Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Open underpass for the public’

Open underpass for the public’
The Times of India

Bangalore: Barely a few days after the Rajajinagar Entrance underpass was inaugurated by CM Dharam Singh and declared open to the public, BJP members staged a protest on Tuesday.

Their contention was that the underpass was completed after an unreasonable delay and yet has not been completely thrown open to the public. Only a section of the underpass, ie, one-way from Rajajinagar towards Anand Rao Circle is functional as has been the norm for two years now. The demonstration was monitored by a posse of police. But nothing could prevent the ensuing traffic jam on an already chock-a-block road. The demonstration added to the chaos and commuters had to wait and watch. The BMP maintains that the Rajajinagar underpass road needs to be straightened near Khoday’s circle and until then the movement would be one-way.

Property price rise slows down

Property price rise slows down
Supply Of Residential and Commercial Spaces Outstrips Demand
The Times of India

Bangalore: Rapid growth in supply of property has substantially tamed the scorching pace of growth in real estate prices that Bangalore saw in 2003, 2004 and early 2005.

The phenomenon is visible across the city in both residential and commercial property. In some cases like Whitefield and Electronic City, prices have actually taken a dip.

“In 2004 and up to the first quarter of 2005, we saw rates of growth in residential property prices of 25 per cent every six months. That is over. In fact, prices in most cases have not gone up significantly in the last six months,” says Manisha Grover, associate director in property consultancy Jones Lang LaSalle India (JLL). She says it’s partly because of the rains, which has affected demand, but mostly because there’s lots of supply streaming constantly into the market.

According to a study by JLL of the top 25 developers (who account for about 80 percent of the residential units offered in Bangalore), more than 10,000 units were launched or under construction in 2004 in suburban Bangalore and 7,500 units in just the first six months of 2005, compared to less than 4,000 in 2003. In secondary areas of Bangalore (between the city centre and suburban areas), the number of units launched/under-construction in 2004 doubled to over 2,000, while this year, that figure was reached in the first six months.

It’s a similar trend in commercial property. In Whitefield, while demand for A-grade (high quality) space this year has been phenomenal at over 2.5 million sqft (more than for the whole of Mumbai city), the supply has been even more so. According to Ankur Srivastava, MD of property consultancy DTZ Debenham Tie Leung, the supply in Whitefield in the next 18 to 24 months would easily be 7 mn sqft, and may even go up to 10 mn sqft.

He says prices in Electronic City too are dipping, partly because of an over supply, but also because of the fear that the construction of the road-on-stilts from the Silk Board junction to Electronic City will create a nightmarish situation during the construction period.

Prices of commercial property in areas around Sarjapur Road, the outer ring road between Marathahalli and Sarjapur Road, Koramangala, Indiranagar, the intermediate ring road, Bannerghatta Road and the Bagmane Tech Park in C V Raman Nagar are still going up, but more slowly than earlier. Sarjapur Road is seen to be benefiting from the road widening project and the proposed hi-tech city.

The northern areas around Hebbal lake were badly flooded during the recent rains, so several potential occupiers are seen to be rethinking their plans for that area.

As for the central business district, rates are still going up because of lack of quality residential and commercial space. And Nitesh Estates managing director Nitesh Shetty says there is continuous demand coming for commercial space from companies in areas like finance, insurance, consultancy and airlines. But lots of space will come into the market once Hewlett-Packard, Philips and McAfee complete their planned move to the suburbs and when UB City is ready. It could then be a different story.

Work orders issued for road repair

Work orders issued for road repair

The Hindu

# KLAC asked to carry out works on 11 roads under fast track scheme
# Seven roads to be strengthened under Karnataka Municipal Reform Project

BANGALORE: The Bangalore Mahanagara Palike on Monday issued work orders to contractors for improvement of 20 roads in the city. This includes the work of repairing three roads, which were badly affected during the recent heavy rains, and some roads that the multinational companies have been terming as in bad condition.

The BMP issued work orders to KNR Constructions for strengthening and rehabilitation of seven roads under Karnataka Municipal Reform Project, which is being funded by the World Bank.

This includes the 2.5-km stretch of Kammanahalli Main Road; 3.8 km of Ejipura Main Road near Infant Jesus Church; 2.4 km road from N.R. Square to Hosur Road; 5.15 km of Bannerghatta Road; 1.7 km of Kathriguppe Main Road; 2.9 km of Padarayanapura Main Road; and 8.5 km for Magadi Road from Karnataka Bhavan. The estimate of the work on the seven roads is Rs. 31.49 crores.

The BMP has asked the Karnataka Land Army Corporation to carry out works on 11 roads under the fast track scheme. This scheme was chalked out after multinational companies complained about the poor state of infrastructure in the city. Among the 11 works that the KLAC will take up include asphalting of the 1.3 km stretch of M.G. Road between Brigade Road Junction and Trinity Circle Junction and 1.2 km of Dickenson Road. The other works are up-gradation of side walk and asphalting 2.6 km stretch of Airport Road, 1.6 km of Jeevanbheema Nagar Road, 1.5 km of Koramangala 20th Main Road, 0.86 km of Magrath Road, .75 km of Commissariat Road, 2 km of Old Madras Road, 1.85 km of Indiranagar 12th Main Road and 1 km of Koramangala 1st A Cross Road.

The KLAC was also assigned the work of repairing three roads affected during the flash floods. They are the 700-metre stretch of the Silver Jubilee Park Road at a cost of Rs. 2.2 Crores, seven-km of Kaggadasapura Road at Rs. 3.8 crores; and 6.2 km of S.T. Bed Road at Rs. 4 crores. The Chief Minister gave the letter for credit at a function held on Monday.

Arkavathy Layout work to resume today

Arkavathy Layout work to resume today

The Hindu

Project cost estimated to increase by 10 to 15 per cent

# Work will begin in over 1,640 acres of land spread over 22 packages
# BDA yet to take possession of 220 acres of land
# Letters to short-listed applicants to be issued from Wednesday

BANGALORE: After an eight-month halt, work is all set to resume on the 20,000-site Arkavathy Layout from Wednesday. The work will begin in over 1,640 acres of land spread over 22 packages.

The Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) is yet to take possession of 220 acres of land and the High Court has granted owners of 798 acres of land 90 days time to decide what they would like to do with their property.

As a first step, a BDA Executive Engineer says the dense overgrowth in the region will be cut down. Since April this year, work on the layout has come to a complete standstill. "The vegetation in the region has really become dense, it will take us a day to cut it down and level the area again," says the engineer.

A few patches of the roads will also be re-laid on priority basis, the engineer says. "Because of the heavy rains, a few patches of roads have been damaged and many storm water drains are clogged. We will take care of these first."

The BDA completed over 40 per cent of the work before the single judge order in April questioned its authority in land acquisition. Over 54.8 crores had been spent in the first phase of the work that involved road formation, laying of storm water drains and culverts, erection of site area border stones and signage. To all practical purposes, the layout would have been ready to be occupied by now, but for the legal and other hurdles that had to be overcome. For the allottees, the delay may well mean having to spend more for their homes.

A BDA official says the project cost is estimated to go up by 10 to 15 per cent because of the repairs that the BDA has to undertake and the extra compensation that they have to pay the contractors.

The BDA hopes to issue the letters to the 20,000 short-listed applicants from Wednesday. The allotment committee met on Tuesday to decide the issue.

Japanese urged to invest in Bangalore

Japanese urged to invest in Bangalore

The Hindu

Chief Minister says investors can choose areas of their choice and expertise

# Dharam Singh stresses long-standing relationship between State, Japan
# Government to extend help to make the investment profitable
# Sindhia makes presentation on industrial development of State

BANGALORE: As part of its move to improve infrastructure in Bangalore, the Government on Tuesday sought financial and technical support from the Japanese for the proposed metro rail project, which will cost Rs. 5,600 crores.

Chief Minister N. Dharam Singh sought Japanese investment while addressing a 30-member Japanese delegation headed by Chairman of Nippon Keidnren and Toyota Motor Corporation Board Okuda Hirioshi here.

He also invited Japanese large-, medium- and small-scale investors to invest in areas of their choice and expertise. The Government will extend all possible help to make their investment profitable and productive, he said.

Referring to the long-standing relationship between the State and Japan, Mr. Singh said Japanese foreign direct investment in the State has touched Rs. 2,032 crores covering 1,561 projects .

Well-known Japanese companies such as Toyota, Yokagawa, Sony, Sanyo, Komatsu, Hitachi, Yuken, Yuasa and Denso have been major players in their respective sectors here, he added. On the other hand, many information technology companies from the State have taken up business ventures in Japan.

The State has been a leader in the country in many areas such as IT, biotechnology, engineering, automobiles, apparels and textiles, pharmaceuticals, food processing, steel and cement. In an effort to back its investment proposals, the Government has cleared projects worth Rs. 78,032 crores, Mr. Singh said.

Welcoming the gathering, Finance Minister P.G. R. Sindhia presented a comprehensive picture of the industrial and infrastructure development of the State.

A video presentation on the industry, agriculture, tourism and related areas that have been supporting industrial growth and economy of the State, was also made on the occasion.

In his reply, Mr. Okuda Hirioshi said the delegation is impressed by the State's policy and achievements. Japan is keen on expansion and cooperation, he added.

Later, speaking to presspersons, Mr. Singh said he will hold detailed discussions with the delegation on Wednesday focusing on the 33-km Bangalore metro rail project.

Autos running on adulterated fuel causing concern

Autos running on adulterated fuel causing concern

The Hindu

Such fuel results in emissions containing carbon monoxide, sulphur, sulphur dioxide and lead

# Care for Air campaign launched
# Initiative is to create awareness on pollution
# Polluted air is major cause for global warming
# Training is being given to students on measures to reduce pollution

Bangalore: Pollution should be considered a crime and action should be taken against those who are responsible for it.

The Transport Department and the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board have to chart out measures for prevention and control of pollution in Bangalore city.

The President of Eco Watch, Suresh Heblikar, told The Hindu that there is a need for more emphasis on vehicle emission control.

Autorickshaws running on adulterated fuel are causing concern. Diesel and petrol are mixed with kerosene and used engine oils.

Oil is extracted when four-wheelers are taken to garage. Yet another source for used oil adulteration is factories that use oil. Besides recycled oil, thinners and lubricants are used for adulteration.

This means these vehicles emit pollutants such as carbon monoxide, sulphur, sulphur dioxide and lead. Besides toxic minute particulate matter has become hazardous to human health.

Eco Watch Foundation in association with Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB), Transport Department, All India Radio, Philips, Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum, MICO-BOSCH, Centre for Environment Education, Max Mueller Bhavan, Environment and Health Foundation, Indian Society for Environmental Studies and the Energy Research Institute have initiated a campaign under the theme "Care for Air" to create awareness on pollution.

Polluted air is the major cause of global warming. The high number of vehicles has led to diminishing green cover in the city and vehicular pollution has become a serious health issue. Hence, Eco Watch in association with the Transport Department and KSPCB will conduct vehicular emission checks across the city.

Air Quality Monitoring training will be provided to students where they will learn the techniques and methods involved in studying the quality of air, levels of pollution, ambient air quality and also about the possible measures to reduce air pollution.

Under the National Ambient Air Quality Monitoring (NAAQM) network, three air pollutants — suspended particulate matter, sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide — have been identified for regular monitoring across the city.

According to Rajesh, pulmonologist, hydrocarbons emitted by automobiles are toxic and react with haemoglobin in the blood.

The effect of nitrogen is adverse and in most of the cases permanent. It increases children's susceptibility to diseases such as influenza. Sulphur dioxide in the air spreads air acidity and corrodes buildings. It causes irritation to the respiratory systems.

Heart may be damaged by air pollution. Nitrogen dioxide results in pulmonary oedema and aggravation of coronary disease. Toxic effects of lead pollution include impaired IQ development defects in children.

Peripheral road of BMIC to be ready by July next year

Peripheral road of BMIC to be ready by July next year

The Hindu

Motorists may have to pay Re. 1 as toll for every kilometre

BANGALORE: After years of legal wrangles, clearance delays and much else, the Bangalore-Mysore Infrastructure Corridor (BMIC) Project will finally take off in July next year.

The first phase, comprising the 41-km southern section of the peripheral road connecting Tumkur Road and Hosur Road, the nine-kilometre link road from Bangalore-Mysore Expressway to Mysore Road and the elevated three-kilometre expressway from link road to downtown Bangalore, will be thrown open to traffic.

Being developed by Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprises Limited (NICE), the peripheral road will essentially be grade-separated, access-controlled four and six-lane toll roads, that never intersect with any cross road. The road will be fenced all along, with access limited only through the 16 interchanges.

To get onto the tolled section of the road, motorists will have to pay about a rupee for every kilometre. But surveys indicate that the advantages of using the road outweigh the costs. For instance, the peripheral road stretch connecting Bannerghatta Road with Hosur Road is expected to vastly reduce the commuting distance and time, particularly for people on Bannerghatta Road bound for Electronics City.

A study has revealed that not less than 40,000 vehicles ply on the Bannerghatta Road stretch between Meenakshi Temple and Indian Institute of Management. These vehicles are mostly of people employed in software and BPO firms based in Electronics City.

Now, if these vehicles were to take the existing route, passing through IIMB, Jayadeva Flyover, down BTM Layout and the Silk Board flyover, the travelling distance would be about 12 km one way. The travel time will be an average of 70 minutes. The completed NICE Peripheral road is likely to cut the distance to 8.7 km.

Here's how the Peripheral Ring Road stretch from Bannerghatta Road to Kanakpura road changes the traffic dynamics: The existing route is 17.8 km long, with 18 cross roads/junctions and three traffic signals. Taking the peripheral road, the distance is likely to be reduced to 6.7 km with no junctions or signals in between.

The difference that the peripheral road can make to travel is much more pronounced on its stretch from Kanakapura Road to Mysore Road. Here, the travel time of 70 minutes on the existing route is likely to be reduced to five minutes.

There are 23 junctions and eight traffic signals on the existing route and none on the proposed road, which is 8.2 km compared to the 23.2 km on the present route.

From Mysore Road to Magadi Road, the existing travel distance of 16.7 km is likely to be brought down to 9.5 km on the peripheral road and the travel time is likely to be reduced from 55 to six minutes.

On the new road's stretch from Magadi Road to Tumkur Road, the commuting time is only 4.5 minutes, down from 65 minutes on the existing route. Also avoided are 15 junctions and four traffic signals.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

And you wonder at the state of the city

I am satisfied with my work: Mayor
Deccan Herald

He began his term with a bang - introducing free parking for vehicles. As he bows out of the office, parking fee may be on its way in.

On Monday, his last day in office Mayor R Narayanaswamy noted that he stands by his action and leaves it at that: free parking in Bangalore. At the same time, Bangalore Mahanagara Palike Commissioner K Jothiramalingam made it a point to note that the BMP is very much in receipt of a communication from the Bangalore City Traffic Police, seeking a rethink on free parking.

The above formed the highlight of the press conference, called by the outgoing mayor on Monday evening. ‘I am satisfied with the work I have been able to do’ was by far the only other comment or statement from Mr Narayanaswamy on the occasion. He left it to the officials to brief the media on the achievements of his term.

Both the officials and the outgoing mayor seemed to prefer that arrangement.

A presentation was made on the occasion.

One more promise here

One more promise here
The Times of India

Bangalore: Responding to the feverish pitch of cries about bad roads, the BMP has taken up strengthening, rehabilitating of various roads spread across the city. Announcing this on Monday at the inauguration of Bhavi Park in Jayanagar, BMP commissioner K Jothiramalingam delineated the various roads, schemes and deadlines.

Even as he spelt out the different roads, CM Dharam Singh instructed the BMP that their work had to have a high level of visibility.

Singh also appealed to citizens not to get frustrated as “infrastructure cannot come up overnight.’’

Under the Fast Track Scheme works a total of 17.26 km of roads will be taken up. To ensure that it is actually ‘fast track’ the agency which will be implementing the road-beautifying drive has been exempted from the Transparency Act No 1999. The 11 arterial or main roads include M G Road, Airport Road, Commisariat Road, Indiranagar, Koramangala, among others. The nature of work includes upgradation of side-walks, asphalting, providing bituminous concrete. The total cost — Rs 11.26 crore.

Under the flood relief scheme, severely damaged roads within city limits will get a complete facelift. The Karnataka Land Army Corporation, would be taking up three bad roads. Silver Jubilee Park Road (700 mts), Kaggdaspur Road (7 kms) and S T Bed Road would be done.

Elsewhere, Bangalore urban district incharge minister R Ramalinga Reddy told reporters, “A massive pothole filling exercise will be launched from Wednesday, we have released Rs 10 crore for the purpose.”

GPS system for police patrol vehicles; tenders close

GPS system for police patrol vehicles; tenders close
Deccan Herald

The much-awaited Global Positioning System (GPS) for patrol vehicles of the Bangalore police is all set to become a reality now.Initiated in 1999 by the then Bangalore Police Commissioner Revanasiddaiah, the project had taken a back seat in the annual budget allocations for six years until now.

The much-awaited Global Positioning System (GPS) for patrol vehicles of the Bangalore police is all set to become a reality now. Tenders from global players for the GPS-based automatic vehicle tracking system closed on Monday.

Initiated in 1999 by the then Bangalore Police Commissioner Revanasiddaiah, the project had taken a back seat in the annual budget allocations for six years until now.

Once installed, the system will help centralise monitoring of patrol vehicles on a Global Imaging System (GIS) map of the City. “With the ever increasing crime rate, the Bangalore Police will acquire this hi-tech gadgetry that is much-needed for policing,” said a senior police officer.

Presently, 100 Hoysala vans deployed throughout Bangalore which is divided into five zones will have the GPS facility.

The number of vans will soon be increased, with each zone having 23-50 patrol vans and each van manned by three police personnel, the officer said.

Explaining the new system, the police officer said it has to be developed according to the requirements of the centralised police control room in the Police Headquarters on Infantry Road.

Location of the vehicle will be displayed on the GIS map. GPS devices which include GPS receiver, mobile data terminal, modem, transmission equipment and accessories, will be installed in each vehicle.

The police control room operators, would also be trained to use this technology. They will then be able to monitor the vehicles, zone-wise. “The vehicle can be tracked to its exact location as the operator would be able to zoom in on the map, this will also help guide the vans to the exact spot of crime or crisis,” the officer added.

Computer-aided dispatch, also known as CAD, provides officers and dispatchers with "automatic vehicle location" - essentially, an overview of every police vehicle on the road.

Constant vigil

The system would ensure that patrol vehicles always remain under observation and any violation by personnel themselves would immediately be noticed.

“Often, patrol personnel change location without informing the control room. They use the vehicle for personal work or tend to become non-vigilant. This system would help curb these violations,” the officer added.


Patrol vehicles will be fitted with GPS.

Signals from GPS-fitted vehicles will be transmitted to a satellite.

Signals will in turn be relayed back to a central monitoring station.

Position of patrol vehicle will flash on a digitised map at the central monitoring station.

Vehicle nearest to the crime scene will be guided to the location.

Computer-aided dispatchers with automatically order the nearest vehicle to rush to the scene.

Violation of the orders will be recorded.

Go nutty at Kadalekai Parishe

Go nutty at Kadalekai Parishe
Deccan Herald

Mounds and mounds of groundnuts take centrestage at the Kadalekai Parishe, an annual festival unique to Bangalore, celebrated at the historical Bull Temple in Basavanagudi. The festival began on Monday and concludes on Tuesday.

Mounds and mounds of groundnuts take centrestage at the Kadalekai Parishe, an annual festival unique to Bangalore, celebrated at the historical Bull Temple in Basavanagudi. The festival began on Monday and concludes on Tuesday.

The humble peanut, also known as the poor man’s almond, is raised to an exalted status at this festival. The ambience distinctly resembles that of a village fair. The onslaught of technology has not changed this tradition. A long queue of devotees thronged the temple throughout the day taking turns to worship the sacred bull and to see the groundnuts.

Some devotees also visit the Shivabhakta Bedara Kannappa temple and Renuka Yellamma temple, a small shrine, both of which are located within the Bull temple premises. On their way home they buy a bagful of groundnuts. A few families have a ‘groundnut picnic’ at the park adjacent to the temple.

The groundnut comes in various shades -- this is because they are either raw, boiled, roasted or salted. Some sell blocks of jaggery along with the groundnut. Groundnut is ‘Ying’ (hot) and jaggery is ‘Yang’ (cool) and they should be consumed together to strike a balance. The demography of the groundnut seller has changed over the years. There are a lot of groundnut growers and sellers who have come from Dharmapuri, the neighbouring horticulture district of Tamil Nadu. There is no rivalry among the groundnut sellers as each one of them wait for the customer destined for him. The selling rate is uniform, Rs 10 per litre (an aluminium measure with one litre capacity). Chinnaswamy from Dharmapuri has been coming here for the festival for the past 10 years. “A bag of 110 litres of groundnut sells at Rs 1,000 in the market,” he said.

No excuse

There is no excuse for those who do not like groundnut. There is sugar-coated grams, puffed rice, tapioca wafers and other fried crispies. The rose pink, bright yellow and snow white piles of sugar candies are another traditional favourite. The students of the nearby BMS College have a marked preference for salted and fried crispies.

Realtors, builders strike it rich, thanks to Arkavathi

Realtors, builders strike it rich, thanks to Arkavathi
Deccan Herald

A developer recently bought an acre of land in Thanisandra for Rs 1.95 crore, while another paid Rs 1.75 crore for an acre in K Narayanapura.

A developer recently bought an acre of land in Thanisandra for Rs 1.95 crore, while another paid Rs 1.75 crore for an acre in K Narayanapura. These land developers intend to build apartments and they know one sq ft will easily fetch them Rs 2,500. Both of them thank the BDA’s Arkavathi project.

On the other hand, there are people like Venkateshwaran M R, a former employee of Nabard, who nurture a dream to own a house in Bangalore. After eight attempts, he was considered by the BDA for the Arkavathi layout.

But Venkateshwaran is not sure of where his dream is headed. Notwithstanding the recent order by a division bench of the High Court which removed the hurdles to the project, he still wonders, “Will I get the site this time?”

Venkateshwaran’s disbelief is understandable given the tortuous course the project has taken ever since it was conceived by the BDA in 2002. Nearly four years down, BDA’s ambitious project ever is still trapped in birthpangs. Like Venkateshwaran, the plight of 19,999 people, who have been selected for sites under the project, is not any better.

Yet, there are several people who have reaped rich benefits from the Arkavathi layout. The beneficiaries are - land developers, realtors and the villagers of Dasarahalli, Byrathikhane, Challakere, Geddalahalli, K Narayanapura, Rachenahalli, Thanisandra, Amruthahalli, Jakkur, Kempapura, Sampigehalli, Sriramapura, Venkateshapura, Hennur, Hebbal and Nagavara.

Munikrishnappa of Thanisandra village says that he sold his half-acre land for Rs 57 lakh. “We bought seven acres of land at Rs 1.5 crore per acre,” says a realtor.

Prices surge

Real estate expert Selva Kumar says: “The announcement of the project was a happy news for many. The prices have increased 10-fold. Developers are buying land to build apartments. A square foot will easily fetch them Rs 2,500.”

The land prices are soaring in the Bangalore East and North taluks ever since the BDA issued a preliminary notification on February 3, 2003 announcing its plans to acquire 3,839 acres of land for forming sites. Now, after the High Court division bench upheld the project, it is surging.Those whose lands were left out from the list of acquisition by the BDA are also a happy lot. The 3,839 acres in the preliminary notification shrunk to 2,750 acres in the final notification (by 1089 acres). Now, their one acre of land is worth Rs 1.5 crore to Rs 2 crore. If it was acquired by the BDA, then they would have got a meagre Rs 11 lakh to Rs 20 lakh per acre as compensation. H Kodandaramaiah of K Narayapura says: “One acre of land which was left out from the preliminary notification was recently sold at Rs 1.75 crore to a land developer.”

Consider this for calculation sake - BDA would have paid Rs 217.8 crore as compensation for the 1089 acres (left out from the preliminary notification). Now, the market value, calculated at Rs 1.5 crore per acre, totals up to Rs 1633.5 crore.


* BDA pays a compensation of Rs 11 lakh to 20 lakh per acre

* Existing market rate is Rs 1.5 crore to Rs 2 crore

* 1089 acres of land left out from the preliminary notification is now worth around Rs 1633.5 crore. Realtors, builders strike it rich, thanks to Arkavathi

CM inaugurates renovated park

CM inaugurates renovated park
Deccan Herald

Bangalore: A BMP bonanza awaited residents of Jayanagar on Monday, with Chief Minister Dharam Singh not only inaugurating the renovated Bhavi Park in Pattabhiramanagar, but also laying the foundation stone for the improvement of N Lakshman Rao Boulevard and modernisation of Kittur Rani Chennamma Ground.

Bomb hoax at ITPL sends police into tizzy

Bomb hoax at ITPL sends police into tizzy
Deccan Herald

The police were put on high alert following a security official at the Information and Technology Park Limited (ITPL) on the outskirts of the City receiving a bomb threat through e-mail on Monday evening.

The police were put on high alert following a security official at the Information and Technology Park Limited (ITPL) on the outskirts of the City receiving a bomb threat through e-mail on Monday evening.

The e-mail said that a bomb was planted in the premises. Following a complaint filed by ITPL Security-in-charge Ranjith Singh that he received an e-mail around 3.30 pm, stating that explosives would go off at one of the offices housed in the Park, police sealed off both the entries of the building and conducted a thorough search. The dog and bomb disposal squads were pressed into service.

Nearly 8,000 employees of various IT offices located in the building were evacuated and vehicles parked in the premises thoroughly checked. According to a senior police officer, the search of the premises took nearly three hours. No explosives were found, he said. The e-mail was a hoax, he added.

The e-mail is said to have originated from an ID, of one Kamal Basheer Baksh.

S Poojari, a software engineer working for an IT firm in the ITPL said, there was an announcement made on the inhouse address system to leave the building as soon as possible.

“We were told a little latter that there was a bomb threat. Many of us left for our homes after waiting for nearly two hours,” Mr Poojari said.

“I first heard the announcement of a bomb scare at 3.45 pm in my 9th floor office, where everyone were told to leave,” said N Anand, Engineering Services Manager, Misis International Financial Systems.

“Within a few minutes, thousands of people swarmed to the ground floor. Despite the crowd, there was no panic and no traffic jam. Most were out of the premises within 15-20 minutes. I knew it was a hoax, but I did not want to take any risks,” he said, adding, “I left to my home after sometime.”

Abhinita, Student, Institute of Bio-informatics and Applied Bio-technology said, “We were having tea at a restaurant on the ground floor when we received the warning through the public address system. We were told to leave with our belongings immediately. The security personnel were already in place, guiding the public. However, many curious onlookers continued to stay, waiting to see what happens next. But we left.”

Inspector of police Whitefield, Somanna said that the e-mail is being traced. It has been forwarded to Cyber Cell at the Corps of Detectives for further investigation, he added. Most of the employees except the security incharge and systems administers who were to handle security and electronics stayed back, he said.

Gokuldas Exports on Mission Road also received a bomb threat call which turned out to be hoax.

Concern over layouts coming up near lakes

Concern over layouts coming up near lakes

The Hindu

There are chances of sewage from sites getting into lakes, says an expert

BANGALORE: The formation of Arkavathy Layout is causing jitters for environmentalists in the city. Most are concerned about whether the lakes, especially the Jakkur Lake, will be able to survive the influx from 20,000 sites.

S. Sridhar of the Institute for Natural Resources Conservation, Education, Research and Training says that there are chances of sewage from the sites getting into the lakes. "If there is habitation so close to water bodies, there is bound to be some seepage of sewer," he says.

A part of Arkavathy Layout is being developed in the catchment area of Jakur Lake, which is spread over 76.14 acres. The lakes of Jakkur, Amrutahalli and Rachenahalli are part of the layout. At one point, the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) notified the conversion of lakes but environmentalists and officials of the Lake Development Authority shot down the proposal. Mr. Sridhar says Jakkur Lake has become polluted with the construction that has come up in the area. Given the large number of people who are going to live in the area, Mr. Sridhar estimates that at least 100 litres of water per day per site will be required. "The BDA will have to alter the flow of the Cauvery to bring water to these people. That move itself will have some repercussions."

A.N. Yellappa Reddy, former Special Secretary (Environment), says storm water drainage and sewage because of the incline of the land will naturally flow from the sites in the layout to the lakes. He suggests that the BDA develop a policy for sewage treatment and ensure that all site owners follow it. Even industries in the area need to install sewage treatment plants, he adds.

Officials of the Lake Development Authority are also worried about the construction of the layout so close to the lake. However, they say that they do not have any authority over sites being developed in catchment areas. "We have authority over the water body but not the catchment areas," says an official.

Officials of the BDA say they are taking precautions to ensure that the lakes do not get polluted. The draft Master Plan, the officials add, focuses on preserving the lakes. The Comprehensive Development Plan mentions that a buffer of 30 metres will be maintained from the lakes while developing sites.

Metropolitan Authority Bill to be tabled in House this session

Metropolitan Authority Bill to be tabled in House this session

The Hindu

Metropolitan authority will coordinate with BDA, BMP and other public utility providers in developing the city, says Dharam Singh

BANGALORE: The Government will place the Metropolitan Authority Bill in the coming session of the Legislature, said Chief Minister N. Dharam Singh here on Monday.

Inaugurating the renovated Bhavi Park in Jayanagar 4th Block and launching several development works, Mr. Dharam Singh said the metropolitan authority will coordinate and interact with the Bangalore Development Authority, the Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP), Bangalore Electricity Supply Company Ltd. and Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board in developing the city.

This authority will be modelled on the lines of the one working in Kolkata and New Delhi. "The Metropolitan Authority Bill is ready and it will be placed in the session starting in December," Mr. Dharam Singh said.

The Chief Minister said the Government was working towards improving infrastructure in the city, which was largely damaged after the recent spell of heavy rain.

"We cannot improve infrastructure in a day. The Government is carrying out the task in phases," he said.

Development works

Earlier, the BMP Commissioner, K. Jothiramalingam, gave details of development works that were inaugurated by the Chief Minister on Monday.

The Commissioner said the BMP had entrusted the Karnataka Land Army Corporation (KLAC) with the work of laying concrete roads on Silver Jubilee Park Road, Kaggadasapura Road and S.T. Bed Road. This work is being taken up under the flood relief scheme and Rs. 11 crores has been sanctioned for this, he said.

The KLAC was given the letter of award of the works at the function today.

Mr. Jothiramalingam said a private agency would start the work of strengthening and rehabilitating 29 km of roads in seven wards, being taken up at a cost of Rs. 31 crores. Work on some roads will be completed by June and on others by October, he added.

The Commissioner said the City Development Strategy Plan is being prepared for developing Greater Bangalore, which includes the BMP, the seven city municipal councils and a town municipal council.

He also spoke about the two new health schemes, Sanjeevini, for providing supplementary nutrition to pregnant women, and Preventive Health Care, for providing affordable and sustainable interventions for children and adults.


Minister for Primary and Secondary Education R. Ramalinga Reddy said the BMP was spending Rs. 7 crores for the development of 18 parks in the city. This includes Rs. 2 crores being spent for the gardens in Jayanagar ward. The BMP will develop the stadium in Jayanagar 3rd Block and the playground in Hombegowda Nagar. He said Rs. 14.5 crores would be spent for developing all pavements in the Jayanagar Assembly constituency.

Sports, games being squeezed out of National High School ground

Sports, games being squeezed out of National High School ground

The Hindu

Ground being used for political rallies, cultural events, religious discourses and conventions

# 11 sports clubs protest
# Say ground is turning into a garbage dump
# Appeal to Governor, Chief Minister to intervene

BANGALORE: Sports and games are under siege at the popular and prestigious National High School ground nowadays. Cricket and other games have shared an abiding relationship with the school, and their sports clubs are now in ferment:

The precious space where they play tournaments and practice can no longer be taken for granted. They have to compete now with political rallies, cultural events, religious discourses, conventions and a host of such events that have nothing whatsoever to do with sports or games.

Last week, 11 sports clubs that use the ground adjacent to National High School decided to take out a silent march carrying black flags. "This playground has been the home of many famous tournaments and matches. Many star sportspersons have begun their careers here. But today, the venue of the prestigious Basavanagudi Cup Cricket Tournament, which has been played there for over 10 years, gives the first call to political-cultural-religious events," says a representative.

In a letter addressed to Governor T.N. Chaturvedi, Chief Minister N. Dharam Singh, Basavanagudi MLA Chandrashekar and others, the groups say of late the playground has seen 15 to 20 events being hosted every year. Each of these programmes, where very often the VVIP guests include the President, the Governor, the Chief Minister or other ministers, call for preparations that run into more than four to five days. The run-up to the actual event involves putting up of huge shamianas, digging up the ground to fix poles and scaffolding for the dais.

Post-event, the "cleaning up process" involves pulling down the shamianas. However, neither the organisers nor the civic authorities bother to do the cleaning up. Garbage remains dumped in copious quantities comprising used plastic cups and plates and leftovers. Very often visitors and guests at the event would have used the place as an open toilet as well.

Is this the way to encourage sports, the sports groups ask, as the cricket pitch turns into a garbage dump-cum-toilet. Relaying the pitch means an expense of Rs. 15,000, which needless to say, has to be borne by the sports clubs.

Former Mayor's promise

Mr. Chandrashekar, who was the Mayor of Bangalore a few years ago, was shown the deplorable state of affairs on the ground, the garbage dump and all.

He had vowed at the time that the ground would not be given out for organising political or social events that go one for days, or even exhibitions and sales, homas, discourses and the like. However, even as recently as last week, the playground was host to the Mahabharata Utsav, which had President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam as the chief guest.

The 11 sports clubs have demanded that the grounds should not be used for non-sports events any more. They are BUFC, City Jumpers, Star Shooters, Hindu Socials, BUFC Women's Wing, Jayanagar Colts, Chamarajpet Cricket Club, V.V. Puram Cricket Club, City Cricketers, Bangalore Cricketers and Merchants Cricket Club.

Once known as the Hindu XI ground after a football club, the National High School ground has shrunk in area with the construction of a corporation swimming pool. It is the only open space in Basavanagudi and its thickly populated adjoining areas.

Bangalore still the top IT site

Bangalore still the top IT site
Business Standard

The results of a recent study of information technology and IT enabled services companies by Trammell Crow Meghraj, international property consultants, threw up no great surprises.

Bangalore, for all its glitches, was numero uno destination for IT/ITES companies in the country, followed by Mumbai. Hyderabad and Pune steamed ahead of Delhi with Chennai and Kolkata bringing up the rear.

The study, which also aimed to gauge the gap between perception and reality in these cities, had heartening news for Chennai and Pune.

Bangalore stood tall across the board and topped each ranking. Perceptions about Pune were more or less in line with what the city offers. Hyderabad turned out to have a much better perception than what it is offering in reality.

Chennai was the exact opposite, offering much more value than perceived to be.

The study of over 100 IT/ITES companies across India was aimed at understanding the location or city preferences of these companies on different real estate parameters.

Out of the companies surveyed across Bangalore, Chennai, Mumbai, Hyderabad, NCR(Gurgaon), Kolkata and Pune, about 42 per cent were multinational companies and the rest Indian, all with an average turnover of $40 million.

Aditi Watve, manager, land and advisory services, Trammell Crow Meghraj, Pune, says, "This apparent contradiction is exactly the biggest finding of the survey. IT/ITES commercial development seems to be the most popular option for development, mostly because of the permissible additional FSI and returns to the tune of 9 to 10 per cent. But in this process, the developers are not necessarily studying what these companies, that is, the consumers, want from the product."

Companies clearly indicated a trend towards preferring integrated townships in an IT/ITES special economic zone. Being in the neighbourhood of other prominent IT/ITES companies was seen as a necessary and important criteria.

Surprisingly, the energy efficient or green building concept did not have many takers, especially among the Indian companies. MNCs ranked this criteria much higher.

Also ready possession, plug and play developments were much more preferred to the build-to-suit, warm shell model used by most of the developers. This was also came up as one of the dampeners of the rate of growth. The average area per person demanded by all these companies is about 63 SFT per person.

Among the other surpirses thrown up by the study, outright ownership was the most important aspect overall. "This led us to believe that Indian companies were dragging the score but when Indian companies and MNCs were analysed separately MNCs also thought of it as the third most important factor. This is to a definite credit to increasing transparency in especially the commercial real estate.

"Overall, if a developer sells real estate to these IT companies, in an SEZ, that has quality residential space nearby, frontage on a prominent city road, i.e., a prestigious address in the city centre, floor plates to the tune of 20,000 to 5000 SFT, plug and play and ready possession, then it is unlikely that the developer will go wrong," says Watve.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Mega water project well on its way

Mega water project well on its way
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: Greater Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Project (GBWASP) of Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) is going ahead as planned, with work in two project areas almost completed. Thirty percent of the work in Kengeri and Yelahanka, two urban local bodies (ULBs), has been completed. Pipes have been laid, but feeder units are still to be installed. The work in these two areas will be completed by January-end, said a BWSSB official. The project, which covers eight ULBs around Bangalore in an area of 285 sq km, apart from the two areas mentioned, also includes Byatarayanapura, K R Puram, Mahadevapura, Bommanahalli, R R Nagara and Dasarahalli. Work like pipe-laying, setting up of feeder units and road laying in the final phase will be completed by December next year. “This is merely the water component. There is also a sewerage component,” said the official. The water component cost of Rs 341 crore, which is estimated to increase by Rs 60 crore, will be managed by Karnataka Urban Infrastructure Development Finance Corporation (KUIDFC). There are no funds coming in from the International Finance Corporation (IFC) for the water component, but only for the sewerage component, said the official.

The BWSSB had met World Bank authorities in September to finalise the sewerage component of the project and IFC may provide funds of Rs 318 crores. Consultants for project management have been shortlisted. Meanwhile, talks on an urban poor policy are in the offing. “But the tariff will not change between the ULBs and the rest of Bangalore. We will charge what we are charging at present in other areas,” said the official.

Expert reports question wisdom of Ashram flyover

Expert reports question wisdom of Ashram flyover
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: The Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP) is pushing hard for a flyover near Ramakrishna Ashram Circle in Basavanagudi, but its feasibility report has come under the scanner. Two separate groups of traffic experts, including advisors to the State Government as well as other southern states, have expressed reservations over the report as well as the techno-economic feasibility of the project. However, the pressure to push ahead with the project is so intense that no expert wants to go on record. Both reports are available on the Basavanagudi Nagarika Vedike website:

While BCC Commissioner Jothiramalingam could not be contacted for his comment, Mayor R Narayanaswamy said that he was not sure if the BMP had taken a second opinion over the report from STUP consultants. The experts noted that the present design of the circle, with a five-arm roundabout with no signals, was in keeping with a good intersection type that can reduce vehicular conflicts, thereby enhancing intersection capacity and safety.

The experts noted that the data on traffic volume were not correlated to the junction geometry.

Besides, there are contradictions over movement of vehicles in the morning and evening peak hours, the experts noted. The BMP report has also failed to identify alternatives such as improving the traffic geometry of the circle. Instead of solving problems, the project would create new problems, the experts contend. The projections for the next five, 10 and 20 years are based on statistics averaged for the whole city, whereas this is an old residential locality where growth rates are significantly lower, the experts added.

Satellite bus station now functional

Satellite bus station now functional
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: The new mega satellite bus terminus near Byatarayanapura is all geared up to woo the city commuter and has started operating more than 100 services.

The 10-acre terminus houses bus stations for Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSTRC) and Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) and a bus depot. It was inaugurated a few months ago. Till recently, no buses were operating from the terminus. Only buses from Kempegowda bus station travelling towards Mysore used to halt here.

The terminus was built to ease the burden on the Kempegowda bus station. The whole project took Rs 20 crore to complete.

KSRTC Assistant Traffic Manager Nagaraj said more than 100 buses were operating from this new terminus since Sunday, November 20. Buses ply towards Mysore, Chamarajanagar, Malavalli and Kollegal.

Commuters travelling to these destinations from the new terminus are given a five-rupee reduction on their fare. The KSRTC may increase the number of buses.

Seventeen shops have been given licences and tenders have been issued for seven others. As no assistant traffic manager has been appointed for this new station, Nagaraj, the assistant traffic manager for Kempegowda bus station, is in charge temporarily.

IT industry undermines city’s education infrastructure

Bangalore Turns Against Itself
IT industry undermines city’s education infrastructure
The Times of India

Reactions to the Narayana Murthy-Deve Gowda spat have rarely gone beyond the not very difficult task of identifying the hero and the villain of the confrontation. This instinctive reaction no doubt tells us a great deal about why Bollywood films are made the way they are, but it does not help us understand the crisis that overwhelms India’s information technology (IT)-led cities. It brushes under the carpet the failures of the dominant imaginations of the future of cities like Bangalore; imaginations that have led the IT industry to shoot itself in the foot.

At the core of this dominant imagination is a belief that what is for the immediate good of the IT industry is good for the city. Bangalore’s resources are then expected to be used to provide international quality physical infrastructure for the IT industry. Since the state government does not have the resources to take infrastructure in the entire city to that level, the focus is on the elements that are most visible to the global IT market, whether it is an airport or a tech park.

Unfortunately, the IT worker does not live on work alone. He then relies on the rest of the city to provide him his residence and other infrastructure. And since adequate resources have not been provided for this non-IT infrastructure, the overall infrastructure of the city collapses. The IT-led boom is not the first time Bangalore has grown rapidly. But, whether it was the creation of the cantonment in the early 19th century or the public sector boom in the 1950s and 1960s, strategies were never confined to the workplace and a few attractive projects. Entire townships and mass transportation networks were created that minimised use of the existing infrastructure. It is an imagination that confines itself to a few glamorous workplaces and projects that is at the root of Bangalore’s infrastructure crisis.

To expect Deve Gowda to provide an alternative imagination for Bangalore is perhaps a trifle optimistic. When as prime minister he was asked by Bill Gates the reason for Bangalore’s ability to provide IT manpower of the highest quality, he did not apparently have much to say. But the search for an alternative imagination for Bangalore could well begin by answering Bill Gates’s question.

Bangalore’s ability to provide Englisheducated technical manpower can be traced to a series of historical accidents. In the middle of the 19th century, Bangalore cantonment was still coming to terms with the emergence of an Anglo-Indian population, discriminated against in both church and education. Rev Possnett decided to do something about it by setting up an English medium school for poor Anglo-Indians in 1854. This was the beginning of an education system in the cantonment that ensured the poor too had access to English education. After Independence this preference for English even at the lower end extended to Bangalore city as well. Bangalore today has many more English medium schools than it has Kannada medium ones.

Even as the cantonment was taking English education to the poor, Bangalore city was developing technical education. Dewan Visvesvarayya and the Tatas set up what is now the Indian Institute of Science. Visvesvarayya also set up a college of engineering that has among its alumni Sabeer Bhatia, the founder of Hotmail. This technical education was extended beyond the elite by the foresight of Maharaja Krishnaraja Wadiyar IV. He insisted, when laying the foundation stone for the Indian Institute of Science in February 1911, that the policy of not providing scholarships should be abandoned.

The availability of technical education was fully tapped by the post-Independence public sector boom in Bangalore. The unionised working class at these units ensured that even the lowest paid among them had access to these institutions. By the 1960s, Bangalore had a large body of technical manpower eager to go abroad. In 1984, Texas Instruments realised it had the telecommunication technology to tap this manpower in Bangalore rather than bring them over to the US. Bangalore’s IT revolution was on its way.

Instead of recognising this history, Bangalore’s dominant IT imagination chips away at the very basis of its success. Access to engineering education has become expensive. The preoccupation with IT also reduces the scope for bringing the poor into the organised working class. They cannot then hope to provide technical education for their children as the public sector workers once did. Once Bangalore loses its manpower advantage it is left competing on the basis of physical infrastructure with much richer urban centres like the National Capital Region, in a battle it cannot win.

An alternative imagination would focus on regaining the education and industrial base that created Bangalore’s IT manpower. At one time Bangalore had the intellectual giants who could wonder, along with T S Eliot, ‘Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?/ Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?’ Today, the city is reduced to wondering where is the information we have lost in information technology?

SP Road left in the lurch

SP Road left in the lurch
The Times of India

Bangalore: Sadar Patrappa Road (SP Road), one of the major roads in the busy City Market area, was dug up by the BMP during October to concretise the stretch. But till date, the stretch lies in a battered state as the concretisation work has not moved an inch forward. “Traders of Silver Jubilee Park Road (SJP Road) and SP Road have been struggling for survival. The trade on these roads has practically come to a halt. Thanks to the huge craters, potholes, slush and dug-up stretches, vehicle users avoid this stretch and twowheelers drive at their own risk,’’ said B K Goyal, secretary of Federation of Trade Associations of Central Bangalore.

The concreting work of SP Road was launched on October 1, but even after more than 55 days, the road still lies dug up, full of slush and with open trench on one side.

The condition of the adjacent SJP Road is no better as the road is enveloped with layers of fine dust which is causing health problems to the traders. And less said the better about the stretch when it rains, inviting slush all over. Traders complain that their business has come down by 50% in the last few months.

The project to concretise SJP Road was launched on November 21 by BMP after the traders protested and blocked the road. But now they are apprehensive about the project as several such projects had got kicked off in the area only to be dropped mid-way.

Traffic police trash all proposed flyovers

Traffic police trash all proposed flyovers
Underpasses At Tagore Circle, Minerva Circle, Mission Road May Not Take Off
The Times of India

Bangalore: How can we have such a maze?
That is the message the traffic police have sent out to the civic authorities for planning many flyovers in South Bangalore.

In a letter to the BMP, the traffic police have asked them to ‘go easy’ on the implementation of the 10 new flyovers-cum-underpasses planned in south Bangalore, as part of the South Corridor Project.

A major hurdle, they say, is that the ramps of at least four underpasses would eat into the Core Inner Ring Road — work on which is likely to start soon.

The proposed Core Ring Road cuts through Sirsi Circle, Prof Shivshankar Circle, Minerva Circle in South Bangalore, apart from eight chaotic junctions in other parts of the city.

That hitch apart, the traffic police have also questioned the necessity of even having such a plethora of ‘development’ projects with no justification of its necessity.

Sample some of the proposed ‘development’ projects in South Bangalore — South End Circle flyover, Minerva Circle flyover, Town Hall subway, Tagore Circle grade separator, RV Teachers’ College grade separator, Mission Road grade separator.

A senior traffic police official admits that the National College flyover has “turned out to be an utter waste of time, money and energy.’’ “Even before it was constructed, we tried reasoning that it would not serve the greater common good. Unfortunately, the local people in power were adamant on seeing it done. Now if a National College student stretches his hand out of his classroom window, it reaches the flyover. It has not helped the area, nothing can be done now’’ the police official explained.

Residents remember how Dr H Narasimhaiah fought tooth and nail against the National College flyover. If on the one hand, the traffic police have expressed displeasure about the projects, all these proposals are yet to get a nod from the state government.

However, Bangalore Mahanagara Palike justifies the necessity of having an excess of flyovers, “These projects are taken up keeping in mind long-term needs of a city. We need radial roads that run towards the city and ring roads that encircle it. Ten years from now, we will be thankful for having done these projects,’’ pointed out a BMP official.

Real money for paper projects
For the record, a chunk of these flyovers and underpasses have been on paper for the last five years with budgetary allocations every year. The South End Circle flyover, which is yet to see the light of day, has had allocations to the tune of Rs 11 crore since 2000. Similarly, Rs 7.7 crore for Minerva Circle flyover, and 1 crore for Mission Road flyover.

Cubbon Park, anyone?

Cubbon Park, anyone?
Deccan Herald

If you have not gone on your morning walks these past few weeks, because its been raining, then you have missed something. The nip in the air, the clear sky, the pollution-free-ozone-filled-fresh air, the greenery, the fragrant flowers, the cold granite benches, the rain washed, squeaky clean cobbled lanes ....

Yes we are talking about Cubbon park. The hours before the peak hour of 8 am are the best hours when the world waits and does not dare interrupt your time with nature with blaring horns, screeching tyres and speed freaks. You can walk anywhere in Cubbon parkwithout the fear of being knocked down.

On your walk, the sights you can take in are of those playing galli badminton. There’s one group playing the game with a regular net and a proper badminton court near the Press club, then there are those who use culverts as their net.

Cubbon Park has its other attractions too. The regular arguments between dog lovers, when the dogs cross turf and get into a fight. These are amonst the expensive poodles, fox terriers, golden retrievers,alsatians and great danes. Then there those who want to earn their punya by doing dharma by feeding the strays. Cubbon Park is maybe the only park in the city which still has its share of stray dogs. Lalbagh had them until the dog catchers came and got them recently. The strays in Cubbon Park are fat and content. They just lie around and gaze languidly at their competition. Don’t worry they don’t snap or bite or even bark. They are too lazy by far.

If you love bird watching then you can while away your time, watching the pigeons near the High court. They feed on the grains people give them and often you can catch a breathtaking sight of them taking flight suddenly to settle in the nooks and corners of the High court.

Then don’t miss the health drinks - the karela, carrot and kakadi juice, which you will never ever drink at home, but wouldn’t be unwilling to try here. It costs Rs 10 per glass. If this is not to your taste, you can always have fruit instead, from the varied range available from the fruit walas.

Finally if its the weekend, you can watch the streetside games stalls being set up outside Bal Bhavan and on Sundays there’s also live Carnatic music in the bandstand.

So Cubbon Park anybody?

Apathy: Track doubling work derails

Apathy: Track doubling work derails
Deccan Herald

The much-awaited doubling of the railway track between Bangalore and Ramanagaram now faces a hurdle, and its completion by March 2006 depends on the State government.

The much-awaited doubling of the railway track between Bangalore and Ramanagaram now faces a hurdle, and its completion by March 2006 depends on the State government.

The progress of the project is dependent on finance from the government. However, the delay on the Government’s part in depositing its share of the cost has put the project in jeopardy, while the Railways aims to commission the project by the end of this financial year.

The Government has so far deposited only Rs 8 crore towards the Rs 90-crore project, out of its share of Rs 60 crore.

After several years of waiting, the Railway Board has approved track doubling between Bangalore and Ramanagaram, though the demand to double the track till Mysore is long-pending.

Talking to Deccan Herald, Mr Manoj Kumar, Chief Administrative Officer (Constructions), South Western Railways, said that the Government’s support to the Railways is very important in realising the project, since the work has been taken up on a cost-sharing basis.

As of now, the Railways has completed formation work like earthwork, ballast, and laying of rails and sleepers up to Bidadi. Though the sleeper work has been partly done, a majority of the work, barring installation of signal equipment, cable laying and commissioning of stations, has been done, Mr Kumar says, adding that since the Railways has already spent a huge sum on the work done so far, the Government should deposit its share to complete the work as per schedule.

In fact, the Railways has taken up the matter with Industries and Finance Minister P G R Sindhia, who has promised to take appropriate action so as to keep the project on track.

“The Government is keen to take the project to its logical end - Mysore, but funds constraints are coming in the way. However, the government has given a positive response,” Mr Kumar discloses.

It is learnt that the Railways is likely to hold talks at the Secretary-level to formalise the government’s interest on laying double lines up to Mysore.

Unlikely to proceed

Unless a clear-cut assurance comes from the Government, the work from Bidadi to Ramanagaram is unlikely to proceed. “The project is already two years old.

The Government should co-operate and confirm its interest, fulfilling its financial commitment,” Railway sources said.

Local people feel that the doubling of track will, with unprecedented growth, transform the corridor into an economic zone.

Ready for debate: MLA

Ready for debate: MLA
Deccan Herald

Basavanagudi MLA K Chandrashekar on Sunday said he was ready for a full-fledged debate on the feasibility of Ramakrishna Ashram Circle flyover project.

Basavanagudi MLA K Chandrashekar on Sunday said he was ready for a full-fledged debate on the feasibility of Ramakrishna Ashram Circle flyover project.

In a statement, Mr Chandrashekar said he would soon make available details of the project to every household in his constituency. As a first step, residents may send their objections and suggestions regarding the project to 46, Mount Joy Road, Hanumanthanagar, Bangalore - 19.

“I am aware of the importance of debate and discussions in a democracy. No work will be taken up without the consent of the people,” he said. Mr Chandrashekar said he had already written to the seer of Ramakrishna Ashram to participate in the discussions. Mr Chandrashekar said that if people felt that there was no need for the project, he would readily abide by it.

Now, walk to soak in the city’s sights

Now, walk to soak in the city’s sights
Deccan Herald

If you are on hate-hate vibes with your choking, crumbling city, there’s hope still. There’s a new way to look at Bangalore, which could leave you loving it even more. All you need to do is take a walk. Welcome to ‘Bangalore Walks’, an initiative calling for Bangaloreans to come and relish the experience of walking in the City.

If you are on hate-hate vibes with your choking, crumbling city, there’s hope still. There’s a new way to look at Bangalore, which could leave you loving it even more. All you need to do is take a walk. Welcome to ‘Bangalore Walks’, an initiative calling for Bangaloreans to come and relish the experience of walking in the City. Unlike conventional guide tours, here the experience gets more real.

The three-kilometre, three-hour walk (7 am to 10 am) on weekends can lend you a new perspective on roads and structures that you would traipse past otherwise.

An attendance at the Trinity Church on MG Road could take you the Victorian Era. And a walk down the MG Road could leave you with a bit of history to stroll with. For the uninitiated, Winston Churchill has walked the road as well! It was an year back when Arun Pai, a former corporate sector employee, took up a one-man mission of promoting Bangalore. Since then, he has been able to rope in many Bangaloreans to participate in these walks. Arun, who has ventured into cycling tours around Cantonment area and walks in Lal Bagh, apart from the two walks (Victorian Bangalore and End of an Era) during weekends, has been conducting school tours as well.

“Since there is no substantial written data available on this City, I thought it would serve the dual purpose of cataloguing the data and introducing people to old places in a new fashion,” says Arun.

Deepti Swamy, an entrepreneur who took this walk along with her husband, says it’s the best way to get to know the City.

“The walk has been very informative and interesting. It has been the perfect way to relax, because of its nice and slow pace,” she says.

For more details on the walks, call Arun on 98455 23660 or visit

Grin and ‘beer’ it!

If raising yourself up early on a weekend is a task, then go for the ‘Beer Walk’. It will also explain Bangalore’s sobriquet of ‘Pub City’. In-depth information will be served along with mugs of beer and a sumptuous dinner. With four different pubs and several untold tales of the brewery business, in a span of three hours on a Sunday evening, even the most cynical of our lot could end up wondering why we wanted to leave this City after all.

This road points to BMP apathy

This road points to BMP apathy

The Hindu

The small stretch is waiting for months for `sanction, estimate and approval'

BANGALORE: There is enough tar in the city to blacken the face of the former Mayor of Belgaum, Vijay Pandurang More, but not for repairing a much used stretch of road. No doubt it is for the police investigators to find out whether it was tar, boot polish or black paint that was used to sully the face of Mr. More and some others.

The small stretch connecting what was earlier being called the Tasker Avenue with Queen's Road at the S.G. Balekundry Circle is waiting for months for the Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP)'s "sanction, estimate and approval", which are the buzzwords in the BMP Engineering Department.

This particular stretch was laid only last year to enable vehicles to pass through without having to wait at the traffic lights at the Parsee Fire Temple or Balekundry Circle. It was done by destroying a park, which existed for ages, though it carried a misleading tablet bearing the name of a former Mayor T.K. Thimmarayi Gowda as having inaugurated it in 1966.

This patch of road, which mirrors the state of roads (call it infrastructure as it is more in currency especially after the business and industry leaders discovered the city) carries a heavy volume of traffic, especially that of Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation buses.

In fact, the footpath in front of the Parsee agiary has become the "second Shivajinagar bus station" and one or two entrepreneurs have put up illegal shops invading the footpath and also at times, make use of the bus shelter.

This is not to suggest that the BMP engineers are unaware of the travails of those passing through the treacherous stretch. Interesting facts emerged as this correspondent began "digging up the surface" of this road, which has disintegrated within one year of its laying because of poor quality of work. The hardcore among the BMP engineers, forming about 25 per cent of the whole, have "dedicated their career to serving" the people of Bangalore, as they are immune from transfer because of a stay order issued by the Karnataka High Court in 1976. No one has cared to get that order vacated and transfer the BMP employees to other municipal areas. It is part of legal history and is, perhaps, the oldest stay order in force at least in the State.

The BMP officials of those days approached the High Court even as the State Government enacted the Common Municipalities Act that year (1976). Among the hardcore BMP engineers are cases of those who have risen from the lowest to the highest. Some of them began their careers as gangmen or work inspectors and rose to be chief engineers unthinkable in State or Union Government services!

As regards the 75 per cent of the BMP engineers, they are on deputation from the Public Works Department and those in authority in the BMP argue that those engineers are outside their pale in the matter of enforcing discipline. It is no wonder the BMP engineers are a law unto themselves, and Koramangala is only one among the many examples of flagrant violation of the municipal laws allowed by the BMP Engineering Department. In recent years, a former BMP Commissioner, K. Jairaj, tried to improve the standard of engineering personnel in the civic body by bringing in better qualified officials from the Karnataka Power Corporation. It met with stiff opposition from the homebred.

The BMP offices on the Queen's Road are within a kilometre from the stretch in question and yet everyone connected with it has winked at it. The recent spell of rain has aggravated the condition of the stretch. The bust of Balekundry, the Parsee agiary and the venerable Lady Jehangir Kothari Hall with its Hellenic architecture and Corinthian pillars are mute witnesses to BMP apathy in this part of the city.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Arkavathy verdict clears Gowda roadblock for BDA

Arkavathy verdict clears Gowda roadblock for BDA
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: The Karnataka High Court division bench's verdict upholding the land acquisition by the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) for Arkavathy layout has come as a shot in the arm for SM Krishna supporters in the Congress and a slap in the face for JD (S) supremo HD Deve Gowda.

The ambitious Arkavathy lauout scheme, which proposed allotment of 20,000 house sites to the land-hungry people of the metropolis was the first target of the coalition government which replaced the Congress regime led by Krishna.

The new government, known to be dominated by the junior partner in the coalition and dictated to by Deve Gowda, though it was supposed to be "led" by Congress, cancelled the 'tendering process' for the formation of the layout under the Arkavathy project, alleging "irregularities" in it.

Obviously with Deve Gowda's blessings, some owners went to Court challenging the acquisition of 700 acres of land, which was to be a part of the 2750 acres notified for the project.

Cancellation of the tendering was done even as the coalition government booted out the high profile bureaucrat Jayakar Jerome, who headed the BDA as Commissioner.

He was shunted to a dummy post, which was created a day after he was posted to it, and made to sit in the Government secretariat building for some days without work and even staff.

Even the purblind could see it was a vindictive action against an upright officer who has been credited with reviving and invigorating the BDA.

Sent to wind up an organisation which had become the hotbed of corruption, Jerome had evolved foolproof allotment procedures, plugged revenue leakages and had enabled the BDA generate its own revenues to take up infrastructure projects without waiting for budgetary support.

Gowda's attack of Krishna, who moved on to become the Maharashtra Governor and the treatment meted out to Jerome smacked of political vendetta to the extant of obliterating whatever merits he may have had in his objection to the layout.

For the nearly 2.5 lakh aspirants who shelled out over Rs.900 crore as initial deposit for the plots - many of them borrowed it from financial institutions at 16 per cent interest - the cancellation of the Arkavathy layout came as a bolt from the blue.

Their hopes were further shattered by the single bench judgment of Justice Gopala Gowda, which not only endorsed cancellation of the project but also made strong comments against S M Krishna.

The language of the judgment described by the Division Bench as "intemperate", was such that the public viewed it as Deve Gowda's judgment and not that of Gopala Gowda.

The Division Bench, in a rare instance, also made observations against it's "Brother judge" saying "it is regrettable that the single judge has lightly passed adverse remarks of serious nature attacking the character, reputation and future career of a respected person (Krishna)".

It also noted that Krishna was not given a chance to defend himself. The Bench expunged the remarks against Krishna by the single judge, which it felt did not conform to "judicial norms of sobriety and moderation".

Sobriety and moderation are not known to be the virtues of Gowda who has been indulging in local politicking and threatening to pull down the government of which his own party is a partner.

Gowda, according to political observers has been doing this with future elections in view so that the government's failing could be laid at the doors of the Congress and credit for achievements claimed by his JD (S).

The Division bench judgment coming on the eve of the panchayat elections - which are regarded as a dress rehearsal for the next assembly elections, is certainly a blow to the strategy of Deve Gowda and he can be expected now to raise another bogey - like his attack on IT-BT sectors and Infosys mentor NR Narayana Murthy - to mitigate the verdict's adverse impacts.

The judgement has open the way for BDA to prove that it is serious in implementing the Arkavathy project.

Airport project on course

Airport project on course
Deccan Herald

Apprehensions about passenger capacity and architecture may have come in as a speed-breaker to the Devanahalli International Airport. However, the project’s lead players feel that on ground, the damage is not done. Union Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel’s reported concerns about the airport’s look and ability to handle the booming traffic could just prove not potentially devastating for the project, which has been planned in modules and designed to accommodate changes in phases.

Principal Secretary to Government, Infrastructure Development Department Vinay Kumar says changes to the project were given considering the rise in projected air traffic, but chooses to shrug it off as a functional adjustment which could be worked on. “Everyone agrees that considering by the time the airport is open, (April, 2008), the traffic would be around six million per year and we need to incorporate the changes. The changes are being worked on,” he says and adds that the figure of 4.5 million passengers was arrived at only for the first phase of the project.

“The land is adequate and can house an airport catering to around 40 million passengers. The idea will be to develop the airport and update its passenger capacity in phases as the years go by,” he says.

The Principal Secretary is not ruffled by the the concern over the airport’s look either. “When it’s about aesthetics, we are talking about subjective tastes. Anyway, we have room to accommodate the structural changes. So, I don’t see an issue here,” he says.

Ground reality

The last of the land acquisitions — 180 acres for the runway realignment and 60 acres for trumpet interchanges and access-ways — have been made. In November 11 meeting involving the Infrastructure Department, Railways, BWSSB, KPTCL and the National Highways Department, existing on-ground issues were also debated on.

One of the two upcoming railway-level crossings on NH-7 in the airport neighbourhood had suffered a setback over issues with the contractor.

A fresh tender has been issued on the work, while work on the other crossing would also start soon, both set for March 2006 and December 2006 deadlines respectively. The tender for KPTCL’s 220 KV station has also been awarded.

“As for water, two types of water would be supplied to the site — potable water and non-potable water, for the construction. Non-potable water has already reached the site and we are in the last stage of putting the lines in place for potable water. We should be on by January, 2006,” says Mr Vinay Kumar.

The entire compensation for the acquired sites has also been delivered, according to him. “Around 130 families had still not moved out. It was done only after the groundwork started on the site,” he says.


Even as the Devanahalli project hogs headlines for all reasons, Karnataka is already looking at a bigger picture. A team of delegates showcased the State as a Civil Aviation destination in a London meet last week. India Invest, a joint initiative of the Commonwealth Business Council and the British High Commission, presented a platform for inviting potential investors to the State in the sectors of Tourism and Civil Aviation.

“With the launch of British Airways flights from Bangalore and the three ongoing airport projects in Bangalore, Mangalore and Mysore, the mood was very upbeat at the meet,” says Mr Vinay Kumar.

Study of project sought

Study of project sought
Deccan Herald

Basavanagudi Nagarikara Vedike has alleged that there are certain basic deficiencies in the technical and feasibility study carried out for the proposed grade separator project at Ramakrishna Ashrama Circle.

The Vedike, which conducted an independent technical assessment of the proposed project through some experts, has said that the proposals identified to solve the traffic problems near the Ashrama Circle are “technically unsound and economically unviable”.

Mr H S Mohan, office-bearer of the Vedike, which has been maintaining that there is no need for the grade separator at the Ash-rama Circle, alleged that no serious technical effort has been made to assess and quantify the problems with respect to traffic flow at the Circle.

The level of congestion at the intersection such as the current traffic volumes as against the capacity of the junction and the geometric deficiencies of the junction have not been clearly brought out in the feasibility report, he alleged. Unless a through diagnosis of the problem is carried out, a practical solution could not be found, he argued.

He further alleged that no thorough evaluation seems to have been carried out on whether the proposed flyover solves or creates problems, in terms of its environmental impacts, cost and economic viability.

Bangalore One to offer new services soon

Bangalore One to offer new services soon
Deccan Herald

Railway reservation facility and issue of passport applications will soon be made available at Bangalore One centres, the one-stop shop for all public services.

“We have already written to the Ministry of External Affairs to facilitate issue of passport applications at Bangalore One centres. We are hopeful of getting a positive response in a month’s time”, Rajeev Chawla, secretary, e-Governance Department told reporters on Saturday.

“In addition, we have requested the Government of India to give its approval for setting up railway reservation facility at these centres. The Centre’s approval is awaited”, he added.

At present 15 Bangalore One centres have been set up in City and another 35 will be set up in the 6 to 12 months time. “We have set a target of 50 centres in Bangalore within a year”, he said.

Chawla said that mobile bill payment facility (post-paid) will also be made available at Bangalore One centres. He said that similar citizen service centres will be set up in Hubli, Belgaum, Mangalore and Mysore in the second phase. In addition, the government has planned to set up 800 tele centres in rural areas.

“The government is expected to give clearance in 15-20 days”, he said and added that centres are expected to be functional soon.

The tele centres will offer a variety of services for the people in rural areas such as computerised land records, electricity, telephone bill payment facility, besides property-related payment facility, issue of caste, birth and death certificates, old age pension. Private players will be roped in to provide the facility in rural areas, he added. Mr V P Baligar, principal secretary, Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Department, who was also present said the government has planned to provide computers to 1,000 Grama Panchayats by March.

Arkavathi abhi door hai...

Arkavathi abhi door hai...
Deccan Herald

The bedevilled Arkavathi Layout project, still does not appear to be out of the woods. It looks like the BDA should get ready for another round of battle before its brainchild becomes a reality.

The bedevilled Arkavathi Layout project, still does not appear to be out of the woods. It looks like the BDA should get ready for another round of battle before its brainchild becomes a reality.

Friday’s High Court verdict which upheld the BDA’s right to take up developmental works has in no way dented the morale of the people who stand to lose their lands if the layout comes up as planned. Accusing the BDA of adopting ‘partial’ and ‘corrupt’ practices, they have vowed to continue with their protests against the layout.

Firstly, the affected people, most of them marginal farmers, are unhappy about the selection of place for the project. “What was the need for the BDA to plan the project in the developed areas?” they continue to ask.

The project with an extent of 2,750 acres of land covers 16 villages in Bangalore East and North taluks.

Secondly, they complain that the compensation offered to them is much lower than the market rates. “In our village (K Narayanapura), the BDA has acquired 133.05 acres of land. The compensation offered is Rs 13.5 lakh, but the actual market value exceeds Rs 1 crore. We would not have approached the Court if the acquisition process and compensation offered was fair,” says Krishna Murthy of Rachenahalli whose two acres of land, on which stand 34 houses, stand has been acquired by BDA.

Ramachandraiah, H Kodandaramaiah and Dr K N Venkataswamy, whose land has been acquired, all voice the same opinion. All these people are among the 1,424 people who had approached the High Court. They are firm that they will appeal against Friday’s judgement. They complain that the BDA left out property of influential people.


Even if one leaves all these aspects aside, the BDA’s assurance to complete the project within six months does not look practical.

BDA Commissioner M N Vidyashankar says that work would begin immediately in the 2002 acres of land and take a decision about work in the remaining 748 acres of land which was under litigation after hearing the landowners’ grievances.

He has promised to complete the civil works in three months and complete the allotment process in six months.


During the legal wrangle, encroachments have multiplied on the acquired land. The BDA has to remove encroachments before starting the work. Clearing encroachments in densely populated areas is easier said than done. In the past, when the BDA started civil works, the locals had set two JCB machines on fire resulting in a law and order problem.

Before the allotment, the BDA has to complete the following works -- road laying, storm water drains, site formation, cross drains, culverts, erection of stones for numbering, site area border stones, layout plan boards and signages.


Ever wondered how the controversial Arkavathi layout looks now?

Do not venture to find out even if you are one of those who figured in the earlier provisional list of the BDA. Because you are bound to be disappointed. Firstly, it is very difficult to trace the land acquired in 16 villages (Bangalore East and North taluks) for the project. Even if you are successful in identifying the lands, you will be surprised as you find standing houses, shops, hospitals, worship places and even a burial ground on them.

Land around Arkavathy Layout is hot property

Land around Arkavathy Layout is hot property

The Hindu

The layout is being developed over an area of 2,750 acres in 16 villages

# Prices shot up in 2003 and again at the start of the year
# As BDA layouts have civic facilities the demand is more
# Upward trend in prices is expected to last for some more time

BANGALORE: Land prices around 16 villages where Arkavathy Layout is going to be developed will escalate, say real estate developers.

K. Subramani, chairman of the Builders' Association of India, Karnataka centre, says that prices in the area will definitely go up. The Bangalore Development Authority is charging around Rs. 192 per sq ft in the area while private developers are charging over Rs. 250 per sq ft. "Prices may even go up by 120 per cent in the area. It has become hot property once again," he says.

The 20,000 sites of Arkavathy Layout are being developed over an area of 2,750 acres in 16 villages coming under Yelahanka and K.R. Puram hoblis of Bangalore North taluk and Bangalore East taluk.

Mr. Subramani says the prices in the area shot up in 2003 and again at the start of the year with the prospect of allotments taking place. Once the stay order was issued in May, the price of land came down a bit, around 5 per cent.

Another builder says like all areas surrounding a BDA layout the price of land in these areas will also go up. "It happened in Banashankari and Visvesvaraya Nagar. There is no reason that it will not happen once again," he says.


The builder says the prices are bound to shoot up because every BDA layout will have civic facilities, including parks and grounds. "Because of the presence of these facilities, the land value goes up in surrounding areas. Open spaces and parks have become such a rarity in the city that many people are willing to pay more to be able to be in the vicinity of parks," he adds.

Prathap Reddy of Hanu Reddy Realty also believes that there will be an upward trend in prices that will last for another year-and-a-half.

He says that a lot of real estate developers are looking to develop weekend getaways and villas in these areas. "Real estate developers are looking to build villas with swimming pools and gymnasiums in these areas. That always costs a lot more."

But real estate developer Suresh Hari does not believe that land prices can go up anymore in the city. He says the city has already become too expensive for most people and no one will be willing to buy for higher prices.

"There is no rationale against the current prices so pitching higher prices will not do any good," he says.

Mr. Hari believes that there will be some "desperate" selling of land by some people in the area of Arkavathy Layout.

He says people having small tracts of land between sites acquired by the BDA will be eager to sell it even if the prices are not very high.

"There is not much value for small sites sandwiched between the layout," he says.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

A Bangalore break

A Bangalore break
How does a business traveller chill out in the Garden City?
The Telegraph

So, that business meeting is over, the presentation put away and the power lunch done with. You’ve got a weekend on your hands in Bangalore and it’s time to figure out what happens during the off hours in the city that put India on the world IT map. You’ve heard about the city’s crumbling infrastructure but don’t worry too much. Bangalore, as any proud resident will tell you, retains the ability to effortlessly charm the casual visitor, thank you very much.

The indefinable attraction of the city perhaps lies in its lazy ways. Though older residents complain about how the Pensioners’ Paradise has become a frenetic metropolis, it’s nothing compared to a Mumbai, Delhi or Calcutta. It has a slow, unhurried pace that nothing, not even alarmingly frequent traffic snarls and rude autowallas, can completely do away with. There are still pockets of deep calm right within the heart of the city — just go for an early morning walk to Cubbon Park or Lalbagh to discover just why Bangalore is called the Garden City.

After that, you can saunter down to Koshy’s on St Mark’s Road for a sumptuous English breakfast with bacon, eggs and sausages. One of Bangalore’s oldest restaurants, Koshy’s retains an old-world coffee house-esque charm and has a menu that’s right out of the Raj. For something more ‘local’, head towards Jayanagar and Mavalli Tiffin Rooms for an authentic South Indian breakfast. Be prepared for long queues, though.

Right opposite Koshy’s is Church Street, which houses some of Bangalore’s best-known pubs, but more on that later. It also houses some excellent bookshops — not the chain-store variety but the kind that has a million books stored higgledy-piggledy. Check out Premier bookshop, which is delightfully random —you’ll find a Georgette Heyer rubbing shoulders with a Stephen Hawking — and Blossoms, a book-lover’s haunt for its impressive store of used books and the hefty discounts on new ones.

For lunch, you can take your pick of eateries in and around M G Road-Brigade Road. For an Andhra thali —served piping hot and spicy on banana leaves — there is Bhima’s on Church Street and Nandhini on St Mark’s Road. If you crave some Continental fare, head straight for Casa Piccola on Residency Road or The Only Place on Museum Road, both famed for their steaks and salads. If your tastes run towards fast food, KFC is your best bet.

After lunch, take in Bangalore as you soak up the winter sun at one of the open-air cafés on M G Road or do a spot of shopping. Bombay stores on M G Road has an eclectic collection of artefacts, clothes, accessories and furnishings and the whole area is littered with brand showrooms. For a bit of colour, head towards Commercial Street — it’s a busy marketplace with the best brands as well as cheap street fashion all along a chaotic stretch. For saris, you have two choices — either hit the showrooms along M G Road or Chickpet. This is where you’ll get the good bargains.

In the evening, of course, it’s time for some Bangalore-style pub hopping, though be sure to start early as the non-five-star ones all shut at 11 pm, much to the outrage of the city’s dedicated pub crawlers and beer lovers. If you’re a lover of the frothy drink, Bangalore is the place to be, and not just due to the presence of a certain portly gentleman known as the beer baron.

The oldest, quaintest and most famous pubs here like Pecos, serve only beer with a generous dash of blues and jazz. For more variety, there are scores of pubs to choose from, each with its own USP. If you are a rock aficionado, Purple Haze on Residency Road with its giant TV screens that show videos of popular rock numbers is your scene.

Some pubs like Zero G and Spinn have dance floors, while others like Styx have live music by local bands, while still others such as Geoffrey’s at the Royal Orchid are perfect for a quieter evening. Lounges abound too, from the Mediterranean-feel Hypnos with its white-washed walls, wooden benches and hookahs to the snazzy I-Bar at The Park and the F-Bar. Some other pubs popular with the younger set are 13th Floor at Barton Centre on M G Road and 1912 on St Mark’s Road.

If you have time left over from all this, and are in the mood for some movie-viewing, the multiplexes at Forum Mall and Garuda Mall can serve the purpose. But if you want to indulge in a bit of nostalgia for the lost world of single-screen theatres, Symphony and Rex are perhaps your last men standing. For theatre lovers, there’s always Ranga Shankara in J P Nagar — they have a performance most evenings.

Still have time on your hands? Do visit the city’s lakes, especially Ulsoor and Sankey Tank. If you’re the kind that doesn’t consider a visit fulfilled without having done some ‘sight-seeing’, the Bangalore Palace on a wintry afternoon could quite successfully transport you to the English countryside.

A trip to the Vidhana Soudha is also considered a ‘must’ by veteran sight-seers as are the grand old churches like St John’s and St Andrew’s. For the technologically-minded, Technology Park on the outskirts of the city with the new Meccas of industry — IT firms — is also worth a visit.

So next time work takes you to Bangalore, resist the temptation to take the next flight home. The weather’s just right at this time of the year, so linger a bit in the chilly air of the city and let Bangalore seduce you.

Going round in circles? No way!

Going round in circles? No way!

People living around the Ring Road are happy being there and find it a relief not to come into the city
The Times of India

THEY live near the Ring Road, work in the same locality or nearby, their lives not having too much to do with the city. Theirs is a Ring Road life — more by choice than by chance. And these Bangaloreans love it.

Alak Nanda, graphic designer, works from home, after working in the city for 10 years. It was a conscious decision. Her husband, also a graphic designer, works from home too. Says Alak, “I’d had enough of traffic jams. We now have a lovely place off the Sarjapur Road section of the Ring Road. I want to enjoy the lake nearby. Most of our needs are met — we come into the city more for convenience than by compulsion. I call the local store and have groceries sent over. I call the restaurant and have food delivered. My son’s school bus stop is close by. We catch a movie at the entertainment complex down the road. As for work, I can e-mail my concepts to clients and get the brief from them over the Net. I don’t miss the city.”

Theatreperson Ritwik Simha, who lives on the Ring Road near Banashankari, says supermarkets around meet their domestic needs. “Clothes too, of all brands, are available. Also, plenty of coffee houses. We have a small amphitheatre in our garden for our practice sessions. We use the Net for communication.” His father, actor CR Simha, is thrilled living there. “He hates driving and is happy walking about on his errands.”

Priya Shankar, a buying agent in the garment industry, moved to the suburbs 11 years ago and to Haralur Road, off the Ring Road, two years ago and is not complaining. She says, “I work from home. My production work is done in Mumbai and Tirupur; I find it easier to travel outside Bangalore than within the city! A lot of my work gets done on the Net. For the basics of day-to-day life, there are supermarkets; for movies, we go to the multiplex close by and there are enough hotels in Koramangala nearby.”

Traffic expert MN Sreehari says areas around the Ring Road should be developed into self-sufficient localities. “Government offices in Sweden are located along peripheral and ring roads. Employees live nearby, so the city business district isn’t congested. So also, in Bangalore, if those working in Electronic City live in its vicinity, it will decongest Hosur Road. Our city’s growing radially and circumferentially: the concept of satellite towns along the Ring Road must be maximised,” he says. Sreehari adds that Kengeri and Yelahanka failed as satellite towns since they are not self-sustaining — without enough schools, colleges, shops, malls and medical stores. “So, the residents still come to the mother city for their needs.”

Is it a smooth ride ahead for projects?

Is it a smooth ride ahead for projects?
The Times of India

Bangalore: The high court order seems to have paved the way for two mega-projects which were kept on the back-burner due to land acquisition mess.

Peripheral Ring Road: The proposed road requiring 3,700 acres and covering 104 villages, has been notified. Though envisaged in the Comprehensive Development Plan of Bangalore 1995, the project was finalised only one year ago. According to the final project design, the PRR will run up to 110 km and has been mooted at a cost of Rs 1,190 crore. The eight-lane dual two-carriageway will be 100 metres wide and has been designed keeping in mind traffic density for the next 30 years.

Hi-Tech city: Work on the proposed IT-BT corridor project will begin shortly as the land acquisition process will be carried out. The BDA has already issued the preliminary notification to acquire 1,097 acres of land for the project. Estimated to cost Rs 700 crore, the corridor will run through the Outer Ring Road from Iblur to Electronic City Phase II. The corridor will have a connectivity through the 8.5 km mini-express highway which will be laid at a cost of Rs 35 crore. Envisaged exclusively to accommodate IT and BT firms, the corridor will make space for a residential colony as well.


Anjanapura: 459 acres, 6,700 sites
Anjanapura Extension: 487 acres, 3,900 sites
Sir MV Layout: 1,337 acres, 15,400 sites
Extension of Sir MV Layout: 510 acres, 5,300 sites
BSK VI Stage: 1,598 acres, 17,800 sites
Extension of BSK VI Stage: 750 acres, 5,900 sites