Tuesday, May 31, 2005

A tale of two tanks

A tale of two tanks

Ahalya S Bhat does an evaluation about water conservation efforts being undertaken by different NGOs in Bangalore.

Deccan Herald

The Tank revival mission, a highly commendable state level effort supported by all stake holders and neighbourhoods, interested in 'water conservation has passed several rough routes. Seeing pictures of hundreds of large dead fish floating in the Ulsoor tank, a tank that not only took time, money and effort to revitalise, but when revitalised, was truly a joy to see whether one was driving along side or walking.

Similarly, the revitalisation of the Sankey Tank was welcomed by residents of Malleswaram, Sadashivanagar and also campuses of the Indian Institute of Science, Raman Research Institute, National Institute of Advanced Studies.

The beautification of the tank between 2002-04 was an important step in sustaining the tank. Storm water drains, which feed the tank, had been clogged and sides of the tank were dirty.

The two neighbours of the tank on the west and north were about the nursery prepared by the Forest Department and the plantations further in, and the other, the magnificent botanical sanctuary being maintained by the public charitable trust in the name of Smt Singamma Sreenivasan. This Trust owns land on the north side of the tank, which has been converted into a garden having a variety of about 200 species and 500 trees.

It also contains plots with endangered species of medicinal plants and high value medicinal and aromatic plants. It is a biodiversity conservatory much acclaimed by eminent botanists like Dr M S Swaminathan, who inaugurated the parks as well as the late Dr Raja Ramanna who was also a patron. The 50 year-old garden is one of the highlights of Bangalore. Late Sir C V Raman would take his walks in this park before he built the Raman Institute and at least 10 per cent of the plant variety in the Raman Institute gardens have come from the Foundation's garden. Earlier designs that would disturb the calm of the Sankey Tank, like the presence of water birds and two sides surrounded by mini forests, were stopped since many officials and architects did not have a historical understanding of the tank’s ecology. Channels that brought in water were cleaned, so that they may keep its perennial water level.

Understanding was shared on how during dry seasons, especially if there were consecutive years of low rainfall, the tank dried up rapidly and therefore needed to be nurtured carefully. Thus, the idea of emptying the tank for desilting was stopped, as once the tank was emptied, rejuvenating it with rain water would often take 5-6 years and a dry tank bed is usually quickly taken over by builders, as can be seen in the case of the old Miller's tank.

The Forest Department nursery adjoining the west side of the tank was shifted to provide seating space and three apartment towers whose servicing would drain the underwater of the tank was also stopped. But unlike the famous poem written on a river,“that men may come and men may go, but I go on for ever,” the coming and going of the officials of the BMP - has led to a reversal of the values that were brought in revitalising the Sankey Tank.

Clean storm witer drains, which has been supplying water for 50 years from the Sadashivanagar police station and upwards, is being blocked by a strange initiative and made into a footpath. The footpath on its east is being built along a 20-foot drop, where a landslide is likely and since it is at the lowest level of the tank bed, it is likely not only to be inundated with water, but also become a swamp during the rainy season. Protective fencing that prevented walkers from falling 12 feet on the north side of the tank have also been removed and rare plants and tree plantations destroyed. For further enquiries, write to Ahalya Bhat, Associative Director at ssfb@giasbg01.vsnl.net

A route to break the gridlock

A route to break the gridlock

Deccan Herald

The grid system will be introduced to reduce pressure on the bus stands. Commuters will have to travel across grids by switching buses to reach destination.

Till now, all the bus rush was directed towards the City’s centre. But soon, Bangaloreans will start moving in circles and squares.

The BMTC is planning a major revamp of its routes, replacing the present central system with a grid system of network. What comes out is a complicated mesh of big circles, small circles, ring roads and square grids, along with a lot of bus-hopping. But this brainchild of the BMTC’s Commuter Comfort Task Force (CCTF), also promises what Bangaloreans need most: Lesser travel time and less road congestion.

The main idea behind the grid system is to reduce pressure on the City’s major bus stands, mainly in Majestic, City Market and Shivajinagar. A whopping 3,587 buses of the total BMTC fleet strength of 3,925, ply in these areas of Bangalore. With the grid system, it is expected that the pressure on central city routes will be reduced by half.

The grid system will be direction-centric rather than destination-centric. Commuters will have to travel across grids, switching buses to reach their destination.

This bus shuffling might seem tedious and expensive, but BMTC authorities assure that it will not be so. Explains Mr R V Bhosekar, Chairman of the CCTF, “As there will be short routes inside the grid, with a maximum distance of 10 km, the frequency of buses will increase and travel time will be reduced to reach the main routes. As all main grid routes do not share the same destination, not many buses will vie for road space (as is currently happening in the present road network), resulting in less traffic bottlenecks and higher speed”.

The decision of BMTC to increase its fleet to 4,440 by October will be an added advantage.

“More buses will be plying in all directions, which will increase the frequency considerably. There will be one bus every five minutes on every route,” said Dr Upendra Tripathi, Chairman of BMTC.

As for the biggest objection — multi-ticketing — the BMTC is considering introducing fair fare solutions for the commuters. These include introducing automated ticketing machines on all routes, where fares will be determined by the travel time required between destinations.
Reduction in ticket fare

Another suggestion is to reduce ticket denominations from the existing Rs 2 - Rs 8 to Rs 1 - Rs 4, to bring down travel costs. However, the BMTC is yet to decide upon the fare system, revealed Dr Tripathi.

But it would be another few months before the new system comes in place across the City. Before that, a series of awareness campaigns and public debates have been planned to create public opinion. “People will naturally resist a change in the system, so we will interact with them to inform them about this system’s feasibility. There are going to be few alterations in the routes, which they will have to agree upon before we initiate changes,” said Dr Tripathi.


The grid system works like this: 27 high density trunk corridors have been designed, which are more or less straight lines moving vertically, horizontally and diagonally. None of the grid routes overlap. Two circular routes, one in the central area and the other at the Outer Ring Road, is also planned. Additionally, feeder ring routes within each grid have been introduced to provide bus access to the interior areas. Two-three wards are expected to be covered within each grid.

A commuter who wants to travel from, say, Jayanagar to Benson Town could choose between two routes. One route could be via BTS bus stop on the vertical grid (green), and switch to horizontal (blue) at Shivajinagar. Another shorter route could be on a diagonal (orange) grid, a switch to vertical at Richmond Town, move via Cubbon Park to reach Benson Town.

When the city was plagued by disease

When the city was plagued by disease
The Hindu

The early 20th Century Bangalore was witness to the spread of bubonic plague. It was accompanied by many superstitions

In August 1898, bubonic plague claimed its first victim in Bangalore in spite of various preventive measures taken by the Government of Mysore. The Epidemic Disease Regulation Act was passed, by which it was an offence not to report to the Municipal authorities cases of plague that occurred in households or neighbourhoods by the citizens.

The Municipality was given powers to get inhabitants of a premises vacated temporarily to disinfect the building and to even demolish any building, if in their opinion, it was necessary to prevent the spread of plague.

Bathing carriages

Passengers from infected areas coming by railways were inspected at Yeshwantpur, Kengeri and Cantonment railway stations. The City railway station set apart a number of carriages for bathing purposes insisting on every passenger taking a bath before leaving the station. Warm water and bathing compartments for different castes were provided.

From October 1, 1898, disinfection of outgoing passengers was also started. No passenger was given a railway ticket unless he or she tendered a certificate of disinfection or of exemption from disinfection. Disinfection was carried out at the railway station by steaming clothes and by having passengers wash their feet and hands with a disinfectant solution. To watch arrivals by road, eight outposts, each manned by a daffedar and four constables, were posted on all the important roads leading into Bangalore city.

The city was divided into four wards each being placed under a responsible officer of a grade not lower than that of an Assistant Commissioner assisted by a medical officer. Daily inspection of each house with a view to ascertain all arrivals and departures, illness and death were made. At burial and cremation grounds in Bangalore city, policemen were posted to register every funeral and to ascertain the cause of death.

Measures taken by the government included evacuation and segregation, supply of shed material to the poor free of cost and to others at nominal price. Government officials willing to camp out were given an advance of a month's pay not exceeding Rs. 30 repayable in three monthly instalments. Suitable sites for putting up sheds and necessary arrangements for conservancy, lighting and general sanitation of the health camp were made. Police protection was extended during their stay at the camps. The public was allowed to deposit valuables in public treasuries during the period.

Inoculation of Haffkine prophylactic serum was encouraged and the total number of inoculations in Bangalore up to June 30, 1899, was 36,259. Rewards at a rate of four annas for every adult and two annas for every child inoculated among the labouring classes were made.

The reward for killing rats was increased from six annas to 12 annas a dozen. Telephone lines were laid to help co-ordinate anti plague operations. In the Cantonment area, leading personalities of various communities encouraged inoculation especially among the labour class, by offering grains, sweetmeat, fruits, bread and clothes to all those who came forward.

A large number of people left the city for their respective villages and other places owing to the circulation reports on forcible inoculation of Haffkines serum.

It was the fear of inoculation and segregation that prompted people to desert their homes. They feared their houses being defiled by disinfection and the segregation and detention of the person concerned in case he or she were reported to have been afflicted by plague. They would extend shelter to the patient till he or she died probably without any medical treatment.

If a stranger was seen around the place, the person was believed to be one among the inoculators and people either mobbed the person, ran away, or attacked him.

BDA to go ahead with Hi-tech City project

BDA to go ahead with Hi-tech City project

The Hindu

BANGALORE: The Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) is planning to go ahead with land acquisition for the construction of the express highway and the hitech city.

The BDA had suspended preparations for the express highway and the hitech city after some individuals challenged its acquisition of land for the project following a single-judge of the High Court quashing of land acquisition for Arkavathy Layout.

"Because some aspects of the land acquisition had been questioned, we wanted to take our time with the hi-tech city. But after checking with our legal department, we have decided to go ahead with the work," said a BDA official.

The official pointed out that the High Court order on the hi-tech city had stated that the BDA could go on with its work as long as it did not pull down structures in the project area.

The Rs. 490-crore hi-tech city project will come up between Sarjapur Road and Hosur Road and involves 997 acres in 12 villages under Varthur, Sarjapur and Begur hoblis. The six-lane expressway will connect the Bangalore Airport with the Electronics City on Hosur Road.

Some elements of the express highway of 8.5 km. and the hi-tech city were tendered as two packages earlier this year. The cost of the packages was Rs. 40 crores and included the construction of two steel flyovers.

The hi-tech city will have a bus depot, railway station, international school, hotel, restaurants, exhibition complex and a fully networked convention centre with a conference hall. "Every need of an individual will be met at the convention centre. There is no need for a person to come out and look for facilities," said the official.

It will have its own water recycling plant set up at a cost of Rs. 49 crores and lakes in the area will be cleaned, rejuvenated and developed into recreational areas.

Seal for farmland layouts in works

Seal for farmland layouts in works
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: Nearly a month after the revenue department banned registration of properties on agricultural lands without proper conversion, the State Government is planning to issue fresh guidelines soon to tighten the noose around real estate developers.

According to sources, the government is contemplating filing criminal cases against developers flouting the Land Reforms Act and developing unauthorised layouts without proper facilities.

``Our intention is to crub unauthorised layouts mushrooming around Bangalore in particular and across the State in general. We want to stop this unbridled growth,'' the sources said.

The guidelines are being finalised by the revenue department after discussions with officials from stamps and registration, urban development and town planning departments, the sources said. The Government is expected to announce the new norms after the June 2 byelection.

The guidelines are likely to spell out a clear procedure to streamline registration of properties. ``Presently there is a confusion as to which properties can be registered. To avoid this, the guidelines will specify the category of lands that can be registered along with supporting documents issued by the local town planning authorities and the urban development department,'' the sources said.

The revenue department on April 23 issued a notification banning sale and registration of properties that have come up on agricultural lands without land conversion approved by deputy commissioners. It also banned registration of plots and flats that have been developed without proper approval by the competent town planning agency.

Following the notification, registration of properties on revenue sites in and around Bangalore and across the State had come to a standstill. The urban development department has already come out with guidelines on registration of properties in general.

The new guidelines are likely to regularise the properties registered on already existing unauthorised layouts as a one-time measure. This will allow sale of properties developed on revenue lands. The cut-off date for registering such properties is being worked out, the sources said.

XBIS will cut through waiting time at airport

XBIS will cut through waiting time at airport
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: Frequent flyers from Bangalore International Airport no longer have to wait for baggage clearance before they board a flight. The HAL airport in the city will soon have an advanced X-ray Baggage Inspection System (XBIS), that will considerably reduce baggage scanning time.

Airports Authority of India (AAI) has decided to install the new system at a few select airports in the country, including Bangalore. XBIS will supplement existing systems and it can scan around 20 pieces of baggage a minute, sources said.

``Within the next 20 days, we will install XBIS at the international departure terminal at the airport,'' Bangalore Airport Director Krishnamurthy told this paper. ``The new system will help reduce time taken to scan registered baggage,'' he added.

The system works like this: Once baggage is placed on the XBIS, X-ray images are generated on computer screens constantly monitored by operators sitting inside their office. While cleared luggage will go to the loading area, suspicious ones will be segregated for further checks by officials.

Sources said the system will be a great relief to passengers as clearance of registered baggages takes lot of time, specially when two or more flights are lined up for take-off around the same time.

Apart from its passenger-friendly role, XBIS is also very effective in detecting explosives and other suspicious materials. Aviation security has undergone a major change after 9/11 attacks in the US. Security at the airports in the country has been tightened and a number of other measures have been taken to make the system foolproof.

JD(S) wants slums legalized by Oct 2

‘Issue ownership rights for slum dwellers by Oct 2

Vijay Times News

Bangalore: State JDS working president H D Kumaraswamy has warned the Dharam Singh-led government that it would have to face dire consequences if it failed to issue 'hakku patras' (ownership rights) to the rightful house owners by Oct 2.
Speaking to reporters here on Monday, Kumaraswamy reminded the chief minister of his promise to Deve Gowda to issue ownership rights by Oct 2 and he better fulfil the promise to ensure good relations between the coalition partners.

He accused both Congress and BJP of being responsible for the mess in respect of issuance of 'hakku patras' to the deserving in Chamarajpet which is why the voters of the constituency were angry and had decided to elect a new face this time, he said. He charged Congress of issuing bogus hakku patras recently.

Kumaraswamy criticised Maharashtra governor S M Krishna for neglecting Chamarajpet, particularly its slum dwellers, after he had won the last assembly election. Krishna had, instead, spent time watching Wimbledon tennis and touring foreign countries,'' he added.

Neglected old terminal has no shelter, no ticket vending machines

Neglected old terminal has no shelter, no ticket vending machines
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: Afternoons are a nightmare for commuters standing in serpentine queues at the rear entrance of the City Railway Station.

Several popular trains depart in the afternoon from platforms six to ten accessed from this entrance. Between 2 p.m and 4.30 p.m, there are at least five trains which can be boarded here, including Tipu Express and Shatabdi Express.

Passengers hoping for an easy time at the smaller gate are in for a surprise, as the rush is no less. Unlike the main entrance, there is no shelter and one has brave the weather while awaiting the turn at the counter.

``Earlier, these counters were not so crowded. Maybe not too many people knew about this entrance. Now, the queues have grown longer, but the railway authorities have not taken any measures to cope with the rush,'' N. Shivaram, who travels frequently to Mysore, said.

``There is no separate counter for platform tickets. Though I stand on the platform for just 15 minutes to see my friend off, I have to wait in the queue for half an hour,'' Lakshmi, a student, rued.

Although there are four platform ticket vending machines (PTVMs) and a coin dispenser at the city station, there is none at the rear entrance. There are three booking counters adjacent to each other, all of which sell platform and train tickets. Loud arguments and minor scuffles are a common sight, as the long wait wears down patience.

Another problem is that there is none to regulate crowds at the entry gate, so the crowds are often disorderly. Tickets too are often not checked.

After revamping the main entrance, works will begin on the rear entrance also, railways authorities said

Architects chosen for Bangalore Helix

Architects chosen for Bangalore Helix

Business Standard

Jurong Consultants India has been chosen the architects and consultants for ‘The Bangalore Helix’ also called the Bangalore’s biotech park.

Karnataka’s department of IT and BT, and the Karnataka Biotech and Information Technology Service selected Jurong Consultants from 20 other applicants.

“With the selection of architects and consultants over, the process is on to select the construction company to execute the work. With round one of the technical evaluation complete, we are waiting for the final financial bids to make a selection,” said a senior official.

As part of the biotech park, KBITS plans to build a bio-complex with an incubation facility for start-up companies backed by a common effluent treatment plant (ETP) on a 10-acre plot in Electronic City phase III.

The bio-complex will have a total built-up area of one lakh sq feet and will have training and research facilities under one roof. “When complete, the complex will house biotech start-ups to function independently,” said the official.

The Karnataka task force on biotech is taking a keen interest in the selection process and has tried to meet the needs of the sector at the bio-complex. The official further said that work on the park is likely to commence from June-end and is scheduled to be complete in 10 months.

When complete, the biotech park is expected to give Karnataka a boost in developing the sector further with the development of a biocluster and encourage interdependent companies to set up operations.

Salvation of this stretch: when will it happen?

Salvation of this stretch: when will it happen?
The Times of India

Bangalore: It is a road that leads to the city’s virtual gold mine — Sarjapur Road — but the way leads like a dilapidated slum. The 6-km stretch that starts from Koramangala Indoor Stadium has been virtually untouched by civic authorities for almost a decade now.

Huge potholes mar the surface, only half the road per se is motorable, there is no system of demarcated drains and the entire stretch is one filthy mess. And when it rains, because of the absence of unclogged stormwater drains, the road is inundated like a river, complain residents.

The road plays host to a dozen software companies and houses some apartments besides some shopping complexes. BWSSB had dug up huge craters for underground drainage pipes under the National River Conservation Project. Says Akash Simha, an engineer whose office is located opposite the National Games Village: “When there was this huge dug-up pit with steel girders jutting out dangerously, we had to encircle it, travel for a kilometre before taking a U-turn just to get to the other side of the road.’’

Rs 7 cr on 6 km:

Respite, though late, might just arrive if civic authorities get their act together. “Under a World Bank funded project, this stretch would get a massive facelift, of an unprecedented sort,” say BCC officials. Of the 139-km long stretch of roads across Bangalore that have been selected for the project, this stretch alone will see an investment of Rs 7 crore.

The project entails development of not only roads but includes infrastructure overhaul like widening the road to fourlane, upgrading sidewalks, pavements, streetlights and junctions. “Tenders have been received for implementing the project. We have persuaded contractors to take up the work in 10 days,’’ say BCC sources.

But why is the project, which is cleared by the WB months ago, taking so much time implement?

Explains a BCC infrastructure in-charge, “As per World Bank norms, the top surface has to survive for 10 years and so it took us a really long time to fix a good contractor and the project details had to be pucca.’’

Come rain and Bangalore roads become a pain!

Come rain and Bangalore roads become a pain!
The Times of India

Bangalore: The very first spell of 59.2mm rain and city roads have been battered. The first layer of asphalting has virtually been peeled off. Is this a proof of quality of work done?

Pradeep N., a software engineer living in Murugeshpalya, came back after working for eight years in the US. Today, he says the pain of travelling on city roads has taken away the joy of having come back to India.

Murugeshpalya, barely 10 minutes from Texas Instruments, one of the first MNC tech companies to set up shop here, looks very ‘un’-hightech at the moment.

It is full of potholes, and slush, tarred stretches have been worn down by the past week’s incessant rain. To make matters worse, some parts have even been dug up and cordoned off. Unfortunately, Murugeshpalya is not an exception. Practically all of Bangalore’s roads, even those that connect to the arterial Mahatma Gandhi Road, are in same condition. And the monsoon has not even begun yet.

Commuting has become a back-breaking experience. Pradeep, for one, wonders why the (Bangalre City Corporation (BCC) does not do a proper job when laying roads for the first time. “Then these sort of patches or potholes will not form.”

The BCC has come in for much flak for the condition of roads. Last month, a report said there is no maintenance at all on the 1,230 km stretch that the BCC outsourced to private contractors in November 2003. The contractors were given a three-year Rs 16-crore contract to keep roads “pot-hole free’’. Yet, today, even corporators in the BCC Council complain that nothing is being done, that there are more potholes than ever before.

Pre-monsoon steps: Many citizens said annual maintenance is something BCC utterly fails to do. “Every year, the rains totally destroy our roads.’’

Incidentally, two months ago, Lok Ayukta Venkatachala had exposed the sub-standard quality of work by testing the roads in some areas. The tar and stone mixture layer was found to be less than the prescribed 7 mm.

Drop your child & pay Rs 400 fine!

Drop your child & pay Rs 400 fine!
New Rule To Come Into Force From July 1 Now
The Times of India

Bangalore: Dropping off your child at school in your car or two-wheeler will cost you a fortune from July. You will have no option but to pay a fine of Rs 800 per day — Rs 400 for dropping your ward at the school and the same amount for picking up the child in your own vehicle!

The traffic police will post-nodal officer in each of these schools to ensure implementation of the new rules and coordinate with BMTC and school authorities.

But wait. The deadline has been relaxed: this rule will come into force from July 1 instead of June 1. However, the new school timings of 8.30 am will be implemented from June 1. “With schools starting on June 1, we wanted these rules to be implemented immediately. Since the school managements wanted to discuss the issue with the parents, we have relaxed the deadline by a month,’’ deputy commissioner of police (traffic), M.A. Saleem told The Times of India.

As part of the ‘Safe Route to School’ project and to decongest the city traffic at peak hours, the city police have banned parking within 200 mts at 16 English medium schools in centrally located areas of the city.

According to a joint survey conducted by the City Traffic Police and the Bangalore Agenda Task Force, nearly 3,000 cars and over 800 twowheelers are on the roads every morning at just three schools in core areas. The figures could be mindboggling if you take the other schools into account.

To support the new move, the education department has issued an order directing these schools to provide buses to all students who come by private vehicles or hire BMTC buses to ferry them. “BMTC has agreed to provide any number of buses to these schools. These buses will be child-friendly, and have pneumatic doors to ensure safety. There will be woman conductors to ferry girl students,’’ Saleem added.

City schools to open by 8.30 am
Institutions Must Hire Buses To Transport Children: Govt

Bangalore: To decongest traffic in Bangalore, the state education department has staggered the timing of all English-medium schools. From June 1, all English-medium schools—including CBSE and ICSE—will have to commence classes by 8.30 am.

In its order dated May 27, 2005, the department has asked school authorities to arrange for buses to discourage students from travelling by private vehicles. Else, they have the option of hiring BMTC buses to ferry students. In addition, it has asked schools to train bus drivers ferrying students so that safety is ensured. The new rule will be limited to English-medium schools in Bangalore only. There will, however, be no ban on students coming by autorickshaws. But as per the high court order, the number of children per auto should be restricted to six.

“We have asked the schools to collect the bus fee as part of the tuition fee itself. During our meeting with the school managements we told them to encourage students who come by walk or cycling,’’ primary and secondary education secretary T.M.Vijaybhaskar told TOI.

As part of the Safe Route to School project, 31 schools in Bangalore have already hired 153 BMTC buses for their students. These buses make 235 trips per day.

BMTC will offer buses to schools at concessional rates. According to DCP (traffic) M.A.Saleem the cost will be just Rs 150 per child every month. “Travelling by buses is economical for students. Besides, travelling with their friends to school not only builds confidence among the children but also enhances their exposure to the world,’’ he stated.

BMTC will also introduce school-specific buses. These buses will carry students of one particular school from various pick-up points and drop them back. “We want even the teachers to come by these school buses. This will further reduce the traffic on Bangalore’s roads,’’ he added.

Though the school managements and parents are apprehensive on the government’s new move, Saleem’s logic is simple: “50 children in a bus means 50 cars off roads!.’’


School timing staggered to decongest traffic in peak hours.
Private cars and two-wheelers dropping children are the main culprits for traffic jams.
No ban on autorickshaws or vans. But number of children in an auto restricted to six.
Traffic department wants even teachers to travel in school buses.


All English medium schools (including CBSE/ICSE) to start classes by 8.30 am from June 1.
Starting July 1, no parking in front of 16 centrally-located schools
No entry for private cars and two-wheelers. Offenders to pay Rs 400
All schools must have bus/van facilities to ferry students or hire BMTC buses
BMTC to run child-friendly and school specific buses from July 1.

List of schools where private cars and two-wheelers are banned:

Baldwins Girls’ School, Hosur Road
Baldwins Boys’ School, Hosur Road
Bishop Cottons Boys’ School, Residency Road
Bishop Cottons Girls’ School, St. Marks Road
St. Charles School, Hennur Road
National Public School, Indiranagar
St. John’s School, Promenade Road
Frank Antony Public School, Ulsoor
St. Meera School, Ulsoor
Sophia Girls’ High School, Near High Grounds Police Station
St. Francis Xavier School, Coles Park
St. Germain School, Coles Park
Sacred Hearts Girls’ School, Residency road
Kendriya Vidyalaya, Victoria Road
Cathedral High School, Hosur Road
St Anne Girls high school, Millers Road.
(Source: City traffic police )

Monday, May 30, 2005

BCC plan: No devious designs, easy sanctions by year-end

BCC plan: No devious designs, easy sanctions by year-end
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: Bangalore City Corporation (BCC) will introduce a single window system to accept and approve building plans once it starts four new customer service centres in addition to the existing four.

Under this plan, an engineer will go through the documentation, check if all the bylaws are adhered to, raise queries if any, and only them pass it on to the town planning department at the BCC headquarters at NR Square for approval. The citizen can come back to the same centre and pick up the sanctioned plan within a maximum of 15 days.

‘‘Under the current system, a citizen has to go to the BCC sub-divisional office and submit the building plan along with property details. The engineers would take their own time to verify the documents and then ask for corrections and clarifications further delaying the sanction. The system also was prone to corruption. All this will end and make the BCC a responsive civic organisation,'' BCC commissioner K. Jothiramalingam told this website’s newspaper.

E-Sanction: The BCC eventually plans to introduce the e-sanction facility where the citizen could send his building plan and other documents in an electronic format to the BCC website. It will be processed automatically and a sanction letter issued.

BCC engineer-in-chief Rame Gowda told this website’s newspaper the e-sanction method is still at a conceptual stage and issues like authentication are being thrashed out. The BCC proposes to implement it at least by year-end.

A tree tells its tale

A tree tells its tale
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: Recently, environmental activists climbed trees to protest felling by the Bangalore City Corporation (BCC) and now the city is all set to watch another act on tree tops.

No stage, no props and no artificial lighting. Just a tree at the corner of 18th main bus stop in Malleswaram on which a streetplay will be staged.

A Kannada play, ‘Nele’, (shelter) will be staged on June 5 — World Environment Day.

The street play, written and directed by television artiste Nagaraj Kote, has aroused curiosity in the city due to its uniqueness. ‘‘I hit upon this idea over eight years ago and have been since working on the script. With extensive damage to greenery, I thought it was high time I came out with such a play,’’ says Kote.

‘Nele’ is about the displacement of people due to development who find a last resort in nature’s lap which is also being threatened by media hype. The story has a large canopy but Kote would not want to kill curious cats by revealing its roots, shoots and trunk lines.

Only other environment-oriented work in recent years was Girish Karnad’s film ‘Cheluvi’ based on Chandrashekhar Kambar’s play, which again was based on a folk-tale collected by late A.K. Ramanujan.

However, ‘Nele’ is set in a contemporary backdrop. The music is by Shashidhar Kote. The play will be staged at 6.30 pm on June 5.

Chairman of Legislative Council V.R. Sudarshan will inaugurate the event and Malleswaram MLA M.R. Seetaram will preside.

Environmentalist Suresh Heblikar, film maker T.S. Nagabharana, theatre person C.R. Simha, cine artistes Mandya Ramesh and Tara will also be present.

After wet week, city picks up its pieces

After wet week, city picks up its pieces
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: The city is gradually recovering from a week of wet whipping that brought life to a standstill. On Sunday, civic teams were busy restoring snapped power lines and clearing fallen trees.

The Bangalore City Corporation (BCC) continued to remove fallen trees and branches. On Sunday, over 85 trees and some branches in Jayanagar and JP Nagar areas were cleared. BCC sources said the civic body will continue clearing operations on Monday also.

A HAL fire force truck stationed on Cubbon Road in the evening helped clear fallen trees outside its corporate office. Firemen with power saws were seen cutting branches of a tree that had fallen onto the road from inside the compound.

On Sunday morning, an autorickshaw driver was injured after a huge tree fell and crushed his vehicle near Navarang theatre.

The Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (BESCOM) too had its share of work cut out and has been working round-the-clock to restore power in many parts of the city. In Jayanagar V Block, power was yet to be fully restored, as supply has been intermittent ever since the rains began five days ago.

‘‘There is no regular supply for the past five days. Whenever we call up BESCOM or BCC officials, there is no response. Nearly 10 trees have fallen in our locality. Why can’t they temporarily hire private contractors to clear the uprooted trees when the damage is too much for them to cope with? No power in our house also means we cannot pump water from the sumps to the tank,’’ Mukund, a resident of Jayanagar V Block complained.

Meanwhile, the city police are yet to identify the two bodies, which were discovered in drains in Chamarajpet and KR Puram on Saturday. In Chamarajpet, the body of a man aged about 35 years was found in a drain near Rudrappa Garden on Pipeline Road. Police suspect the victim was washed away in the heavy rain.

In the other incident, KR Puram police suspect that a 50-year-old man, who was found dead in a drain, to be an electrician. They found a tester and holder in his pocket.

Nilgiri's: Feeding ‘tons’ of Bangalore

Feeding ‘tons’ of Bangalore

Deccan Herald

Bangalore’s first true department store is part of a trusted 100-year-old institution. It is set to gain both glitter and substance in the centenary year.

The Nilgiri Dairy Farm stands today at the 100-year milestone of its existence. Among its immediate plans for the centenary is a facelift to its department store on Brigade Road.

The founder’s young, fourth generation members are eager to set the beautification process in motion. “The Nilgiri’s establishment should acquire a trendy look,” declare these youngsters, into whose hands the destiny of the Nilgiri’s empire will pass in due course. “Everything from flooring to shelves and human resources has to change.”

The chairman of Nilgiri Dairy Farm Private Limited, M Chenniappan, insists that quality and service should remain Nilgiri’s prime concerns. He makes no attempt to match the younger administrators’ zeal for change.

“I used to just walk. They (young family members) run, and run very fast. They have different plans,” he remarks.

Still, Chenniappan cites direct imports as one major area of projected expansion. Vying for shelf space in the Nilgiri’s department store then will be pastas and olive oil from Italy, cheese and canned meat from Australia, honey from New Zealand and biscuits from the US, the Gulf states and Thailand. He mentions plans to set up the first overseas Nilgiri’s store in a city in the US and one later in Canada.

Humble origin

The origins of the Nilgiri Diary Farm can be traced to a small cottage at Vannarpet, a hamlet in the Nilgiri hills. The founder, S Muthuswamy Mudaliar, worked as a mail runner at Coonoor nearby.

Born in Morattupalyam near Erode, Muthuswamy used to help his poor parents in their traditional weaving business but traveled to the hills seeking a better livelihood. He and his two younger brothers settled down in Wellington near Coonoor.

Muthuswamy’s brother Armuga Mudaliar secured employment with Patel, a butter dealer. Armuga Mudaliar once overheard Patel asking a friend whether anyone in the south made butter. A transport snag had held up Patel’s butter supplies from Gujarat.

His brother’s words formed the spark that fired Muthuswamy’s imagination. He undertook to supply butter to Patel.

Then an Englishman in Vannarpet decided to wind up his butter business and return to England. He asked Muthuswamy if he knew anyone to take over his business.

Once again, the Morattupalyam brothers jumped at the offer and secured both the business and the rented premises from which it operated. There, in 1905, was born the Nilgiri Dairy Farm and that launched Muthuswamy’s journey towards great success as a dairy man.

His brothers, sons and other relatives have built on the foundation he laid and created today’s multi-crore, multi-faceted establishment comprising dairy, bakery, confectionery, department store, cafeteria and hospitality wings.

Nilgiri’s own or franchise outlets are spread over Bangalore, Chennai, Coimbatore and Erode and more will come up soon in Kerala and other places in the South. In 1939, the Nilgiri Dairy Farm opened an outlet on Brigade Road. Muthuswamy put his second son Chenniappan in control of the Bangalore unit after some time.

Nilgiri brigade

In the years that followed, the dairy farm opened a milk bar and ice-cream parlour, acquired two bakery units, opened a grocery and general store as well as a coffee bar at their Brigade premises. In 1956, the Nilgiri’s management bought up the premises on Brigade Road.

New flavours

The original building has been renovated and expanded. Its five floors now house a cake shop, cafeteria, hotel and a bank, in addition to the department store and the Nilgiri’s administrative offices. The cafeteria has already received a new look and identity.

The basement cake shop now sports a chaat counter too! The annual cake show around Christmas time draws the attention of everyone in Bangalore and even outside.

No liquor

The hospitality segment comprises the Nest, a small but elegant hotel. Nilgiri’s instant processed food products are in good demand, while cigarettes and liquor are kept strictly off the Nilgiri’s department store shelves.

The young administrators do not have to grapple with the kind of obstacles that the Nilgiri Dairy Farm founder, Muthuswamy Mudaliar or the chief architect of its growth in Bangalore, M Chenniappan faced and overcame.

The challenge that this generation faces is one of keen competition. Considering their inherited spirit of innovation and perseverance, they seem well-equipped to keep the Nilgiri’s banner flying high through this century and beyond.

Huts mushroom on disputed land in BTM Layout

Huts mushroom on disputed land in BTM Layout

Deccan Herald

With private land owners and Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) continuing to wage a legal battle over acquisition of a piece of land in BTM Layout, hundreds of slum dwellers on Sunday unauthorisedly put up huts in the area.

An eight acre one gunta plot located near Shopper’s Stop off Bannerghatta Road is under dispute for over five years, as the original land owners have challenged the BDA’s move to acquire their land.

“The land was originally meant to be part of the BTM Layout plan. But as there is a court stay, nothing can be done about it, BDA Commissioner M N Vidyashankar told Deccan Herald .

People from surrounding areas like Gurappanapalya have constructed small sheds and huts, and shifted their belongings to the new dwellings. “They started moving into this place on Sunday morning and by evening the entire land was covered with small huts,” residents in the surrounding areas said.

Some said that land owners themselves had allowed them to occupy the place temporarily, while others alleged that local politicians were responsible for the encroachment of the land. Mr Vidyashankar said that nobody could claim the land now as it is pending before the court.

A stretch meant only for the ‘patient’

A stretch meant only for the ‘patient’

Deccan Herald

Bangalore has left many investors worried. Bangaloreans themselves are fedup, thanks to the choked roads. The city which used to attract the best brains in India, is no more a sought-after destination.

Deccan Herald has often highlighted the frequently encountered entity in the City - traffic jam. Here is one more effort to draw the attention of the authorities to address chaos on roads. Under Road Rage we are not only discussing the problems but also publishing the suggestions given by the citizens to ease the traffic congestions.

At first, it may sound like an oft-heard, overdone script of an infrastructure-based tearjerker. Agreed, the tale of Hosur Road, from Lalbagh Siddapura gate to the Diary Circle flyover, brings out woes similar to those faced by the rest of the roads in crumbling Bangalore — choked choc-a-bloc, manic traffic movement, pitiful potholes, fallen footpath and dismal road discipline. But what sets this road apart is an extra dash of melodrama.

This stretch, for an accident or trauma victim, acts as a lifeline as it leads to the hospital hub of Bangalore. Tragically, according to residents, the most common sight on this road is that of stranded ambulances, its siren blaring desperately.

Over 10 major hospitals are linked to this road, including NIMHANS, Kidwai Institute of Oncology, Sanjay Gandhi Accident Hospital, Indira Gandhi Institute of Child Health, SDS Tuberculosis and Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Chest Diseases.

‘Narrow roads, lack of policing and lack of sensitivity among other motorists’ are largely blamed for this state of affairs. Incidentally, according to traffic personnel, one motorist every five minutes is fined for flouting traffic rules on this stretch.

The road is also a major link to NH-7 connecting to Sarjapur Road, Anekal, and other cities like Hosur, Krishnagiri and Chennai in Tamil Nadu. Thanks to this factor, not just the city buses of BMTC, but also those of the KSRTC and Tamil Nadu Road Transport Corporation vie for road space. Apart from buses, four-wheelers form a major chunk of traffic, as this roads offers access to IT companies like Wipro, Oracle and Axes Technologies.

The BMTC is now being labelled as ‘trouble maker’ by the local population of Lakkasandra, Hombegowdanagar and Wilson Garden, following the construction of a bus bay at Shantinagar. Many buses from Jayanagar, Bannerghatta Road and Koramangala are being diverted through this stretch of Hosur Road to Wilson Garden and Shantinagar.

While vehicles are many, traffic authorities rue that there are not enough traffic lights in the stretch, thus allowing hap-hazard movement of traffic. There are presently three traffic junctions on this section, and manual traffic policing is done in two junctions during peak hours.

Traffic policeman Basavaraju, at work in the junction at Wilson Garden 10th Cross, adds that two and four-wheelers should be diverted to smaller lanes running parallel to Hosur Road.

Rise & fall of footpath

The lessons learnt on footpath by BMP officials in their study tours to Reno City seem splattered on the pavements of this road. There is an odd mix-and-match of different kinds of footpath, with gaping holes attached, in areas where footpath do exist.

After an initial stretch of 500 metres between Kidwai Hospital and NIMHANS junction where the footpath serves as a parallel street for hurrying motorists (thus risking the life of pedestrians), the footpath dies a slow death. Steadily vanishing as one progresses from NIMHANS to Lakkasandra, the pavement suddenly metamorphoses into ‘utility space’ for private tinkering shops at Someshwaranagar. After that point to Siddapura turn, pedestrians move over to the crowded Hosur Road as the footpath ceases to exist.


N Nagaraj, Assistant Commissioner of Police , Madivala Sub-division: This stretch of Hosur Road does not offer any other alternative route, it serves as the main connection to the central parts of the city. The only thing we can do is road widening. The government is planning to widen 17 feet on either side to contain the heavy vehicular movement on this road.


Chamundeshwari Ramalinga Reddy

Wife of Minister R Ramalinga Reddy and resident of Lakkasandra

This stretch is a very congested area. The only solution is road widening for there is enough space by the roadside. While a few recommend flyovers, I think it’ll only add to the confusion.

Dr Satish,

Resident Medical Officer, Nimhans

There is a complete lack of internal discipline among motorists, and many do not even give way to ambulances. What we need is immediate action. Also, bus stops are located very close to signal junctions. This results in traffic stagnation.

Hanaa Rehman

Student, Bangalore Dental Hospital

Pedestrians are forced to walk on the roads as the footpath are not walkable. While road widening will ease movement of traffic on this stretch, equal importance should be given to improving the condition of the footpath.

Abdul Salaam

Intern, Rehabilitation Centre for the Handicapped

The route at Someshwaranagar leading to Indira Gandhi Institute for Child Health is a two-way. This causes chaos near Wilson Garden 10th Cross. This road should be made a one-way along with the Lalbagh Siddapura Gate.

Bangalore belongs to me


With the influx into the city steadily increasing, the definition of the Bangalorean is changing as well. Laid-back pensioner in Jayanagar or slick techie zipping downtown?

The Times of India

SOCIOLOGIST GK Karanth points out that there has always been a strong desire among outsiders to settle down in Bangalore and become Bangalorean.

“Multiple identities gel well and without much conflict here,” he says. “A true Bangalorean is someone who accepts many languages and cultural diversities including gastronomical ones, quite gladly. A Bangalorean cannot be intolerant. But metros allow for a sense of rootlessness. There are many who are not Bangalorean and yet they cannot be considered outsiders. They feel comfortable living in this city. Bangalore has been projected as a glamorous place so living and working here is an aspiration for many. North Indians may be labelled as such here, but they don’t face as much discrimination as they might in other cities.”

Beauty expert Swati Gupta, whose parents are from Uttar Pradesh, has lived in the city since she was in the fifth standard. Her social circuit is cosmopolitan and diverse. “Bangalore is a city where you can adjust easily,” she says, adding that she does miss living in the north during festivals like Holi and Diwali.

Businesswoman Hema Maiya says that a typical Bangalorean has a spirit of adventure and a global outlook. “He/she is open-minded enough to absorb those aspects of others’ cultures that can be potential value additions to his/her own lifestyle.”

Funny man Ashvin A Matthew considers himself a die-hard Bangalorean. “I cannot live outside the city for long periods of time. I have to come back.” Ashvin’s lived and studied in Australia, worked in Cyprus and lived in the Middle-East. “I could have got more work and money in Australia but had to come back. I am more creative and active in this city,” he says. Ashvin finds the typical Bangalorean most non-interfering. What irks him though is that people have become pseudo and want to be seen hanging out at certain places simply because that is a hip thing to do. “People pretend to have fun. They’ve become imageconscious and have money which they need to spend in style. We have too many wannabes!”

Entrepreneur A Shujja was born in Cochin and moved here at the age of 15. Bangalore is home and he would not live anywhere else in the world. “The people are good and warm. The city grows on you. You have a better lifestyle and better quality of living here.”

Artist Yusuf Arakkal came here when he was 15 years old and has been living in Bangalore for 45 years. “Yes I am a Bangalorean, you have got to be when you’ve lived here for so long,” he says. He speaks the local lingo and feels most comfortable living here. “I vibe well with the city and it has contributed to my growth as a creative person. The city has made me what I am. Yes, it has changed a lot but that is a natural phenomenon.”

Rain snaps Net connectivity in IT city

Rain snaps Net connectivity in IT city
The Times of India

Bangalore: The lights went out in India’s Silicon Valley and with that disappeared all the connectivity. The high winds just blew away the infrastructure, broadband connections snapped and telephone lines went dead. Worse, because of the road widening work on in the city, many underground cables were exposed to the water, adding to the chaos.

The blank out left software companies, Internet cafes, small-time homebased companies all looking heavenwards, as life and business came to a still.

Shekhar from ZeeNext, which supplies Internet connection, said the whole of Bangalore East was inundated with calls as overhead cables got cut, snapping broadband connections to homes and companies. “Because of the harsh winds, a huge number of overhead cables that supply broadband connection to the area were cut. In some apartments too, where there is command type connections (direct connection for the entire building complex), broadband connections were hit.

Several IT companies which boast of “uninterrupted infrastructure” too had to bow to the “poor infrastructure” because of the rain havoc, followed by poor post-service. At IT firm Honeywell, telephone lines were affected at around 4 pm and Australian customers who need to be attended to at that hour were wondering if Bangalore had drowned, said an employee there.

Life for individual like Vinaya Hegde, a freelance consultant who relies heavily on the e-mailing facility, too came to a halt. “Even the Internet cafes in the whole of Indiranagar did not have connectivity. All work came to a stop,’’ she stated.

At major IT houses, all critical IT equipment was immediately put on UPS. Said Transworks CEO Prakash Gurbaxani, “Power came from the generator and the UPS was immediately switched on. But it was crazy at home - there was no power and even the Net was down.’’

Ram Kumar from Hathway cables also had a tough time explaining to customers about the major breakdown. “Forget overhead cables, even our underground fibre optic cables got affected as they were exposed. Now post-rain, there is no work possible as it is all slushy,’’ he added.

Bharti Telecom and BSNL lines were also affected. Said BSNL Principal General Manager R.K. Arnold, “In certain places, trees have fallen on the overhead lines, cutting them and in other areas like Old Madras Road, where road widening work is on, cables were exposed to the water and they have been affected.’’

Growth amid stagnation

R Ravimohan: Growth amid stagnation

Business Standard

Small towns will now have to play a major role in the growth of the services industry

The composition of the Indian economy has rapidly changed in favour of the services sector, with the shares of manufacturing and agriculture declining over the past two decades. This is beneficial for the economic growth of the country for three good reasons.

First, it reduces the exposure to the most volatile component, which is agriculture. Second, the manufacturing sector is more capital-intensive than services, and for a capital-deficient country, this makes our economic progress less dependent on capital.

Third, the services sector by and large is more employment-intensive, which is again good for a country where 20 million people will knock at the doors of the job market for the next 20 years. So are we heading straight to Utopia, with no care in the world? The short answer is no and the long answer is the rest of this commentary.

Our economy faces three constraints, viz. core infrastructure, urban facilitation, and skilled labour. This is not good for any of the sectors of the economy. Everybody knows the constraints of power, roads, and ports affect manufacturing. A lot of focus has been on improving the supply of infrastructure services in the past decade.

The only additional point I would make is that power, roads, and ports also affect the services sector as much is they do the manufacturing sector. Indeed, a number of demand studies, e.g. relating to electricity, have concentrated on the needs of manufacturing and barely recognised the massive needs of the services sector. Telecommunication services have improved and have yielded tremendous productivity gains to the services sector.

However, the use of telecommunications and electronic equipment is now getting constrained by a lack of reliable power. There is a serious danger that the gains may be lost because other countries that are behind us in the services sector, especially with export potential, would become more competitive as we struggle with inadequate infrastructure. The same constraints that have been highlighted with regard to electricity are true for roads and ports as well.

The services sector essentially grows out of urban conglomerates. Given the tremendous growth exhibited by this sector, urban facilities and services are now becoming wretched constraints across the country. Nowhere is this more apparent than in Bangalore.

While other cities are also fast deteriorating, Bangalore is a stunning case study of how a city can get run down as its enterprises in the service s sector expand, with the city facilities not expanding simultaneously. The country has not yet faced the real crunch as the enterprises involved in services have moved to other cities like Pune, Mysore, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Chennai, and Indore.

However, each of these cities is getting into the same difficulties that Bangalore has gone through, namely inadequate investment in urban services. Traffic is a mess in most cities. Housing prices are going up and we may be now in the middle of a bubble that will burst when mortgage rates rise in the coming months.

Hotel rooms and air tickets are becoming increasingly scarce. Getting children admitted to good schools is a serious problem for professionals in the services sector. Pollution is rapidly worsening. Squatters and irregular dwellings make it worse. The green cover is rapidly disappearing and therefore the state of hygiene and health in cities is likely to only deteriorate.

The pressure of population is also taking its toll on law and order, which is also showing signs of fraying at the edges. The larger issue of undesirable migration to existing cities speaks of the inadequate efforts made by the smaller towns in providing opportunities to its citizens in upgrading its attractiveness to the services sector.

Lastly, we have not woken upto the nightmare of insufficient skilled labour, especially to man the burgeoning services industry. There is a mad rush to find and retain talent across the services sector. Indeed, it is beginning to affect the rest of the economy as well, as one can witness the upward pressure on wages.

India has sold itself as a world-class services provider at Indian costs. It is critical to hold those wage costs within reasonable levels for a few decades more till we achieve critical mass and have a more manageable portion of people living below poverty line. Else, we have a serious threat of becoming less competitive, especially as our core infrastructure is more expensive than in countries like Malaysia, Australia and the Philippines.

Is this doomsday? No. The situation can be easily salvaged. It requires some policy support and great deal of entrepreneurship. Let us take the example of skilled labour and the spread of urban centres together. Can the respective state governments encourage the private sector to set up educational-cum- services institutions across various smaller towns?

This will help the local citizens get relevant to be employed in the services sector and at the same time provide greater choices to the services industry and enterprises to locate their facilities, without being constrained by the confines of the larger cities.

Given the spread the telecommunication network has achieved and the rapid improvement in the road network, it is time for the policy makers and the entrepreneurs to think of smaller towns as centres of services industry growth in the next decade. This will also hopefully force the larger cities to buck up and reinvest in themselves to stay in the game.

Lastly, this will channel investments into a wider spread of cities, which will hopefully lead to a more balanced urban development. The incentives that policy makers could offer are concessions on land for office and staff residences, uninterrupted quality power and water, and access to educational institutions or concessions to set them up.

The second initiative that small town administrators can take is to improve their cities, like Surat did, to present a clean and attractive environment. Already most of these cities are bringing up malls, cineplexes, etc.

However, one of the essential ingredients to succeed in the global services is international air connectivity. These smaller cities should therefore quickly develop international airports and hotels. Lastly, some element of competitive local taxes could greatly enhance the attraction of living for young professionals and therefore tilt the decision of the enterprises to locate in tax-friendly regimes.

This will also engender competition at the city level and have a powerful positive impact on city maintenance, as we have seen the competition between states devolving much-needed progress in state-level reforms.

If these priority investments are made, India can sustain its leadership in the global services industry. The growth of the services industry will continue to drive economic growth in the country and offer a viable long-term solution to the employment issues as well.

Ravimohan is the Chairman and CEO of CRISIL.

Bangalore-Mysore trains run full, thanks to road widening

Bangalore-Mysore trains run full, thanks to road widening
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: Travellers from the city to Mysore are increasingly opting for rail over road, thanks to the ongoing road widening project on the Bangalore-Mysore highway.

The road has been dug up on either side, for six-laning. The project going on for over two years now, delays traffic and many times causes jams also.

In addition to the narrowed roads, there are also close to 80 speed breakers along the way. While a bus to Mysore would earlier take around three hours, it now takes four-and-a-half hours. An express train can make the same journey in two-and-a-half hours. Shatabdi is the fastest and takes a little less than two hours.

“All our trains to have been running full for over six months now. With the highway upgradation works delaying buses, more passengers are switching to trains, so they are always completely booked,” Railways officials told this website’s newspaper.

Trains are also cheaper. While the KSRTC Mysore Mallige (non-stop) fare is Rs 56, it is Rs 46 on any express train. Tickets on the passenger trains, which take around three hours, are priced at just Rs 25. With buses getting delayed routinely, people are now opting for the faster, cheaper means of transport.

“Earlier, I preferred taking the bus as there was one every few minutes, unlike trains, which are less frequent. But the difference in journey time is now so much that travelling by train makes more sense,” says Manasa, a software engineer who commutes between the two cities every weekend.

The Railways operate 13 pairs of trains daily between Bangalore and Mysore, with Chamundi Express early morning and Tipu Express in the afternoon being widely popular. The KSRTC runs 84 non-stop Mysore Mallige, 32 Rajahamsa and six Volvo trips to Mysore daily.

Public Utilities Still In Clean-Up Act

Public Utilities Still In Clean-Up Act
The Times of India

Bangalore: Two days after heavy rain pounded the city for close to an hour, parts of Bangalore are still recovering with a gasp.

Over a hundred trees and loose branches crashed on Friday evening alone. The debris was still being cleared on Sunday evening. In Jayanagar area, BCC personnel were still working to clear 13 trees that had been uprooted on 11th Main and 11th ‘A’ Main roads. From Monday, BCC plans to employ cranes to move the uprooted trees and broken branches as even the power saws being used have not seemed to help much.

If low-lying areas were predictably flooded, in other places like B.T.M. Layout and parts of Indiranagar, pump - sets were in demand to pump out water which had inundated cellars and basements. The Prahari squads also did their bit to clear flooded basements.

“If desilting work had been done properly, there may not have been major problems of flooding’’, points out a BCC worker. As on Wednesday, BCC engineer-in-chief Rame Gowda said 80 pc of desilting work had been completed. “The BCC has to ensure that work on clearing drains is intensified. The big and small drains got choked as soon as it rained resulting in flooding’’, explained a BCC official.

Four people were washed away in overflowing drains, but the BCC says the deaths are not related to rain.

Sewage mixes with water:

Residents in many low-lying areas including Shantinagar, Jogupalya, Indiranagar II and III stages, parts of Banashankari, Ejipura, Vyalikaval are apparently getting drinking water mixed with sewage, especially those staying in quarters or apartments. At Banaswadi, a petrol pump owner says rain water had mixed with petrol stored in underground tanks.

Weak roots, rules erase greenery

Weak roots, rules erase greenery
Practice Of Axing Dangerous Trees Not Complete
The Times of India

Bangalore: Why does Bangalore face extreme casualty in its green cover everytime it pours? Are the estimated 10 lakh trees in the city capable of withstanding the gusty wind. The Times of India did a reality check.

The Garden City has a number of flowering trees, most of them softwood trees with shallow roots like bright red-coloured Gulmohur, Spathodia, yellow-coloured Dalichanda, cassia species and silver oaks.

Termed “potentially dangerous trees”, these are unable to bear the heavy winds and rains. The forest department issued a direction not to grow such trees, except in large open spaces such as gardens and parks.

Recently, the BCC set up a committee headed by former environment secretary Y.N. Yellappa Reddy to identify trees suitable for Bangalore weather conditions. Following meetings with stakeholders like Bescom, BCC and forest department, the committee allowed for certain flexibility in tree cutting.

Forest department had identified some 200-odd trees for removal. “But the lower rank BCC officials, who are found to be hand-in-glove with contractors, are flouting norms by chopping lucrative, hardwood trees,” Suresh Heblikar, one of the committee members, said.

The common practice of axing down “potentially dangerous” trees (including rain trees, certain softwood trees and damaged trees) has not been complete this year. “The trees to be chopped down were identified, but the work to uproot them was not completed,” sources say.

About two years ago, tree unit officers of forest department kicked off a roadwise survey in the city to identify and eliminate damaged and dead trees, but it remained incomplete. In the survey, it was estimated that the city had about 10 lakh trees.

Identifying and eliminating “dangerous” trees should be done under strict vigilance of senior officers. This apart, more public outcry is required to stop flouting norms, say environmentalists.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Can Bangalore buck up before monsoon?

Can Bangalore buck up before monsoon?

Deccan Herald

In an attempt to help Bangalore cope with waterlogging and other problems that follow heavy rainfall, experts try to offer some workable solutions.

If the monsoons are board exams, Friday’s rainstorm was just a mock test. And Bangalore failed miserably.

With only a fortnight left for the ‘mains’, it is time for authorities to really buck up their preparation. Timely tutorials are just what experts are offering, promising quick fixes to failures the city has been witness to in the last one week.

Bangalore’s biggest bane - potholes - is not a problem, assures Vinobha Isaac, transport expert at Wilber and Smith. Water clogging is, he points out. According to him, wherever there is water clogging, an immediate draining system should be made, channelising water to a deeper water body. (Too simple? But then, all tricky problems come with easy answers). Mr Isaac, identifying areas around BEML gate (near HAL) and Old Madras Road, suggests the authorities should study these areas and install drainage points before the monsoon sets in.

Meanwhile, civil engineer Dr V S Vishwanath blames city’s unpreparedness to three causes - outdated drains, careless desilting and encroachment. Suggesting a comprehensive drainage development plan, Dr Vishwanatha said priority should be given to drain widening and regular maintenance. “Also, desilting should have been done a month in advance, but the BMP has taken up this work only now. They should at least take care to deposit the silt somewhere else,” he says.

Those with pavement parks should have no reason to complain, for they are contributors to the mess, Dr Vishwanatha adds. “Because of these pavement encroachments by residents, the entire rainwater is forced to flow on the roads instead of the drains,” he explains.

Rainwater harvesting, till now a concept limited to construction of homes and offices, should be applied on roads too, says rainwater expert S Vishwanath.

“Roads should be aligned in such a way that the water can be collected and harvested in open parks and spaces, and lakes can be taken as retention points,” he elaborates, adding that the water should be collected at high-level areas and not allowed to flow into the valleys.

Recommending urban storm water management, Mr Vishwanath says people should be penalised for diverting excess water flow from their houses into the SWD. “In countries like Germany, residents are charged for allowing rainwater into SWD.

A similar rule should be applied here, so that people are encouraged to adopt rainwater harvesting techniques at home,” he says. “The SWD should not be shared with sewage lines,” adds Dr Vishwanatha.

Authorities are unconcerned

Authorities are unconcerned

Deccan Herald

Most elected representatives chose to keep off the problems faced by the hapless citizens when heavy rains lashed the City.

Friday’s downpour may have been a nightmare for you. You may have been stranded on flooded roads, your house may have been flooded by storm-water drain, or the pavement in your area may have been crushed by an uprooted tree. And now are you looking for help or at least sympathy? Stick to your family and friends. For the “authorities concerned” are too busy to pay any attention to you.

Chief Minister Dharam Singh, who also holds the Bangalore development portfolio, was away in Shimoga on an election campaign.

The city Mayor claimed he had visited all the affected areas. You may have missed seeing him in your locality, for he was conducting a “private” inspection. He asserted that he could not undertake inspection openly as it was against the election code of conduct.

But, one wonders how the same code of conduct did not come in the way of Mr Dharam Singh visiting the rain-affected areas on May 24. He had also directed the BMP officials to take up desilting of Vrishubhavathi Valley with immediate effect.

The mayor told Deccan Herald: “I personally went to all the wards across Bangalore by a private car to see if the repair works are going on smoothly. I could not make my visit public because of the bypoll in Chamrajpet”.

“I will do everything in my capacity to ensure that Bangaloreans are not made to suffer,” he added.

None of the City MLAs also bothered to visit the rain-hit areas. Minister Ramalinga Reddy said he went on a padayatra in Sudhamnagar to campaign for the Congress party candidate. However, he said, “there seems to be no problem. No deaths have been reported”.

Opposition leaders B R Nanjundappa of the JD(S) and Mangala of the BJP did show their commitment to the people - but of their wards only. “There has been no damage in my ward. I did not feel the need to go to other areas,” said Nanjundappa. Mangala, more preoccupied with the bypoll, could only find time to make a quick trip to her ward Jogupalya.

Meanwhile, Vidhana Soudha wore a deserted look. However, it was not Bangalore inspection rounds that kept the ministers busy.

Barring one or two ministers, the rest of the ministers were camping in Shimoga. A JD (S) leader, who is camping in Shimoga, said, “We heard that it is raining heavily in Bangalore. But here we are sweating. The entire coalition government is here”.

Electronic and print media, which were in full attendance in Vidhana Soudha to seek the views of ministers on the completion of the one-year tenure of the coalition government, could no find even a single minister in their offices.

“After the June 2 by-elections, the next will be the taluk and zilla panchayat elections. Ministers will find some excuse to stay away from the State Secretariat”, an official said.

While Bangalore Mahanagar Palike staff enjoyed a compensatory off (as the employees worked on May 15 to conduct pulse polio programme), the BMP control room was working, receiving over 200 calls by hapless citizens. Commissioner N Jothiramalingam, incidentally, was on leave.

Rain leaves trail of destruction

Rain leaves trail of destruction

Deccan Herald

Residents of apartments located in low-lying areas of the City had to bear the brunt of the downpour as rain water flooded their homes.

The downpour on Friday evening has left a trail of destruction in Bangalore. Two persons, including a woman, were reported to have died in the heavy rains that lashed the city for more than three hours.

A 65-year-old Dhanamma died in low-lying Sampangiramnagar area, apparently after her house was flooded with rain water. Her relatives said the ailing victim was alone at the time of rain and she died after suffocation.

However, BMP officials said the death was not due to flooding.

In another incident, the body of 35-year-old unidentified man was found in a storm water drain near Pipeline Road, Rudrappa Garden in Chamrajpet on Saturday morning.

Police suspect that the man might have died after slipping into the drain. The body has been sent for autopsy to Victoria Hospital to ascertain the cause of death.

Residents in low-lying areas and apartments were badly affected as gushing water flooded their places. Most low-lying areas in the southern and eastern parts of the city were flooded. Rain water entered into basements of many apartments damaging parked vehicles.

Nearly 100 houses in Jogupalya were inundated. Several houses in Corporation quarters, Austin Town, Neelasandra, Thippasandra, Ittamadu, Cooks Town, Frazer Town, Tannery Road, Shantinagar, Indiranagar II stage, Rajajinagar VI stage, and other low-lying areas were also flooded. Fearing a major accident, many residents have vacated their places.

Residents in many apartments were put to hardships for many hours on Friday as overflowing water engulfed their areas. “Rain water has filled the basement and the entrance was blocked. Nobody could move in and out of the apartments for several hours,” Mr Bansiraj, a resident of Nandhi Enclave apartments in Banashankari II stage, said.

Sewage-mixed water contaminated a drinking water tank at the apartments. Though the apartments have been experiencing flooding for the last many years, BMP had turned a blind eye, he said.

Even many posh apartments on Bannerghatta Road were hit by the downpour. “All four blocks of Mantri Terrace apartments in J P Nagar were surrounded by water that overflowed from drains. Several vehicles were damaged and residents were stranded as a result,” Ms Sukanya Bhadri, a resident, complained.

Similar was the case with many other apartments in Indiranagar II stage, Cambridge Layout, Domlur, Jayanagar and Padmanabhanagar.

According to flood-affected people, drains, both big and small, got choked, resulting in overflowing of water.

In fact, Friday’s rain exposed BMP’s shabby desilting work. BMP Chief Engineer Rame Gowda had claimed that 80 per cent of desilting of small and shoulder drains were completed.

Many trees were uprooted and over 100 electric poles were brought down in various parts of the city. In many places, roads and footpaths too were washed away.


Over 100 electric poles toppled.
Many areas continue to suffer blackout.
16 trees uprooted, branches of 80 trees cut.
Houses flooded in as many as 40 areas.
Several apartments’ basements flooded.
Light showers received on Saturday.

Saturday gives respite to harassed citizens

Saturday gives respite to harassed citizens
The Times of India

Bangalore: The dark clouds gathered again on Saturday, bringing back memories of Friday. It rained too, but it wasn’t that bad. The city limped back to normal only to learn that nearly three lives were lost in Friday’s deluge.

The streets wore a beaten look with fallen trees, debris and silt. For hundreds of families in lowlying areas which had fled their homes or spent five to six hours bailing out water, Saturday gave a welcome respite.

Early hours of Saturday too were occupied in getting all the water out, while many others waited for the power supply to be restored. With nearly 200 electric poles and power lines crumbling under the onslaught, Bescom was hard at work.

People complained that power supply had not been restored at several places even after 27 hours. While the BCC control room received complaints of 52 fallen trees since Friday night, an unofficial count puts the tree toll at almost 150. 53 complaints of flooding were reported from across the city Friday night through Saturday morning.

“Things seem to have returned to normal all around the city. The brief spell of rain on Saturday has not caused too much damage,’’ a BCC official said. Till Saturday evening, 16 trees were uprooted, 80 tree branches had fallen, causing traffic jams in east and south Bangalore. Horticulture department officials rushed to the spot and removed the trees ensuring free traffic movement.

Six cars were damaged in J.P. Nagar, Malleswaram, Rajajinagar and Vijayanagar, while water entered houses in Ejipura, Koramangala, Jogalapalya, Thippasandra, HAL II stage, Ittimadu, Indiranagar, Cox Town, Tannery Road, Frazer Town, Sampangiram Nagar and Shantinagar.

Rain fury claims four lives in Bangalore

Rain fury claims four lives in Bangalore
The Times of India

Bangalore: Rain claimed four lives in the city since Friday.

An unidentified man was washed away in the Vrishabavathi river in Pattangere City Municipal Corporation limits, off Mysore Road, on Friday night. He was walking along the bridge, before he was washed away in the swift current, residents who saw him in the light of a oncoming motorcycle’s headlamps said.

Another body of a man, aged around 40 years, was found in a open drain in Chamarajpet’s Rudrappa Garden on Saturday morning. The police are yet to ascertain the identity of the person. In S.R. Nagar area, a woman identified as Devamma died after water gushed into her house on Friday night. She was unwell and probably could not escape the rush of water.

The rain also meant that the roads were wet and slippery, leading to several accidents. A 28-year-old unidentified motorist died after he lost control over his vehicle and collided with a tempo in Seshadripuram on Friday night.

Greens to protest against Buddha at Ramanagaram

Greens to protest at Ramanagaram
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: Irked by the Government's apathy over the mammoth Buddha statue being carved out at Handigondi near Ramanagaram by the Sanghamitra Foundation, at least five of the city's environmental groups have decided to stage a protest on Sunday at the site.

The groups include the Environment Support Group, the Karnataka Mountaineering Association, KINS Rock, Friends of Handigondi rocks and the Foundation for Nature Exploration and Environment Conservation.

In a media release, the ecologists contend that the Government, in particular the Forest Department, have turned a blind eye to the environmental damage that will be done to the rocks once the statue is carved out.

While forwarding the proposal to the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) for clearance, the District Forest Officer ensured that a Supreme Court order over defacing rocks in Himachal Pradesh was circumvented stating that ‘‘it is carving a statue of international fame and away from highways and no paint was used to paint the rock.'' The official did not take into consideration the fact that the rocks would have to be dynamited, the release adds.

Even the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests forwarded the proposal stating that there was no damage to the forest since there would be no felling of trees, the release contends.

The Foundation claimed that only one rock would be carved and sought permission to divert about 10 acres of forestland for the purpose. But, the Foundation in actuality proposes to develop over 2000 acres around these rocks into a film city set on land where the movie ‘Sholay' was shot. The surrounding rocks would also meet a similar fate as the project proposes the carving out of busts of Mahatma Gandhi, Ambedkar and other national heroes as well, the release stated.

The rocks formed during the Lower Proterzoic era between 2600-2000 million years ago. These range of hills, unique to inland Karnataka, is home to a variety of flora and fauna, including endangered birds like the yellow-throated bulbul and white backed vulture. Destroying these rocks will destroy nesting grounds of these vultures, the release adds.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

59.2mm of rains wreck city

Records 59.2mm Of Agony,Thanks To Poor Infrastructure
The Times of India

Bangalore: The sun disappeared at around 3.45 pm on Friday as the city was enveloped by the dark cumulonimbus clouds racing across the sky. Typical of Bangalore, the rain began in patches.

South Bangalore received the first showers. Within minutes, however, the entire city was engulfed in a torrent of rain — easily one of the heaviest in recent times. No area was untouched.

There were hailstones, rarely heard loud thunder, lightning, strong gusty winds and sheets of rain. In a span of less than an hour Bangalore was left battered and bruised, all its hi-tech status flowing down the drains, through the flooded streets and inundated colonies. Bangaloreans across the city waited for over an hour to let the fury pass. When they moved again minifloods greeted them on every street. Trees lay torn down, basements flooded, vehicles stalled and on some roads even floated by.

The low lying areas again stood testimony to the fact that despite aspirations there is little to instil confidence in city’s capability to be a Shanghai or Singapore. If upmarket Church Street and Vittal Mallya Road were not spared there was obviously little hope for Ejipura, Viveknagar or HRBR Layout.

Traffic all over the city simply stopped. Motorists were too scared to move — they could not see where the roads ended and the drains began. And the power black out did little to help.

The met department called it a premonsoon experience and linked it to convective activity over the city. Their barometers notched 59.2 mm rainfall (till 5:30 pm), the highest for the current month. But it was not anywhere near the record rainfall of 179 mm on one day in October 1997. “There was sufficient moisture supply for heavy rain accompanied by squall (violent winds) and hailstorm,’’ a met department official said. With Friday’s rainfall, the total rain for May 2005 touched 143.1 mm, leap-frogging the 119.6 mm average for the month. Incidentally, the forecast for Saturday is more of the same - thundershowers.


• Trees: More than 150 crash, 80 in J.P. Nagar alone
• Electricity poles: Over 560 bite the dust, 130 in south Bangalore
• Vehicles: Two tractors crushed by tree in Basavanagudi; at least 10 buses, dozens of autos and two-wheelers and several small cars stranded.
• Worst-affected areas: Ulsoor, Koramangala, Ejipura, Viveknagar, Sriramapura, Domlur, Marathahalli, Murugeshpalya, Shanthinagar, Basavanagudi, Banashankari, Rajarajeshwarinagar
• Establishments worst hit: Hotels and hospitals in basement areas


• Rainfall on Friday: 59.2 mm
• Bangalore’s record for a single day: 179 mm (Oct. 1, 1997)
• Monsoon expected: June 7

It poured chaos on Bangalore

The Times of India

Bangalore: At 4 pm on Friday, the city plunged into darkness.

Forty-five minutes of 59.2 mm rain and the famed IT City was thrown entirely out of action. Waist-deep water. The rain that thumped the city claimed about 150 trees (according to BCC control room and police reports), 130 electricity poles between Jayanagar and J.P. Nagar, though there were no reported casualties in terms of loss of life. The worst casualty, however, was traffic across the city, an hour after the rain traffic was ubiquitously affected for hours, till late evening.

Serpentine rows of cars, autos, BMTC buses and two-wheelers yawned for endless hours on every arterial, sub-arterial and interior roads. Lalbagh Road, Double Road, Ulsoor Road, Banaswadi, Lingarajpuram, Richmond Road, Vittal Mallya Road, Airport Road, among many others, were absolutely chaotic as irate commuters honked furiously and decibel levels reached a crescendo before giving up. And waiting for eternity for traffic to clear.

Predictable flooding in low lying areas and roads saw an absolute clash of chassis with swish cars struggling in tyrehigh rainwater. A usually calm Resthouse Road was inundated with mud water and this being the only exit point for M.G. Road and Church Street, was chock-ablock with centimetre progress of vehicles. Nandi Enclave in Banashankari 3rd stage, which houses over 300 apartments, was flooded and the fire services department had to land up later to help pump out water.

Yellamma Dasappa Maternity Home’s basement was flooded and hospital equipment was damaged. Two houses collapsed at Deenabandhu Nagar, but loss of life was reported. Darasahalli area was plunged into darkness, the only lights being that of vehicle headlights.

For the first time, BMTC buses were allowed on Cubbon Park, to ease a maddening traffic situation. Six Prahari vans with ten workers each, as mayor Narayanswamy informs, were doing the roads across the city helping restore order.

The newly introduced Cobra services of the police force, numbering eight, were dashing about on roads helping with civic work. The Cobras are empowered to get into one-ways and go onto pavements but Friday’s rain was too much even for them as the water reached upto engine levels at some areas. “We are fighting nature, unsuccessfully’’ contend BCC and police officials.


• On Bannerghatta Road, dug-up pits saw the mud and earth cave in leading to treacherous terrain.

• Desilting work was done at many places — Bilekahalli, Lingarajpuram — but the excavated silt was dumped at the site itself and the rain ensured that it was washed onto the streets, leading to flooding.

• On Vittal Mallya Road, unfinished work on three major constructions and lorries moving around with excavated earth led to blockages.

• Elgin apartments, Shivajinagar, Hosur Road, according to BCC and police control rooms, were in bad shape and authorities had to slum it out to restore order.

150 trees uprooted

150 trees uprooted
The Times of India

The fury of the rain took its toll uprooting over 150 trees on Friday. Fallen branches and trees got the peak hour traffic moving in inches.

With more one-ways, diverting traffic to avoid jams was difficult, the police admitted. Tree casualty in J.P. Nagar alone was pegged at a 80. Ten two-wheelers belonging to J.P. Nagar police and four autos parked in the station premises were damaged. Three fully grown trees fell on a residence in Jayanagar 5th Block. Huge trees were also uprooted in other parts of the city.

Bescom gropes in the dark as poles come crashing down

Bescom gropes in the dark as poles come crashing down
The Times of India

Bangalore: This week has been one of the most damaging for Bescom — in terms of image as well as in costs and hours of energy lost.

Friday’s fury topped off the situation though. Within minutes of the rains lashing down on Bangalore, transformers all over town ‘exploded.’ The afternoon sky had already turned dark (read overcast) but within the hour, it was dark, in another sense too as electricity shut off all over town. Falling tree branches and forceful winds snapped powerlines and electric poles.

Reports of blackouts came in from virtually all areas including J.P. Nagar, Banashankari, Basavanagudi, Binny Mill area, National College, M.G. Road and its surroundings. The residents, in their eagerness to air their frustration of a week spent mostly in ‘darkness’ (every night there have been powercuts after heavy rains) inundated Bescom’s telephone lines too.

Till Thursday, Bescom officials said 431 poles had fallen and been replaced at a cost of Rs 40 lakh (about Rs 10,000 per pole). Friday night’s toll added to that tally. A total of 130 poles fell in Jayanagar and J.P. Nagar areas alone during the torrential rain, Bescom officials said. Two poles fell in Banashankari and reports from other areas were still being assessed, they told this paper.

The strong winds also blew away a solar panel installed on a house in Rajarajeshwarinagar.

Rains have snakes slithering into homes

Snakes slither out of their homes...
The Times of India

Bangalore: A terrible scare has sent a chilling shiver down the city’s spine in the past 48 hours. Along with the gusty winds, torrential rains and the punishing power shutdowns, it rained snakes of all sizes and colours on the city.

Slithery creatures on the handle of a motorbike, window grill, gas cylinder, terrace, computer table, under the cot, in the toilet, on the road, inside the drain and more...the numbers have only been shooting, say rescue teams who have been on the prowl ever since Monday evening, when the first heavy rain lashed the city. Following 24 hours, they report receiving nearly a 100 distress calls.

More distress calls came from East Bangalore on Friday. Several clogged drains near Ulsoor lake gushed the snakes out of their homes even into the cosy comfort of four-wheelers, spare parts shops, furniture stores and the like.

On Tuesday at 2.30 am, Nagarbhavi resident K.K. Rakesh was woken up by a furious, hissing sound. The sound, characteristic of a Russels Viper, was loud enough to track it to the kitchen where it was under the cooking gas cylinder. Reptile conservationist Mohammed Anees, who bagged the 4.5-ft-long venomous species minutes later, says the heavy winds, power shutdowns, tree fall, leafy litter and flooding of snake burrows are all responsible for the snake scare in the city.

“This is the season for cobra and rat snake babies to hatch in the city. Before it was time for the young ones to find permanent settlements, their makeshift burrows were flooded with the surging rain water”, Anees who rescued 23 snakes on Tuesday and Wednesday elaborates.

The dust storm like situation and the haunting darkness all around made matters easy for snakes, but bad for residents. Nocturnal snakes like Russels Vipers, Krait and Saw-scaled Vipers (all venomous snakes) found easy, safe cover in the dark of residences.

People For Animals (PFA) rescued seven snakes.
Residents also complained of spotting a good number of tree-dwelling wine snakes, water snakes such as Chequered Keelbacks, and Rat Snakes (nonvenomous) in the vicinity, thanks to the huge wind disturbances and overflowing drains and burrows.

Rescuers received more number of calls from Doddabommasandra, Hebbal, Kanakapura, Nagarbhavi, Vidyaranyapura, Sahakarnagar, Mico Layout, Kanakapura Road, CV Raman Nagar, Whitefield, Basavangudi, JP Nagar and Jalahalli.


Anees: 98440 37424. People For Animals: 28604767. CUPA: 22947300.

Season’s sorrow: Rains bring flies, mosquitoes

Season’s sorrow: Rains bring flies, mosquitoes
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: These unseasonal rains are a cause of worry to Shubha Ananth, a resident of Basaveshwarnagar. But it is not the rains she fears.

It’s the insects, especially houseflies and mosquitoes that have started to plague her residence.

‘‘There is a sudden increase in the number of flies and mosquitoes. Though I keep the floors absolutely clean, the flies never seem to go away,’’ she complains.

Indiranagar-based pathologist Santosh Kumar says these insects spread a range of diseases, from typhoid, malaria and cholera to hepatitis.

According to residents, swarms of flies, mosquitoes and other harmful insects can now be seen in every nook and corner of the city. They claim that flies have been tormenting them during the day and mosquitoes at night.

‘‘There is nothing to be done. Flies come due to unhygienic conditions,’’ says an exasperated Naveen Kumar Gowda, a Jayanagar resident. His wife adds phenyl to the bucket of water while swabbing the floor. ‘‘But the flies still come,’’ he says.

City doctor Dr. Anand says mosquitoes that appear all of a sudden after rains are commonly called floodwater or temporary pool mosquitoes, and are generally not disease carriers, but certainly are nuisances.

Is there an increase in flies during the monsoon?

Dr. Nagraj Rao who has made a study on this issue clarifies, ‘‘If their wings get wet, flies will not be able to fly. So when it rains, flies hovering around garbage piles, roads and trees enter houses to avoid getting wet. So there is no increase in the number of flies during monsoon. It is just that the rains force them into dry places.’’

He adds, ‘‘Houseflies are also attracted by food stuff left open in houses. Since flies carry pathogens that cause diseases like cholera and typhoid in their guts, food should be kept covered.’’

The BCC says it sprays insecticide on garbage piles and gutters all round the year. But Rao says, ‘‘Unless citizens are aware of the problem it is difficult to curb the menace. If there are garbage piles everywhere, there will be more flies.’’

Shubha says she takes extra care during rains. ‘‘I always keep food covered, and also keep doors and windows shut,’’ she says. Dr. Savitha, another city doctor suggests using detergents to clean floors. ‘‘The smell of detergent can repel insects. Also, drink boiled water,’’ she says.

City inundated with water

A shot of a Bangalore locality flooded with water after torrential rains.

Photo courtesy of Deccan Herald

Tango with mangoes

Tango with mangoes

Deccan Herald

Mangoes have flooded the City and what better way to hang out with friends than with a basket of the juicy varieties.

Mangoes have flooded the market in the City and statistics state that more mangos are eaten fresh all over the world than any other fruit! A tropical fruit, today there are over 1,000 different varieties of mangoes throughout the world. The mango is known as the king of fruit and the name mango is derived from the Tamil word mangkay or man-gay.

Get into the spirit

To get into the spirit of the mango season, Metrolife decided to invite a few of the models in the City to the Mango Festival that is on at the Trivoli Gardens at the Capitol Hotel and let them enjoy the variety on the mango menu. The most enthusiastic of the group who came in wearing yellows and oranges to match the mangoes was Zoheb. “ I love mangoes as long as they are sweet,” said Zoheb, adding, “We are just back from a fashion show in Coorg and we ate poly- mangoes all the way back ot the City. Eating them reminds me of my boarding school that I went to named St Georges Homes in Ooty. I can never eat mangoes without making a mess of my clothes .”

Pretty as a picture, all of 17, Anoushka Sharma, said, “I dislike ripe mangoes but don’t mind eating them in a cake or milk shake as otherwise I make a terrible mess of myself. My skin too gets funny if I overdo eating mangoes. My dad insists I have a glass of milk and he sometimes flavours it with mango for me,” she said.

While Venu, the guy with the bod to watch, said his family had a mango farm back in Tamil Nadu. Not particularly too fond of the fruit, he too felt they are messy to eat, as he prefers enjoying them without a spoon.

Roshan Isaacs, who drives the girls mad at the ladies night at Club X dancing on the bar, said he was not too partial to the fruit. But “I do not mind a curry made out of mangoes or the sweet pickle made by my mum, otherwise I am not fond of mangoes at all.”

Mango king

The hunk who enjoys mangoes is Syed Muttalib. “My family has everything to do with the mango as they are fruit merchants in the City. My uncle is the ‘mango king’ here and I have grown up enjoying a lot of fruit. However, once when I was young I was eating a raw mango and the deek of it fell on my face and burnt it. Till date the scar has not left my face.”

Smita Rao, the gorgeous girl who is a dentist too, said, “Oh yes! I love mangoes and have grown up spending my holidays in Mangalore with my cousins climbing trees and eating as many ripe mangoes off the trees. We would all stand in a line outside the house and gorge as we were not allowed inside to mess the place! I love the Totapuri and the Alphonso varieties only and indulge during the season.

Alphonsos seemed to be the universal favourite and every one pigged on the Ratnagiri variety available at the photo shoot. The favourites seemed to be the mousse, litchis stuffed with mango, mango chaat and the thick mango shakes with a sliver of ice. It is a bumper harvest this year according to the fruit vendors, so go and enjoy the season while it lasts.