Wednesday, May 31, 2006

No monsoon lessons learnt for B'lore

No monsoon lessons learnt for B'lore
Deepa Balakrishnan

Bangalore : November 2005, Bangalore was under water. Puttenahalli, near upmarket JP Nagar, was submerged for nearly ten days.

It's now May 2006 and Puttenhalli has the same broken drains, deep craters, and low retaining walls.

Seems like Bangalore hasn't learnt its lessons from the previous monsoons.

With just days, perhaps hours, to go before the monsoons hit the IT city, CNN-IBN finds out if the damage control measures are in place.

For L N Bhaskara Rao, a pensioner who lives in Puttenhali, it's a nightmare relived. Monsoons to him mean being stuck at home for days.

He can't forget how he climbed over the barricade with his wife to go over to his neighbour's house for safety.

This year, he's not taking any chance and without waiting for the authorities to do anything, he is taking preventive measures himself.

"They are not doing anything so we have to spend on all preventive measures ourselves. I spent thousands of rupees on the same thing last uear too. I have broken the pillars in my house, raised the gate and filled up the area with soil," says Rao.

Rao has every reason to worry for there are half-constructed drains and pipes lying all over Puttenhali.

Commissioner, Bangalroe City Corporation, K Jairaj says, "The advancement of monsoon this year is worrying. We are hoping the monsoons will hit Bangalore June-end, but we are better prepared this year as compared to the previous years."

However, one look at the Koramangala Valley, where remodeling work is on and one knows that Bangalore has a long way to go before the city is monsoon-safe.

A retaining wall fell during the last year's monsoons, but rebuilding work has just begun and is all set to stop at the end of this week, when the monsoons hit the city.

Remodelling work on three major storm water drains began last April but there has been little progress.

"Overall, progress in the past year has been about 20 per cent and that's not very good we know. But there are a variety of reasons like encroachments alongside and we are trying to speed things up. If things are not completed on time then we will have to take drastic steps," says K Jairaj.

Monsoon rains will hit the city before the end of this week. Every monsoon over the last five years have seen at least five deaths and great loss to property.

Though three governments have changed, there's little work to ensure history doesn't repeat itself.

Fresh air at the bus station

Fresh air at the bus station
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: It is five years since the Supreme Court banned smoking in public places. The historic order has turned the Kempegowda Bus Station (KBS) a real smoke-free zone.

Encouraged by the success, the BMTC is now all set to strictly implement the ban in Shivajinagar and Shanthinagar bus stations also. “Even the BMTC staff will be not allowed to smoke while on duty,” BMTC chief traffic manager Dastagir Sherriff told this website’s newspaper.

Despite the ban, smoking in other public places largely goes unchecked. Thanks to the strict implementation of ‘No Smoking’ rule and heavy fines, commuters, especially non-smokers, breathe easy at Majestic.

According to the BMTC assistant traffic manager Nagaraj, the smoking ban is being strictly implemented in Majestic since November 1, 2005. Those found defying the ban are slapped fines of up to Rs 500.

According to officials at KSRTC outpost station, at least 10 policemen are present at the BMTC and KSRTC bus station at any given time. They are also on a constant lookout for smokers, and co-ordinate with BMTC and KSRTC staff in checking the menace. Fines have been imposed in 650 cases ever since the ban was imposed.

Posters and boards have been displayed to caution people against smoking in public places at the bus stand and inside buses. “We are also warning people through the public address system every five to 10 minutes. The number of commuters exceed six lakh every day”, he said.

It was a landmark order by Kerala High Court on Feb 12, 1999 that first banned smoking in public places. The Supreme Court banned smoking in public places on November 2, 2001 following which smoking has remained banned in public places through out the nation. Will all public places follow the example set by BMTC and fight air pollution?

Rs. 3 crore spent to clean Puttenahalli Lake

Rs. 3 crore spent to clean Puttenahalli Lake
Vijay Times

Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy had recently chided cials of the Lake Development Authority (LDA), con be the guardian of lakes, for failing to maintain venate the water bodies. It may be recalled that around Puttenahalli had been flooded by water from which had overflowed during the monsoon last year. LDA Chief Executive Officer (CEO) B K Singh took time to explain to Chandrashekar G , some of the works the authority, with the help of engineers, had carried out in the lake in J P Nagar.

No doubt, these authorities will take care of the With just five members, the LDAs role is confined to monitoring the work carried out by the authorit of the BMP, BDA, and CMCs.

The LDA prepares projects and makes presenta tions at the union government level. It also works get these projects approved.

Recently, two programmes to restore lakes in Chikmagalur and Davanagere have been approved by the Centre.

I dont know. Dont expect any comments from me. The Chief Minister has taken a decision to decentralise power.

The Chief Minister, who has expressed his displeas ure over the amount of money spent on the Puttenahalli lake, has said that hardly any work h been done there. Your comment.

A total of Rs 3.3 crore has been spent on restorin the Puttenahalli lake. Various works have been car out. Most of the works executed there like desilti and laying of pipes to carry overflowing water can be seen. But rest assured, a lot of work has been In toto, four lakh cubic metres of silt have been removed from the lake.

The silt has been shifted to other places. The lak after having been desilted, can now hold more wate Besides, 600 to 900 dia pipes have been laid to ca water that overflows. The pipes have been laid in a way that the area will not be flooded. These pip have been laid under the ground.

The Eviction of Encroachment of Public Premises Ac empowers officials of the Revenue Department evict encroachers.

We draw the attention of the Revenue Department to encroachments, as and when we notice one. Its high time that the officials concerned concentrate evicting lake encroachments, especially in the CMC areas.

How can we restore lakes as long as sewage water i being discharged into them? The officials of CMCs, Town Municipal Councils and the BWSSB should prevent sewage water from entering the lakes. sewage water should be treated before being charged into the lakes.

BMP acts, to regularise illegal buildings finally

BMP acts, to regularise illegal buildings finally
The Times of India

Bangalore: The crucial bit about unauthorised constructions and deviations keeps surfacing sans a solution. And to address this, BMP commissioner K Jairaj said the state has given a go-ahead to a long-pending proposal on regularising building deviations.

To tackle issues like what kind of deviations can be regularised, a team of officials are coming up with a frame-work which would regularise 25 per cent deviations. Incidentally, this proposal had been previously sent to the government but had been rejected and sent back. The move is aimed at averting a la Koramangala or Ulhasnagar in Delhi.

At the council meeting of the BMP on Tuesday, a host of issues relating to monsoon woes, funds, roads, file clearance were threshed out. The tightening measures in the revenue department has one objective —increasing funds at the BMP by widening the tax base. Jairaj informed that a team headed by zonal DCs would be undertaking a survey of land use (and misuse) across various wards. “Tax adalats will be held to touch the target of Rs 400 crore property tax collection. New and partial wards will also come under the tax base, they will be issued khatas,” said Jairaj.

Crime strikes at heart of Bangalore

Crime strikes at heart of Bangalore
Executive Abducted Off MG Road, Relieved Of Valuables,ATM Cash
The Times of India

Bangalore: How safe is Bangalore if a man can be kidnapped and robbed right in the heart of city? That’s what happened to a senior executive of Arvind Brands, a division of Arvind Mills. A five-member gang abducted Chakor Jain (37) from an area off M G Road on Monday night when he was returning home. He was taken all over the city for over an hour and assaulted before the gang took off. It escaped with his car, watch, laptop, cellphone, credit and debit cards, and Rs 300 in cash. The gang even withdrew Rs 15,000 from his account at an ATM.

Earlier that night, Jain’s friends dropped him at his office near Kids Kemp on M G Road after dinner at a hotel on Infantry Road. From here, Jain started driving towards his residence in Cambridge Layout. Midway, he stopped to relieve himself. That was when three persons cornered and pushed him into his car at knife point. He was wedged between two persons on the rear seat, while another drove the car. Two more persons joined them a little later.

The gang members assaulted him before robbing him of his valuables. They also forced Jain to reveal his debit card PIN, after which he was dumped near a swimming pool in Bangalore University’s Jnanabharathi campus after midnight.

A badly beaten Jain walked to the Jnanabharathi police station with help from university guards. He tried to block his credit and debit card accounts, but before the bank authorities could act, the miscreants had withdrawn the money.

Jnanabharathi police registered a case of robbery and alerted other police stations. They informed neighbouring districts to look out for the stolen car, which was found abandoned near the Mandya railway station on Tuesday morning.

The case has been transferred to the Ulsoor police as the kidnapping occurred within their jurisdiction. When contacted, Jain said the police were helpful and prompt. “They have tracked down the car and I believe they’ve recovered my bag, laptop and may be even my purse.”

Section of peripheral ring road to be thrown open by June 16

Section of peripheral ring road to be thrown open by June 16
Decan Herald

The to-be-launched road will not have entry and exit ramps, as the land acquisition on these points are not completed “due to non-cooperation by certain officials”.

The first 9 kms of the peripheral ring road taken up by Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprise (NICE) will be thrown open to the public on June 16, NICE Managing Director Ashok Kheni said on Tuesday.

The stretch, between Kengeri on Mysore Road to Talgattapura on Mysore Road, via Banashankari VI Stage comes under the first phase of the Bangalore-Mysore Infrastructure Corridor project.

However, the to-be-launched road will not have entry and exit ramps, as the land acquisition on these points are not completed “due to non-cooperation by certain officials”.

A toll of about Rs 10 will be charged from road users, and the journey time, according to Mr Kheni, will be eight minutes.

‘Can’t stop us’

Revealing this at a talk on ‘Bangalore-Mysore Infrastructure Corridor- A reality’ organised by Rotary Club Orchards on Tuesday, Mr Kheni said vested interests in the government will not stop them, and the entire first phase, from Mysore Road to Hosur Road will be open to the public by August.

‘Posters of apology’ have been planned by NICE, which will tender a public apology for not building certain sections of the road, due to hurdles in the land acquisition process. The names and numbers of officers who are not co-operating will be mentioned in the posters.


Mr Kheni appealed to the public “to call these officers in the middle of the night and ask them to transfer the land”.

However, Mr Kheni refused to disclose when these posters will be put up. “It will be a surprise,” he said.

Mr Kheni also invited Rotarians to open five training centres for villagers who are being affected due to the infrastructure project. He also asked the Rotary Clubs to open schools in these villages.

BMP reduces funds to wards, seeks Rs 100 crore from govt

BMP reduces funds to wards, seeks Rs 100 crore from govt
Deccan Herald

However, a recent order issued by the government states that any piece work exceeding Rs 2 lakh (except in case of emergency works) or fragmentation of works will not be entertained.

This year, the Councillors of the Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP) will have to make do with only Rs 1 crore each, instead of Rs 1.5 crore, for their wards. The decision was taken at the Council meeting held on Tuesday, which realised a deficit of Rs 100 crore. The BMP now hopes to seek a loan of Rs 100 crore from the State government.

The Council meeting that was held for the first time after the new Commissioner K Jairaj took charge, echoed disgruntlement over lack of response from BMP officials. Many councillors criticised the poor quality of work and abrupt stalling of projects, which was countered by Mr Jairaj stating, “BMP had failed to attract reputed agencies, despite having projects worth crores. We need some introspection.”

“We may expect government approval for the Rs 400 crore Budget in a day or two. However, a recent order issued by the government states that any piece work exceeding Rs 2 lakh (except in case of emergency works) or fragmentation of works will not be entertained. “All works will now follow 100 per cent tendering. Though, we hope to appeal before the government to release at least 30 per cent of the funds and call tenders for the remaining 70 per cent, this year. However, bills for all the completed works will be cleared,” assured Jairaj.

In a role reversal, the Mayor and the Councillors were found urging the BMP chief to clear encroachments from Sri Krishnaraja Market. The suggestion was met with apprehensions by Jairaj.

“It is a sensitive matter involving livelihood of people. We need to discuss this at length.”

The Zero Hour brought to focus issues related to road widening (under TDR), asphalting of World Bank funded roads (worth Rs 170 crore), reviving footpaths, status of rainwater harvest project (Rs 43.5 lakh), garbage collection, urban forestry among others.


Works Amount

Spill-over works (2006-07) Rs 340 crore

Pending bills (since Dec 2005) Rs 116 crore

Total Rs 456 crore

Budget Allocation (06-07) Rs 358 crore

Deficit Rs 100 crore


The last date for Self-assessment Scheme (SAS) of property tax without penalty will be extended to June 30.

BMP chief K Jairaj announced the same, following complaints from the Councillors that the BMP was losing out on revenue. As per a plan, the Joint commissioners will carry out a survey in the city to identify defaulters (tax evaders) and detect manipulations like underpaid properties, withholding disclosure of change of use of property, additional 20 per cent for non-residential properties.

“Tax adalats will be also help widen the tax base. However, we need a systemic change in khata transfer or issue to make it simple and transparent” he said.

No pipe dream: Swachcha neeru from kitchen tap

No pipe dream: Swachcha neeru from kitchen tap
Deccan Herald

No chlorine, no soil particles, no brown coloured water... How about sparkling clean ready-to-drink water straight from your kitchen tap? This is the promise of IonClean, a purification technology promoted by a private company, Associate Business Consulting.

Addressing a press meet on Tuesday, ABC Managing Director Sajid Ghaffar said the company will undertake purification of two standalone reservoirs - at Race Course Road and Millers Road - as a pilot project. This comes following recent discussions with Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy and BWSSB officials over their proposal.

The costing and implementation plans of the project are still pending, but ABC Director Imran Siddique said the details will be submitted to BWSSB in a week.

The project is being taken up on a public-private partnership basis.

The main highlights of IonClean, according to Mr Siddique, are its benefits over chlorine as a disinfecting method, and its ability to integrate with aging infrastructure.

“We have selected these two reservoirs because they are over 100 years old. IonClean can clean century old reservoirs, pumps and pipes all the way to the taps. We want to demonstrate the capability of IonClean in these two reservoirs,” Mr Siddique said.

How IonCLean works

Explaining the functioning of the purification system, IonClean inventor Noel Parkinson said control boxes, fitted with sets of copper and silver electrodes, will be at every kilometre distance. The control box by generating a low voltage, DC current will release copper and silver ions.

These ions when released into the water act like a potent biocide. Disinfection takes place when the positively charged copper and silver ions form electrostatic bonds negatively charged areas on micro-organism cell walls. This stress kills the germs and purifies water,” Mr Parkinson explained.


* Purification of two city reservoirs on the anvil.

* Details of the plan to be submitted to BWSSB

* Ione clean to score over chlorine as disinfectant

* Sparkling clean water guranteed

State pays costs of Rs. 5 lakh to NICE

State pays costs of Rs. 5 lakh to NICE
The Hindu

Supreme Court awarded exemplary costs for `frivolous' plea

# Amount paid under protest
# Government reserves right to file review/curative petitions

Bangalore: The State Government has paid Rs. 5 lakh in exemplary costs awarded by the Supreme Court to Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprise (NICE) Ltd. the entity that is implementing the Rs. 2,200-crore Bangalore-Mysore Infrastructure Corridor (BMIC) project.

On April 20, the Supreme Court had ordered the implementation and completion of the project "expeditiously" as originally envisaged.The Supreme Court had also imposed exemplary costs of Rs. 5 lakh on the State Government, terming its petition "frivolous," and directed it to pay the punitive cost within four weeks.

Cheque received

The project developer received the cheque dated May 26. While making the payment as directed by the Supreme Court, the Government, however, said that it reserved the right to file review/curative petitions on the order. "In obedience of the orders of Supreme Court judgment dated April 20, we are enclosing herewith a cheque for Rs. 5 lakh towards the cost awarded by the court...

Paid under protest

"The said amount is being paid under protest and without prejudice to our right to file review/curative petitions," said the note sent with the cheque by the project coordinator in charge of the BMIC project in the Public Works Department.

Bangalore Bio from June 7

Bangalore Bio from June 7

The Hindu

Over 500 delegates to attend three-day event

# The theme of the conference this year is `Discover, Nurture, Accelerate'
# Young researchers, scientists and technocrats to present papers on path-breaking ideas and innovative research

Bangalore: The Bangalore Bio 2006 conference will set a new direction for the emerging biotechnology industry with more than 60 international and national speakers and over 500 delegates from industry, academia, research and development and policy makers set to take part in the sixth edition of the event, which begins on June 7. The theme of the conference this year is "Discover, Nurture, Accelerate."

Anup K. Pujari, Principal Secretary to Government, Department of IT, Biotechnology and Science & Technology, said: "The conference will offer a strategic view to the swiftly growing biotechnology industry at a global and regional level."

During the three-day event, eminent speakers will discuss various issues such as clinical development in India; transnational research: the way forward for drug discovery; creating an investment landscape for Indian biotechnology; vaccines: an R&D focus for the developing world; global networks in biotechnology; frontier technologies: sowing the seeds for tomorrow and Intellectual Property: a time for self-regulation.

The conference will showcase and bring together, for the first time, 50 young researchers, scientists and technocrats to present their papers on path-breaking ideas and innovative research in various areas of biotechnology at the "Poster Session for Leader Prospects" being held concurrently in Bangalore Bio 2006 under the title "Walkway of Discovery."


"The main goal of this session is to foster top-notch collaborations among academia, research organisations, venture capitalists and industry. It will offer an audience of over 1,000 industry professionals, who are actively looking for technology innovations and collaborations with academia and early stage research organizations. This space is certainly a look out for CEOs, venture capitalists, heads of companies and research labs and institutes for the path breaking attempts and commercial potential of the abstracts," said K.K. Narayanan President, ABLE, & Managing Director, Metahelix

Final notification of 206 acres of land for expressway component recommended

Final notification of 206 acres of land for expressway component recommended

The Hindu

KIADB proposal to allot land to NICE sent to Ministry of Commerce and Industry

# Land for township in first phase identified
# Process of notifying land for township set in motion
# Survey work expected to take time

Bangalore: The April 20 order of the Supreme Court is finally coming to the rescue of Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprise (NICE) Ltd. in getting the land required for implementing the ambitious Rs. 2,200-crore Bangalore-Mysore Infrastructure Corridor (BMIC) project, but only partially.

The Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Board (KIADB) has recommended issuing of the final notification for about 206 acres of land required for the expressway. "We have sent a proposal to the Commerce and Industry Ministry for issuing final notification in respect of 206 acres of land required for the expressway component of the project," KIADB sources said. After the notification is published in the official gazette, NICE will be asked to make the payment, which will be used to pay the landowners and the land will be transferred to the project developer. The final notification is expected soon, he added.

Land for township

Further, the process of notifying the land required for developing a township has been set in motion. While the land has been identified, the survey work is expected to take time. "Moreover, the actual requirement of land for the township will have to be ascertained through a joint measurement by the PWD, the KIADB, NICE and the Survey Department. NICE also has to furnish the environment clearance certificate from the Union Government and other clearances including pollution clearance certificate for the township," sources said. The township that is planned under the first phase of the project requires about 2,775 acres.

Out of the approximately 6,200 acres required for completing the first phase, the State Government has already transferred 2,000-odd acres to NICE. It is yet to transfer 800 acres, which has been acquired.

On April 20, the Supreme Court ordered the implementation and completion of the project "expeditiously" as originally envisaged while dismissing a bunch of appeals filed by the State Government and others against the May 3, 2005 judgment of the Karnataka High Court, which had permitted the completion of the project.

No time frame

The expeditious implementation and completion of the project now hinges on quick transfer of land to the project developer. The Supreme Court, in this case, has not, however, imposed any time frame for transfer of land from the Government to NICE.

Safari rides enthuse one and all at Bannerghatta

Safari rides enthuse one and all at Bannerghatta

The Hindu

Rs. 20-crore master plan formulated to improve the national park

# The pothole-ridden road from Bangalore provides a bumpy ride to the park
# Once there, visitors have to wait for long to buy tickets for the safari ride
# The park is open from 9.30 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. and the safari from 10 a.m. to 4.30 p.m.
# For schoolchildren, the park is the favourite picnic spot

BANGALORE: The citizens of the concrete jungle that Bangalore has been turned into, who throng the Bannerghatta Biological Park to behold the denizens of the wild, no longer consider the visit a pleasure on a day of leisure. The ordeal begins even as one lands there after the bumpy ride on the pothole-ridden road. One is confronted by the long and winding queues to buy tickets. The queues grow longer during weekends and holidays.

There are only three computerised booths to issue tickets. Visitors have to wait for long for the much-longed "grand safari ride". No doubt the Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation is operating 15 vehicles, including four hired Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) buses for the safari. Each vehicle carries 30 persons.

The park officials say that only a few BMTC buses operate between the Kempe Gowda (Majestic) bus stand and the park during the evenings. The officials have appealed to the BMTC to ply more buses during evenings.

A Rs. 20-crore master plan has been formulated to improve the park and offer better amenities to visitors. The Tourism and the Forest departments will jointly implement the project.

The project includes laying roads and enclosures, acquiring vehicles and modernisation of offices. Tenders have been called for for implementing the works.

However, the inconveniences notwithstanding, the tiger and lion safaris enthuse the young and the old alike.

An average of 10,000 people visit the park on Saturdays and Sundays in the pursuit of recreation. For schoolchildren, the park is the favourite picnic spot. It offers an excellent opportunity for extracurricular education for children. Nature parks such as the one in Bannerghatta inculcate among children a love for nature and wildlife.

Established in 1971 as a National Park, it spreads over 730 hectares of land. The Government brought the park under the administrative wing of the Zoo Authority in 2003. This has helped in intensive and focussed management to the park, the park officials say.

The park is conserving the rich forestry and endangered species of wildlife, through the active involvement of the citizens.

Wild animals such as lion, tiger, leopard, gaur, elephant, fox, wild boar, bear, sambar, spotted deer, langur are attracting everyone.

There are six lions, 32 tigers and 24 bears in the park. Of course, there is much more to the park than the dry statistics of the animals it shelters.

It is no doubt a dry forest and thorny scrub, with patches of moist deciduous forests along the streams. Tree species, including bamboos, are common in the park.

The zoo has a hospital with experienced veterinarians to treat the animals. A laboratory has also been set up within the zoo campus exclusively to support wildlife.

Butterfly park

A butterfly park, that is likely to draw more visitors, is being planned at the park.

The park is open from 9.30 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. and the safari from 10 a.m. to 4.30 p.m.

The discerning among the visitors, who naturally are elders, return home gratified that a natural park exists close to the city.

But for the foresight of those who envisaged the park, it would probably have been "developed" by now as many of our laws and also many in politics, government service and outside are uncomfortable with open spaces.

They are not satisfied unless every bit of open space is comprehensively "developed". But for Bannerghatta, the children should have been taken to the Mysore zoo to have a glimpse of the denizens of the wild.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Monsoon is here, but civic agencies are yet to act

Monsoon is here, but civic agencies are yet to act
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: Last year’s mad monsoon and the consequent damage in terms of loss of lives, loss to the property and disruption to city life seems to have not sunk in to the civic agencies of Bangalore.

The magnitude of the rain fury even made the former prime minister H D Devagowda take city rounds. Gowda had expressed his anger at the failure of civic agencies to curb unauthorised layouts in low-lying areas and in protecting the citizen from floods. And the monsoon is back but the civic agencies have done little to prevent relapse of the deluge.

The Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP) has not even completed works on rain-damaged roads and the 19 IT/BT roads. BMP sources told this paper that on an average only 50 percent progress is achieved on 19 IT/BT roads while the original date of completion was December 2005. And 15 rain damage roads are nowhere near completion.

BMP began pruning of trees only a few weeks ago and the storm water drains continue to be clogged and the civic body is helpless before the encroachments.

Puttenhalli area in Bommanahalli CMC and deluge in Pai Layout in K R Puram highlighted the impact of bad town planning in CMC areas but the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) has just begun to take up works in the area. But with monsoon already here, the work would hardly provide any relief during this monsoon.

And the remodelling of storm water drains in the city should have been completed by atleast 90 per cent now as per the contract terms of all packages in Koramangala, Chellaghatta and Vrishabhavathy valleys. But the BMP has reported an average progress of 25 per cent on these works. While the BMP commissioner has reviewed the progress after he took over as commissioner, there is nothing that he could do to achieve any substantial progress to prevent flooding in this monsoon.

BMP plans to bring down hoardings

BMP plans to bring down hoardings
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: Committees set up by mayor Mumtaz Begum on hoardings and pay and park met on Monday. The committee decided to refer the proposal to introduce the paid parking system back to the government and to begin a demolition drive on unauthorised hoardings from Wednesday.

Begum told this website's newspaper that many of her instructions on the removal of unauthorised hoardings were not taken seriously by the officials and she would start the removal drive from Koramangala on Wednesday.

Deputy mayor M Laxminarayana said that if hoardings were managed properly, the civic body would rake in an amount of Rs 500 crore. The BMP is now preparing to face the monsoons, but not all civic agencies are ready for the rains.

Monorail will arrive much before Metro

Monorail will arrive much before Metro
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: Finally, it’s official. The Monorail project has overtaken the Bangalore Metro, which still seems entangled in bureaucratic red tape and land acquisition problems.

If Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy’s recent statements on the Monorail are anything to go by, the first phase of the project will be ready in the next 18 months. Work on the 18 km-route from Jaraganahalli in Banashankari III Stage to Cantonment railway station will start in August and will be completed in a year, the CM has said, making it very clear that the Government is trying to push Monorail.

However, work on the first phase of the Metro project from MG Road to NGEF, a 7 km stretch, is likely to start only in August, that too after the State and Centre sign an MoU to create a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV). “Even if the work starts on time, it will take around three years to complete and by that time, Monorail will be operational,” sources told this website's newspaper.

That apart, acquisition of private lands on CMH Road and Indiranagar also threatens to delay the Metro, if not derail it. While the CM is yet to show the green signal for the acquisition of private lands, some property owners may even approach the courts if the government decides to acquire their lands without offering a proper rehabilitation package.

On the contrary, the Government has made up its mind to go ahead with the Monorail project to be implemented by a private agency. “The first phase of the Monorail will be taken up as a pilot project for technology demonstration. The Government can sign an MoU with the private firm and go ahead,” sources said.

The Monorail, according to its promoters, does not require any lands and the Government will not invest any money in it. All that they require is a letter of intent asking them to take up the project.

However, some senior officials question the Government’s intentions for showing keen interest in a project that will be implemented by a private firm and not in its own project which is being delayed for several years. The delay is resulting in escalation of the project cost, which now stands around Rs 6,400 crore.

Besides, the government is not even waiting for the completion of the comprehensive traffic and transport study that had been started with the sole purpose of identifying routes for different mass transit systems depending on the traffic flow.

Nobel museum arrives in Bangalore

Nobel museum arrives in Bangalore


Bangalore: A mobile Nobel museum, organised by the Nobel Foundation, is currently touring India, showcasing famous Nobel Laureates’ possessions in Bangalore.

The museum showcases a slate from Shantiniketan, the blanket used by Korean premier Kim Dae Jung when he was in prison, the X-Ray tube that earned its maker Wilhelm Rontgen the first Nobel Prize and several other award winning inventions.

"The museum is a base for further studies. It's very hi-tech and has a lot of unique audio-visual material. You can visit it for quarter of an hour or for six hours. Nobel Prize is well known as a phenomenon but there's a lot more to be told on achievements of Nobel Laureates as they reflect the main trends of developments in the last century," says Executive Director, Nobel Foundation, Michael Sohlman.

In the museum, one can see the life of Alfred Nobel and discover how he grew from being the inventor of dynamite to the founder of the prestigious Nobel Prize. A copy of his will is also at display.

"About 60-70 people discussed for a year which Laureates to exhibit and what artifacts to keep. A lot of effort went in its production and now we are taking it around the world. This is the 11th venue," says Director, Nobel museum, Professor Svante Lindqvist.

Of course, things like Amartya Sen's bicycle on which he toured the villages of Bengal are exhibited only in Sweden because there can't be a replica. But on the first day, the exhibition in Bangalore drew a large crowd.

"We get hands on experience on what Nobel Laureates experienced, an exposure to their way of life, their thoughts. We can hear their opinions," says student, Arvind Aradhya.

The exhibition is currently showing at the Visvesvaraya museum.

Arkavathy fate in BDA’s hands

Arkavathy fate in BDA’s hands
The Times of India

Bangalore: The BDA board meeting scheduled to be held on Wednesday, will decide the fate of Arkavathy Layout. For, allotment letters for 18,000 sites are ready but everything depends on the board’s decision, as the subject also deals with the expulsion of some land from acquisition.

If the board approves the site allotments, then the shortlisted applicants will get their allotment letters within the next one month. But there is a minor hitch. Some 350 acres of land, which is part of the 2,750 acres notified for Arkavathy layout, has built up structures which had come up before the issuance of preliminary notification for land acquisition in February 2003.

It is a tricky situation. Though the entire 350 acres is not built up, there are vacant lands in between buildings where sites cannot be formed. The board will take a decision on this issue - on the extent of area that has to be left out of acquisition. In case there is deletion of lands, it will reduce the number of sites and the BDA has to make fresh acquisition to compensate, officials said.

In January, the BDA had allotted 1,810 sites and issued allotment letters.

Acting on the high court order, the BDA heard the land owners who had filed objections against land acquisition. Majority of the applications were from the revenue site owners who have ownership of 748 acres in the layout. Unless, this land is litigation free, the BDA cannot form sites.

The BDA, which has received 3,800 applications from the revenue site owners, has to dispose them after going through the validity. As per the court orders, the revenue site owners will be given a compensatory site of 30 ft X 40 ft dimension only if the sale deed has been registered before the issuance of preliminary notification for land acquisition.

Spread over 2,750 acres, which covers 16 villages.
First layout to have dual water supply lines - potable and non-potable water supply.
Will have a tertiary treatment plant.
Two 100 feet roads connecting the four corridors, a road network of 386 km.
Two lakes which will be sourced from rain water.

Grin & Bear

Grin & Bear
People’s participation & people’s obstruction — two sides of the flooding issue. Residents of flood-prone Mysore Road and Hebbal have joined hands with the authorities to tackle choked valleys and blocked lakes. But rain-ravaged people of Puttenahalli won’t do this. Now, monsoon has arrived. What will happen in Puttenahalli? Only time, or rain, will tell.
The Times of India

Unauthorised constructions on rajakaaluves (main canals) were responsible for flooding the city last year. Will it be rewind October 2005? Wait and see.

A high-level valley encroachment eviction panel constituted by the government surveyed the city and found that 708 unauthorised constructions had blocked the valleys. Sixty-one buildings are standing on the rajakaaluves of Puttenahalli, Sarakki and Nayandahalli which are primarily responsible for inundating the city.

Subsequently, demolition notices were issued to violators who obtained a stay from the court, bringing the process to a halt. Sensing that demolition would not be a quick answer with monsoon already arriving, the government has come up with alternative plans: Immediately clear the encroachments and keep the valleys free to carry excess water.

Perhaps, for the first time, residents have supported the administration in carrying out demolitions in Bhadrappa Layout and MS Ramaiah north city under the Byatarayanapura CMC limits: an area ravaged by monsoon last year. The authorities along with residents demolished 67 constructions along the rajakaaluve of Kodigehalli tank.
“Since the residents went through hardship last year, they supported us in convincing building owners to vacate homes standing on the valleys. We demolished them,’’ Byatarayanapura commissioner C S Dashwanth said. BMP has also started constructing a storm water drain running up to 18 km connecting Kodigehalli tank to Kalkere tank to carry excess water discharged from the water bodies.

Another area which experienced flooding was Mysore Road as Nayandahalli tank had breached. The tank’s rajakaaluve is blocked by 24 buildings and Mysore Road, Rajarajeshwarinagar were inundated. Floods occurred as tank vents near the adjacent timber mills were encroached upon.

“Litigation has stopped demolition of illegal buildings. So, building owners along the rajakaaluve have agreed to give alternative land free of cost to build a storm water drain along the tank gradient,’’ officials said.

In KR Puram, Pai Layout was also marooned as the Benniganahalli tank overflowed and in the absence of drains, there was no outlet for the water to recede. BDA has taken up a storm water drain that is nearing completion.
However, the situation is grim in Puttenahalli. As many as 28 buildings have encroached upon the tank’s rajakaaluve which had resulted in the area going under five feet water during rains. Authorities have chalked plans to construct drains by acquiring land, at a cost of Rs 52 crore — Rs 32 crore for land acquisition, Rs 20 crore to build the drain.

But there seems to be no way out here. Reason: Puttenahalli is choked with buildings with hardly any lung space. Though BDA has identified 500-odd buildings which have to be acquired to widen the road and construct drains, owners are unwilling to give up their properties.

The government has asked Stup Consultants to study the area and come up with an alternative plan. The proposal is to construct a drain beneath the existing road for a stretch of 4 km connecting Puttenahalli tank to the primary drain on JP Nagar VI phase.


Bangalore’s lakes are inter-connected and finding an isolated solution to tackle the encroachment of water bodies is not workable.

For instance, this is the chain in Bangalore South: Water that overflows from Kottanur Lake joins Puttenahalli-Sarakki-Bilekahalli-Madivala-Agara-Bellandur and finally Penna river. Similarly, in the East, Kodigehalli Lake joins Hebbal Lake-Nagawara-Kalkere which joins Yelemallappa river.


A survey revealed that 29 tanks such as Begur, Sarakki, Puttenahalli, Madivala, Agara, Bellandur, Nagawara, Kodigehalli, Benniganahalli, Kothanur had overflowed.

The tanks’ rajakaaluves have been blocked by 708 unauthorised constructions.

Kodigehalli, Nagawara, Hebbal, Puttenahalli, Sarakki, Nayandahalli, Agara lakes overflowed heavily inundating Bhadrappa Layout, HSR Layout, JP Nagar, Puttenahalli, Mysore Road, Rajarajeshwarinagar.
Primary valleys of these lakes were blocked by 61 buildings comprising sheet houses to commercial complexes to high-rise apartments.

Notices were issued by Bangalore urban district deputy commissioner M A Sadiq, but owners have obtained a stay.

6 Authorities have funds for Puttenahalli. 6 Have plans to construct drains by acquiring land. 6 People not interested. 6 One way out is to construct a drain beneath the existing road. 6 Government exploring possibility.

It’s mon-soon! Bangalore cool, heavenly

It’s mon-soon! Bangalore cool, heavenly
The Times of India

Bangalore: After sizzling for two months, Bangalore is now basking in the cloudy, pleasant weather that it’s known and loved for.

With the onset of the south-west monsoon quite early, the mercury has dipped from a cruel 37 degrees Celsius and is cooling at a mild 25 degrees. The cloudy sky, strong and intermittent drizzle seem to be the perfect weather for the average Bangalorean. The rainfall has been mild so far, not exceeding 1.8 mm.

According to the Met department, this weather pattern will continue in the coming week. The rain, that is brought in by the moisture-laden south-westerly winds from the Arabian Sea, is likely to go up after that. For the Bangalorean, the monsoon that has set in a week early, has been a pleasant change. The demand in coffee bars has changed from cold coffees and granitas to cappuccinos and warm doughnuts. Teeny-boppers dressed in summer outfits are now sporting jackets and sweatshirts. And every evening, a piping hot snack is almost mandatory with filter coffee in every household. As for the nights, quilts have replaced cotton sheets and airconditioners have been switched off.

Even as Bangaloreans are soaking in the weather, they’re not looking forward to heavy rain. “The light drizzle now is simply beautiful and I love every minute of it. But in a few days, there will be power cuts, traffic jams and waterlogging, and so frankly, the rain scares me,’’ says Milan Dheer, a project manager.

BMP working on five-point plan to tackle rain-related problems

BMP working on five-point plan to tackle rain-related problems

The Hindu

The civic body is gearing up to ensure that there are no problems this year

# Precautionary steps being taken in 30 areas which are prone to inundation
# Control rooms to be set up in three CMCs
# Temporary rehabilitation centres identified to accommodate affected families
# Sandbags being stocked near storm water drains to prevent water from entering low-lying areas

BANGALORE: The Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP) is gearing up to ensure that there are no rain-related problems this year. The civic body has started work on the five-point contingency plan to restore footpaths, clean shoulder drains, remove silt from major drains and fill potholes.

While 30 areas prone to inundation have been identified and work on initiating precautionary measures had begun, all the three chief engineers have been asked to identify "concerned citizens" and enrol them as "samparka bandhus," who would provide information on the flood situation in their areas.

BMP Commissioner K. Jairaj on Monday directed the zonal officials to get prepared to meet emergency situations arising out of flooding. He directed them to set up control rooms in Rajajeshwarinagar, K.R. Puram and Bommasandra City Municipal Councils (CMC) areas after consulting the Commissioners of the respective CMCs.

According to a press release, temporary rehabilitation centres had been identified to accommodate the affected families. While seven centres had been set up in the east zone with a capacity to accommodate 1,150 persons, six centres had been set up in the South zone with a capacity to accommodate 380 families. Likewise, five centres have been identified in the west zone to provide facilities for 800 people.

During an inspection of work on precautionary measures at Anandnagar in Benniganahalli on Monday, Bharatinagar Executive Engineer K.T. Nagaraj told reporters that work on the contingency plan would be completed by June 15.

In the east zone, footpaths on 211 roads coming under Shantinagar 1st and 2nd division, Bharatinagar, Shivajinagar and Jayamahal would be upgraded. "Al the shoulder drains will be cleaned and silt will be removed from major drains. The silt will be shifted to the dumping yard in B Narayanapura," he said.

Pointing out that the BMP had identified areas such as Indira Gandhi slum near Ejipura, Gandhinagar area near Ambedkar College, Doddananagar, Bhuvaneshwarinagar, Chamundinagar, Stephens' Road, Tank Mohalla in D.J. Halli and surroundings of MEG Grounds, Mr. Nagaraj said that sandbags were being stocked near storm water drains to prevent water from entering the low lying areas.

BMP wants to perpetuate parking chaos

BMP wants to perpetuate parking chaos
Vijay Times

Acommittee constituted by the Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP) to study the pros and cons of the pay and park scheme has urged the State government to reconsider the introduction of the scheme on 170 roads in the City.

Ruling leader in the BMP Council H Ravindra said that a resolution to this effect would be passed in the monthly meeting of the BMP Council to be held on Tuesday and the same will be forwarded to the government to seek its approval.

A meeting chaired by Mayor Mumtaz Begum on Monday decided to urge the government not to introduce the pay and park scheme as the public were against it.

It may be recalled that the BMP had formed a committee on April 28 comprising deputy mayor M Lakshminarayana, opposition leaders in the BMP Council B R Nanjundappa and A H Basavaraj to study the governments proposal to reintroduce the pay and park scheme.

The committee, which was expected to prepare a report within 20 days after it was formed, will be submitting it the BMP Council on Tuesday.

"The committee members will pursue the government not to introduce the pay and park system," Ravindra added.

Hoardings: A BMP committee, set up to look into the display of hoardings in the City, has decided to pull down unauthorised hoardings across the City in the next one month. The drive would begin from May 31.

Ravindra said that assistant revenue officers and assistant executive engineers in the BMP have been asked to prepare a report about the areas where hoardings could be installed. The officials concerned would submit the report in the next one month.

“After removing unauthorised hoardings across the City, the BMP will invite fresh tenders. With this, the civic body can expect a revenue of around Rs 250 crore,” Ravindra said.

Find yourself walking on clean footpaths

Find yourself walking on clean footpaths
Vijay Times

ENGINEERS of the Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP) have begun monitoring footpaths and clearing debris in the City to ensure that pedestrians are not put to discomfort while travelling.

The officials have taken up these tasks as part of the five-point programme, chalked out by BMP commissioner K Jairaj.

The task involves cleaning side drains and shoulder drains to prevent stagnation of water on roads.

Talking to reporters, BMP engineer K T Nagaraj, connected to the Bharatinagar division, said that the removed silt would be shifted to a dumping yard in B Narayanapura.

Reviewing ongoing work at Anandnagar near NGEF in Benniganahalli ward, he said around 40 per cent of the work had been completed. "The remaining part will be completed by June 15," he added.

During this period, footpaths near 211 roads would be cleaned. Footpaths under Shantinagar 1st and 2nd division, Bharatinagar, Shivajinagar and Jayamahal would be cleaned, the engineer said.

He said that the length of footpaths that would be cleaned would run to 211.30 km in the East division.

“As part of the five-point programme, works like p hole filling, removal of debris, upgradation of fo and precautionary measures would be taken in lying and vulnerable areas to prevent them from be flooded,” he added.

The BMP, under the concept of Samparka Bandhu, had identified over 100 citizens who could inform BMP about problems in their areas during the rainy season.

The BMP engineers have also begun piling sand bags near storm water drains to prevent water from ente low-lying areas, the engineer said.

The BMP has been consulting the commissioners of K R Puram, Rajarajeshwari, and Bommanahalli Municipal Councils to set up control rooms.

nThe BMP has identified seven places which were prone to flooding in the East zone.

nThe areas are, Indira Gandhi slum near Ejipura, Gandhinagar area near Ambedkar College, Doddannanagar, Bhuvaneshwa rinagar and Chamundinagar, Stephens Road in Frazer Town, Tank mohalla in D J Halli and surroundings of MEG grounds.

nNagaraj said that the BMP had already set up seven temporary rehabilitation centres to shift those affected during the rains.

n"Over a thousand families may be affected during the rains," a BMP engineer said.

nHe said three control rooms had been set up for the benefit of the public. These control rooms had been provided with materials required to combat floods, he added.

Head office control room South control room East Control room West Control room

Metro Rail on track: BMRC chief

Metro Rail on track: BMRC chief
Vijay Times

Bangalore: Brushing aside reports or rumours of a delay in the Rs 6,395 crore Bangalore Metro project, V Madhu, managing director, Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation (BMRC) on Monday said the project was on schedule.

Speaking to Vijay Times, the BMRC chief clarified that there were no hindrances. It is not possible for men with spades to start excavation work immediately in massive projects such as the Metro Rail.

"The people can be rest assured civil works on the 7-km stretch between the cricket stadium and Byappanahalli will definitely begin in September this year. A five-and-ahalf-year project does take time." Explaining the progress in the selection of a general consultant and shortlisting of contractors, Madhu said issues such as tender documents, design for Metro stations and selection of agencies were in progress.

On the monorail being implemented by the government, he said the Government Order of April 24 has clearly directed that three feeder routes to the Metro Rail would be supported by the monorail.

"A comprehensive traffic survey by RITES on 52 traffic corridors in the City cited 21 high-density corridors and recommended three corridors for the monorail system. There is no competition between both forms of transit systems," Madhu said.

With the MoU between the Centre and the State expected in the second week of June, BMRC officials say there should not be any problems coming in the way of the project proceeding forward.

"The requests of affected parties on few routes have been taken into consideration. BMRC will go by the directive of the government in aligning the Metro," he explained.

City to have state-of-the-art exhibition centre

City to have state-of-the-art exhibition centre
Vijay Times

Bangalore: Very soon, the City may have its own state-of the art, exhibition and conference facility of international standards, one similar to Pragati Maidan in the nation’s capital.

The Bangalore International Exhibition Centre (BIEC), being developed by the Indian Machine Tool Manufacturers Association (IMTMA), is being promoted as a new destination for trade fairs in the country. It will be spread across 40 acres near the Peenya Industrial Township.

To be set up at a cost of Rs 120 crore on private-public partnership, the centre will comprise three large exhibition halls, a conference complex and a training centre. It will start operating from Jan 2007, when it hosts the IMTMAS highly acclaimed, international machine tool exhibition IMTEX-2007 and Tooltech-2007, said Jamshyd N Godrej, chairman BIEC.

Speaking to reporters on Monday, he said, "The country does not have a single, world-class venue to host exhibitions, product demonstrations and international summits. Most exhibitions are at makeshift venues without proper facilities." Godrej said the Association selected Bangalore, as 60 percent of the machine tool industry output is from here. "It is a key manufacturing centre with automobile, textile and earth-moving industries. Also, being the IT capital and a tech hub, it is the ideal choice," he said.

The exhibition facility at the centre will comprise three halls with 40,000 sq meters exhibition space. The conference complex will consist of four air-conditioned conference halls with over 5,600 sq meters built-up space, besides a training centre to house the IMTMA Design Institute. VTN

Monday, May 29, 2006

Where have all the trees gone?

Where have all the trees gone?

The Hindu

Many `gardens' in Bangalore only remain in the name of the locality

# Avenue Road was once lined with palm trees and Bull Temple Road was surrounded by coconut groves
# Trees once common along the roads are disappearing in many neighbourhoods

Bangalore: The city is no longer a "garden city" that it was known as until recently. Avenue Road in the central district is an example.

Many roads and localities do still retain their names given after the vegetation abounding there. Some of that greenery still, fortunately for us, remains. Sampige Road and Margosa Road in Malleswaram are examples.

It took active media campaigns during the late 1980s through 1990s to save the trees along those roads.

Then you have curious names such as Coconut Avenue, Primrose Road and Rose Garden. Some are still in tree-shaded suburbs.

Among plants and tanks that have almost disappeared from memory are Sampangi Tank and the road named after it, now the location of a stadium and partly a congested neighbourhood.

City historians who traced road and locality names tell us that Avenue Road was once lined with palm trees and Bull Temple Road was surrounded by coconut groves.

They have trees of other species now, mostly on the temple grounds and in private properties. Nobody builds flyovers and underpasses across temples or private gardens.

We also have any number of "gardens" such as Wilson Garden and "thotas" such as Marappa Thota and Tulasi Thota and several others, now almost swamped by the buildings around them. Kumara Park and Palace Orchards still retain their greenery, perhaps because the city's elite live there.

As to the Rose Garden near a popular place of worship near Austin Town, even the local people are a bit puzzled by its name.

According to environmental activists such as former Secretary for Environment A.N. Yellappa Reddy, trees such as sampige, gulmohar and jacaranda, once common along the roads in the city, have almost disappeared in many neighbourhoods.

Those felled for widening roads or to build flyovers need to be replaced fast, he says.

Ground level ozone may be depleted, in addition to oxygen, because of disappearing greenery.

This apart the city's aesthetic appeal is also suffering. All this means the ill effects of environmental pollution may be felt even more harshly.

BDA hurries on Pai Layout, HSR Layout, Puttenahalli drains

BDA hurries on Pai Layout, HSR Layout, Puttenahalli drains
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: The Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) is gearing up to face the monsoon and is speeding up the drain works it has undertaken. While it has set June 1 as the deadline for finishing work at Pai Layout and Puttenahalli, in the CMC limits which are adopted by BDA, the agency seems be going slow in its own HSR Layout.

All the three areas were in news during last monsoon due to heavy flooding. After that the BDA swung into action to take up work to prevent flooding and asphalted rain damaged roads. The layout has houses of several ministers and MLAs.

The BDA started the work last October at an estimated cost of Rs 3.75 crore and promised to complete work before the onset of monsoon. But work is still incomplete though the monsoon has arrived. “The work will be completed by October,” BDA Commissioner Shankarlinge Gowda said. Asked about the cost of the work, he said it was around Rs 10 crore.

He said the drain work in Pai Layout was almost complete. “The slabs on the drains have been laid. All the work will be completed by June 1,” he said. BDA took up work to divert the rainwater and construct rainwater drains. The detailed project report prepared in October, estimated the cost at Rs 2.6 crore. But, when asked, Gowda said the cost was around Rs 8 crore.

The residents of Pai Layout, which comes under the KR Puram CMC limits, have been suffering for the past 30 years, since water rises above five feet. The unauthorised layout has 52 buildings, which have nearly 1,300 flats. But, there is no secondary drainage, no piped drinking water, no sewage lines and no roads.

Besides this, the BDA has also taken up drainage work in Puttenahalli CMC. Last year, this area too was flooded as there was no drainage system and the Puttenahalli lake too overflowed. The work here is also expected to be completed by June.

Kids power Bangalore clean-up drive

Kids power Bangalore clean-up drive

Bangalore: 'Garden city', 'India's Silicon Valley', 'pensioner's paradise'- Bangalore has been given many flattering titles.

Yet, some Bangaloreans prefer to call it 'garbage city' for all the litter that has polluted the place.

A group of 100 children belonging to the Art of Living's Youth Empowerment Seminar or YES club have embarked on a clean-up drive on Sunday.

With a mission to rid the city of its dirt and the dubious title, the children have taken to the city's streets. "It is our city right to keep Bangalore clean. It must look glittering, always," said a student who paticipated in the campaign.

Students began the drive from the busy Banashankari area, picking up the litter that included mango skins, coconut shells and other household garbage.

The kids trudged along a kilometer-long stretch of the Kanakapura Road amidst busy markets, all while keeping their enthusiasm intact.

But it was not all spic and span in a day's work. It took more than a day to make a visible difference, but the students remained undeterred.

"I want to keep Bangalore clean, I need to do that," said Radhika Rastogi, student.

"I think all of us should get together and clean up every week or something," said Isha Arora, another student.

Planning more of such cleaning drive is now on the club's agenda. "Basically, we are planning to take this through out Banglaore. There are north, south, west and east zones in the city, which are filthy and filled with litter.

So we are planning to hold such activities every month or once if 45 days," said a student, adding, "We will hold similar drives in all states so we take it as a movement," she added.

The active participation of the youngsters in the drive came as an eye-opener for the city's residents as well.

They hope it will not take much time for the city to regain its fast-deteriorating reputation.

Tank you: Now, a strong wall for Sankey

Tank you: Now, a strong wall for Sankey
BMP Learns Lessons As Rs 4-Crore Project Goes Down The Drain
The Times of India

Bangalore: Virtually, a Rs 4-crore project was washed away in Sankey Tank during last year’s monsoon. Reason: The retaining wall built as part of BMP’s Sankey Tank rejuvenation project collapsed unable to hold water pressure.

Lessons learnt, the BMP is remodelling the tank to take on this year’s monsoon. The base of the wall will now be widened from 0.5 metres to 0.9 metres, height of the wall increased from 1 metre to 1.5 metres and height of bund also increased by 0.7 metres above the full tank level. Scientists suggested these changes as the tank’s retaining wall is subjected to water pressure on one side and earth’s pressure from the opposite side.

IISc has given the design and the BMP is ploughing in another Rs 1.5 crore. The 1.6-km-long walkway is being laid with stone slabs. While the 900-metre stretch of walkway in the western and the eastern sides is ready, the rest will be laid shortly.

The beautification work of the eight acres of the landscape is under way. While horticulturists have planted grass and other saplings along the 400 metres of the landscape in the western side, the remaining work is expected to be completed in a fortnight.

Going into a flashback, when the retaining wall collapsed last year, it flooded Malleswaram and Sadashivanagar. Two years ago, the BMP restored the tank which was polluted with discharge of untreated sewage, defecation on tank bed due to lack of public toilets and idol immersions.

The Rs 4-cr work comprised removal of 80,000 cubic metres silt, construction of a separate idol immersion tank, a new storm water drain in the down stream, construction of new toilets and electrification of the area.

Sankey Tank is the first tank in its stream which covers an area of 14.5 hectares with a shore line length of 2.11 km.

Catchment areas comprise 133.65 hectares.
While the tank gets major quantity of water from the drain which starts at IISc, drains from Rajmahal Vilas extension, CV Raman Road and Sadashivanagar, a part of Malleswaram joins the tank at various places.

No more arguments with auto drivers

No more arguments with auto drivers
New Mobile Testing Ramp Could Check Tampering Of Rickshaw Meters
The Times of India

Bangalore: Do you travel the same distance by auto every day but end up paying different fares? Thousands of Bangaloreans who use the yellow-hooded three wheeler face the same problem every day. But your days of worry are drawing to a close — thanks to a novel device that will bring drivers to book.

Secretary at Regional Transport Authority (RTA), Bangalore Urban and Regional Transport Officer (RTO) Bangalore South, Syed Shafi Ahmed has forwarded a proposal for approval to the state government. Under this proposal, a mobile testing ramp for autorickshaw meters has been mooted.

An ingenious contraption by a local engineering firm, it can be compared to a treadmill. The auto is driven onto the machine and the ignition turned on. While the auto wheels turn, the vehicle remains stationary. A digital meter on the vehicle monitors the distance and the corresponding auto fare.

At the end of a 3-kilometre run, the auto is stopped and the fare on the metre is tallied with the fare shown on the digital monitor of the testing ramp. If both fares tally, it would mean the metre has been accurately set. But any difference in fares will expose tampering.

“Previously, one would have to remove the metre, take it to the weights and measurements department on Infantry Road and get it tested. It was an ardours process that would take up an entire day,’’ recalls Ahmed.
If this new testing ramp gets a nod of approval, it would come as a sigh of relief to both officials from RTO as well as commuters. A mobile vehicle, it can test autos anywhere, anytime, in a matter of minutes. The testing ramp costs approximately Rs 5 lakh and according to Ahmed, the RTOs can begin by acquiring one in each zone, with the ramp do the rounds in the region everyday. “There are a handful of prepaid counters in the city, but from there too we receive complaints,’’ says transport commissioner Omprakash. “Our officers do their routine checks and we’re taking care to make them more stringent.’’ But the commuters have a different tale to tell.

“I travel everyday from J P Nagar to M G Road and the metre sometimes even shoots up to Rs 65 instead of the usual Rs 50 or so. Try arguing and the drivers get rude,’’ says software professional Trupthi Iyer. Cases like these increase in the evening hours and during rains.

RTOs across the city have stepped up the fines from Rs 2,000 to Rs 5,000 for their first offence, which includes metre tampering, refusing to go to a particular place or misbehaviour. The second time offence can cost an auto driver anything between Rs 5,000 and Rs 10,000. On third offence, the driver stands to lose his license.


The auto is driven on the machine and ignition turned on While the auto wheels turn, the vehicle remains stationary A digital meter on the vehicle monitors the distance and the corresponding auto fare At the end of a 3-kilometre run, the auto is stopped and the metre fare is tallied with the fare on the digital monitor

For the smooth flow of traffic

For the smooth flow of traffic
By Janardhan Roye
The Times of India

Traffic at the best of times is congested in most parts of town. The rush starts in the morning and goes on till late in the evening. A period when there are traffic jams, angry motorists, harassed cops and confused pedestrians.

The breakneck speed at which the IT city is growing requires hi-tech solutions. Today’s traffic police seem illequipped to manage the problem. One feels sorry for them as they attempt to bring order and discipline to this melee.

The old Bangalore roads were designed for smaller loads and for far fewer and slower vehicles. Today, all the 24 lakh or so cars, two-wheelers and autorickshaws are out there, all in a hurry and moving at a fiendish pace.

The present trend suggests to a worsening situation. Bangalore’s commercialisation and vertical development are going on relentlessly without matching support systems or upgradation in infrastructure.

You don’t have to put your ear to the ground to hear the rumble of confusion and chaos. Just see what’s happening in downtown areas such as MG Road. It’s turning into a virtual concrete jungle with all manner of construction activities — new hotels, huge malls, sprawling shopping complexes, and fancy entertainment plazas. And above all Metro Rail work has started.

Building space projected for Bangalore’s commercial activity is an additional 50 lakh square feet by 2007, with close to half of it required on MG Road alone. Just imagine the problems that motorists, pedestrians, commuters, residents, and the traffic police will be up against. How will the main and connecting roads take this load? Where will cars be parked? How will pedestrians move around? How will households and businesses get their essential services? This situation will aggravate, unless the issues are tackled by experts and political will.

It is said the construction lobby is the king in all developing economies, and regulators become second-fiddle. So, in addition to the government/ regulatory authorities, it is a good idea to involve builders in civic projects such as decongesting roads, buildings, transportation.

l Modernise traffic police/ machinery — add high performance motorcycles, cars.
l Synchronise traffic lights.
l Speed guns usage will help record rash driving or speeding. Record offences online.
l At first opportunity, traffic helicopters need to be used.
l Helicopter taxis to be encouraged for VIPs.
l Walk-bridges to have escalators and maintained by private contractors who can use them for commercial purposes.

l Building licences to be restricted in densely crowded areas such as M G Road.
l A comprehensive Greater Bangalore plan to include office complexes, and malls in areas bordering the Outer Ring Road (ORR).
l Take people’s opinion into consideration.

l Public transportation needs to move extensively on the ORR.
l Taxi and autorickshaw services should be available in key locations.
l Parking companies should be encouraged to set up facilities at strategic locations.
l Multi-modal transit centres need to be developed in key locations. Each should house a parking lot, mofussil and city bus-stops, and a Bangalore Metro station all under one roof.
l The ORR’s median is ideally suited for an above-the-surface fast train shuttle.

l Hasten development of satellite towns.
l Stagger office/ educational working hours.
l Road repair to carried out late at night.

BDA is yet to effect changes in Comprehensive Development Plan

BDA is yet to effect changes in Comprehensive Development Plan

The Hindu

By the end of the next month, we should be ready to send the plan to the Government, says official

# It is 10 months now after the draft plan was placed before the public
# The BDA developed it in association with French consultants, SCE Creocean India Private Limited
# The plan covers an area of 1,306 square kilometres
# It takes into account growth till 2020

BANGALORE: Ten months after the draft Comprehensive Development Plan developed by Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) was placed before the public for opinions, changes to it have not been made so that it can be sent for Government approval.

Rapid change

A. Raghunandan, a resident, says, "The landscape in changing so rapidly in the city that by the time the BDA sends the plan to the Government, some of its provisions may have to be altered."

Durga Prasad, another resident, says, "The BDA is taking so long to present the plan that we have even forgotten what it contains."

The draft master plan, which was developed in association with French consultants, SCE Creocean India Private Limited, covers an area of 1,306 square kilometres along with seven city municipal councils and one town municipal council.

It takes into account growth till 2020 and is organised around five concentric plans — the core area consisting of the central business district, the pettai and administrative area; the peri-central area comprising recent extensions; new layouts and the green belt.

Independent panel

The BDA received 7,300 opinions/complaints from the two-month public viewing of the draft master plan.

An independent panel, under the chairmanship of P.S.S. Thomas, a retired civil servant, was set up to review all the opinions.

The committee came up with 15 proposals, including a recommendation to maintain the green belt and prevent mixed zoning in residential areas.

However, since the Thomas panel did not have time to go into each of the opinions and reply to them, the BDA set up its own three-member committee, headed by the town planner, to look into the issue.

It is at this committee that the files have been for the past six months.

Members of the BDA committee say they have been meeting every day for the past six months to look into the public opinions.

"It is tedious work. We have to often go to the sites and see what the individual has spoken about," says a BDA official.

However, the official adds, that the committee will most probably finish its review by the first week of next month.

"By the end of the next month, we should be ready to send the draft plan to the Government," he says.

Traffic situation may deteriorate if parking space is not provided

Traffic situation may deteriorate if parking space is not provided
The Hindu

More malls are coming up and vehicle movement around those locations will be hit

# A mall near Trinity Circle is almost ready for business
# UB City complex on Vittal Mallya Road is set to open later this year

Bangalore: Unless the civic administration and the police take pains to ensure all major commercial complexes provide ample parking space, the traffic situation may deteriorate in the city's central district in the months to come.

More malls are coming up and some are ready to open for business. Developers have realised that those living in the outer suburbs also crave the mall experience so some of those in the pipeline will be located in the suburbs, one even on the Outer Ring Road. But this could just mean more traffic at those locations as those living in a neighbourhood such as Koramangala may opt to shop on the ring road.

The mall near Trinity Circle is almost ready for business and the UB City complex on Vittal Mallya Road is set to open later this year. The Sigma Grand on Outer Ring Road and Esteem Mall in Hebbal are others soon to meet the shoppers' demands. Recent weeks have seen two unique types of malls, some, perhaps, the first in this region: the IT Mall off Brigade Road and Sapna Book Mall in Gandhinagar.

By next year there may be eight more malls added to the city and its suburbs. Some large and others mid-sized. The Prestige Group whose Forum Mall on Hosur Road near Koramangala has been a hit, is building Forum II near Whitefield to cater to the sprawling information technology-biotechnology belt and the many business process outsourcing firms around that location.

Other malls with their eyes on those with large disposable incomes are the Mantri malls coming up on Sarjapur Road and Raheja Palm Beach Galleria at Madiwala. These too will attract the high salaried IT professionals of Koramangala. The malls also attract the young crowd, including collegians, who want to "chill out" rather than do any serious shopping. Cafeterias, restaurants, food courts and multiplexes will draw them into the malls, developers say.

Garuda Mall on Magrath Road that has been a big success will have its promoters building Garuda II in Jayanagar to attract the South Bangalore shoppers. Rajajinagar and Yeshwantpur, considered rather sedate areas, will get the Global Mall and Brigade Gate respectively, perhaps changing the shopping habits of their residents.

Last year was a boom period for mall developers. The all-woman Eva Mall opened on Brigade Road, Sigma Mall on Cunningham Road besides the Garuda Mall. Bangalore Central on Residency Road near Mayo Hall has become a popular hangout.

City planners, and the civic administration, which is involved in some of the developments, say parking space within the complexes is a must. Both Forum and Garuda have provided multi-level parking for close to a 1,000 cars each and other space for two-wheelers.

BMP restoring water channel to prevent flooding on Mysore Road

BMP restoring water channel to prevent flooding on Mysore Road

The Hindu

The utility agencies will be better prepared this year against rain-related problems

Bangalore: Chances are we may have heavy rainfall again. But the civic administration and the utility agencies will be better prepared this year with the Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP) approaching the Karnataka High Court to clear unauthorised structures built in the Nayandanahalli Valley. These structures block the free flow of excess rainwater and result in flooding along Mysore Road after every heavy downpour.

When he recently visited flood-hit areas on Mysore Road, BMP Commissioner K. Jairaj said the obstruction to flow of water from Nayanadanahalli Tank along natural valleys was the main reason for Mysore Road and the areas around it getting flooded. The illegal structures had existed in the valley for years together and litigation to clear them, in public interest, was the only way out, he had remarked.

Short-term plan

While clearing the encroachments through litigation may take a long time, the BMP has also a short-term action plan for flood prevention. An 800-metre long storm water channel from Best Club till Bangalore University campus is being restored and the work estimated at Rs. 16 lakh is nearing completion, though it was held up for some days due to rain.

The other works BMP has taken up include removal of silt and restoration of the natural rain run-off along Vrishabhavathi Valley, especially around the Ring Road and Mysore Road Junction. Here too several unauthorised structures have been identified to be demolished. Another plan is to provide a link between Nayandanahalli Tank and the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) water treatment plant on Mysore Road. All these are expected to prevent flooding on Mysore Road. Meanwhile, the BWSSB too has been active with flood control measures. Its work has involved clearing in phases the one lakh manholes in the city and the 4,000-km long storm water drains. Besides manual removal of silt and debris, "jetting machines" are being used with water sprayed under high pressure to bring out the silt which is then removed, loaded onto lorries and taken to designated places far away. According to BWSSB Chairman N.C. Muniyappa, overflowing water from tanks and lakes is also a cause for flooding. The excess water in some of the more flood-prone tanks is being pumped out for irrigating parks and other purposes. This effectively reduces the water level in the tanks by up to three feet and they can store more rainwater without overflowing. The BWSSB also wants a joint coordination committee with the 12 executive engineers of the BMP and six from the water utility to look after all flood control work without duplication of efforts and with better efficiency.

Nagarbhavi residents protest against BDA

Nagarbhavi residents protest against BDA
Vijay Times

MEMBERS of various residents associations on Sunday staged a dharna in front of the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) complex in Nagarbhavi demanding linking of Nagarbhavi 60ft Road with the Nagarbhavi via Ring Road.

Members of the Srigandha Mahila Samaja, Annapoorneshwari Mahila Sangha and others blocked the flow of traffic and alleged that though Nagarabhavi area came under the jurisdiction of the BDA, it had been neglected in providing necessary infrastructure.

The 60 ft road, which is under construction, begins at Arogya Layout ends at Nagarabhavi 2nd Further, there is no proper road network connecting these areas. Hence, the 60 Ft Road linked to the Nagarbhavi Ring Road, they urged.

The protestors said that the residents of Arogya Layout, Annapoorneshwarinagar, D grade Employees Layout, Chandrashekar Layout, Eeranap a l y a , Hanumanthanagara have been facing problems to reach their offices.

“If the BDA fails to develop the area and connect the road, we will intensify the protest. Our repeated pleas have fallen on deaf ears,” the protestors Said.

City needs suburban rail system

City needs suburban rail system
Vijay Times

MAHESH Kumar, the Divisional Railway Manager of Bangalore Division, might not have stayed in Bangalore for a long time. But, his love for the City is as good as that Bangalorean.

The senior railway officer, who is credited with h ing given the Bangalore City Railway station a new look, spoke about what he thought were the most se ous problems plaguing the City.

Admitting his love for Bangalore rather candidly, the soft-spoken man gave suggestions on how to overcome these problems and improve the situation in the City. Mahesh, who is known for his straight-tothe-point way of talking, spoke about several issues.

The words, it seemed, were not from his mouth but straight from his heart.

I came to Bangalore in 2003 on being posted as Divisional Railway Manager, Bangalore Division. I have been here earlier too on many occasions and I love the City.

Bangalore was earlier known for its weather, green cover, excellent law and order situation, cosmopolitan nature and peace-loving people. It also had strong cultural heritage.

The noteworthy changes that have made Bangalore famous all over the world include its transformati into an IT City and the strides it has been making the sectors of biotechnology, medical tourism textiles. There has been a large influx of migran ulation from all over the country and even abroad.

The growth of IT and other industries has led to a situation where modern office and residential complexes, apart from shopping malls, resorts and hot are now available. The night life here can be comp with the best cities in the world.

However, the depletion of green cover, traffic con gestion, unplanned growth of buildings and the ris cost of living have made life difficult for the co man. Everything comes at a cost. Bangalore too h proved this point.

In my opinion, substantial improvement in transport, an effective mass rapid transport system and suburban rail system similar to the one in Mumbai a few things that the City needs. The process of c structing an international airport needs to be exp ed as Bangalore now has the third largest air traf India.

Roads need to be widened and peripheral residential / commercial complexes need to be developed.

By developing peripheral centres, people can come upto a point in their own vehicles. They can then their vehicles there and then travel inside the ce business district using the Mass Rapid Trans which is also called the Park-and-Ride syste some countries.

While there is no quick fire solution to make the more livable, the single most important thing that need to do is to improve the transport infrastruct As stated above, this would include widening roads, more flyovers, elimination of rail / road c ings, quick implementation of the Mass Rapid Transportation System, ban on movement of private vehicles in Central Business Districts, Subur Railway System, integration of rail and road trans and underground / multi-storeyed parking.

The major real estate developers can be asked to share the costs incurred in constructing flyovers rail/road under and over bridges. The need o hour is to undertake comprehensive area wise planning with earmarked funds to check unplanned growth.

Students from all over the country used to come to the City, which was known for its excellent educa tional institutions. This used to strengthen the i of Bangalore as a cosmopolitan City.

However, in recent times, there has been confusion over admission procedures. There is a need for pr er guidelines to eliminate the confusion, which no prevails in the student community.

Petrol pumps add to City’s road woes

Petrol pumps add to City’s road woes

Vijay Times

IF you were among those who thought that petrol bunks had nothing to do with bad roads, think again.

According to the expert committee constituted by the High Court to study the condition of roads and drains in the City,the discharge of rain water from swanky petrol pumps situated across the City on to the roads had caused them to deteriorate.

The three-member committee, which had gone around the City, had found that the surroundings of petrol pumps lacked proper drainage facilities. This had resulted in rain water getting accumulated on the roads, leading to their ruin, Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP)sources said.

The committee has also said that spilt oil and other petroleum products had contributed to the bad condition of the roads. Bangalore had around 250 petrol bunks located in and around the City, the source added.

Stating that most bunks were situated on the corners of major roads, the source said that the committee had pointed out that stretches at corners and junctions had been battered.

This, the committee had said, was due to motorists applying brakes to negotiate turns. The committee had recommended that corners be cemented or mastic surface (high-quality asphalt) be used in such areas to resolve the problem.

The committee, in its earlier report, had pointed out that oil, petrol and kerosene spilt on roads by vehicles repaired at road-side garages, had contributed to the deterioration of the roads, the source informed.

However, the source also said that the committee had submitted four voluminous bimonthly reports. It had made certain important recommendations to the BMP to further enhance its functioning. Nevertheless, the recommendations have not been implemented.

Tough time for Mysore bound passengers

Tough time for Mysore bound passengers
Vijay Times

THE Karnataka State Road Transport Corporations (KSRTC) decision to shift operations of Mysore-bound buses from the Kempegowda Bus Stand (KBS) to the Satellite Bus Terminus (SBT) on Mysore Road has come in for harsh criticism from the public.

While the KSRTC claims that this is necessary to decongest the KBS, several commuters, including those from other parts of the State, claim that the move will only inconvenience them.

Though the authorities have made arrangements to ferry Mysore-bound passengers from the KBS to the SBT, not many know about the facility. This is because the officials concerned have not taken proper measures to keep the commuters informed about the change in starting points of buses and the free shuttle services available between the two stations.

Pattabhiramachandra, a passenger from Mysore, said, "I was totally taken aback when I heard about the new developments at KBS. I missed the free minibus service from KBS to SBT. The auto drivers used the opportunity to demand more. I refused to take a rickshaw. As I was in a hurry to return to Mysore, I had to take a Volvo bus, thereby spending twice the fare amount. This could have been avoided, had there been other buses and proper information." "We were haplessly waiting for a bus to Srirangapatna, when we learnt of the information board at KBS. As it was not in English, we had to ask and get to know from other people that Mysore-bound buses had been shifted," said Micheal and Joshua from South Africa, who are studying in the City.

Girish, a software engineer, said, "I visit Mysore on weekends. Enroute to Mysore, I take a bus and park my twowheeler at SBT. However, as I take a train back home, Ill now have to take an autorickshaw from the railway station to SBT. This works out to be expensive. It would have been better if they hadnt shifted the operations." "After shifting the buses, the authorities should have provided better parking facilities at SBT. As there is no security, vehicles cant be parked here," said Irshad, a student.

"When the buses werent shifted, we had several options available. On occasions, when we did not get train tickets, we used to take a bus from the KBS as both the KBS and the Bangalore City Railway Station are close to each other. Now, if we miss a train, we will have to go all the way back to SBT," Raghu, a regular commuter, said.

KSRTC assistant traffic manager Ravindranath told BBVVT Tthat the corporation had decided to carry out the shifting process in stages. "At present, Volvo and Rajahamsa buses are being operated from the KBS as the seats of these buses are reserved from KBT itself," he said.

"These buses, after picking up passengers from KBS, will pass through SBT. However, only express and non-stop buses are plying from SBT," he pointed out.

"Keeping the convenience of commuters in mind, the KSRTC has deployed mini-buses to ferry passengers from the KBS to the SBT free of cost," he added.

Talking to BVT, KSRTC managing director M R Sreenivas Murthy said, "Commuters need not panic. There are no plans to withdraw the free mini-bus service. The service will continue even after the shifting process is completed." "The initial stages of shifting had definitely inconvenienced passengers. However, after the introduction of the mini-bus service, passengers are now getting adjusted to the changes," he said.

"The shifting has been delayed because of the ongoing civil work at SBT. In another 15 days, the work will be over," Murthy added.

Poor civic sense puts ‘City of future’ in doom’s way

Poor civic sense puts ‘City of future’ in doom’s way
Vijay Times

Bangalore: Blame it on authorities! Bangloreans seem to have learnt the art well. In this take-off on a Hollywood blockbuster, where the sins and predilections of the sinners are conveniently charged upon someone else, citizens of Bangalore do not seem to be far behind when it comes to blaming authorities for just about anything.

In such a scenario, grand dreams of making Bangalore a world class location may be just that! A dream! Huge fund allocations to implement plans, in the hope of giving concrete shape to Bangalore of the future, may be going down the drain. This, because Bangaloreans exhibit poor civic sense and exhibit utter lack of public discipline.

Accidents at signals-blame the authorities. Accidents at nightblame the authorities. Animals on roads-blame the authorities. Dirt all around-blame the authorities. The list will keep flowing...

While criticising authorities for lack of effective enforcement to ensure public discipline appears a popular pass-time, the hypocrisy around just cannot be missed. For, would it not be easier for authorities to enforce rules if the citizenry, which engages in such criticism, shows more wisdom and displays better civic sense? Spend a day on the roads of the City. The reality cannot be missed. Violation is so rampant that an odd stickler to laid-down rules is seen as one who is the actual violater of rules.

One cannot blame the government for not providing facilities to make it easy for the people to follow rules.

Take traffic for example: The Traffic Department has erected digital countdown traffic signals at almost all major City road junctions. This is for motorists to know when to start vehicles. Sadly, motorists accelerate even before red turns to yellow and many, even before the countdown reaches 10.

The result? Chaos! And the blame? Squarely put by the citizens on the government, which in turn, lays out grand plans on drawing boards, even as effective enforcement remains absent.

Lack of a collective will among citizens is truly striking when it comes to following road discipline, knowing it would solve half the problems without the need for enforcement.

Urinating and defecating in public places continues unabated. What are the Nirmal Sauchalayas, dotting the Cityscape, for? And about spitting and littering without a care in the world, the less said the better.

The police and the City Corporation are empowered to take action against violators through the Karnataka Police Rules, but they seem helpless given the expanding army of violators. It may take years for plans for a clean and green Bangalore with no congestion, to materialise, but now is the time for citizens to understand this -- developing a civic sense and discipline has to precede implementation of grand plans.

Or should Bangalore do a Surat (remember the plague was due to lack of civic sense there) to make us realise our folly?

Sunday, May 28, 2006


deccan Herald

While the experts and police blame it on poor traffic sense — both from motorists and pedestrians — initiatives to plug the planning loopholes still seem elusive.

The Outer Ring Road has come full circle. The road was designed by the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) to divert trucks and lorries teeming into the City. Eight years later, the idea — though largely successful in meeting the primary objective — has come unstuck. Unchecked traffic movement, dismal standards of pedestrian safety and highway speed demons have left ORR with the same bottlenecks that plague the City roads.

Realty boom, the rise of small-time commercial establishments on either sides of the stretch and the subsequent influx of vehicles from the radial roads have hijacked the cause towards which ORR was conceived. The accidents on the 62-km stretch continue to be a nagging worry for the traffic policemen, who are further cornered by the ever-burgeoning truck movement into and out of Bangalore.

While the experts and police blame it on poor traffic sense — both from motorists and pedestrians — initiatives to plug the planning loopholes still seem elusive. The focus, meanwhile, has shifted to an expensive alternative — another ring road; this time, peripheral. But before that gains shape, Deccan Herald tried to survey life on stretches of ORR.

Free parking space: From Kengeri Satellite Town, the stretch doubles up as a free parking lot for lorries and trucks. Slow-moving trucks take up considerable road space — at times all of it — while cars and motorbikes dangerously wade through the gaps. Even minor bumper-locks lead to long traffic snarls.

Down the road leading to Nagarbhavi II Stage, the stretch is dotted by numerous under-construction buildings, spilling construction material on to the already battered pavements. It’s brisk business for shops in Mariyappanpalya and Jnanajyothinagar, where walkers are spotted crossing the road even as everything from moped to oil tanker speed past. “Two or three years back, these stretches didn’t have half the traffic they have now. A lot of vehicles from the connected roads have started using the ORR and many new apartments and shops have come up in these areas, making the roads more congested,” says Jagadeesh, who runs a hardware shop in Kengunte.

The plan has evidently failed to factor in the possibilities of such rapid development in the area. For a road predominantly designed for trucks and lorries, ORR perhaps has the right number of speed-breakers. However, in the road’s present context, speed-breakers become a logical means to check the race. The stretch from Kottigepalya through Magadi Main Road is a picture of chaos, where truck drivers go slow to tackle the rain, as bikers honk for space to get ahead.

Slow truck coming: From Laggere through MES Road and Yeshwanthpur till Hebbal, the traffic slows down considerably and many motorists drift away to service roads which are already crammed with parked trucks. Traffic snarls continue from Veeranna Palya Ring Road till Nagawara. From HRBR Layout towards Banaswadi, the relatively eased-out stretch has vehicles picking pace again. The need for speed is evident at the signal near Royale Concorde International School, where even a red can’t stop the drivers.

On the road from KR Puram towards Marathahalli, it’s hard to miss the numerous apartments in various stages of completion, bringing with them more vehicular movement on the stretch. That tells you about the kind of drives to expect on ORR, in the coming months. The promises, meanwhile, stand grossly undelivered, as reflected in the flashy yellow boards — showing ‘bus stop’ — that dot the road. The sign’s in place. The bus stop is not.


The intensity of truck traffic has been substantially reduced by ORR. The upcoming Peripheral Ring Road (PRR) which connects NH4, NH7, NH13, Mysore Road, Kanakapura Road and other roads will further help the cause. In the City, though there are accidents, fatality is minimal. However, on the NH, what does the damage is an utter lack of traffic sense. Stricter enforcement of traffic rules is the solution.

Prof Krishnamurthy

Technical Expert — ORR team

The problems on ORR have more to do with poor driving skills than lack of amenities for drivers or pedestrians. The accidents are not a result of flaws at the planning stage. And the objective with which the road was planned – to divert truck traffic – has been achieved.

M A Saleem

DCP (Traffic), East


Global trends point to ring road architecture as something which involves long-term vision and adoption of futuristic technologies to aid the roads in standing the test of time. Intelligent Transport Systems – that entail dissemination of information regarding traffic congestion and accidents ahead and instructions on possible alternate routes – are globally endorsed means to keep ring road traffic in check.

Global Positioning System (GPS) and Geo Information System (GIS) have also been proved effective in this regard. Designers of the upcoming Peripheral Ring Road (PRR) have incorporated GIS and remote sensing in the plan.

Congestion pricing and toll ring roads are also finding place in ring road designs. Medians and selective use of barricades have become almost mandatory the world over, while there are also ring roads without access to pedestrians. On ORR, pedestrian space is encroached and crossings are by and large rare. The walkers, on their part, add to the chaos by strolling down the road and crossing it without a care, even during peak hours.

“ORR was planned with a 20-year vision. However, in the typically Indian situation, burgeoning population and traffic growth leave the vision saturated in just two or three years. Even if we provide pedestrian crossings and put medians and barricades in place, people keep crossing roads according to their whims and fancies,” says Prof Krishnamurthy, who was an expert in the team that devised ORR.


* 62-km stretch connecting all highways around Bangalore City

* Passes suburbs like Hebbal, Banaswadi,

KR Puram and Marathahalli

* Battered pavements; Pedestrians on the road

* Indiscriminate parking of trucks, cars and other vehicles

* Speeding vehicles, at times on the wrong side

* Limited presence of traffic police

* Traffic jams, even in non-peak hours


* Eight-lane, two-way stretch of around

109 km

* Budget of Rs 550 crore

* Total planned area of 2,050 acres

* Average distance of three to 12 km from ORR

* Connects major roads including highways

* Green buffer zones to check

indiscriminate development

* Designed with technologies like Geographical Information System (GIS)