Sunday, April 30, 2006

A mall story

A mall story
New Indian Express

Booklovers rejoice. Get ready for an extremely unique and exquisite book mall in the heart of the city. Sapna Book Mall, the first of its kind in the country, will be opened on Saturday at Gandhinagar.

Sapna showcases bestsellers to books for serious reading, including management, science, arts and an enticing children’s book collection.

”The book mall has six levels, all devoted exclusively to knowledge sharing and books. Along with this, some allied products like stationery, gifts, audio/video CDs and some writing instruments are also displayed,” says Nitin Shah, Managing Partner, Sapna Book House.

Spread over 60,000 sq ft, the ground floor is dedicated exclusively to an impressive array of gift articles, toys, diaries, CDs and other knick knacks along with trendy fashion jewellery and several other novelties.

As one moves to the next floor, one can see a vast number of books in English and Kannada as well. “We offer 16,000 titles in Kannada, which is something very rare,” says Shah.

Furthermore, the mall also has a wide range of books in English and Kannada by reputed authors, which include Dr. Sumatheendra Nadig, Sudha Murthy, Shivram Karanth, Seshagiri Rao, Shanthinath Desai and Visveswara Bhat.

The other floors also cater to this very trend by giving the customers the books they always have been longing for. The topics range from arts, music, photography, movies, fiction, non-fiction, reference books, engineering, medical and several other academic books.

There’s also a greeting card section for all those who want to wish their dear ones. What’s more, the mall also stocks a trendy collection of cute toys, executive range of files, folders and posters.

For the convenience of tech-savvy customers, Sapna has even opened an online bookstore ‘’ Be it books or CD ROMs, just login and get them. Besides, Sapna also provides privilege cards and gift vouchers, meant to make shopping a memorable experience.

”Sapna Book House also has the distinction of holding the record for being the largest book shop in the county in Limca Book of Records,” says Shah. “The mall has Italian beams and racks assembled in Mumbai and a ceiling manufactured in China. We take great care to ensure customer satisfaction,” he adds.

Sapna Book store has retail branches at Sadashivanagar and Jayanagar. “We are planning to open more shopping outlets at other parts of Bangalore as well as in various parts of the state. The first one will be opened at Mysore,” informs Shah.

Ask him about the estimate cost of the mall and Shah smiles, “The building estimate itself is about Rs 6 crore. Our ultimate aim is to provide a full-fledged book shop.”

For a discerning book shopper who wishes to nurture hir reading habits, ‘Sapna’ is the perfect destination.

Bangalore all set to restore lost glory

With all systems go, Bangalore all set to restore lost glory
The Times of India

For a moment, take a leap into the future and visualise Bangalore five years from now. An underground/ elevated Metro Rail zooming across the city, with a monorail as feeder service, carrying thousands of commuters. Elevated roads in busy areas of the city. A state-ofthe-art international airport linking the city directly to top cities of the world. An expressway, with a monorail in the median, that will take you to Mysore within an hour.

Unbelievable, isn’t it? But it will be a reality as Brand Bangalore is getting an image makeover. The IT capital is all set to take off again. All hurdles have been removed, funds allocated and muchneeded infrastructure projects have been put on the fast track. Thanks to a change of government, return of political will and timely intervention by the courts. After being grounded for 20 months by illmeaning, witch-hunting politicians, who allowed cities like Chennai and Hyderabad to steal a march over Bangalore, the IT capital has slowly started getting back on its feet and on the way to its lost glory.

A look at the much-delayed projects that have taken off in a big way:

Work on the international airport is on in full swing at Devanahalli. It will be ready in two years — by April 2008 to be precise. Bangalore will then be handling its ever-growing air traffic smoothly and efficiently. And, with smaller airports in Tier II cities like Mysore, Mangalore, Hubli and Belgaum being taken up for upgradation, connectivity with Bangalore will improve substantially.

With the last hurdle, CCEA approval, cleared, Metro Rail for Bangalore is now a reality. To be built within five years on the lines of the Delhi Metro, it will provide the city a fast, reliable, comfortable, affordable and non-polluting mass transit system. With a monorail to act as a feeder service, commuting will become a pleasure. No more road rages. Traffic density will reduce drastically as most of the two- and three-wheeler vehicles are expected to go off the roads. Noise and air pollution will reduce.

The Bangalore-Mysore Infrastructure Corridor (BMIC) has begun moving, courtesy the courts. Soon, we will have an expressway connecting the two IT cities. Work is going on in right earnest. A monorail will be added at a later stage. Several townships will come up en route. Hadn’t the judiciary given a slap on the face of vested interests, the project would have met an untimely death. More such corridors are needed to connect Bangalore with Tier II cities of the state. In the process, the city will be decongested. And other cities will progress and prosper.

Brand Bangalore has left an indelible mark across the world. Such have been the strides the city has made in information technology. No other city in this part of the world has achieved this success so fast. Though infrastructure hasn’t kept pace, investors have been coming in hordes. Such has been its pull. Unfortunately, it was caught in a political cesspool during the Dharam Singh government. Unnecessary objections were raised, stalling all the infrastructure projects. IT giants were humiliated. Protests by citizens for better amenities were ignored.

Mercifully, the new JD(S)-BJP government has picked up from where S M Krishna had left off. Chief minister H D Kumaraswamy has cleared the hurdles put by his father Deve Gowda during the JD(S)-Congress rule, and given a go-ahead to the badly needed infrastructure projects. But he has an enormous task on hand. He needs to crack the whip, ensure deadlines are met, monitor quality of work, improve civic amenities, particularly in CMC areas, reward the efficient and go-getting officials, and punish the lethargic and corrupt. And, he should not forget his promise to provide urban infrastructure and better connectivity to rural areas. Merely providing lip sympathy just won’t do. Words must turn into action. An economically sound and efficiently managed Bangalore is vital for the progress and prosperity of Karnataka. Let us not allow this city to be a victim of political machinations.

Leave him alone

Guess who has advised the JD(S) and BJP camps to exercise restraint in airing their differences. Deve Gowda! Had Gowda himself exercised restraint during the JD(S)-Congress coalition rule, Dharam Singh would have concentrated on governance, Bangalore’s image would not have suffered a dent, the IT industry wouldn’t have protested against crumbling infrastructure, citizens wouldn’t have taken to the streets against poor civic amenities, and the badly needed infrastructure projects would have taken off. We only wish Gowda leaves his son Kumaraswamy free to run the government on his own terms.

Babies’ day out in Pensioners’ Paradise

Babies’ day out in Pensioners’ Paradise
Changing Demographics See A Sharp Rise In Number Of Births In Bangalore
The Times of India

Bangalore: In the 45-apartment Vaswani Golf Vista off the Airport Road in Bangalore, 10-year-old Sohrab is the oldest child, way older than the other children. The majority of them are below the age of one-anda-half years — there’s Oishani, Sneha, Veda, Antara, Brisha and Anshul. One young couple, Manu and Tannu, have just had a baby. And at least four more young couples are expecting babies over the next few months.

This pensioners’ paradise of a decade ago is turning rapidly into its veritable opposite, a baby boom city. The influx of youngsters from across the country into Bangalore’s IT and BPO businesses is producing what youngsters most typically produce — babies.

Manipal Hospital now handles nearly 150 deliveries a month. It’s a number that has doubled in the past two years, according to Dr Praveena Shenoy of its obstetrics and gynaecology department. About four years ago, it was about 50 a month, and ten years ago, at 25 a month.

In Mallya Hospital, the number of deliveries in the past one year was about 720. Five years ago, this figure was less than half of that, and ten years ago, about 150 a year. (These are phenomenal increases compared with India’s annual population growth rate of 1.7 per cent)

Dr Sushila Shetty, head of Mallya’s obstetrics department, says that in 1985, when she and her husband, paediatrician Dr Vasanth Shetty, completed their studies in the UK and planned to move to Bangalore — instead of the “congested and polluted” Mumbai — many relatives discouraged them with statements like ‘You are going to a pensioners’ city; how are you going to practise?’. Dr Shetty says, “For a while, we wondered whether we had made the right decision. But today we have a baby boom in Bangalore, and even the increase in resident doctors in our hospital in the past few years is inadequate.”

The phenomenon is seen to be the natural fallout of the exponential increase in the numbers of people in the 25-35 years age group (the reproductive age group) in Bangalore, combined with their growing economic security.
The average age of employees in the city’s IT companies is 25 to 27 years.

IT companies say the number of women taking maternity leave has increased sharply in the past few years. Veena Padmanabhan, group manager (HR) in Wipro, says 650 of the total 11,000 women employees took maternity leave in the past two years.

“Bangalore’s demography has changed, it’s become young. So a baby boom is inevitable,” she says.

Foot brigade needs to chip in too

Foot brigade needs to chip in too
Responses invited from our readers to the column on disappearing footpaths continue to pour in. Here are some of the selected responses.
Deccan Herald

For pedestrians only

I am a Master's student in Transportation Engineering at the University of Calgary, Canada. I am a regular visitor to the Deccan Herald website. This is my view on footpaths. First of all the footpath is for pedestrians. It should not be a place for parking or selling fruits or extending one’s shop.

All these violations can be observed at the restaurant Papdiwala at Basavangudi, near Ramakrishna Ashram. Here the pedestrian path facing west is approximately 2.5 m wide. Of this a few feet has been encroached by the restaurant. As visitors’ parking is permitted here, you can imagine the congestion on the pavement in the evenings. Also, the footpath has been raised by a whopping three feet. I have seen many people skid and fall here.

Parking must be completely banned on pedestrian paths, encroachments must be removed and checked for recurrence and footpath vendors must be evacuated immediately. Provide good and levelled footpaths, that are even throughout and are at a maximum height of only 6-8 inches above the pavement surface.

Venkata Krishna

Involve residents

Your series on footpaths is well-timed. I would like to make some suggestions on this issue. At present the laying of footpaths is a rigmarole between the contractors, corporators and the BMP tender officers, and all of them are more interested in taking the citizen for a ride than in real work. The BMP should delegate this responsibility to the local residents welfare associations. The BMP should publicise the budget details earmarked for each ward.

They should also publicise - either through the Press or through the Bangalore One centres - the names of the enlisted contractors for each ward. The residents should be allowed to issue the contract to the contractor chosen by them. The contractors should be paid the amount only after the respective resident welfare association (RWA) certifies that the work has been done satisfactorily.

There are many advantages in this scheme. By enrolling resident welfare associations, not only will supervision of works be improved, even the red tapism will be reduced. The fund allotment to each RWA should be made on the basis of the length of footpath to be maintained in each ward.

The BMP should experiment this scheme for one year and ascertain its effectiveness.


Why tolerate?

It is heartening to see that the traffic police and the BMP are trying to improve the lot of pedestrians. Is the city's foot brigade doing anything to help, other than complaining about lack of footpath space? On some roads like DVG Road where sufficient walking space is provided, there are small concerns doing big business on footpaths.

These eateries and handcart vendors continue to make profits, while footpath users quietly climb down to the crowded road. Our readiness to tolerate discomfort for the benefit of small businessmen is amazing!


Buses to run on CNG

Buses to run on CNG
Deccan Herald

To fight the increasing vehicular pollution in Bangalore, the government has decided to operate BMTC buses on CNG (compressed natural gas) on the lines of Delhi, dhns reports from Bangalore. The conversion of fuel from diesel to CNG would be taken up in a phased manner, Chief Minister H D Kumaaraswamy said on Saturday. In the first phase, about 1,500 BMTC buses would shift to CNG, he said.

A discussion on the supply of CNG was been held with officials of the Union ministry of petrochemicals as well as the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation on Satuday afternoon, Mr Kumaaraswamy said.

The time-frame for switching over to the CNG was yet to be prescribed as the discussions in this regard were still at the initial stages.

Sources in the BMTC told Deccan Herald on Saturday that the conversion to CNG would be a long-term exercise, the resources for which were too early to be discussed. “Naturally, the most important thing is the supply of CNG which Bangalore does not have at the moment. It could be seen as a long-term plan. Once the Bidadi power plant materialises, the pipeline connectivity will be in place and we can explore the potential of this conversion,” a senior BMTC official said.

The official said once the supply is ensured, the conversion process would not be extensive at the BMTC level. “For the buses, all it takes is technical alterations to run on CNG,” he said.

Buses to run on CNG

Buses to run on CNG
Deccan Herald

To fight the increasing vehicular pollution in Bangalore, the government has decided to operate BMTC buses on CNG (compressed natural gas) on the lines of Delhi, dhns reports from Bangalore. The conversion of fuel from diesel to CNG would be taken up in a phased manner, Chief Minister H D Kumaaraswamy said on Saturday. In the first phase, about 1,500 BMTC buses would shift to CNG, he said.

A discussion on the supply of CNG was been held with officials of the Union ministry of petrochemicals as well as the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation on Satuday afternoon, Mr Kumaaraswamy said.

The time-frame for switching over to the CNG was yet to be prescribed as the discussions in this regard were still at the initial stages.

Sources in the BMTC told Deccan Herald on Saturday that the conversion to CNG would be a long-term exercise, the resources for which were too early to be discussed. “Naturally, the most important thing is the supply of CNG which Bangalore does not have at the moment. It could be seen as a long-term plan. Once the Bidadi power plant materialises, the pipeline connectivity will be in place and we can explore the potential of this conversion,” a senior BMTC official said.

The official said once the supply is ensured, the conversion process would not be extensive at the BMTC level. “For the buses, all it takes is technical alterations to run on CNG,” he said.

Flats to replace all slums in Bangalore

Flats to replace all slums in Bangalore

The Hindu

Private developers to build flats for slum dwellers

# Project to be completed by 2015, says Jayakumar
# Flats to be built on half the land occupied by slums
# Developers to get the other half for commercial purposes

Bangalore: In order to get rid of Bangalore's 450-odd slums, the Government's civic agencies will build flats for slum dwellers on the land where the slums are located. This will be undertaken as a joint venture with the help of private land developers.

Speaking to presspersons after discussing the matter with legislators from Bangalore, such as Dinesh Gundu Rao (Gandhinagar), Zameer Ahmed (Chamarajpet) and Nirmal Surana (Bharatinagar), Housing Minister D.T. Jayakumar made it clear that only those whose names were in the 2004 electoral rolls would be entitled to the flats. Those who came after the cut-off date would have to move to rehabilitation centres. They would be given alternative housing after all the slums were developed. The project would be completed by 2015, he said.

Mr. Jayakumar said each slum would have a cooperative society and the flats would come up on half the land occupied by each slum. Private developers would get the other half for commercial exploitation. The Government would not incur any expenditure on the project, he said.

Pilot projects would be launched in all the Assembly constituencies in Bangalore where at least one slum would be replaced with flats.

He said that most of the free sites and houses provided by the Government and its agencies such as the Bangalore Development Authority, the Bangalore Mahanagara Palike, the Karnataka Slum Clearance Board and the Karnataka Housing Board had been garnered by those who came from outside the State. However, the Government had to be sympathetic to all poor people.

Meeting to be held

Mr. Jayakumar said he would convene a meeting of legislators, councillors and officials of all the government agencies concerned to convince them about the new concept. A workshop would also be organised for them. Once the programme was launched, nobody would be allowed to put up huts anywhere in the corporation limits, he said.

Lack of road sense is a major cause for accidents

Lack of road sense is a major cause for accidents
The Hindu

Senior officials feel that more than enforcement, holding traffic education programmes in a big way is the need of the hour

WITH THE number of road accidents in the city rising over the years, there has been a general impression that the agencies concerned, particularly the traffic police, have not taken steps to prevent them.

But, an analysis of the causes for road accidents, fatal as well as non-fatal, reveal that it is drivers and pedestrians who have been largely responsible for these accidents. The large number of cases booked by the traffic police shows that many Bangloreans lacked basic road sense.

In the last three years the police have booked around 35 lakh cases for various traffic violations such as reckless driving, drunken driving, over speeding, driving without licence, driving on no-entry roads, jumping signals and haphazard parking.

According to senior police officials connected with traffic management, drunken driving, over speeding, lane indiscipline, haphazard parking, crossing roads in a zigzag manner and lack of training in driving are the major causes for road accidents.

The police say that more than 60 per cent of road accidents that occur between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. are because of drunken driving. The Regional Transport Office (RTO) should be strict in issuing licences as untrained drivers cause many accidents. The defects in the licence issuing system should be set right first as any one can manage to get a driving licence today, they say.

Dangerous driving, such as over taking in the wrong direction, zigzag driving, going against the flow of traffic and speaking over mobile phones while driving also cause accidents, the police say.

Haphazard parking at junctions often leads to blocking of view and impairs a driver's judgement, resulting in an accident. Pedestrians, who are the major victims of the accidents, also endanger their lives, as often they walk on the roads and not on the footpaths, the police say.

Pedestrians cross roads even at places where there are no zebra crossings. The drivers do not expect pedestrian movement at such places and thus are not in a position to take immediate action to prevent an accident, they say.

Though the absence of road sense has been a major cause for accidents, this aspect is not properly reflected in accident records.

Senior officials are of the view that more than enforcement, holding traffic education programmes in a big way is the need of the hour.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Metro Snapshot

Metro Snapshot
Click above for larger view.

A snapshot of the proposed metro rail in Bangalore.

Courtesy: The Times of India, April 29, 2006.

Let residential areas remain, say experts

Let residential areas remain, say experts
The Times of India

Bangalore: The expert committee, which reviewed the master plan draft for Bangalore, has suggested that no alternative change of land use should be permitted in any area which is classified as mainly residential. This follows concern over the haphazard commercial development in residential areas and along traffic zones.

While the master plan proposed mixed residential zones, the committee said that a mainly residential area is necessary to retain its residential character. M o re ove r largescale commercial development along main traffic corridors should be avoided.

The master plan prepared by BDA for 2005 to 2015, has recommended some radical changes in terms of land use. It proposed newer zones such as a transformation zone and mixed zone.

It also suggested that for residential areas like Koramangala, Indiranagar, Rajajinagar, Malleswaram, Gandhi Bazar, Shankarpuram, Basavanagudi, Vasantnagar, Benson Town, Shanthinagar, Visveshwarapuram, Jayanagar, and Richmond Town, transformation zone should be limited to identified stretches on a small number of specified roads.

“Zoning of transformation zones should not lead to automatic regularisation violations. The declaration of Transformation Zones and Commercial Axis should be made only after the violations have been identified and action initiated for penalisation as per existing law,” said the committee members.

Further, the master plan has ignored entirely, the importance of accessibility to the new airport. The airport may require rail c o n n e c t i o n which also needs to be pursued by either the BMRTL or railways.
An immediate measure should be to connect Tumkur Road from the BMICP Road to Devanahalli via the 20 km stretch of the proposed peripheral ring road as the first priority.

l Government needs to articulate a policy with regard to land under the revenue department. There should be a policy of making public lands available for priority housing for the weaker sections.

l Deal with lands in the protected zone including tanks, forests, lakes in a different way. Valley zones indicated in the plan should be declared protected areas.

l The proposed network of 164 km of new roads to be formed or widened should be clearly shown in the proposed land use maps.

Another landmark in Bangalore's healthcare sector

Another landmark in Bangalore's healthcare sector
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: The new super specialty hospital of Wockhardt Group, which would be operational by the end of May in Bannerghatta Road here, is all likely to be the largest and most modern facility of its kind in the entire South Asia.

Credited as the largest facility of Wockhardt Group, it would have dedicated sections dealing exclusively with cardiology and cardiac surgery, orthopaedics, neurology and women's health. In fact, the group already set aside a floor of the new multi-storeyed building to deal with women health issues.

“Increased awareness, high stress levels and changing environments have led to an increased need for dedicated medical practice in the women's health sector. High end maternity centres with round-the-clock availability of gynaecologists and stand alone clinics with counsellors for adolescent and post-menopausal women are some of the highlights of the women's section,” detailed Vishal Bali, chief executive officer of the company, in an interface with this website’s newspaper.

The birthing centre of the hospital will have dedicated birthing suites equipped with the most advanced, new generation neonatology services, which would provide a safe environment for both mothers and their newborns.

According to Bali, another area of specialised focus at the hospital would be that of critical care for brain stroke. The hospital would have a 24X7 facility where clinicians and nurses will be available to treat patients with brain stroke round-the-clock. A patient must receive medial treatment within one hour of the stroke in order that he does not end up a paraplegic.

“The installation of some of the most modern, state-of-the-art equipment in each of the four specialties would give the doctors an opportunity to create new benchmarks in the delivery of quality health services,” he pointed out.

The hospital would have a cluster approach as each specialty section would function as stand alone unit although they remain part of the group and housed in the same building. Bali hopes that such an approach would enable the group to more efficiently adhere to global quality norms by ensuring high quality healthcare delivery standards within each specialty.

Bali also hopes the hospital can easily turn the hub of medical tourism in Bangalore within weeks of the formal opening as it already ensured international standards in different aspects of discharging healthcare.

According to Bali, the hospital would get accreditation of Joint Commission International, a global standard for quality in healthcare delivery, within 18 months from inauguration. “The establishment would definitely enhance medical tourism potential of the state in particular and the country in general,” he added. The hospital would have as many as 400 beds on completion of the final phase. It would also provide job opportunities for at least 3,000 professionals.

Parking: To pay or not to pay

Parking: To pay or not to pay
Deccan Herald

Though the traffic police is in favour of re-introducing paid parking system on 90 roads in the City, the Bangalore Mahanagara Palike is yet to say the final word on it.

On Thursday, the BMP constituted an all-party committee headed by Mayor Mumtaz Begum to look into the matter.

The general public seem to be more worried about the safety of their vehicles than the dent in their purse.

When contacted by Deccan Herald, members of the general public had mixed reactions on the issue.

Pay and park failed because vehicle owners were exploited by vested elements.

They collected parking fee even when there was no authorised parking lot.

With automated parking lots (like those in operation at Commercial Street and Brigade Road), the money is collected without giving a receipt.

Instead few parking complexes should be put up; vehicles are safer that way.


Defence employee

I have not used the automated parking meters till date. But it seems a good idea. I would be paying for the safety of my vehicle. Though there is no parking fee right now, I often see attendants hanging about in most of the parking lots. In the places I haunt, I am familiar with these attendants and I have had no reason to be worried. As I see it, the old paid parking system (where contractors and their attendants) managed the show was good because it gave jobs to some people like the attendants.


Bio-technology student

Paid parking system may not necessarily guarantee no-theft and no-dents, yet my family feels mentally secure about the vehicle when it is parked in a paid parking lot. Automated parking system like the one on Brigade Road is good but the time regulations should be modified. The present system of buying tickets for a certain number of hours works out costly on the working population who have to park their vehicles for longer hours. The government should seek to address these things.

Nelaanjana Banerjee,

TV journalist

Automated parking systems are a pain. The attendants harass you even if you are late by just 15 minutes after the expiry if your allotted parking time. It is better to have a time-based parking system like in the malls - where you register your vehicle while parking, and while exiting pay the fixed sum for the number of hours the vehicle was parked. I am not in favour of a return to the paid parking system. There is no guarantee that the fee I pay will be well utilised.

Gaurav, Techie

I am game for anything long as I get a parking slot and my vehicle is safe. I avoid places like MG Road because there is never a parking space when I want it.

Shweta Kaushal,

PR Manager

I want safety for my vehicle and I am willing to pay if that is guaranteed.

A fee of Rs 5 to Rs 10 irrespective of the number of hours parked should be ideal.


Engineering student

Automated parking or otherwise, cost is an issue. The fee in parking complexes - like in KG Road complex - is high.

But I am for paid parking because it gives a sense of security.

S Parthasarathy,


Footpath for walking only, please

Footpath for walking only, please
Deccan Herald

Responses invited from our readers to the column on disappearing footpaths continue to pour in. Here are some of the selected responses.

Sky-walks needed

I think Bangalore city needs more sky-walks so that people can cross the road safely. The footpaths should be free from vendors. Traffic on shopping districts like Commercial street and Brigade Road should be banned on weekends to make movement easier for shoppers. Public utility agencies and private companies that dig footpaths should be responsible for filling them up too. If they don’t do that, they should be fined or banned.

B Vikram

High, slippery pavements

I am a resident of Basavangudi for the past 25 years and I suffer from anxiety each time my aged mother goes to Gandhi Bazaar for shopping.

The footpaths hardly provide a safe walking area for pedestrians because of open or distorted slabs that turn slippery each time it rains. In some places, the footpath is so high that aged people find it difficult to climb.

I have visited a couple of western countries and I feel that implementing some of my suggestions would definitely make sidewalks more useful. I confess I do not have an idea about their feasibility in terms of cost, but I feel if there is a political will, solutions can be found.

nInstead of having slabs, have a cemented non-slippery platform. It makes walking convenient for old people and those using walking sticks. Even if it seems far fetched, this would help us walk faster on the pavements. The wear and tear of these platforms is relatively less and there are no relaying costs.

*In some places, like North Road near National College, Basavangudi, the footpath itself is about half a feet above the ground. So, many old people prefer walking on the road, rather than on the footpath. It would be ideal if a small slope can be added at the beginning and end of the footpath so that pedestrians can get on and off the pavement easily. This would greatly help senior citizens and those carrying heavy bags.

*Adding railings to footpath would prevent pedestrians (especially children) from walking on the road. The motorists can also be assured that nobody would suddenly run onto the road. Also, people would be forced to cross roads at signals and zebra crossings. This would greatly reduce accidents. The railings can be used for advertisements that can generate revenue for the government.

I hope that some of the above suggestions or other better ideas can be implemented and we have safer footpaths in Bangalore. Dreaming further, footpaths can actually become an easy way of taking an evening walk to taste the flavour of the city.


Sidewalk gardens

Your newspaper has broken new ground by highlighting the encroachment and misuse of sidewalks, which forces pedestrians to walk on the road. In Indiranagar area, especially in HAL II Stage, a number of houseowners have converted the sidewalks in front of their houses into private gardens.

One of them has even planted two coconut trees in his sidewalk garden. A few others have provided chain fences and wire-mesh enclosures to these gardens. These people may argue that by doing so, they are contributing to recreate the City Beautiful.

Such misuse must be happening because the engineering staff of the BMP are turning a Nelson’s eye to them. It is high time these encroachments are removed and pedestrians allowed to make use of sidewalks and reduce the risk to their lives.

K C K Raja, Indiranagar

Rehabilitation packages for displaced soon

Rehabilitation packages for displaced soon
Deccan Herald

“The Bangalore Metro cannot run on the curses of people.” - This statement made by Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation (BMRC) Managing Director V Madhu on Friday, perhaps, reflects the non-confrontationist stand the BMRC is taking to expedite the metro project.

Three-four rehabilitation options are likely to be submitted to the government in a week’s time.

Speaking to Deccan Herald a day after the project got Union cabinet clearance, Madhu said the rehabilitation of small traders will be top priority for BMRC. This comes following protests by affected traders of Indiranagar and MKK Road against the proposed route alignment.

He, however, added that there will not be any discussion with affected traders while formulating the packages.

“I tried having a dialogue with them on an earlier occasion, but it was met with resistance. Therefore, we are working on packages based on their grievances, within the provisions of the law. We will submit our proposals to the government, it is up to them to make the final decision,” he said.

The packages will focus only on rehabilitating ‘neighbourhood shopkeepers’ and not residential or large commercial property owners.

“We are providing compensation to those who are losing their residential properties. Rehabilitation is meant for those who will lose their source of livelihood. We want to help them resettle and restart,” Madhu explained.

Residential properties

The Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation is presently studying the extent of land acquisition in each property, and will chart the rehabilitation benefits accordingly. “In some areas we are acquiring one-third of the property, in others we are taking over two-thirds. We will devise our packages based on that study,” he said.

Even the issue of whether the tenant or owner stands to gain is yet to be resolved.

Delhi Metro example

The BMRC might follow the Delhi High Court order (in relation to Delhi Metro) where it was decided that the 2/3 compensation will go to the owner and one-third to the tenant, in case of tenanted properties.

“We have to study the context, like the duration and terms of tenancy. We are even considering the Transfer of Development Rights scheme as an option,” Madhu revealed.

Rehabilitation issue

“Rehabilitation could be in the form of property development, or allotting them space on our land. We can accommodate them in terminal stations or use the floor area on top of stations to establish their outlets,” Madhu added.

Costs, however, remain a challenge. “We will try to absorb the rehabilitation costs, but it depends on the scale of the target group. If it costs too much, we will have to balance it out. It is too early to say, we are still doing our homework,” Madhu said.

Country's first `book mall' inaugurated

Country's first `book mall' inaugurated

The Hindu

Bangalore: Sapna Book House, a name familiar to the city's bibliophiles, has launched a "book mall". With an area of 40,000 sq. ft., the new book mall, said to be the first of its kind, is just a stone's throw away from Sapna Book House's showroom in Gandhinagar. Apart from books on every possible subject, ranging from medicine to children's fairy tales, the new book mall retails music and movie CDs, stationery, greeting cards, toys, jewellery and other gift items. Enhancing the shopping experience are the store's various customer-friendly schemes such as Privilege Cards for Sapna loyalists and gift vouchers.

Nitin Shah, Managing Partner of Sapna Book House, said: "Our endeavour in launching India's first book mall is to establish Sapna as a leader in books, matched by unparallelled customer service."

Devanahalli flies into agony, ecstasy

Devanahalli flies into agony, ecstasy
Deccan Herald

In Devanahalli’s altered economy, nouveau riche farmers are still busy counting their land compensation spoils. However, on the fringes of the 4,000 acre-plus airport land, people are in various stages of apprehension on life after the airport.......

In Devanahalli’s altered economy, nouveau riche farmers are still busy counting their land compensation spoils. However, on the fringes of the 4,000 acre-plus airport land, the cracks on the feel-good is all too evident. Literally. On a visit to six villages–Anneshwara, Arasinakunte, Doddasanne, Mylanahalli, Yerrappenahalli and Yerthagenahalli–bordering the site, Deccan Herald caught people in various stages of apprehension on life after the airport.

Houses in Mylanahalli, which lies close to the airport boundary wall, have started to have cracks in its walls. The villagers point fingers at a quarry–around 300 feet off the village–from where they say aggregates are taken for the airport construction.

Rajanna, a villager, says his four-year-old house had a minor jolt from one of the dynamite blasts at the quarry. “Utensils on the kitchen racks were shaking and cracks appeared on the walls and the ceiling,” he says. Byre Gowda’s six-month-old house has also developed cracks, like in around 30 houses in the village.

On cross-roads

According to the villagers, the airport project has hampered road connectivity as well. A M Mariyappa, former MLA-Devanahalli says with the Budigere-Bettakote Road closed, residents of Anneshwara have to take a five-km walk to Devanahalli to board buses. He says autorickshaw drivers demand anything between Rs 50 and 100 to run short distances.

“Now, Devanahalli is almost a 20-km road drive while on the earlier road it would have taken just eight kilometres,” says Chandrappa, a resident of Yerrappenahalli.

Residents of Mylanahalli and Yerrappenahalli, two of the prominent villages in the sericulture belt bordering the airport, say the industry has been hit by the dust emanating from the construction site. According to the residents, dust-ridden mulberry leaves have started to kill the silkworms, triggering apprehensions among farmers. Though some of the villagers complain about the rising sound levels emanating from the construction site, this is not a widely dreaded threat yet.

Even as the airport is set for a 2008 launch, the villagers are not counting out issues like future evacuations.

Many of them have invested their compensation amounts on sites elsewhere. And those who didn’t own lands to be compensated.

Spaced Out

The enormous human displacement in the villages acquired for the airport has also led to a scattered workforce. Out-of-work labourers dot the village alleys, playing cards and smoking away the time at hand. “Truckloads of labourers come from other areas for the airport construction, while we sit here and watch,” says Chennappa, a resident of Yerthagenahalli.

Chennappa has deposited his Rs 10-lakh compensation – as per the standard Rs five lakh-per-acre deal–in a bank and is pinning hopes on the returns. Residents of Mylanahalli add that around 100 bovi families depending on their borewell-digging breadwinners have also been hit by the land acquisition. On the contrary, farmers say that labourers are hard to come by as most of them have stopped working and are busy spending the money earned from the sold lands.


As work on the Bangalore International Airport in Devanahalli gathers pace, the project continues to change people and lives around. In a three-part series, Deccan Herald looks at how the airport has spelt a barrage of worries for some, new riches for many, and realty boom for a lot.

Mumtaz Begum fumes at BMP Commissioner

Mumtaz Begum fumes at BMP Commissioner

The Hindu

She is upset over collection of fee from motorists in Shivajinagar

# Mayor says she will take up the issue with Chief Minister
# Mumtaz Begum says collection of fee is illegal

BANGALORE: Upset with the "dictatorial" attitude of the Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP) Commissioner K. Jothiramalingam, who has reportedly authorised a parking contractor to collect fee from motorists in Shivajinagar, Mayor Mumtaz Begum has said she will complain about this to Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy.

"It is surprising that the commissioner has issued licence only for roads in my ward when the system has been scrapped from April 1, 2005. If the State Government wants us to reintroduce it, we will abide by the decision. But the commissioner cannot do this before a decision is taken," she said.

The Mayor said that when she sought an explanation from Deputy Commissioner (Markets) L. Srinivasaiah, he told her that the licence had been issued for collection of the fee near the Russell Market.

This was because the system was being continued in market areas.

"But the contractor has also been authorised to collect the fee on Broadway Road, which is not a market. This is `illegal' and I am sure it (the issue) will come up in a big way at Saturday's BMP Council meeting," the Mayor said.

Commissioner's reaction

When contacted, Mr. Jothiramalingam refused to comment on the issue.

"If the Mayor has told it, it cannot be wrong. I cannot react today because I have to look into the files, which are still with the Mayor," he said.

Sources in the BMP disclosed that Mr. Jothiramalingam was on his way out of the civic body.

"Mr. Jothiramalingam is likely to be transferred shortly, and that the former BMP Commissioner K. Jairaj is likely to replace him," the sources pointed out.

BMP urged to create awareness about urban renewal mission

BMP urged to create awareness about urban renewal mission

The Hindu

Consultations on the city development strategic plan can be held later, say citizens

BANGALORE: Participants in a workshop on "Understanding the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission and the role of civil society and citizens in it" here on Friday urged the Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP) to first create awareness about the mission and then hold consultations on preparing the city development strategic plan.

Most of the citizens who spoke at the workshop organised by Community Leaders Network, pointed out that the BMP needed to create awareness about the mission. "The BMP has announced it will hold ward-wise consultations with citizens on May 6 for the preparation of the strategic plan. But we feel this will not be useful because most of us are not familiar with the urban renewal mission," one of the participants from BTM Layout said.

BMP cautioned

Ramesh Ramanathan, national technical adviser and chief of the Technical Advisory Group for the mission, who made a detailed presentation, cautioned the BMP against hurrying the ward-wise consultation with citizens.

Agreeing with the views expressed by those who spoke earlier, Mr. Ramanathan said, "The BMP should first create awareness about the mission and then consult people on the projects to be included. Otherwise citizens will not have an idea of what kind of projects need to be included in the mission. And the BMP will finally go ahead with its own ideas. Community participation is a must in this mission." Mr. Ramanathan said the BMP should first provide citizens with details about the projects it wanted to take up and then give citizens two weeks' time to study them. "Citizens can prioritise the projects and offer their recommendations. There is no need to hurry. The mission is for a period of seven years, and it is important to carry it out in the right way."

Pointing out that city corporations of Pune and Vijayawada had done an outstanding job in preparing the strategic plan, he said, "Though Bangalore had prepared a strategic plan, it was not able to get it approved because it could not reach the evaluation committee."

"As a Bangalorean, I feel Bangalore had a golden opportunity. It is not too late now. Though the Karnataka Municipal Corporations (KMC) Act makes it mandatory for the BMP to set up ward committees, hardly 30 are functioning. If what is there is not functioning then it is a broken system. If you are going to work with a broken system, then it is going to have its repercussions," he said.

While the states of Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and West Bengal were some of the States that had submitted more than one strategic plan, 152 city municipalities had submitted detailed project reports for approval so far.

Till today 10 memorandums of agreement had been signed between the Centre and cities in four States, Mr. Ramanathan added.

Actual work on B lore Metro only by November

Actual work on B lore Metro only by November
Vijay Times

bangalore: With the U nion Cabinet’s clearance for Bangalore’s M etro Rail coming through, work on the first phase of the Rs 6,395-crore project is likely to commence by N o vember .

V Madhu, managing director , Bangalore M etro Rail Corporation (BMRC) while speaking to Vijay T imes on Friday , said selection of a general consultant to o versee day to-day construction of the 33-km stretch, apart from shortlisting 12 contractors out of 25 pre-qualification bids will be done within three months. "W e hope to complete all formalities by October and begin work in N o vember ," Madhu said.

When asked about the route alignment on CMH Road and Mahakavi K uvempu Road which are likely to be stumbling blocks for the M etro , the BMR C chief reiterated that with the Justice Shivashankar Bhat expert committee having submitted its report to the government, the final decision would no w rest with the go vt.

"The chief minister is likely to announce the dates for construction of phase 1 between Byappanahalli and Cricket Stadium, including laying of foundation stone. So far as private land acquisition is concerned, a rehabilitation package would be offered to those land o wners who will have to part with their land. W e will utilise go vt land where ever available" Madhu added.

BMRC had in the past said it would go b y the "free consent awardee route" to offer compensation to private land o wners. KIADB is also yet to release the final notification for acquisition of land, subject to the J ustice Bhat committee report.

M eanwhile, sources said that the cost of the project is likely to be revised according to latest estimates as prices of steel, including rolling stock have increased.

PHASE 1: 33 KM

lNorth-South corridor between Y eshwantpur and KR Road connecting JP Nagar

lEast-West corridor between Byappanahalli and Rajarajeshwari Nagar connecting Mysore Road

No duty exemption

New Delhi: Union Urban Development Minister S Jaipal Reddy on Friday said the Centre had not granted Custom Duty exemption on the import of equipment for execution of the Bangalore Metro project but it would be getting a ’subordinate debt’ to offset the losses suffered because of denial of duty exemption.

Addressing a delegation of Andhra Pradesh MPs and MLAs who met him to discuss the Hyderabad Metro project, Reddy said although the Centre had not provided duty exemption to Karnataka, it had granted 5 pc subordinate debt to make good the loss of Rs 360 crore incurred. UNI

Friday, April 28, 2006

BMP plays cool to zoning violations

BMP plays cool to zoning violations
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: Last month the Supreme Court ordered the commissioner of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) to act on land use violations and seal the premises of residences put to commercial use.

The Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) and Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP) are faced with similar violations, but to tackle them the Karnataka Municipal Corporation (KMC) Act needs an amendment, said BMP commissioner K Jothiramalingam.

That means the government isn’t really planning to get tough on violations.

The apex court has said that the MCD Act gave sufficient powers to the commissioner to seal the misuser presmises after examining the DDA Act and MCD Act. But the KMC Act has no equivalent provision except the one covering basements of buildings. And based on that strength, the BMP would soon seal kitchens in the basements of chowltries that have no licence from the health department.

While the BDA sanctions changes in land use, it has no powers to stop misuse and the BMP is limited by the KMC Act. “BMP will apprise the government of the legal limitations of the BMP and seek an amendment to the Act,” said Jothiramalingam.

On the other hand, the High Court order on a PIL by city cardiologist Dr Devi Shetty on land use violations in Koramangala had no impact on the system. While the BMP conducted a survey of buildings used in violation of land use rules, no premises was sealed.

Another aspect that weakened the BMP is the government’s proposal to regularise offset violations for a fine and the BMP had been estimating revenue from the regularisation every year.

“The proposal had been before the government for last two years and once that comes through, the BMP would be clear about the action on violators,” said Jothiramalingam.

Bridging the distance

Bridging the distance
New over-bridges and under-passes will make crossing railway tracks safer and decongest traffic in the city
The Times of India

Level crossingsare passé. Railway under-bridges and overbridges are in. The Bangalore City Corporation (BCC) and the South Western Railways are working in tandem to replace obsolete railway crossings with well-lit, technologically strong under-bridges and over-brides at strategic locations in the city.

"The project of construction of new bridges and the widening of existing underbridges was envisaged seven years ago and the general alignment was done in 2002," says the BCC's Technical Advisor, R Jayaprasad. The Rs 50 crore project of the Railways and BCC was included in the BCC's budget this year and is scheduled to be completed within 18 months. "The plan to widen the existing narrow Rajajinagar under-bridge was already on BCC's agenda and we were waiting for the sanction from the railway department," he said. Although work on some under-bridges are nearly complete, tenders for some more works is being done in phases.

Three railway over-bridges at Lingarajapuram, ITC Factory and Banaswadi have been completed along with under-bridges at Frazer Town. The under-bridge at Cantonment Station will be completed in four months. The new proposal for construction of over-bridges at NES Bridge, Jalahalli and Bayapanahalli has been floated. Three more over-bridges at Gangondanahalli and Bapujinagar are in the pipeline. Two box-type railway underbridges - one near the RR Kalyan Mantap and the other near the Khoday Circle - will help straighten and shorten the present circuitous route leading from the Rajajinagar entrance underpass.

A major area for the joint project, nearly five to six acres, passes through land belonging to the Railways. Hence, the Railways wanted a comprehensive scheme for its passengers included in the project. As a result, a signal-free traffic from the Rajajinagar entrance underpass right up to the Majestic Bus Terminal and the City Railway Station is in the offing. This is one part of an extensive plan that encompasses a new city railway station for Mysore-bound trains, two inter-linked flyovers and the four-laning of the Okalipuram Road.

The railway overbridges will be bolstered by a host of technical features which include piles, piers, pilcaps, girders, decks and railings. The dividers along the overbridges will be painted with flourescent solution imported from Korea. The paint will be visible from a distance of over 10 feet and will prevent vehicles from crashing into the dividers. Each of the railway underbridges will have a series of planned approaches 150 to 250 metres long. The approach gradient will be rise from one metre to 30 metres. Reinforced concrete is being used for a solid construction.

"The latest box-pushing method is being used in the construction of railway underbridges," said Jayaprasad. Pre-cast concrete and steel blocks weighing 350 tonnes each, and measuring five metres in width and four metres in height, are pushed into position using jacks. Twelve jacks are used to push each of the three blocks into position for each underbridge. "Our men have been working through nights to complete the work and there has been no traffic disruption at any point. Except, on one occasion, we had to stop railway traffic on one line at Cantonment when there was slippage of earth," he said. Costwise too, railway underbridges work out cheaper compared to overbridges. Each of these will be lit with power-saving tubelights for better visibility.

With the BCC's initiative to improve the city's infrastructure, the railway overbridges and underbridges will help reduce traffic congestion and make commuting safer.

Features of BCC-Railways programme

Construction of railway overbridges (ROB) and railway underbridges (RUB)

ROB at Banaswadi - down ramps and widening (Salem line)
ROB at Nagavara (Salem line)
ROB near ITC (Salem line)
ROB near Lingarajapuram (Salem line)
ROB/RUB in Bapujinagar - RPC Layout (Mysore line)
ROB/RUB in Byapanahalli (Chennai line)
ROB near Gangondanahalli (Mysore line)
RUB near Khoday Circle (City Railway Station line)
ROB near Mathikere (Guntkal line)
ROB/RUB near Papanna Block

Widening of RUB
Straight alignment near Rajajinagar entrance Near Anjaneya Temple - Sriramapuram (Tumkur line)
Near Cantonment (Jolarpet line)
Second vent of Frazer Town police station (Jolarpet line)
Papanna Block Pedestrian subway at Swathantrapalya (Tumkur line)

Road to Mysore on track

Road to Mysore on track
The planned expressway is gathering steam and heading towards a two-year deadline.
The Times of India

The recent Supreme Court verdict on the much-awaited Bangalore-Mysore Infrastructure Corridor (BMIC) project has given a further fillip for the project-implementing authority. Last Thursday, the Supreme Court gave the green signal to the Rs 2,850-crore (BMIC) project and has asked the government to pay the project contractor, Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprise (NICE), Rs 5 lakhs for filing frivolous litigation.

Even while the work on the project was being carried out by NICE including the Bangalore-Bidadi stretch and peripheral road between Hosur Road and Tumkur Road in full swing, the project had hit a dead end. Simply because the State had not provided land for further development pending a Supreme Court petition.

Stating that the marathon final judgment has come as a respite and breathed life into the project, chief of NICE Ashok Kheny said, by mid-May this year, the Mysore Road-Kanakapura Road stretch will be ready and by August 15, the first phase of the project comprising the peripheral road between Tumkur Road and Hosur Road, the link road, and the expressway between Bangalore and Bidadi will be ready. However, he added that the entire project, that is, including the expressway between Bidadi and Mysore and the five townships dotted along the corridor will be ready by 2008.

NICE states that about 80 percent of the work on the first phase of the project is complete and Rs 850 crores has already been spent. It now requires 950 acres of land for the remaining part of the first phase. All that land has already been acquired by the government and only needs to be handed over to the company.

While the peripheral road is 75 metres broad, the expressway will be 90 metres broad. Every 250 metres, there are ducts provided for all utility cables, so that the road would never have to be cut for laying cables. Every 500 metres there are underpasses for people and vehicles, so that the roads do not inconvenience those who cannot pay its toll. At no point is the road gradient more than three degrees, which is of world-class standards. This feature ensures that heavy vehicles will not slow down. And everywhere, provision is being made so that the roads can be broadened in the event traffic becomes too heavy some years later.

"The government has been holding back some of these lands on the grounds that the Supreme Court verdict was awaited. Now that the verdict is in, we expect we will get all the land we are supposed to get", said a NICE spokesperson. In some places, lane markings are being carried out. In some other places, all that remains is a final coating of high-density bitumen and the lane markings. Along one stretch, high-mast lights have also been installed. At Somapura (between Mysore Road and Kanakapura Road), land for 500 metres of road was handed over just a month ago. At the junction of Mysore Road and NICE's peripheral road near Kengeri, the government is yet to hand over land for a ramp that will connect the two roads. Near Hosakerehalli (Banashankari 3rd stage), land for 300 metres of road remains to be handed over. Another similar length of road in Banashankari 6th stage remains completely undone because NICE still has no rights to it thanks to a dispute regarding whether it is social forestry land.

The final six km of the first phase of the expressway, the Bangalore-Bidadi stretch also has seen no progress because the required land has not been given by the government. At Gottigere (between Kanakapura Road and Bannerghatta Road), two stretches of 200 metres and 300 metres respectively face a similar problem.

Mysore Road-Kanakapura Road stretch will be ready by mid-May this year
First phase of the project comprising the peripheral road between Tumkur Road and Hosur Road, the link road, and the expressway between Bangalore and Bidadi will be ready by August 15
Entire project including the expressway between Bidadi and Mysore, and the five townships will be ready by 2008

Another firm sells monorail concept

Another firm sells monorail concept
Deccan Herald

With Chief Minister H D Kumaaraswamy coming out in support of feeder transport systems for the Bangalore Metro, which he promises will be implemented along with the metro project, monorails are back in the news.

The latest company offering to bring monorail to Bangalore, is Geodesic Techniques, a design and project consultant firm, that is willing to install a complete monorail set-up. This will include route alignment, monorail specifications and project implementation.

In a recent presentation Geodesic made to officials of the Urban Development Department and Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation, the company proposed setting up monorail routes in the busy business districts of the city. The company has prior experience as project consultant for the monorail system established in Kuala Lampur, and is now supervising monorail construction in Jakarta and Dubai.

The two main routes identified were the core ring road and Majestic-Vidhana Soudha link. Incidentally, the two routes reflect completely different objectives. While the former is targetted at decongesting traffic, the latter aims at connecting tourist spots.

“The monorail is especially convenient in crowded urban areas. Monorail trains made of aluminium are lighter, requiring smaller supporting columns, each occupying less than 2 square metres of ground area. Therefore property acquisition and demolition of buildings are avoided. As prefabricated beams will be installed at night, it has minimal impact on existing roads and traffic,” said Srinidhi Ananthraman, Managing Director, Geodesic. Meanwhile, monorails have been successfully used for boosting tourism, and this can be experimented in the city by routing them close to heritage sites, he added.

However, monorail was not recommended by Ananthraman for connecting the metro depot at Byappanahalli to the upcoming Devanahalli International Airport. “Monorail will be wasted on this route as it will not be utilised to its peak capacity,” he believed. According to him, a railway link or bus system will work better for this network.

Looking at creating a multi-modal transport network for the city, Ananthraman insisted that monorail cannot be a substitute for metrorail. “Metro rail is a time-tested system that have been used successfully in several metros globally. Monorails are a comparatively new concept, that was introduced as extensions to existing metro networks. So it has a good track record of being a feeder system,” Ananthraman explained.

For details, contact Geodesic at 2356 3634.


*Cost factor: Rs 70 crore per km (approx)

*Time factor: 18 months for 10 kms

*Distance factor: 30 kms (Core ring road) and 9 kms (Vidhana Soudha-Majestic link)

Some ‘Footpath’ for thought

Some ‘Footpath’ for thought
Deccan Herald

The problem of encroached footpaths is not limited to Bangalore alone. Indians across the country seem to understand very little about the importance of footpaths. Footpaths are badly maintained or encroached, forcing people to walk on the road.

Other cities like Singapore, Bangkok and Kuala Lampur have strict laws against jay walking. Those found guilty pay a fine of over $500. If you are driving in Singapore, US, UK or Canada, you will have to stop your vehicle to allow the pedestrian to cross. If we have a similar rule in Bangalore, we will never make it to our destination!

In my opinion, we cannot solve this problem by just making good roads. The police and BMP have a careless approach to this problem. We have to go a long way to go before we see Bangalore like Singapore.


Set deadlines

Your series on pavements was ‘footpath for thought’. Footpaths have been encroached by the vendors, or are being used by bikers as a short-cut.

The BMP should make new resolutions in this regard. Ban footpath vendors. Instead of laying footpaths every summer, construct good ones the first time, and save time and money. Good footpaths will not only help reduce accidents, but also beautify our bad roads.

The concerned authorities should award work to the right people and set deadlines. If this is not done, there will be unfinished work, which will lead to the usual monsoon mania.

Margaret Rajan

Plan them well

Firstly, I wish to congratulate Deccan Herald for focussing on such a vital issue, like footpaths. A lot of public money is being channelised towards upgradation of footpaths.

It would have been better, if the concerned authorities had used imagination before planning their projects.

For example, the footpath upgradation work on Airport Road from Domlur flyover to Airport is almost complete.

However, those who walk on it will find the experience too tiring as the height of the kerb stones at the breaks is too high, sometimes as high as 1.5 feet.

Senior citizens, children and persons with disability will find it difficult to climb up and down at each break. The kerb stone height should have been limited to a maximum of 6 inches, as it is the accepted height globally.

Another factor that hampers free movement of pedestrians are the protective half walls constructed around trees on footpaths. At many places, the walking space is reduced to a mere two feet because of these constructions.

The authorities could have altered the shape of the half-wall to an oval shape, thus allowing more space for passers-by.

Meanwhile, on NAL Wind Tunnel Road, hectic digging of footpaths was done in November last year, but nothing has been cleared since then.

The footpaths on both sides are not accessible to pedestrians, thanks to piled up stones and that illegally-parked vehicles. Alas, the right of way?

P P Gopi



The overwhelming response by readers to Deccan Herald’s campaign against footpath encroachment, ‘Give Me My Way’, reflects the growing frustration among pedestrians in the city, who are steadily losing their right over footpaths. DH presents some responses and recommendations forwarded by our readers.

If you have a complaint or a suggestion on how to safeguard city’s pavements, write in to us at Deccan Herald, 75, M G Road, Bangalore-560 001 or email

BMP parking fee muddle

BMP parking fee muddle
Deccan Herald

In an interesting development, Mayor Mumtaz Begum has alleged that some senior officials were trying to tarnish her image and have reintroduced paid parking without getting the approval of the BMP council.

Late on Thursday, the Mayor claimed that the officials, with the knowledge of the Commissioner and the Additional Commissioner, had issued the contracts on paid parking in Broadway road and the road opposite the Russel Market in her own ward-- Shivajinagar--last month.

“They (the officials) did not even take the council’s approval nor even inform us” the mayor said. ‘’We will take the matter to the government,’’ she declared.

She claimed that following complaints, she inspected the two roads on Wednesday and found that a person, who was collecting the fee, was in possession of proofs like permission letter and the sketch of the parking lot issued by the BMP.

“I enquired with the Commissioner today (Thursday). He denied having given any such permission and promised to take action against those responsible for it. But later, I called for the files; I found that the contract letter has been signed by the commissioner, the additional commissioner, Deputy Commissioner (Markets) and Assistant Revenue Officer (Markets)”, the Mayor claimed.

Back in April

On March 24, after the BMP budget proposals were presented, Commissioner K Jothiramalingam had said that paid parking would be back in April. The government had rejected BMP’s fee-free parking proposal and the government’s response was recorded before the BMP council too as such the government’s decision stands as final until notified otherwise, he had explained.

Later, on April 3, the BMP council said the matter would be thrashed out in 20 days at the level of an all-party committee. Incidentally, the said committee was set up only on Thursday.

The committee is headed by Mayor Mumtaz Begum. The members are Deputy Mayor Lakshminarayana, ruling Congress’ leader H Ravindra, BJP leader H Basavaraju, corporators Syed Jaleel Ahmed and H Venkatesh. Council Secretary Athik Ahmed is the member secretary.

Metro will be a reality, says MD

Metro will be a reality, says MD
The Hindu

Work may begin on November 1

# BMRC working on important milestones
# Government may soon announce rehabilitation package for those who cede their land
# Contracts for the project to be awarded in three months

BANGALORE: "It is a reality now," V. Madhu, Managing Director, Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation (BMRC), said after the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs cleared the mega urban railway project for the city.

Mr. Madhu told The Hindu from New Delhi over telephone that work on the project could start by the end of October or the beginning of November.

"The Rajyothsava Day (November 1) should be a date we should be looking at (for starting the work)," he said.

Mr. Madhu said the BMRC was working out the new set of milestones for the project.

The Chief Minister might announce it in two-three days, he said.

The first task before the BMRC was to put the consultancy contract and design and construction contract in place. The other task was land acquisition.

A rehabilitation package (to provide compensation to those who lose lands) would be proposed to the Government soon, Mr. Madhu said.

He said the landowners would have a say in this.

After the Government approved the package, land would be acquired, he said.

The work of awarding the consultancy contract and design and construction contract could take three months and the actual work on the project could start immediately.

Pay-and-park panel notified after deadline ends

Pay-and-park panel notified after deadline ends

The Hindu

The committee was to submit a feasibility report within 20 days; 91 roads identified for reintroducing the scheme

BANGALORE: Although the committee set up by Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP) Council to study the pros and cons of reintroducing the "pay-and-park" system was formed on April 3, it was notified on April 25.

This committee was supposed to study the feasibility of bringing back the system and submit its report in 20 days. But it has been notified two days after the deadline ended.

Sources in BMP told The Hindu on Thursday that the Congress in the BMP notified the committee only after the traffic police forwarded a list of 91 roads to the BMP for bringing back the system.

"Reintroducing the `pay-and-park' system, which was scrapped on April 1, 2005 by the former Mayor R. Narayanaswamy is something which needs to be studied seriously.

The committee should not be for namesake," the sources said.

Some citizens, who are not against the "pay-and-park" system, have favoured the recommendation on introduction of metered parking on some roads by the traffic police.

"We are not against the system. But we do not want to be harassed by parking attendants in the parking lot. Besides, they do not even guarantee the safety of our vehicles. In such a situation, I think metered parking is better," Prasanna Kumar, who works for a construction company in Malleswaram, said.

Santosh Jha, a plumbing contractor, said: "We do not mind paying a fee to park vehicles. But the attendants demand the same amount if you park for an hour or 20 minutes.

If metered parking helps, the amount should be fixed for half an hour.

This will be helpful to people who have to visit several places for a short duration," he said.

A burden

But there are others such as S. Harsha, who were against the "pay-and-park" system. "I feel the system is a burden on the common man.

It is good if it is not brought back," said Harsha, who works for a travel company.

"My job is to get orders for arrangement of instant tour packages from individuals, schools, colleges and any other organisations.

I have to visit several places in a day and if I have to pay every time I park my vehicle, I will have to shell out a lot of money," he added.

BMTC seeks raise in fare to fund mega plans

BMTC seeks raise in fare to fund mega plans

The Hindu

Proposes to add 1,000 more buses to its fleet

# BMTC to acquire 250 acres of land along Ring Road
# To increase amenities for commuters
# Will open 10 more bus depots

BANGALORE: When Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) joined the bandwagon of other State Transport Undertakings (STUs) in demanding fare revision, everyone was taken by surprise.

The corporation has claimed that it is likely to post a profit of over Rs. 100 crore in 2005-06. Second, any increase in fares will encourage people to depend more on private mode of transport defeating BMTC's campaign to encourage public transport.

According to data compiled by the Association of Road Transport Undertakings (ASRTU), BMTC's earning per bus per day was more than the cost per bus per day. It was Rs. 4,436 and Rs. 3,816 respectively indicating operational surplus.

The corporation has other reasons to sustain its claim for fare revision, which is imminent with the expected increase in prices of petroleum products. It has many ambitious plans, including adding 1,000 new buses to the fleet this financial year, providing wayside amenities to commuters and decongesting the Kempe Gowda Bus Stand. BMTC Managing Director Upendra Tripathy told The Hindu that of the 1,000 new additions, 500 buses would be drafted for peak hour service — during four hours in the morning and four hours in the evening. Commuters can travel comfortably in these buses as travelling by standing would not be allowed in these buses, he said.

He said the corporation would suffer losses by this. Another 500 buses would ply on 25 grid routes identified by the corporation without touching the central business district. Mr. Tripathy said the bus stand was congested with 22,000 trips a day and BMTC intends to reduce the trips by half.

Meanwhile, BMTC would acquire over 250 acres of land along peripheral and outer ring roads in the city to provide amenities to commuters. There were no facilities for commuters along the ring road, he said.

Chief Traffic Manager Dastagir Sharief told The Hindu that the corporation would open 10 more bus depots on the periphery of the city. It has ambitious plans of building bus terminals at Yeshwanthpur and Banashankari, he said. More Volvo buses would soon be added.

Mr. Sharief said the fuel price increase in September last has cast a burden of Rs. 25 crore (per year) on the corporation.

BMTC did not increase monthly pass price in June last along with fare revision. He said monthly pass purchase has doubled and there were 2.3 lakh pass holders.

There was a significant increase in the purchase of daily passes (Rs. 25) and it has reached 1.4 lakh passes a day.

Centre gives green signal to Bangalore Metro Rail project

Centre gives green signal to Bangalore Metro Rail project

The Hindu

Project estimated to cost Rs. 6,395 crore with a debt-equity ratio of 70:30

# Centre and State Government to contribute 15 per cent each to equity
# 45 per cent of debt portion to be taken care of by BMRC through loan from JBIC
# Karnataka Government to waive its duties and taxes for the project

NEW DELHI/BANGALORE: The Union Cabinet on Thursday finally gave the green signal for the much-awaited Bangalore Metro Rail Project.

Announcing the decision, Union Minister for Urban Development, Jaipal Reddy, said the project was estimated to cost Rs. 6,395 crore, including an escalation at the rate of five per cent per annum in the costs during the five years it would take to complete the construction work. The project would be on the pattern of the Delhi metro rail, he added.

The project would have a debt-equity ratio of 70:30. The Centre and the Karnataka Government would contribute to the equity portion, each providing 15 per cent equity. As for the debt portion, 45 per cent would be taken care of by the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation (BMRC) in the form of borrowing from the Japanese Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) and the remaining 25 per cent would be raised as subordinate debts. The JBIC was providing loan to BMRC at an interest rate of 8.75 per cent, sources said.

Sources said while the Karnataka Government would waive its duties and taxes for the project, the Centre would not do so. "If the Centre agrees to waive its taxes and duties, the cost could have come down to Rs. 5,747 crore.''

Govind D. Belgaumkar reports from Bangalore: Work on the biggest infrastructure project to decongest Bangalore's roads "can now actually begin" with the Union Cabinet approving the metro rail project.

The BMRC, which is implementing the project to provide 36.5 km of urban rail network, "can now start spending money," BMRC sources told The Hindu.

Hitherto, it had been doing preliminary or preparatory works where there was no financial commitment. When ready, the metro rail project will transport 10.7 lakh commuters a day.

The work such as shifting of underground utility lines (BESCOM, BWSSB lines for example) to ensure that they do not come in the way of erecting the elevated structure was on. The BMRC has conducted a survey and has found that several utility lines crisscross the locations where it has to erect pillars for the elevated structure.

The project provides for two lines - one from Jalahalli Circle to R.V. Teachers' College in Jayanagar, and the other from Mysore Road to Byappanahalli.

The project recently got a shot in the arm with the JBIC signing a memorandum of understanding with the Union Government to give a loan of Rs. 1,795 crore for the project. This is a "prestigious" loan as it comes under a special rate of interest. While the bank charges an interest rate of mere 1.3 per cent per annum, the project will have to bear a rate of 3.6 per cent.

This is because the BMRC will have to bear 2.3 per cent as commission to be charged by Barclay's Capital, an international bank which absorbs the exchange risks of the loan. The loan is repayable in 30 years. There will be no repayment of loan in the first 10 years.

The JBIC had pointed out that the problem of traffic congestion was serious with the population of Bangalore (over 60 lakhs now) doubling in over the past two decades and the number of motor vehicles increasing from 3.30 lakh in 1986 to 25.6 lakh in 2005.Mr. Kumaraswamy has thanked the Union Cabinet for approving the project.

In a statement issued here, he said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Union Urban Development Minister K. Jaipal Reddy and Finance Minister P. Chidambaram took personal interest in the approval of the project. "I would like to extend my thanks on behalf of the State Government. The project will be taken up on priority," Mr. Kumaraswamy said.

Soon, cruise on signal-free road

Soon, cruise on signal-free road

The Hindu

BMP-Railways team up to implement the Rs. 50-crore project

Bangalore: The Rs. 50-crore traffic improvement plan being worked out by Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP) and South Wes tern Railway is expected to reduce traffic congestion in Rajajinagar-Okalipuram area.

The plan may enable signal-free flow of traffic from the Rajajinagar underpass up to city bus station and city railway station. Another component will be a new railway station for trains bound for Mysore and beyond. There will be two interlinked flyovers and the Okalipuram Road will be widened to have four lanes.

The project will have the name Improvement of Rajajinagar Link Road between Khoday's Circle and Okalipuram Junction' and is reported to have been selected from among several proposals submitted by consultants.

All the road improvements and construction of the new railway station are expected to be completed in 18 months. The BMP is known to have been studying plans to widen the road between the Rajajinagar underpass and Okalipuram. A larger part of the proposed project area comes under the Railways, who are keen that the plans should benefit train passengers as well. Another factor was to facilitate easy movement to the city railway station and for a separate terminal for Mysore trains.

This has resulted in plans, including two box type railway underbridges, shortening the route from Rajajinagar underpass towards the railway station.

The two interlinked flyovers, connecting the new railway station with the parking area now located at the rear entrance to city railway station and with the city bus station, will help train passengers. The new railway station is planned to come up at the Okalipuram side of city station.

One of the flyovers will have a `U' loop from Platform Road, near Khoday's Circle. The second will start from the new road planned along Seshadripuram and Malleswaram. A multi-level parking lot for those using the city railway station is part of the project.

Metro, bus lanes can’t be together

Metro, bus lanes can’t be together
Only ORR Will Have Dedicated Space For Buses, Says BMTC
The Times of India

Bangalore: One road’s gain is another’s loss.

The Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) has firmly ruled out the longpending proposition of having dedicated bus lanes on city roads. The saving grace: Outer Ring Road (ORR) will have space earmarked as bus lanes, according to BMTC officials. Should this take off as planned in August, the ORR will then be the only road in Bangalore with dedicated bus lanes.

Just what went wrong in acquiescing to people’s requests of bus lanes, often touted as a panacea for alleviating road chaos?

BMTC officials explain that the traffic police have had reservations about earmarking prime space for buses. “We were told that roads are narrow and that dedicated bus lanes would eat up space, adding to traffic jams. That apart, most roads have left turns, so two-wheeler and fourwheeler commuters have to take an immediate left from any particular road. If that space is taken up by buses, it is impossible to re-align the remaining traffic,’’ they explain.

Yet another reason: “ We cannot have Metro Rail and dedicated bus lanes simultaneously,’’ declares BMTC MD Upendra Tripathy. “In the central business district areas at least it will clash, so having lanes for the moment is ruled out though it has been a pet project of the BMTC,’’ he says. In the past, the BMTC had plumped for bus lanes and implemented it on Bellary Road, right from Hebbal flyover up to Queen’s Road. The project, done on a pilot basis, lasted all of a month and then shelved.

The BDA, whose successful project the Outer Ring Road is, has apparently assured the BMTC that a new conceptual plan would be prepared and submitted, delineating space for buses.

Chief Traffic Manager (Operations) Dastagir Sharief rues that even during the pilot project, citizens had no self-restraint and used up the space meant for buses by steering their vehicles onto lanes. “To implement this compulsorily, at the ORR we plan to have physical barricades rather than just paint the roads. If ORR turns out to be a success, we can emulate it on Hosur Road, Whitefield and on the roads leading in and out of Bangalore city proper,’’ he explains.

Metro clears last hurdle

Metro clears last hurdle
With Cabinet Approval,Work Can Now Begin In Full Swing
The Times of India

New Delhi/Bangalore: The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has finally cleared the Metro Rail project for Bangalore. With this, all clearances for the project have been obtained and work can begin in full swing.

The CCEA, which met in New Delhi on Thursday, has cleared the Rs 6,207-crore project, which has an equity participation of Rs 1,200 crore from the Centre, while the state government’s contribution will be Rs 1,800 crore.

The Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation (BMRC), which will execute the project, will obtain a Rs 3,000-crore loan from the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC).

UTI Bank has been appointed fund arranger for Phase I. BMRC MD V Madhu said 30% of the funds will be put in by the state, 25% by the Centre, 30% through JBIC, and the remaining will be arranged by UTI from other banks of India.

Phase I will have two corridors: a north-south corridor between Yeshwantpur and KR Road (leading to JP Nagar) and an east-west corridor between Byapanahalli and Rajarajeshwari Nagar off Mysore Road. The two corridors will criss-cross at Majestic, where the system will be underground.

The system will have standard gauge tracks, with most of the section on the elevated system. The Public Investment Board and the Group of Ministers had said the project will be built under the Mysore Tramways Act.
This means the state can decide every aspect of the project.

With the CCEA clearance, the BMRC and a central government organisation will form a team of officials to jointly execute the project, which is expected to be completed in five years time.

The BMRC will take up the first segment of the project between Byapanahalli and Chinnaswamy Stadium on Cubbon Road immediately, while it will finalise the tenders for awarding the overall contract to an international consortium that will award packages to various contractors.

CM Kumaraswamy thanked the Centre. He promised to take up the project expeditiously.
The state government has taken note of objections by some people to acquisition of private land and it will use its own land as far as possible and acquire private land only where it is inevitable.

metro matters
Cost: Rs 6,207 cr
Tracks: Std gauge Deadline: 5 years Yeshwantpur to JP Nagar
Byapanahalli to Rajarajeshwari Nagar

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Footpaths: Ban on riding sought

Footpaths: Ban on riding sought
Deccan Herald

This is in response to the footpath-related article that appeared on April 23. Footpaths are being renovated in several places but there seems to be no parameters stipulated for footpath laying, which is unfortunate considering the amount of money being expended on the upgradation. Your article had mentioned the parameters for laying of footpaths but most of them have not been adhered to.

I would like to make a few recommendations on the issue. Firstly, no breaks should be allowed on the footpaths. Barricades and railings should be installed to prevent two wheelers and cyclists from using the footpaths and ramps constructed to access private premises should be demolished. Shopping malls are using public spaces to construct ramps, while keeping their premises intact. This needs to be checked.

Louis Charles

It is a common sight to see footpaths being cut by various public utility agencies for carrying out repair works, but this disrupts pedestrian movement. They are forced to walk on the road which, given the lack of traffic discipline among road users, can turn risky for pedestrians. Once the footpath is dug for works, it remains in the same condition for several months. Pavements on 100 feet road, 80 feet road and CMH road in Indiranagar bear testimony to this.

Other forms of encroachment are illegal parking of two and four wheelers by residents and vendors setting shop on the pavements.

Similarly, when construction work is carried out on the sides of the road, the footpath is dumped with construction materials.

Authorities should take strict action against the guilty to curb this menace. R Sreekumar Indiranagar

The footpath between Syndicate Bank, SPC Road Branch and the main road of Raghavendra colony on 5th Main, Chamarajpet is fully occupied by a Bescom transformer centre that has been set up leaving no space for pedestrian use.

This particular stretch is at the intersection of 5th Main and 7th Cross, Chamrajpet.

This intersection has heavy traffic coming from Mysore Road and TR Mill circle. There are several schools around this area which adds to the traffic congestion.

We want Bescom authorities to shift the transformer centre to a place beyond Devanath Achar Street on 5th Main, Chamarajpet, to enable the public to use the footpath freely.

P Prahlad Rao

Assistant Commissioner (Retd)

Attention of the Police Commissioner has been drawn to the failure to dislodge vendors on footpaths, especially chaat vendors. I suggest that you introduce a system similar to Tigers that tow vehicles from No Parking zones, in order to clear the pavements.

S N Subramanya


The overwhelming response by readers to Deccan Herald’s campaign against footpath encroachment, ‘Give Me My Way’, reflects the growing frustration among pedestrians in the city, who are steadily losing their right over footpaths. DH presents some responses and recommendations forwarded by our readers.

If you have a complaint or a suggestion on how to safeguard city’s pavements, write in to us at Deccan Herald, 75, M G Road, Bangalore-560 001 or email

Replay of monsoon woes forecast here

Replay of monsoon woes forecast here
Deccan Herald

Is a sequel to last year’s october floods waiting to happen this monsoon? Residents of Bilekahalli, Ramanashree and Someshwara layouts on Bannerghatta Road feel this possibility is steadily turning true in their area.

Over 2,000 square feet of land is submerged in sewage water, all because land developers have blocked the water channel from Bilekahalli to Raja Canal. The 20-feet wide valley near Ranka Apartments on Bannerghatta Road which carries all the sewage water of J P Nagar and other adjacent areas has been narrowed down considerably by private builders, says Kumar, a resident of Ramanashree layout. The developers have also raised the landscape to a height of seven to ten feet rendering the layouts, that comprise 150 sites, as ‘low-lying’ areas, he alleges.

“The encroachments have been steadily increasing in the last one year. As the connecting channels are obstructed, water has stagnated, resulting in mixing of sewage and drinking water.

“Two bores have already been affected due to this,” adds Shripal, member of Bilekahalli Residents’ Welfare Association.

“We fear flooding each time it rains. We will have no choice but to vacate our houses this rainy season. Large quantity of sewage water is accumulated at the other side of the compound wall of the layout. Any breach of compound wall will definitely bring the sewage water into our houses,” Shripal feared.

The members of Bilekahalli Residents’ Welfare Association are now planning to stage a dharna outside the office of the Commissioner of CMC Bommanahalli on May 2 to highlight their grievances. “We want the CMC to intervene and stop these land developers from blocking drainage routes without making alternative channels. If they do not take any action now, we will be homeless during the rains,” said Kumar.

ity police prefer metered parking

City police prefer metered parking
Deccan HErald

A discussion on the controversial pay and park system in Bangalore is back. The traffic police advocated re-introduction of pay and park on 90 roads across central parts of the City to the BMP on Wednesday....

A discussion on the controversial pay and park system in Bangalore is back. The traffic police advocated re-introduction of pay and park on 90 roads across central parts of the City to the BMP on Wednesday. The police are also keen on abandoning the pay-and-park contract system and instead prefer automated metered parking.

Deputy Commissioner of Police, traffic (east) M A Saleem says the police prefer metered parking because of several complaints from vehicle users. “Harassment from those managing the pay-and-park system is the main grouse of vehicle users,” he adds. Under the automated meter system, parking attendants collect the amount, put it into the machine and hand over a ticket with the vehicle number and time; the ticket has to be displayed on the windshield of the vehicle. Vehicles without the ticket or exceeding the time limit can be towed away. A tow-away vehicle is parked strategically close by.

The metered parking system is now successfully functioning on Brigade Road and Commercial Street. In a City that has over 27 lakh vehicles, the pay and park system was scrapped by the former Mayor R Narayanaswamy on April 1, 2005. In the last week of March, 2006 BMP Commissioner K Jothiramalingam had announced in the BMP council that the system would be back on select roads in April, to the opposition of certain elected representatives. These corporators preferred continuation of free parking.

On Wednesday, Mayor Mumtaz Begum maintained that if the government issues a direction, the BMP will have to bring in paid parking. The government’s order stating that it has rejected the fee-free parking proposal has been recorded in the BMP council, she noted.

She said the BMP’s all-party committee set up to look into re-introduction of paid parking will be meeting soon. Meanwhile, the state government has also announced the setting up of a parking authority.

Pollution weighs heavily on City

B’lore air murkier than Chennai, H’bad
Pollution weighs heavily on City
Deccan Herald

Bangalore’s air is worse than that of its two famed southern cousins — Chennai and Hyderabad — according to the latest official data, which clearly points out the Garden City’s failure to check pollution .....

Bangalore’s air is worse than that of its two famed southern cousins – Chennai and Hyderabad – according to the latest official data, which clearly points out the Garden City’s failure to check pollution compared to other cities in Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

Bangalore’s annual level of breathable particles in the air – 71 micrograms per cubic metre – is higher than that of Coimbatore, Kozhikode, Hyderabad, Kottyam, Kochi, Tuticorin and Chennai, says the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) in its latest air quality monitoring data. Vehicular and industrial pollutions are the two principal sources.

Only two south Indian cities – Thiruvananthapuram and Vishakhapatanam – have fared worse than Bangalore.

Chhattishgarh’s capital Raipur with annual particulate matter level of 275 micrograms per cubic mt tops the chart, which shows how the smaller cities with little government and societal interventions are way behind in curbing air pollution measures compared to the metros where at least some actions have been taken in the last five years. Ideally, the level should stand at 60 micrograms per cubic metre. “Bangalore has 30,000 diesel auto-rickshaws. In addition, the number of diesel cars and vehicles are increasing. This is evident from rising levels of nitrogen dioxide in the air,” Ms Anumita Roychowdhury, associate director at the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) in Delhi told Deccan Herald.

The CSE has used the CPCB data for coming out with a book titled The Leapfrog Factor: Cleaning the air in Asian cities, which was released by Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit last week.

Elaborating on Bangalore’s problems, Ms Roychowdhury said that though the administration has restricted plying of 15-year-old vehicles and follows a green tax policy, the burgeoning number of diesel cars tilts the balance unfavourably. “The percentage of diesel cars is estimated to rise from 19 per cent in 2005 to 46 per cent within the next 10 years,” she said, adding that that it’s time for the state to adopt Euro-IV level of emission norms. Bangalore has adopted Euro-II in 2003 and Euro-III in 2005.

Comparing the City with Hyderabad and Chennai, the CSE campaigner said proximity to the sea could be a reason for Chennai to have performed much better than Bangalore. “But Hyderabad is inexplicable. May be the locations of monitoring stations were not correct,” she said. The figures are 54 micrograms and 31 micrograms, respectively.

ISeven cities – six of them are south Indians in addition to Bhopal – have an annual particulate matter figure of less than 60 micrograms. “But that should not be the end of the road as the WHO has recommended revision of the emission norms till they reach the 12 micrograms level,” she added.

Poison LEVEL

Breathable particles in the air: 71 mg/m3

Ideal level: 60 mg/m3

The culprits: 30,000 diesel auto-rickshaws. Diesel cars, vehicles on the rise

Worse to come: Percentage of diesel cars to rise from 19% in 2005 to 46% in next 10 years

What can be done: Adoption of Euro-IV level of emission norms. Bangalore adopted Euro-II in 2003 and Euro-III in 2005.

mg/m3 is micrograms per cubic metre

Trees hacked to show up hoardings

Trees hacked to show up hoardings
BMP Says It’s Unaware Of Illegal Chopping On Airport Road
The Times of India

Bangalore: With nearly 11,000 vehicles an hour, it’s not surprising that Airport Road is responsible for 75 per cent of revenue generated from the city’s commercial hoardings. That’s enough moolah for the Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP) to feign a snore while trees are illegally hacked to make way for more glittering billboards. This, while Bangalore is on the verge of becoming a ‘hoarding-free’ city.

In the past three months alone, around 40 trees have been illegally cut and 12 pruned to ensure better visibility of hoardings along this road. And the officials have no clue about it.

“Forty trees have been cut? When?’’ This was BMP deputy conservator of forest Krishna Udapudi’s reaction when The Times of India questioned him about the cutting.

The phenomenon, however, is not new for the residents, who have been witnessing it for the past one year. Trees are usually cut over a period so that its disappearance is not stark. “Trees being cut for development work like road widening, building a flyover or a highway is still understandable, but why cut them to highlight hoardings?’’ asked Prashant S Reddy, an environment activist and a resident of the area.

Hasire Usiru, an NGO, which works for the preservation of greenery in the city, has even filed a written complaint with the BMP officials, over the issue of trees being cut. The officials have accepted the validity of the complaint, but have not been able to book any culprit simply because “they are not sure who the culprits are!’’ said Hasire Usiru member Rohan D’souza, who is following up the matter with the BMP.

“The trees which have been cut or pruned in the area have been done illegally, they never sought permission from my department. But saying that we are not doing anything would also not be true. Licences for hoardings along the medians in Airport Road, Bellary Road, and Palace Road have been cancelled. We have also asked the area horticulture officer, along with a team, to start night vigilance. They are authorised to cancel the hoarding licence if the advertisers are caught pruning or cutting trees,’’ said Udapudi.

So how does one get a licence to put up a hoarding near trees? “Permission for hoardings is given strictly in those locations where there are no trees. But soon after they get the permission, the advertisers change their location,’’ BMP officials say.

Of the Rs 2.5 crore revenue generated every year from commercial hoardings by BMP, around Rs 1.9 crore comes from East zone. Airport road is a prominent location with 150 hoardings on either side along with median billboards that generate Rs 68 lakh annually.