Lalbagh Double Road Gate towards the NIMHANS will be closed while being allowed from the NIMHANS towards the Lalbagh Double Road Gate.

The stretch from the 12th cross of the Wilson Garden, near the Dental College, and till the Lalbagh Double Road Gate Circle will be made one-way. The movement of vehicles from the 10th cross of the Wilson Garden on Siddaiah Road towards Wilson Garden Crematorium will be closed.

Work on PRR to start soon

Work on PRR to start soon

The Chief Minister said a proposal to provide land at concessional rates to BMTC for construction of bus terminals may be considered.
Deccan Herald

Work on the Peripheral Ring Road, surrounding the existing Outer Ring Road (ORR) will be taken up soon, Chief Minister N Dharam Singh said on Wednesday.

The Rs 300 crore project will help in easing traffic congestion in the City drastically, Mr Singh said after dedicating the Shantinagar bus terminus to the citizens of Bangalore. With the number of vehicles on Bangalore roads increasing day by day, it has become essential to have the peripheral ring road to supplement other infrastructure initiatives. The Government is committed to implement the PRR and Bangalore Metro Rail project to significantly reduce the congestion on roads, he added.

Responding to the demand made by Transport Minister M Mallikarjun Kharge and MP Ananthkumar, Mr Singh assured that he will consider the demand for providing land at concessional rate to BMTC and KSRTC to set up bus terminals in various parts of the state.

Transport Minister M Mallikarjun Kharge urged the Chief Minister to take measures to bear the entire subsidy cost, which the transport corporations incur in providing concessional passes to various beneficiaries, so that corporations can further improve bus services. He said the Kempegowda bus terminus will be completely renovated. “We have chalked out a blue print for improving amenities at the bus station”, he said.

Increasing schedule
BMTC managing director Upendra Tripathy said the BMTC has planned to increase the total schedules to 4,330 by the end of October from the existing 3,813 schedules. He further said the Corporation has plans to introduce BMTC Volvo buses soon. “We also have plans to set up state of the art bus terminuses at Kengeri, Yeshwantpur, Domlur, Yelahanka and Hebbal,” he said.

Urging the Chief Minister to reduce the Motor Vehicle and Sales Tax, he said that the motor vehicle tax has been raised by 66 per cent last year, while the sales tax, has gone up by 165 per cent. This has led to drastic increase in the tax expenditure of the corporations, he said.

MP Ananthkumar urged the Chief Minister to take measures to provide connectivity between the Outer Ring Road, Peripheral Ring Road and the Bangalore Metro Rail Project.

Shantinagar Bus Terminus, most modern?

Deccan Herald

Four bus bays with 16 platforms with a capacity to hold 30 buses at a time, vehicle parking facility for 100 two-wheelers and 180 four-wheelers — the Shantinagar bus terminus is said to be the country’s most modern bus station, reports DHNS from Bangalore.

One of the special features of the bus terminus is the pedestrian subway connecting all platforms, ensuring safe transit of passengers. The State of the Art bus terminus, set up at a cost of Rs 23.50 crore has a spacious space to locate a Garden Restaurant on the second floor. The Shantinagar bus terminus is aimed at decongesting the Kalasipalyam and Kempe Gowda bus stations. All City buses heading south-towards Bannerghatta Road, Hosur Road, Sarjapura Road, Jayanagar, J P Nagar and Banashankari will now start from and end at this terminus. Bus services will start from Friday, BMTC sources said. Though seven floors have been planned, four floors have been completed and commissioned in the first phase.

The BMTC initially plans to operate more than 1,000 trips a day from the bus stand. Four ring road schedules were formally inaugurated by Chief Minister N Dharam Singh.

Vikasa Soudha, still born?

An arrested development

With the project cost escalating way beyond the initial estimate and the government not releasing funds on time, the structure is unlikely to be completed soon.

Deccan Herald

The erstwhile S M Krishna government’s pet project Vikas Soudha, the annex to Vidhana Soudha, built to house all government departments in one localised area, has hit financial hurdles and is on a sluggish lap.

With many government departments functioning out of rented premises at various locations across the City, that cost the government exchequer lakhs of rupees in terms of annual rent alone, the Vikas Soudha project was started in 1999-2000, at an initial estimate of Rs 100 crore, to curb this expenditure.

As per the set completion deadline, the structure should have been ready by November last, with as many as 14 departments relocating to the new facility. Incidentally, former chief minister S M Krishna had even inaugurated the incomplete structure prior to the last Assembly elections.

With additional costs piling up, the cost of the project has now risen to Rs 145 crore. In May 2003 the government had allowed additional works worth Rs 22.15 crore. But there has been no word from authorities regarding sanction for the remaining Rs 22.85 crore.

However, the point is that funds cannot be released when the estimate itself has not been approved. Meanwhile, the fact that only Rs 98 crore has been released for the project till date is a reflection of the government’s apathy towards the project.

Though Rs 20 crore was allotted in the 2004-05 budget, followed by another Rs 3 crore in September 2004, this has been spent and additional works to the tune of Rs 10 crore has been carried out even without the government releasing the money.

According to sources, the Public Works Department had requested release of Rs 25 crore by December 2004, followed by another Rs 20 crore in March 2005, but the government has not obliged.

Cost escalators
Among the additional features that have resulted in the cost escalation of the project are: Generator room, special stairway, additional toilet blocks, porticos, solar heating system, electronic security system, among others. The government’s reluctance to make funds available for these features has led to the delay, said a reliable source.

A meeting for the sanction of a Rs 75 lakh landscaped garden was called last month, but the estimate was brought down to Rs 63 lakh. Meanwhile, the Public Works Department has told the government that the project could be completed by April, if funds to the tune of Rs 10 crore were released every month.

Freescale to set up software center in Bangalore

Freescale to set up software center in Bangalore
EE Times

BANGALORE, India — Freescale Semiconductor Inc., said it would start a software development center here as the area becomes a hotbed for software talent and development.

Freescale (Austin, Tx.) already has a VLSI design center in Noida near the Indian capital of New Delhi, where it currently employs 250 and plans to add more staff.

The software center will focus on technologies such as UMTS, EDGE, HSDPA/HSUPA, and UWB among others to come up with leading-edge work, according to a recruitment advertisement placed by the company in a local newspaper.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Shantinagar bus terminal to open on Wednesday

Shantinagar bus terminal to open on Wednesday
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: The Shantinagar bus terminal aimed at relieving congestion at Kempegowda and Kalasipalyam bus stations, will be inaugurated on Wednesday by Chief Minister N. Dharam Singh.

All city buses heading south - towards Jayanagar, JP Nagar and Banashankari - will now start from and end at this terminal. It will also serve suburban buses going towards Anekal, Hosur, Sarjapur, Chandapura and Kanakapura.

The well-planned station has 30 platforms and can accommodate an equal number of buses at any point in time. It also has a parking lot with a capacity for 200 cars and 200 two-wheelers. BMTC initially plans to operate 1,000 trips a day from the bus stand. A special feature of the Shantinagar bus terminal is a long pedestrian subway connecting all platforms, which eliminates accidents due to people coming in the way of buses.

Rain water harvesting mandatory from June 6

Rain water harvesting mandatory from June 6
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: The Bangalore City Corporation has made rain water harvesting (RWH) mandatory for all buildings the city from June 6. BCC officials said the norm had recently been added to the bylaws and all buildings including residences need to install RWH systems as a means to conserve water and recharge ground water.

According the new provision, every building with a plinth area of 100 sq mts or more, built on a site measuring not less than 200 sq mts must have one or more RWH structures of a specified capacity.

Second, the owner of such a building should ensure that the RWH structure is maintained in good condition for storage of water for non-potable purposes or recharge of ground water at all times. Third, BCC may impose a maximum fine of Rs. 1,000 a year for every 100 sq mt of built-up area if the owner of the building fails to provide or maintain RWH structures as required under the bylaws.

The Hindu Heritage Series 1: The Bean City

This is the first of a fortnightly series on the heritage of Bangalore city
The Hindu

BANGALORE IS the fastest growing metropolis in Asia. With sobriquets such as Silicon Valley, Garden City and Pensioner's Paradise, the city has been able to retain its traditional charm, despite the onslaught of modernism.

Second oldest

Among the metropolises in India, Bangalore is next to Delhi in antiquity. Though the Begur inscription dated 900 A.D. mentions the name Bengaluru, it is Kempe Gowda I who is credited with founding Bangalore (Bendakalooru) in 1537. During medieval times, a village in which a fair was held became a town and got a charter. That is probably the story of Bangalore too. Kadale Kayi Parishe, the fair with a mythical background, held in November in the premises of Basavanna Temple in Basavanagudi, explains how Bangalore came to be regarded as a town.

But Bangalore was also an important commercial centre as is proved by the discovery of Roman coins by B.L. Rice in 1891, while the railway track was being constructed at Yeshwanthpur. The coins, dated 21 B.C. to 51 A.D., belonged to the era of Roman emperors such as Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, and Claudius. Again in 1965, when labourers were digging for laying the runway at the HAL Airport of Bangalore, they noticed 256 silver Roman coins. It is quite likely that there was a Roman settlement near Bangalore during the early centuries of the Christ era. Bangalore, then, was also known by the names Kalyanapuri and Mangalapuri. Kalyana is the Sanskrit word for prosperity and Mangala is its synonym.

Great climate

Bangalore may have attracted settlements due to its salubrious climate (situated 3042 ft above the sea level), fertile soil and numerous tanks (the Vrishabhavathi river, a tributary of the Arkavathi, flowed through Bangalore once upon a time), all essential elements for habitation.

Kempe Gowda I erected a mud fort and built the temple of Basavanagudi. He expanded the Gavigangadhara and Someshvara temples and constructed the Kempambudhi Tank (now an amusement park is being constructed there), the Dharmambudhi Tank (the present bus stand in Majestic) and the Sampangi Tank (the Kanteerava stadium premises).

His son Kempe Gowda II erected the four towers at the four cardinal points at Bangalore. At present, these towers can be found at the Lalbagh, Kempambudhi Tank, Ulsoor Lake, and behind the Ramana Maharshi Ashram on Bellary Road. Both Kempe Gowda I and Kempe Gowda II invited traders and artisans, especially weavers, to settle down in Bangalore. They were, in a big way, responsible for the development of Bangalore as an important commercial centre.

In 1638, a large Bijapur army led by Ranadulla Khan, accompanied by Shahji Bhonsle, defeated Kempe Gowda III and captured Bangalore. Shahji was granted Bangalore as jagir. He lived in a palace called Gauri Mahal in the present Chikpet area.


The Marathi work Shivabharath, while speaking of Bangalore during Shahji's time, mentions that the city had huge fortifications and deep moats. There were many tanks around the fort. Some houses in the city had their walls decorated with attractive paintings. There were streets full of shops selling valuable merchandise. The city had plenty of pigeons and peacocks and big, beautiful temples. The Kempe Gowda family that had ruled over Bangalore as the subordinate of the Vijayanagar Empire represented the entire culture of Vijayanagar by continuing the religious festivals, and various forms of music and dance.

Shahji's son Shivaji visited Bangalore as a boy in the 1640s and was inspired by the religious and cultural atmosphere of the place. His marriage with Saibai Nimbalkar took place in Bangalore in 1641. After the death of Shahji in 1664, his son Ekoji succeeded his Bangalore jagir. But in 1687, the Mughal general Kasim Khan captured Bangalore from Ekoji and leased it to Chikkadevaraja Wadiyar, the ruler of Mysore.


Truck brings Hosur Road to a halt

All it took was one broken down truck to bring all of Hosur Road leading to Electronics City to a halt for more than 3 hours this morning. Covering 9 kilometers in 3 hours must be a new record. Trucks and buses, cabs and cars, scooters and bikes were trying to squeeze into whatever space was available. If the ditch had been slightly shallower even that would have been driven on. To top it, buses and trucks were driving on the wrong side of the road and adding to the chaos. Starting April 2, all this is going to worsen. How much worse can it get you say? From 3 kmph to 1 kmph? Not in the realm of the impossible. Not when it comes to traffic and Bangalore.