Thursday, June 30, 2005

Corporation redefines urban infrastructure paradigm

Corporation redefines urban infrastructure paradigm
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: The Bangalore City Corporation (BCC) is attempting to resolve the conflict between development and urban ecology in its mammoth Hebbal Valley Eco-System Project, which is awaiting Government approval.

The Rs. 202-crore project proposal developed by the civic body in association with Haselfre, an eco-infrastructure consultant, shifts the paradigm of the engineering model to an integrated approach for a better eco-system.

For the first time, civic authorities like Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) and the Lake Development Authority (LDA) will be involved in the project. It not only remodels storm water drains in the valley, but will also include Hebbal lake conservation programme and a facility to recycle storm water.

But, what really make the project unique are its components of awareness and setting up of data infrastructure. The systems include aerial photography, geographic information systems, satellite imagery, thematic grid maps and geographical positioning systems.

BCC additional commissioner finance, P K Sreehari told this website’s newspaper that the project aimed at wholesome development of the valley. “The project will stop discharge of waste water into storm water drains and pollution of lakes. It also involves measures to restore urban ecology,” he said.

Project Funding: BCC has negotiated with the Japan Bank of International Cooperation (JBIC) for financial assistance and the Commissioner has sent the proposal to the urban development department for its assent.

Further, the central department of science and technology would fund the research component. The State Government will finance 45 percent of the cost and 55 percent would come from the Centre.

Airport Ahead

The Bangalore International Airport at Devanahalli is finally taking off. BT surveys the infrastructure en-route to the airport
The Times of India


The 34-35 km stretch from the city (Vidhana Soudha) to the proposed airport consists of heterogeneous traffic. Once the airport comes up, the number of vehicles is expected to increase from 12,000 PCU (passenger car units) to 15,000 PCU. Traffic advisor to the government and TEST chairman MN Sreehari says speed lanes are vital on the existing six-lane expressway for smooth traffic flow. “Most expressways are designed for speed. There must be a clear demarcation for a fast lane, only vehicles moving between 80-120 km/hr should be allowed in that lane. Slow moving vehicles must have separate lanes, otherwise accidents will happen in mixed traffic. With a speed lane, getting to the new airport should only take about 35-40 minutes from the city. More traffic personnel will also be required to man the route.”

Road and rail:

Roads leading to the the six-lane highways constructed by the National Highway Authority of India need to be well maintained and potholefree. Former BCC chief and chief secretary A Ravindra says road infrastructure enhancements should be a priority to improve access to the new airport. “The municipal limits are till Hebbal, so the BCC must spend more on maintaining roads till there as traffic density will be high. After Hebbal limits, the authorities that construct the roads must be held accountable for regular repair and maintenance. A rail link to the airport, like train shuttle services abroad which connect the airport to the heart of the city, must also be introduced.” Sources in the Indian railway authority say plans are afoot to construct a railway terminal at the airport, which will enable a special shuttle from Cantonment railway station to the new airport, to be run.

Lighting and signage:

Ensuring that signage leading to the airport is in place and adequate lighting for those signs is imperative. What also needs to be kept in mind is the needs of international travellers from abroad. V Ravichandar, trustee, Ideas for Governance, says international signage and lighting norms have to be looked at. “Visibility and placement is key for both lighting and signage. Also, besides using more than one language, visuals must be incorporated in the signage. Materials used must be all-weather and reflective. We know that power outages happen on our roads, so lighting backup must be organised on trunk routes. Norms already exist, we must pick the best practices and incorporate them in the best manner.”

Green cover:

With the airport finally taking shape, development in the surrounding areas is bound to peak. Besides, Devanahalli already faces a water shortage. Does that mean the area’s green cover and natural resources will decline in the name of development? The outline development plan (ODP) notified by the Bangalore International Airport Area Planning Authority (BIAAPA) states that no development will be allowed to destroy the natural resources in Devanahalli and surrounding areas. Says a planning authority official, “The airport will be encircled by some of the most eco-friendly settlements. The airport is also being made a rain-water harvesting model. No development will be permitted on the natural river valleys in the area.”

Passenger-friendly trains await you

Passenger-friendly trains await you
The Times of India

Bangalore: Despite a number of low-cost airlines invading the skies, most travellers still prefer trains. In fact, train travel has gone up by 25 per cent in the past three months.

South Western Railway divisional railway manager, Bangalore, Mahesh Kumar told reporters on Wednesday that passenger traffic has been steadily increasing.

With over 1.5 lakh passengers moving in and out of Bangalore City station daily, the emphasis is on additional coaches and improving infrastructure including more booking counters and passenger-friendly platforms.

Renovation of the City and Yeshwanthpur railway stations will be completed by March and work on the second building at city railway station will begin in three months.

On the Hassan-Mangalore gauge-conversion work, Kumar said it would be completed by September depending on the rain.

On Railway’s Agenda

Improving area outside City railway station;
widening of foot over-bridge towards platform 8;
end-to-end shelters at platforms; more toilets.
Concrete aprons at Yeshwanthpur station.
AC dormitory and AC waiting lounge at City station.
Electronic indication boards on platforms and seven additional booking counters.
12 additional platform ticket-vending machines at City, Yeshwanthpur and K.R. Puram stations.

All these will be completed by March 2006.

Rajajinagar: concrete slum

Nice, sleepy retreat to a concrete slum
The Times of India

Bangalore: Till eight in the morning, Rajajinagar has a semblance of peace. And then, all vehicular hell breaks loose.

Add to this clash of chassis, unduly delayed infrastructure projects — the Rajajinagar entrance grade separator and the Modi Road-Chord Road underpass. If a denizen of the area or its neighbourhood like Basaveshwaranagar and Manjunathnagar wants to reach office/school/college at 10 am, native wisdom has it that they leave home one-and-half hour early!

The Rajajinagar entrance grade separator, the pet peeve and cause for much spleen among residents and commuters, has been limping towards an elusive completion. The original deadline was many moons ago but contractors still maintain that all is well and the work would be finished on course. The toll it has had on commuters is manifold — traffic jams, roads scraping off like paper because traffic is restricted to a narrow stretch from Sujata theatre up to Anand Rao Circle. Reasons cited are usual suspects like difficulty in land acquisition from Minerva Mills, change in contractor, etc. The latest ultimatum is August.

So is the case of the Modi-Road Chord Road underpass. Because the usually unproblematic Chord Road near Navrang theatre has been blocked, even BMTC buses are forced to take a deviation into narrow interior residential roads. It is expected to get over by September.

Says area MLA N.L. Narendra Babu: “I have been in this area since my school days. Some parts like Peenya came up for industrial workers. It has become cosmopolitan from the earlier days. From a Kannadiga bastion, it has become home to many North Indians who have bought at least 2,500 sites in the recent past.’’

Many old-time residents complain about the ‘civic overkill’ but are also acutely aware of the massive growth in the area — the constituency boasts of a population of 4.25 lakh.

Rajajinagar, when conceived as an area, was to cater to en masse migrants from North Karnataka and from the Hyderabad-Karnataka region. The large populace of migrants ensured that there were shops with wares like Dharwad peda, Ilkal sarees and the like. The cosmopolitan overtones at pockets of the area have also ensured mushrooming of coffee-shops, family bars, malls, and the ubiquitous darshinis. Also, a swish shopping mall is slated to come up near Sujata theatre.

The area has its own share of idiosyncrasies, a plethora of local fundamentalist organisations originate here. The devout also have a haven here — Iskcon and a host of temples for Anjaneya, Lakshmi, Ayyappa among others. The Vidya Vardhaka Sangha group of institutions are again ubiquitous with the area, as are the KLE society’s institutions.

The famed Chord Road was supposed to be the border for Bangalore. Now, the West of Chord Road has morphed into the pulse of the city acting as a median for areas and wards in the constituency.

Aggressive parents force police to scale down parking ban

Only 5 schools come under parking ban
Rule To Cover Remaining 11 Later
The Times of India

Bangalore: Succumbing to public opinion, the city police have modified their order of banning parking of private vehicles within a radius of 200 metres of 16 centrally located schools. It does not apply to all the schools now. Only five schools come under the ‘Safe Route to School Project’ for the time being. The rule will be extended to the other schools in a phased manner.

In a press note on Wednesday, traffic police have stated that the new rule will apply to Sophia Girls’ School (Palace Road), Baldwin Boys’ School (Hosur Road), Baldwin Girls’ School (Richmond Road), Bishop Cotton Girls’ School (St Mark’s Road) and Kendriya Vidyalaya (Victoria Road). Parking of private vehicles will not be permitted near these schools during the start and closing hours from July 1, police said. Parents violating this rule will be fined. Initially, we will educate them, police added.

The police have exempted 11 schools for the time being and said: “In the schools other than the above mentioned some more preparatory work like hiring of buses and identifying routes has to be done.’’

Commenting on the inconvenience being caused to the pre-nursery and nursery students of five schools where parents are not allowed to drop and pick up their wards, DCP Traffic (East) M.A. Saleem said: “Children can be dropped through the car pooling system and the school authorities will issue passes to cars. These cars will be allowed inside the gate.’’ Children coming by the public transport such as buses and vans will be allowed to get down near the school gate, he added. The police modified their June 22 order on Wednesday morning after police commissioner Ajai Kumar Singh took a relook at the situation.

We have done homework like holding talks with parent-teacher associations, BMTC authorities and identifying routes with regard to these five schools, police said.

The 11 schools where ban will be enforced later are: Bishop Cotton Boys’ School, Residency 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; St Francis Xavier School, Cole’s Park; St Germain School, Cole’s Park; Sacred Heart Girls’ School, Residency Road; Cathedral High School, and St Ann’s Girls School, Miller’s Road.

Famous Five

Schools where private vehicles are banned
Sophia Girls’ School, Palace Road.
Baldwin Girls’ School, Hosur Road.
Baldwin Boys’ School, Hosur Road.
Bishop Cotton Girls’ School, St Mark's Road.
Kendriya Vidyalaya, Victoria Layout.


The new rule comes into effect on July 1.
For now, only 5 schools come under ban.
Parents violating this rule will be fined.
Pre-nursery, nursery children can be dropped through car pooling system.
School authorities will issue passes to cars.
These cars will be allowed inside the gate.

Clear Metro project quickly: Siddaramaiah tells Centre

Clear Metro project quickly: Siddaramaiah tells Centre
New Indian Express

NEW DELHI: Karnataka on Wednesday made a strong plea to the Centre to speed up the clearance of the “reliable and modern” Bangalore Metro Rail project, to be promoted with equal equity participation of the State and Central governments. The Centre should evolve a mechanism to clear such a project in a time bound manner, perhaps within three months.

Deputy Chief Minister M. Siddaramaiah, addressing the Chief Minister’s Conference on the National Urban Transport policy here on Wednesday, said the State Government had already approved the project. Though the Centre had given an assurance that the project would be cleared by April 30, 2005, “unfortunately, that has not happened”, he said.

Bangalore, which had a population of merely 16 lakh in 1971, had crossed the 70-lakh mark on Wednesday and was expected to touch the one crore mark by 2021, he said.

Today the city had 25 lakh vehicles and on an average 900 new vehicles were registered every day. Of the total vehicles in Bangalore,72 per cent were two-wheelers and 3 per cent three-wheelers. Buses contribute only 0.2 per cent of the total number of vehicles in the city, but carry 56 per cent of the city’s commuters.

“The presence of such a large number of two and three-wheelers as well as other personalised vehicles, amply indicates that the city does not have a proper mass rapid transit system,” the Deputy Chief Minister said.

Stating that the internal rate of return could be more than 25 per cent in urban transport projects, he said such projects were important for society and both the Central and State governments must provide them full support. Such projects should be given tax exemption by both the State and Central governments, he added.

The Deputy Chief Minister also wanted the Centre to share the cost of acquiring land for any project sponsored by state governments. This could be accounted for in the project cost, while promoters could share the burden in proportion to their equity participation.

“The lands required for the project have to be acquired at a very high cost as land prices in the metropolitan cities are very high. It would not be possible for the State governments to bear this cost entirely,” he said.

Among other things, Siddaramaiah urged the Centre to create a state transport undertaking rehabilitation fund at the Central level; earmark multilateral funds for the transport sector; promote Mass Rapid Bus Transport Systems with dedicated lanes; assist Karnataka in developing an urban transport and management institute to act as a nerve center to conduct various programmes in urban transport; create a national urban transport development fund to support and encourage a state initiative in urban transport management; and earmark 30 per cent of the proposed National Urban Renewal Mission fund for the creation of urban transport infrastructure.


* Approve Bangalore Metro Rail project quickly.
* Promote Mass Rapid Bus Transport System with dedicated lanes.
* Earmark multilateral funds for transport sector.
* Provide tax exemption to urban transport projects
* Share land cost in State govt projects.
* Assist Karnataka’s urban transport and management institute.
* Create STU rehabilitation fund at Central level .
* Bangalore’s city population to touch one crore by 2021.
* Bangalore’s present population 70 lakh.
* Bangalore’s vehicle population 25 lakh.
* 72 per cent of Bangalore’s vehicles are two wheelers.

Police blamed for chaotic traffic

Police blamed for chaotic traffic

The Hindu

BANGALORE: The Bharatiya Janata Party city unit has blamed the police for the traffic chaos in the city and said it is unfortunate that the Police Commissioner, Ajai Kumar Singh, has instead chosen to blame the citizens for no fault of theirs.

The police have failed to cope with the increasing traffic. They have no idea on how to provide a permanent solution to the traffic problem. Instead, they have chosen the easy path of converting roads into one-ways, Ashwath Narayan, party's city unit President, and S. Prakash, spokesperson, said in a statement here on Tuesday.

They demanded that the Commissioner's statement be withdrawn immediately and urged him to take action against the policemen who indulged in exploiting motorists. By blaming the citizens for the traffic problem, the Commissioner has ignored the failure of his department. Commercial buildings have become a source of income for the traffic police, Mr. Narayan and Mr. Prakash claimed.

Tessolve to bring chip-testing centre to India

Tessolve to bring chip-testing centre to India

Business Standard

Tessolve Inc, a California, US based semiconductor testing services company, has set up a state-of-the art centre at Electronics City here, the first time an independent company has done so in the country.

The setting up of this Rs 45 crore 50,000 sq.ft facility also means that the semiconductor industry in India is nearing the time when it will have reached that critical mass so vital to strong growth.

P Raja Manickam, Tessolve’s founder and chief executive officer, told reporters on Wednesday, “this facility will do away once and for all with the testing limitations in India”. IIT educated Manickam has Texas Instruments and Fairchild Semiconductor on his CV.

Tessolve’s engagement with clients also reflects this global vision: clients include Chartered, 2Wire, Alliance Semiconductor, Insilica, SCI and Wipro.

The company provides services including development, hardware design, failure analysis and reliability testing.

The company offers clients options of working on a turnkey basis, use of its testing infrastructure or the services of its 50 engineers here, a release said. The staff, some roped in from overseas, can work on handling wafer sort, final test development (RF, digital and mixed signal) and device characterisation, the release said.

Ashok Belani, on the board of directors of Tessolve, said, “Locating a world class testing centre close to the design groups is a compelling proposition”.

Some 80 per cent of India’s semiconductor design houses, mostly the captive units of large multinational companies such as Texas Instruments, are in Bangalore.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Dump the Metro, take the bus

Subir Roy: Be chic, walk, cycle, ride a bus

Business Standard

Traffic jams and automobile pollution plague all Indian cities but are particularly bad in Bangalore, raising questions about its ability to remain the top IT destination in the country. For Bangalore to keep shining, two cures are touted—a new international airport and a metro rail.

The former is just out of the woods, having achieved financial closure, but the latter remains accident-prone. H D Deve Gowda, father figure of the bickering ruling coalition, has asked that the state reexamine whether metro rail is indeed the panacea it is made out to be.

Whatever be his motive, this has rekindled debate. In all likelihood the metro rail project will go through. But since a debate is on, it is worth asking how a city or state should plan long-term traffic solutions and whether solutions alien to the middle class have a chance of being heard.

The first issue is who can afford what and the second is, even if you can afford it, is there something cheaper and therefore better? It is argued that since the Delhi metro is a great success, that is a good enough reason to go in for a metro for Bangalore.

But there is a world of difference between Delhi and Karnataka. Delhi is number three in human development out of 32 states and union territories, Karnataka is 16. If you are as well-off as Delhi, by all means spend as you like.

But experienced bureaucrats in Bangalore keep cautioning, don’t equate Karnataka with Bangalore. There are at least four districts in the northern Hyderabad-Karnataka region which are desperately poor, not very different from some of the poorest districts in Bihar and even sub-Saharan Africa.

They are also very drought- prone, making Karnataka the second-most arid state in the country after Rajasthan. A good half of the Rs 6,000 crore capital cost of the Bangalore metro will come from the union and state budgets. Should public money be spent on Bidar or Bangalore?

But Bangalore is our national showpiece. So isn’t ensuring the growth and livability of the city also a national priority? Yes it is, but what if it can pay for itself? The leader of Infosys, the pride of Bangalore, has urged everybody to give Bangalore a proper local authority, a mayor and his council who have a decent four- or five-year term so that better politicians can give the city the government it deserves.

Kolkata has just had a rejuvenation courtesy a dynamic mayor thrown up by a rational “mayor in council” system, not mayors who come and go every year and are puppets on strings pulled from the Vidhana Soudha. I suspect if Bangalore got the right kind of local government it would be able to float its own bonds and get the necessary multilateral assistance to get whatever type of transport system it needed.

If Bangalore could order its own destiny, what should it go in for—metro, mono or plain old buses and, don’t laugh, bicycles and walkways? Should Bangaloreans say, we will not cut down 50- or 100-year-old trees at any cost, not ruin the view of our main thoroughfare by taking through its middle an elevated railway line made of ugly concrete, not ruin the peace of beautiful Ulsoor lake by again taking a railway line next to it?

What should be the quality-of-life priorities of a forward-looking city when individual cities in the West are dismantling things like monorail because they are ugly and noisy? If you want to be world-class why not go the whole hog, display a degree of environmental and aesthetic concern that is not Third World but First World?

The Delhi metro is grossly underutilised, Kolkata partly so. It is cost-effective to put a single line through a linear city like Mumbai or Kolkata, more difficult or hugely more costly to get value for money in a circular city like Delhi or Bangalore, which needs lines going east-west, north-south and circular.

Most important, is there enough traffic in a dispersed city like Bangalore to make up more than 50,000 PPHD (passengers per hour per direction), which alone justifies a metro rail? Or do you need something like monorail, which can carry 25,000 PPHD?

Since it is all about value for money, costs become vital. A kilometre of underground line costs Rs 400-500 crore to build, elevated line Rs 140-150 crore, monorail Rs 70 crore, says a transport expert from a reputed consulting firm.

But these are quite different from the figures put out by Bangalore Mass Rapid Transit Ltd! Naturally, grossly underestimating the cost of a large public project to get it going is the name of the game. It happened with Delhi, not to speak of Kolkata.

Mumbai and Hyderabad can opt for a metro rail if they want to. Neither is anywhere near to making up its mind. Meanwhile, a study for Hyderabad by a US-based NGO, Institute of Transportation and Development Study, with funding from USAID, has concluded that the city should seriously consider a bus rapid transit system, tight parking regulation and enforcement, pedestrian walkways, along with restraint on private vehicles and making it easier to cycle and walk. And comparative costs? An efficient bus system costs one-tenth of a metro rail system!

Currently JC Road, in the heart of Bangalore, delivers 15,000 PPHD. Put all buses on CNG/LPG, have more, clean good-looking buses, dedicated lanes for them, fewer cars and two-wheelers courtesy penal taxes, and you will have a system that travels at 25 kmph and delivers 20,000 PPHD. Can you manage a big bus fleet and that many public sector workers? Yes, Bangalore’s public sector bus system is one of the best in the country and runs at a financial surplus. Any takers?

Defence colony lives in fear of falling trees

Defence colony lives in fear of falling trees
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: It is ironical that Defence Colony residents who had once defended our country while serving in the armed forces, now have no defence from trees which pose a danger to their lives during heavy rain. Whenever the skies threaten to break, they think twice before venturing outdoors.

It may be recalled that two school children were killed when a coconut tree uprooted by a strong gale fell on them at Coles Park in Bharathinagar on June 22. If a coconut tree cannot withstand the strong wind, one wonders how rain trees will resist the strong gales, which have become a common feature in Bangalore these days.

There are more than 600 rain trees, providing the much needed greenery in the colony. If these trees are not trimmed and pruned on time, they pose a danger to the lives of the people.

“We have requested the Forest Department several times to do the needful. Whenever we approach them they promise to solve our problems but nothing has happened so far,” says Mrs Neena Monapa, vice-president, Defence Colony Residents Association (DECORA).

These trees are suitable for 100-feet roads and not for 30 or 40 feet roads. Trucks or tempos find it difficult to enter the third main road of the colony because of a tree, which has low hanging branches.

“When the Forest Department supplied saplings in 1976, we planted them and nursed them without realising that these trees will one day pose a threat to us” said Neena.

There is a park between second main and third main, which serves as a green lung for the colony. But old people fear to take a walk in the park, as a few trees are bending dangerously.

“We are ready to plant three saplings for each tree that is removed. But authorities concerned are yet to take action,” said Monappa. Will the officials free the Defence Colony residents from the rain tree menace?

Something is seriously wrong in BCC

Something is seriously wrong in BCC
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: Strange are the ways of Bangalore City Corporation (BCC), which is supposed to solve the storm water-related problems. If the on-going demolition of a culvert on 6th main road, HMT Layout, is any indication, it seems something is seriously wrong in the BCC.

The culvert, which was constructed a few years ago, is in a good condition. The BCC is now demolishing it to build a new one. The proposed culvert will cost Rs 17 lakh and motorists will have to wait for more than 45 days to travel on the road again.

“Had the BCC put up a two-feet wall on the existing culvert and filled the gaps between the temple compound wall and the culvert, it might have saved a lot of money and avoided inconvenience to the motorists who use the 6th main road,” Shankar, a resident of the HMT Layout said.

“Instead of clearing the garbage, BCC is demolishing the culvert to replace it with a new one,” said a housewife under anonymity.

However, Jayalakshmi, Councillor, Ward No. 98, said the residents of the area face a lot of problems during monsoon. “We want to increase the height of the culvert to facilitate smooth flow of water in the drain,” she said.

Still time for Airport Road & Jayadeva flyovers

Still time for Airport Road & Jayadeva flyovers
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: People will have to wait longer for the completion of the ongoing flyover project on Airport Road and the underpass project at Jayadeva Circle. While the one on Airport Road is expected to be completed within eight months from the date of resumption of work, the project at Jayadeva Circle will be complete within six months.

The High Court’s latest order, which is in favour of the contractor UP State Bridge Corporation Limited (UPSBC) has come as a big relief to Bangaloeans who had put up with these incomplete structures.

“They will now have to complete the Airport Road project by eight months and the Jayadeva under-pass by six months of starting the work,” BDA Commissioner M N Vidya Shankar said.

Even after two years of commencement of the project, only 30 per cent of the work has been completed so far on the Airport Road flyover and 80 per cent in the case of the Jayadeva flyover. The works had begun in February 2003 and were scheduled to be completed by April 2004.

The Airport Road flyover was given an extension till June 30 2005, but has not neared completion. The BDA then terminated the contract with UPSBC. BDA invited revised tenders and identified alternate agencies.

The UPSBC then approached the High Court Divisional Bench and brought a stay. The Divisional Bench has given the judgment in favour of UPSBC asking them to go ahead with the construction of the project.

“Meetings are being held with the local officials of the UPSBC. The Managing Director of UPSBC will be in Bangalore soon. After talking to him the final terms will be drawn,” he said.

HC: Is BCC serious about roads?

HC: Is BCC serious about roads?
Petitioner Produces 70 Photos To Prove His Case

The Times of India

Bangalore: The Karnataka High Court on Tuesday came down heavily on the Bangalore City Corporation (BCC) for building roads only on paper.

“BCC, are you serious about roads,’’ the court asked.

Chief Justice N.K. Sodhi and Justice B.S. Patil, who pulled up the BCC, said: “On paper you have done your job. But we are interested in the real work done. Tell the BCC commissioner to take personal interest or we will come down heavily on him. This state of affairs cannot continue.’’

The court’s reprimand came after petitioner K.N. Subba Reddy, through PIL, produced 70 pictures showing the terrible state of important roads across the city — like Yeshwanthpur Main Road, Rajajinagar, Basaweshwaranagar, B.V.K. Iyengar Road, City Railway Station Road and Mysore Road.

The petitioner informed the court that the roads required major repair, relaying and maintenance. He said that despite a large amount of money being spent on road repair, the condition of the roads had not improved.

The Chief Justice noted: “In many parts of the world, India is known because of Bangalore and IT. Bangalore is being criticised for the poor state of roads.’’

The court directed the BCC to file a status report about the condition of roads in Bangalore city within three weeks. The matter will be taken up on August 2.

The BCC’s explanation for poor roads ranged from soaring sand prices to poor-quality work by contractors. It said they had 96 different repair packages; while some were complete, some were still in progress. It maintained that where contractors’ work was unsatisfactory, they had taken back the work and given it to another contractor.

Justice Sodhi then observed: “From one contractor to another, it is such a vicious circle.’’

The judges gave an indication of the desirability of appointing a high-powered committee consisting of eminent persons in the field of roads. The court asked the petitioner and government advocate V.Y. Kumar to come up with a list of committed experts who can monitor the quality of roads. Justice Sodhi said: “Give us engineers who do not need to be supervised.’’

Other issues like honorarium to be paid to these experts and the time needed for such a panel of experts to supervise road-laying work also came up for discussion.

What court said

On paper, you have done your job. But we are interested in the real work done. Tell the BCC commissioner to take personal interest...this state of affairs cannot continue.
India is known because of Bangalore and IT. Bangalore is being criticised for the poor state of the roads.

Parents vehemently oppose Safe Road to School scheme

Parents to oppose being bulldozed onto safe roads

Deccan Herld

Police are unlikely to be harsh in implementing the new programme. They may first try their persuasive skills on parents.

With 24 hours to go for the implementation of the Safe Roads To School (SRTS) programme, parents of children studying in over 14 schools have joined forces to vehemently oppose schoolchildren being shanghaied into using public transport.

At a press conference here on Tuesday, the parents under the banner of ‘Forum of Concerned Citizens’ lashed out against the traffic and transport authorities for “imposing” the rules on using public transport. Their primary concern: Why should five-to-ten-year-olds pay for the City’s infrastructural breakdown?

“We will approach the highest authorities of civil, political and judicial systems to ensure such an order is withdrawn,” Naveen Rolands, an Indiranagar-based parent, said. He would continue to personally drop his children off at their schools come what may.

“How can I be sure my teenage daughter would not be a victim of inappropriate behaviour if she is the last student to be dropped off? Or that my eight-year-old will get off at the right bus-stop?” asked Femina Premkumar, a Koramangala-based mother.

Unnikrishnan, another member, said the parents were not against the idea of a public transport system, as long as it was punctual, safe and affordable.

Srinath, father of a Baldwin Girls’ School student, said it would be difficult to drop children off at a bus-stop which is a kilometre away or to make children walk that far.

The show will go on

In the face of emotional outbursts from several quarters, the City traffic police seemed to have somewhat relaxed their stand. While the police will go ahead and implement the new rules (‘no parking’ zones and levy of fines), DCP (Traffic East) M A Saleem said that the department was open to the idea of car-pooling.

“We agree with the parents who want to drop off six children in their car, as long as they take the car into school premises and don’t park on the roads. We are open even to review the entire system, but let the system be in place first before we check its efficacy,” said Saleem.

While the rules will come into effect around five schools that have prepared for it, the remaining have sought a few more days to prepare themselves. “We will implement the rules for the schools that are ready. The others will be given a week’s time,” Saleem said.

Penalties, however, will not be levied immediately on erring parents as “we want to educate them first on the validity of the move, rather than just levy fines”, he added.

BMTC claim

BMTC Chief Traffic Manager K S Vishwanath said the Corporation would ensure that lady conductors and drivers with impeccable records are deputed to chartered school buses.

“We are safer than two-wheelers and cars... and certainly over-crowded autos. Schools such as Vidyaniketan which have chartered our buses for the last two years are happy. We are even willing to allow parents to go on the buses initially, in case they want to double-check. Many schools send teachers in the buses to monitor children,” Vishwanath said.


BMTC buses are accident-prone.
Safety cannot be compromised.
Girls may become victims to harassment.
BMTC drivers are rash.
Small kids are prone to danger at bus-stops.
Children likely to forget where to get off.

BMTC has the lowest accident-rate in India.
BMTC has won an international award for optimum public safety.
Lady conductors will be assigned for duty on all BMTC school buses.
Only drivers with impeccable service records will drive school buses.
If parents can pick up children from school, why not from bus-stops? Parents will be allowed on the buses initially, to train kids on where to get on and off.

Laloo promises electrification of Bangalore Mysore rail line

Bangalore-Mysore railway line to be electrified

Business Standard

Railway minister Lalu Prasad on Tuesday promised Karnataka that the Bangalore-Mysore railway line electrification work has been taken up and will be completed soon.

Addressing the National Development Council meeting, Prasad said the Ramanagaram-Mysore railway line-doubling survey was in progress.

Karnataka chief minister N Dharam Singh had requested the Railways to speed up completion of all railway projects in the state by providing additional resources as the state government had agreed to share two-third of the cost of electrification.

Singh had sought doubling of railway line from bangalore to ramanagaram and completion of the remaining work from Ramanagaram to Mysore, which is a tourist centre of national importance.

Lack of infrastructure dogs Peenya industrial estate

Lack of infrastructure dogs Peenya industrial estate

The Hindu

Many of the roads resemble mud roads in villages Some of the `tarred' roads in the area resemble mud roads in villages

BANGALORE: Peenya is one of the biggest industrial estates in Asia with an annual turnover of around Rs. 8,000 crores. It contributes over Rs. 800 crores in terms of Central excise, customs duty, commercial tax and corporate tax. However, Peenya today is an industrial area with poor infrastructure, crying for a proper underground drainage system, roads, footpaths and streetlights.

The industrialists in the area pay around Rs. 1 crore every year to the Dasarahalli City Municipal Council. Barring a few stretches of the 110-km road network in the 40 sq. km industrial area, the rest are in a shambles. Many roads resemble mud roads in villages and the carriageway and footpath can hardly be distinguished from each other. Even the main roads have deep potholes.


Heavy vehicles carrying goods and machinery find it difficult to negotiate these roads. The estate has a 5.20-lakh-strong workforce, and those using the main thoroughfares in the area experience a nightmare during peak hours. For the women, who constitute 50 per cent of the workforce, using these roads at night can be a harrowing experience as the roads are not properly lit.

The appeals and protests organised by industrialists and letters to the State Government and the municipal council have fallen on deaf ears.

The President of the Peenya Industries' Association, A. Padmanabha, told The Hindu that he has lost faith in the authorities, as they have not cared to respond to the complaints of industrialists about the lack of basic amenities.

Brian Slade, Director of MAPAL India, a subsidiary of a German company, expressed anger about the condition of the fourth and fifth main roads in Peenya IV Phase. Mr. Brian said he had fought long and hard to bring the new industrial facility to the Peenya area, only to find that the roads have deteriorated to such an extent that driving here is almost impossible.

"I had invited a German journalist, Winfried Hofele, to India to see the progress of our new facility. However, I spent most of the time apologising for the disgraceful state of the roads," he said in a letter to the commissioner.

An office-bearer of the association and ISO-certified entrepreneur engaged in precision CNC turning and machining, Prasad M.J, urged the police to increase the number of beat constables and post traffic policemen at important junctions.

Mr. Padmanabha said that the drainage system in the entire area has been damaged. The drains were laid 30 years ago when there were only a few industries here. He alleged that the authorities have sold stretches of service roads, blocking the movement of vehicles.

He cautioned that development of Doddanna, Bhairaveshwara and Andhrahalli industrial estates will compound the problems of the area.

BMP leaves debris on busy road

BMP leaves debris on busy road

The Hindu

It has not removed the rubble after razing a portion of the old jail compound

BANGALORE: Motorists from the western parts of the city have been braving traffic delays at the work sites of the Rajajinagar grade separator and the Anand Rao Circle flyover for the past year. Now, debris dumped on Gandhinagar 1st Main Road near Kanakadasa Circle has become another obstruction.

The debris has not been dumped by any private contractor, as is the usual complaint. This time around, the Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP) itself is the "culprit."

A portion of the old central jail compound adjacent to the petrol bunk at Kanakadasa Circle was demolished by the BMP over a fortnight ago. After razing the wall, the BMP authorities have not removed the rubble.

Motorists who have to cross Gandhinagar 1st Main Road from Sheshadri Road to reach K.G. Road have been put to hardship because of this obstacle. This road, which was wide enough for two-way traffic, with a median in between, has now become unusable. Debris dumped on the left side of the median has blocked the road, and the other side has been converted into a two-way resulting in haphazard traffic.

Motorists are often stranded here, as it is inevitable for vehicles proceeding from Seshadri Road to K.G. Road and those from Palace Road to Seshadri Road to pass through the Gandhinagar 1st Main Road. "There is chaos here as there are always traffic snarls. But we cannot do anything as the BMP authorities themselves demolished the wall," Mahbub Pasha, who runs a puncture repair shop near the jail compound wall, said.

"The stretch of the road, which is blocked, is used as a car park now. It is difficult to control traffic during peak hours as the road, used as a two-lane stretch now, is too narrow with two-wheelers parked on one side," a police constable manning traffic at Kanakadasa Circle said.

When contacted, a senior official from the BMP's Central Projects Division said the compound wall was razed because it had developed cracks. "There is a huge transformer adjoining the compound wall on the Palace Road. Officials from the Bangalore Electricity Power Supply Company (BESCOM) requested us to demolish the wall, as they feared it would collapse on the transformer. The debris will be cleared soon," he said.

When pointed out that the debris could have been dumped within the old central jail premises, where the BMP has proposed to develop a `Freedom Park' at a cost of Rs. 7.5 crores, the official said: "The old jail area is now being used by the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) as a `casting yard' for the Anand Rao Circle flyover. We did not want to disturb their work."

Though tenders for developing the `Freedom Park' have been invited, the BMP is waiting for a final nod from the State Government to start work, he added.

BMP asked to submit status report on roadworks

BMP asked to submit status report on roadworks

The Hindu

BANGALORE: Taking to task the Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP) for the sorry state of roads in Bangalore, the Karnataka High Court on Tuesday directed the BMP to file within three weeks a status report on the roads indicating what work has been done on repairing, remodelling or relaying the roads.

A Division Bench comprising the Chief Justice, Nauvdip Kumar Sodhi, and Justice B.S. Patil passed the order on a public interest litigation (PIL) petition by A.V. Amarnathan, a lawyer, seeking a direction to fill potholes on all roads.

Bad condition

The petitioner said the BMP has not paid adequate attention to roads, and some of the roads that were repaired two months ago now have trenches and potholes. He listed 70 roads in bad condition.

The Bench said the PIL has been filed with photographs to substantiate the fact that the roads are in bad condition and need repairs. It said the BMP is in charge of maintaining roads and directed it to file a status report on the maintenance and relaying of the roads from January this year.

The BMP submitted that it had assigned the work of repairing roads to contractors, but the contractors have not done a good job. The petitioner contested the BMP statement and said that roads asphalted two months ago have been washed away in the recent rain and many other roads are in bad condition. Perturbed over the state of the bad roads, the Bench observed that the BMP did not want the roads to stay for more than two months. It further observed that the quality of workmanship and work was poor and the material used was of poor quality.

When the petitioner sought the constitution of a committee to go into the condition of roads and monitor its repairs, the Government advocate said a panel of engineering experts can be asked to do the job. The Bench observed that this is not practical as the city is too large. The Bench adjourned further hearing on the petition till August 2.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Another Shatabdi express train from Bangalore

Another Shatabdi express train from Bangalore
The Hindu

Southern Railways launches 10 new trains

CHENNAI: Southern Railways will operate one more Shatabdi Express between Chennai and Bangalore following good passenger response for the Chennai-Mysore Shatabdi Express. The new service will start from Bangalore in the morning and return in the evening.

The introduction of 10 new trains, increase in the frequency of four trains and speeding up of 32 services were also disclosed by the Union Minister of State for Railways, R. Velu, who released the new Southern Railway timetable here on Monday.

Some of the other new trains are the Ernakulam-Bangalore (weekly) Superfast Express, the Madagaon-Mangalore Shatabdi Express, the Yesvantpur-Mangalore Express (via Mysore) and the Yesvantpur-Mangalore Express (via Arsikere).

The date of introduction of these trains will be announced later, the Minister told presspersons.

The Minister said that Southern Railways would get 346 new coaches in this financial year as against 144 coaches last year. The new coaches will be utilised for the new trains and for replacing old coaches.

The train services that will be extended are Coimbatore-Thanjavur Jan Shatabdi Express and Mysore-Thanjavur to Kumbakonam, Chennai Egmore-Erode Express (via Tiruchi) to Coimbatore, and the Chennai Visakhapatnam Express to Bhubhaneshwar.

The Minister said the running time of 32 express trains have been reduced by 10 minutes to 100 minutes following the strengthening of tracks. This includes the Chennai-Alleppey Express, the Chennai-Mangalore Mail, the West Coast Express, the Howrah-Kanyakumari Express, the Kanyakumari-Nizamuddin Tirukkural Express, the Chennai-Erode Yercaud Express, Chennai -Thoothukudi Pearl City Express, Chennai - Madurai Pandiyan Express, Chennai - Tiruchi Rockfort Express, Chennai-Bangalore Mail, Chennai-Dadar Express, Chennai-Thiruvananthapuram Mail, the Chennai-Mysore Kaveri Express, and Tiruchi- Howrah Express.

More roads under TDR plan

More roads under TDR plan: Binny Mill gives 14,962 sq ft
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: On account of widespread public resistance to widening of Avenue Road and surrounding areas, Bangalore City Corporation (BCC) has reduced the maximum extent of widening to 10 feet as against the proposed 30 feet. Traders had expressed apprehension that they would lose their livelihood if they were displaced.

The BCC has curtailed widening of roads to ten feet on Arale Pet, Avenue Road, OTC Road, Balepet, BVK Iyengar Road, A S Char Road and Goodshed Road. These roads would be widened by ten feet more than the existing width, said BCC sources.

Otherwise, the Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) scheme of Bangalore City Corporation (BCC) for acquiring land for roads has finally begun to find acceptance among the people.

Binny Mills on Magadi Road has relinquished 14,962 sq-ft of land for road widening. In an exemplary move, the mill has agreed to take up the roadwork from Binny Circle to Leprosy Hospital at its own cost. The Mill will also handle any possible litigation arising in the process of implementation of project and even pay compensation towards any damage to private property.

Sources in BCC said that the mill made a proposal to this effect in April last year. With TDR rules coming into force early this year, the mill would be given floor area compensation two times the land relinquished. They added that the ‘Deed of Relinquishment’ has already been executed.


Twelve more roads have been added to the list of roads identified to be widened under TDR scheme. These roads will be taken up in the first phase of the project, said the sources in the Corporation.

The roads are Siddaiah Road, Sudhama Nagar I Main, Dinnur Main Road, Uttarahalli Main Road, Hosakerehalli Main Road, Okalipuram Main Road, JC Road, Commissionerate Road, Race Course Road, Kasturba Road, Suranjan Das Road and Infantry Road.

BSNL city subscribers to get new phones

BSNL city subscribers to get new phones after three months
New Indian Express

!BANGALORE: Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) landline users can soon expect to be choosy in taking their calls, thanks to the telephone behemoth deciding to replace cranky instruments with funky new ones.

These sleek phones will come with various add-on features, including the much sought-after caller IDs. What’s more, the subscriber need not pay anything extra for incoming numbers to flash on the console like some private players who include it in your bill.

While this is good news, General Manager Commercial V Srinivasan told this website’s newspaper that it would take two-three months before the old instruments are replaced in a phased manner.

“The tender process to procure new instruments is already on. We should start replacing the phones in about three months’ time,” he added.

These machines will have fast dialling, hands-free dialling, illuminated panels, a memory to store up to 25 numbers and a clock that rings in change along with a choice of colourful handsets.

Of course, there is a rider. Only those individual connections with a bill over Rs 1,000 and corporate entities with an average bill of Rs 25,000 will be entitled to a replacement. Others will have to fork out a modest Rs 20 per month as rental to be in step with the neighbour.

BSNL has decided to phase out its outdated dial phone and push button instruments across the country, as there is an invasion in the market, which is flooded with cheap Chinese phones to expensive models with several add-ons.

Bangalore will be one of the first cities where this offer is being made. The city has more than two lakh subscribers who fall in the required category for the department to change instruments.

Sources said it would be done in a phased manner as officers here feel everyone would want to log on to the change. With the new offering, there will be no need to buy fancy handsets when it comes with the basic connection.

Why was ELRTS dropped, ask experts

Why was ELRTS dropped, ask experts
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: The State Government’s decision to go ahead with the metro rail project is a welcome move. But it is yet to explain why it dropped the Elevated Light Rail Transit System after working on it for eight years from 1994-2002.

Experts say many features of the metro are similar to that of the ELRTS, which was much cheaper, more flexible and had the same passenger carrying capacity as that of metro.

“It was dropped on the spur of the moment and no reason was given,” UB Group’s former Senior Corporate vice-president and former ELRTS Project director L Ranganathan told this website’s newspaper.

In 2002 the S M Krishna Government dropped the project, conceived in 1994, when it was ready for implementation. “It offered the same benefits, better capacity and was fully networked across the entire city,” he said.

The Government had selected a private consortium led by UB Group to implement the project and Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services (ILFS) had done a detailed study of the project.

Ranganathan said ELRTS was most suitable for the city and the cost was lower compared to the metro. “With sleek, articulated coaches, it requires lesser turning space,” he said. That meant less land acquisition for ELRTS where the turning radius was just 50 metres, whereas for a standard gauge metro it is 120 metres and for a broad gauge one it is 220 metres.

Another expert and former executive director, Bangalore Mass Rapid Transit Limited (BMRTL) B S C Rao says the two systems are alike. “In fact, the ELRTS is superior to metro,” he said.

According to him, though the Government has dropped the ELRTS it can make use of some of its features to reduce metro rail costs. “Even now, a majority of ELRTS features can be adopted to reduce metro’s costs and make it more people-friendly,” Rao added.

In the ELRTS, entire systems run on elevated structure, while the metro is partially elevated, partially underground and only 0.62 km on surface. “Except for underground system, which is very costly, the other features of metro are similar to ELRTS,” sources said.

The ELRTS alignment was done after consulting people and also to ensure minimum inconvenience to Bangaloreans. The same system and logic should be followed by metro also, sources added.

That apart, the Karnataka Tramways Bill is also pending before the State Government since 2000.

Winds of change in police dept

Winds of change in police dept
New Building To Reflect Bangalore’s IT Image
The Times of India

Bangalore: In line with the swanky look of the Silicon Valley, the Bangalore city police commissionerate building is in for the snazzy IT make-over.

The new five-storeyed building, which is to come up in the present police commissioner’s office premises on Infantry Road, may well be mistaken for an IT/BPO company after it dons the new ‘non-governmental’ look.

To be constructed at a cost of Rs 12.6 crore, the project will be executed through the Karnataka State Police Housing Corporation (KSPHC). Speaking to The Times of India, KSPHC superintending engineer N.S. Ramesh said: “Tenders have been called and the project will be completed in 18 months, probably by mid-2007.’’

The idea of constructing a new building was mooted about six months ago after the police top-brass realised that the present building was getting congested in view of the increased ancillary services, such as the helplines (for women, children and elders) and single window complaint receiving system. The proposed building, designed by a Chennai-based architect, will come up on an area measuring 1,18,328 sq ft.

The basement of the building will have an auditorium with a seating capacity of 200 persons and facilities to park about 20 cars. The ground floor will house a dormitory for reserve constables, a women’s rest room, all the three helplines, a canteen and an ATM. “We decided to house all these in the ground floor as the movement of people here is high. The other floors will not be disturbed’’, Ramesh said.

On the first floor, units such as the city crime records bureau, fingerprints bureau and the special branch will be located. The next three floors will house the office of the police commissioner and that of other senior police officers. The control room will be set up on the fifth floor.

The building will also be equipped with CCTVs, BMS (building maintenance system), LAN wiring and public address system.

“These apart, we are going in for several eco-friendly measures such as rain-water harvesting and solar lighting,’’ Ramesh said. The central portion of the building has been conceived in such a way that it is brightened with natural light. “A lot of futuristic thinking has been done in designing the building,’’ Ramesh said.

The present commissioner’s office, which has traces of a heritage building, will not be demolished, he added.

This time its real: BIAL set for take-off

Devanahalli airport to be ready by 2008
Financial Closure Done
• 30-Month Work To Begin On July 2
The Times of India

Bangalore: Finally, countdown for the construction and completion of the much-awaited Bangalore International Airport at Devanahalli has begun. The work on the airport, to begin on July 2 this year, will last for 30 months. The airport is to be ready on January 2, 2008.

Industries and infrastructure minister P.G.R. Sindhia told reporters here on Monday that all clearances for the construction of international airport have been obtained including the formal declaration of the financial closure by ICICI Bank on June 23.

“The countdown begins from July 2 and we hope to throw open the airport by January 2, 2008. The crucial bank guarantee for the state support was received on June 22 paving way for financial closure. While preliminary enabling works had commenced a few months ago at the site, full fledged activities will start in a few days,’’ Sindhia explained.

According to Sindhia, the BIA is a joint venture project of state government through KSIIDC, union government through Airport Authority of India, Siemens project ventures, Germany, Larsen and Toubro and Zurich Airport as the promoters.

The Rs 1,411.8-crore project will be financed by the ICICI Bank to the tune of 52.1 per cent, support from the state government in the form of any interest free, repayable loan of 24.8 per cent and equity of 23.1 per cent from the shareholders, Sindhia added.

Explaining the project, Bangalore International Airport Authority CEO Albert Brunner said the first phase will comprise 4,000-metre-long runway, taxiways, an apron area with aircraft stands and a terminal building. The land area for the new airport consists of 3,800 acres which enables BIAL to expand the airport whenever the need arises. “There was light at the end of the tunnel and I can see the light now,’’ Brunner said.

Explaining the chronology of the events, infrastructure secretary Vinay Kumar said it took less than one year from the time of signing the concession agreement between Union government, state government and BIAL in declaring the financial closure of the project.

MoU signed between KSIIDC and AAI - May 1999.
Bidders asked to give detailed project report - November 8, 2000.
Siemens led consortium selected by GOK - October 29, 2001.
Share holders agreement - January 20, 2002.
Concession agreement between GoI, GoK and BIAL - July 5, 2004.
State support agreement between GoK-BIAL - January 20, 2005.
Landlease agreement between GoK-BIAL - January 20, 2005.
EPC contracts with Siemens Germany, L&T and Siemens India -March 11, 2005.
Operation and management services agreement between BIAL and Unique Zurich - April 8, 2005.
CNS/ATM agreement between BIAL-AAI - April 6, 2005.
Land lease deeds signed between BIAL-KSIIDC - April 30, 2005.
Extension of shareholders agreement - June 10, 2005.
SBI guarantee to BIAL on state support of Rs 350 crore - June 22, 2005.
Declaration of financial closure by ICICI Bank - June 23, 2005.

Decongestion move taken to court

Decongestion: Let’s see how it works: CJ
Parent Seeks Quashing Of GO n Traffic Case Hearing In July
The Times of India

Bangalore: Is the government right in prohibiting students of centrally located schools in Bangalore from commuting in private vehicles?

A public interest petition against the directive, filed by K.K. Shrinivas of Kasturinagar (Bangalore East), a parent of three children, was admitted for preliminary hearing by the High Court Division Bench comprising Chief Justice N.K. Sodhi and Justice B.S. Patil on Monday.

The court issued notices to the chief secretary, additional secretary (education) and commissioner of police.
While admitting the petition, Justice Sodhi observed: “Let the system run. The idea is to decongest roads. Let’s see how it works. When I travel home I see traffic jams at signals.”

The court will hear the case on July 28.

Shrinivas in his petition sought quashing of the government circular dated May 27 which made it mandatory for all students to use the public transport and prohibited them from commuting in private vehicles exercising powers under Section 133 of the Karnataka Education Act.

This decongestion exercise will begin from July 1.
The petitioner said his children aged below 10 years travelled to private unaided schools — St Anthony’s Primary School and Sacred Heart Girls’ High School, Residency Road. The petitioner was taking his children and another neighbour’s child in his car. But the government circular which was made applicable to only 16 unaided schools prohibits him from taking his children to school in his vehicle under his care and protection. The user of public transport which did not allow parental care and supervision was illegal and did not ensure safety to the children. The respondents had no authority to impose restrictions on the user of private vehicles and Section 133 of the Education Act did not confer such authority to pass such an order.

The petitioner contended that the order was discriminatory as it applied to only 16 schools and was unconstitutional.

HC pulls up BDA over green belt encroachments

HC pulls up BDA
Deccan Herald

Taking the Bangalore Development Authority to task for its failure to protect the green belt area in Bangalore City, the Karnataka High Court on Monday, wondered why the authority was unable to enforce the law to curb encroachment of the green belt area.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice Nauvdip Kumar Sodhi and Justice B S Patil made the observation while hearing the petitions filed by Mr B Krishna Bhat and others of Bangalore in 1997 complaining about failure of BDA to protect the green belt area as per the Comprehensive Development Plan.

The Bangalore Development Authority had filed its statement about 14 months back on the allegations made by the petitioners. While adjourning the hearing to July, the bench asked the Authority why it has no courage to implement the provisions of the law.

Making of city's wards

Making of city's wards

Many of Bangalore's areas get their names from traditional businesses and prominent personalities
The Hindu

The City of Bangalore at the time of establishment of the Municipal Board comprised 54 wards, each of which had their own head called Yajamanas, Settis and whose office was hereditary. Balepet was where the bangle sellers resided, Akkipet for rice sellers, Cottonpet for cotton traders, Upparpet, the salt manufacturers. Similarly in Cantonment, Pottery Street was meant for potters, Bamboo Street for basket makers and Tannery Street for tanners.

In 1892, the Western extension was formed in the city and sites measuring 30 ft by 108 ft was sold community-wise at rates between Rs. 25 and Rs. 50. Here is the break-up of how many sites were distributed to the various communities: Brahmin — 200, Vaisya — 100, Sivachar — 100, Mudaliar, Naidu and other Hindus — 200, Muslims — 100, and Indian Christians — 50

Bungalow sites measuring 90 feet by 108 ft and 120 ft by 108 ft were sold for Rs. 50. This extension was later named as Chamarajendrapet. Similarly another extension in the northern part of the city was formed and named Sheshadripuram, after Diwan Sheshadri Iyer.

New extensions

After the plague havoc, to relieve congestion in the city, two new extensions, Malleswaram, extending to an area of 291 acres and named after the Kaadu Malleswara temple, and Basavanagudi, comprising an area of 440 acres and named after the Basava temple was formed. Here too, sites of various dimensions were sold community-wise.

As the prices of the residential sites that varied between Rs. 75 and Rs. 150 were not affordable by the poorer sections of the city, the rates were revised and fixed at Re. 1 for every 100 sq feet or Rs. 30 for a residential site measuring 30/100.

To encourage construction of houses, the government of Mysore granted an advance of one year's salary to government employees, repayable without interest in four years.

Many parks, markets and circles were named after prominent personalities of the State. The K.R. Market was named after the ruler of Mysore, Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV, who ruled the State from1901 to 1940.

Russell Market

Russell Market near Shivajinagar was named after T.B. Russell, who was the President of Cantonment Municipality between 1924 and 1928. It was he who was responsible for getting through the scheme of that market. Khan Bahadur Hajee Ismail Sait, a philanthropist, opened it on August 5, 1927.

The Coles Park in Frazer town was named after the Resident of Mysore A.H. Coles, while the Silver Jubilee Park near K.R. Market was laid to commemorate the Silver jubilee celebration of the accession of the king of Mysore, Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV, in 1927.

The road on one side of the Park was named Silver Jubilee Park Road and the Road on the other side of the park is named Narasimharaja Road in memory of Narasimharaja Wodeyar, the brother of Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV who passed away in 1940. The Anand Rao Circle was named after Anand Rao, the Diwan of Mysore between 1909 and 1912. The Sajjan Rao Circle was named after the philanthropist Sajjan Rao.

The commercial hub of the city, Avenue Road, was so called as it had rows of trees on either side of the road. In Malleswaram we have the Margosa Road and the Sampige Road as on either side of these Roads Margosa and Champak trees had been planted. The B.V.K. Iyengar Road was opened to give a direct approach Road from Mysore Road to Sheshadri Road. The road was named after B.V.K. Iyengar, who had been the Vice-President of Bangalore Municipal Council for some time. The Municipality had acquired his building "Manorama" for opening the K.G. Road with Chikpet.

In August 1948, the then Governor General of India C. Rajagopalachari inaugurated the Jayanagar extension named after Jayachamarajendra Wodeyar, the last ruler of princely Mysore. On July 3, 1949, the industrial suburb of the city was inaugurated by the Maharaja of Mysore and named as Rajajinagar after C. Rajagopalachari.

Will Metro Rail project throw life out of gear?

Will Metro Rail project throw life out of gear?


Bangalore: Fears abound that the massive Metro rail project would throw life out of gear across the City during its construction process.

Bangalore Mass Rapid Transit Limited managing director K N Srivastava says, "We agree some people may be put to inconvenience and have to relocate during the acquisition period. However, these initial problems are inevitable as the project is in the best interests of the people in the long run. If people in one area want the metro to be realigned, others too will oppose it in their respective areas. Everybody cannot be pleased."

Are the fears justified?
The project entails establishment of six underground stations at the City, Majestic, Central College, Vidhana Soudha, Chickpet and City Market -- the first four areas have a heavy influx of traffic and the last two are densely populated.
How can the traffic at the first four locations and trade and routine life at the last two areas be managed during the construction period remains to be answered. The project report indicates huge amount of earth movement from the area during excavation is inevitable. Each underground station is planned to be 222 metres long, 25 metres wide and 18 to 25 metres deep, which will amount to 14,000 truck-loads per station.

Moreover, construction at Chikpet and City Market stations will be in the most congested and built-up areas of Bangalore, and in close proximity to Vani Vilas Hospital.

Has a detailed plan for construction, including traffic management, been worked out to assess the feasibility of the underground station projects with minimum inconvenience to patients, residents, traders and motorists in these areas?
Construction of an underground station at Majestic threatens to impact KSRTC's operations. Unfortunately, traders in City Market and Chikpet do not have associations as platforms to voice their collective thoughts over the project unlike the CMH Road Traders' Association in Indiranagar.

Kokila Chandrashekar, Chamarajpet corporator, was sceptical about the works in the area which could put the business community in turmoil.

CM seeks funds for urban infrastructure

CM seeks funds for urban infrastructure

Vijay Times News

New Delhi: Chief minister Dharam Singh on Monday strongly advocated the need for liberal central aid for improving the infrastructure in Bangalore and other prominent cities of the state.

In his 11-page address at the mid-term appraisal meeting of the National Development Council he said Karnataka had seen high economic growth with Bangalore emerging as one of the country's main information technology growth centres. However, the city had been facing major infrastructure challenges and it needed huge investments to meet it.

"Mysore, Hubli, Dharwad, Mangalore and Gulbarga too are growing fast and needed special attention. We request assistance for infrastructure development to these cities out of the funds earmarked for national urban renewal mission," he said.
He also requested the Railways to speed up railway projects in Karnataka by providing additional resources. He made special mention of track doubling work between Bangalore and Mysore and wanted the Centre to take up work from Ramanagaram to Mysore immediately.

Bangalore airport work to begin on July 2

Bangalore airport work to begin on July 2
The Hindu Business Line

SIX years after its conception, the new public-private international airport project at Bangalore has completed the last formality of financial closure and is all set to see construction activities begin on July 2.

The airport, coming up at Devanahalli, 40 km from here, will be completed in 30 months and will become operational by April 2008, the MD of Bangalore International Airport Ltd (BIAL), Mr Albert Brunner, and the Karnataka Industries & Infrastructure Minister, Mr P.G.R. Sindhia, announced on Monday .

"We see light at the end of the tunnel," said Mr Brunner, adding that the real big task was now ahead of the company.

Mr Brunner has been at the helm of project affairs since the Siemens-led consortium was chosen in October 2001 to build the airport.

Today's announcement seals the last of the formalities since the genesis of the airport project in May 1999, when the State-owned Karnataka State Industrial Investment and Development Corporation (KSIIDC) and the Airports Authority of India signed an MoU for joint participation. The deadline to take up works shifted several times from 2002 to finally July 2005.

BIAL and lead bank, ICICI Bank, declared the financial closure on June 23, a day after the State Government provided the crucial guarantee for its Rs 350-crore contingency support.

Mr Brunner said first phase would cost Rs 14,11.8 crore, of which ICICI Bank-led lender consortium will provide 52.1 per cent, State Government 24.8 per cent and the five shareholders 23.1 per cent.

Phase 1 will take up a 4,000-meter runway, taxiways, apron area with aircraft stands and a terminal building, all coming up on 3,800 acres of land with provision to expand.

BIAL would develop, design, construct, operate, manage and maintain the airport. All non-aviation activities would be leased out.

BIAL is a joint venture of Siemens Project Ventures (40 per cent); L&T, Zurich Airport (17 per cent each); and public sector partners AAI and KSIIDC (13 per cent each).

B’lore roads to flaunt Volvo buses

B’lore roads to flaunt Volvo buses
Deccan Herald

The Volvo city coaches will hit Bangalore roads at the end of 2005. BMTC will be supplied with 25 buses as a first consignment.

Volvo Buses, the manufacturer of state of the art coaches, is taking a big step in India, the largest city bus market in the world. The company has received its first order for 25 city buses from Bangalore.

In just over three years Volvo’s intercity coaches have captured the minds of Indian bus passengers. There are currently around 750 Volvo coaches on the roads between various cities in India and Bangladesh.

Volvo has become the dominant maker of luxury intercity coaches, which has strengthened Volvo’s brand. Passengers don’t ask to buy a luxury ticket, they ask to buy a Volvo ticket.

“India is fast becoming one of our key markets,” says Rune Lundberg, Senior Vice-President Region International. “The country is already among Volvo Buses’ top ten markets in the world,” he added.

New frontier

This progress will be even stronger as the company is now entering the city bus market. This market has annual sales of 10,000-12,000 city buses each year.

The chassis is the Volvo B7RLE and will be assembled at Volvo’s factory in Bangalore. It has a 7-litre engine that meets the Euro 3 emission regulations. The body is built on the same design as the Volvo 8700, which is currently used in Europe. “Our intercity coaches have already changed the way people perceive luxury coaches in this country,” says Akash Passey, head of Volvo Buses in India. “Now Volvo city buses have the ability to do the same in Indian cities – providing sustainable public transport solutions, that keeps pace with the rapid development and growth of our cities.”

Fruitful BMP meet sees approval for key projects

Fruitful BMP meet sees approval for key projects
Deccan Herald

Sans any discussion, nearly 50 subject matters including a joint venture commercial complex project and extension of the contract period of private garbage collectors, were approved by the Bangalore Mahanagara Palike council on Monday.

The opposition JD(S) and BJP’s uproar over cut in ward grants and the reported change of the name plate of a legislator’s bhavan ensured that the proceedings be so.

The business of the day was over before the opposition set aside their main concerns and yelled that the subject matters shall not be approved when the house was not in order. They pleaded Commissioner Jothiramalingam to explain the said provisions of the law, but the mayor would not relent.

Earlier, when the house got down to business, the BJP demanded clarification on the cut in ward grants. When Rs 1 crore was allotted as ward grants in the budget, the corporators have been recently asked to submit programme of works for Rs 62 lakh, BJP leader in the council B M Mangala noted.

Meanwhile ruling Congress corporators - M Nagaraj and Keshavamurthy provoked the JD(S), chiding it over the reported change of a foundation stone plaque at the Legislator’s Bhavan in Chamarajpet following the JD(S) candidate’s victory in the by-elections. The plaque bearing the name of the previous legislator (a Congress man) has been removed, they alleged. The JD(S) members denied the charge and also took objection to it.

The mayor’s repeated appeal to the members to stick to the listed subjects for the day and save other concerns for the monthly meeting scheduled for Tuesday, did not succeed. The opposition took to the well of the house, shouting slogans against the mayor, while the latter simply proceeded with the listed business.

In effect, the house’s sitting on Monday lasted for just about an hour. Speaking to the media later, the ruling Congress leader B T Srinivasamurthy noted that it was already many months since the subjects had been prepared; delaying their approvals would inconvenience the public.


*Contract period of private garbage collectors extended for a year

*Construction of a 5 storeyed commercial complex at Gandhibazar as a 50:50 joint venture between BMP and M/s C S Holdings Pvt Ltd.

*Property tax adalats to woo those who are fighting legal battles against the BMP and try for out of court settlements

*Rs 31.61 crore package III work on remodelling of Vrishabhavathi valley storm water drains tendered to M/s NPCC (National Projects Construction Company)

*Rs 930 lakh worth of additional upgradation work on pavements given to Karnataka Land Army Corporation.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Infosys sets up luxury hotel

Infosys sets up luxury hotel

Press Trust of India

Perennial traffic problems in Bangalore and high hotel tariff and occupancy rate here are prompting some city-headquartered software biggies to think in terms of owning a hotel on their own for clients and visitors.

Nasdaq-listed Infosys Technologies, for example, is the first to get off the blocks. The information technology major has set up an in-house 500 room hotel-like complex christened 'Le Terrace', equivalent to a four-star hotel, for its clients and visitors coming to Bangalore.

The hotel is managed by the company, which had 36,750 employees of 53 nationalities in different parts of the world, mostly in Bangalore, as on March 31 this year.

The five-storeyed Rs 40 crore (Rs 400 million) project has come up on the 275,000 sq ft area in the electronic city campus.

According to an Infosys official, former F&B Head of Hotel Leela Palace, Jean Michel Jasserand, will start a French restaurant in the property.

"The residence will house the board of directors when they visit for meetings. The rooms are available to conference attendees and out of station employees as well", an Infosys spokesperson told PTI.

"Le Terrace already has 120-130 guests staying in the hotel, including guests from overseas", she said. "Along the lines of the five-star hotels in India, the rooms, including suites, are likely to have best of facilities like wireless connectivity and high-end plasma TVs".

Infosys said there were several factors that it took into account before deciding to set up the Infosys residence in its Bangalore campus.

"Today, we have over 36,000 employees worldwide. Bangalore being the headquarters of the company, a number of employees need to travel to Bangalore for training, meetings, client visits and presentations," a senior Infosys executive said.

"Hotel occupancy being high in Bangalore, we are finding it difficult to get suitable accommodation for our employees. In addition to that, the transit time taken to commute from a hotel to the campus or vice-versa, is long and is marked with traffic congestion and delays. Hence, it made sense to build our residence block here", the official said.

In fact, some of the Infosys' clients also expressed their desire to stay closer to the campus because of the commute time and the lack of easy availability of hotel accommodation. "Bearing in mind these factors we decided to build the Infosys residence in the campus", the official said.

Koramangala’s one-way maze a boon for bovines

Koramangala’s one-way maze a boon for bovines
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: The one-way maze that took residents of Koramangala by surprise has not yielded good results. The system imposed on Sarjapur road and Hosur road nearly two months back, has helped stray cattle to use the road more efficiently than motorists.

The vegetable market located on the service road of Sarjapur road, that connects to Hosur road, is turning into a major problem for motorists. Due to the market, people from nearby areas venture into the area, park cars and motorcycles on the main road causing traffic congestion.

If this is not enough, the huge pile of garbage on the road attracts bovines. Suresh, a software engineer residing in Koramangala says, “Stray cattle are creating trouble. They come right in front of moving vehicles, posing a threat to themselves as well as the motorists. Chances of accidents are very high.”

Arti, working in Electronic City says, “There is no way one can avoid these roads. We are taking a great risk by driving here as the road is occupied by pedestrians, garbage and animals. People literally come and stand on the main road to board buses.” DCP Traffic, East, M.A. Saleem said,” The purpose of introducing one-ways was to keep the vendors away from the main road. We had plans of shifting the market from the current location” he said. However, the BCC that had pledged to shift the market has turned a blind eye.

Meanwhile, residents of nearby colonies have a different story to tell. The market on the Sarjapur road is located behind three residential colonies, Survey of India, CPWD quarters and Kudremukh. Residents are complaining of motorists using the colonies as short cuts.

A security guard said, “Men are deployed at each gate to check on motorists. But it is highly difficult to differentiate between a stranger and a resident. Many use colonies as a shortcut to reach the Madiwala road.” Residents and motorists say, they are caught between the ‘devil and the deep sea’.

Kalasipalyam Bus Stand to be commercial complex

Kalasipalyam Bus Stand to be commercial complex
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: Public-Private Partnership is the new mantra to increase non-tax revenue of Bangalore City Corporation (BCC). EWS colony, Garuda complex, Malleswaram Market, Johnson Market and now Kalasipalyam Bus stand will be covered.

In two years’ time the unkempt Kalasipalyam area would be an upmarket bus terminus with a commercial complex.

Although the official process to convert the Kalasipalyam bus stand into a state-of-the-art Inter State Bus Terminus (ISBT), complete with a commercial complex and parking facility, was started way back in 2003. The project has been delayed even though the civic body has shortlisted the contractor.

Based on the recommendations of IDECK, BCC invited pre-qualification bids in 2003 and 17 firms responded. Eleven were shortlisted and asked to submit project proposals to develop the property on Build Operate and Transfer (BOT) model with a lease period of 15 years for the bus stand.

Only one firm, Ramky Infrastructure Ltd, complied and submitted the project proposal in December 2003. The firm proposed to develop a 32,150-square metre bus stand on the ground floor with a space of 6,250 square metres for passenger movement.

The project would have passenger facilities on the mezzanine floor, a parking area located on the first floor, a commercial complex on the second and office space on the fourth.

BCC has accepted Ramky’s proposal for a 17-year lease on the bus stand and 36 years for its commercial space but has invited the contractor for renegotiations.

Ramky has not responded so far and re-tendering will have to be resorted to soon, said BCC sources.

BCC sources said that the developer would spend Rs. 23.52 crore on the project and it will be ready in two years. The cost of the bus stand will be Rs. 8.8 crore. Further, the civic body will get a revenue of Rs. 1.30 crore from the project and no public money is involved, sources said.

Residents’ unique initiative to clear roads

Residents’ unique initiative to clear roads
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: Here is a good example of public-private partnership that city residents’ associations can emulate to keep traffic violators in check.

The Koramangala initiative, an association of local residents, has decided to get down to brass tacks and fight traffic congestion in partnership with the police. It has put its resources together and organised a tow vehicle for the city police. A traffic Sub-Inspector will be deployed along with the vehicle, which will move along Koramangala roads and remove or fine vehicles violating parking rules.

The problem in this Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) layout here is that the area has grown from being a posh residential place to one where offices and eateries have come up illegally as both the BDA and BCC allowed residents to convert their properties into commercial buildings. As the authorities turned a blind eye, commercial buildings mushroomed and parking has now become a problem and roads remain congested.

“We have written to BCC and traffic police not to permit parking on main roads, cross roads and on footpaths, but they seem to be helpless. So we have now decided to partner the police,” Maj (rtd) Pramod Kapoor told this website’s newspaper.

From July 1, the tow vehicle will do the rounds. “The vehicle is currently being fabricated. We are fitting a low jack, which will help lift the errant vehicle on its axle without damaging the bumpers. Additional Police Commissioner (Traffic and Security) K.V.R. Tagore who approved our idea will inaugurate the initiative,” Kapoor said.

Providing a tow vehicle is not all that the residents have initiated. They have also promised senior police officers managing the city’s chaotic traffic that they will provide assistance to the policemen manning particular junctions. This apart, to find a solution, the Koramangala Initiative is also getting a traffic study of the area done in an attempt to find answers to the chaos. The study team will cover traffic problems and also talk to the BCC, BDA and other government departments and get their views on the lop sided development.

Bangalore is South’s worst in narcotic abuse

Bangalore is South’s worst in narcotic abuse, says NCB
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: Bangalore is the worst among capital cities in the South when it comes to narcotics. Blame it on the cosmopolitan culture of the city and youth aflush with money.

“A peddler in Bangalore sells at least 200 tablets of Ecstasy and 10 gm of cocaine over a weekend,” Shankar Jiwal, Director, NCB South Zonal Unit, Chennai, told this website’s newspaper. Cocaine and Ecstasy are making inroads while street drugs like marijuana and heroin are picking up, he said.

“In cities like Chennai and Hyderabad, moral policing is stricter. So is the nightlife. On MG Road, there is activity till three or four in the morning,” Jiwal said.

With BPO and IT jobs offering high salaries, youth are now able to afford expensive narcotics and a lifestyle of pubs and discos. Last year, the NCB raided a party held at a farmhouse across the Tamil Nadu border near Hosur and were in for a surprise. They found a large quantity of contraband -- cannabis, mushrooms, cocaine and Ecstasy and the revellers were between 18 and 30.

“We profiled these youth. Some were young girls whose parents do not bother about the late hours or those broken away from their families and staying alone.

There was one girl who came to Bangalore to study but she joined a call centre and she blew most of her earnings on drugs. She had come to the party because she was told there were free drugs,” Jiwal said. Such parties continue to take place regularly.

On Sunday, the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking was observed with the theme —Value yourself... make healthy choices.

“School and college curriculum should formally apprise the younger generation of the two faces of drugs -- the dream world that soon turns into a nightmare,” Jiwal said, adding that parents also need to be educated. In fact many would not know the difference between different addictions.

“The usual attitude is: ‘my kids would never do so’. Drug abuse is not restricted to any strata of society. Rich kids pulling cocaine for Rs. 5,000 a night are no better than Rs. 150 heroin chasers on the streets,” he said.

“Making a healthy choice can be facilitated by a well drawn educative programme with a strong rehabilitation back-up. If the message against AIDS can be carried to all levels and sections of society, why not the fight against drug abuse?

“More so when highest incidents of contacting AIDS through injections is amongst intravenous drug abusers.”

Plant sapling, save TG Halli

Plant sapling, save TG Halli
The Times of India

Bangalore: A year after a couple of NGOs began a project to rejuvenate Tippagondanahalli (T.G. Halli) catchment area, another organisation has come forward to do the same.

This time, Parisara, the NGO, has tied up with BWSSB to help citizens participate in the ‘re-greening’ process. By paying Rs 500, a citizen gets to have a sapling planted in her/his name, and for the next five years, Parisara will take care of the sapling’s growth. The project area comprises 300 acres downstream of T.G. Halli reservoir.

At the official launch on Sunday, Parisara member Eshwar Prasad said the idea is to plant saplings of jackfruit, mango, jamun and species of ficus (fig). Additional chief secretary Vijay Gore planted a sapling in his mother’s name and said the rejuvenation, if successful, will convert the area into a veritable ‘oxygen factory’. BWSSB chairman S.K. Pattanayak echoed his views.

The project is being coordinated by Spoorthivana Trust, which will have Gore as a member. Organisers hope, it will become a mass movement and Prasad for one, wants to plant 20,000 saplings on the 300-acre project area.
But will the scheme succeed? Just a year ago, another NGO, Navachetana Trust, had a similar programme in the same area. Later, however, the programme Project Vananjali seemed to lose momentum. When questioned about it, BWSSB officials said the programme has shifted to Hessarghatta lake.

At the moment, Spoorthivana’ programme is to be held every Sunday and is open to all.
Contact Prasad on 9448077019 or email:

BMA is here

All-in-one civic body is here
The Times of India

Bangalore: Citizens can hope for better services with the government breathing life into the Bangalore Metropolitan Authority (BMA), an umbrella agency that coordinates all of Bangalore civic bodies.

After procrastination and a missive from the high court, the government has decided to accelerate the BMA work.
Sources said chief minister N. Dharam Singh has directed urban development department secretary M. Shamim Banu to work out the modalities for the formation of BMA. “The urban development department is working on the guidelines to form the body, composition, jurisdiction of work, powers, finances aspect and recruitments. The department is studying a similar experiment done in other cities,’’ sources said.

When the Bangalore Metropolitan Region Development Authority (BMRDA), an autonomous body, was formed in 1985, the organisation was perceived to be a coordinating agency. But its jurisdiction was different — planning, coordinating and supervising the orderly development of the areas within the Bangalore Metropolitan Region comprising Bangalore Urban, Bangalore Rural districts and Malur taluk of Kolar district. As per law, BMRDA takes the lead in chalking out urban development polices and also has to act as an umbrella organisation for the planning authorities.

But the proposed BMA will have under it BCC, BDA, Bescom, BWSSB, BSNL, traffic, BMTC and BMRDA. “Every project that has to be implemented in the city will be finalised by BMA after holding discussions with the authorities concerned. This, to avoid duplication of work and ensure that the project does not suffer. A clear example is the road-digging work taken up in the city. The same roads are dug up frequently to lay utility cables by different organisations, which brings down the life span,’’ sources stated.

Some instances of civic agencies working at cross purposes:

• The 100-ft district main road connecting Old Madras Road to Varthur via C.V. Raman Nagar and Kaggadasapura has shrunk to a mere 18 feet due to encroachments. None knows how to tackle the problems — BCC, PWD or National Highways. The area comes under BCC but the road is maintained by PWD.

• Sarjapur Road was a mess. The road falls under PWD’s maintenance, but the area is under a gram panchayat. The stretch was deplorable and the government had to set up a task force to take up a road project.

• Till Metro junction on Kanakapura road, the stretch is asphalted. Further up towards Kanakapura, there is no road. Because, the latter part of the stretch does not belong to BCC but to a CMC. So, the development stops there.

Only a house is a home

The Garden City metaphor’s stuck in the Bangalorean mind and some youngsters still prefer a house to a flat
The Times of India

BANGALORE’S skyline’s changing and highrises are here to stay, their plus points over-ruling the minus for most. Yet, there is a resolute number of local Bangaloreans who hold on tenaciously to the idea of living in an independent house of their own. What’s surprising is that this aspiration exists among the younger generation.

Ranjandas, 27, a software professional cannot imagine living in a flat. He has it all worked out: “I prefer an independent house because I can build an additional floor whenever I want to.” The lure of even just a handkerchief-sized garden is too strong for the true

Bangalorean to resist, since this is Garden City. Says Ranjan, “Even on a small plot of 1,200 sqft, I can have a tiny garden of 400-800 sqft. Not so in a flat.” The biggest problem about flats, according to him, is lack of privacy. “You talk of security in a flat, but how much do you interact with neighbours there? Do you know them at all? Most of the time, you avoid them.” For Hemamalini Maiya, it’s the sense of rootedness that exists in an individual home that appeals and explains why she lives in one. “There’s a sense of belonging in a house. You can create your own space, you have the freedom to do whatever you like; with a flat you can’t do much. I can’t live in a closed space, and I can’t have all that noise, and all those people going up and down all the time. But my relatives in Mumbai live in apartments and they enjoy the sense of community they have. They prefer that to feeling isolated in an independent house.” The garden is also an important issue for her, though she adds that if she were living alone, she’d prefer a flat for security reasons.

For Sindhu Shyam, a young mother of two, who lives in a flat, security is an issue. “Also I don’t have to bother about maintenance and plumbing or power shutdown. The kids are safe since it’s a closed compound, they also have more friends of their own age around. This may not have been possible had we lived in an individual house.” But still she hankers after one, with a little garden.

Ranjan raises another point: “What’s the life of a flat? A few years. On the other hand, you can expect to lead another generation of your own in your own house.”

Sociology expert, GK Karanth, sums it up: “Though there is a growing demand for flats, those who prefer houses do so for several reasons. The economics: a good flat at a convenient location works up to Rs 35-50 lakh. So buying a site or an old house and modifying it is less expensive. Bangaloreans have an obsession with open spaces since the cultural image of Bangalore is one of a compound with trees and a garden, an image of a leisurely life.”

Also, the demographics of those who come to Bangalore from outside: they usually are the software population, generally, a couple. They find it convenient in terms of company, security, linguistic multiplicity and cultural plurality.”

BDA all set for CDP plan feedback

BDA all set for CDP plan feedback
The Times of India

Bangalore: With the government approving BDA’s revised Master Plan-2005, the authority is ready for feedback from the
public before the comprehensive development plan (CDP) is finalised.

The five volumes of CDP, with accompanying maps and documents, will be on display for the public some time this week.

Initially, BDA had said the display would begin on Monday. Now, however, officials said the programme will be delayed by a couple of more days.

“There are some technical issues to be sorted out but we will make an announcement on the new schedule. It will happen some time in the middle of the coming week,’’ BDA commissioner M.N. Vidyashankar told The Times of India on Sunday.

The draft plan covers 1,306 km, comprising the Bangalore City Metropolitan Area along with seven city municipal councils, one town municipal council and 387 villages.

BDA had earlier said a power-point presentation of the plan followed by an interactive session twice a day will be undertaken. The BDA website and e-pragati kiosks at the BDA head office on Chowdaiah Road and at HBR complex contain feedback forms.

Achtung baby, Germans are here

Achtung baby, Germans are here
With Beethoven, Oktoberfest, Potato Salad And Engineering
The Times of India

Bangalore: When the Scorpions performed at Palace Grounds to a roaring audience, the rock regulars in the city had a revelation. Tall, broadshouldered men and women speaking in a guttural lingo ruled the roost, making their presence felt, like loud.

The Germans are here in swelling numbers and by consensus, well-settled with their engineering designs. Unlike the Tibetans and Nepalese who immigrated for political and economic reasons or the researching Americans, the Germans are here mostly because of the call of the vocation. And the minor exodus to Bangalore was thanks largely to the structural and engineering boom in industries. Germans in the city themselves put their populace at 300 dotting nooks at Koramangala, Indiranagar, Vasanthnagar.

The day starts with a Guten Morgen (Good Morning), an Indo-Bavarian breakfast later, the Jurgens, Bergs are ready to take the famed German engineering mind to a different paradigm. And for sure, memories of Munich, Duesseldorf, Hamburg linger, but apparently they have been happily reframed with English suppers at Koshy’s, hanging out at Max Mueller Bhavan’s Cafe Schorlemmer, idlis and dosas and attending Bharatanatyam performances.

Christiane Harjes who has been in Bangalore for three years now, says the city has a special charm making it easier for expats to settle down. “My husband is with the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board. The book-shops, coffee-shops, libraries, the very easy atmosphere puts any foreigner at ease in no time. Siemens and MICO Bosch have a large number of Germans. We don’t really have a formal community but we often network at cafes and at festivals like Easter or Oktoberfest.’’

Because the Germans are largely perceived as arrogant and finicky about everything including food, cuisine is often a topic of discussion. Axel Schorlemmer who runs an eponymous cafe at the Max Mueller Bhavan explains: “I’ve known India for a long time. In Germany we have plenty of Indians. The cafe is actually for Indians who want to have a taste of Germany. The potato pancakes which are popular in Germany are relished by Bangaloreans here.’’

Max Mueller Bhavan, a meeting place or linkage betwixt the two cultures, offers a patch of home to German expats living here. As Bhavan’s programme coordinator Maureen Gonsalves says: “There are books, magazines, newspapers in German here.’’

Christiane says she loves listening to Gangubai Hangal “without understanding the lyrics.’’ Much like we groove to Rammstein’s anthemic Du Hast. Guten Tag, mein herr.

The numbers: About 300
Places: Mostly Koramangala, Indiranagar, Vasanthnagar, Lavelle Road, Airport Road
Vocation: Engineers, structural designers, automobile industry
Major festivals: Easter, Christmas, Oktoberfest
Popular German jargon: Guten Tag (good day), Achtung (pay attention), Tschus (bye)