Sunday, January 28, 2007

A ‘blueprint’ for Bengalooru

Little introspection & lots of self-congratulation?
A ‘blueprint’ for Bengalooru

Deccan Herald

On one side, the men who matter for the Bangalore of today, and possibly tomorrow. All on one stage, with Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy himself holding the baton. On the other side, a mixed crowd of senior citizens, students and civic activists. The exercise initiated by the Chief Minister to facilitate transparency in administration, was a first of sorts.

While the setting promised a lot in terms of constructive deliberations on taking the City forward, the outcome of Saturday’s day-long interactive workshop hosted by the Bangalore Development Authority for initiating a dialogue between Bangalore’s movers and shakers, on the one side, and residents on the other, was largely confined to paeans to the past and gung-ho projections for the future.

In what appeared to be an extended Janata Darshan, the residents went hammer and tongs at the civic agencies, slamming everything from the land mafia to corrupt policemen to drunkards in buses. While the responses varied from candid admissions to promises of corrective measures, the audience never seemed to run out of questions. There were also the ones who broke into impromptu speeches, lauding the CM and the ‘heights’ Bangalore had touched during his government’s tenure.

But the agencies did also line up an impressive array of proposed projects. This is how the City’s leaders traced out the roadmap for Bruhat Bangalore’s future:

BMRDA unveils a three-pronged strategy

Integrated townships, ring roads and expressways -- Bangalore Metropolitan Region Development Authority (BMRDA) is pegging its plans for the future of the City on the three-point mantra.

“The BMRDA initiatives complement the concept of Brand Bangalore... at the same time, we also ensure that forests, water bodies and heritage sites of the City are protected,” said BMRDA Chairman Sudhir Krishna.

Work on the upcoming BMRDA township at Bidadi has entered the ‘next level’ with 24 bidders (from among an initial list of 32 global bidders) getting qualified. The Authority has also lined up a project for creating an institutional area, near Ramanagaram, on a 500-acre plot. The area will house government offices, a super-specialty hospital and a global apparel village, apart from a unit of IRMA.

The survey work on BMRDA’s proposed expressway that links Outer Ring Road with the upcoming international airport at Devanahalli will be complete by January 31.

Mr Krishna also refuted charges that the elevated portion of the expressway could damage the Challakere and Boyilahalli tanks.

The other points relating to projects as highlighted by the BMRDA chief:

* Integrated townships with work-live-play concept

* Rejuvenation of water bodies

* Redevelopment of 39 roads of special economic relevance

* BMR ring roads with 180-kmph speed limit

*Second phase of airport expressway to connect NH 207

Yet to overcome BMP hangover!

Is it still a long way for the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike to come out of its Bangalore Mahanagara Palike mould? Why else did the banners at a major event like the civic agencies’ review meeting on Saturday refer to it by its earlier abbreviation ‘BMP’?

The banners read so even as BBMP Commissioner K Jairaj announced efforts at the newly-formed body are focused “to make Bangalore the best global address in the world.”

The BBMP’s bid to give “a major thrust to infrastructure” will also see the civic body get started on a host of other projects worth Rs 2,000 in 2007. Among them are underpasses (six) arterial roads (155 km) and markets’ modernisation (Malleswaram market).

*Inner Core Ring Road: The work on inner core ring road project, said to ease congestion and ensure orderly traffic in the Central Business District,, will start this year. Expression of Interest (EoI) will be called in March and work completed in 20 months. It will be an elevated ring road as surface road means construction of 33 underpasses on its route.

Landfills: The lack of space for landfills is sought to be overcome. The BBMP has asked the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) to provide 500 acres of land for waste disposal and related needs.

Metro ‘Reach 1’ work to wait

The work on ‘Reach 1’ of Namma Metro -- a 7-km stretch between Kanteerava Stadium and Byappanahalli -- is not likely to take off on February 3 as planned earlier.

According to the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Managing Director V Madhu, Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy has a very busy schedule on February 3, on the completion of the coalition Government’s one year in power. “It does not mean that the work will be delayed. The formal ground-breaking ceremony will happen any day after February 3,” he told reporters.

BMRC has awarded the Rs 138-crore civil work project contract to Hyderabad-based Navayuva Construction Private Limited.

Deadlines for metro civil work

* Reach 1 Kanteerava Stadium to Byappanahalli (E)-- March 10, 2010

*Yeshwanthpur - Swastik (E) -- Nov 10, 2010

* City Market -Swastik, Majestic - Kanteerava Stadium (U/G) -- Aug 11, 2011

* City Station - Mysore Road -- Oct 11, 2011

n City Market -R V Road -- Dec 11, 2011

(Note: E-Elevated; UG: Underground)

BDA’s vast housing & other projects

Bangalore Development Authority is taking long and hard look at the development blueprint for Bruhat Bangalore. Extensive land recovery operations have also been one of BDA’s highs through the last year, BDA Commissioner M K Shankaralinge Gowda said. Around 340 unauthorised constructions were demolished over the year.

Under a new budget housing scheme, the BDA would offer more than two lakh houses for the economically poorer sections of society.

“In the Bangalore east zone, 163,000 houses will be built while in the west zone, there will be 81,000 new houses. Each house will come up at a cost of Rs 3 lakh,” Mr Gowda said.

Talking on BDA’s Masterplan 2015, he said the plan has under its ambit the Bruhat Bangalore peripheries and would feature land-fill sites and bus terminals.

The mega projects

The amount being spent for various projects are as follows: * ORR-Ramamurthynagar underpass at Rs 17.46 crore

*Magadi Road-Chord Road Junction underpass at Rs 31.86 crore

*Outer Ring Road work between Mysore Road and Magadi Road at Rs 92 crore

*Development of CMC area roads at Rs 29 crore

* The eight-lane, 117-km Peripheral Ring Road at Rs 3,600 crore

* Hi-tech City Corridor, connecting ORR to Electronic City, at Rs 140 crore

User-friendly bus services

Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation’s bid to promote public transport among private vehicles users will, in the words of its Chairman Upendra Tripathy, see “buses (in the city) wait for people” as against “people waiting for buses.”

The recently introduced grid system that popularises direction-oriented services, instead of destination-oriented, services will be pressed forward. (Meaning: People need not trek to major bus terminals like Shivajinagar or Majestic to find a bus to their destination. Rather they may hop on to buses bound in the direction of their destination from any of the bus stops.)

BMTC vision plan pegged at Rs 3000 cr

The other points BMTC chief Tripathy highlighted include:

* The BMTC’s vision plan 2006-11 will involve a huge outlay -- to the tune of Rs 3,000 crore.

* The Centre has been stressing on Bus Rapid Transit systems and BMTC will have more of them. A feasibility study on BRT system in Outer Ring Road -- from Silk Board to Hebbal -- is under preparation.

* The City to have 1,000 Volvo buses; currently it has only 33.

* The BMTC will be the feeder service to metro rail from its stations

* Introduction of 737 Euro III-enabled buses to eight stations and three bus stations in 2007.

*Work on Traffic & Transport Management Centres at Jayanagar, Domlur, Yeshwanthpur, Kengeri, and Bannerghatta to be completed in 2007.

Cameras for crime-prone areas

A 10 per cent reduction in crimes. That’s what the Bangalore City Police is pointing at as last year’s high point. This, when the force is grappling with a variety of problems, the latest being terror threats. As an innovative crime-buster initiative, the police are planning to install secret surveillance cameras in crime-prone areas of the City.

“Bangalore accounts for almost one-fourth of the State’s crimes... we have around 37,755 crimes to be investigated, apart from the civic disputes and miscellaneous cases,” Police Commissioner N Achutha Rao said.

Further, there is the seemingly never-ending line of VIPs visiting the City. According to the police, Bangalore hosts 1,671 VIPs, including 100 heads of State, every year. On the traffic scene, the police are furthering the B-TRAC 2010 scheme with plans to install 150 new signals, 100 monitoring cameras and establish a state-of-the-art Traffic Management Centre. The other plans are:

*A separate cyber crime cell for Bangalore

* Digital albums of rowdy-sheeters

* Smart traffic signals with Area Traffic Control

* 100 Variable Message System Boards to inform commuters on traffic blocks

* Recruitment of 2,027 constables in the offing

* Proposal to government on allocating dedicated space for staging protests

Cauvery’s early entry

It may be many hiccups before the demand for drinking water in Greater Bangalore is adequately met. That Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) is not making many promises unlike the other civic agencies should be indication enough.

BWSSB Chairman N C Muniyappa’s only concrete assurance was the Cauvery IV Stage II Phase project would be completed a year in advance - 2010 instead of 2011.

The project will provide another 500 million litres per day (mld) water to Bangalore.

* Greater Bangalore will require 1,576 mld. The current supply being 900 mld, there is a shortfall of 676 mld

* The Netak Balancing Reservoir project, which will augment the supply by 100 mld, would be completed by June

* Recycled water from Yelahanka and Vrishabhavathi treatment plants to be supplied for non-potable use for industries

*The pipeline laying work in former CMC areas for Greater Bangalore Water Supply and Sanitation Project (GBWSASP) to be completed by September


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