Monday, July 31, 2006

BMP forcibly rams underpass down Malleswaram's throat

Malleswaram underpass work starts
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: On Sunday morning, the residents and shopkeepers of Malleswaram 5th Cross, had a shock when they saw local MLA N Seetharam performing ‘bhoomi pooja’ for the underpass.

Even after repeated assurances from the policy makers to halt the project, which according to residents is ‘not at all necessary’, Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP) quietly moved ahead with digging work near Geetanjali theatre.

An year ago, the BMP had planned an underpass between Malleswaram 5th Cross to Link Road. But the locals are opposing it ever since it was planned.

Recently, Malleswaram residents and shop owners even observed bandh. Memorandums were also submitted to Chief Minister and concerned authorities opposing the project.

“But, all in vain,’’ says N Venkatesh, member of Malleswaram Swabhimana Initiative. ‘‘We have been running from pillar to post against the project since it has more demerits than benefits,’’ he said.

“The design of the underpass is unscientific. As per the specifications of Indian National Road Congress, the width of any four-lane underpass should be 120 feet. But, here at the entry at K C General Hospital the road width is only 80 feet. Moreover, after the pass, one has to take a sharp turn at the Link Road, where the present road width is only 30 feet,’’ Venkatesh added.

However, the BMP Commissioner K Jairaj clarified that the project was taken up after thorough research and work would be continued.

About the opposition from the residents for the project, he said: ‘‘I have told the residents to consult the Chief Engineer and sort out the problems. The project is required and would be completed soon.’’

The proposed underpass also poses threat of making Margosa road a dead end. The traffic will be then diverted through 4th main, which has many schools and residences once the underpass is operational. Since the entrance of K C General Hospital will be blocked, people will have to reach hospital by smaller service road. Pedestrians too have to suffer as only five feet wide footpath will be provided on the either side of the underpass.

The new underpass will also cause dent in the green cover of Malleswaram. About 91 trees will be uprooted to accommodate the new underpass.

‘‘Most of the trees are fully grown and uprooting them would cause a adverse effect on environment,’’ said Rohan D’Souza, member of ‘Hasiru Usiru’ which conducted the survey on the project.

Underpass opens today

Underpass opens today
The Times of India

Bangalore: Chief minister H D Kumaraswamy will inaugurate the grade separator at BTM Layout junction on Monday. The project executed by BDA at a cost of Rs 24 crore has three levels - flyover, underpass and grade which connects Bannerghatta Road, Dairy Circle, BTM Layout Road and Ring Road.
The project which began in February 2003 was delayed as the BDA and the contractor were at loggerheads but the matter was settled in court. The project will ease the traffic chaos on the ring road and adjacent roads.

Underpass for Malleswaram?

Underpass for Malleswaram?
Citizens Chart Alternate Route,Authorities Refuse Approval
The Times of India

Bangalore: It’s the case of the proposed flyover at Ramakrishna Ashram, repeating all over again. This time at Malleswaram.
Residents are fuming over the proposed construction of an underpass and having approached everybody from the local corporator to the chief minister H D Kumaraswamy, they have even come up with a solution — an alternate route.

The proposed route is from Malleswaram Circle, Mohammaden Block up to Geetanjali theatre circle. Residents under the aegis of various organisations have come up with an alternate route — Jakkarayanakere connecting Krishna Flour Mills to Srirampuram bridge, which in turn connects 8th Main.

Explains Vijay Kumar Misra, member of Malleswaram Swabhimana Initiative, “Malleswaram is like a heritage area, it is one of the oldest areas in the city. The project will will ruthlessly chop over 150 trees. This area’s claim to fame is its green canopy. With the alternate route, vehicles going towards Yeshwantpur or Majestic can avoid Malleswaram, thus reducing traffic blocks.”

For the record, the underpass has been on paper in BMP’s budget books for the last three years. When authorities finally showed signs of starting the project — like demarcating the area, marking out trees, and putting up a signboard — residents gathered up in arms and have been staging dharnas protesting against the project. A delegation of residents even met the CM recently and were apparently assured verbally that “nothing that is against citizen interests, will be done.”

Citizens further explain that the design of the underpass is most unscientific. “The service road they have planned is about 15 feet wide. When a bus is 12 feet in width, how can vehicles ply through?’’ they ask, pointing out that there are bound to be bottlenecks at the Geetanjali theatre circle because the underpass ends abruptly there.

Meanwhile, BMP authorities explain that the project has been planned keeping in mind the vehicular growth of the next five years. They refuse to confirm if the project will take off in the immediate future.

Will it, will it not...?

* The gates to the KC General Hospital would be closed once the underpass comes up, causing inconvenience to patients
* Service roads would have a narrow width of 15 feet, vehicular movement would be clogged
* Chopping of nearly 150 trees

Karnataka seeks to rope in Murthy

Karnataka seeks to rope in Murthy
Business Standard

With Infosys Chairman and Chief Mentor NR Narayana Murthy set to retire in August, the Karnataka government has said it is interested in employing his services for the state’s development.

This comes close on the heels of Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy’s father and former prime minister Deve Gowda publicly taking on Infosys and Murthy.

Gowda had said Infosys did not require the 845 acres which the IT major had sought for expansion in Bangalore. The controversy had led to Murthy stepping down from the chairmanship of Bangalore International Airport Ltd.

“All of us know that Murthy will step down formally soon. This presents us with an opportunity….Surely, talent like this cannot be allowed to remain untapped. He is too precious a commodity whose full potential cannot remain unexploited. We would like to avail of this chance and benefit from his vision, enormous experience and sincere desire to work for Karnataka,” Kumaraswamy said, addressing Infosys’ silver jubilee celebrations.

“It is my intention to use the services of Murthy to suitably advise us in nurturing the abilities of entrepreneurs in order to show excellent results,” he said.

Pointing out that Murthy headed the state’s vision group on IT, Kumaraswamy said he expected the group to meet soon for organising Bangalore, between October 28-31.

“His participation will be a fitting tribute to the celebration of Suvarna Karnataka (golden jubilee of the formation of Karnataka),” the chief minister observed.

Tender for first phase of metro soon

Tender for first phase of metro soon
Vijay Times

The Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation (BMRC) will shortly award tenders for constr viaduct at a cost of Rs 130-crore as part of the f of the project.

The decision was taken at a meeting of the newly-c stituted board on July 28. “We have shortlisted ni panies and tender will be awarded at the earliest, aging director BMRC V Madhu told VViij jaayy T Tiim me es s. He said the BMRC had invited expression of interes for the work, for which 25 firms responded and nin shortlisted for constructing 10- metre high concre forms running between KSCA stadium and Byappanahalli.

He said the board has also decided to issu orders for setting up seven stations along this st A sum of Rs 9 crore has been earmarked for shiftin electric lines up to Byappanahalli and approval ac for shifting the BWSSB lines along the stretch.

He said the work on Metro Rail will begin as sched in October and the ground work has already begun.

20 roads identified for auto-laning

20 roads identified for auto-laning
Deccan Herald

The dedicated auto lane, introduced a few years ago on M G Road, may not be regarded as ‘successful’ by motorists who have to jostle with autodrivers for road space on this stretch. However, for the Bangalore Traffic Police, it seems to be working as an inspiration.

In the coming days, two roads — Airport Road and a part of Kempegowda Road — will have dedicated auto lanes. The District Office Road, on K G Road, stretching from Corporation Circle to Mysore Bank Circle, will have an auto lane.

In fact, a barricaded auto lane has already been put in place on Tank Bund Road around BMTC and KSRTC bus stands at Majestic. According to Deputy Commissioner of Police (Traffic-East) M A Saleem, the arrangement, introduced a week ago, is on a trial basis. Two more roads will be added after a government notification is given on the same, likely in a couple of weeks, he added.

As many as 20 roads have been identified for auto laning, where the system will be introduced in a phased manner.

In the II phase of auto laning, Ramana Maharshi Road, Sankey Road, Race Course Road, 100 Feet Road, Indiranagar, CV Raman Road, Residency Road and Cubbon Road are likely to be included.

“We are looking at introducing dedicated auto lanes because we have found that autorickshaws are largely responsible for slowing down the speed of other vehicles. With auto-rickshaws removed from some of the lanes, the rest of the traffic movement will be faster. We are going to introduce this system on those stretches which are wide and have no right turns,” M N Reddy, Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic and Security) explained.

Incidentally, auto laning is part of the CM 10 point B-Trac 2010 programme launched a few months ago for the improvement of the City traffic.

Organic pollution affects city lakes

Organic pollution affects city lakes

The Hindu

Students from Mount Carmel College call for sustainable utilisation of water resources

BANGALORE: Identifying indiscriminate discharge of various kinds of pollutants as the prime reason for the sharp fall in the quality of the city's lake ecosystem, a group of B.Sc Environmental Sciences students from Mount Carmel College have called for sustainable utilisation of water resources combined with programmes for lake conservation.

In a study titled "Comparative study of the plankton diversity and physio-chemical characteristic of Bangalore lakes," the student team concluded: "Lakes are our drinking water security deposits, they deserve the best care and attention. Only a well-informed and dedicated population can protect lakes from further deterioration."

As part of the study, water samples were collected from Ulsoor, Vengaiah, Sankey and Cubbon lakes during January 2006. The samples were taken from 10 cm to 20 cm below the surface of the water during morning hours.

While on-site analysis of the lake water included dissolved oxygen, laboratory analyses included acidity, alkalinity, pH, conductivity, total solids, chlorides, nitrates and phosphates following standard methods and plankton study.

It was found that the pH level of the lake water (a measure of the acidity) ranged between 6.1 to 6.89, which was almost neutral or slightly acidic. Domestic waste discharge into the lakes was seen as a possibility for this pH range. Aqueous solutions with pH values lower than 7 are considered acidic, while pH values higher than 7 are considered basic.

Among the five lakes analysed, the "conductivity" of Vengaiah Lake was found to be the highest, followed by Cubbon Lake. This was due to a high proportion of ion content in the lake water, the study said.

The permissible limit of chlorides is 250 mg/litre. Vengaiah Lake showed the highest chloride content, followed by Hebbal and Cubbon lakes. Sankey Tank showed the least, which was within the permissible limits. The permissible limit of total solids was 500 mg/litre. The content of total solids was once again found to be the highest in Vengaiah Lake. The study team attributed this to organic pollutants and sewage inlet. This lake also had phosphate content beyond the permissible limit of 0.1 mg/litre.

The team comprised Helen Kennedy, Pallavi S., Shwetha D., Ranjitha B.N., Suhasini Balachandran and Jinu John. Organic pollution affects city lakes

Staff Reporter

Students from Mount Carmel College call for sustainable utilisation of water resources

BANGALORE: Identifying indiscriminate discharge of various kinds of pollutants as the prime reason for the sharp fall in the quality of the city's lake ecosystem, a group of B.Sc Environmental Sciences students from Mount Carmel College have called for sustainable utilisation of water resources combined with programmes for lake conservation.

In a study titled "Comparative study of the plankton diversity and physio-chemical characteristic of Bangalore lakes," the student team concluded: "Lakes are our drinking water security deposits, they deserve the best care and attention. Only a well-informed and dedicated population can protect lakes from further deterioration."

As part of the study, water samples were collected from Ulsoor, Vengaiah, Sankey and Cubbon lakes during January 2006. The samples were taken from 10 cm to 20 cm below the surface of the water during morning hours.

While on-site analysis of the lake water included dissolved oxygen, laboratory analyses included acidity, alkalinity, pH, conductivity, total solids, chlorides, nitrates and phosphates following standard methods and plankton study.

It was found that the pH level of the lake water (a measure of the acidity) ranged between 6.1 to 6.89, which was almost neutral or slightly acidic. Domestic waste discharge into the lakes was seen as a possibility for this pH range. Aqueous solutions with pH values lower than 7 are considered acidic, while pH values higher than 7 are considered basic.

Among the five lakes analysed, the "conductivity" of Vengaiah Lake was found to be the highest, followed by Cubbon Lake. This was due to a high proportion of ion content in the lake water, the study said.

The permissible limit of chlorides is 250 mg/litre. Vengaiah Lake showed the highest chloride content, followed by Hebbal and Cubbon lakes. Sankey Tank showed the least, which was within the permissible limits. The permissible limit of total solids was 500 mg/litre. The content of total solids was once again found to be the highest in Vengaiah Lake. The study team attributed this to organic pollutants and sewage inlet. This lake also had phosphate content beyond the permissible limit of 0.1 mg/litre.

The team comprised Helen Kennedy, Pallavi S., Shwetha D., Ranjitha B.N., Suhasini Balachandran and Jinu John.

Relaxing helmet rule for pillion riders hinted at

Relaxing helmet rule for pillion riders hinted at

The Hindu

Implementation of rule put off for 15 days: Kumaraswamy

# `Decision taken to facilitate a detailed discussion on the issue'
# A meeting of senior officials will be held today

BANGALORE: Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy has indicated that the Government may relax the helmet rule for the pillion rider.

He told presspersons after inaugurating the conference of Health Ministers of southern States on chikungunya here on Sunday that though the Government Order had already been issued, and the helmet rule was due to come into force from August 1, the implementation had been put off for 15 days.

Mysore Staff Correspondent reports:

Mr. Kumaraswamy said the decision was taken to facilitate a detailed discussion on the implementation of the rule in the wake of public opposition to it.

Speaking to presspersons at the government guesthouse, Mr. Kumaraswamy said he had held a meeting of senior officials on Saturday and decided to put off the implementation of the helmet rule for the time being.

"The notification issued by the Government on July 12 seeking to implement the helmet rule from July 31 will be withdrawn," the Chief Minister said.

A meeting of senior officials would be held again on Monday. "We will at least try to exempt pillion riders from compulsorily wearing helmets," he said.

Reacts to charge

Mr. Kumaraswamy, who had come under attack from the former Deputy Chief Minister Siddaramaiah earlier in the day for leading a Government that did not enjoy the mandate of the voters, chose to turn the tables against the former JD (S) leader.

"Did the Congress-led coalition Government in which Mr. Siddaramaiah was the Deputy Chief Minister enjoy the mandate of the people?" In the same breath, Mr. Kumaraswamy said the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance at the Centre too did not enjoy the mandate of the people.

The Chief Minister denied allegations that the JD (S)-BJP Government had colluded with the arrack lobby.

Hongasandra has remained a poor cousin of HSR Layout

Hongasandra has remained a poor cousin of HSR Layout

The Hindu

Despite being part of the IT corridor, the area does not have civic amenities

# There is no primary health centre within a radius of three kilometres
# Roads are in poor condition and none are asphalted
# Garbage is not collected regularly, say residents
# The BWSSB has to lay tertiary drains and connect it to the main sewage channel
# The previous Government sanctioned Rs. 1.32 crore but the funds are being misused, says resident

Bangalore: Civic amenities? What's that, ask the residents of Hongasandra on Hosur Road, a ward under the Bommanahalli City Municipal Council (CMC) limits.

Residents of Jnana Bharathi School Road, Om Shakthi Temple Road, Gurumurthappa Layout, Shanti Nagar and Vajpayee Nagar are an unprivileged lot. There is no primary health centre within a radius of three kilometres, buses do not ply in the area, there is no drainage system either for rainwater or sewage, garbage is not collected regularly and there is no drinking water.

Despite being a part of the information technology (IT) corridor, Hongasandra has remained the poor cousin of HSR Layout.

The Bangalore Water Supply Sewerage Board (BWSSB) has to lay tertiary drains and connect it to Raja Kaluve (the main sewage channel) but it is yet to undertake the task. Roads in the layout are only 10 ft wide. Narasimha Murthy, executive engineer, BWSSB told The Hindu that the area came under the second phase of the Greater Bangalore Water Supply and Sanitation Project (GBWASP) and that work would start soon.

Until then, residents have to face floods every time it rains and buy drinking water at exorbitant prices.

Perera, a resident of Vajpayee Nagar, showed the marks left by the last year's floods. "I have lost everything in my house. During the floods, water reached nearly 8 ft in my house," she said.

Vijayalakshmi, another resident, said: "We pay one rupee for a pot of water and a tanker costs Rs. 150. My house was flooded for a week and we had to stay in a nearby kalyana mantapa." To add to the woes, sewage gets mixed with the underground water that residents got for drinking, she said.

Even though the Government had authorised private contractors to supply drinking water to the layout, water had not been supplied. The contractors received money by producing fake bills, K.S. Anand Kumar, president of the Democratic Youth Federation claimed. Garbage was not collected regularly and this had led to unhygienic conditions, he said.

The roads are in poor condition and none are asphalted. One resident claimed that the area councillor had not made provisions for streetlights on any of the roads except the one on which he lived.

The previous Government headed by N. Dharam Singh had sent a team to inspect the flood-hit areas and had sanctioned Rs. 1.32 crore for the Bomanahalli CMC. But the funds were being misused, Shamana Reddy, a member of the resident welfare association, alleged. A resident of Vajpayee Nagar said that when the residents approached the councillor for help, the latter asked them to contact the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders.

Johnson Jose of Vajpayee Nagar, a manager, said he lost property worth Rs. 2.50 lakh owing to floods. "In last year's floods a man affected by paralysis and a mute girl, whose house was flooded, could not save themselves. I do not want it to happen again," he said.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Let us join hands to save Bangalore from this mess

Let us join hands to save Bangalore from this mess
H S Balram
The Times of India

Happening city Bangalore is caught in a maze. It just doesn’t know how to get out of it. The coalition government is shaky, what with the partners at each other’s throat. Veteran Deve Gowda is on a letter-writing spree that does more harm than good. Crime is on the increase with women facing the brunt. Simple issues like helmets for two-wheeler riders are highly politicised. Roads continue to be in bad shape with contractors and government engineers doing a shoddy job and siphoning off tax-payers’ money. Traffic chaos continues.

Take crime. The city has a large number of BPOs dotting its length and breadth, providing employment and good salaries to thousands of young women and men. Every other family has someone working for a BPO. Living conditions have improved. The only drawback is long and odd working hours. Night shifts are regular. BPOs have taken adequate measures to pick them up from home and drop them back. Yet, these employees fall prey to criminals as some prefer to go on their own or some are lured into a trap. This is happening with alarming regularity.

A year ago, a woman employee was raped and killed by a driver who tricked her into going in his vehicle though it was not scheduled to pick her up. Two days ago, another woman refused the official vehicle and took a lift from her boyfriend. Her body with multiple stab wounds was found 100 km away from the city. A male colleague has confessed to the crime. Both the incidents sent shivers down the spines of Bangaloreans. Families of the victims as well as the killers were shattered. In the second case, the girl’s family suffered repeated tragedies. Her brother died in a road accident in Kolkata in 2003. The mother, who never got over the grief, succumbed to a heart attack the following year. The only surviving member of the family now is her father, a retired Railway Protection Force officer. And the killer is survived by his mother, who is already looking after her mother.

Instead of pointing fingers at each other, we need to put our heads together and find ways to curb crime. The police should intensify night patrolling. Whatever happened to the concept of beat policemen? Resident associations must alert the police of suspicious persons or activity. BPOs or any company where night duty is involved, must ensure that employees get adequate security. Women staff, in particular, must be advised to use official vehicles instead of going on their own or taking a lift. Every citizen must learn to take care of himself. Don’t invite trouble. And, of course, the government must strengthen and modernise the police force. Bangalore needs better policing.

Helmets: Why the confusion?

Along with crime, the accident rate is also increasing. Take the helmets issue. Though the police, on the directive of the high court, has fixed August 1 as the day for making helmets compulsory for two-wheeler riders and those on the pillion, the government is vacillating. Several reports, including that of NIMHANS, have recommended helmets to prevent head injuries during accidents. Yet, there have been protests. Politicians have chipped in — from CM to deputy CM to legislators. Everyone is speaking for and against the move. It is surprising. Why is an issue that concerns the lives (read heads) of people embroiled in such a debate? How come politicians take so much interest? Twowheeler riders are confused. They need a firm yes or no. Are those at the helm listening?
IT capital and its world-class roads!

Another area of concern is roads. A committee appointed by the high court has come down heavily on consultants, contractors, ward engineers and accounts staff for poor quality of road works. It says mismanagement of funds and administrative irregularities are the bane of Bangalore’s roads. The tests that need to be done to build world-class roads, as citizens were made to believe, are dismal and inadequate. Added to it is the poor drainage system. The panel has suggested that the accountant-general take over auditing work of the Bangalore Mahanagara Palike to put an end to bungling. It has also made several other recommendations. If implemented, driving on Bangalore’s roads will be heavenly. Only a stern order by the courts will break the official-contractor nexus in the BMP.

BMP extends deadline for KMRP road work

BMP extends deadline for KMRP road work
The Times of India

Bangalore: Acknowledging that there had been a lapse in meeting deadlines on the KMRP (Karnataka Municipal Reforms Package) roads, because of tardy contractors, BMP officials on Saturday said the extended deadline now stands at November end.
Under the first phase,
the roads were supposed to have been completed in October, so far the rate of progress stands at 40 per cent, says BMP. “Work was very slow because we had some trouble with the RCC drain. The 80 feet road in Koramangala was in a bad shape but under KMRP 70 per cent progress has been made,” explained BMP officials. Incidentally, the high court-appointed panel on roads has pulled up BMP for slow progress and “poor quality” work on these World Bank-funded roads.

Hop on ladies, for a pink ride

Hop on ladies, for a pink ride
The Times of India

Bangalore: If you thought perky pink was a favourite only with Preity Zinta on a two-wheeler, think again. BMTC is gearing up to introduce buses exclusively for ladies painted in a metallic hue of pink.

Designed as per the CM’s orders, this bus is among the two new bus prototypes which will make bus travel in the city a hassle-free experience for women.
While one bus is an exclusive ladies’ bus, the other has separate entries and demarcated segments for men and women. The buses are likely to be launched on August 15.

Ladies’ special
The buses, which are undergoing finishing touches in the workshops, will be pink in colour with boards clearly stating that these are meant only for ladies. With standing space for 20, this 48-seater bus will initially ply on select routes between 8 am and 8 pm. “The idea is to capture the peak-hour traffic,” said BMTC managing director Upendra Tripathy.

Women conductors from among BMTC’s current force of over 1,100 will be posted on these buses. While most of the features are similar to regular buses, it’s the seats that grab your attention. Each blue-coloured seat has been designed for comfort. “We have spent Rs 4,000 on each seat,” says an official.
BMTC plans to introduce more buses after the initial 12. “We can introduce more only if women take the initiative to travel in these buses. Even if it means waiting that five minutes extra, they should,” said chief traffic manager Dastagir Shareiff.

The routes of the buses will be printed in bright stickers in both Kannada and English. BMTC is in the process of finalising routes based on an internal survey. The fare is not likely to vary from the regular buses. The three-door funda

This new bus has three doors — one in front, rear and a double-door in the centre. Women and men enter from the double door in two lines separated by a wall, ensuring no physical contact between the two. The women proceed to sit in the front segment, while men sit in the rear. The seating for senior citizens has been provided behind the conductor.

When the passengers want to alight, the women use the front exit and the men use the rear exit. There are 14 seats for women, 28 for men and three for senior citizens.

This bus will be initially introduced on the 25 grid routes. “It’s not possible to do away with the current force, but we do hope the complaints from women will reduce once we introduce this bus,” say officials.

The bus also boasts of a speaker announcement system that will announce the next stop and
alert the bus in case the door is open.

Women commuting in BMTC buses aren’t a happy lot. “I see men occupying women’s seats all the time. Not just do they refuse to budge, but conducters too turn a blind eye when we complain,” says Kavitha Shanmugam, who travels to Electronic City everyday, mostly standing.

That’s not all, men jostling for space results in uncomfortable proximity with the women. “The lack of space is a great excuse for men to paw women. And
conductors are useless,” says Neha Bhasin, a regular commuter.

* Impose fines strictly for men who occupy a women’s seat.
* Educate drivers and conductors regarding rules and regulations along with manners, cultures and ethics.
* Regular inspection by officers.
* Recruit more women, in both senior officer category and conductors. * Introduce a queue system in all bus stops, especially crowded bus stands like Kempegowda, Shivajinagar etc.
* Allot more seats for women.

Cubbon Park station gets new look

Cubbon Park station gets new look
DH News Service Bangalore:
A new building to house the Cubbon Park Police Station was inaugurated on Saturday by former City Police Commissioner S Mariswamy.

The old station was originally built as a guard room for the statue of Queen Victoria, in 1906. As it happens, the new building with two floors has been inaugurated exactly a century later.

The new police station is the 25th in the City built under Public Private Partnership (PPP), with United Breweries Group contributing Rs 55 lakh for the construction and the State Bank of India Rs 4 lakh, towards the cost of furniture.

The swanky building has a huge hall for visitors, rest rooms for constables, a conference hall, balcony and separate rooms for records, arms and ammunition.

The crime section has been equipped with the latest computers. There is also a storeroom to keep seized articles.

On the occasion, Mr Mariswamy recollected how the earlier building had no place even to seat visitors, who were often forced to share benches with petty criminals and such.

City Police Commissioner N Achutha Rao said facilities for police personnel were being increased. He expected policemen to behave courteously with the public visiting the stations. The police station has 140 personnel.

Long wait for lockup

n Cubbon Park Police Station, smack in the Centre of the City, functioned for more than a year without a lock-up.

n The new building has two separate lockups for men and women that can accommodate 10 persons each at a time.

n The station does not have space for parking vehicles.

Govt dillydallies on helmet rule

Govt dillydallies on helmet rule
Deccan Herald

Cash-strapped at the end of the month yet forced to shop for helmets?

Breathe easy. It may be some time before the State Government enforces the helmet rule.

Sources in the Home Department said on Saturday that two-wheeler riders in the City would given a new deadline after a meeting between Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy and Home Department officials on Monday. “The idea is not to question the High Court directive.

The Government wants to give people more time to purchase helmets,” an official said. All through the day, however, it looked as though the helmet rule would come into effect from August 1.

Confusing signals

It was only late in the evening that the Home Department hinted at a possible change in the deadline. Earlier in the day, Principal Secretary to the Transport Department, Thangaraj, had said that the rule — that makes helmets mandatory for two-wheeler riders and pillion riders in Bangalore Metropolitan Region Development Authority (BMRDA) areas and Corporation limits in Belgaum, Gulbarga, Hubli-Dharwad, Mangalore and Mysore — would come into force as planned. Mr Thangaraj was addressing a gathering at the National Seminar on “Road Traffic Injury Prevention in India”, organised by NIMHANS.

Earlier, Bangalore City Police Commissioner N Achutha Rao, too, asserted that the police had not received any communication from the government on the extension of the deadline.

A fine of Rs 100 would be collected from two-wheeler riders and pillion riders caught riding without helmets, the Commissioner said after inaugurating the revamped Cubbon Park Police Station.

Rail link between city, airport planned

Rail link between city, airport planned
Deccan Herald

A devoted rail system connecting the city and international airport, which is being built, is on the cards, Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation (BMRC) Managing Director V Madhu said on Saturday.

Making a formal presentation on ‘Bangalore Metro Rail: A boon to the City’s woes’, organised by the Returned Non Resident Indian Association, he hoped that the Rs 550-crore project would soon get the green signal. He stated the 26-km stretch posed a few hurdles as there were several bends.

He said that a survey was being conducted to find out other busy corridors. “A report will be released in the month of November in this regard,” he added.

Stating that around 1,500 big trees would be cut or pruned in the City, Madhu said that the BMRC had paid the Forest Department to plant ten trees for every tree cut.

Enforcement of helmet rule not immediately

Enforcement of helmet rule not immediately

The Hindu

Bangalore: The helmet rule is expected to be enforced only from the last week of August and not from August 1 as notified earlier.

Sources in the Government told The Hindu here on Saturday that the postponement was largely due to the petitions received by Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy over the past few days. Most of the two-wheeler riders have sought time to purchase the helmets.

Meanwhile, the State Government was also contemplating to relax the helmet rule for pillion riders. It was impractical for a rider to carry two helmets although only occasionally he or she carried a pillion rider. Under the recently notified rules, the pillion rider also has to wear helmet. Kannada Chaluvali Vatal Paksha leader and MLA Vatal Nagaraj has demanded that the Government withdraw the notification relating to the helmet rule. He even staged a demonstration to draw the attention of the Government on Friday.

BMP serves notice on Garuda Mall promoters

BMP serves notice on Garuda Mall promoters

BBaanng gaal loorree:: The Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP) has served a notice on the promoters of Garuda Mall for violating building by-laws and agreement conditions, BMP commissioner K Jairaj on Saturday.

Answering a query raised by some members in the BMP council, he said the Maverick Holdings Pvt Ltd has failed to obtain a modified by-law and has also breached the building by-laws.

Jairaj said the group has allowed restaurants to come up at places earmarked for car parking and also constructed a sewerage treatment plant on the ‘excess’ land adjacent to the mall. The council witnessed a furore on Thursday over the issue of ‘handing over excess land’ to the mall.

The commissioner asked corporators to take a unanimous decision on retaining the excess land or handing it over to Maverick Holdings.

He said he had asked the Infrastructure Development Corporation (IDEC) to ascertain the pros and cons of joint ventures by the BMP. IDEC will submit its report on August 31 on both the Garuda and Maharaja commercial complexes-cum-parking lots.

On a query by Austin Town corporator Kupparaju, Jairaj said he had asked all assistant revenue officers to conduct surveys of buildings under BMP limits.

“If any official is found concealing information or harassing the public, he will be shunted home. The officials are directed to fully cooperate with the public.” The BMP also passed a resolution to pull down unauthorised advertising material such as posters, graffiti and other publicity material.

‘Mall evaded Rs 4.5 cr duty’

The Garuda Mall has evaded stamp duty to the tune of Rs 4.5 crore to the State government, said Amaresh, convener of the Right To Information Research Centre, and Veeresh, president of Forum on Eradication of Corruption, on Saturday.

Speaking to media persons at a joint press conference convened by BJP leader Basavaraj, they said a huge storm-water drain at the mall premises has been shifted to enable easy completion of the building.

They demanded an inquiry against former BMP commissioners M R Srinivasamurthy and K Jothiramalingam and former BMP engineer-in-chief Jaiprasad in this connection.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

IT city overtakes Delhi, Mumbai in crime rate

IT city overtakes Delhi, Mumbai in crime rate
Bangalore 5th On List
The Times of India

Bangalore: Bangalore has beaten New Delhi and Mumbai, infamously.

In its latest findings, the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) rates Bangalore as the fifth city recording the highest crime rate, accounting for 9.2 per cent of crimes in the country. New Delhi, billed the “big, bad city’’ with its notorious crime rate (15.7 per cent in 2004), now stands in the 10th slot. Mumbai stands 26th in the rankings of crime records of major Indian cities.

The report titled, ‘Crimein India, 2005’, is slated to be released in the first week of August, say NCRB officials. The surprise contender for the top slot is Indore in Madhya Pradesh and a bigger eyebrow-raiser is distant Vijaywada in Andhra Pradesh in the second slot.

NCRB officials explain that crime rate is calculated based on the number of incidents per lakh population; the rank of a city depends on these incidents. Which means, the ranking could be taken with a pinch of salt. Simply because, in a chock-ablock populated city like Mumbai vis-a-vis the quieter demographics of Vijayawada, differences in crime incidents are bound to appear.

With terrorist cases escalating north of the Vindhyas, how can cities traditionally hailed as safe — like Pensioner’s Paradise Bangalore, or a place popular for film theatres, Vijayawada — come in the radar of crime cities?

“There are very few cases of terror actually being reported. Crime statistics that we have collated take into account incidents like murder, chain-snatching, property offences, robberies. Terror is classifed under the section ‘Others’,’’ explain NCRB officials.

Is there an explanation for Bangalore, with its burgeoning enonomy and hordes of noveau riche, to also gain notoriety for crime rates? The line of defence that police officials toe is that in south India, specially Bangalore, people are more liberal in recording and reporting crime cases at police stations.
In fact, former police commissioner Ajai Kumar Singh had gone on record stating: “In Karnataka, police register cases generously, even petty crimes like chain and mobile-phone snatching are registered as FIRs. This data is sent to the State Crime Records Bureau and subsequently to the NCRB who collate the data from each city. The data from Bangalore will just look inflated.’’

Whatever, it’s fifth in the crime rate. Pensioner’s Paradise anybody?

Murder 65 cases Property offences 3,110 cases House-breaking & theft by day 100 cases Property lost 8,29,19,644 cases Chain-snatching 50 cases

Go green!

Go green!
Deccan Herald

There are many beautiful gardens in Bangalore. After all, Garden City must live up to its name! But there’s one garden near Richard’s Park area that stands out for the unique distinction it enjoys - it has been a prize winning ornamental home garden for 30 years.

No prizes for guessing who the proud owner of this plot of green is - Priya Mascarenhas. Most people have heard of Priya’s garden , which has been tended with the same kind of love and care that is showered upon children. It is this love for plants that has helped Priya reap numerous awards, including the Javariah rolling shield for outstanding ornamental garden for several years.

Ask her about it and she will tell you, “I don’t do this for awards. I am very passionate about my garden and I take care of it myself. I don’t have a mali to help.”

Priya loves working with tropical plants and has quite a collection. “Each year I make different arrangements for the competition. I try and mix tropical plants with few flowering ones. I also add objects such as terracotta items and figurines, which bring an aesthetic appeal to my arrangements,” she told Metrolife.

Enter the garden and you feel like you’ve stepped into a different world. Despite the humdrum of traffic on the main road behind the house, you can hear birds chirping, squirrels on the fruit trees and a variety of butterflies flitting about.

We ask Priya about her favourite patch and she says, “I love ornamental plants, ferns, asparagus and heliconiums, which are my speciality and I’m proud of my collection. It’s not very easy to grow them. I also have lovely Jacobians in red, yellow and pink and some spider lillies. Then there are 25 different fruit trees including bread fruit, figs, rose apples, mando, chikoo, custard apple, bull’s heart (ramphal), etc. This is an abstract garden, where every corner has a surprise. People tell me my garden is an extension of my home.”

The garden boasts of a water cascade and bright painted benches that lend charm. A Japanese theme corner, a grotto for meditation, a nursery for the garden that has over 1,000 varieties of plants and soft illumination at night are some of the other highlights here.

So does Priya think her garden is the best? “Not really. It’s unfair to say mine is the best garden in the City. I come under the tropical ornamental garden category and all my awards have been in that segment,” she says quickly.

‘Construct sky walks’

‘Construct sky walks’
The traffic problem has aggravated in Bangalore due to one ways. Brigade Road, the only direct road that connects North and Central Bangalore, leading to the south, is in utter chaos

The traffic problem has aggravated in Bangalore due to one ways. Brigade Road, the only direct road that connects North and Central Bangalore, leading to the south, is in utter chaos. The congestion near Mayo Hall, Richmond Road and residency Road show how one-way system can create traffic jams. Every time we drive on St Mark's Road, we find ourselves in the wrong direction! People ignore the law and cut in and out of one ways - most have no choice as there are no alternative roads when one ways are introduced and important roads are closed. Commercial Street has to be a traffic free zone as there are no footpaths and shoppers have to walk on the road.

Cyril Fernandez

Lane discipline

Lane discipline cannot be fully enforced in Bangalore due to small roads and mixed vehicular traffic. This makes drivers to sometimes squeeze into narrow gaps between two lanes, thereby disrupting smooth movement.

I would suggest that a separate lane wide enough to allow two wheelers and small enough to prevent entry of autos be constructed on all roads.

Skywalks can be constructed just above the two wheeler lanes. Optionally, it should not be too difficult to construct underground parking just below the two-wheeler lane.


Around the City for Rs 300

Around the City for Rs 300
Deccan HErald

The Tourism Department is planning to upgrade ‘weekend getaways’ in and around Bangalore to boost City tourism.

The Tourism Department is planning to upgrade ‘weekend getaways’ in and around Bangalore to boost City tourism.

Speaking to reporters at a function on Friday, Tourism Principal Secretary I M Vittal Murthy said the department has identified about 40 tourist spots on the outskirts of Bangalore which do not have even basic infrastructure such as roads, toilets and food joints, for being developed. The upgradation will be done within a year.

These places include Nandi Hills, Galibore, Muthyalamaduvu on Kanakapura Road and scenic spots along the River Cauvery.

The idea behind the move is to ensure that tourists spend at least two days in Bangalore. “Usually, tourists treat Bangalore as a stopover and prefer to spend more time in Mysore. We want to create sightseeing spots in Bangalore so that people stay here for longer and not just for business reasons,” Mr Murthy explained.

He also asked Star hoteliers to divert their investment to areas like Bannerghatta Road which have a high potential for tourism. Mr Murthy added that special focus will be given to upgradation of government-owned Jungle Lodges and Resorts properties.

City Swaps

Five open roof double-decker buses will ply through 15 destinations every 30 minutes, covering Vidhana Soudha, Raj Bhavan, Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath, Cubbon Park, Government Museum, Cauvery Emporium and Mayo Hall. City jockeys will give company to passengers, providing them with stories and snippets of Bangalore enroute.

For details contact phone 080-2558 0660. Tickets are priced at Rs 300 for adults and Rs 150 for children.

The tickets hold 24 hour validity.

Traffic diversions on Banaswadi main road

Traffic diversions on Banaswadi main road
Deccan Herald

The city traffic police have made following alternative arrangements for vehicle movement near the flyover on Banaswadi main road for allowing construction of service roads towards Kammanahalli and Byappanahalli.

The city traffic police have made following alternative arrangements for vehicle movement near the flyover on Banaswadi main road for allowing construction of service roads towards Kammanahalli and Byappanahalli. The alternative arrangement will be in force for two months from July 31.

*Movement of vehicles towards Kammanahalli main road from Banaswadi flyover has been prohibited. Instead, vehicles have to move further on flyover and take left turn near Uttam Sagar hotel to join Nehru Road and to reach Kammanahalli main road via Ullasappa circle.

*Vehicles moving towards Byappanahalli, Old Madras Road will have to use the service road on the left side of the flyover and take right turn near railway level crossing under the flyover to reach Old Byappanahalli road.

*Movement of BMTC buses on Kammanahalli main road (north to south) from Ullasappa circle till Banaswadi main road has been prohibited.

The buses have to take left turn at Ullasappa circle to reach Kullappa circle on Nehru Road and later to join Banaswadi main road via 80 feet road.

*Vehicles plying towards Lingarajapuram and City centre from Kammanahalli main road can take right turn at Ullasappa circle to reach Hennur Road via Nehru road.

*Light motor vehicles moving from Kammanahalli main road can reach Banaswadi main road by taking right turn at Ramaswamypalaya 1st cross to reach Janakiram layout and later to join Banaswadi main road near railway station.

Few takers for KPTCL's 24-hour helpline

Few takers for KPTCL's 24-hour helpline

The Hindu

All India Radio has set up the helpline for KPTCL

# Dial 080-22370711/22/33/44 to register complaints
# Name, RR number, address, subdivision and other details have to be provided
# Complaints are forwarded to the assistant executive engineer concerned

BANGALORE: There are few takers for the 24-hour Interactive Voice Response System (IVRS) helpline set up to file complaints on problems related to electricity supply in the State.

The system, which was launched in April, got nearly 400 calls in the first month. In the succeeding months there has been a gradual decrease in the number of complaints received. While in May there were 286 complaints, there were only 164 complaints in June. Till July 25, about 160 complaints had been registered. The helpline, called Prasara Jyothi, said to the first in the country, has been set up by All India Radio (AIR), Bangalore division, for Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation Ltd (KPTCL).

Lack of awareness about the helpline is said to be the reason for the decrease in the number of complaints received. "AIR and Doordarshan will shortly run promos and make people aware of the facility. For the past couple of weeks, Chandana channel has been running a scroll during the weekly phone-in programmes on electricity supply indicating the telephone number of the facility," said K. Gunashekara, Director (Marketing) of Prasar Bharati. This was to make people in Bangalore as well as other parts of the State aware of the helpline, he added.

A letter has been sent to KPTCL asking it to issue instructions to all the electricity supply companies (ESCOMs) to print the telephone number of the helpline on electricity bills. However, an official of the Bangalore Electricity Supply Company said there was no space on the new electricity bill, issued on the spot, to include the number of the helpline.

Quick solution

The helpline has been effective in getting officials to solve the problems of customers quickly, some within 48 hours. "Of all the complaints received from when the helpline was launched, only 300 are pending. A range of complaints from fluctuation in power supply to billing-related queries has been received. A few pending complaints relate to policy matters," said R. Narasimhaswamy, Superintending Engineer, Prasar Bharati.

The complaints registered here include those aired by people in phone-in programmes organised by AIR and Doordarshan, he added.

The helpline has enabled all the ESCOMs to maintain a record of the complaints and the time taken for redressal, which was not possible in the earlier system. The managing directors of all the ESCOMs receive a daily, weekly and a monthly report of the complaints received.


Inspired by the success of the initiative with KPTCL, Prasar Bharati has drawn up plans to extend the IVRS facility for redressing grievances related to urban local bodies and the public distribution system. "There are six slots available in the room used for the IVRS. The Bangalore Development Authority has shown interest in the facility," Mr. Gunashekara said.

Representatives of AIR's Patna and Mumbai divisions recently visited the IVRS facility here to study it and develop a similar system for public utilities in their States.

Friday, July 28, 2006

‘BDA will reserve 1,000 acres for economy houses in the next layout project…’

‘BDA will reserve 1,000 acres for economy houses in the next layout project…’
The Bangalore Development Authority has major plans on the housing front. A public-private partnership to develop apartments is on the anvil. This apart, their infrastructure projects are set to gather momentum. M K Shankaralinge Gowda, Commissioner, outlines some plans in a chat with R Jayaprakash
The Times of INdia

When are you completing the Arkavati allotment process?
As you know we had originally planned for allotment of 20,000 in total spread across 2,750 acres. However, because of litigations, the available land for the layout formation has been reduced. As per the orders of the divisional bench of the High Court, we are supposed to denotify certain lands as specified by the directive. As a result we would be able to allot 15,000 sites only. Of these we have already allotted 9,000 sites and remaining 6,000 sites will be allotted as soon as we take possession of the land after considering the ground realties.

What are these ground realties? What about backlogs?
As per the High Court order, the interests of owners of built up areas and other registered properties in the Arkavati Layout before February 2003 (issue of preliminary notification for formation of Arkavati Layout) should be protected. The BDA will not take cognizance of properties transacted post 2003 February notification. I want to make one thing clear, the BDA has refunded all the money (around Rs 943 crores) collected as initial deposits. Under the current limitation we are doing our best to accommodate maximum possible applicants. The eligibility criteria for allotment was applied as per the norms and we can at most allot 15,000 sites. The remaining 5,000 applicants will not have any claim over Arkavati Layout. At this juncture, I request the other 5,000 applicants not lose heart as they will automatically qualify when they apply next time.

Are you planning any low-cost housing project?
The BDA has significantly contributed to the housing sector in terms of providing sites at reasonable rates. In future we will be forming mega layouts and economy housing will be the core area where the BDA will concentrate. Henceforth, in all our future layout projects, 10 percent of the proposed layout area will be dedicated to build apartment complexes under the PPP scheme. As the first step towards this, in our next layout project we are reserving 1,000 acres for economy houses. We will provide land to developers to put up these housing complexes and in return they will give us ready to occupy houses keeping their share. Of course we will decide as which blocks will be taken over by the BDA. The builder will also be liable to maintain and service these complexes. The allotment to these houses will be through our routine procedures. However, applicants who are already qualified and are in the waiting list for Economically Weaker Section (EWS) category sites and 30x40 sites will be given priority. Also, henceforth sites of dimension 50x80 will come with a premium.

The land acquisition process of the BDA has been questioned. Many of your projects have hit a dead end because of this. How are you addressing this?
Indeed. To resolve issues related to land acquisition there is new thinking, which has been appreciated by our Chief Minister. That is to create a win-win situation for both the landowners as well the government. If a land is denotified for a project, for example a layout project, the land will be acquired by the BDA and be developed. After the development, the developed area will be shared between the BDA and the owner in whatever ratio or portions the government decides. The CM has called for a meeting next week to give thrust for this thinking as this land acquisition issue has proved to be a major hurdle for implementing most of the development projects.

What is happening to the Hi-tech City project?
The Hi-tech City Bill that enables the BDA to implement the project has been cleared in the Assembly. The Legislative Council will have to pass the Bill. Once that is done, we will approach the High Court where the case is currently being discussed citing problems with the land acquisition process of the BDA and appeal for clearing impediments with the provision of the new Bill.

Where are you planning the next layout?
We have already decided the location but we cannot reveal it as yet. We will the set the action in motion by third week of September and for sure it is inside the BDA jurisdictional area of 1,300 sq km and we will not touch the greenbelt, as it is sacrosanct.

We are flooded by complaints from the residents of the existing BDA layouts on civic amenities…
Attending to road, water and other civic amenities in already-formed BDA layouts is our top priority. Civil work as well as basic infrastructure is being taken up in HSR Layout, BTM Layout, Anjanapura, Banashankri VI Stage and Visvesvaraya Layout. I am personally monitoring these works. Soon everything will be in place.

What is the news on the Draft Master Plan 2015?
We received 8,000 objections in total for changes in the Master Plan 2015. An official committee set up to scrutinise these objections has finished their work. The objections ranging form change in land use pattern to Valley Zone development programme, which is being highly contested in the Supreme Court, are being vetted out. This Bible of the BDA for the next 10 years will be in place, the day the government clears. However, we are confident of implementing the plan with changes upto 1 percent from the original draft.

Delay in construction flyovers of flyovers has drawn lot of flak from all quarters. When will they be completely operational?
Yes. I agree that some flyover projects have got delayed. The Indiranagar-IRR interchange especially had hit a roadblock twice, once for dispute over cost escalation and the other times for design challenges. Initially, the design was simple - to put a main ramp between IRR and Indiranagar 100 Ft Road. Later, it was decided that this junction should be made signal-free for non-stop flow of traffic and subsequently the changes in designs were made to accommodate four loops. STUP, which is the consultancy handling the project, has said because this project is one-of-its kind, it has been an engineering challenge. Now that we have overcome all the technical hurdles we should be completely through with the project by September-end and on August 15, the loop numbers 2 and 3 will be inaugurated. Putting up a Greenfield project is much easier than one like this. As far as Jayadeva grade separator is concerned, it will be thrown open to public on July 31.

Future projects for roads…
I don't vote for flyovers. The flyovers will only shift the congestion further as we have seen in the case of Anand Rao Circle flyover. Grade separator and roads on stilts are future solutions for high-density traffic. We plan to execute and finish the projects that are already underway such as Magadi Road and Ramurthy Nagar underpasses. After this we will take future projects.

PPP for lake revival

PPP for lake revival
Public-private partnership will create recreation facilities
The Times of India

The Lake Development Authority (LDA) of Bangalore has leased out the city's lakes to private companies for development and maintenance. This public-private initiative will ensure protection of the lakes from pollution and, the recharging and preservation of ground water. Acting on the Expression of Interest from various private organizations in the city, the LDA has offered the Hebbal Lake, Nagavara Lake, and the Vengayankere Lake on Kolar Road for a lease of 15 years each, informed B K Singh, Chief Executive Officer, LDA.

According to Singh, the Oberoi Hotels chain has taken up the development and maintenance of the Hebbal Lake a month back. "The company has established a 3 million litre per day (MLD) sewage treatment plant at the entrance to the lake waters," said Singh. "The waste water that flows towards the lake will be treated at this plant before being released into the lake," he said. The organization has taken the responsibility to keep the lake free from effluents as well as water hyacinths and moss floating on its surface. The lease is for 15 years and the organization will be paying up Rs 72 lakhs annually, Singh informed. Within a year, the company proposes to establish a children's park, medical care centre, arch bridges, boating jetty and a handicrafts and curio centre to foster tourism.

The management and preservation of the Nagavara Lake has been entrusted to Lumbini Gardens, an Andhra Pradesh based company, at an annual lease amount of Rs 72 lakhs for a 15 year period. "The LDA has given the company a year's time to create facilities for water sports in the lake," said Singh.
"The lake at Vengayankere is in a rather good condition compared to the others," informed Singh. "However, a local company Par.C has started work around the lake and in six months proposes to introduce recreational facilities in and around the lake," he added. Being a small lake compared to the others, the annual lease amount for its development has been fixed at Rs 15 lakhs.

The Authority had prepared a database of lakes in and around Bangalore after physical verification about the lakes, including the water quality monitoring and eviction of encroachment, etc. It had also created public awareness campaign to sensitise the citizens of Bangalore about the lakes especially during festival time.

When it rains…

A couple of decades ago, the Hebbal Lake had a distinct seasonal pattern. It would fill up during the monsoon and go dry in the summer. It boasted of a variety of aquatic life and was thronged by a large number of wild birds that lived around it. However, sewage inflow from neighbouring areas had put the entire ecological system into disarray with water hyacinth and moss choking the lake. All the city's lakes are man-made structures across streams and they are all interlinked creating a 'cascading' effect. Only cleaning up Hebbal Lake and neglecting the other lakes means that when Hebbal Lake overflows during the rains, the water drains into Nagavara Lake which has no sewage treatment.

"The lakes have since then been designed to withstand overflowing due to rains," said Singh. Whenever a lake is made, a fixed full reservoir level (FRL) is built-in which can regulate the flow of water into the lake. "In case of flooding and overflowing, the excess water will drain into the waste-weir which in turn will flow into a smaller lake at a lower location, in a cascading effect," he said, adding that there is no cause for worry during the monsoon.

Garuda Mall under scanner land violation

Garuda Mall under scanner
Audit Ordered To Check Land Violation
The Times of India

Bangalore: After grappling with a bomb hoax, Garuda Mall was in the thick of controversy at the BMP Council on Thursday.

The issue — 3,456 square feet land adjacent to the mall, on which a corporator alleged violations had taken place. Keshavamurthy, corporator of Jagjeevanramnagar, alleged that some land adjacent to Garuda Mall at Magrath Road, had been doled out by BMP without any plan sanctions. He questioned the basis on which this “extra” land had been given to the Mall developers, Maverick Holdings Ltd.

The entire council broke into a ruckus when mayor Mumtaz Begum deferred the subject to a later date. It has already been deferred without any discussion earlier.

Later, commissioner K Jairaj told mediapersons that he would get a management audit done for the entire area. “We want to see the original intention of the joint venture and want to firm up the PPP (Public Private Partnership) policy.” Acknowledging that there had been a lapse, he said the Mall owners should have applied to BMP for modified plan sanctions so as to avoid speculation.

Explaining the “extra” area, Jairaj said in the original joint venture between BMP and the Mall, 1,56,000 sq ft (1 lakh 56 thousand) area was supposed to have been given for the project. However, BMP fell short of over 8,000 sq ft and resorted to demolitions of nearby structures. In the course of demolitions, the team realised that some “wasteland”, which could not be used for any other purpose could be given to the developer. And that’s how, the Mall ended up with the “extra” land, explains Jairaj.

Cong corporator suspended: The Janardhan Reddy case was repeated at the BMP Council on Thursday when corporator Keshavamurthy accused mayor Mumtaz Begum of trying to to defend and defer the subject of “violations” at land adjacent to Garuda Mall. He said, “Maybe you have also joined hands with them.” Begum then demanded his apology, when he didn’t, he was suspended from BMP Council for a week.

The Town Planning director at BMP said a portion of the parking area on the third floor at Garuda Mall had been converted to a restaurant, which led to parking problems on that floor. Representatives of Garuda Mall, Mahesh Deshpande, GM, said they had obtained a “partial occupancy certificate” for the 3,456 sqft area.

Helmets a must? No, not as yet

Helmets a must? No, not as yet
The Times of India

Bangalore: No date has been specified for making helmets mandatory for two-wheeler riders and pillion riders, home minister M P Prakash said on Thursday.
Though a notification to this effect was published 10 days ago, the date of implementation is yet to be decided, Prakash added.
However, at the Krishnarajsagar dam site on Wednesday, chief minister H D Kumaraswamy hinted at withdrawing the helmet rule saying the government has open mind on the rule and is ready to look afresh at the whole issue.
As a follow-up to the high court order, the government had decided to go ahead with the helmet rule as it is a constitutional obligation on the government’s part to implement the court order. But in the wake of opposition to the rule, the government is planning to take stock of the situation afresh, the CM added.

Declare Brigade, M G roads as ‘no-traffic zones’

Declare Brigade, M G roads as ‘no-traffic zones’

One of the options to decongest traffic in CBD areas is to make Brigade Road a ‘No traffic zone’. Ban parking and stopping of cars/two-wheelers on Brigade Road. Parking facilities should be provided at the parade grounds on M G Road and Utility Building parking zone, for a fee. The problem on Brigade Road is that those looking for a parking slot move slowly on this road, triggering traffic jams.

Only pedestrians should be allowed on this road, and a shuttle service could be provided to facilitate transportation.

I would also like to suggest that parking of two-wheelers at the M G Road / Cauvery Emporium signal should be removed as they cause traffic to slow down when people take out their vehicles from the parking slots.



Use unused plots for parking

Brigade Road and M G Road are getting choked with traffic. A possible solution could be to make these roads ‘No traffic zones’ on weekends so as to encourage shoppers and window shoppers to walk peacefully. Big unused plots can be made into parking complexes. Introduce valet parking facility in them. New routes should be created to transfer the load to other areas.

Rohith Iyer

Empower cops at all levels

Every cop, from constable and above, must be empowered to book road users who violate traffic rules. Every cop must be empowered to stop any vehicle, check for driving licence, road tax payment or exhaust emission. As of now, only head constables and sub-inspectors are carrying out these checks.

The Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP) must raise a uniformed force within the BMP with the same powers as the police. The BMP force’s jurisdiction will be to book people for illegal parking, encroachment of roads and footpaths by petty vendors, illegal construction activity and for jaywalking on important roads.

Uday Shankar

Kualalumpur, Malaysia

Run exclusive bus

The Traffic Police should identify parking locations on all roads that feed traffic into these roads. Secondly, private vehicles must be banned from entering Commercial Street and Brigade Road. Instead, run a stop-and-hop bus service that will ply every two minutes and cover the entire stretch of these roads.

Manish Choudhary

Mayor caught on wrong foot over illegal construction

Mayor caught on wrong foot over illegal construction
Deccan Herald

There was furore at the Bangalore Mahanagara Palike council meeting on Thursday when Mayor Mumtaz Begum was accused of facilitating una-uthorised construction on BMP property by a member of the ruling Congress party.

The property concerned is adjacent to Garuda Mall on Magarath Road. It is incidentally sought to be used for a multi-level parking complex to be built as a joint venture by BMP and Garuda Mall promoters - Maverick Holdings.

No apology

Corporator Keshavamurthy (Ward Jagjeevanramnagar), who hurled the charge against the Mayor, refused to apologise and was later suspended for a week. Opposition JD (S) and BJP members occupied the well of the House demanding the Mayor’s clarification or an inquiry. The council proceedings thereby came to an abrupt halt.

Mr Keshavamurthy, spe-aking to reporters, claimed that officials at the level of the BMP Commissioner too were behind the allegedly unauthorised construction.

A prompt press briefing by the Mayor, Deputy Mayor Lakshminarayana and lea-der of the Congress group H Ravindra seemed to send the matter into a tailspin. All the three acknowledged that they were aware of the unauthorised construction and that Garuda Mall promoters were responsible. Deputy Mayor Lakshminarayana furthered it with a rhetoric: “Show me one building in Bangalore that has no deviation whatsoever...” he said.

The Mayor said during a spot inspection about a month ago, she had noticed the unauthorised construction on BMP property adjoining Garuda Mall and directed officials to halt the work. An attendant at the site had informed them that the construction was by Garuda Mall promoters, they said.

Mr Keshavamurthy’s counter argument was why the upcoming unauthorised construction was not demolished at the behest of the Mayor or officials.

The Mayor said the questions of demolition and action against erring officials was left to the BMP Commissioner.

“I will seek a report and action within a week,” she said.

World-class roads in Bangalore? Ha! Ha!

World-class roads in Bangalore? Ha! Ha!
HC Panel Report Cites Poor Quality, Failure Of BMP
The Times of India

Bangalore: World-class roads.
That’s what was advertised and citizens were made to believe that under the Karnataka Municipal Reforms Project (KMRP) Bangalore. The High Court-appointed panel on roads headed by Capt Raja Rao has quite a different story to narrate.

“Results indicate that there is total failure of discharge of duties by the consultant, contractor and ward engineers and the accounts staff. All this has resulted in poor quality of road works. The High Court may consider and issue directions to the BMP.’’

And that is what the panel has to say on the so-so-called World Bankfunded roads.

In its last report to the High Court submitted on Thursday, the threemember panel has made a slew of observations and recommendations on what ails roads, the condition of drains, the functioning and lack of co-ordination at the BMP, as also financial mismanagement.

The panel has independently conducted a series of tests using samples from the KMRP roads and has found that the number of tests that need to be done to meet the Indian Road Congress (IRC) norms are dismal and inadequate. Explains Capt Raja Rao who’s heading the panel: “We have repeatedly brought this to the attention of the BMP, to no avail. People will continue calling them ‘world-class’ roads because nobody really knows what a world-class road is. There is no bench-mark to refer to.’’

Financial mismanagement: The panel has also noted what they term, mismanagement of funds and administrative irregularities.

“The annual budget of BMP is around Rs 2,000 crore and majority of this fund is spent on works. The accounts department of BMP and state accounts department have not noticed these lapses.’’ To ease the burden, the panel has also come up with a suggestion — “It is recommended that the BMP through state government prevail upon the Accountant General to take up the auditing work of the BMP and replace the ‘audit work of the BMP.’’ Mystery of city’s road mess exposed

Expert Committee Puts The Blame On Poor Drainage

Bangalore: The threemember expert committee on roads submitted its last report on Thursday, exposing the mystery behind Bangalore’s bad roads. The 11-volume report includes two volumes of photographs and five volumes of maps covering all the 100 wards of the city. Their first bimonthly report started on November 15 and four reports after that exposed the reasons for poor roads.

The committee exhaustively points out to water as the villain for the problem. They blamed the drainage mess in the tertiary drainage system in all 100 wards. These deficiencies if corrected can minimise road damage, and reduce cost of operation and maintenance of roads.

The committee said a proper comprehensive plan is necessary to provide proper tertiary drainage system. The cost of overhaul of tertiary drainage system will be about Rs 440 crore.

The three-member committee of retired chief engineers Capt Raja Rao, R Jayaprasad and BL Balakrishna was constituted on September 12, 2005 by the Karnataka High Court in response to a PIL filed by K N Subba Reddy through his counsel AV Amarnathan. The committee was originally given time till July. They had sought an extension till March 2007 but the HC has agreed to grant time till 31 August this year.

The high court will take up the issue on August 17 when BMP commissioner, Urban Development secretary and chief engineer of BMP will be present.
The HC has asked BMP and the state to file responses about implementing the road committees’ recommendations.

Other pointers listed:
n BMP should include arterial roads for upgradation after carrying out scientific and technical evaluation.
n Sub-base condition should be checked for stability before road upgradation.
n The practice of extending the last date for receipt of tenders should be given up.
n BMP should frame specific guidelines for entrustment of works on ‘piece works,’ to avoid frequent and unnecessary interference of elected representatives.
n Sought for road rollers to help fill potholes for better quality compaction, a mobile laboratory for the quality control section of BMP.
n BMP should take out massive programme to remove encroachments of footpaths and storm water drains.
n BMP should identify land to stock construction debris, which is responsible for blocking drains.
n Violation of building bylaw sanction plan is rampant quick solutions are absent therefore BMP has to be armed with more powers for effective execution.

BMP land for Rs 23 per sq ft on Magarath Road!

BMP land for Rs 23 per sq ft on Magarath Road!
Deccan Herald

Bangalore Mahanagara Palike Commissioner K Jairaj on Thursday said he would order a management audit by a private firm into the BMP’s joint venture with Garuda Mall promoters - Maverick Holdings.

He told this to reporters following a furore in the BMP council over Mayor Mumtaz Begum’s alleged complicity in an unauthorised construction on a BMP’s site (measuring 3,456 sq ft) adjacent to Garuda Mall.

The Commissioner said the unauthorised construction is seen to be “in good faith” as the party involved was the Garuda Mall promoters themselves. The construction is actually a water purification plant, he said.

He noted that in April 2005, the BMP’s project management group (PMG) recommended that about 3,456 sq ft of leftover land adjacent to Garuda Mall may be handed over to the Mall promoters and the proposal was sent to the government directly. The government, however, sent it back to be discussed in the BMP council.

Explaining the basis of PMG’s recommendation, the Commissioner noted that Garuda Mall was a joint venture project of the BMP; secondly, the leftover 3,456 sq ft area accounted for just two per cent of the total area in the project limits. The PMG had, therefore, thought it best handed over to the same promoters at the rate of Rs 23 per sq ft, he said. The PMG comprises BMP chief engineers and other officers, including the head of finance.

Mr Topagi, BMP Joint Director, Town Planning said the promoters should have applied for a modified plan of the project or building after the PMG made its recommendations, but they did not do so. To that extent the construction is a violation, he said.

A representative of Maverick Holdings said a sewerage treatment plant was being constructed “as per Pollution Control Board norms for a project of our size”.

Land enough, not enough, squabble on

Land enough, not enough, squabble on
Deccan Herald

Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprise (NICE), reacting to the Karnataka Industrial Area Development Board’s (KIADB) assertion that the company is making slow progress in the Bangalore Mysore Infrastructure Corridor (BMIC) project, alleged that work is delayed due to non-cooperation of the Government.

Deccan Herald, in the article ‘BMIC feud over land continues’ published on July 25, had reported the slow progress of bus and truck terminals along the peripheral ring road due to the blame game between NICE and the Government.

In a statement, Manjunath Nayaker, Deputy General Manager, Public Relations and Liaison, NICE, said the KIADB officials’ assertion that it has already given “more than sufficient land” is wrong, and they “do not even have enough land to complete the road works”.

Countering KIADB’s statement that construction work of buildings is pending because NICE has not submitted technical drawings, he said, “The statement of the KIADB is misleading as the Government is yet to transfer the khatha certificate of the lands in our possession to our name.

Without the khatha certificate, it is legally not possible for us to approach the Bangalore Mysore Infrastructure Corridor Area Planning Authority to secure the required approvals and permission to start the construction works on these core infrastructure buildings.”


On eyeing Mysore: “It is the Government which issued a GO stating that we have to commence the road construction work from both the ends of Bangalore and Mysore”.

On making property owners vacate land: “As per the framework agreement, it was clearly stated that upon transfer of land, NICE will have good, valid, clear and marketable title to the land and all buildings, structures and other improvements thereon, free of any encumbrances. Also, on completion of acquisition proceedings, payment of compensation and transfer of such lands under Sec 28(8) in favour of the Board, the Board shall execute documents in respect of the said land, free of all encumbrances.”

Grade separator near Jayadeva Institute opening on Monday

Grade separator near Jayadeva Institute opening on Monday

The Hindu

BANGALORE: After a delay of two years, the grade separator at MICO Layout near Jayadeva Institute of Cardiology is complete and will be open to the public on Monday.

Bangalore Development Authority launched the work on the flyover and the grade separator in February 2003.

The civil work was handed over to the Uttar Pradesh State Bridges Corporation. But litigation between the BDA and the contractor delayed the completion of the project.

The three-level grade separator will help ease traffic in the area. The estimated peak hour traffic in the area is 12,525 vehicles. BDA estimates that when the grade separator is inaugurated, 54 per cent of the traffic will be diverted into it.

The Jayadeva flyover and underpass project comprises a three lane unidirectional flyover towards Madiwala with two lane arms each from Banashankari side and Bannerghatta Road side.

It has a four-arm intersection, in which two arms form part of the Outer Ring Road.

Panel suggests new entity for upkeep of roads in city

Panel suggests new entity for upkeep of roads in city

The Hindu

BANGALORE: A committee of experts, constituted by the Karnataka High Court, to monitor the status of roads in Bangalore has taken to task the Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP) for the poor quality of roadworks and suggested the creation of a separate organisation or special purpose vehicle (SPV) for construction and maintenance of roads in the city.

It sought a comprehensive probe to investigate irregularities in roadworks undertaken so far, including wrong and excess payments to contractors, admission of improper bills, ineffective contract management and improper evaluation of tenders, which it said led to huge expenditure.

It said it had highlighted irregularities in tender handling, contract management, preparation of bills, wrong payment of advances such as EMD, security deposit and performance guarantee all against the provisions of tender conditions, not levying liquidated damages against the contractors for their own fault. It said several of such illustrations mentioned in the reports were only a "tip of the iceberg".

In its fifth report submitted to the High Court on Thursday, the committee said a new organisation was essential to look after the roads as new areas were being added to the city and the BMP's sphere of activities was increasing everyday.

It criticised the auditing of BMP accounts and suggested that the Government should get the Accountant-General to audit the palike's finances. The report was filed before a Division Bench comprising Justice R. Gururajan and Justice D.V. Shylendra Kumar.

Magadi Road underpass to be ready in 10 months

Magadi Road underpass to be ready in 10 months

The Hindu

Traffic diversions, one-way rule cause chaos in Vijayanagar

BANGALORE: Traffic nightmares have resumed for motorists coming from Vijayanagar, Chandra Layout, and Kamakshipalya to the Central Business District. Citizens from these areas may have to endure the chaos and one-ways for at least 10 more months because work on the Magadi Road-West of Chord Road grade separator has started.

With all traffic coming from Vijaynagar, Chandra Layout and Mysore Road diverted to the service road running parallel to the Vijaynagar Main Road and the 1st Main Road in Agrahara Dasarahalli (next to Veeresh cinema), commuting through the Magadi Road Toll Gate junction has become a nightmare.

Work incomplete

The incomplete work on the Magadi Main Road has added to the problem. The Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP), which had started work on upgrading the Magadi Main Road in May, stopped it midway as the engineers had taken up asphalting before taking up civil work on the side drains and medians. Although road upgradation work had resumed this month, vehicle users were forced to use only half the road as the other half was yet to be asphalted. This led to a rise in the number of accidents on the road because two-wheelers tend to skid during rains.

Citizens from these areas, who had been coping with chaotic traffic for two-and-a-half years, heaved a sigh of relief when the grade separators at Rajajinagar and Modi Hospital Road-West of Chord Road junction were inaugurated early this year. With work on the second box of the Nehrunagar Railway Under Bridge (RUB) and the Anand Rao Circle flyover taken up simultaneously, motorists coming from Rajajinagar, Vijayanagar and Magadi Road side towards Majestic and Shivajinagar had waited eagerly for smooth traffic movement.

No delay

A senior official from the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA), which is executing the Magadi Road-West of Chord Road underpass, said that work on this project would be completed within the stipulated time. Work had started last month and would be completed by May next year, the official said.

Being built at at a cost of Rs 31.86 crore, this project was a four-lane underpass with two carriageways. It would be similar to the Modi Road-West of Chord Road underpass after completion, the official said.

The project, which had been entrusted to East Coast Construction Company of India, would be executed by using the pre-cast fabrication method to ensure that traffic flow was not severely affected during construction.

Vehicle movement at the Magadi Road Toll Gate junction is heavy with the morning hour passenger car per unit (pcu) being 12,707 and evening hour pcu being 13,684.

The project, which was expected to reduce the pcu to 3,645, would not only facilitate smooth flow of traffic but also reduce the travel time of commuters, the official added.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

‘Stop imposing one-way rule in Garden City’

‘Stop imposing one-way rule in Garden City’
In my view, chaos in central areas is aggravated due to four reasons. First, the mindless obsession of Bangalore traffic police for creating one-ways. Second, the lack of traffic discipline among Bangaloreans.

Third, the lethargy on the part of the police to enforce discipline by issuing challans for traffic rule violations and lastly, due to the indifferent attitude of the BMTC while setting up bus stops. In my view, chaos can be reduced if the road between Lifestyle mall on Richmond Road and Garuda Mall is made a two-way. This will reduce the burden on MG Road as vehicles coming from Airport Road to Garuda Mall need not take the M G Road.

There should not be a BMTC bus stop on Commissariat Road, it should be shifted on Hosmat Hospital Road. Similarly the bus stop right in front of Garuda Mall should be shifted towards Lifestyle junction. One fails to understand why bus stops are located next to road curvings and junctions. Allowing parking facility on weekends on Brigade Road is like turning a blind eye to the chaos.

Closing Brigade Road for vehicular movement is not the solution as it will cut north-south movement.

One should look into the possibility of converting part of St Mark’s Road into a two-way, and shift the entrance for KSCA to Cubbon Road from MG Road. The Traffic Police should also consider parade grounds on MG Road and football stadium near Garuda mall for parking.


(via email)

‘No parking’ rule

The answer to traffic congestion lies in introducing car pooling like it is practiced in countries like Singapore and USA.

BMP must strictly ensure that licences are not given to malls that do not have sufficient car parking facility. There should be ‘No parking’ rule imposed between 9 am to 12 noon and 7 pm to 10 pm everyday on MG Road, Brigade Road and Commercial Street. MG Road and Cubbon Road should be made a one-way.

Bilguli Iyengar

Los Angeles, USA

Cooperation needed

One quick and inexpensive way to overcome the problem of traffic congestion, and ensuring parking space for all road users is by allowing vehicles with even number plate to ply on even days of the month, and odd numbered vehicles on odd days of the month. However, public transport should be allowed. What is needed most is the co-operation of vehicle owners.

A Krishnan

CMH Road, Indiranagar


Bangalore’s central business district stares at imminent saturation, as shopper rush and traffic snarls redefine chaos on M G Road, Brigade Road and Commercial Street. While stakeholders pursue quick-fix alternatives, long-term solutions continue to be elusive. Deccan Herald brings to you a series on the issues that plague the commercial hub of your City. Have your say. If you have suggestions to decongest these three roads, write in your concerns/suggestions to the Editor, Deccan Herald, 75 M G Road, Bangalore — 560 001 or email:

Call centre may be set up to register complaints against autorickshaw drivers

Call centre may be set up to register complaints against autorickshaw drivers
The Hindu

Continuous violation of rules would attract cancellation of driving licence and also permit of the vehicle

# A database may be created about erring autorickshaw drivers
# 20,000 autorickshaws yet to be fitted with gas kits
# Autorickshaw owners who buy the kit after the deadline will not get subsidy

BANGALORE: The Transport Department will soon open a 24-hour call centre in Bangalore to register complaints about problems faced by the public while hiring autorickshaws.

Transport Commissioner M.C. Narayana Gowda said this at the inauguration of "Capacity building programme for service providers" organised by the Karnataka Tourism Forum, the Tourism Department and the Transport Department here on Wednesday.

The call centre, Mr. Gowda said, would help the department maintain a database of erring autorickshaw drivers.

Any continuous violation of rules by way of excess fare collection or refusal to ply on a particular route would make the driver lose his driving licence, he said.

The department would sternly deal with autorickshaw drivers who refuse to move into the pre-paid stands in the city, he said.

The department would not hesitate to suspend or cancel the permit of a particular autorickshaw if the driver was found to be persistently flouting the rules.

On conversion of autorickshaws manufactured before January 2002 to bi-fuel model with retrofit gas kits, the Commissioner said about 20,000 vehicles were yet to be fitted with these kits. Although the deadline of July 18 has expired, the department has proposed to the Government to extend the same by a month, he said. Vehicles getting converted after the deadline would be ineligible to receive the subsidy amount, he said.

Forum president K. Venkataraman said service providers such as autorickshaw and taxi drivers were the cultural ambassadors of the country.

They should be groomed to meet the customer's expectations. Every autorickshaw driver participating in the training programme would get a certificate and Rs. 100 stipend by the India Tourism.

Mr. Venkataraman said that the forum and India Tourism had decided to train over 10,000 service providers in Karnataka in this financial year and planned to cover hotel staff, drivers, travel consultants, dhaba staff and so on in Hassan, Mysore, Hospet, Mangalore, Badami, Belur and Kodagu.

Skywalk brings relief to schoolchildren

Skywalk brings relief to schoolchildren
Deccan Herald

For the students of the Kendriya Vidyalaya Hebbal and other schools on the CV Raman Road, the newly built foot-over bridge was a huge relief.

For the students of the Kendriya Vidyalaya Hebbal and other schools on the CV Raman Road, the newly built foot-over bridge was a huge relief.

The road is known for heavy traffic flow from the Mekhri Circle and the Tata Institute junction.

On Wednesday morning when the students first crossed the bridge the relief was evident on their faces. Dressed in their uniforms, they ran up the steps of the bridge in sheer joy.

“The ‘skywalk’ will be of immense use to our students and those of other schools and colleges in the area, who for the last so many years, have been facing severe inconvenience and difficulty in crossing the road,” said Mr C Karunakaran, principal of the Kendriya Vidyalaya Hebbal.

“The bridge has been built by Vantage, under the supervision of the Indian Institute of Science and

encouragement by the Bangalore Mahanagar Palike,” said Supratik Ghosh, General Manager, Vantage - a well known national out-door advertising firm.

Mr Ghosh added that such public-private partnerships would go a long way in improving the infrastructure of the City.

ROBs, RUB magnify Cox Town problems

ROBs, RUB magnify Cox Town problems
Deccan Herald

Traffic congestion, accident-prone streets, one-ways, dilapidated pavements... These may sound like the same old problems plaguing Bangalore. But for Cox Town residents, these issues are magnified. The two Road Overbridges (ROB) and one Road Underbridge (RUB) that are still under construction in the area have taken a toll on the living conditions and businesses of residents and shop-owners.

Voicing their grievances before officials at a public hearing organised by Sarvagnanagar Citizens Forum on Wednesday, several residents rued the long detours that motorists are forced to take, thanks to the on-going work on the arterial Wheeler Road.

“This public hearing should have been conducted before the commencement of the works. The flyover work, that was pending for about four years, was abruptly commenced, without any prior notice to the public. Traders on Wheeler Road have lost business to the extent of 60-70 per cent,” said Forum President N Thyagaraju.

Venkatesh, a local shop-owner, appealed to the authorities to at least allow two-wheelers into the blocked Wheeler Road. “The road has become deserted, I want to see customers back on the road again,” he said. Venkatesh, on behalf of other traders, also requested that parking facilities should be made below the ROBs for the convenience of customers.

Meanwhile, Simi D’Souza, a Cox Town resident, said the authorities should put concrete on the existing roads before proceeding with the ROB. “The roads under the Lingarajpuram and Banaswadi flyovers are very badly maintained. We do not want the same situation to repeat here,” she pointed out.

Colonel C John, another resident, said that the one-way routes should be reworked upon.

“Roads have become accident-prone due to one-ways. It is difficult for children and senior citizens to cross the road due to the fast-moving traffic on these one-ways. Also, we have to take long detours to reach a place a few metres away, due to this one-way system,” Col John said.

Authorities react

Representatives of South-Western Railways, BMP, Traffic Police, BWSSB and BMTC, who participated in the hearing, assured that they will conduct spot inspections of the identified areas to review whether residents’ suggestions can be incorporated. The BMP and Railway officials said they have increased the width of the ROB from the initially planned 11 metres to 14 metres.

Bharathinagar MLA Nirmal Surana advised residents to have patience, as “for a better tomorrow, we have to make sacrifices today”. He assured the residents that no buildings will be knocked down because of the road widening and ROB work.

Skywalks yet to again acceptance in city

Skywalks yet to again acceptance in city

The Hindu

`Median barricades on road will force people to use skywalks'

Bangalore: The proposal of building skywalks seemed to be a good idea. Two problems — ensuring pedestrian safety at road crossings and increasing revenue of the Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP) — would be solved at the same time. But skywalks in the city seemed to have failed as most people do not use the skywalks and prefer to cross the road instead.

Sources at the BMP advertising and development section told The Hindu that this had prompted the civic body to rethink its decision of sanctioning more skywalks. But it has asked its technical advisors to propose design changes, the sources said.

Surojit Muley, General Manager of Vantage Advertising (the company building skywalks in the city on a Build-Own-Transfer basis), said skywalks had been designed by the Indian Institute of Science and height of the steps were at a convenient six inches.

Reasons for under use

Mr. Muley said the reason why people were not using these elevated walkways was that they were not used to the concept of skywalks. An official at the BMP said that older people found it difficult to climb these skywalks as they were situated at 5.5 metres above the ground. He had a simple solution to make people use the skywalks. "If median barricades are provided on the roads, people will have to use the skywalks," he said. But the BMP had not yet done this, he said. He suggested that if the pavements were barricaded, the problem could be solved to a certain extent.

The BMP had planned 27 skywalks in the city last year but the proposal has undergone changes since then. The company undertaking the project had changed and with it the proposal to have escalators had been dropped.

"When we undertook the project, we told the BMP that it was not feasible to have escalators outdoors because of the dust, rain and so on," said Mr. Muley.

The company was building skywalks at a cost of Rs. 70 lakh each and had been given ownership for five years. The BMP could earn revenue by levying advertising and ground tax on advertisers using the space on the skywalks.

Malleswaram underpass may block approach road to hospital

Malleswaram underpass may block approach road to hospital Malleswaram underpass may block approach road to hospital

The Hindu

Work set to begin in three days; Margosa Road will become dead end

BANGALORE: Residents of Malleswaram and surrounding areas are upset over the Bangalore Mahanagara Palike's (BMP) plans to go ahead with the Malleswaram Circle underpass project. The work on the project is set to begin in three days.

Residents fear that the up-ramp of the underpass will block the entrance to the K.C. General Hospital and cause hardship to patients who need immediate medical care.

"The main gate of the hospital will be blocked and if an ambulance has to enter the hospital it will have to take a round-about turn to reach the hospital," K.S.N. Murthy, a member of the Malleswaram Swabhimana Initiative (MSI) said.

Its president Sumathi Rao said after the completion of the project, Margosa Road would become a dead end as the retaining wall of the underpass would block entry to the road. This would divert all traffic to the 4th Main Road, which leads to the narrow railway bridge, she said.

Members of the Malleswaram Swabhimana Initiative, who have been opposing the project, recently met Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy, Deputy Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa and top BMP officials and expressed their displeasure over the project. "Although Mr. Yediyurappa assured us that the project has been shelved, we are surprised that the BMP is going ahead with it. The officials told us that the underpass has been redesigned. But we still feel this junction does not require an underpass," Ms. Sumathi said.

Another member Venkatesh N, who said the project violated Indian Road Congress norms, said the pedestrian movement at the Malleswaram junction required wider pavements. "But they are planning a 2.5-metre wide pavement, which will be narrow for the movement of over 3,000 pedestrians per hour here," he said. The residents are planning to meet BMP Commissioner K. Jairaj again and request him to reconsider the proposal.


Being built at a cost of Rs. 16.4 crore, the project features a four-lane grade separator from Rajajinagar towards Malleswaram Circle and vice-versa. The project, which will be similar to the Modi Road-West of Chord Road underpass, has been entrusted to East Coast Construction Company of India.

Although the contractors had an 18-month completion deadline, BMP officials are confident of completing it within a year.

Official sources told The Hindu that the original plan has been slightly redesigned to ensure that motorists coming from Margosa Road would have a safe entry into the main carriageway.

"This junction needs an underpass as the passenger car per unit (pcu) has increased from 7,000 in 2003 to 11,000 now," the officials added.

Traffic diversion

The city police have announced diversion in the movement of traffic to facilitate construction of underpass at Malleswaram Circle.

The vehicles coming from Bangalore City Station going to Devaiah Park have to pass through Mill Corner junction, Southend Road and Mahakavi Kuvempu Road.

The two-wheelers and other light motor vehicles going to Bangalore City station and Shivajinagar from Mahakavi Kuvempu Road have to pass through Mohamaddan Block 4th Main Road, Malleswaram 4th Main Road and Coconut Avenue Road.

All the vehicles going from Geetanjali to Malleswaram Circle have to go through Link Road. Buses going to Margosa Road through Maramma Circle have to take Margosa Road 10th Cross junction and Coconut Avenue Road. Those coming from Margosa Road have to turn right near K.C. General Hospital and proceed towards Navarang cinema.