Friday, June 30, 2006

Sarvodaya hospital, a boon to city

Sarvodaya hospital, a boon to city
New Indian Express

The need of a hospital of the South West area on Bangalore has been met. Sarvodaya hospital, a new 250-bed multi-speciality and super speciality hospital will serve people of Rajajinagar, Basaveshwarnagar, Vijaynagar, Mysore road, Peenya, Dasarahalli, Yeshwanthpur, Kengeri, Tavarekere, and Nelamangala, and to people from other parts of the State and neighbouring States.

The unique feature of the hospital is the 40-bed critical care unit with a separate medical ICU, surgical ICU, neonatal ICU and cardiac care unit.

It also boasts of eight modern operation theatres with laminar flow, providing clean atmosphere to carry out cardiothoracic, neuro surgery, ortho, eye and vascular surgery apart from laproscopic surgery, general surgery, obstetrics and gynaecological operations, ENT surgeries, urology and renal transplants surgeries, gastrointestinal and dental surgeries.

Other facilities in the hospital include a 24-hour pharmacy, blood bank, and casualty. Latest equipment in MRI, CT, ultra sound with colour doppler, mammography, an ultra modern medical laboratory, and physiotherapy are also available.

The team of cardiothorasic surgeons include Dr Mukundan, and Dr Arivazhagan, CEO of Sarvodaya Heart Centre, who take care of all bypass surgeries and valvular replacements with 100 per cent success rate. Dr S S Ramesh, Dr Keshav and Dr Yavagal will take care of angiograms and angioplasty.

Vascular surgeries are attended to by Dr K R Suresh, Dr Ganesh Nayak, Dr Ravivarma and Dr Somashekar. A team of 20 anaesthetists work round the clock.

Polytrauma cases, joint replacements and spinal surgeries are taken care of by orthopaedic Dr S Muthu and his team.

Former professor of surgery at Bangalore Medical College, Dr K Jaganmaya is the Medical Director.

The man behind the hospital is its Chairman V Narayanaswamy. He also runs a law college, a primary school, two nursing schools and two nursing colleges. He has also founded an old age home, where 25 inmates receive free food, shelter and medical facilities.

Dr (Lt Col) BTK Reddy, the administrator of Sarvodaya Hospital is the man behind the scene. He has 29 years of experience in the Indian Army Medical Corps, and has served all over the country, including during the Indo-Pak conflict. He has also rendered his services at Vydehi Medical College and at the Bangalore Hospital as administrator.

The hospital is located at No 11/2, Magadi Main Road, Agrahara Dasarahalli, Bangalore- 560079. For details, call 57609884/ 23119636/ 41734402.

Garden City 'bangalores' own-house dreams

Garden City 'bangalores' own-house dreams
For the average Bangalorean, owning a house in the city will remain a dream
Cybermedia News

BANGALORE: “While "outsiders' are not the ones to be blamed, we cannot wish away the fact that "locals' cannot afford the high rents that IT professionals can pay and the general increase in the prices of every commodity because of a small percentage (may not remain small for long, though) of these men and women. Those who are non-IT professionals are shooed away when looking for a rented house (I have seen and experienced it myself) because the landlord prefers "Software" engineers. The disparity will, in my opinion, encourage increased corruption among the government employees.”

Thus wrote a blogger on the plight of Bangalore's locals. This is one of the subtler blogs, which represents the rising resentment of an average Bangalorean chasing the dream of his own space in this small city.

For an average middle class Bangalorean employed in the government sector, or many other sectors other than IT, the dream of owning a house in Bangalore will remain a distant dream. Real estate prices have spiraled in the past two years that he cannot even hope to rent a decent two bed-room house or apartment in any decent locality even in the peripheries of the city.

Appreciation in price has been almost 70 per cent in residential apartments, and land values have gone up by over 100 per cent in some cases.

Today, a two-bed room apartment in the outskirts of Bangalore will cost you nothing less than Rs 1500 per square feet. A 1200 square feet site will cost anywhere between Rs 650-Rs 1500 per square feet compared to Rs 150-350 in 2002. And the outskirts defined here are places beyond Devanahalli, Whitefield, Sarjapur, Electronic City, Hoskote, Kanakpura, Kengeri, Bannerghatta and even farther, which are a good 25-50 kilometers away from the city.

Rentals have also hit the roof in the past couple of years. No two-bedroom house is available in the peripheries of the city, for less than Rs 5000 per month (excluding, electricity, and water bills) and an advance ranging between Rs 50,000 to Rs 1 lakh.

The impact? To quote from T N Ninans' article in 'Business Standard', “High real estate prices lock the majority out of the housing market, and make more distant the dream of owning a home-in a country where the majority in our cities are not home-owners, and the majority of home-owners crowd their families into one- or two-room apartments. The second negative consequence of high real estate costs is that they drive up wages-because it has become more expensive to live in a big city. In other words, the competitiveness of Indian companies suffers.”

In 1991, with liberalization, Bangalore saw an influx of industries especially in the IT sector. This changed the face of the once sleepy city of Bangalore to one of vibrant industrial growth. With it, the real estate prices and rents started booming driven by increased investments by the IT industry and high salaries drawn by its employees.

Between 1991-94 Bangalore saw one of the major property price hikes even up to 200 per cent in some areas. Investments by NRIs also added to the boom.

From the peak level, prices started plummeting in 1995. Between 1995 and 2000, the property bubble built on speculations burst and prices declined by almost 30–40 per cent all across India, including Bangalore. There was a slight recovery in 1999-2000 period, riding on the dotcom boom.

However, between 2000 and 2001 came the dotcom bust, the stock market crash and UTI scam taking the property prices down.

The year 2002 saw the first signs of recovery in real estate prices, both residential and commercial and there has been no looking back after that. IT sector started flourishing taking investing in huge office spaces. Also started the influx of people from all across India and even from outside to one IT destination – Bangalore.

IT services sector grew leaps and bound and created many millionaires out of the burgeoning middleclass in the city. Soon followed the ITES/BPO boom. The IT sector with hundreds of thousands of companies acquired large chunks of the prime property within the city and moved on to the outskirts and beyond.

Another real estate boom started. Property prices for both residential and commercial spaces saw an increase of over 100 per cent and the rise continues in a frenzied pace. However, according to real estate research firms like Cushman and Wakefiled and Jones Lang Lasalle, unlike the 90's this time the rise in prices is not a bubble, but is driven by genuine demand from end users.

According to Jones Lang Lasalle, Bangalore accounted for 32 per cent, that is. nearly a third of all demand for office space in the metros across the country in 2004.

Where does this demand come from? The present real estate boom is riding on the growth of Information Technology sector in the country added with liberal home loan policies of banks.

It is estimated that between 2003 and 2006, IT companies acquired a total of 20-million sq. ft space. This also means large-scale recruitments taken up by IT firms. A recent reports also reveals that around 70 per cent of the IT professionals who earns big buck in Bangalore are outsiders.

The average age of a homeowner today is between 28 and 32. True to their age and purchasing power, the aspiration levels have also gone up. Today, the much read and traveled techies are looking for luxury apartments and villas and are willing to pay a premium for their dream houses.

An apartment or a villa worth Rs 1 crore and above is no more exclusive for business tycoons. It is an easy buy for a middle level manager in an MNC IT firm.

Many of these professionals are on a property-buying spree not only for accommodation, but also as a future investment. Real estate has become part of investment portfolio for many. So despite the skyrocketing prices, the demand for property is increasing.

Added to this, the government is also on a land allotting spree to IT firms and other industries in the name of technology parks and integrated townships. Soon after the news that Infosys is expected to get over 800 acres of land, a prominent English newspaper reported that huge chunks of land (1200 – 1700 acres of land are being developed in and around Bangalore, not only by big firms like Shapoorj Pallonji, but also by little known entities.

New airport spells boom

New airport spells boom
The international airport at Devanahalli will be operational by 2008. This development will take Bangalore to a global platform

The Times of India

The international airport coming up at Devanahalli on Bangalore-Hyderabad National Highway No 7 will be operational by 2008. At a recent visit by Deputy Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa to the construction site, the BIAL authorities exulted confidence on meeting the deadline as work is being carried out in full swing.

The pushing factor for this facility is the booming economy of this city. Bangalore has today many a globetrotter, foreign delegate, and tourist. While the IT and ITenabled sectors are fuelling the thriving realty mart, options in property galore in the city for non-IT segments too such as pharma, banking, telecommunications etc. Now, with the international connectivity things are looking up like never before for this ever-changing city.

Airport project

Planned on a build-own-operate-transfer basis with public-private participation, Bangalore's international airport will have the latest in the field of civil aviation. The Karnataka Government, through the Karnataka State Industrial Investment and Development Corporation (KSIIDC) and Airport Authority of India (AAI) together will hold 26 percent of the equity. To sum it up, the airport is a joint venture between Siemens Project Ventures (40 percent), Larsen and Toubro (17 percent), Zurich Airport (17 percent), Karnataka Government (13 percent), and the Centre (13 percent).

The State Government has agreed to grant concessions to the Bangalore International Airport Ltd (BIAL), the company that is to execute the project. It is a consortium of the Government of Karnataka, Airports Authority of India, Siemens, and Zurich Airport, to design, develop, finance, construct, commission, maintain, operate and manage the airport. The Karnataka Government is providing 4,300 acres of land for the airport. The project is scheduled to be implemented in three years and is the first of its nature in the country. The initial phase of the project is planned for a capacity of five million passengers per annum. However, the master plan of the project plans for an ultimate capacity of 40 million passengers per annum.

The proposed airport at Bangalore will have a 4-km runway designed to accept Boeing 747 aircraft. The tarmac will be adequate to accommodate 20 aircraft together. The terminal building with an air-conditioned built-up area of 55,850 square metres will provide all modern facilities. All the facilities will be designed to make further expansion possible to meet the growing demand without compromising on quality of service.

The concession agreement for land and support from the State and Central Governments was finalised after numerous meetings between the ministries of Civil Aviation, Law & Justice, Finance, and the BIAL. The agreement also contains the rights and obligations of the Central and State Governments, and the BIAL on operation and maintenance standards including monitoring, airport charges, provision of reserved activities like customs, immigration, security, liabilities and indemnities, and resolution mechanism for disputes.

While the road infrastructure is already in place (NH7), the government has planned flyovers, elevated roads, and bridges at intersections and bottlenecks.

The realty factor

Master Plan 2015 for Bangalore - the proposed Comprehensive Development Plan (CDP) for the next 10 years is awaiting final clearance from the state cabinet. One of the crucial factors revealed in the CDP is the opening up of the green belt. This, especially in the north (towards international airport), means huge tracts of lands measuring thousands of acres will be up for development.

In the last four months, the area has witnessed heavy land transaction as ban on registration of property was lifted and DC conversion of agriculture lands is being allowed now. With promises of a streamlined growth according to the new CDP, developers are busy scouting for land in Bangalore North. With the real estate market growing by leaps and bounds here, the upward trend of land rates will not change.

Residential apartments to cater to all layers of society, group housing schemes, office spaces, resorts, star hotels, amusement parks, multiplexes, shopping malls are all being planned here by builders, developers and entertainment companies. The airport had in fact created hype for Bangalore North while it was still on paper and land here was selling between Rs 35 lakhs and a crore per acre a year ago. With the project work briskly happening, it is a gold rush for property investors now as the market has witnessed a 35 to 60 percent appreciation, according to industry sources.

Koramangala faces the axe

Koramangala faces the axe
BMP Officials Go On Demolition Drive Once Again
The Times of India

Bangalore: The axe has started falling again. Just when citizens thought that the dust had settled on the issue of building violations, BMP officials on Thursday demolished portions of four buildings at Koramangala.

In the morning, over 200 BMP personnel aided by 100 policemen brought down deviated portions at 4th and 5th block. The demolition drive is a continuation of what had started last year in response to a Public Interest Litigation filed by a few residents on rampant building violations in the area.

In the wake of apparent threats and public outcry, the petitioners withdrew their PIL but a survey of the area had already been galvanised. It was found that more than 95 buildings in a single stretch had some form of violation from the sanctioned building plan.

Buildings that faced the axe apparently had violations in the range of 70% to 150%. BMP joint commissioner (east) Jayaram who led the exercise said provisional orders had been issued earlier and the team went well-prepared for any emergencies or contingencies.

With JCBs and pneumatic hammers, the team brought down the deviations. Violations include not having a setback area, non-compliance of FAR and zonal irregularities ie using a building meant for residence for commercial purposes.

The demolitions were not without drama. One of the building owners looked like he was going to faint and his staff thought it was a ‘heart attack’. But BMP personnel said it was a false alarm.

The owners of the four buildings whose violations were razed are — A T Velu, Abdul Rashid Khan, Anjaan and Arif. Of this, Khan’s building, the Halina Centre, had 150% violations, said BMP engineers. The other structures had 80%, 70% and 53% violations.


In late August last year, six residents of Koramangala filed a PIL in the high court seeking its intervention in the area which they said had changed from a peaceful neighbourhood to a commercial hub. Among the six petitioners are Dr Devi Shetty, Dr Radhakrishna, Dr Suresh Menon.

The court ordered the BMP to undertake a survey of the area, apart from the 95 buildings which came in the ambit of the PIL. Later, the court also ordered that corrective action be taken at buildings with violations at Koramangala.

This translated into demolitions. Mid-September, the BMP undertook demolitions. They could not continue the demolitions despite landing at the venue with JCBs, tractors and gangmen thanks to massive public outcry. Angry residents took to the streets with demonstrations that violations were rampant across Bangalore, so why target Koramangala alone.

Apparently bowing to pressure from the neighbourhood, the petitioners quietly withdrew the petition. But the survey of violations in the area continued.

Flyover ready ... for trial

Flyover ready ... for trial
The Times of India

Bangalore: After setting deadlines after deadlines, the Airport Road flyover is finally ready. And the first vehicle to ply on the brand new flyover will be that of BDA commissioner M K Shankarlinge Gowda’s.

From Friday onwards, the BDA will conduct trial rounds and stress test for a week after which the flyover will be inaugurated by chief minister D Kumaraswamy.

Says the BDA chief: “I will be the first one to drive on the flyover. We will hold stress test for a week to ascertain the load the flyover can take. The flyover will be inaugurated well before July 15.’’

The Airport Road-Intermediate Ring Road (IRR) flyover is an interchange — no signals, and commuters can take easy left and right turns. For six years, commuters on the stretch had to face traffic jams due to the construction.
Deadlines galore

Work started in February 2003. Initial deadline April 2004; revised deadline: March 2005. Fresh deadline: June 2005. Latest July 15, 2006.

Kheny meets Chief Secy

Kheny meets Chief Secy
Deccan Herald

NICE Managing Director Ashok Kheny’s closed-door meeting with Chief Secretary B K Das and other senior officials in Vidhana Soudha on Thursday morning has triggered speculations, especially regarding their discussions on the issue of excess land. A senior official, who is also a member of the empowered committee on BMIC, said there were no categorical statements made on the land issue.

“It was a review meeting. Mr Kheny was asked to submit documents regarding certain aspects of the project,” he said. However, Mr Kheny said the government has assured to give land according to the framework agreement. Speaking to press persons, Mr Kheny said the chief secretary has said that land required for the project will be provided.

He also said that he has plans to inaugurate the BMIC work in Mysore on July 5 or 6.

However, Mr Kheny declined to react on being asked whether he would move the court on being removed from the BMICPA.

He added that the review meeting of the empowered committee, that was supposed to meet every two-three months, has met for the first time after July, 2004.

50-year-old ad bylaw to go

50-year-old ad bylaw to go
DH News Service Bangalore:
The BMP will replace its 50-year-old advertisement bylaw (1956) with a new bylaw on July 1. On Thursday, the Council passed a resolution for implementation of the comprehensive (new) bylaw. Even as it awaits government approval, the Hoardings Sub-Committee, which held a meeting on Wednesday, urged the BMP Commissioner to pull down all illegal hoardings across the City.

It also sought the licenses of the authorised hoardings to be renewed as per the new bylaw.

“The BMP is losing out on revenue as hundreds of hoardings are under litigation. The Commissioner should initiate steps to get the court stay orders vacated,” said Mayor Mumtaz Begum. “The hoardings generate a revenue of Rs 5 crore and we need to safeguard our interest,” she added.

Meanwhile, the new bylaw was mooted as the existing law has no provisions and guidelines for the new-generation advertisements. “The advertising world has undergone a sea change and we need to expand the scope of the bylaw to newer forms of advertisements.

According to BMP officials, the new bylaw will revise norms for erecting and display of hoardings. No hoardings will be allowed within the prescribed residential, commercial properties. A major change will be inclusion of shop advertisements within BMP’s purview. All shops, cinema halls, petrol bunks will now have to pay tax for all their shop advertisements on glass panes and building surface.

Tenders cancelled

The BMP has cancelled three tenders awarded to KNR Agency recently. According to BMP Commissioner K Jairaj, there will be re-tendering for Rs 180-crore package under the World Bank project. “The decision was taken after the BMP found out that the Agency had failed to complete its previous projects within the stipulated time. Even the quality of the completed works was not satisfactory. We had to cancel the tenders,” said Jairaj.

Days after the BMP employees refused to part with a day’s salary for the construction of a glass house and a statue of matinee idol late Rajkumar, BMP councillors were still debating as to who will fund the project costing nearly Rs 3.5 crore. Even as the Mayor and the councillors debated over the issue, the Commissioner put an end to the confusion by announcing that the BMP would bear the project costs.

During the discussions on the pathetic state of KR market Subway, the Commissioner assured the meeting of major changes within the next two months. “All markets will be upgraded in two months. We have set aside Rs 3 crore for the purpose,” he said.

Four illegal buildings demolished

Four illegal buildings demolished

The Hindu

BMP continues drive against illegal constructions in Koramangala

BANGALORE: The Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP) on Thursday demolished four unauthorised buildings in Koramangala 3rd and 5th blocks.

This operation is part of the drive launched by the BMP following a direction from the Karnataka High Court in November last.

Soon after the court direction, the BMP had brought down four buildings in Koramangala 5th Block. But it had to go slow because of protests by residents.

The High Court had directed the BMP to conduct an extensive survey of buildings in Koramangala, following a public interest litigation petition stating that residential buildings, built against bylaws, were being used for commercial purposes in violation of zoning regulations.

The BMP while undertaking the survey had clarified that certain categories of commercial use such as restaurants, grocery and general stores and laundries could be operated in residential zones but not others.

In Koramangala, several buildings were found to house firms related to information technology (IT) and IT-enabled services such as business process outsourcing.

The BMP Joint Commissioner (East) N. Jayaram told The Hindu on Thursday that the drive would continue on Friday. "We have identified over 100 buildings that have been built in violation of building bylaws and served notices on the owners. Action will be taken against all such buildings. But there is scope for regularising the deviated portions of some buildings. We will consult the High Court in this connection," he said.

A few residents said a top official of a software company located in one of the demolished buildings suffered a heart attack after the building was razed. Following this, the residents raised slogans against the BMP.

The BMP Chief Engineer (East) Gopal Swamy said the demolitions were carried out with the help of police.

Over 100 personnel from the Bangalore Metropolitan Task Force (BMTF) carried out the operation with assistance from three battalions of the Karnataka State Reserve Police (KSRP) and 200 policemen.

As many as five earthmovers and 15 compressors were used for the drive.

Probe sought into allotment of land for BMIC project

Probe sought into allotment of land for BMIC project

The Hindu

In thelegislature 400 acres of excess land has been acquired: MLA

# Charges Project is nothing but a big fraud
# Promoters were favoured by two successive governments
# Land has been mortgaged for loans

BANGALORE: G.V. Srirama Reddy (CPI-M) on Thursday described the Bangalore-Mysore Infrastructure Corridor (BMIC) project as the "biggest fraud" committed on the State and demanded an inquiry against those responsible for allotting land to Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprise (NICE), which is executing the project.

Raising the issue in the Legislative Assembly, he said NICE had violated the initial memorandum of understanding (1995) and the framework agreement (1997) signed with the Government as also the Karnataka High Court order. NICE had acquired over 400 acres of excess land around Bangalore.

`Take land back'

The Government should take steps to take back the excess land and return it to the farmers from whom it had been acquired. The Government should file criminal cases against all those responsible for granting the excess land, he said.

NICE had been favoured by two successive governments, Mr. Reddy said.

A tripartite agreement was signed in 2002 by the S.M. Krishna government allowing the company to sell excess land to mobilise funds to execute the project. The agreement was neither brought before the legislature nor the Cabinet. It was just an administrative order. Why the Krishna government favoured NICE should be looked into.

Mr Reddy said the legislature had the power to nullify the project, overriding the order of the executive. The power had been referred to in the High Court decision on the project and the Supreme Court had ratified the same. It was for the Government to move in the matter.

NICE had mortgaged project land and borrowed Rs. 150 crore from a bank.

The concessions given to the company included tax exemptions (Rs. 150 crore) for the land transferred from the Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Board and stamp duty waiver (Rs. 85 crore).

The member pointed out that Deputy Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa had called the BMIC project the biggest scam of all in the country when he was Leader of the Opposition.

Company's threat

J.C. Madhuswamy (JD-U) said NICE Managing Director Ashok Kheny had been threatening to file a contempt of court petition in the Supreme Court against the Government if land was not granted to his company to complete the project.

The Government was afraid of NICE, he said and urged Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy to take immediate steps to recover acres excess land from the company.

Govt lethargy irks panel on Metro Rail alignment

Govt lethargy irks panel on Metro Rail alignment
Vijay Times

The government indifference in making public the recommendations of the three-member expert committee examining the Metro Rail alignment on CMH Road in Indiranagar has not gone down well with the committee.

Speaking out for the first time since Vijay Times reported that the panel had recommended the CMH Road alignment for the Metro Rail, committee chairman Justice Shivashankar Bhat said the delay was "depressing".

"We have done our duty. It is for the government to decide whether or not to implement it. We will not ask why the government is adopting this approach. It definitely saddens me. Earlier, the committee submitted its resignation after Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy announced the project will be built only on the available government land. Later, he himself, in a letter, requested us to continue, otherwise we would have washed our hands off the project." The committee accepted the offer only in public interest. "We have not requested even a rupee from the government. After all the effort and time put in by the committee, we find the report ignored. Amidst all this controversy, business establishments on CMH Road say lesser land can be acquired on Old Madras Road. This is also not true. Either way, the government will have to rehabilitate affected parties," he opined.

He concluded that any project will achieve success only with the cooperation of the people.

Imtiaz Ahmed, president, CMH Road Traders and Establishments Association, said the delay in making the report public is a result of politics.

The expert committee was formed during Dharam Singhs chief-ministership to study how the Metro Rail project would affect the traders and residents of the area and how it could be minimised.

While traders and residents demanded a change in alignment to the Old Madras Road route, the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporations initial blueprint involved an alignment on CMH Road, where hundreds of commercial establishments stand.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

A plan that’s just a mirage?

A plan that’s just a mirage?
By B K Chandrashekar & G Parameshwara
Deccan Herald

The undue delay in implementing the Bangalore Metro Rail project and the preference for Monorail is bad news.

The BJP-JD(S) government has, unfortunately, generated a high-decibel controversy on Bangalore's infrastructure. The JD(S) proclaimed that its alliance with the BJP was meant exclusively for Karnataka's "development" and that it was giving up its “secular” tag for this purpose!

But after nearly five months in the government, the coalition has demonstrably failed to embark on infrastructure projects that are so urgently required for the citizens of Bangalore. The government's pre-determined position on the Metro project and its highly suspicious enthusiasm to bring in a Malaysian company to build a Monorail confirms its lack of commitment to Bangalore.

The Chief Minister has announced that work on the Monorail will begin on August 15. How can this be done when the comprehensive traffic and transport survey of Bangalore is due only in November of this year? Is Rail India Technical and Economic Services (RITES) being pressured to give some kind of a report that might be used by the government to bring in the Malaysian company?

Does the government know the exact routes on which the Monorail can be sensibly deployed? There are other issues too which need to be addressed and citizen groups consulted. Indeed, is the Monorail best suited for Bangalore even as a feeder system? Hitachi of Japan and Bombardier of Canada are the only companies manufacturing Monorail systems that are operating in different parts of the world. Met Rail of Malaysia, which is eager to execute the Monorail system, has not supplied and executed this system anywhere in the globe. They are reported to have made a presentation to the Chief Minister. Have other companies been given the opportunity to do so? The cost of Monorail is in the range of Rs 75 cr to Rs. 150 cr per km. Hitachi has quoted about Rs 75 cr per km for Delhi. The cost of the elevated metro rail in Delhi is in the range of Rs 75-85 cr per km. Therefore, it can be safely concluded that the cost of mono-rail and elevated metro rail is almost the same albeit the latter has ten times more carrying capacity.

The total network of Monorail in the world is about 200 km of which only 75 km is being used for mass transportation. The rest is being used for point-to-point service in amusement parks and airport to city commutation. The main cities using Monorail for daily commuting are Tokyo, Sydney, and Kuala Lumpur.

In these cities Monorail is being used as feeder to metro and not as its substitute as claimed by met rail.

Monorail is used on fewer traffic demand routes, sharper curving routes and roads with high gradients. It also has the advantage of being less noisy. Monorail passenger capacity is about 5000 to 8000 during peak hours (Peak Hour Peak Direction Trip) whereas metros have 40,000 to 1,00,000 during peak hours. The Metro planned for Bangalore will have about a 50,000 peak hour passenger capacity.

We are witnessing inordinate delays in the acquisition of private land and properties.

About 650 structures and approximately 27 acres of private land need to be acquired. The chief minister had stayed land acquisition on Kuvempu Road more than three months ago. He wanted to inspect the properties to be acquired on this road before going ahead with acquisition. He has not found time to inspect the area so far. Every day's delay, we are told, increases the project cost by Rs 1 cr!

The Justice Shivashankara Bhat Committee has been constituted to consider the proposals of the traders on CMH road as well as the suggested alignment. It may be recalled that Justice Bhat had resigned but was persuaded to continue and submit the report. Why has the government not acted on the report until now? The intention appears to be to stall the progress of the Metro Project. This is also confirmed by the fact that issues relating to the NGEF land required for the Metro depot (the heart of the Metro at Byappanahalli) have not yet been resolved. They are still pending in the High Court.

The metro alignment between Yashwanthpur and Peenya is caught up in the NHAI tangle. The financial closure of the project is not yet done. The general consultants as well as key personnel are yet to be appointed. Even if the State Government shows utmost alacrity from now on, it may take a minimum of one year to get the project construction started. Is there hope for Bangalore's citizens?

(The writers are former ministers.)

Helmet rule from July 31

Helmet rule from July 31
Deccan Herald

The government is expected to issue a notification on Thursday, making wearing of helmets compulsory for riders as well as pillion riders of two-wheelers from July 31.

Despite opposition from some quarters of society for making use of helmets compulsory for the pillion riders too, the government is firm on the decision taken in the cabinet meeting. The order is also expected to clarify the punishment and fee to be collected on violation of the rule.

The State Government made wearing of helmets compulsory following a High Court order. In October 2003, a division bench of Karnataka High Court, comprising Justice M F Saldanha and M S Rajendra Prasad passed an order for introduction of helmet rule following a public interest litigation. Later the High Court in March 2004 ordered compulsory implementation of helmet rule and set the deadline as April 2004.

But the government deferred the implementation of the order citing ensuing elections. Meanwhile the High Court initiated contempt of court against the government for not implementing its order.

Soon after the Cong-JD(S) came to rule, the then Chief Minister Dharam Singh mooted the introduction of the rule, which was opposed by few MLAs leading to delay in taking a decision. However the present JD(S)-BJP setup has decided to follow the High Court order.

Ashok Kheny eased out

Ashok Kheny eased out
Deccan Herald

The State government has reconstituted the Bangalore-Mysore Infrastructure Area Planning Authority (BMICAPA) with immediate effect and dropped Mr Ashok Kheny, who was the representative of the Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Project (NICE), in the Authority since it was established in 1999.

Additional Chief Secretary and Development Commissioner will be the Chairman of the Authority. The members are Additional Chief Secretary and Secretary Public Works Department; Under Secretaries, Urban Development and Revenue Departments.

Chief Executive Officer, Bangalore Urban, Mandya and Mysore zilla panchayats; Commissioner, Ramanagar Town Municipality and Joint Director, Town Planning will be representatives of the local authority.

Obtaining permission from the Authority is mandatory for any development works, change in land use, formation of layouts or townships in the 1700 sq km of notified area between Bangalore and Mysore.

Officials of the Urban Development Department and Mr Kheny were not available for comment.

BDA designates Public Information Officers under RTI Act

BDA designates Public Information Officers under RTI Act
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: The Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) has designated 14 officers as Public Information Officers under Right to Information Act. There are 10 public information officers at the BDA head office, T Chowdiah Road, Kumarapark West.

For queries pertaining to land acquisition, land compensation, award, notification, de-notification, and other land-related issues, the Deputy Commissioner (Land Acquisition) is the Public Information Officer.

For planning-related issues such as master plan, sanction of private layout plan, group housing plan sanction, and for other related issues, the Town Planning Member is the Public Information Officer.

For issues relating to the execution of projects, flyovers, underpasses, maintenance of BDA layouts, release of sites, relinquishment deed of CA site in case of private layouts and other issues, the engineer member is the Public Information Officer.

For site allotment, registration of sites and other administration-related issues, secretary is the Public Information Officer.

Finance member is the Public Information Officer for finance matters.

Superintendent of Police, Law Officer and Public Relations Officer, are Public Information Officers for their respective activities.

The BDA has requested the public to apply to the Public Information Officer concerned for information under the Right to Information Act.

BDA designates Public Information Officers under RTI Act

BDA designates Public Information Officers under RTI Act
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: The Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) has designated 14 officers as Public Information Officers under Right to Information Act. There are 10 public information officers at the BDA head office, T Chowdiah Road, Kumarapark West.

For queries pertaining to land acquisition, land compensation, award, notification, de-notification, and other land-related issues, the Deputy Commissioner (Land Acquisition) is the Public Information Officer.

For planning-related issues such as master plan, sanction of private layout plan, group housing plan sanction, and for other related issues, the Town Planning Member is the Public Information Officer.

For issues relating to the execution of projects, flyovers, underpasses, maintenance of BDA layouts, release of sites, relinquishment deed of CA site in case of private layouts and other issues, the engineer member is the Public Information Officer.

For site allotment, registration of sites and other administration-related issues, secretary is the Public Information Officer.

Finance member is the Public Information Officer for finance matters.

Superintendent of Police, Law Officer and Public Relations Officer, are Public Information Officers for their respective activities.

The BDA has requested the public to apply to the Public Information Officer concerned for information under the Right to Information Act.

Jairaj, mayor on collision course over hoardings

Jairaj, mayor on collision course over hoardings
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: Commissioner of the Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP), K Jairaj, seems to be heading for a conflict with the elected representatives on the issue of hoardings.

Jairaj declared on Tuesday that all hoardings must get their licences renewed by Friday, otherwise they would be pulled own. This decision was taken while the committee appointed by the council and headed by mayor Mumtaz Begum had on Thursday instructed officials to renew all legal licences.

"How can we deny renewal of legal licences? The revised rules are not yet in force and under the existing rules, the renewal cannot be denied," Begum said. She said that it would be unfair on the part of BMP to render legal hoardings illegal by denying them renewal.

The commissioner had announced that the new rules would be in force from July 1, which means that they would not apply to renewal applications before that.

The civic body has not removed thousands of illegal hoardings and the commissioner should take action on those, maintained Begum.

Traffic mess continues near schools

Traffic mess continues near schools
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: Cars are parked haphazardly on the road, bringing the heavy flow of traffic to a standstill. Relentless honking and curses rent the air even as a hapless policeman tries to clear the clutter, only resulting in further chaos.

This is the scene near schools in the central business district. Parents of children drop and pick up children by parking their cars on the road, obstructing traffic.

The ‘Safe Route to School’ project initiated by the police department last year was meant to solve this problem. But, parents this year have gone back to their cars. Most parents say it’s not safe to send their children alone.

"We prefer to drop and pick up children on our own, as they are very young. The school does not allow cars in after a certain time. Hence we park outside. This takes just three minutes," a parent said.

The police had identified 16 schools, around which traffic the problem existed. Under the scheme, about 200 metres around schools are no-stoppage zones and children should be provided with transport by the management for which they could use BMTC buses.

When the scheme was introduced, parents had agreed to ‘no stoppage zone’ but objected to sending children by BMTC buses. Besides, most of these schools provide transportation for the children. Baldwin Boys High School has seven buses operating from different routes in the city.

Principal of Baldwin Boy High School Dinakar Wilson said: "When the scheme was introduced, we tried to convince parents about using BMTC buses but received a poor response."

Principal of St Ann’s High School T Balakrishna said: "Parents felt the behaviour of BMTC drivers and conductors was not good. Moreover, the school bus will pick up and drop children safely."

Some schools allow cars inside the premises. In Bishop Cotton Boys School, cars are let in from one gate and the let out from another.

Former principal of the school A Ebenezer said schools do not allow cars inside after a certain time.

"As a result, parents stop the car outside the school for a few minutes. This is enough to create traffic jams," he said.

DCP Traffic (East) M A Saleem said the purpose of the scheme was to make children use mass transport, including school buses, vans and BMTC buses.

"We have trained drivers of school-owned buses and vans. Nearly 145 drivers took part in this training programme. By July 1, we are planning to complete the training for 210 BMTC drivers hired by the schools," he said.

"Effective traffic management and educating parents is the solution," added Ebenezer.

Royals willing to give up Palace land

Royals willing to give up Palace land
The Times of India

Bangalore: The royal family of Mysore has volunteered to surrender portions of its land at the Palace Grounds for road-widening works.

In a press release, the daughters of late Maharaja Jayachamarajendra Wadiyar — Princesses Meenakshi Devi, Kamakshi Devi, Indirakshi Devi and Vishalakshi Devi — have offered to surrender the required extent of land to the government and BMP. The announcement was spurred by media reports of widening of 12 city roads invoking the provisions of TDR (Transferable Development Rights).

For the purpose of road-widening to tackle traffic chaos, the BMP requires 30 metres of land on Bellary Road, a huge chunk of which are the Palace Grounds. The release states: “It is axiomatic to presume that any widening of Bellary Road/Ramana Maharshi Road can only be achieved by acquiring part of the Bangalore Palace property to the extent required. We will be extremely happy if the BMP issues the necessary TDR certificate in our favour as assured by the chief minister.’’

The family says the TDR, which will be issued by the BMP in lieu of the land surrendered for widening of Bellary Road, will be used to construct a monument like the World Trade Centre in memory of the late Jayachamarajendra Wadiyar.

However, the press release rakes up another long-pending issue. “We also take the opportunity to once again bring to the government’s notice the offer made by us recently to settle out-of-court the long-pending legal imbroglio connected with acquisition of Palace Grounds belonging to us.’’

Family member Chaduranga Kantharaj Urs explained that the issue was the government’s proposed acquisition of 472 acres of Palace Grounds, of which 140 acres belong to the sisters.

Accident triggers violence on Hosur Road

Accident triggers violence on Hosur Road
The Times of India

Bangalore: The traffic jam-stricken Hosur Road had more trouble in store on Wednesday. Vehicles were stranded on Hosur Road and around Electronics City when a road accident turned violent.

Angry locals pelted stones at a private bus and torched it, after it fatally knocked down a woman riding pillion on a motorcycle. Traffic piled up on either side of Electronics City for nearly two hours before the damaged bus were cleared.

Around 2.30 pm, Vimala was returning with her husband, Arun Kumar, residents of Ulsoor, after a cardiac check-up for their child at a hospital off NH-7. A private bus knocked down the vehicle from behind and the woman was run over near Hosa Road junction. Kumar and their child escaped. The driver, however, fled the scene.

Within minutes, irate locals pelted stones at the bus after the passengers got off. Locals shouted slogans against authorities for inaction over regulating traffic on the busy stretch. The situation turned volatile when some miscreants attacked other buses and set fire to the bus that knocked down the two-wheeler. The few cops at the junction stood mute spectators till reinforcements arrived.

The angry mob resisted police from clearing the damaged bus forcing the latter to resort to lathicharge. After the crowd dispersed, it took nearly an hour to tow away the damaged bus.

VC seeks support to protect greenery on varsity campus

VC seeks support to protect greenery on varsity campus

The Hindu

Minister expresses concern over disappearance of birds

Bangalore: Bangalore University has made efforts to protect the trees on its campus and the students' initiative was important in conserving natural resources, which were depleting, Vice-Chancellor H.A. Ranganath said here on Wednesday.

"We need the support of the State Government and the academics in the university to take up more such programmes for conserving the environment," the Vice-Chancellor said at the "Environ Fest" organised by the Environmental Science Department of Bangalore University as part of the World Environment Day celebrations.

Minister for Higher Education D.H. Shankarmurthy said birds around the city had almost disappeared today. "Without realising that our overexploitation of nature will result in scarcity of natural resources for the future generation, we have been exploiting it' mindlessly," he said. Later he presented the Parisara Ratna awards to B.G Sudha, Dean of Education, Bangalore University, and B.N. Ramaiah, General Manager, State Bank of Mysore.

BMP's new by-laws for hoardings from July 1

BMP's new by-laws for hoardings from July 1
The Hindu

We will do everything possible to regulate the system: Jairaj

# The proposal to ban hoardings dropped
# Hoardings not allowed in the setback of the buildings
# Genuine advertisers to be given a month's time to renew licence
# BMP's annual revenue to be doubled from the present Rs. 5 crore

BANGALORE: After several unsuccessful attempts to check "visual pollution" and illegal hoardings, Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP) is set to introduce new advertisement by-laws from July 1.

Thus the proposal to ban hoardings, which was included in the BMP budget for 2006-07, has been dropped. With the annual licence for most commercial hoardings expiring on July 1, the BMP has decided to implement new advertising by-laws.

"We will ensure that the new rules are followed by all bona fide advertisers from July 1. We will do everything possible to regulate the system," BMP Commissioner K. Jairaj said on Wednesday.

"While unauthorised hoardings will be pulled down from July 1, genuine advertisers whose licence has expired will be given a month to get renewal. This apart, attempts will be made to get stays obtained by various outdoor advertisers vacated," Mr. Jairaj said.

The sub-committee set up by BMP Council to study the pros and cons of banning hoardings has expressed the same view. The committee members, who met on Wednesday, asked the Commissioner to ensure that all new hoardings permitted after July 1 are based on new rules.

While the officials are confident that the present annual advertisement revenue of over Rs. 5 crore can be doubled, corporators feel there is potential for more than that.

New by-laws

The new by-laws comprise rules for hoarding specifications, location of display, pricing slab, and height restrictions.

While some roads including Mahatma Gandhi Road, Brigade Road, Residency Road, Raj Bhavan Road and Vidhana Veedhi will be made "hoarding-free zones", hoardings will be strictly banned on the setback area of any building.

Mr. Jairaj told The Hindu that the city would be categorised into different zones.

"While the core area will be hoarding-free, a permitted area will have hoardings of 12 x 24 feet size.

"Another area will be earmarked for slightly bigger hoardings," the Commissioner said.

The new by-laws had provisions for permitting light electronic display screens, neon and glow signboards, which were not allowed in the present by-laws, he added.

B`lore grappling with power cuts

B`lore grappling with power cuts
Power situation worsens as distribution companies default
Business Standard

Though reservoirs in Karnataka are nearly full owing to copious rains, the entire state, including Bangalore, is grappling with unscheduled power cuts everyday.

The reason: Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation Limited (KPTCL) and five electricity supply companies (Escoms), which purchase power from the Karnataka Power Corporation Ltd (KPCL), have not paid their dues. Besides, transmission and distribution losses are mounting by the day.

The KPCL supplies nearly 60 per cent of the power consumed (4,989 Mw) in the state while the central allocation is 1,070 Mw.

However, for the last two months, KPCL has been forced to make intermittent cuts in power supply to the KPTCL and the five Escoms – Bangalore Escom, Mangalore Escom, Gulbarga Escom, Hubli-Dharwad Escom and Chamundeshwari Escom (for Mysore region) – due to the non-payment of dues.

The non-payment of dues have hit power generation at KPCL's coal-based units. The worst affected is the Raichur Thermal Power Station (RTPS) since cash shortage from the non-payment of dues is affecting coal purchase.

“We supply power to KPTCL and the Escoms at the rate of Rs 1.40 per unit. But they are clearing the dues in installments. If the government does not direct KPTCL and Escoms to clear the dues at the earliest, the situation will only get worse,” a top KPCL official told Business Standard.

KPCL earns an annual revenue of Rs 1,600 crore per year, but its dues from KPTCL and the Escoms have reached Rs 2,800 crore. Besides, the dues are increasing every year by Rs 500 crore-Rs 600 crore as the Escoms are able to pay only about 75 per cent of the billed amount.

The dues, which were around Rs 1,555 crore in 2004, grew to Rs 2,102 crore in 2005. Now, it has reached Rs 2,800 crore.

"Till now, we managed our operations by raising loans at low interest rates. But financial institutions have warned us about the increasing dues, which have surpassed the revenue. It might not be possible for us to raise fresh loans. We may have to cut power generation, which will eventually hit the consumers," he pointed out.

Another worrying factor is the increasing transmission and distribution losses. Though the Karnataka government maintains that transmission and distribution losses have been reduced to 27 per cent, in reality, they are much higher.

A recent joint study by Crisil and ICRA revealed that the transmission and distribution losses in Karnataka was between 30 per cent and 40 per cent.

“It is much less in Bangalore as the cables have been laid underground. Power reforms are yet to be implemented in rest of the state,” the official pointed out.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Take a peek, Bangalore is book-ed

Take a peek, Bangalore is book-ed


Bangalore: India's Silicon Valley, garden city , party capital, fashion hub — these are just a few names associated with Bangalore.

Dilip da Cunha and Anuradha Mathur celebrate this multi-layered existence of namma ooru in their book The Deccan Traverses.

"What we have found actually is that a number of artistic and scientific enterprises intersected in Bangalore and each actually revealed its own history. So, it's a kind of multiple history of Bangalore that begins with landscape but then it is also about geology, geography and botany," da Cunha says.

That could sound complicated, but playwright and Jnanpith Award-winner Girish Karnad simplifies and puts it in a nutshell.

"The theme of the book is that there is no one Bangalore. There were many names for the city. There was Chickpet, Fort, Cantonment. Bangalore was different things coming together and then falling apart," Karnad says.

One is left with the feeling of having travelled across time when flipping through the pages of this book because not only has the book traced the roots of the city but it also has pointers about what needs to be done for Bangalore’s development.

In fact, Karanataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy promises to take a leaf out of the book.

"I will try to implement all the useful issues they have written about,”"Kumaraswamy says.

The Deccan Traverses has already covered quite a distance and there is more to come with the Chief Minister promising that all libraries in the state would stock the book.

Footpaths get a green patch

Footpaths get a green patch
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: The idea of terrace gardening is yet to click, but greening the footpaths is under full swing on city outskirts, where the traffic is not much.

These “Green-belts” look like neatly developed gardens. Be it a care for environment or competition with neighbours, City is certainly getting small, but neatly maintained gardens.

In Whitefield, Koramangala, HRBR Layout, HSR Layout and few other areas, many footpaths have been turned into green-paths by the residents themselves. Even individual houses are maintaining such gardens on their own and some of them even planted medicinal plants.

Many of these gardens have ornamental flowers, green plants and lawns. Some of the owners have developed them in “insect friendly manner,” which attracts common insects including butterflies. Some have gone one step ahead to place European style letter boxes.

"When we came to this area, there were already footpaths made into nice gardens. We too followed the same," said Santosh Kumar, resident of Kundanahalli.

"We have planted few common flowering plants, which in turn attract lots of butterflies. Water kept in open and wide plates also attract butterflies," he added.

Urban ecologists, who welcome the initiative of greening the footpaths however suggests that going for indigenous plants will contribute to better environment.

"The fancy grass or shrubs and ornamental plants look neat, but hardly have any impact on the environment. People should plant trees which benefit the nature and the owner in the long run," said Rohan D’Souza from Hasiru Usiru, an eco-group from City.

"Many private developers promise replanting after they chop trees during construction. Later, few imported plants will be planted, which are of no use for this type of vegetation," he added.

You too can go for footpath greening provided Civic authorities don’t dug up the place. Making the stretch green definitely is a better idea.

BMP on love-hate relationship with media

BMP on love-hate relationship with media
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: The public relations officer of Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP) was shunted out last month apparently for not "ensuring" that critical news stories were not written.

And in last two months, the top officials were busy seeking media support by holding the elected body at BMP responsible for all the ills.

Interestingly, in the last two months, the mayor’s office did not send even a single press release but the “media savvy” commissioner was in limelight. And suddenly, the BMP press releases have become unusually witty.

"The flood photograph shows ankle-deep water, not neck-deep trouble," one release stated after the civic body was taken to task for its unpreparedness to handle rain damage.

Curiously even councillors fear to talk critically of BMP officials now. "Whenever we were quoted in the media for criticising Jairaj or his decisions, there were efforts to silence us," said a councillor.

But has Jairaj been busy getting the media in his favour? Has there been an attempt to malign the elected body? Former mayor M Ramachandrappa, who was a mayor during Jairaj’s previous tenure at BMP says that it is the media that should exercise care in such matters.

"While it is not advisable for any official to be hungry for publicity, the media should also be cautious. Publicity gained on the basis of fabricated facts without good performance would soon backfire," he cautioned.

Publicity-mongers are extremely happy with BMP these days - what with closed-door meetings at Urban Health Research Centre and exclusive one-to-one meetings with the top brass of the civic body.

But, Mayor Mumtaz Begum has her reservations. She said: "Going all out to block critical reporting is not done even by the politicians. It is not papers that make or break you, it is your work that matters," she said.

Rally puts brakes on city

Rally puts brakes on city
The Times of India

Bangalore: For the second consecutive day, life was thrown completely out of gear. Office-goers and students alike were stranded for hours, when hundreds of Dalit Sangarha Samiti (DSS) converged at the MG statue on Tuesday. The DSS members were protesting against acquisition of land for NICE’s BMIC project.

Farmers from across the state arrived in droves early in the morning. Tempos and buses that ferried them were parked haphazardly near MG Road and Cubbon Road before police diverted them into Cubbon Park.

Till noon, the protesters crowded the footpath outside Mahatma Gandhi park shouting slogans against NICE. After some local leaders arrived, the entire crowd sat in a dharna at the busy junction, blocking traffic.

Vehicles piled up on MG Road, Kasturba Road, Cubbon Road, Infantry Road and Raj Bhavan Road. An hour later, roads around Vidhana Soudha, KR Circle and Richmond Circle were clogged.

The police, however, were caught off guard having to deal with over 1,000 protesters staging a rasta roko.

To add to the chaos was another protest at Banappa Park near Ulsoor Gate. Two rowdy gangs that clashed near Hudson Circle brought traffic to a grinding halt in the area.

On Monday, protests by members of Karnataka State Government Daily Wage Employees Federation and Kannada Rakhana Vedike had disrupted traffic in many parts of the city.

PM’s praise puts Metro on track

PM’s praise puts Metro on track
The Times of India

Bangalore: The encouraging pat on the back by PM Manmohan Singh has given Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation (BMRC) MD V Madhu reason to smile. “I don’t foresee too many roadblocks now. People who will lose land are bound to be upset. But in greater public interest, one has to sacrifice private interests. However, this will not be done without due compensation,’’ he told TOI at the inauguration of a digital art exhibition on Tuesday.

He added that given the state of crumbling infrastructure in the city, Metro should have ideally kicked off 10 years ago. “I can only hope that we complete on or before time.”

Madhu, who’s studied the Delhi’s Metro closely, said he would be taking a ride on the Kolkata Metro rail soon. “We’ve also been in touch with the Hyderabad Metro rail authorities and we plan to exchange notes on progress.”

Madhu said he would like to interact with officials of the Mumbai Metro as well: “always helps to have a word of advice”.

Rowdies fight in heart of city

Rowdies fight in heart of city
The Times of India

Bangalore: Blood and gore and swish of swords brought central Bangalore to a standstill on Tuesday afternoon. Minutes after rowdy Daulat Khan (30) and his accomplices drove out of a court complex on Nrupathunga Road after being acquitted in a case, their rivals struck with swords and choppers at the busy Hudson Circle junction. The attackers didn’t spare even women.

Khan, his relative Munna, sister-in-law Rakkaiah and some others were near a petrol bunk when the rival gang, in two vehicles, waylaid them. Brandishing swords, the attackers — rowdy Diwan Ali’s henchmen — threw chilli powder at Khan and others in the vehicle. Khan and the others were chased and assaulted. They retaliated with weapons kept in the vehicle, but were overpowered by the rival gang. Onlookers watched in horror.

Policemen deployed at Bannappa Park to maintain order during a protest rushed to the place and averted further attacks. Traffic on many roads around Hudson Circle piled up for over an hour.

The assailants fled, leaving behind their vehicles and weapons. They have been identified as Akbar Ali, Nannu, Saithan Asif, Rafique, Zabi, Suban and Salman. It’s revenge on the streets Rowdy Gang Attacks On The Rise In Bangalore

Bangalore: Tuesday’s clash between rowdy gangs is not a stray incident. In the past few months, at least three persons have been killed in retaliation — rowdy Palani in Hosmat, BSP leader Velu in Frazer Town and underworld don Bekkinkannu Rajendra in High Grounds.

Rowdies Daulat from Yarabnagar in Banashankari and Diwan from BTM Layout are sworn enemies. They had locked horns over taking control of extortion rackets and businesses. For years, they have clashed and even murdered family members and henchmen.

A year ago, Akbar Ali, Diwan Ali’s brother, had foisted an attempt to murder case on Daulath Khan, Munna, Ali and three others with the Thalghatpura police, on the city’s outskirts. Khan and others were out on bail. Some of them appeared before a Fast Track Court on Tuesday, which acquitted them for lack of evidence.

Incidentally, their rival, Diwan Ali, arrested by Banashankari police for the murder of Adil Khan, Munna’s brother, nearly two years ago, had come to the same court for a hearing. Diwan’s accomplices informed him of their rival’s acquittal, which irked their leader. They plotted the attack on Daulath and others.

Munna’s father, Ismail Khan, was also murdered by Diwan’s gang and the case was settled after a compromise. When Adil took over the family business, he became popular. Sensing a threat, Diwan eliminated Adil. When Adil’s family rejected Diwan’s offer for a compromise, the latter foisted an attempt to murder case on Adil’s brother Munna.

How rude are we?

How rude are we?
The TImes of India

When it comes to uncouth motoring on city roads, whether it is dashing youngster or the old, there is no difference.

Honking, rude gestures or verbal insults are the most common forms of road rage experienced by drivers on the road. “It could be because most don’t want to stop to abuse the other driver for bad driving,’’ a police officer said, adding that many prefer to drive on than stop, specially in bumper-to-bumper traffic to take on an errant driver. “Sometimes the driver neglects even a light dent in the vehicle and allows the offender to get away after a verbal abuse. Who would want to get late for office,’’ the officer asked.

According to a recent survey, anti-social behaviour on the roads is so common that around 58% of the drivers had experienced various acts ranging from persistent honking of horns, flashing headlights and rude gestures to physical assault. In India, 29% of the drivers suffer persistent sounding of horns and 27% face persistent flashing headlights while driving as against 14% who face physical assault or use of weapon. The statistics in the US and UK were 14%, 27% and 1% and 36%, 33% and 2% respectively. Among suggestions to check aggressive driving/ road rage: Penalise offenders severely. Enforce laws strictly. Organise awareness programmes for road users — motorists, riders, pedestrians. Improve infrastructure — roads, footpaths, pedestrian crossings, signals, etc.

‘All of us are responsible’

‘All of us are responsible’
The Times of India

After PM Manmohan Singh, it was the turn of home minister M P Prakash to launch a tirade against driving on Bangalore’s roads.

Replying to Basavaraj Rayaraddi (Cong), Prakash maintained that “self control’’ by the public was the only way to police the city roads. “Now everyone can afford big cars — BMWs, Mercedes — but are our roads up to taking them?’’ he said.

Condemning the driving on the city roads as “untrained,’’ Prakash said children younger than 18 years were driving without check. “No one follows rules. About 50% of Karnataka’s vehicles are on Bangalore roads. How can the police control everything? It is up to the public to control themselves,’’ he declared.
Ramesh Kumar (Cong) said said the police and the RTO were equally to blame. “Fitness certificates are given arbitrarily. The racket goes all the way to the top,” he said.

Prakash said training programmes were on and measures like one-ways taken to reduce accidents.

“Accidents have come down in 2006. But I agree that our officials have to take strict measures. We have ended up with contributory negligence, all of us are responsible,’’ he added.


Non-stop honking, jumping lanes and signals, indulging in insults, overtaking from the left, blinding headlights... Rude Bangaloreans seem to have their way. No wonder the PM expressed his rage at our signal lack of traffic manners.

The TImes of India

Riding on Bangalore’s roads is not easy. You negotiate not just unpredictable autorickshaws, overwhelming buses and speeding cars, but also whimsical two-wheelers. Zipping at life-threatening speeds, not for a moment will they give you an inkling from which side they will overtake you.

High-speed two-wheeler riding, particularly bike-riding accounts for a very high rate of fatalities on Bangalore’s roads. Two-wheelers zip past vehicles instilling fear in motorists’ minds. They not only threaten other riders but also put pedestrians at great risk.

Why is two-wheeler riding so aggressive in Bangalore? Bangalore’s youths have a distinct fad for bikes and speed. College-goers particularly love powered bikes to exhibit the nonchalant, macho feel. “We love to ride bikes hard and fast to feel their power. The power is what gives you the kick,” says Raghu, a college student.

Then there are work pressures. There’s pressure on both the young and middle-aged to reach office in time and later, reach home early. “There’s enormous pressure to deliver results on time. Naturally, it creates urgency in your travel. Getting back too late is also a problem. You have to be up and ready next morning. So we ride in a hurry back home,” says Rajan, a techie.

Sales and marketing professionals are particularly under pressure to reach offices in time. “Our only job is to ride and reach. We have to get to clients at the time they fix. There’s naturally pressure on riding,” says Balaji, a medical representative.

And there are also the courier and pizza delivery boys, always in a hurry, who just whizz past you.

The most visible form of highspeed riding on the roads is at the traffic signal: people do not wait for signals to turn green to start off or for the traffic waiting time to turn zero.

On an average, two wheelers and motorists take off five to eight seconds earlier than is the norm on Bangalore roads.

Jayanagar complex in the dark, literally

Jayanagar complex in the dark, literally
Bescom cuts off power after BMP fails to pay bills
The Times of India

Bangalore: Jayanagar’s popular landmark and south Bangalore’s favourite haunt — the 4th Block complex — bore a pall of gloom on Tuesday.
A power cut in the complex slowed down action in the bustling building that is home to 500-odd shops stocking everything under the sun.

The building also houses six government offices, a computerised railway booking centre, south Bangalore’s Regional Transport Office, tutorial centres, restaurants, and even beauty parlours.

Why the shutdown? A long-pending power bill of a whopping Rs 7 lakh. Bescom managing director Gonal Bheemappa said the bill had not been cleared despite repeated reminders, leaving them with no choice but to pull the plug.

The BMP is responsible for collecting individual power bills and pay the full amount. Sources say several offices in the complex had delayed payment to the BMP.

Leaving aside the war-of-words, it wasn’t a cheerful day for the shopkeepers and officegoers working in the complex. Even the two rickety elevators — the sole means of transport between the nine floors for the 1 lakhplus traffic of people — weren’t functioning. The RTO was probably the worst hit. With no power generators, offices on the third, fourth and seventh floors suffered since the employees had to commute between the floors. Needless to add, the computer systems in officers did not function too.

Frequent power cuts have known to plague the complex and for the shopkeepers, the solution was generator sets. Each shop has acquired its own generator and since most of them run on kerosene, the result was a din of buzzing motors and air that loaded with carbon monoxide.

No wonder, the BMP rushed with the payment and cleared the dues by afternoon. And by around 8 pm, power was restored to the complex.

Jayanagar corporator N Nagaraj had told TOI earlier that the complex will invest Rs 50 lakh for a new generator system, where each floor will be able to draw power collectively.
But until that comes about, the complex has pay up its power bills on time.

BMP racing against deadline to spruce up SJP

BMP racing against deadline to spruce up SJP
Deccan Herald

Come August 15, a walk to the Silver Jubilee Park (SJP) in the rain could be a joy. A concrete pavement from the Town Hall traffic signal will lead you into a ‘rejuvenated’ Park, free from stench and waterlogging. But all this, only if the Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP) can pull it off as planned.

“A face-lift to the SJ Park, concrete pavements, a Nirmala toilet on SPJ road and reconstruction of three stormwater drains inside the park will be in place before the deadline,” said BMP Commissioner K Jairaj, on Tuesday, during his surprise visit to SJP and Freedom Park. To expedite the concrete laying work at SPJ road, the BMP Commissioner has sought assistance of the DCP Traffic for traffic diversion.

Meanwhile, the BMP will join hands with the police department for greening the available space near Hotel Chandramohan and the median under the flyover. SKR Market will also get a new look as the flower vending activity will be channelised. Reviewing the progress on the Freedom Park, the Commissioner hoped to see the work progress as per the revised drawings, by July 5.

Debris dumping still haunting BMP

Debris dumping still haunting BMP
Deccan Herald

Dumping debris on footpaths, drains and storm water drains, parks, vacant plots is a growing menace in the city. Even hefty penalties are not serving as deterrent, say BMP officials. A team headed by the chief engineer (South) detected four cases in Wards 34, 36, 50 and 55 A on Monday and imposed a penalty of Rs 30,080. “We have been constantly reminding the citizens not to dump debris on public property. Even after creating debris collection points, the menace continues. But we may be forced to take stringent action,” they added.

On Tuesday, the Commissioner ordered the removal of material dumped near Anandrao Circle fly-over on Seshadri Road.

Time to bid adieu to unauthorised hoardings ?

Time to bid adieu to unauthorised hoardings ?
Deccan Herald

June 30, 2006, will be a decisive day for BMP. The cash-strapped civic body is at its own free will to pull down unauthorised hoardings dotting the city’s landscape. The year-long license period for commercial hoardings expires on July 1.

“It’s about time we tackled the menace of unauthorised hoardings,” said BMP Commissioner K Jairaj, adding that strict action will be initiated against illegal hoardings from July 1. “Thirty days’ time will be given to renew the licenses for unauthorised hoardings,” he added, while the huge backlog of court cases pertaining to hoardings is also a cause for worry..

Growing litigations, lapses in vigilance and inadequate byelaws (formed in 1956), have been major hurdles, according to Mayor Mumtaz Begum, who had recently inspected Koramangala to assess the extent of the menace.

While leader of the Opposition in BMP B R Nanjundappa felt that at least the violations in size had to be dealt with seriously. But the councillors are mooting for the implementation of a new ‘Advertisement byelaws 2006’, which is still on the discussion table. “The new byelaw can set new aesthetic standards for display of hoardings and at the same time augment revenue,” say councillors.

Commercial hoardings - 1,113.

Unauthorised - not mapped.

Hoardings under Stay - 683.

Expiry date for license period : July 1, 2006.

Rally throws traffic out of gear

Rally throws traffic out of gear
Deccan Herald

The traffic police had a tough time for nearly two hours in and around M G Road when thousands of Dalita Sangharasha Samithi and Raitha Bhurakshana Horata Samithi members protested against land acquired for Bangalore Mysore Infrastructure Corridor Project on Tuesday.

Prominent activists who spoke on the occasion alleged that land belonging to Dalits and downtrodden, government property comprising tanks, cattle grazing lands, burial grounds had been acquired for the project. They alleged that BMIC developer NICE had not started construction of the toll-road from Mysore side.

Home Minister M P Prakash arrived at the Gandhi Statue on M G Road and received the memorandum. Traffic movement on Residency road, Kamaraj road, Cubbon Road, Lavelle Road, Vittal Mallya Road, Queen’s Road was also affected for a few hours.

BangaloreOne yet to deliver on promises

BangaloreOne yet to deliver on promises
Deccan Herald

It has been over a year since BangaloreOne set shop as a one-stop billing centre for public utilities, but it is yet to deliver on its promises.

Some of the high demand services, like issue of katha certificates and renewal of passport, are still not available at the centres. Though payment of Bescom and BWSSB bills are accepted, the statement of accounts for the same are not provided. Similarly, while payment of property tax for residential properties is accepted, property tax for commercial properties is not collected.

“We have many people coming in for payment of bills and purchase of passport applications. However, there are a few services that are listed, but not yet provided for. These are under discussion and they will be given soon,” said Santosh, manager of the Jayanagar centre.

Customers in sync

While all 14 centres have seen a phenomenal rise in customers over the year, the busiest seem to be the branches at Airport Road, JP Nagar, Malleswaram and Rajajinagar, which cater to up to 1000 customers a day.

As for customers, most seemed satisfied with the services, but were nonetheless expecting more out of these centres. “We want BangaloreOne to provide facilities for sale of stamp papers of lower denomination between Rs 5 to Rs 200 and income tax return forms. There should also be a one window collection point for taxes like sales tax and professional tax,” said Syed Aleem, a resident of Jayanagar.

“The centres collect cash only between 8 am to 8 pm, they accept debit or credit cards during late hours. This can sometimes pose a problem. I feel they should accept both cash and card at all times,’ suggested Neha, an engineering student.

“The centres assist in renewal of learner’s licence, but not of driving licence. Perhaps this service can reduce our burden of going to RTO offices,” added Sanjay Rao from Basavanagudi.

BMTC passes shortly

Bangalore One is planning to issue BMTC bus passe in a month’s time. Even collection of Airtel bills will be provided soon. The centres already accept payment of Tata Indicom, Reliance and Spice bills.


BESCOM: Statement of account for electricity bills

BWSSB: Statement of account for water bills

Bangalore Police: Collection of challans

RTO: Collection of road tax for transport vehicle, Payment against RTO challan.

Work on Arkavathy Layout to begin in 10 days

Work on Arkavathy Layout to begin in 10 days

The Hindu

The BDA has allotted 7,003 sites in the second phase of allotment

# The BDA distributed 1,810 sites in the first phase of allotment
# Twenty-two contractors worked on developing civil works during the first phase
# Of the 2,750 acres notified for the layout, nearly 748 acres were in dispute
# The BDA, at a board meeting, decided to exempt 140 acres that was under dispute

BANGALORE: After stoppage of civil work in Arkavathy Layout for the past six months, work is all set to begin within 10 days, according to Muniswamy, Executive Engineer of the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA).

The BDA over the past few days allotted 7,003 sites in the second phase of allotment for the layout. In the first phase of allotment, the BDA distributed 1,810 sites.

"We have asked the contractors who worked on the first phase of Arkavathy Layout whether they will continue on the project, otherwise, we will call for other contractors," Mr. Muniswamy said. Twenty-two contractors worked on developing civil works in the 22 packages during the first phase of the layout.

A decision on the contractors is likely to be taken when the BDA board meets this week. "It will be taken up and decided at the meeting," he said.

All civil work on the layout came to a standstill in February 2005 because landowners questioned the BDA's power to acquire land and the process by which it did so. A single judge order in May quashed the acquisition of land for the layout. Immediately after this, some agitated landowners and farmers allegedly looted material worth Rs. 10 crore from the area.

The BDA was planning to start some of the civil works in November after the High Court cleared the project. However, it was not able to convince the contractors to work on the project at that point of time. As the areas that were under litigation were distributed throughout the layout area, the contractors said they did not get a clear picture of the lands that would finally be available to them. Of the 2,750 acres notified for the layout, nearly 748 acres were in dispute.

A month ago, the BDA, at a board meeting, decided to exempt 140 acres that was under dispute. Now that the plan of the layout had emerged, the BDA was planning to start the civil works once again.

Engineers in the BDA said the contractors would first work on re-doing some of the civil works in the first phase of the layout. "Some of the roads have to be re-laid and the area has to be weeded," says Mr. Muniswamy. After that, the BDA says that it would take up civil works in the second phase of the layout.

KLAC directed to finish SJP road work

KLAC directed to finish SJP road work
Vijay Times

BANGALORE Mahanagara Palike (BMP) commissioner K Jairaj has directed the Karnataka Land Army Corporation (KLAC) to complete the work of concreting the Silver Jubilee Park (SJP) Road by August 15.

The commissioner promised that S K Market would be completely renovated by August 15.

An official release stated that Jairaj, after a surprise inspection of Freedom Park and SJP Road on Tuesday, directed the officials concerned to expedite the works of constructing Nirmala toilets on SJP Road and rejuvenating the SJP park by August 15.

The BMP has urged the traffic police to divert the flow of traffic on SJP Road to enable them to expedite works.

The other works that would be taken up would include the reconstruction of three drains near the City Market, providing a concrete pavement from SJP Road up to the Town Hall signal, and greening the medians under Sirsi Circle flyover. After a visit to the Freedom Park, the commissioner directed officials to develop the park as per revised drawings. Additional works that had to be taken up would have to be submitted to him by July 5, he said.

He directed the BMP officials to provide the actual rate of the project as per the tender conditions by July 15. He also wanted the monthly cash flow to be estimated and communicated to the BMP Chief Accounts Officer (CAO) to ensure timely payment.

To avoid inconvenience to motorists, he directed the officials to clear the materials dumped near Ananda Rao Circle flyover on Seshadri Road.

Traffic diversion on Varthur road

Traffic diversion on Varthur road


Bangalore: Traffic movement on Varthur road has been diverted from Wednesday due to an ongoing construction of Munekolala Railway overbridge.

Private vehicles including buses, tempo travellers, maxi cabs and other goods vehicles and company vehicles coming from Varthur Road towards the city have to take a right turn at Kundalahalli gate and travel on Mahadevapura Main road to reach Sarjapur via outer ring road. However, BMTC buses cars and twowheelers can take the regular route.

4 Vehicles coming from ITPL towards the city ( except BMTC, cars and twowheelers) have to take a right turn at Graphite India Circle to go to Mahadevapura main road and reach Sarjapura via outer ring road.

4 Vehicles coming from Varthur can move on outer ring road to reach Mahadevapura main road to take ITPL and Varthur routes.

4 Vehicles coming from Marathhalli can take a left turn at Marathalli bridge to reach outer ring road and move towards Mahadevapura main road, ITPL and Varthur road.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Shivajinagar subway shut after vandal menace

Shivajinagar subway shut after vandal menace
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: The menace of anti-social elements has forced the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) to close the Shivajinagar subway. BMTC sources told this this website's newspaper that the nuisance was beyond its control and the police.

The subway was part of the renovation work of Shivajinagar bus terminus taken up a few years ago. The underground facility was to facilitate pedestrian movement across the road from the bus terminus.

However, the people opine that there was no need of the subway to the narrow street and hence, pedestrians do not use the subway to cross the road.

The subway became a nuisance since the time it was built as it was taken over by anti-social elements. The terminus, which sees over three lakh commuters a day, is patrolled by only two policemen at any given time.

BMTC was even considering setting up illuminated kiosks to attract pedestrians, but later dropped the idea. The gate, which is closed, comes under the Commercial Street police station limits.

According to police, the BMTC has closed the shutters to avoid the nuisance created by some miscreants. They also told this this website's newspaper that the place was rendered dirty by miscreants.

But, the police still maintain that the entrance is open during the day, which vendors near the subway deny.

CM directs BMP to widen 95 roads

CM directs BMP to widen 95 roads
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: In a move to ease traffic congestion in the city, Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy has directed the Bangalore Mahanagara Palike to take up widening of 95 roads.

The Chief Minister told reporters after a review meeting with Mayor Mumtaz Begaum, Deputy Mayor Lakshminarayan, Health and Family Welfare Minister R Ashok and other senior officials of the urban development department that in the first phase, 12 roads will be taken up for widening.

They include: Palace Road, Bellary Road, Nrupatunga Road, Devanga Hostel Road, Hosur Road, Lashker Road, Agara Road, Airport Road, Cottonpet Main Road and Sheshadri Road.

Kumaraswamy said civic agencies like BESCOM, BMP, police and BWSSB have been asked to co-ordinate and take up the road widening programme. He said the BMP has been directed to call tenders for the first phase in the next couple of days and complete the road works by the end of this year.

According him, the BCC will take up widening of 20 roads in the second phase.

To take up widening of 95 roads, the government has to acquire around 38 per cent of its own lands, 24 per cent of defence lands and 13 per cent of Central lands. The remaining 25 per cent of private lands will be purchased at market rates, the Chief Minister said.

Three hospitals to be upgraded

Kumaraswamy said three government hospitals in the city will be upgraded with latest facilities at an estimated cost of Rs 150 crore.

Kumaraswamy told reporters after a review meeting with PWD officials that the government was planning to upgrade Bowring, Victoria and Vani Vilas Hospitals. He said new structures will also be added at these three hospitals to house more patients.

PWD Minister H D Revanna was also present.

New roads to ease traffic congestion in City

New roads to ease traffic congestion in City
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: In the next two years, Bangalore will have international standard expressways, as the solution for present traffic chaos. Every year, five lakh new vehicles are added in Bangalore and the present roads are bearing tremendous pressure of nearly 26 lakh vehicles.

Thankfully, new roads are all set to ease the strain on roads. Crores of money is being invested and most of the roads leading from Bangalore are getting widened under many projects taken up by the State and Central governments.

All major roads to IT hubs are being upgraded to the national highway standard. More flyovers, underpasses and road widening activities are underway and with Metro project the City might boast of smooth traffic flow in the coming years.

Work on the nine-kilometre elevated expressway between the Silk Board junction and Electronic City is under progress and is expected to be completed next year. The road is estimated to cut down the present travel time of 70 minutes to merely 10 minutes.

The complete Excess Controlled Expressway will have four lanes on the top and ten lanes down, including two service lanes on each side. Altogether, 14 lanes will operate and the work will begin soon.

The ongoing Bangalore-Mysore Infrastructure Corridor project will also help ease the city traffic as the phase-1 of the project consists of 41 km of peripheral road (75 meters width) connecting NH 7 - Hosur Road, near electronic city to NH 4 - Tumkur Road (near Peenya industrial area), 9.1 km of Link Road and 12 km of Expressway connecting the first township - the corporate centre near Bidadi. The phase-1 of the project is expected to be inaugurated by August 15, this year.

The inner core ring road, which was proposed as part of the City Development Strategy Plan will also be a reality in a few years. The 30-km long road will now be changed as the elevated inner core ring road.

Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP) too is in action as it has prepared a plan to widen 90 major arterial roads to 30 metre to accommodate six-lane traffic.

Mid-Day Bangalore from June 27

Mid-Day Bangalore from June 27
Television Point

Mid-Day Multimedia, which publishes Mid-Day, the leading afternoon tabloid of Mumbai, will launch its Bangalore edition on June 27, 2006, as Mid Day is out to celebrate its 27th anniversary on this day. Also a great treat for Mumbaikars as they can look forward to a 264 page special issue to mark this special occasion, Moreover, Mid Day is also launching its E-paper from tomorrow.

Mid Day Bangalore is priced at Rs 2 compared to the Mumbai edition, which is priced at Rs 3, the group is initially targeting a circulation of 50,000 in the Karnataka capital. Sundar Kondur is the Publisher of Mid-Day Bangalore, while Anil Thakraney, who has worked with some of the leading advertising agencies of the country, such as O&M, JWT and Lowe, is the editor of the Bangalore edition.

The popular supplements of the Mumbai edition such as Hit List and Your Life are also the part of the Bangalore edition as well. As per the marketing and promotion of the tabloid is concerned, it rely's largely on outdoor, radio and below the line activities.

Mid-Day has earlier announced taking the tabloid to other cities, which is crystallizing and the first launch will be in Bangalore. Mid-Day Bangalore will be on the similar lines of Mumbai edition and will include the popular supplements Hit List and Your Life, apart from the rich core content.

Rallies in park? Not yet

Rallies in park? Not yet
The Times of India

Bangalore: How can they break free alongside a landscaped garden, what if they throw stones at the touchscreen info kiosks? What if a 25-acre park is destroyed in an hour’s mob work?

This is the government’s dilemma over earmarking five acres of land at the erstwhile Central Jail which is supposed to metamorphose into the Freedom Park.

Chief minister H D Kumaraswamy told The Times of India: “I am aware that whenever some persons take to agitations and rallies, citizens of Bangalore are put to a lot of hardships. The five acres of land at the former Central Jail can’t be left just like that. In a few weeks’ time, we will resolve this problem.’’

The Dharam Singh-led government had taken a decision on setting aside five acres of the expanse of 23 acres of land at the proposed Freedom Park, singularly for the purpose of rallies, demonstrations, protests et al. The government then approved the original design prepared by architects Nisha Ghosh and Mathew which had not taken into account the land to be marked out for rallies.

Explains BMP commissioner K Jairaj: “We have two options with us now. Either we have an insulated place, cordoned off from the rest of the park, so that we can have an underground car park at the very area meant for agitations. Or, we will request the government not to use this land in Freedom Park premises for agitations.’’ When the plan of having a segregated space for rallies was announced, it spelt a breather for citizens. It meant that the rest of office-going busy Bangaloreans did not have to put up with endless traffic jams.

Except this hitch which hit implementing agencies — what if the protesters go berserk, what if there is a contingency like a stampede?

As for work at the ground level, authorities have completed a grid survey and ground level transfer of pillars and identified the portion that will be landscaped. The Hyde park-like protest
area will be situated behind the barracks. A portion of land adjacent to Subedar Chatram Road is slated to be used for parking purposes. The BMP is undecided if it would be a multi-level car park or have a basement parking.
Till the government makes up its mind, rallies in arterial roads, with people milling about disrupting peak hour traffic, will continue to be an everyday affair.

Coffee bars not on BMP menu

Coffee bars not on BMP menu
Cites Encroachment, Closes Outdoor Outlets
The Times of India

Bangalore: Are young coffee addicts suffering from withdrawal symptoms? With the BMP closing down their fave outdoor coffee bars, the young and bubbly are going to miss that cuppa over a chat session. Barista on MG Road and Cafe Coffee Day outlets are out.

BMP DC (East) Jayaram said about the closure: “The outlets are occupying setback area. It is an encroachment. The open-air facility is also not in line with the original building plan.’’

But why the drive all of a sudden? Jayaram said: “We are carrying out a massive drive against encroachments all over the city and as part of that larger drive, we took action against these outlets.”

Though another official echoed Jayaram’s words, he, however, acknowledged that the action was sudden. “It is true they have been operating all these years. But we had to do it as part of a larger drive. Chikungunya is also spreading because other outlets are causing problems. So, we had to act in totality.”

Said Jayaram: “We don’t take into consideration factors such as popularity of the outlets or revenue loss or gain while acting against encroachments. We are executing a uniform policy against all open-air outlets that occupy the setback area.’’

The BMP has been strict against other encroachments too. It has taken action against a bakery in Koramangala, a fish outlet on Hosur main road and is set to act against outlets in Cole’s Park. One official said: “We are receiving complaints from Koramangala residents. Many residential buildings are turning commercial there. We have to act against them too.”

Barista CEO Partha Datta Gupta said the action would definitely hurt the coffee chain. “But we will work within the ambit of law. We are in talks with authorities to see how best we can understand the by-laws and what we can do to get the outlet going again. We would like to restore it, but only after consultation with authorities.”

A Cafe Coffee Day spokesperson said the chain is also in talks with authorities on definitions of temporary and permanent structures. “We will definitely comply with the law and we are examining the relevant clauses. We are hopeful of restoring the unit with new landscaping in 15 to 20 days.”

Rahul, a coffee lover in the city, captures the spirit of the bars: “Bangalore may have just a few outdoor cafes to chill out but they give the city an international feel. Good capuccino in vintage Bangalore evening weather is what we want, not legalities.’’

Science in a TAILSPIN

Science in a TAILSPIN
Bangalore’s IT sector and the specialised research centres in Pune and Hyderabad are chipping away at its status as Science City
The Times of India

Can Bangalore hold on to the tag of Science City? It could, but the city is under pressure to do so for two reasons. Firstly, the emergence of Information Technology is threatening to overshadow its Science City status. Secondly, Pune and Hyderabad are emerging as premier science hubs in central and southern India.

In the last 10 years, IT has grown institutionally in the form of private companies and research labs and is the premier export product of the state at 37%. Science has remained the same with no increase in the number of research institutions. The present number is, however, relatively high compared to other cities. “IT in Bangalore is drawing young science researchers and even faculty away from the sciences, not due to innovative research possibilities in IT, but due to an exponential monetary component, a five-fold return over what science can offer,” says Jayant Haritsa, asst professor, Indian Institute of Science.

Bangalore is also facing stiff competition from centres of focused research in Pune and Hyderabad. Not only has the number of science institutions in the two cities gone up in the last decade, highly specialised research centres are taking root. “No new institutions have cropped up in Bangalore. There is a general feeling that Bangalore is saturated. The state is also not proactive in science. On the other hand, AP has been very proactive in science, more open. And Pune’s industrial core is attracting institutions,” says Prof G Padmanabhan, former IISc director.

Moreover, the linkages between IISc and institutions like National Aerospace Laboratories and Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd that grew out of IISc need to be refreshed and renewed. “At one point, IISc was the fulcrum of all R&D in Bangalore. Is it a fulcrum now? More needs to be done,” Padmanabhan says.

While Pune and Hyderabad are closing in, Delhi and Kolkata historically have had a great number of science institutions. Delhi has more institutions than Bangalore and Kolkata has been a traditional science centre.
“Bangalore is certainly under pressure to hold on to its tag of Science City, but as a research place it still holds an edge over other cities in the country,” says Prof Padmanabhan.

Bangalore, he observes, fortunately has a rich research and academic culture free of politics unlike Delhi. The number of publications that come out of IISc is still the highest in the country compared to any other institution; IISc is four to five times larger than any other research institute in terms of researchers, faculty and funding. Bangalore also offers the opportunity for networking across disciplines owing to a large number on offer at one place — IISc. And finally, even while linkages may be weak now, opportunity always exists for science to strengthen bonds with the wide range of space and defence research institutions located in Bangalore.

“The quality of science in general in the country has to improve, when compared to international standards. Nevertheless, Bangalore attracts the best because only the best come to IISc while in Hyderabad and Pune, there are individual, isolated cases of brilliance. Research there is focused, but it is only that specialised and isolated. Where is the generic cross-discipline variety that Bangalore offers? Of course, even at IISc, the quality of doctorate students has to go up drastically. If quality has to improve even at IISc, you can imagine the status in other cities,” says Praveen Grama, a former research student at IISc.

Bangalore has an edge but a precarious one — the number of its institutions may not be growing, but is certainly higher than what Pune and Hyderabad have. But are numbers alone enough to help it retain the tag of Science City?


Life Sciences is doing very well in terms of projects, students and funding.The shift to Life Sciences and genetic engineering in the latter part of the 20th century across countries has been a boon. There is a lot of focus on drug research, agriculture, health, food security and bio-based technologies Bio-tech research is thriving. Space, aviation and aerospace research with plenty of tie-ups, funding and projects Computer sciences are seeing a good number of private hi-tech research labs Mathematics is increasingly doing well in financial services, security issues and is beginning to make a dent in neurosciences Chemistry is playing a major role in drug and pharma research


Gradual shift in basic research towards application-oriented research in the last 10 years, even at places like IISc Engineering sciences increasingly becoming the focus of students owing to industry-linkages Basic sciences research remains high, but employment, output and industry linkages low Fund flow to basic research is good, but there’s an increasing emphasis on application value of projects and application-based projects Fund flow to engineering sciences good and it comes from diverse sources compared to the basic research funding that comes largely from the government