Tuesday, January 31, 2006

BMP responsible for park mess

BMP responsible for park mess
New Indian Express

For the past one year, the park in Jayanagar IV Block, 16th Main, has been in use as a garbage dump. Play equipment fight for space with garbage trolleys in the park.

Though these have been recently installed, the children of the locality cannot use the park. It’s become common for parks in the city to be encroached upon by temples, mosques or shops, spoiling their beauty. This is unfortunate as it directly affects children.

It is also a criminal act and the Bangalore Mahanagar Pallike (BMP) should be held responsible. The Pollution Control Board can also take corrective steps.

This reflects the complacency of the officials. Even the Commissioner can be held responsible. Such instances are clear violations of several acts including the Karnataka Municipal Corporation Act and the Environment Protection Act.

The Supreme Court can also hold the BMP Commissioner in contempt as every city must have a solid waste management plan. Moreover, this is also a health hazard as disease can easily spread in the area.

Citizens should protest against such misuse of a park.

Leo Saldanha, Environmentalist.

K'swamy is Bangalore's poster boy

K'swamy is Bangalore's poster boy
India Broadcast News

Bangalore: The BJP and the JD(S) are still a few days away from taking over power in Karnataka, but that hasn't stopped the two political parties from making their presence felt in the state.

Bangalore has been plastered with posters and billboards ahead of the swearing in on Friday.

He's yet to become chief minister but H D Kumaraswamy is on a roll. Some posters declare him the chief minister already.

Others declare him the mannina mammaga - grandson of the soil, just as his father Deve Gowda is son of the soil.

There are some that recognise his parents' role in his rise to power, others see him taller than the High Court.

M Hitesh who is a student in Karnataka says, "I have put up ten posters of Kumaraswamy, but I'm not the only one. There are lots of people doing the same thing all over the place."

While Kumarswamy will not be sworn in till Friday, his partymen have lost no time in rubbing in the point.

Whether a shaky coalition will be strengthened with the BJP is questionable, just like how many ministers will actually take the administration forward.

Sources have told CNN-IBN that a 100-feet tall poster will be put up at the Vidhana Soudha by Tuesday.

The JD(S) MLAs have spent nearly Rs 25 lakh on their holiday to Goa and now they are spending money on posters and bill-boards.

What the city's landscape will look like by the time these ministers swear into office is anybody's guess.


The government’s changed hands. Does it mean anything at all? What do Bangaloreans want from the new team?
The Times of India

Shashi Deshpande, writer:
I’m not happy at all. It’s a badly patchedup kind of group, so it’s unlikely it will work, it has come together in such an unethical way. There’s a huge deception behind the whole thing. We all knew politics was a lot of bunkum, but now we clearly see it’s all bunkum. Do they think we voters are morons?
What do I expect from the leadership? There’s going to be a lot of infighting. The BJP’s not going to be happy, soon it will feel shortchanged. The new leadership seems raw, there’s no experience. I’m afraid there’s going to be a lot of greed. I’d have preferred fresh elections, because voters definitely feel cheated. I think alliances must be formed before the elections. I don’t trust those after. I’m so angry.

Suresh Heblikar,
These changes are destabilising factors. People have lost faith in the system. Change is good, but not in 15 months.
Karnataka has been a leading state — with its advances in IT, BT and culture. So leaders must have sound knowledge, experience and vision. I don’t know if the new team has all this. Sometimes, I have been tempted to field a political team made up of young enthusiastic doctors, engineers and lawyers. Many Indians have come back from abroad and want to work for India. Those are the kind who should govern us.

Lathika Pai, entrepreneur:
I am indifferent to the current changes. As long as infrastructure’s improved, there should be no complaints. But one must remember that some momentum’s been achieved, like the international airport. This should not be lost.
I’d like to wait and watch. My only wish is that this new group wakes up to the voices that are raising questions on the city. I was in the US recently and every important person I met there asked: “What has happened to your city?” What’s taken 20 years to build can be brought down in 20 months.

Ashish Ballal, former hockey international:
I’m happy with any change as there was no governance earlier to speak of. Now we’ll have a youthful chief minister, I hope the emphasis will be on infrastructure. More emphasis needs to be given to sport and fitness.

Harish Bijoor, brand consultant:
Anything new in a democracy is positive. What is being proposed is a unique formula: a 20-month government in rotation. This is an opportunity to judge which government has done the most. When the elections come, we’ll be ready to vote for the best team.
I expect a great deal of Bangalore-centricity which was lost so far. Bangalore’s image had shot up under SM Krishna. The new government should give that back. Bangalore today is perceived as a work-in-progress city especially the highways and flyovers. I expect attention to urban governance.

Madhu Natraj, dancer: It’s been a time of instability. Now one can probably hope for some stability and progress. We would also like a corruptionfree government, though it may just remain a hope. The previous government didn’t even have a ministry for culture; hopefully this one does.

Munira Sen, social activist: Change is always good. But I’m a bit nervous because of the BJP; it’s their first time in Karnataka, and it’s a backdoor entry. I’d like more participation from citizens. I’d also like to see infrastructure projects expedited.

Girish Kasaravalli, filmmaker:
No government has done anything noteworthy. They have all been the same. Successive governments have only been trying to do the ‘balancing act’. We need a leader, a visionary. Whoever is at the helm has to have an approach that ensures all round development.

Upendra, actor:
A lot of people are unhappy with the way things went in the last few weeks. It now remains to be seen what the change in leadership will bring. I expect better roads, better infrastructure. As for leadership, the fact that Kumaraswamy is young is promising. I want a strict and corruption-free government.

Statue Turns 100 on February 5

Past forward to Victorian times
Statue Turns 100 on February 5
The Times of India

Bangalore: Leaf through the pages of history...go back in time, to the Victorian era. For 100 years Queen Victoria’s statue stood at the entrance of Cubbon Park looking imperiously over the changes: from monarchy to coalition governments; from British barracks Cantonment metamorphosing into hi-tech capital.

Exactly 100 years ago, on February 5, 1906, the statue was unveiled. Think about it: nobody has ever taken exception or even raised a whimper about the inscription which to this day reads — Empress of India. History buffs aver that the very location of the erstwhile Her Majesty, couldn’t get more strategic. She stands where Cantonment, for all practical purposes, ends and roads lead to the so-called old Bangalore... N R Colony, Basavanagudi.

The story has it that wealthy Indians in Cantonment contributed to the making of the statue, though the inscription underneath reads — “Erected by public subscription.’’

Avid historian Suryanath Kamath adds more perspective, “This statue is similar, rather is a replica of the one erected in Worcester in England.’’

This is one statue bereft of controversies. No ‘down with’ slogans or ‘remove statue’ demands.
Explains Victorian-history and trivia enthusiast Arun Pai, whose Bangalore Walks programmes are now legion, “This statue is significant because of many symbolic facets attached to it.’’

With a globe in the left hand, head beaming high, the statue has the ‘longest reign’ like Queen Victoria herself had in British history.


• Queen of Great Britain and Ireland and Empress of India

• Unveiled by His Royal Highness, George Frederick Ernest Albert, Prince of Wales and Duke of Cornwall and York.

• On 5th day of February 1906.

Still lying low even after three months

Still lying low even after three months
Of unfulfilled promises...
Deccan Herald

The memories of HSR Layout residents are still scarred by the recent flashfloods. And so are the roads.

The memories of HSR Layout residents are still scarred by the recent flashfloods. And so are the roads. The cracks and the craters still dominate the streets. The drainage system continues to be suffocated with plastic, garbage and weeds. The street lights have developed mood swings – they brighten up one day, blink on another. Garbage pile-ups are swiftly turning into landmarks.

With ‘flood relief’ nowhere in sight, HSR residents said there were completely disillusioned by the Bangalore Development Authority, when Deccan Herald went round last week. “You are talking about road repairs? Here, getting the authorities to pick up a dead dog is difficult,” complained T N Sonwalkar, retired director of Central Silk Board, who resides in HSR Layout VII Block.

Dr Satish Chandra, professor of psychiatry at Nimhans, pointed out that none of the promises made by the BDA, with regard to roads and drainage, have been delivered.

“The BDA promised to clean and widen the drains, but that has not been done. The roads that were cut open to make inlets for the rainwater to flow out, are yet to be rebuilt,” Dr Chandra said. A gaping four-feet by three-feet deep crater was found right in the middle of a busy street, unattended to and is without a warning sign. There was not even a traffic light to warn motorists of the danger.

The luxury of ‘door-to-door garbage collection’, available in BMP limits, is not there for HSR Layout residents, complained Shanta Murugendrappa. “There is no provision for disposal of garbage. We throw it in an open area near our house where a lorry comes and picks the garbage every two-three days. We had to clean the neighbouring vacant sites ourselves after the rains, as no one from the authorities came forward,” she said.


Meanwhile, Agara Lake, where all drainage lines culminate, was choked with plastic and muck, even as a huge board, announcing rejuvenation plans to be undertaken by the S M Krishna Government in 2003, stands ignored. According to strollers, there has been no ‘rejuvenation’ activity taken up by the BDA, before or after the October floods.


The heavy rains in October last year left a trail of tragedies, especially in Bangalore’s low-lying areas. Flooded homes, battered roads, lack of electricity and drinking water and authorities’ apathy drove Bangaloreans to a state of abject helplessness. The authorities responded to their woes with a set of development-oriented promises. Three months later, Deccan Herald revisited these areas to find out if any of these promises had been delivered. The series ‘Still lying low’ will look into the work-in-progress.


What work? There is no work going on here. All the houses on our road was innundated during the rains, and we had to clean the area ourselves, with no help from the BDA. We had to live for four days amidst waters that were full of filth and snakes.

— Shanta Murugendrappa, housewife

There are several dangerous potholes which have not been repaired for the last three months. The dirty water in the side drains has stagnated, and there are so many mosquitoes, we cannot even open the windows. BDA has not taken action on several letters.

– T N Sonwalkar, Retd CSB Director

There are plastic covers and rubbish choking the end-point of drains at Agara Lake. I have never seen any clean-up work taken up here. There is a perpetual stink from the lake which deters people from coming here.

— Aarti Suryavanshi, Housewife

High Court directs BMP to produce records on building

High Court directs BMP to produce records on building

the Hindu

Civic body says structure coming up near Mount Carmel College violates norms

# BMP claims that commencement certificate for the first block of the complex has not been obtained
# Builder says licence for the construction had been obtained

BANGALORE: The Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP) on Monday placed before the Karnataka High Court a report on the construction of an apartment complex near the Mount Carmel College on Palace Road.

The report followed a direction by the court on December 15, 2005 to the BMP to inspect the building and file a report on violations by the builder in the building plan.

In its report, the BMP said a team of officials had inspected the building in the presence of the contractor and engineer and found some violations.

It said it also verified the sanctioned plan and commencement certificate.

The BMP claimed that the commencement certificate for the 1st block of the apartment complex had not been obtained. Moreover, at the right side of the second block a portion measuring 2 metres by 9.2 metres projection constructed at the basement floor had come up within the setback area.

The petitioner, Magareth Property Developers, said an apartment complex was coming up on property No. 59 adjoining the college.

It said when the construction was in progress, some BMP officials inspected the site and asked them to stop construction, alleging that environmental clearance had not been obtained.

Denying the averments of the BMP, they said licence for the construction had been obtained and that the notice of August 20, 2005 asking them to stop construction was illegal and arbitrary.

On its part, the BMP said the builders had violated certain norms and this had come to light during the inspection.

It said a student of Mount Carmel College was killed when a lorry carrying construction material from the site knocked her down.

After the accident, the Government had directed the BMP to look into the issue. The BMP officials visited the site and issued a notice to the builder, citing several violations. The builder had approached the High Court, which asked the BMP to treat the notice as a show-cause notice and take a decision on the issue after giving the builder an opportunity.

The BMP had claimed as per the court direction it give an opportunity to the builder to present its case.

After hearing the builder, it had on August 20, 2005 asked him to stop construction, saying that it had not obtained environmental clearance from the Centre.

Urging the court to dismiss the petition, the BMP alleged that the petition was filed by Magareth Developers while the sanctioned plan for the project had been obtained by the Medical Relief Society of South Kanara. Thus, the petition could not be allowed.

The petitioner, in its statement of objections, alleged that the BMP charges were false and not tenable. It said it had written to the BMP asking it to grant commencement certificate but that the BMP had not responded to it.

Justice Rammohan Reddy adjourned further hearing of the petition and directed the BMP to produce all records pertaining to the sanctioned plan and commencement certificate.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Round the block, again

Round the block, again
Looking for parking space on MG Road? The odds are against you, finds BT
The Times of India

HOW often have you missed appointments or kept your date waiting on MG Road because you had to make several rounds looking for parking for your car? How many times have you told yourself you’ll never take your car to MG Road again? You’re quite justified in your disgust. BT gives you the facts. And the figures.

We asked financial expert Srikanth Bhagavat to do the number-crunching and here are the results. Your chances of securing a parking slot for your car are 66 per cent during peak hours — that’s for every 10 times that you go to MG Road, you are likely to get parking only over six times. The odds at non-peak hours are, naturally, better — almost a 100 per cent chance of getting lucky.

For every car that finds parking on some of Bangalore’s busy roads, there are scores in queue. Stretches known for being nightmarish in this regard are MG Road, Church Street, Brigade Road (in spite of
having a pay-and-park system), Richmond Road, Residency Road, Commercial Street, St Mark’s Road and Shivaji Nagar. According to MN Sreehari, chairman, TEST, who revealed the figures (see box) to BT, the lifting of the pay-and-park system last year is partly to blame for worsening the situation. “Now that parking is free people don’t bother to take their vehicle out. As a result, the demand for parking, particularly in the business areas, is extremely high. Even within this system, the authorities can ensure that cars don’t block space for the entire day,” he says. He suggests the authorities fix three hours as the maximum time for a car to be parked at the same place. Traders and office-goers are often blamed for blocking space the entire day. But traders also have a problem. Says Prakash Gangaram of Gangaram Book Bureau, “We are losing business because of the parking crunch. Nowadays I get many calls through the day from people who want to know if a particular book is available. Only after ensuring that the book is there do they bother to make a trip to MG Road,” he says.

Here are the vital stats on the basis of which Bhagavat worked out the probability ratio of finding parking on MG Road
The stretch from Kumble Circle to Kids Kemp is 1.6 km Parking is allowed only on one side of the road Space earmarked for one car is 4.5 m to 2.5 m Some 30 per cent of the stretch is barred for parking because of entry and exit points About 75 per cent of the vehicles parked are four-wheelers During peak hours (9am-12noon and 5-9pm), for every 10 cars that are parked, there are six vehicles waiting for space; the number drops to four during non-peak hours Of the 10 vehicles parked, six don’t move out the entire day; the four that come and go occupy space anywhere between 20 minutes and two-anda-half hours. Calculations showed that during peak hours, these four that move out leave 74 slots open for parking, and there are 112 cars vying for them!

BMP goes green, on a mission to count trees

BMP goes green, on a mission to count trees
The exhaustive survey will be used to check illegal tree cutting in the city. It will also provide a ready database for forest officials to study the requirement for planting trees.
The Times of India

Bangalore: The sprouting concern of the BMP for the trees in the City of Gardens has prodded them to undertake a census for this denizens.

The tree survey programme initiated by the BMP will include botanists to prepare a database for every single tree in all the 100 wards of the city. The survey undertaken by the forest department wing of BMP is currently carrying out a pilot project in ward number 7 of Malleshwaram which will be extended to the rest of the wards. The exhaustive survey which will not only be used to check illegal tree hacking in the city but also will be a ready data base for the forest officials to study the requirement for planting trees.

“It is a BMP-citizen initiative where the programme will be a success by mutual contributions,’’ said deputy conservator of forests Krishna D Udapudi.

Under the programme, a team of five people comprising a botanist, a student volunteer along with three BMP officials will survey the trees. While the student and BMP helpers will measure the girth of the trees and the road on which it is situated, the botanist will specify its species, its condition and compile the data. After a tree has been studied, it will be numbered with a yellow paint.

“The condition of the tree can fall under three categories — namely sound, fit to be removed, and can be managed by pruning. This can be best judged by a botanist alone,’’ added Udapudi.

We have planned to cover the trees situated on the road sides and within the compounds of government educational institute and hospitals and later go to private compounds and industrial layouts.

The survey is expected to be completed by March this year. “The data of the survey will act as a guiding book for the forest department to also decide which species is doing well in Bangalore’s climate and thereby promote more plantations of that species. Once each tree is numbered, the BMP will issue plates with the tree details on it which will be pinned on the respective trees.

“Since all the future decisions regarding trees will be based on the data given to us, it has to be an authentic one,’’ he added.
During the process of survey, advertisements nailed on the trees will be removed
along and trees will be fertilised.

CMO opens a dam of ‘allot stray site’ orders

CMO opens a dam of ‘allot stray site’ orders
But BDA Will Not Make Any Allotments
The Times of India

Bangalore: While political uncertainty clouded governance over the last few days, the chief minister’s office was rushing to clear hundreds of stray site allotments, it is learnt. This, notwithstanding the chief secretary’s ban on clearing any new projects in the crisis hour.

Over nine days, the CMO had issued more than 500 orders to the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) to allot stray sites. The beneficiaries were the kith and kin of the CM and his ministerial colleagues, party functionaries and some of the ministers. And on the D-day — January 27 — alone, the BDA had received 75 orders from the CM.

“Starting from January 19, the BDA received nearly 40 orders for stray site allotments per day and majority of the share has gone to large number of CM’s relatives. Apart from the cat, dog, parrots and other pets in his house, everyone else have been assured of sites by the CMO,’’ official sources in the government told The Times of India.

However, the BDA has not allotted any site. “When the beneficiary is issued a copy of the order, he will be very sure of getting a site. But the BDA cannot honour these orders.

Even before the chief secretary banned fresh approvals for any projects, the rule had been clamped in the BDA,’’ officials said.

As per law, stray sites have to be allotted to those “persons in public life as may be directed by the government.’’ The sites under this G category has been left to the discretion of the chief minister. Stray sites are those that are claimed back by the BDA after a default payment for an allotted site or cancellation of site. As per the BDA rules, only 30 per cent of such reclaimed sites can be allotted to the G category and the rest 70 per cent are auctioned. However, a stray site allottee will pay 25 per cent more than the site value fixed by BDA.

Prior to 1/19, over the last 20 months, the CM’s office had issued orders to allot stray sites for 398 people of which the BDA has allotted 75 sites including the sitting KPCC president. The reason being: the BDA has exhausted its stray sites. It had put on hold the remaining orders and looking at the political developments, in all probability, even these orders will be dumped, officials added.

The BDA has exhausted its stray sites in the mostsought-after areas - HSR layout, HAL, Indiranagar and BTM. In future, fresh stray site allotments will be made in the new layouts - Anjanapura, BSK 6th stage, Sir MV Layout and their extensions.

Cratered bridge over filthy water

Cratered bridge over filthy water
The Times of India

Bangalore: Of late, Arafat Nagar, near Mysore Road, is reeling under various problems: filth, mud roads, poor medical facilities and a dangerous bridge. The bridge is situated between Shamanna Garden and West Padarayanapura above a sewage stream. Residents say the bridge is over 18 years’ old and has been “doing more harm than good”.

The extremely narrow bridge is being used by many motorists and pedestrians, for the bridge gives a short-cut access to Jagajivanaram Nagar and Vijayanagar. A resident, Dheeraj (name changed), says: “A woman sustained severe injuries when her leg was stuck in a crater on the bridge. Passers-by helped her out. On another occasion, a scooterist fell into the sewage while crossing the bridge. Hundreds of schoolchildren use it regularly. The civic authorities are well aware of this unsafe bridge but do nothing to repair or broaden it. The residents have fixed a metal plate on the crater now.’’

According to M D Sanaulla, president (Minority Cell), JD(S) in Binnypet and Bharath Youth Welfare Association, “As many as 27 bhoomi poojas have been conducted by officials belonging to several governments (since ‘90s) to repair the bridge. The work is still pending. Five houses were also demolished for the construction of a new bridge in July 2002. Neither the bridge has been constructed nor have the house owners been given any compensation.’’ As if to complicate the matters, BMP workers dump garbage near the bridge every day. “Mosquitoes breed here posing health risks to the locals. The pest-control staff don’t spray disinfectants regularly. People have themselves taken up this task. Ward inspections are hardly conducted here,’’ he says.

MLA V Somanna says: “The work on new bridge has been delayed due to a wrong design by the engineers. Also, Rs 2 crore has been sanctioned for the West Padarayanapura Ward to lay cement roads. Both the works will begin shortly.’’ There is also a dearth of medical facilities here. Residents feel neglected by the government. “We need government clinics. There is only one government hospital in Jagajivanram Nagar for a population of almost Rs 2 lakhs. It’s a maternity hospital but people have to visit it for any ailment for which they will be charged too,’’ says Amjan, another resident. But Somanna allays their fears saying: “The hospital is equipped with excellent medical facilities. The residents need not worry.”

Volvo City buses will go on roads from today

Volvo City buses will go on roads from today
Vijay Times

Bangalore: It is almost two weeks since the first V olvo city buses were flagged off by the outgoing chief minister N Dharam Singh with great fanfare. But let alone travel, commuters are yet to see them.

Inaugurated with much fanfare in front of the Vidhana Soudha, the buses, sporting an eye-catching and attractive flaming red colour are awaiting final clearance before commencing it’s first journey .

However , assuring that there are no hurdles on it’s introduction, BMTC managing director U pendra T ripathy told Vijay Times that the delay was due to final road tests and transport department formalities.

He said that the first V olvo route no 356 C (Kempegowda Bus Station to Electronic City) will commence from Monday .

Airport terminal expansion may take some more time

Airport terminal expansion may take some more time

Bangalore : There is more bad news for air commuters and those accompanying them to the Bangalore Airport as the terminal expansion work is likely to carry on for couple of months more.

The expansion work aimed to solve the space constraints being felt at the terminal and baggage handling areas, was expected to be completed by January end but has now been delayed by two months to add to the prevailing chaos and confusion at the airport.

With construction work in full swing at the International and Domestic terminals, the exit points at the two arrivals have remained inaccessible forcing those waiting to receive the passengers to spill on to the road while obstructing the traffic flow . The temporary sheet walls which have been put up to cut off the construction area has been a causing further inconvenience to those visiting the airport.

Inside the terminal, it is another messy affair . With a number of new domestic and international airlines starting operations from Bangalore, the number of check-in and airticket counters have also been increased making the terminal a much crowded place with an inadequate seating arrangements.

V ehicles are being parked in no parking zones and other open spaces with the parking lot proving inadequate for the vehicle inflow .

The Bangalore Airport which is the third busiest airport in the country handles around 50 lakh passengers annually . With such inadequate infrastructure and delay in construction work there are serious security concerns.

The Airport Authority of India (AAI) on its part has said that the construction work will be completed by March end, " the expansion of terminals will help us accommodate an additional 8 lakh passengers, such congestion is expected to arise when construction activity is going on," a senior airport official said.

Residents angry with CMC

Residents angry with CMC
Deccan Herald

The residents of Bommanahalli City Municipal Council have innumerable problems when it comes to basic infrastructure facilities.

The residents of Bommanahalli City Municipal Council have innumerable problems when it comes to basic infrastructure facilities.

On Sunday, it was the turn of residents of Sreenidhi Layout near Konakunte in the CMC to air their grievances at a meeting scheduled to be attended by BWSSB and the Bommahahalli CMC Commissioner. But with none of the government representatives turning up, it just became a forum for nearly 400 residents to vent out their anger against the government.

The residents said the CMC, without providing basic amenities to old layouts, had constructed new layouts such as Sreenidhi, Kothanur, Chunchungatta and Konanakunte in the recent years.

Moreover, the residents of 950 houses in Sreenidhi Layout, are being served notices to pay taxes for supply of Cauvery water and drainage which have not been provided by the CMC. The entire layout stinks as sewerage gets stagnated, they alleged.

Retired bank employee Manjunath said, “The CMC began issuing notices for collecting taxes from the last one month. However, there are no facilities available. Our requirement is met through borewells.”

Another resident, A Sharieff said, “Only certain layouts in the CMC have basic amenities. However, thousands of houses have come up now. There is no match between the facilities and the growth.”

S Chandrashekar, another participant at the meeting said, “We can pay taxes but what guarantee is there that the taxes will be used for the purpose we pay for? We have been demanding facilities from many years. Can we expect anything better from the CMC?”

However, Renugopal, President of Sreenidhi Layout Residents’ Welfare Association urged the residents to pay their taxes.

“In case the authorities fail to deliver, we can launch a united agitation demanding that the facilities be provided, but this cannot be done without doing our duties,” he argued.

Meanwhile, M V Ramaswamy Raju, Member, Bommanahalli CMC, informed the gathering that Rs 120 crore has been sanctioned for a 158-km stretch of drainage pipe laying in Konankunte area which includes Sreenidhi Layout. Tenders have been invited for road works, he added.


Owners of 18 houses of the Layout, staged a protest at the venue alleging that the government had identified their houses for demolition as they were on the Rajakaluve, which blocked free flow of water in the storm water drain.

BMP officials go easy on road repair projects

BMP officials go easy on road repair projects

The Hindu

Contractors firm on demand to relax some of the norms in tender specifications before taking up work

# Dharam Singh had asked officials to complete road repair by July
# Work yet to start on re-chip carpeting of 350 km of roads in city
# BMP to wait till February 3 for response to tenders

BANGALORE: The change of Government seems to have come as a blessing in disguise for the Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP).

The BMP officials, who had promised to start several projects last week, are taking it easy.

Sources in the BMP said that road contractors, who are not interested in taking up roadwork after the expert committee appointed by the High Court to look into road and drain works submitted its report to the court, were firm on their demand of certain relaxations in the tender conditions. As a result, there is no improvement in the status of roadwork, the sources said.

Stimulated by the then Chief Minister N. Dharam Singh's warning on January 17 to complete roadwork by July or face the music, the BMP officials had announced that work on re-chip carpeting of 350 km of roads and the pending portion of the "Complete blacktop asphalting" project will begin by January 23. With this, the BMP hoped to meet the July 31 deadline issued by Mr. Dharam Singh during a review of city development works.

BMP Commissioner K. Jothiramalingam, who had convened an emergency meeting of officials after the review, had directed all the executive engineers in the civic body to immediately issue work orders for re-chip carpeting of 350 km of roads being taken up at a cost of over Rs. 30 crores. Although the tendering process for this project was completed last month, work has not started because the engineers were following the traditional procedure of first issuing letters of intent, work agreement and then the work order.

While the corporators from all parties pointed out that so far no roadwork have started, a top official told The Hindu on Sunday that work was started in the West Zone. "Asphalting of interior roads in the 33 wards of West Zone has been divided into 33 packages. Work on some of these packages has started," he said.

Admitting that the projects, which were slated to take off immediately, had been delayed, the official said: "Work in all the 100 wards is likely to begin by Wednesday."

Projects planned

The pending portion of the first package of "Complete blacktop asphalting" being taken up at a cost of Rs. 30 crores predominantly in Padmanabhanagar and surrounding areas was scheduled to begin by last Monday.

The first phase of the Karnataka Municipal Reforms Project (KMRP), involving upgradation of 30 km of roads in Koramangala, 80 Feet Road and surrounding roads at a cost of Rs. 38 crores was slated to start last week. "We will wait till February 3, the last date for contractors to respond to the tenders. If there is no proper response, we will decide on awarding the work to reputed firms such as Larsen and Tourbo, Gammon India, Simplex and others," the sources said.

With the BMP Council slated to meet on Tuesday, members from all parties are planning to take up the issue in a big way. "Our term will end this November and we can no longer waste time like this. If work does not start at least now, it will be difficult to ensure completion before the monsoon," Jogupalya corporator B.M. Mangala said.

Several auto drivers play touts in flesh trade in city

Several auto drivers play touts in flesh trade in city
Think twice when you take an auto at night
Vijay Times

Bangalore: Prostitution in the City has taken a new dimension with some autorickshaw drivers acting as touts, ferrying prostitutes for their clients, and taking a hefty commission in the bargain.

These touts roam around with prostitutes seated in the back seats of their autorickshaws and take ’orders’ over mobile phones from ’clients’.

"The girls are dropped for the night at the clients’ places and picked up next morning, making the job of tracing them almost impossible," a senior police officer from W omen and Narcotics Wing told Vijay T imes.

The indulgent Auto drivers take advantage of graveyard shifts in IT and BPO sectors where women workers often take autos back home in the absence of their office transport.

So , it is simple for the touts to operate. They go around with prostitutes at night looking for ’customers’, and if stopped by policemen, they hoodwink them into believing that they are only ferrying lady passengers from some call centre to their homes.

Afsar , an autorickshaw driver who is a tout has 15 girls in his prostitution ring, says rates range from Rs 2,500 to Rs 5,000 a night. Up to 30 per cent goes to the auto driver as commission. A late night recce with one of such auto drivers revealed that the girls came from different regional and financial backgrounds and with various personal woes.

"Majority of them are working class women and housewives whose husbands work out of town or abroad," said Mahadev , a tout operating in City Market area.

The police say this menace is specially on the rise now with out-ofbusiness live band artistes joining this profession.

According to the CCB officials, 90 per cent of the live band artistes have returned to their native places after the closure of live bands. Most among the remaining ten per cent have stayed back and entered this business.

4 These touts roam around with prostitutes seated in the back seats of their autorickshaws and take ’orders’ over mobile phones from clients

4 The girls are dropped for the night at the clients places and picked up next morning

4 The police say this menace is specially on the ris live band artistes joining this profession

Industry wants new Karnataka CM to focus on infrastructure.

New hope in Bangalore Inc
Business Standard

Industry wants new Karnataka CM to focus on infrastructure.

The change of guard at the Vidhana Soudha in Karnataka is being viewed with a certain degree of hope. Industry is looking forward to working with the new government to accelerate the progress Karnataka, specifically Bangalore, has made in the recent past.

Infrastructure gave Dharam Singh plenty of nightmare during his 20-month tenure as chief minister of Karnataka. This will undoubtedly be topping the agenda of HD Kumaraswamy, who will take over as chief minister on February 3.

Business leaders from a cross-section of industry have said that the new chief minister should not allow the momentum to slacken on developing infrastructure in Bangalore.

“As a priority, the new government must take up infrastructure development work, like the speedy completion of flyovers and the upgrade of the airport, on a war-footing. Accelerating projects like the new airport and the mass transportation system, and ensuring availability of stable power for all, are some of the areas that will help facilitate business growth and reinforce Bangalore’s reputation as a key global destination,” said Ravi Uppal, vice-chairman and managing director, ABB India said.

Kumaraswamy no doubt will have his hands full as he takes charge of the state. Improving the condition of roads, getting the metro rail project for Bangalore off the ground, ensuring power for the state if monsoon fails and governance are issues he will have to deal with from day one.

A CII spokesperson noted that no matter which political party came to power, industry would work closely with the government to push for the growth of the state’s economy.

Industry leaders were of the opinion that with proper attention and upkeep, the existing infrastructure had a lot more to provide.

Said Anant Koppar, president, Bangalore Chamber of Industries and commerce, “We wish the new government all the success. The chamber has been insisting for the development of local infrastructure. We would like the new government to draw attention and advise civic bodies to focus on the maintenance of city infrastructure, which is highly neglected, especially the roads.”

“The new projects that have been initiated, such as the international airport and metro rail, should be speeded up and it should be ensured that they become operational on schedule. This will reduce the challenges the state will face in the future,” Koppar said.

“From a manufacturing perspective, we must uplift our industrial estates and proactively formulate policies to promote investment across the state,” added Uppal.

Industry leaders also expect the new government to work for progress and for the needs of next-generation Indians.

Mysore, Managalore, Hubli and Dharwad have immense potential and the new government, along with all the stakeholders, should build world-class infrastructure to attract business and thus provide opportunities for the local community, they noted.

Developers feel policy has not kept pace in Karnataka

Developers feel policy has not kept pace in Karnataka
FInancial Express

BANGALORE: Inadequate planning, monitoring and non-adherence to technical requirements have spelled ruin for the roads in Karnataka. “Compared to neighbouring states, the roads in Karnataka fare the worst,” a Bangalore-based infrastructure developer says. He adds “We are at least 40 years behind the western countries.”

In Bangalore, over 700 people lose their lives every year in road accidents. The number of vehicles on the roads far exceeds the capacity. This is likely to worsen further, given that on an average, 750 two-wheelers and 400 four-wheelers are registered in the city daily. “Bangalore being the IT hub of the country, the pressure on roads is more compared to other parts of the state. This has worsened road conditions,” says a top official with Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprise (NICE), dealing with the development of the infrastructure corridor between Bangalore and Mysore.

Co-founder of the citizen’s movement Janaagraha, Swati Ramanathan says, “Our tender processes do not focus on the quality, and contracts are awarded to the lowest bidder. Besides, payment of contractors do not happen in time and most often, they are not paid at all,” she said.

Adds an infrastructure developer, “The government is increasingly publicising public-private partnership but policy has not kept pace. The processes of getting approvals are lengthy and lack accountability at lower levels.”

Karnataka has 1,31,592 km of roads, including 3,728 km of national highways, 9,829 km of state highways, 28,247 km of major district roads and 88,154 km of village and other roads.

Projects currently undertaken by Karnataka Road Development Corporation Limited (KRDCL) include the 120 km Bangalore-Mysore road, upgrade of Bilikere-Bellur road, Gulbarga-Ring road project, and the Jeewargi-Bijapur road. The corporation has taken up reconstruction and rehabilitation of 147 old, distressed and narrow bridges all over Karnataka. The project costing Rs 110 crore has been entrusted to Mecon Limited. The state also sought World Bank’s assistance for improvement of state highways for 2268.48 km.

According to official estimates, Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP) handles around 4,000 km of roads, apart from 1,000 km of arterial roads.

Experts suggest measures such as introducing under-passes and grade separation on roads in rural areas, active participation from citizens in monitoring road construction, multi storied parking spaces in major cities among others.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Bangalore unwired project to be rolled out

Bangalore unwired project to be rolled out
United News of India

Better known as Silicon Valley of India, Bangalore will soon take a lead over its competitors in the country in creating a city wide wireless infrastructure to provide seamless integerated wireless digital environment both for government and private users.

This will be the first phase of the ''unwire Bangalore'' project, taken up by the Karantaka Government to create an integerated wireless digital community covering a radius of 50 km to develop the city as a worldclass digital city.

It would provide an untethered fast network access to millions of users from the private, corporate and administrative sectors while creatin a mark for Bangalore as the innovative and progressive hub, high level sources in State Information Technology and Bio-technology department told UNI.

Setting its focus on the increasing PC penetration in the State, the State Government proposed to work together with leading Industry partners to implement a standardised city wide wirelss infrastruture.

The aim of Wireless Bangalore was to enable citizens to enjoy broadband in their homes, offices, schools and public places whether it was for personal, business or public usage.

The sources said that city's IT departments might integrate applications and data bases in a cost effective manner. New compoisite applications could then arise by combining previous disparate silos of information with the IT framework achieving an integrated platform supporting all eServices and eliminating duplication in infrastructure.

Bangalore glitter - and glitches

Bangalore glitter - and glitches
By Saritha Rai
The International Herald Tribune

BANGALORE, India When Vijayendra Rao, 24, wanted to relocate from New York to India, the lure of Bangalore was irresistible. Job opportunities were plentiful there for Rao, who was educated in the United States, and he had heard that about half the city was under the age of 25. It all sounded "cool and interesting," and Rao could not wait to get started in his job as a service manager with the consulting firm Accenture.

Since his arrival seven months ago, Bangalore has been all that Rao had expected, but for one infuriating detail. On weekends, he and his friends enjoy hanging out at their favorite pub, Pecos, off the crowded Brigade Road. But every night, on police orders that require bars and restaurants to close by 11:30 p.m., the pub's patrons are bundled out of the door.

"For a city that prides itself about working 24/7 for the world, it is ludicrous that all the fun places shut before midnight," Rao said.

Bangalore abounds in frustrating contrasts. Microsoft and Yahoo logos adorn the roofs of burnished office towers, while overloaded buses, cars and motorcycles belch fumes at crowded traffic lights below, their drivers honking incessantly. Garbage is piled high on the street corners of neighborhoods where real estate prices have increased threefold in as many years.

Newspaper advertisements for high-paying jobs and expensive real estate share space with reports of rising crime, divorce, suicide rates and recently, a terrorist attack.

Still, the combination of outsourced jobs and a hip lifestyle has made the city a magnet for multinational companies, technology start-ups and young professionals. As a microcosm of the globalized and wired world, Bangalore is often said to offer a model for replication in the rest of India.

"The city is now synonymous with a new India, single-handedly helping the country get on the larger global stage," said Rangu Salgame, managing director in South Asia for Cisco Systems.

In the mid-1990s, as liberalization jolted the Indian economy to life, academic and research institutions in Bangalore gave the city a head start in the high-tech job boom. More recently, Bangalore has drawn hundreds of experienced professionals, from developed countries and of Indian origin, like Rao. At the same time, nearly 40,000 engineers graduate each year from colleges in the region, adding to the pool of talent.

Despite double-digit pay raises recently, qualified professionals still cost about a quarter of what their peers earn in the Bay Area of California, a differential that continues to be a big draw for outsourced work from Western companies.

Additionally, Bangalore has amassed unique competencies in dozens of fields like mobile software.

"If you want to start up a mobile telephony company to generate intellectual property, then this is the only place where people can instantly deliver," said Bob Hoekstra, head of the software division at Philips Electronics India.

Salgame, too, recognizes that the city is special. "We network, socialize and poach each other's employees," the Cisco executive said. "It is tough to recreate this ecosystem."

Perhaps more than catalyzing change in India, Bangalore itself is developing and integrating into the global work force in myriad, not-so-subtle ways. Workers in its innumerable call centers are trained to speak in "neutral, global accents." Start-ups, funded with overseas venture capital and carrying out sophisticated research and development, are adopting westernized work habits, allowing their employees fewer holidays and forbidding personal phone calls at work.

Among the attractions of Bangalore are suburban housing communities advertised as "Californian living," some with "Balinese aesthetics" or "Venetian architecture," where a home may cost as much as $1 million - an unimaginable sum in most of the country.

The five-star Bangalore hotels offer Sunday brunches complete with lobsters, caviar and unlimited champagne. Its spa chains offer botox treatments as well as Thai massages.

But the growth spurt has exacerbated many problems, including poor infrastructure and inadequate government leadership. People like Salgame, who say they see the city as a catalyst for modern India, often seem to overlook the shortcomings. But the frustrations of everyday life can get to even longtime residents.

Driving a couple of kilometers may take 10 minutes or an hour, depending on traffic in the narrow, congested streets. For years, a half-completed overpass on the road between the airport and the city has symbolized the lackadaisical state government approach to upgrading an outgrown civic infrastructure.

While construction on the first privately built highway project in India has begun between Bangalore and the city of Mysore, a long-awaited elevated expressway to connect central Bangalore with a technology hub in the suburbs remains unstarted.

Alongside the inertia of the city administration is a certain indifference to practical interests.

While the city thrives on work won from the United States - to the extent that "Bangalored" is being used by some Americans as an expression for losing one's job to an offshore contractor - politicians are debating a name change from Bangalore to the local language form, "Bengaluru," a move many criticize as reeking of chauvinism.

Still, for all the downside, professionals who live in the city find it hard to move anywhere else.

"People are noticing that the infrastructure is terrible and yet, the momentum in Bangalore is so high that their perception is that it is a hot place to live and work in," said Dinesh Mirchandani, the president in Mumbai of Boyden Global Executive Search, a management recruitment agency with headquarters in New York.

Some other Indian cities are trying to emulate Bangalore, hoping that the traditional Indian strengths in math and science can provide a sufficient base to build similar clusters of development. But while Western-style housing, international schools, glitzy malls and fashionable restaurants have been duplicated in cities like Madras, Hyderabad and Pune, Bangalore has so far proved impossible to clone.

"Bangalore represents the challenges of growth within a democracy; it is an example of how democracy can hurt," Salgame said. Yet, he said, Bangalore also illustrates how a city can become so strategic to businesses, "so compelling that its negatives could be ignored."

No. 1 concern: Infrastructure

No. 1 concern: Infrastructure
Industry Bigwigs Fear To Lose Momentum Gained On Infrastructure Front
The Times of India

Bangalore: If there is one thing industry in Karnataka would like H D Kumaraswamy’s new government in the state to focus on, it’s infrastructure.

Industry bigwigs that STOI spoke to, uniformly described that as their No. 1 concern.

“The pace of economic growth in Karnataka has been very rapid, and it’s absolutely essential that the infrastructure issues be addressed immediately to maintain the momentum,” said S Babu, president of the Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FKCCI).

Speaking about the IT industry, R K Misra, a member of the state government’s empowered committee on infrastructure, notes that most things for the industry are on “auto pilot”, with the significant exception of infrastructure. He urged Kumaraswamy to continue the bureaucracy-industry interaction on infrastructure and ensure that the momentum built on infrastructure in the past few months is not lost.

Misra also said Bangalore’s brand image had taken a beating because of infrastructure and governance issues, and people worldwide were looking at alternatives to Bangalore to set up their operations. “We need a real brand building exercise,” he said.

All of Karnataka’s neighbouring states are seen to be trying to wean away investments from here by providing a variety of incentives. “In Karnataka, even land is not being allotted to companies that require them. KIADB should facilitate the process of quick land acquisition,” Babu said. He also urged the new government not to raise taxes in the coming budget, noting that Karnataka is already one of the most highly taxed states.

“Kumaraswamy is young and we expect he will provide a good government and will be business friendly,” Babu said.
However, a CEO of a venture capital firm said people in general have become indifferent to political change: “The common man thinks that the government does not affect his life.”

If Kumaraswamy is listening, maybe he would like to consider bringing a difference, and change the way people view politics.

I N OT H E R W O R D S . . .

Girish Karnad (playwright): The new government should be secular and should look at the economic orientation of the state. But first and foremost it should address the issue of the farmers.

Trilochan Sastry (IIM-B professor): The new government should pay attention to the city’s infrastructure, implement the Right to Information Act and the Employment Guarantee Act. The government should also give attention to the primary and secondary education in the state.

Mahesh Dattani (playwright): It is the first time BJP has come to power. It should first revamp its ideology and emerge as a secular government. The farmer issue and the Cauvery water issue should be resolved on a priority basis. Bangalore’s infrastructure also needs to be addressed.

H D Gangaraju (president, Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce): The film industry expects the new government to address the issues concerning the industry. The coalition government has done a lot for the film industry and we expect the same cooperation from the new government as well.

Tackle infrastructure woes, corruption

Tackle infrastructure woes, corruption
Question of the week
Which two main problems should the new government tackle on a priority basis?

The city’s infrastructure is pathetic. Development is taking place at snail’s pace. The new government should take this up on a war footing, and make Bangalore live up to its image as the IT capital of India. Secondly, corruption is a perennial problem. Even if the state can’t be a Ram rajya, it shouldn’t turn into a Ravan rajya.
Ajith Vasuki, Rajajinagar, Bangalore

Introduce electric power generators to meet urban and rural requirements. Implement Metro rail project soon to improve transportation.
M N Kesari, Vijaynagar, Bangalore

Remove the anti-IT image of the previous government. Improve infrastructure all over Karnataka, including villages. Bring back Narayana Murthy into BIAL.
Ramesh N, Pavagada

Repair rain damage on a war footing and prevent similar problems. Desilt storm water drains, and educate people to not dump garbage in drains. Tackle crime by intensifying police patrolling.
V Kannan, Ashok Nagar, Bangalore

Focus on the budget and introspect on the previous government’s budget proposals.
Shetty Gowda, Palace Guttahalli, Bangalore

Physician, heal thyself first. Nongovernance has been the main problem. Coalition politics is new to Karnataka. So the government should learn to function as a team, and not waste time indulging in mud-slinging and trading charges against each other. Steer back projects to improve Bangalore’s infrastructure.
Usha G Rao, BSK III Stage, Bangalore

Cancerous corruption and crumbling infrastructure. Prosecute corrupt officials trapped by the Lok Ayukta who should be given more powers.
S Sundara, R R Nagar, Bangalore

Improve infrastructure in urban areas to prevent IT companies from shifting base elsewhere. Provide more facilities to farmers, who were badly affected by the rains.
K V Vijaykumar, BSK III Stage, Bangalore

Tackle infrastructure and security issues.
Srinivasa Reddy, D C Palya, Bangalore

Deal with infrastructure and corruption. People have been patient for too long.
Lawrence Sebastian, J P Palya, Bangalore

Implement metro rail project to ease traffic congestion. Drop VAT on defence canteen items — it is demoralising for the state’s defence personnel, especially retired people and widows.
A K Gupta, Jal Vayu Vihar, Bangalore

New government should work towards stability since the state is new to coalition politics. It should not create an urban-rural divide, and look at how IT can help the state.
P T Shankaranarayanan, HAL II Stage, Bangalore

The first problem is within the government. It should complete the full term and tackle infrastructure problems and traffic chaos caused by oneway system.
P A Sukumaran, Rajajinagar II Stage, Bangalore

Redefine livelihood of rural people. Attend to unemployment and health care issues without lip service.
Jagadish Kalmath, Yelahanka, Bangalore

Eradicate crime and corruption, which is spreading like cancer in Bangalore.
Vimala Kesari, Vijaynagar, Bangalore

Set right the roads. Involve resident associations in the task. BMC engineers should be only handle bill payments and compliance with technical specifications. Ensure uninterrupted power supply.
H S Gopalan, J P Nagar, Bangalore

Learn from best practices of cities like Mumbai to bring in better traffic management. Repair trunk roads and mark lanes clearly. Reduce number of one-way roads.
T P Krishnanand, H S R Layout, Bangalore

Deploy more traffic police personnel since road users don’t follow rules.
Indranil Roy, Richmond Circle, Bangalore

Corruption-free system, complete transparency and accountability at all levels. Manjunath, Seppings Road, Bangalore The new government should work for the people, not for itself.
S Deepak Sharma, BSK III Stage, Bangalore

Road maintenance and retention of IT/BT sectors in Karnataka by co-ordinating with them to address their needs and prevent them from moving to other states.
S Ramanujam, recd via e-mail

The two partners should sincerely coordinate with each other. All ministers should clear pending files. They should avoid programmes such as opening ceremonies so that traffic isn’t stalled.
Ravi K Suri, recd via e-mail

Provide good infrastructure and maintain them well. Check inflation rate. The high commands shouldn’t dissolve the new government too by making provocative statements.
C Sathish Kumar, Bangalore

Prioritise road maintenance and safety issues. Take action against corrupt officials in CMCs and local civic bodies.
Ramanujam Santhanam, recd via email

Repair roads, provide and improve transport facilities in rural areas. Provide potable water in both rural and urban areas, besides quality electricity.
H M Rajeshwari, T K Layout, Mysore

Improve roads in both urban and rural areas. Provide remunerative prices for farmers’ produce, besides round-the-clock electricity for their pump-sets.

The first priority of the government should be to create an enabling environment for economic activities to expand and flourish in both the urban and rural areas of Karnataka. Instead of dissipating energies in internal feuds, leaders should pay special attention to infrastructure such as roads, power, water, etc. for which large central funds and loans are available. Political leadership should recognise that the state will progress only when it competes well with other states that also tap the same resource pool. The second priority should be deliver the essential services and benefits that people need efficiently and without corruption and harassment. Poverty reduction, social harmony and development of backward areas can be achieved only through accountable governance. Leaders should show that they care for all communities and all parts of the state irrespective of economic and social status. If social disintegration and growing distrust of political leaders are to be reversed, government should demonstrate that it is capable of performing its basic functions.
Samuel Paul,
Public Affairs Centre

City plans: Challenges before new government

City plans: Challenges before new government
New INdian Express

BANGALORE: Running a coalition government would be the toughest challenge for the JD(S)-BJP combine, but it will not be an easy task for it to ensure that ‘‘Brand Bangalore’’ does not take a beating.

It remains to be seen how the new government, headed by JD(S), a party known for its anti-urban, especially anti-IT image, will be able to strike a balance between rural and urban development. The combine lacks the experience in running a government, while the tasks before it are challenging.

The new dispensation also needs to show that it is committed to improve infrastructure in the City and ensure growth of IT, BT and other sectors. The State is expected to export $20 billion in the software sector in 2010 and that will also create a huge number of job opportunities.

To ensure the City’s development, the new government needs to improve basic infrastructure like roads, public transportation and have policies that encourage investment and public-private partnerships.

Some drastic measures are needed to put the roads in order, for the Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP) has done little to rid the roads of potholes.

In next few days, or perhaps weeks, the new government will face its first test: putting the much-needed and much-delayed Metrorail project on track. The Centre is expected to soon show the green signal to the project, which JD(S) leader and former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda had been trying to derail.

Now, it is up to his party’s government to take the project to a logical end. Bangalore needs the project and it is up to the new dispensation to clear all hurdles, both political and bureaucratic.

In case the new government decides to toe Gowda’s line, the Metro will be delayed further, or maybe never see the light of day.

The new regime should also make sure that the international airport at Devanahalli takes off smoothly and becomes operational on schedule, by April 2008.

But it has to first find a new chairman to head Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL), a post which fell vacant when Infosys Chief Mentor N R Narayana Murthy resigned after Deve Gowda made allegations of land grabbing against the IT firm.

Arkavathy Layout will be another big challenge for the JD(S)-led government. After the High Court order, the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) is now busy developing the layout and allotting sites. Interestingly, the JD(S) had opposed the project.

Implementation of several projects like Peripheral Ring Road, Inner Ring Road, which were proposed by BMP, and improving the efficiency of the urban local bodies, including BMP, will be the challenges before the government.

The controversial Bangalore Mysore Infrastructure Corridor (BMIC) project, being implemented by the Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprise (NICE), will continue to haunt the new regime, as it had previous ones.

Meanwhile, strengthening the police force and its intelligence gathering network should also be its priority. The recent terror attack on Indian Institute of Science (IISc) had proved that Bangalore is no longer safe and the government needs to ensure that the police force is capable of counter-terrorist operations and, as far as possible, provide fail-safe security.

That apart, the larger issues of corruption, improving health facilities, recruiting teachers at the government schools and creating employment opportunities would continue to be a daunting task for the government.


Deccan Herald

Anuv Mahant

Student, Christ College

I definitely would like to see improved connectivity and better infrastructure in Bangalore.

The condition of the City, in the past two years has gone from bad to worse.

I hope this will all be in the past. Security is another key issue with Bangaloreans.

The new leader should also facilitate multinational firms to come to Karnataka.

Bob Hoekstra

CEO, Phillips Innovation Centre

I h-ope this government will deliver goods and not involve itself in power games. Bangalore has had no government in the last so many months. The entire bureaucracy is demoralised. What we need is good governance.

Tuhin Chatterjee

Activist, Green Peace

The new chief minister should emulate S M Krishna and bring back Bangalore its past glory.

We hardly had any government in the last two years and to bring development back on tracks, it will take a long time.

The chief minister should be committed enough to bring back normalcy and fast paced development to Bangalore and Karnataka.

Dr Pradeep

Medical practitioner, Belur

The new chief minister should concentrate on improving infrastructure and controlling corruption. He should also give priority to agriculture and agriculturists. We are fed up of the infighting between the political parties and leaders.

We want a stable government that would deliver goods to the people.

Syed Ghouse Mohiyuddin Shakhadri

Spiritual leader, Chikmagalur

We don’t want political instability in Karnataka any more.

I hope this was the last of what we saw. We need to move ahead.

The new chief minister should create an atmosphere of peace and harmony in the State.

Mohan T

Self employed

After the Krishna government the clock for Bangalore’s development stopped ticking. The new chief minister should concentrate first on improving the infrastructure and woo back the IT sector.

Krishna Prasad

Head of programming, MSN India

The new chief minister needs to focus on getting the roads back in shape. There was a time when Bangalore was seen as a model City and centre for development. Today, it has become a joke. He should also win the hearts of the IT sector, who has been the major contributor to the City and State’s growth.

Whether young or old, the new leader has to have a vision and the ability to follow it relentlessly in the interest of the State.

BMP proposes separate agency for projects

BMP proposes separate agency for projects

The Hindu

It is likely to be formed under the Companies Act

# The agency is expected to reduce the time for execution of works
# The plan is to make a person of repute head the agency
# Under the proposed plan there will be a central committee to scrutinise and finalise tenders

Bangalore: Some city governments have tried it and have been successful; others have not. Now, the Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP) has proposed to the Government that it form a separate entity to carry out major infrastructure projects, reducing delay and possible malpractices.

The BMP's proposal is for a special purpose vehicle that can function independent of both the Government and the civic body itself, but guided by it.

Such an agency is expected to reduce the time for execution of works since certain time-consuming procedures can be minimised, and also the monitoring could be better and the quality of work assured.

It may also be able to curb time and cost over-runs, some civic officials feel.

The agency is proposed to be formed under the Companies Act with the State Government holding equity of about Rs. 200 crores and more funds raised from financial institutions to meet infrastructure needs arising from time to time.

A list of priorities and details of project reports are likely to be made available to the financing institutions, similar to a business seeking assistance from banks.

The agency, headed by a person of repute and known for integrity in public life, may have 20 members or directors representing the stakeholders, including the city municipal councils around Bangalore.

With the likelihood of these CMCs coming under the BMP at a future date, their infrastructure needs will also be taken into consideration.

The existing system of carrying out infrastructure projects needs prior sanctions and approvals at various levels and leads to delays and possible cost over-runs.

Each project passes through 15 stages of approvals before getting the final sanction and allocation of funds. Irregularities and favouritism with regard to contractors have often been alleged by BMP corporators.

In the case of a special purpose vehicle, such as the agency suggested by the civic body, there will be a central committee to scrutinise and finalise tenders.

There will, thus, be less interference from the city MLAs or the BMP Council. BMP engineers feel this may effectively reduce project costs significantly.

Meanwhile, the Union Urban Development Ministry, which was informed about the BMP proposal recently, is known to have shown a positive response and suggested that the nodal agency could function under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Mission.

The Karnataka Government has sent for approval under the National Urban Mission a city development strategy plan for Bangalore.

The BMP is likely to make certain modifications in its proposal, as suggested by the Union Government.

Metrorail may hit roadblock

Metrorail may hit roadblock
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: The change in Government is likely to affect the Bangalore Metrorail project, while it will have little bearing on the new international airport at Devanahalli.

The Metrorail has crossed most hurdles and the BMRTL is ready to implement it, but the change in the political set-up may delay it, as the new dispensation may decide to take a re-look.

It is not clear what the JD(S)-BJP combine’ stand on the project, which was opposed by the former prime minister H D Deve Gowda.

The JD(S)-led Government is unlikely to go ahead with the project in its present form and may put it off for some time.

However, the new International Airport at Devanahalli, 35 kms from the City, will not be affected. The State Government and Airport Authority of India (AAI) have 13 per cent equity each and rest 74 per cent is from the private sector.

The project is full swing and the airport will be operational by April 2008. “The change in Government will not affect its schedule,” sources said.

The new airport will also spur a lot of economic activities in the City. In the first phase, the BIAL is planning to have one runway and the second runway will be constructed in the next phase.

With non-Congress government, going gets tough for BMP

Not just future projects, even the past decisions of the Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP) may be reversed if the non-Congress coalition forms a government. The ruling Congress at the BMP is clearly in for trouble.

Apart from transfers of key Bangalore Mahanagara Palike officials, the civic body would face difficulty in getting its council resolutions approved by the government.

This can only further stretch the long red tape on infrastructure works making the works costlier.

While some Bangalore Mahanagara Palike officials are jubilant at the prospect of H D Kumaraswamy becoming the new Chief Minister, many are worried with either of the coalition partners taking charge of Bangalore.

While BJP MLA R Ashok is touted to be the next Urban Development Minister and also the in-charge minister for Bangalore, another BJP MLA Katta Subramanya Naidu too is seen as a possibility.

Neither is expected to support the proposals of the Bangalore Mahanagara Palike where Congress has a majority.

The renovation of Kalasipalyam Bus terminus, pending development of Garuda Mall, Ashram Circle flyover, grade separators in Malleswaram, Yeshwantpur, Minerva Circle and South End Circle are some of the major projects which would be affected.

Though the new government may not transfer any officials from Bangalore Mahanagara Palike before the budget session, the BMP would change the zonal commissioners and engineers.

The only hope for the mayor Mumtaz Begum is JD(S )MLA Zameer Ahmed, her relative, to be given the Urban Development portfolio.

No more drama; action, please

No more drama; action, please
Officialspeak: Projects safe
Vijay Times

Good governance, stability , development and dramafree politics is what the people want from the new government that will assume office on Feb 3. T eam Vijay T imes spoke to a crosssection of people on their expectations. Some were also cynical to suggest nothing much can be expected from the new dispensation. V enugopal Gowda, advocate: The new government should be peoplefriendly and provide hassle-free administration. Altaf Ahmed, social activist: This government will not last long and there is no expectations from it. Shrikant B, an employee at a private firm: Development works need to be put on a fast track. Dr C N Manjunath, Director , Sri Jayadeva Institute of Cardiology: Funding for all government hospitals must be increased. M Sunil K umar , techie: W e need good governance and not drama or mudslinging by politicians. T K Vikram, engineer: I hope there will not be any Information T echnology bashing by the new government. Rajalakshmi, Reader , (Department of English), V asavi College: One can t expect much from a coalition of secular and communal parties. Rajashekar Gadat, a medico: The new go vernment should come out with a road-map for the development of Bangalore City . It should also work hard to curb corruption and redtapism. Sa Ra Govind, film producer: I hope the new government will help the film industry .

Patsy Paul, technical writer: I do not expect much from the new government. Somashekhar , president, Autorickshaw Drivers Union: W e want our problems to be addressed irrespective of whichever party is in power . Roopashree, housewife: I am happy to see a young face as a chief minister .

Ashok Khenny , Managing Director , NICE: The Bangalore Mysore Infrastructure C (BMIC) project will not be affected because of the in regime, W e don’t see K umarswamy as a hindran has never opposed the project.

Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL) senior official: The ernment will not have any bearing on the c activities of the International Airport. It schedule. W e are hopeful we get the same support new government like what we got from the previous K N Srivastava, Managing Director,

Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation: Change in the po set-up will not affect the Metro Rail project in expect the new government t to continue ext support and expedite the project Rehan Khan, Managing Director , Metrail India (Pro of Monorail): W e sincerely hope priority w to kickstart a mass rail-based transit system (MRT City . Imtiaz Ahmed, president, CMH Road T raders and a critic of Metro Rail alignment: The new gove should consider providing a transport system that involve land acquistion, demolitions and publ ment.

I will prove that my father was never anti-IT: Kumaraswamy

I will prove that my father was never anti-IT: Kumaraswamy
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: For to be chief minister H D Kumaraswamy, administration may be new.

But, he is confident of handling the things. While chatting with mediapersons after being invited by the Governor to form new coalition Government, Kumaraswamy said that his aim was to work towards development.

“I want to disseminate the notion that my father was anti-development and anti- IT&BT. Besides, he said that there was a need to re-define the terminology--secular'.

Excerpts of the interview

Q : What will be your priorities as a Chief Minister?

A : Basically, it is good governance and creating a good atmosphere for development.

We have to take a lot of welfare measures to help the poor and ensure that the programmes reached the needy.

Q : But development needs good infrastructure

A : That is the reason for the fall of Dharam Singh Government. We will ensure good infrastructure to all citizen, both in Bangalore, other cities as well as in rural areas.

When my father raised certain questions regarding some of the projects, he was branded as anti-development, anti-IT&BT.

I will work to disseminate that mis-information campaign against him. We will take up the infrastructure projects on war footing.

We will ensure that it should be economically viable and serve the purpose for people. However, there will be no wasting of time on debating the issues and we will take IT and BT industry into confidence.

Q : Will this include the proposed Bangalore Metro project?

A : Yes. It includes all the developmental projects and we are also examining the Tamil Nadu Government's 450 kms of mono-rail project. The projects should not cause inconvenience to the people, while implementing them.

I have dreams of giving best infrastructure to Bangalore, but cannot compare with other countries and promise something, which I cannot do.

Q : What you have to offer to the rural sector?

A : We are going to continue with pro-farmer and pro-rural programmes like farm loan at six per cent, Yeshaswini, food grains at subsidised price.

There is a need to strengthen ‘Stree Shakti’ and also the cooperatives to help rural people.

Q : Do you foresee any problem from new partners to ‘secular credentials’ of the party?

A : There is a need to re-define the terminology called ‘secular’. We are not going into the details of caste, creed or religion, when taking up welfare programmes. But, we will take care that we will not hurt the sentiments of any community.

I know that there are some ‘tickling issues’. But, we are forming coordination committee and preparing a Common Minimum Programme (CMP) for the Government. We will work within the framework of the CMP.

Q : Family matter seems to be unsettling

A : Yes. I had to take hardest decision of my life to save my party. My father spoke of ‘Karma’ that made him undergo such a trauma at the fag end of his political career. I believe that same ‘Karma’ makes him realise that I have taken a right step.

I will work towards making him feel proud of me. I think, it is a matter of time before the family issues settle down.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Work on KH Road to be completed soon

Work on KH Road to be completed soon
Deccan Herald

A separate drainage system has been developed under the concreted stretch, where the perforated base will enable collection and channelising of water into the side drains. Renovation of shoulder drains and side drains have also been taken up on KH Road.

Diversions, traffic jams and unruly chaos dominate on KH Road, thanks to the ongoing construction work undertaken by BMP on the rain-affected stretch. The work is on for three months now adding to the woes of Bangaloreans. But BMP now promises that the upgradation work will be completed within a fortnight.

BMP Chief Engineer Gopalswamy said the BMP has opted for concreting the 100-metre collapsed stretch so that the condition of roads remains good for at least the next 35 years. “The road upgradation work has been slow, but we are doing it thoroughly. We chose to concrete the stretch because of the high density of traffic and a high water table. Asphalting would not help under such conditions, but concrete is durable,” he said.

The concreting work will cost Rs 15 lakh, three times the cost of road asphalting.

A separate drainage system has been developed under the concreted stretch, where the perforated base will enable collection and channelising of water into the side drains. Renovation of shoulder drains and side drains have also been taken up on KH Road.

Shantinagar bus stand will buzz with life soon

Shantinagar bus stand will buzz with life soon
Deccan Herald

The sprawling BMTC bus stand in Shantinagar on KH Road, that hitherto wore a deserted look, will soon be seen bustling with activity.

As of now, the bus stand is mainly limited to South Bangalore-bound routes. The buses that ply on this route connect Shivajinagar, Richmond Road, Residency Road and M G Road, to areas in South Bangalore such as Jayanagar, Koramangala and Banashankari. Presently this bus stand is the starting point for only 12 routes, but within the next three months, the BMTC is planning to increase the number of routes to 50.

“We are looking at improving connectivity to all locations from this junction. The new routes will extend to places like Bannerghatta Road, Hosur Road and Sarjapur Road on one end, to Indiranagar, Airport Road, Mysore Road and Majestic on the other,” revealed Dastagir Sharief, Chief Traffic Manager, BMTC.

In fact, the bus stand will only get busier when the construction of Kalasipalyam bus stand begins, which is likely in April. According to BMTC Managing Director Upendra Tripathi, all routes in the Southern Bangalore sector will originate from Shanthinagar instead of City Market, once the work begins.


According to BMP Chief Engineer (Projects) Ranganath, the proposal of renovating Kalasipalyam bus stand under private-public partnership model, that was mooted and cleared by the BMP in November 2005, is now before the government for clearance. “The proposal was expected to be cleared in January-end, but has been delayed because of political instability. We now expect the proposal to be cleared by March. And, construction work will begin in April,” Ranganath said.

Toll for Bangalore expressway linked to WPI

Toll for Bangalore expressway linked to WPI

The Hindu

Bangalore , Jan 27

BANGALORE Elevated Tollway Ltd (BETL), which has been awarded the expressway project on the Bangalore-Hosur section of the National Highway connecting the Electronic City, has proposed a toll of Rs 10 to Rs 70 per trip for different modes of vehicles, including heavy commercial vehicles.

The toll rate will be linked to the wholesale price index with an option to revise the rate every year to protect itself from any escalation in its operational costs during the 20-year concession period under the Build-Operate-and-Transfer (BOT) contract.

The three-member consortium has to undertake the work of topping the surface during the concession period, when any increase in the input cost could impact the toll rate.

However, Mr Ankineedu Maganti, Director of Soma Enterprises, lead member of the consortium, said: "We do not anticipate any major increase in the wholesale price index. In the last five years, the index has not seen more than a 4-4.5 per cent increase."

Speaking to newspersons on Friday, he said that the project would be funded by both equity and debt.

The financial closure for the project is expected to be completed in six months.

With the completion of the project, composed of a four-lane expressway to the Electronic City supported by a six-lane ground level road and a two-lane service lane, the IT industry hopes to get relief from traffic bottlenecks.

The consortium consists of Soma Enterprise Ltd, Nagarjuna Construction Corporation (NCC), and Maytas Infra Pvt Ltd.

It won the Rs 765-crore project through a competitive bid floated by the National Highway Authority of India.

The project consists of a 25-km-long road, which includes the elevated highway, and is expected to be completed in 30 months after work starts in February.

Initially, the project - estimated to cost Rs 450 crore - was to be implemented under the private-public partnership of Electronic City Industrial Association, NHAI, and the Karnataka Government with each holding equal equity of 33.3 per cent.

IDFC may fund elevated expressway

IDFC may fund elevated expressway
Business Standard

The Bangalore Elevated Tollway Limited (BETL) is in talks with leading financial institutions like IDFC, SBI and ICICI for funding the Rs 765 crore project.

BETL is the special purpose vehicle that was formed recently to implement the access-controlled elevated expressway project from Bangalore city to Electronic City.

The 9-km Bangalore-Electronics City elevated expressway project has been bagged by a consortium of three companies — Soma Enterprise Limited, Nagarjuna Constructions Co and Maytas Infra Pvt Ltd. The consortium outbid leading construction firms like L&T, HCC, GMR and Gammon India.

An agreement with the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) was signed on January 25. The project is scheduled to be completed by July 2006.

“We have initiated talks with the Infrastructure Development Finance Company Ltd (IDFC) to fund the project. While the three consortium partners contribute 20 per cent of the project cost (about Rs 150-160 crore), the balance will be raised from financial institutions,” V V R Raju, vice president - finance, Maytas Infra Private Limited told Business Standard.

He said that Maytas Infra, which is constructing the 63-km Bangalore-Maddur state highway with loans from IDFC, is likely to opt for the financial institution to fund the elevated expressway.

“We have six months to achieve the financial closure of the project. In the next two weeks the project appraisal work will be completed and we hope to finalise IDFC as the lead financier as their interest rates are very attractive (about 8-8.25 per cent),” said Raju.

The public-private partnership project has been awarded by NHAI on a negative grant of Rs 16 crore. The project will commence in July this year and completed in 24 months.

The expressway includes 4-lanes of elevated road and 6-lane road on the ground, from the Silk Board Junction up to Electronic City on NH-7.

The consortium has been given a concession of 20 years and it will be implemented on a build-own-transfer (BOT) basis, said Ankineedu Maganti, director, Soma Enterprise Ltd.

He said that the expressway, once completed and implemented, will reduce the commuting time to Electronic City by one hour. It will decongest the roads and enable thousands of IT professionals to commute to work faster and more easily.

The BETL has fixed Rs 10, Rs 25 and Rs 70 as toll for a single trip for two-wheelers, passenger cars and heavy commercial vehicles including buses respectively.

There will be concession passes on a daily and monthly basis for regular users. Toll plazas will be set up at five places. The toll has been fixed in consultation with the NHAI.

Good infrastructure is what our city needs at the moment

Good infrastructure is what our city needs at the moment
The Hindu

While the Government should keep in mind the welfare of rural people, it should ensure that it does not alienate urban citizens in the process. Industries, the IT sector included, which have a stake in the development of cities, are understandably peeved with the raw deal urban development has received, our readers feel.

Poor infrastructure

THE REASON why the image of Bangalore has taken a beating is its poor infrastructure, especially roads. One need not be urban-oriented to realise that a city considered the global hub of information technology needs good roads.

Apart from roads, vehicular traffic needs careful handing, going beyond cosmetic changes such as one-ways.

K. Ram Mohan

Jeevanbima Nagar

Needs neglected

BY MAKING a U-turn towards what is touted as a "pro-poor and pro-rural" government over the past two years, the city's most basic needs have been neglected.

A good government should be able to balance the needs of both the urban and rural population without either section feeling ignored. One hopes this happens in future.

R. Sukumar


Killing the goose

MOST OF the State's revenue comes from cities, which are centres of industrial production, the IT-sector included. This is the money that the Government needs to subsidise welfare schemes for the poor.

What has been happening over the past two years is like the parable on killing the goose that lays the golden eggs.

No wonder the leaders of the IT industry are threatening to locate their new facilities outside the State.

Srinidhi Patil


Government biased

IS IT necessary to ignore the genuine needs of the city to please rural constituencies?

The Government appears biased in the eyes of industries, which have made the region wealthier.

A more balanced approach is necessary if Bangalore is to retain its status as a global investment destination.

Why should the IT industry suddenly find itself alienated? Any government in power should ponder over this.

Sudha Nagaraj


Arrest trend

THE STATE and its capital enjoyed the reputation of being progressive, forward-looking and trying to catch up with metropolises in developed countries.

Overnight, the rulers decided that the city deserved nothing better than cart tracks for roads and chaotic traffic seen on market days in rural towns.

Unless this trend is arrested, Bangalore is bound to slide down into an infrastructure nightmare and other cities such as Chennai and Hyderabad will make the best of this fall.

This is already beginning to happen.

Farha M.

Fraser Town

Genuine misgivings

No section of the population will feel overlooked if the Government takes a fair and unbiased view of the needs of different sections such as villages, small towns and cities.

The needs of Bangalore can be ignored only at the cost of industries deciding to relocate elsewhere.

The IT industry is not dictating terms to the Government but expressing genuine misgivings about the city's poor state.

Susheela Oommen


Centre more balanced

The Government in Delhi seems to be more balanced than the one occupying our Vidhana Soudha. The Prime Minister is carrying out a delicate balancing act with some success.

There is a lesson here for those in power in the State. The urban population cannot be slighted because the Government wants to help the rural poor.

J. Venkatesh


Taking advantage

There are some people who try to use to their advantage the helplessness of a minority government. This is why there was a spat between the Government and the IT industry, which was gleefully reported by the media across the country.

Let us wake up to the reality: the State's coffers are richer because of the IT sector and other industries. Farmers do feed us but don't earn us foreign exchange. No Government can forget this fact.

M. Faziuddin


No competition

It is being increasingly projected that the urban and rural areas of the State are competing for Government's attention.

Hence, the Government has to make a choice between the two.

But with proper planning and foresight, the needs of rural and urban areas can be reconciled.

S. Chandrashekar


Work on elevated expressway to start next month

Work on elevated expressway to start next month

The Hindu

BANGALORE: The stage is set for work on the nine km Bangalore-Electronic City Elevated Toll Expressway Project to start next month. The Rs. 765-crore project, to be implemented by the Consortium of Soma Enterprises Limited, Nagarjuna Construction Company and Maytas Infra Private Limited, will be completed in 30 months.

The consortium members on Friday announced that they were awarded the contract for the construction of the project on the Bangalore-Hosur section of Hosur Road (from km 9.5 to km 18.5) on a Build Operate Transfer (BOT) basis by the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI). The Public Private Partnership project was awarded on a negative grant of Rs. 16 crores, they said.

The consortium will operate the expressway for a period of 20 years. Bangalore Elevated Tollway Limited is the special purpose vehicle formed for this project.

The expressway will be an access-controlled, elevated four-lane road from Silk Board junction to Electronic City (including interchange) on Hosur Road. NHAI has proposed to widen the existing four-lane section between Electronic City and the Tamil Nadu border (km 33.2) to six lanes.

The concession period of 20 years (ending July 2026) for the project would include the implementation period of 24 months and pre-construction period of six months.

The project would include widening of the existing carriageway to achieve a minimum 8.75-metre width on either side beyond the space required for construction of the elevated section; construction of missing length of two-lane service roads (approximately 10 km); improvement-widening and strengthening-of the existing service roads to two lanes on either side; construction of longitudinal RCC covered drains; widening of the main carriageway and service roads and construction of four pedestrian subways by box pushing technique.

Beyond the Electronic City junction (from km 18.8 to km 33), the project consortium will construct two vehicular underpasses by box pushing technique.

Have the Hoysala squads lost their effectiveness?

Have the Hoysala squads lost their effectiveness?
The Hindu

Despite complaints against the Hoysala staff, the patrol squads did a good job in the first year, writes K.V. Subramanya

WITH THE city growing by leaps and bounds in the past few years, the Bangalore police are feeling the need to procure more vehicles for better patrolling.

And on the other hand, the Hoysala patrol vehicles, which were pressed into service on July 26, 1997 to prevent crime and help the aggrieved people, seem to be losing their effectiveness.

Realising that mobile patrol squads were needed to deal with the emerging challenges in maintaining law and order and protecting lives and property, the then Police Commissioner L. Revannasiddaiah conceived the idea of mobile patrol squads, and thus the Hoysala came into existence.

When the Hoysala completed one year, a booklet was brought out by Mr. Revannasiddaiah to list the achievements of the patrol teams. Despite complaints against the Hoysala staff, the patrol squads did a good job in the first year by catching chain snatchers, robbers and even underworld elements from Mumbai.

A day after the Hoysala was introduced, the staff of the Hoysala-17 apprehended a chain snatcher in Malleswaram. On January 28, 1998, the staff of Hoysala-5 caught hold of two persons near Pallavi cinema and seized fake currency notes worth Rs. 10 lakhs. The Hoysala-35 played a major role in catching the Mumbai underworld elements in Kadugondanahalli on July 26, 1997.

But with each passing year, the Hoysala squads seem to be losing their punch. The number of Hoysala jeeps has increased over the years and another set of patrol motorcycles, "Cheetah," have been inducted. Despite an increase in the number of patrol vehicles, chain snatching and robberies on the road are continuing. The instances of Hoysala staff foiling crimes have become rare.

Even in crowded areas where the Hoysala and Cheetah are on the prowl, the chain snatchers have been targeting women during the day. Many of these cases have been reported from such areas where patrolling by these squads is said to be intense.

Senior police officials admit that Hoysala and Cheetah staff have been misusing their powers and extorting money and articles from commercial establishments and hawkers. Public confidence in the patrol squads has been plummeting because of such acts, they say.

A senior official says that when the Hoysala was introduced, criminals avoided operating in the areas patrolled by the squads fearing that they could be caught. The criminals seem to have understood the manner in which the Hoysala and Cheetah squads function and also the weakness of the staff and care a little for them, the official notes while explaining the reasons for the Hoysala losing its effectiveness.

When Mr. Revannasiddaiah was the Commissioner, it was decided to hold a meeting of the top brass of the city police every three months to review the functioning of the Hoysala squads and reward the Hoysala staff who had done good work. According to some senior officials, such meetings are not being held regularly of late.

Best the dust to cross this stretch

Best the dust to cross this stretch
Vijay Times

Anger, tension, anxiety , and sometimes pain are writ large on the faces of motorists using the stretch connecting Begur with the Hosur Road.

Ask the motorists on the effort needed to cross this stretch and they describe it in one word ’herculean’.


This stretch of three kilometres welcomes every motorist with potholes and dust. Though there are potholes right at the place where the stretch begins, only a skillful motorist can negotiate them with ease and manage till Hongasandra.

However , the stretch between Hongasandra and the Canara Bank building in Begur can match the worst in the City .

Potholes filled with mud can be found by the dozen on this stretch and dust emerging from it temporarily blinds motorists thereby increasing the chances of accidents.


T raffic moves at a snail’s pace as the road is narrow and this results in motorists getting frustrated.

Suresh, a medical shop owner , said that the road had been in this condition for the last oneand-a-half years and that the concerned authorities had turned a blind eye to this problem.

Auto driver Nagaraj, who uses the stretch often, said, "Imagine the condition of the road if it takes 20 minutes to travel from Hongasandra to Begur , which is just two kilometres away ." V enugopal, a BPO employee, said, "During peak hours, it’s impossible to reach Hosur Road because of the heavy traffic."


T raffic Experts and Safety T rainers (TEST) Chairman M N Sreehari said the H osur Main Road did not have proper service roads. Also , it lacked illumination.

Further , there were only four lanes, which were not adequate to handle the traffic moving along the Hosur Road, he remarked.

When there are developed places like Bommanahalli Industrial Estate and the Begur town, which is growing further , the number of vehicles and pedestrian movement also increase.

At the junction, where the Begur Road joins the H osur Road, there is heavy congestion and therefore delay in mo vement of traffic. This also leads to accidents sometimes.

The road will have to be widened at this junction in the form of a dell mouth, so that entering and leaving the Begur Road becomes easy . In addition, a pedestrian subway or a sky walk has to be constructed so that vehicles can mo ve without hindrance.

At present, the width of the road is seven metres without a footpath. The number of vehicles parked at the turning causes heavy congestion.There is a need to widen the road by at least 2.5 metre on either side .

Also , at least 1.5 metre should be kept for the footpath.

Bommanahalli CMC Commissioner Uday Shankar , in a recent meeting, had said that Rs 9 lakh had been sanctioned for filling potholes on the stretch till Begur Cross. Meanwhile, there is a plan to re-asphalt the road beginning from the Hosur Road entrance.