Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Just 400 metres stopping it

Just 400 metres stopping it

The Times of India

Off Bannerghatta Road: As you drive along Kanakapura Road on the BMIC peripheral Ring Road towards Bannerghatta Road, you hit a deadend. The sixlane access-controlled super highway ends abruptly. And you stare at the compound wall of a farm.
The lush green fields overlook a lake, which are half-dried and full of weeds and hyacinth. And cattle enjoy a bath in the lake! This is the Gottigere lake which has put brakes on the BMIC project.
The 42-km corridor which connects Tumkur-Magadi-Mysore-Kanakapura-Bannerghatta Road to Hosur Road does not proceed beyond Bannerghatta Road. A mere 400-metre stretch has dogged the BMIC project in Gottigere. The issue: whether the road should go over the lake or around it.
The project gains all the more importance for commuters to Electronic City (EC) as the Hosur Road Elevated Road project work is slowing down traffic. Recently, 38,000 techies working at the EC signed an appeal and filed a PIL in the Supreme Court requesting for

speedy completion of the project. They say more than half of the commuters to EC will avoid Hosur Road and use NICE Road to reach EC. Also, truckers who constitute a major chunk of the vehicle population, can use the BMICP Road as a bypass to reach Hosur Road.
This 50-acre lake was once a fresh water pond which was rain-fed. Thanks to rapid urbanisation and mushrooming of illegal apartments and layouts near Bannerghatta Road, this lake is being used to let out sewage and other effluents. Hence, the lake has very little fresh water in it.
Since the road is in a limbo, commuters have found an alternative road: hundreds of commuters brave a small, meandering, muddy 15-20-metre stretch near the lake. This path meanders through the tank bund and some farms and touches the BMIC’s Hosur Road.
Says Sujith Kumar, an EC commuter from Basaveshwaranagar: “I work in Infosys. Earlier, I used to take two hours to reach EC via Madiwala. Now, I discovered the NICE Road. I take 50 minutes. Except this muddy stretch, it’s a silk route. The access-controlled BMICP Road gives me a non-stop ride. It is high time
the government supported this project.’’
The villagers, residents of a private residential enclave, businessmen and shopkeepers want the road to be completed as much as the project-implementing company.
Deepali Shankar, a resident of a private enclave in Gottigere says: “I wonder how powerful these guys must be to have stopped the completion of just 400 metres. I hope the court orders in favour of the road project.’’
According to Gottigere gram panchayat
member and past president G K Ravi, who is actively involved in the matter, the HC order states that NICE should build the road on stilts over the lake. It is contempt of court that it is being built around the lake, he said. “They are trying to save a farm and by doing so they are making the road take a sharp turn. This will prove dangerous as commuters ride on this road at top speed.’’ HC gets 2 months to settle issue TIMES NEWS NETWORK
Bangalore: The Supreme Court on Tuesday transferred the Gottigere lake issue, which has stalled the Bangalore Mysore Infrastructure Corridor (BMIC) project, to Karnataka High Court.
Justices S B Sinha and Markendeyu Katju directed the high court to hear, resolve and issue the decision within two months without giving scope for adjournments.
This ruling sets aside the high court order of April 2006. The order said the road be laid across the lake in a straight line by constructing pillars bisecting the lake. Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprises (NICE), executing the project, had opposed it and secured a stay in the Supreme Court.
The Electronic City Industries Association had sought the apex court’s intervention to throw open the peripheral road connecting Hosur Road to Mysore Road and onward connectivity to the Tumkur Road stretch. The high court, while dismissing the state government’s plea on June 16, 1999, had said: “The respondents (NICE) are directed not to lay any road bisecting the Gottigere lake preventing or disturbing the inflow of water into the tank.’’
The Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) on July 24, 1999, approved construction of a road bridge across the tank. However, NICE rejected the suggestion to put pillars in the lake. Instead, it preferred to take an alignment to protect the water body.
Lake controversy dates back to 1999, when environmentalist Suresh Heblikar filed a PIL on the road proposal. He contended that lake would be killed if road is built over the lake.
However, HC ordered road may be built on stilts without disturbing lake’s water
flow. Since there was opposition, NICE changed alignment and proposed to take it around lake.
Those influential in government and a private developer whose enclave comes in the path of new alignment, prompted Gottigere gram panchayat to file a petition in high court against new alignment - now stating that earlier alignment was preferred.

Panchayat stated that if road is taken around lake, flow of water into the lake will be affected.
NICE too submitted a proposal to enhance flow of water into lake by replacing one inlet pipe with eight. While NICE swears it will not touch the lake and will take all possible measures to protect its ecology, village panchayat wants road to be built on lake.

Govt cracks down on usurpers

Govt cracks down on usurpers
Deccan Herald

The government has so far recovered a staggering 635 acres of "prime land" worth nearly Rs 400 crore.

The government has now turned the heat on land sharks, albeit without any fuss. The special cell of the State Revenue Department has arrested 45 “encroachers’ of government land in Bangalore Urban district after framing criminal charges against them.

It has so far recovered a staggering 635 acres of “prime land” worth nearly Rs 400 crore.

The cases have been filed under 192(a) of the Karnataka Land Revenue Act and Section 447 of Indian Penal Code (IPC).

The arrests have been made in all five taluks of the district — Anekal, Bangalore South, Bangalore North, Bangalore North (additional) and Bangalore East.

“So far, criminal cases have been filed against a total of 432 ‘encroachers’ and steps to arrest all of them will follow soon,” official sources in the Revenue Department told Deccan Herald.

Principal Secretary to the Revenue Department S M Jamadar confirmed the arrests but did not divulge the names of those arrested. He also refused to give any details of the properties recovered.

No names, details

Interestingly, the special cell headed by Bangalore Urban Deputy Commissioner M A Sadiq began arresting the encroachers soon after the Legislature session was adjourned on February 21. In fact, top officials of the Revenue and Police Departments decided to go ahead with the arrests at a high-level meeting on February 21. Though the special cell had filed cases over a month ago, it was yet to initiate steps to arrest anyone. Those against whom cases have been filed include close relatives of some influential persons, but they have not been arrested yet.

“But action will be taken sooner than later,” the sources said.

The clampdown on encroachments is a follow up to the report of the Joint House Committee headed by A T Ramaswamy, which estimated that 13,614 acres of government land worth Rs 27,377 crore has been encroached.

The special cell has so far initiated process for recovering 1,040 acres of encroached government revenue land and officials pegged the worth of these lands at around Rs 1,000 crore (at Rs 1 crore per acre).

Official sources said the government has decided to set up a special court to try these cases, as has been recommended by the Committee.

No cut-and-dried case this!

No cut-and-dried case this!
Deccan Herald
Will the Rs 33-crore underground parking project, proposed to come up in front of the Karnataka High Court, become a reality?

Will the Rs 33-crore underground parking project, proposed to come up in front of the Karnataka High Court, become a reality?

This, interestingly, is a matter to be decided by the High Court itself, considering the fact that the area where the project is to come up falls under Cubbon Park limits.

The law mandates that any construction in the park area should get the High Court’s nod.

The Registrar-General of the court had, in December 2006, approved setting up of an underground parking in Cubbon Park and had asked the government to go ahead with the project.

The High Court had approved the project in view of the parking problems faced by lawyers and litigants on its premises.

However, this decision came to be challenged as an interlocutory application was filed before the court, seeking a direction to publish a notice and invite objections from the public before going ahead with the project.


The applicant, Bimal N Desai, contended that underground parking would spoil the park’s beauty.

Mr M G Kumar, arguing for the applicant, said that in view of Circuit Benches being established at Dharwad and Gulbarga in north Karnataka, several of the courts within the High Court complex would be shifted and “automatically the litigant/lawyer population here would come down”.

Mr Desai also said several trees would be cut, “permanently killing the beauty of the area”.

Govt assurance

The government, however, assured the court that there was nothing to worry. Ramesh K Jagirdar, under secretary, PWD (Buildings), told the court that the project would come up in an area where are there were very few trees.

“In case a tree is felled, two saplings would be planted in its place. The open space and the lawns in front of the court would also be protected, “ the government submitted.

During the course of the hearing, the applicant argued that the Chief Justice could not hear the case as he himself was part of the committee which approved the proposal.

But Chief Justice Cyriac Joseph said “there have be-en several instances where judges have taken decisions on the administrative side and the same judge has quashed the decision on the judicial side”. The Bench comprising Justice Cyriac Joseph and Justice B S Patil has reserved orders.

NICE’s contempt plea back in HC

NICE’s contempt plea back in HC
Deccan Herald

The Supreme Court on Tuesday reverted to the Karnataka High Court a contempt of court petition filed by the Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprise (NICE) to allow it to implead in a case relating to construction of a road across or around Gottigere lake.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday reverted to the Karnataka High Court a contempt of court petition filed by the Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprise (NICE) to allow it to implead in a case relating to construction of a road across or around Gottigere lake.

The apex court Bench comprising Justices S B Sinha and Markandeya Katju directed the High Court to decide the case within two months without further adjournments.

NICE had questioned the rejection of its appeal (by the High Court) to allow it to be impleaded in the public interest litigation “as there was no scope for a third party in the contempt case,” but the division bench of the Supreme Court has noted that “it was not so”.

Gottigere panchayat advocate V A Mehta and State government counsel Altaf Ahmed submitted that NICE should not be allowed to be impleaded in the case. Justice Katju said it should be left to the court to decide the fate of the case.

Many parties

The court dismissed two other appeals seeking to be impleaded -- one by the Electronic City Industries Association and the other by local farmers.

Environmentalist Suresh Heblikar had moved the PIL in the High Court against the NICE decision to construct the road cutting across the lake. The State government then changed the alignment and allowed the road to be constructed by circumventing the lake.

It was when the Gottigere panchayat filed a case against the State government, opposing this, that NICE filed a contempt case against the State government, which was rejected by the High Court.

Of the 41-km road which links Tumkur-Hosur (National Highway 4 and NH 7), work on 39 km is complete and only the lake link is pending because of the litigation.

Who is there to foot the responsibility?

Who is there to foot the responsibility?

The Hindu

Bangalore, the city that once was a pleasure to walk in, has become one of the most pedestrian-unfriendly metros with no priority whatsoever for footpaths. Pity. Because we can still walk the talk if we put our minds to it

# There are about 30 lakh vehicles in the city
# One-ways have only added to the woes of people

Bangalore: You can only sigh wistfully reminiscing about those days when Bangalore had sweeping, unclogged roads and wide footpaths. Now if you want to walk, beware! It could be an obstacle race.

You might have to contend with impatient two-wheelers which bump along on footpaths to avoid the long stream of vehicles on the road.

Or you may step over hawkers selling flowers or vegetables. And keep your eyes wide open for that dislodged or missing slab, lest you sprain your feet. Of course, more often than not, you will find the footpaths themselves missing.

As the city's population and vehicles increase exponentially, the pedestrian is losing the way in a sea of fearsome, criss-crossing automobiles.

Sadly, sometimes he or she ends up as a statistic in police records. The number of vehicles have grown from one lakh in 1976 to 30 lakhs in 2006. Instead of looking for appreciable alternatives, the administration has found it easy to shrink pavements to accommodate more vehicles.


The city administration's apathy towards pedestrian safety is glaringly visible in front of BBMP's central office at Hudson Circle.

The junction, where thousands of vehicles from all directions of the city converge and pass through, does not have even a regulated pedestrian crossing. Similar is the situation on many important roads in the city.

Lack of safe and protected pedestrian crossings on busy roads amplify the miseries of the walker.

Crossing the road has become a nightmare.


One-ways and absence of safe pedestrian crossings have only added to the woes of people. With prominent roads in the central business district now one-way, the threat to walkers has multiplied. As vehicles zoom, walkers find it difficult to cross the road and in the process risk their lives.

Except on K.G. Road, Residency Road, Airport Road, Seshadri Road and Jayanagar IV Block, no arterial road in the CBD has safe pedestrian crossings. The skywalks, wherever provided, are hardly used by the public as the footpaths are not barricaded.

The self-operated or "Pelican" signals, which were to have been used by pedestrians, are hardly functional. They are either non-functional and deliberately rendered unusable.

The BBMP, which is in charge of footpaths, regularly announces removal of encroachments and slapping of fines, worth lakhs of rupees. "Vendors are the major encroachers of footpaths. We evict them every other day. But they keep coming back. The other encroachers are shopkeepers whose products spill over onto the footpaths. Our only alternative is to keep up our drive constantly," N. Jayaram, Joint Commissioner (Enforcement), BBMP, told The Hindu .

There are other offenders too: those who park their vehicles on footpaths or use them for gardening. Ensuring adequate parking spaces is also the BBMP's responsibility. Having failed utterly to provide them, the BBMP now proposes to create more multi-level parking complexes. The multi-level parking complex on J.C. Road remains unutilised most of the time. Another complex, the Garuda Mall, is more of a shopping centre than a parking place for the public as was originally envisioned.

The issue of hawkers encroaching footpath space has been flogged to death in umpteen meetings of city councillors.

Upgrading markets have been mooted as solutions. But this has not worked in most cases.

One reason for this is that the badly-designed markets do not give enough visibility to all vendors.

Moreover, the Bangalore Development Authority, the planning agency of Bangalore, until now has not designated any hawking zones in the city.

At a recent interaction with citizens, BDA Commissioner Shankarlinge Gowda said such zones would be incorporated in the new Master Plan 2015.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (Traffic-East) M.A. Saleem suggests a comprehensive package to solve the problem of footpath encroachments.

The traffic police has recommended provision for sub-ways and skywalks at 105 accident-prone places in the city.

`Pedestrian-friendly measures glaringly absent'

`Pedestrian-friendly measures glaringly absent'

The Hindu

BANGALORE: According to M.N. Sreehari, a professor with M.S. Ramaiah Institute of Technology and Chairman of Traffic Engineering and Safety Trainers, pedestrian-friendly measures are glaringly absent in Bangalore.

The minimum width of the pavement should be 1.5 metres as per the Indian Road Congress, the width should go up depending upon the number of people using the pavement, he said. A 1.5 metre-wide pavement can take 600 people an hour. However, very few pavements in the city match that standard.

Even if one prefers to walk on the downsized footpath, several obstacles — electricity poles and transformers, trees, ditches, hawkers, shopkeepers' display articles and many more — force one to walk on the road. Public attitude of crossing the road at their fancy has also been one of the main reasons for fatal accidents.

Mr. Sreehari said scientifically planned skywalks, subways and kerbstone-laid zebra crossings could ensure minimum safety to pedestrians. These facilities should be provided near important bus stops, shopping areas and school zones. Considering the public's tendency to cross the road as they like, pavements should be barricaded except at the entry and exit of skywalks or sub-ways. Skywalks should be at places convenient for pedestrians and not at places favourable to advertising agencies, he added.

BBMP officials engaged in power game instead of development

BBMP officials engaged in power game instead of development
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: Till three months back, everyone thought that councillors were an impediment to development of the City.

Though the corporators were elected to the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) with a mandate to facilitate growth of the City, they were allegedly busy making hay while the sun shone on the metro. The councillors hindered the officials’ work and pressurised engineers for private gains in contracts. Consequently, there was an outcry on the effect this had on the quality of work.

If it were true, the officials, now that they have no interfering councillors, should have effected substantial development. BBMP has been free of councillors for four months and the City governance has progressed at a snail’s pace. The road widening work is yet to begin and the storm water drains await remodelling.

Further, the officials are engaged in the power game. BBMP, being a massive organisation with more than 5000 officers, has cleavages galore. Officers from the BBMP cadre cannot stand those on deputation from other departments.

The officers holding sanctioned posts feel that those on non-sanctioned posts have no right to be in the Palike. Then there are differences along the lines of political allegiance. Many times, the Commissioner finds it difficult to tackle an assisstant engineer who has the support of political heavy weights.

But with councillors such was not the case. Then the priorities were clear. Work had to happen fast as faster work made them popular among the voters and also brought, if they needed, bribes from the contractors.

Officials’ opinion was rarely heeded. Officials who did not take councillors’ diktat were quickly transferred. But now, nobody knows from where the command flows. Everyone seems busy trying to settle scores with peers.

The civic body spends a quarter of the State budget. The delay in delivery of services could lead to a messy City.

BBMP needs elections in time so that the organisation finds a direction for growth.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Train to B'lore still a mirage for Mangaloreans

Train to B'lore still a mirage for Mangaloreans
The Mangalorean

Mangalore Feb 27: In the 2005 Railway Budget, railway minister Lalu Prasad Yadav, promised Mangloreans the moon. But nothing materialised. This year, Mangloreans will be less disappointed, as he hasn't offered anything.

The 2006 budget promised three trains on the incomplete Mangalore-Hassan Broad Gauge route. Probably this was the first time in the history of the railway budget that Mangalore region was sanctioned three new trains, but none materialised. Even after a year after the announcement and the completion of the Mangalore-Hassan Broad Gauge route, the passenger train to Bangalore remains a mirage, though goods train services began way back in December last year.

Hopes were hinging on one announcement of the railway minister that the Mangalore-Shravanbelagola Passenger would start before the Mahamastabhishekha to Lord Bahubali at Shravanabelagola in February 2006. But that was not to be. The other trains that were announced on the route were the Yeshwantpur-Mangalore Express via Mysore and the Yeshwantpur-Mangalore Express via Arasikere.

Now, sources in the Office of the Commissioner for Railway Safety (CRS), Bangalore, say it may take longer, as the Chief Engineer (Construction), who is in charge of that section, has not submitted the "compliance" report. The CRS official said it is not their fault that they were not coming forward for inspection of the route, but that of the chief engineer. Regarding how much time the compliance report would take, the source said it can be prepared in a day or can be delayed by a year. "It depends upon the official." "We have not held up the passenger services between Mangalore-Bangalore in any way. The minute the compliance report reaches our desk, we will set out to inspect the tracks and certify it," the official added.

Then how come goods trains are plying on the track? The source said the CRS does not have any role as far as goods traffic is concerned, as passenger safety is not involved. "The railways themselves can run goods trains without the permission of CRS," the source observed.

In the final analysis, Lalu may have brought cheer to passengers all over the country by reducing fares, but for people in this region Lalu's budget doesn't offer much joy.

Mangaloreans Disappointed

The cuts in fares and freight in the Railway budget has not gone down well with the people here. They are sore about no mention about the status of passenger train service between Mangalore-Bangalore, which has been in the cold storage for almost a year.

Srinivas Kamath, secretary, Kanara Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), welcomed the budget for being in favour of the common man as there are no hikes. "The saddest part is there is no mention about the Bangalore train on the broad gauge route," he notes. He said the budget shows a surplus, despite cuts in train fares for travellers and freight. Kamath is glad that there will be as many as 6,000 ATMs, which will help prevent passengers hanging around in the railway stations for tickets for endless hours.

The introduction of extra bogies for both the public and goods traffic is also welcome, he said also hailing the reduction in overall travel time in certain sectors.

Giridhar Prabhu, former Chamber president, was sarcastic while saying "now that the railway minister is talking about management and money, people here also should talk in the minister's language for more funds, pointing out at the pending passenger service between Mangalore-Bangalore."

Dry & dark days

Dry & dark days
No power, no water. This is what the summer holds for the state. The dreaded unscheduled load-shedding is back in Bangalore and other parts of the state. Reason: lack of power availability. On the water front, too, the scene is rather grim: once-in-six days supply in some areas and absolutely no water in others.

The Times of India

Bangalore: It’s ‘pani’ Bangaloreans want. But that is what is proving to be a mirage.
It’s worse in the erstwhile CMC areas. No groundwater, no tap water.
On Sarjapur Road, a new apartment built by a known developer comprising four blocks of nine floors each is waiting for buyers. On the other hand, a few who have bought the flats are in a hurry to dispose them of. The buyers discovered that it is lack of water supply in the area which is the major reason.
Though the developer has sunk 18 borewells in the apartment premises, he has not struck water!
For Greater Bangalore’s new entrants — residents of erstwhile seven CMCs, one TMC and 110 villages — the only hope from the new administration is good quality drinking water supply. But little do they realise that Cauvery water is a distant dream as the BWSSB cannot channelise water from its present reserves.
For the residents in city’s periphery, dried up borewells, erratic drinking water supply has become a part of life. So much so, in their monthly household expenses, a sizeable amount is reserved for buying water — mineral water for drinking and cooking and tanker water for other purposes.
Says Krishnamurthy M C, a resident of KHB apartments in Yelahanka New Town: “We had mini water supply schemes but the Yelahanka CMC failed to pay power charges to Bescom. As a result, power was disconnected. Hence, the mini water supply scheme does not work. A few pockets get Cauvery water which is not adequate and so people depend on tankers. We have booked a local water tanker owner who supplies two tankers every day at a discounted price: Rs 180 per tanker as against the normal price of Rs 250.’’
Compared with its “poor cousins’’, the areas in Bangalore are a luckier lot. As of now they get water supply on alternate days and some once in three days. However, during the crucial summer months, water will be rationed. Since the Tippagondanahalli reservoir has dried up, right now only 35 MLD is being pumped as against the normal pumping of 135 MLD, which is supplied to Bangalore West areas.
The BWSSB plans to reduce the quantity of water during summer — the water supply might come down from 22,000 litres to 20,000 litres per household. Now, the supply varies from 25,000 to 40,000 litres per connection, Venkataraju, BWSSB chief engineer, water supply, explains.
“As of now we do not see a major problem except that not much water can be pumped from TG Halli reservoir. But the BWSSB is not connected to the new Greater Bangalore areas as of now,’’ he adds.
In the coming months, BWSSB may restrict water supply from once in three days to once in six days depending on the area.However, Bangalore North areas continue to have erratic water supply due to disturbances in the lines and so BWSSB is trying to channelise water from South areas to these affected places.
But less said the better about the former CMCs. In Somasundrapalya, behind Chinmaya Vidya Mandira next to HSR Layout, there is no BWSSB water and residents depend on borewells. Due to depleting water table, even the borewells have started drying up. Despite digging for a depth of 700-800 ft, residents do not strike water.
The groundwater table scene is alarming. In 1930s the depletion was only 30 feet, which began to increase year after year. Now the situation is that in the East of Bangalore, even after digging up to 500 feet, there is no sign of water. The Western part of the city has a level of about 350 feet and experts feel that the South is at present safe — with a depletion level of about 180 to 200 feet.
Another important reason for the drastic depletion is the absence of channels to replenish water. In the country side, water seeps into the ground easily as the cemented surfaces are considerably less. Due to the greenery, muddy roads and lack of shoulder drains, water pilfers into the ground without any effort.
Water supply may be rationed in the coming months - once in three days to six days - depending on the situation.
Areas in the periphery are the worst hit - no Cauvery water. Residents are dependent on only borewells, which have started drying up.
Private tankers and mineral water suppliers are making a brisk business with people going in for tanker water, especially those in apartments.
Groundwater table depletes to alarming depths - at some places, even at 700 ft, water is not found.

Very few of State's demands met

Very few of State's demands met

The Hindu

BANGALORE: People have little to cheer about the Railway Budget although Karnataka has got greater share of funds compared to last year. Although the numbers look impressive with a majority of the projects sought by the State Government having got allocations, passenger amenities have barely been touched. Long-pending demands such as a separate division for Gulbarga and trains to cities such as Jammu have remained unfulfilled.

Although Railway Minister Lalu Prasad announced operation of passenger trains between Bangalore and Mangalore in his last budget, it remains on paper even with the present budget. The rail link between the capital and the port town was discontinued about a decade ago, with allegations of the road transport lobby blocking resumption of train services.

Mangalore Railway Station continues to remain under Palakkad Division of Southern Railway despite repeated pleas to bring it under Mysore Division of South-Western Railway. This, people of the region say, is to help the creation of Salem Division in the home State of the Minister of State for Railways R. Velu.

The allocation of Rs. 31 crore for the new line between Shravanabelagola and Bangalore is considered inadequate. Expediting the completion of this much delayed line will provide a direct link between Bangalore and Hassan and thence to Mangalore.

According to Bangalore South Lok Sabha Member H.N. Ananth Kumar, the State had been given a raw deal though the South Western Railway had provided an operational surplus of Rs. 639 crore during the last fiscal. The long-pending demands for daily trains from Bangalore to Ajmer, Varanasi, Jaipur and Hubli-Mumbai had not been considered, he said.

The budget has announced three new services, extension of the existing two and extension of frequency of six trains. However, their benefit for Karnataka is limited as they are largely favourable to other States. New trains between Bagalkot and Bijapur and Bagalkot and Solapur benefit only a part of the State, while the Garib Rath, people feel, should have been between Bangalore and Delhi. Similarly, the new train between Yeshwanthpur and Gorakhpur is of no use as there is already one between Bangalore City and Gorakhpur.

Rajasthan Samaj Railway Sangharsh Samithi president Prakash Mandoth said the budget had not addressed a majority of the demands from the State, including new line between Krishnarajanagar and Kushalnagar and Shimoga and Harihar. It had ignored issues of line doubling between Tumkur and Hubli; new lines between Raichur-Gadwal, Kadur-Chikmaglur-Sakaleshpur, Munirabad-Mehaboob Nagar and gauge conversion between Chickballapur-Kolar, Anandapura-Talaguppa, Chickballapur-Madanapalli Road and Mysore-Chamarajanagar. Against popular demand for new lines between Hubli and Ankola and Bidar and Gulbarga, the Minister had allocated Rs. 5 crore and Rs. 20 crore respectively.

Mr. Mandoth said the budget did not provide a new intercity train between Shimoga and Bangalore and one more night train between Bangalore and Hubli, which were badly needed.

The Railways made allocations for 15 of the 20 projects sought by the Government and State's allocation had almost doubled from Rs. 241 crore last year to Rs. 468 crore, according to official sources.

The Chief Minister had sought approval to 10 projects, including Hubli-Ankola rail line and expeditious implementation of as many projects in 2007-08. The projects that did not get the Railway Ministry's nod are: Shahabad (Gulbarga district)-Bagalkot-Kuduchi (Belgaum district), Chamarajanagar-Kanakapura-Bangalore, Talagupppa-Honnavar, Gadag-Haveri, Holenarasimjpura-Kushalngar and Shomoga-Harihar lines. Although many of the demands of Karnataka had been conceded by Mr. Lalu Prasad, the State needed more, especially considering that the Railways had earned a profit of over Rs. 20,000 crore, which it expected to increase to Rs. 30,000 in the next financial year.

Cauvery protests continue to disrupt traffic

Cauvery protests continue to disrupt traffic

The Hindu

Citizens forced to spend gruelling hours on clogged roads, bearing the scorching sun and thick smoke

# Vokkaligara Sangha takes out massive procession on Monday
# Human chain organised on Old Madras Road

BANGALORE: There seems to be no immediate relief to the ordeal Bangloreans are facing for the past three weeks following traffic jams caused by demonstrations against the final award of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal.

Since the tribunal announced its award on February 5, traffic disruptions have become the order of the day. Hapless citizens have been forced to spend gruelling hours on the clogged roads, bearing the scorching sun and the thick smoke emitted by the stranded vehicles.

The situation was no different on Monday.

Traffic came to a near halt in the central parts of the city when the members of Vokkaligara Sangha took out a massive procession to protest against the tribunal award.

About 3,000 people, riding bullock carts and carrying ploughs, took out a procession from the Vokkaligara Sangha office on K.R. Road to Raj Bhavan.

As the procession passed through the busy J.C. Road, it was a bumper-to-bumper ride on J.C. Road, R.V. Road, N.R. Road, Mission Road, Lalbagh Road, Mysore Road flyover, City Market, Silver Jubilee Park Road, Kempegowda Road and Nrupatunga Road for nearly one hour.

As the procession moved from the N.R. Square to Banappa Park, traffic came to a halt for a few minutes.

"There was no hold-up as such. The vehicular movement was slow and we made necessary traffic deviations," Assistant Commissioner of Police (Central) K. Eshwar Prasad told The Hindu . As the police did not allow the procession towards the Raj Bhavan, the protesters held a public meeting at Banappa Park.

Later, the Vokkaligara Sangha leaders submitted a memorandum to Governor T.N. Chaturvedi at the Raj Bhavan, the police said.

`Reject award'

Writer M. Chidanandamurthy on Monday said the Government should reject the final award of Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal.

Speaking to presspersons here he said: "Karnataka should get at least 416 tmcft of water to irrigate 18 lakh acres of land."

Quoting the late irrigation expert Dr. S.G. Balekundri, Mr. Chidanandamurthy said that estimated requirement of water to irrigate 11.2 lakh acres was around 312 tmcft. He also said that the Cauvery issue should not mask the demand for classical status to Kannada.

Human chain

The ITI Kannada Hitha Rakshana Samithi organised a human chain on Old Madras Road, off the ITI Colony Gate, to protest against the tribunal award.

Members of 18 Kannada organisations from K.R. Puram, Ramamurthynagar, Kalkere, Koudenahalli, Vijanapura and Nagavarapalya participated in the protest. Kannada Chaluvali leader and MLA Vatal Nagaraj addressed the protesters.

Vehicular movement on Old Madras Road was affected for sometime following the demonstration, the police said.

Akhila Karnataka Shivarajkumar Sena Samithi held a protest meeting in front of the Mahatma Gandhi statue on Mahatma Gandhi Road.

Addressing the gathering, Mr. Shivarajkumar appealed to the protesters to carryout peaceful protests.

Film director S.V. Rajendra Singh participated in the dharna.

Residents should get fresh sanction plan for change in land use: BMP

Residents should get fresh sanction plan for change in land use: BMP
The Hindu

HC adjourns hearing in Sadashivanagar violations case

# The sanctioned plan for a residence varies from a plan for a commercial building
# Many Sadashivanagar residents have on their own changed the usage of the building

BANGALORE: The Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP) on Monday informed the Karnataka High Court that residents will have to obtain permission and also fresh sanction plan if they wanted to put their residence to commercial use.

The BMP said the sanctioned plan for a residence varied from a plan for a commercial building. The setback of a building, parking space and other issues relating to a building depended upon whether a building was permitted as residential or commercial.

Making these submissions, BMP counsel Ashok Harnahalli said in the case of Sadashivanagar, the residents had on their own changed the usage of the building they had constructed from residential to commercial.

He said even if certain activities and establishments, such as clinic and advocate office were permissible under the law, the residents would have to obtain permission from the planning authority.

He said when a layout was planned by the Bangalore Development Authority, it would notify in the plan and earmark plots for residences, civic amenities and commercial areas. However, a resident could apply for change in the land use to the BDA.

He was responding to the queries by the court on the norms to be followed by the authorities while permitting change in the land use and the growing commercialisation of residential areas.

The court was dealing with scores of petitions by residents, business and commercial establishments, banks, law firms, schools and software firms who had petitioned it against the notices by the Bangalore Mahanagara Palike asking them to close down as they had violated the change in land use.

The BMP said that any change in the land use must be in conformity with the laws of the land, including the Comprehensive Development Plan (CDP), zonal regulations and building by-laws.

In its statement of objections, the BDA contended that it had permitted change of land use in Sadashivanagar only in a few instances. It said in most of the instances, the residents had on their own changed the land use.

The former Advocate-General, B.T. Parthasarthy, said the residents were confused about the CDP of 1995 and said till date they had not been given a copy. He said the residents could make further submissions and reply to the BDA only when they went through the CDP.

Justice Rammohan Reddy directed the BDA to furnish to Mr. Parthasarthy's clients a copy of the CDP and adjourned further hearing on the case to Monday.

No end to their daily ordeal

No end to their daily ordeal

The Hindu

It has nothing to offer for thousands of people who travel to the State capital daily for work

BANGALORE: Even as efforts are being made to decongest Bangalore, the Railway Budget has nothing to offer to the thousands of working class commuters who shuttle between KGF and Bangalore and Tumkur and Bangalore.

The demand for additional trains from KGF to Bangalore has not been met.

Apart from the existing Swarna Fast Passenger and Marikuppam-Bangalore Passenger, commuters have been demanding another fast passenger service to meet the rising number of daily commuters. Many even take the train from Bangarpet, around 11 km from KGF.

Nearly 10,000 residents of KGF, who have been rendered unemployed following the closure of Bharath Gold Mines Ltd. (BGML) travel to Bangalore daily.

Comprising mostly unskilled workers, a large number of KGF residents work in unorganised sectors as construction labour and others.

A former engineer at BGML, L. Maria Sounderaj, said: "A new service would have helped us as we travel with great difficulty. The only other option is to travel to Bangarpet and catch a train to Bangalore."

Although Marikuppam-Kengeri push-pull train was promised, the service has not been announced, he added.

For Syed Mujeeb, a resident of Tumkur who commutes to Bangalore daily, the budget will not bring any changes.

He said: "We have been demanding a fast passenger to Bangalore and expected that this demand will be fulfilled this time. The budget has not given anything to cheer."

Some 10,000 people travel from Tumkur to Bangalore daily, mostly officials, lawyers, factory workers and garment sector workers.

These commuters are dependent on the Arasikere-Bangalore Passenger that arrives in Tumkur at 7.15 a.m. and reaches Bangalore by 9.45 a.m.

The Hubli Passenger that arrives at 10 a.m. does not help the commuters.

The commuters had been demanding a fast passenger to fill the gap between Arasikere Passenger and Hubli Passenger, which has not been met.

Public moan over load shedding

Public moan over load shedding
Deccan Herald

Almost all parts of the City is experiencing blackout in the last few days, though the Government is claiming that the power situation is “under control” and it will not resort to unscheduled load shedding.

Battered by the erratic power supply of late in the City, Bangaloreans have taken serious exception to Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (Bescom) for its failure to provide quality service.

They believe that something is fishy and that ‘power cuts’ are related to the prevailing power shortage crisis and not “system problem,” as claimed by the utility.

Almost all parts of the City is experiencing blackout in the last few days, though the Government is claiming that the power situation is “under control” and it will not resort to unscheduled load shedding. Ironically, power shut down in many areas had not been scheduled at all.

Some people, especially those into business, have bought generators recently. “I have bought a new generator...I cannot trust Bescom any more...Due to frequent power cuts on Sunday, many tools got damaged at my factory. Bescom should at least announce in advance as to when it is cutting power,” Jagdish Bhatiji, one of the proprietors of an automobile tools manufacturing factory in Yeshwanthpur, said.

‘Make it Mumbai’

Ram Menon, MD, Sujay Condominium Private Limited, took a dig at the chief minister saying that he only talks and actually does nothing.

How can a City like Bangalore face power problem? The Government is talking of making Bangalore a Singapore...Let it make it another Mumbai at least...There is no power cut in Mumbai,” he said.

Bescom gameplan is simple. It wants to save power for future days by cutting the supply on and off now. Even half-an-hour shut down during a peak hour in Bangalore saves lot of energy.

But officially the utility is saying that it is facing technical problems. This is an intelligent way of doing unscheduled load shedding, Vasudha, a housewife and a resident of R P C Layout, charged.

S P Harish, a retired senior vice-president of India Petrochemicals, termed the situation as miserable. “How can there be frequent disruption of power supply without any reason? Bescom must announce its plans in advance and stick to it...Things may turn bad to worse in the coming days,” he warned. Latha, a teacher at Little Kinds school, said there was no power supply for nearly three hours on Monday.

“I could not watch railway budget presentation due to lack of power. At least there should have been a paper notification about the cut,” she complained.

No load shedding

However, Bescom Managing Director Gonal Bhimappa on Monday claimed that there is no load shedding in the City.

When his attention was drawn to large-scale complaints from the public about interruptions in power supply in the City, Mr Bhimappa said this was due to the setting up of power sub-stations and also system improvement works being executed in the City. “At present, work on setting up 30 new 33 kv stations is underway in various parts of the City besides the system improvement works necessitating power cuts,” Mr Bhimappa added.

Stating that the City requires about 22.50 million units of power daily, Mr Bhimappa added that despite the onset of summer, the consumption in the City has more or less remained same. “Hence we are not resorting to load shedding in the urban areas in BESCOM including the garden City,” he asserted.

Meanwhile the power consumption in the State had crossed 130 MUs per day.

According to well placed sources in KPTCL, while the power consumption was 131 MUs on February 17 and 23, it was 130 MUs on February 24.

Monday, February 26, 2007

BDA’s hi-tech city still in limbo

BDA’s hi-tech city still in limbo
The Times of India

Bangalore: It was once the most talked about project in the city which would create an exclusive work-live-fun atmosphere for the techies along with an expressway connecting the ring road. But after all the hype, the IT-BT hi-tech city is on the backburner.
Apart from official delay, the latest on the list of reasons is: BDA has run into land acquisition problems as the governor has felt that the organisation needn’t get into industrial land acquisition process. He has turned down an as mendment seeking a related legislation.
About four years ago, BDA had mooted a hi-tech city project along with an IT corridor. Estimated to cost Rs 390 crore, the corridor will run through outer ring road from Iblur to Electronic City Phase II with a connectivity of 8.5 km mini-express highway to be built at at a cost of Rs 35 crore. The project was envisaged exclusively to accommodate IT and BT firms as well as residential colonies.
The BDA had zeroed in on 1,097 acres for issuance preliminary notification land acquisition at which time it was realised that land had to be procured under industrial category for the project. The BDA, in its Act, does not have powers to acquire lands for industrial purpose and can only do it for residential usage to develop layouts.
Hence it had proposed an amendment to the BDA Act to empower the authorities to acquire land for industrial purpose. A Bill was placed in this regard in the legislature which was approved in both the Houses.
However, when it was sent for the governor’s approval, the Bill was sent back seeking clarifications during the first week of February. The legislature in turn passed on the Bill and governor’s observations to the urban development department on February 6.
According to the governor’s observations, the Karnataka Industrial Area Development Board (KIADB) has been exclusively formed by the government to initiate land acquisition process for industrial usage. When this agency has already been entrusted with the job, it would not be appropriate to duplicate the work and hence BDA should stick to its ambit of work. Now, the urban development department and BDA are working out another model for land acquisition which would be hassle-free.
Initially, when conceived, the project had gathered so much momentum that the BDA had even negotiated with the French water major Degremont to set up mobile raw water treatment plants to take care of the drinking water supply in the proposed hi-tech city. The firm has already worked with the BWSSB on its Cauvery water supply scheme, fourth stage phase I project. The firm had agreed to install the mobile water treatment plants free of cost as a promotional venture.

Weekend woes: Several City areas grope in dark

Weekend woes: Several City areas grope in dark
Deccan herald

Several areas in south-eastern part of the City, on Sunday, plunged into darkness even after the power cut time, as Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (BESCOM) failed to complete the “system improvement” work on time.

Several areas in south-eastern part of the City, on Sunday, plunged into darkness even after the power cut time, as Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (BESCOM) failed to complete the “system improvement” work on time.

There was no power supply in several areas, particularly M G Road, Brigade Road, Indiranagar, Ulsoor, Cox Town and Frazer Town, till 10 pm.

Earlier, the BESCOM had announced that it was taking up “system improvement” work at its 66/11 KV Kadubesanahalli station between 10 am and 6 pm.

“The work at the station could not be completed on time as the main transmission line developed technical snag. As a result, nearly six stations in the City developed problem and all areas fed through them suffered darkness,” Executive Engineer Suresh Babu told Deccan Herald.

The six stations are: B Street station, M G Road, H A L, K C Valley, Amarajyothi and Leela stations. Though power was supplied in the morning in all areas where disruption was announced through alternative source, it could not be done in the evening due to system failure, he added.

We are ready to cooperate with the BESCOM if it finds it difficult to complete the maintenance work on time. But not responding to the call from the consumers will put the people into hardships”, said Mr Vishwam, a retired employee of Reserve Bank of India residing at Basavanagar off Airport Road.

“There should be someone to answer the call when the BESCOM provide 24-hour telephone response systems. Not a single call has been received by the BESCOM on Sunday,” complained Mr Vaidyanathan, a resident of Thippasandra.

Time to look beyond Cauvery

Time to look beyond Cauvery
Deccan Herald

Even as Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) and BWSSB officials are holding several meetings to study the water requirement in the GB area, the discussions seem to be steering towards one solution —look beyond Cauvery.

Should Greater Bangalore bank on Cauvery water to quench its thirst or tackle the known challenges like T&D losses, pilferage or overexploitation of borewells? Even as Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) and BWSSB officials are holding several meetings to study the water requirement in the GB area, the discussions seem to be steering towards one solution –look beyond Cauvery.

For the record, the BWSSB provides 810 million litres per day (MLD) of water from Cauvery Water Stage I to VI to the erstwhile BMP area. However, the existing BMP wards are increasingly dependent on additional sources like water tankers and borewells, which are not regulated.

“The newly-added areas in Greater Bangalore can count on the ongoing Rs 16-crore augmentation project, as it promises 100 MLD of water within next six months. That is not all. The BWSSB has signed an MoU with an international funding agency to add 500 million litres per day of Cauvery water to the existing 810 MLD of water. But the project will be completed only in 2011,” said a senior BWSSB official.

“BWSSB is not able to provide Cauvery water to the entire BMP area. While most households are being supplied water through tankers, many are dependent on borewells and public taps. Every day, the BWSSB water tankers supply about 750 kilo litres of water, drawn from the 40 filling stations,” said sources in the BWSSB.

The fourth report of the Public Accounts’ Committee on Cauvery Water supply Scheme Stage VI, phase I, has highlighted the need to plug loopholes in the existing system before tapping alternative sources.

“The BWSSB has suffered a loss of Rs 637 crore over the last five years, owing to transmission and distribution (T&D) losses and unauthorised tapping of water. While the T&D losses are pitched between 35 and 46 per cent, unregulated use of water supplied through tankers needs to be quantified. Unchecked violations like faulty water meter-reading, unauthorised connections, lack of focus on recycling of water are pushing Bangalore city towards a water-scarce situation,” warned the committee members.

Parking clogs Kumara Park

Parking clogs Kumara Park
Deccan Herald

The continuing menace of haphazard parking in front of residential buildings figured prominently at a public grievance meeting organised at Kumara Park West on Sunday.

The meeting was organised Gandhi Nagar Block Congress Committee to address the problems faced by the residents. Kumara Park area residences are among the worst hit by haphazard parking as they are situated near the busy roads around Seshadripuram College and Railway Parallel Road.

The residents many a time, find the entrances to their houses blocked because of the menace!

“College students abuse us when we tell them not to park their vehicles in front our houses and also create a nuisance by smoking,” said Harsha, a resident.

The senior citizens face another problem as students zip by at top speeds. They complained that it has become impossible for them to move safely on streets due to the speeding menace.

Chitra Venkatesh of Kumara Park Residents’ Welfare Association pointed out that, in their bid to control rash driving, many residents have put up illegal speed breakers.

The Association also requested the BBMP to provide an auto tipper so that the residents can collect garbage during the hours when BBMP workers’ services were not be available.

Three more Volvo bus routes

Three more Volvo bus routes

The Hindu

BANGALORE: Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) on Sunday added three more Volvo bus routes to the existing 37 services.

Route No V340-N would operate between Kempegowda Bus Station (KBS) and HSR Layout via Corporation, Shanthinagar Bus Station, Lakkasandra, Adugodi, Koramangala Kalyana Mantapa, BDA Complex, Agara, National Institute of Fashion Technology and CPWD Quarters.


Three buses would ply every 45 minutes starting from KBS at 6.40 a.m. up to 5.05 p.m. and from HSR Layout at 7.45 a.m. up to 6.35 p.m.

Route No V402-B would ply between KBS and Yelahanka Satellite Town V Phase via Hebbal with three buses at a frequency of 45 minutes. The services would start from KBS at 7.40 a.m. up to 6.20 p.m. and from Satellite Town at 8.45 a.m. up to 7.25 p.m.

The third service would be between Vijayanagar and ITPL via Attiguppe, Outer Ring Road, PES IT, Kathriguppe, Banashankari, BTM Layout, Agara and Marathahalli Bridge.

Three buses would ply every 70 minutes starting from Vijayanagar at 7.30 a.m. till 4.45 p.m. and from ITPL at 9.15 a.m. till 6.35 p.m.

Pollute not our city: kids to elders

Pollute not our city: kids to elders
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: On Sunday morning vehicle users crossing near the Kaveri emporium, MG Road, had a surprise in store for them.

Instead of the usual growling cops, they saw students in NCC outfits approaching them with a nosegay and notice. The traffic policemen looked on with a bemused smile.

No fine or warning from the austere cops. Those whose vehicles spewed heavy cloud of smoke received a red rose, a chocolate, and a leaflet from the 'kid police.' The leaflet explained how vehicular pollution was killing people, and their smile hid a message, "Yes Sir, you are polluting our dear city, please mend your ways."

The students' gesture touched the heart of many motorists and drivers at MG Road.

At the traffic signal, around 24 NCC cadets from different schools kept a close watch on the polluters. And when they slowed down at the traffic signal, they approached the drivers with a smile and gave away their gifts. The novel step was the initiative of the Pollution State Control Board (KSPCB), which, fed up with the harangue, decided to use the persuasive method.

The zeal and eagerness with which the students worked endeared them to many. They were serious about their mission, prompt in action, and polite but firm in dealing.

One of the students, Anand, from Christ College, said majority of the vehicular emission was from autos. "Few auto drivers refused to admit that they are polluting air and others admitted but expressed their helplessness."

"We got a very good response from motorists and car drivers. Few apologised and thanked us for the information. Some assured us to get it checked," the students said.

According to Regional Officer of KSPCB, Syed Khaja Mhiddin, students can work miracles. "Instead of fining or prosecuting the offenders, this gesture will definitely make a difference," he said.

In the report card of students, majority of vehicular pollution was seen in autos, followed by old Kinetic Honda's, Bajaj bikes and few Yamaha bikes.

They made a list of these offenders, most cars and BMTC buses received overall good marks.

KSPCB plans to repeat this next Sunday on MG Road. "We got a very good response. All the 240 roses and chocolates were distributed. We propose to carry it to other cities like Mangalore and Mysore. Also take up this initiate to Lalbagh to prevent visitors carrying plastic bags," he added.

Sunday, February 25, 2007


On the eve of the Railway Budget, TOI takes a hard look at the state of the main stations in Bangalore — what they have, what they don’t and what’s needed.

The Times of India

Senior officials, who are aiming at a railway station of international standards in Bangalore, are hoping that Union minister Lalu Prasad will, on Monday, unveil more passengerfriendly measures. Besides, this budget is expected to address the 11th Five Year Plan targets for growth and development.
Plans are afoot to have amenities like shopping malls and internet cafes at the Bangalore station with the help of BBMP and PPP. The railways are looking at more trains on the intra-state sector: Bangalore-Hubli, Bangalore-Bellary, and Bangalore-Mysore routes.
Says divisional railway manager Mahesh Mangal, “We hope to see new trains connecting Bangalore with cities like Chandigarh, Jodhpur, Patna, Hyderabad and cities in Kerala. We are also looking at greater frequency of weekend and special trains. “This budget, we expect the railways to tie up with a bank to set up ATMs in stations for dispensing tickets,” he said.
Says senior divisional commercial manager, Anwar Hussain, “We hope they will enable ticket sales at commercial outlets like shops and malls.”
On facilities for the disabled, Hussain said, “The Bangalore Division introduced, on a trial basis, battery-operated motor trolleys for the physically challenged. We expect this could become a regular feature.” The railways hope to double the track between Ramanagaram and Mysore. The doubling work between Bangalore and Ramanagaram is on. Once complete, the railways will be able to cut at least 30 minutes of travel time. Track doubling that was taken up in the last few budgets is complete till Kengeri. The first train between Bangalore and Mangalore planned in the last budget could be ready this budget year. The first express train between Bangalore and Mangalore may start in April after the safety clearances. The railways are planning a coach maintenance unit at Byappanahalli in addition to the facility at Bangalore City and Yeshwantpur.

Dirt and facilities call for attention

Bangalore: Unkempt surroundings, stinking toilets, poorly maintained seats, lack of food kiosks and other problems make travelling a miserable experience here. Welcome to Bangalore East railway station!
Located at Frazer Town, this station is a classic example which depicts the callousness of authorities. There is no facility for food stalls or counters for passengers. A tea and coffee stall operates only between 8 am and 10 am. The condition of toilets is pathetic. A phone booth exists just for namesake as it remains closed most of the time.
Cantonment Railway Station
Passengers at Cantonment Railway Station are facing problems due to the slow pace of renovation work. The entire station lies in dust and filth.
Says a disgusted railway employee, “There is no electricity in the car parking area. It poses a great risk to passengers, especially women, at night. All our complaints have fallen on deaf ears. Autorickshaw drivers are a menace. Though pre-paid auto counters are available, auto drivers come inside the station and negotiate fares with the passengers, thereby blocking the entrance.”
Officials, however, promise some improvement.
“Two new platforms along with a suburban platform will be constructed. The reservation complex will be built on the first floor and the entire portion in the ground floor will be converted into a waiting hall. The existing foot overbridge will be extended further. A pay-and-use toilet, water taps, four new food kiosks and a budget hotel will come up shortly,” they say.

Handling crowd is an uphill task

Bangalore: Swanky and congested. Bangalore City Railway Station, which handles 1.8 lakh passengers daily, is just that. There is a tinge of IT surge with kiosks and touch-screens that glorify the tech-savvy city even while hundreds of passengers rest on the floor beside them.
While choked cloakrooms and waiting rooms have a story of inadequacy to tell, the officials, on the other hand, are upbeat that they will make this a world-class
facility —provided the Railway Budget smiles at Bangalore.
The station is worse during weekends and vacations throwing the whole system out of gear. Cramped space leave passengers high and dry. Long and unending queues at counters are a common sight as around 40,000 unreserved passengers flock here.
And if you thought you could grab a quick bite at the restaurant, you will only return angry and more hungry as there are only two of them for the entire station. Though there are a couple of small outlets selling idli, vada and sandwiches, hygiene is a common grouse. Around 71 pairs of trains arrive and depart from the main station on 10 platforms making the schedule hectic. The ratio of platform and trains is 1:10, keeping passengers on toes. Is it disabledfriendly? Not really. Say, if your train arrives on platform 5, you would curse. Subways and skywalks are the only approach and there are no ramps or escalators!
Nevertheless, there are a few positives. The system involved for enquiry, ticketing, banking facility is flawless. Authorities have spent time at the drawing boards. More number of entries to the station, escalators, multi-storeyed car park, food courts, more kiosks, smart technologies will soon become the order. But for high passenger traffic, it’s obviously the best we have in the state.
I travel every day between Ramanagaram and Bangalore. The Bangalore-Mysore trains are full all the time. Sometimes, there is no space to even stand. The railways have to double the track fast. We discuss this every day and we have even petitioned the authorities. The doubling of track has been completed till Kengeri but is not being used.
— B N Nagraj, employee of an
insurance company
We are harassed by taxi and auto drivers. I travel to Bangalore from Mysore often. At the prepaid counter, drivers accept the token and just as we approach the destination, they complain it is far and fleece money.
— Kavya, student from

Space a luxury here

Bangalore: The dejection on the face of the railway official is all too apparent as he stands on platform no. 6 of the Yeshwantpur Railway Station.
“We had got these painted only recently. Look at them now,” he points to spit-smeared walls
that have turned from grey to red. “It’s not about how much facilities we have or don’t have, but about abusing the facilities we offer the public. How do we create awareness? I don’t think we can blame authorities,” he throws up his hands in utter hopelessness. “Look at the floor. It is cleaned 10 times a day. One spit spoils the show. We get the toilets cleaned time and again. Yet people don’t flush the toilet. What do we do?”
Station manager L Basavaraju pointed out that Yeshwantpur Railway Station infrastructure was being upgraded. “When all works are completed, it will have a fuller look. This is a developing terminal. As of now, we have all basic facilities.”
The station has drinking water facilities, toilets and telephone booths. In comparison to other stations at the urban district level, the Yeshwantpur station is well off.
Work on extended roofing, waiting rooms, cloak room, retiring rooms, dormitory, more toilets, food stalls, additional rooms for office, and a VIP lounge is gathering pace.
The number of platforms itself can’t be increased. There are six platforms and seven lines. Close to the sixth platform is a road which the railways cannot acquire. And close to the first platform are railway houses. Twenty-three trains originate at this station and almost 50 pairs of local trains pass through the station each day.
Officials hope, in the coming budget, extra funds will be allotted. But more important than funds is the clearance for the Yeshwantpur-Mangalore train via Arsikere and Mysore. “Two trains can go to Mangalore. The lines are ready. We don’t know whether it will be sanctioned, in this budget or the next.”

Intermediate ring road may get nod

Intermediate ring road may get nod

The Hindu

It will link all the national highways passing through Bangalore city

# State wants NHAI to undertake construction
# Survey has been completed and alignment notified

Bangalore: The Centre has assured the State Government that its proposal for the development of an intermediate ring road around Bangalore is under consideration.

Sources in the Government told The Hindu that the Union Government is likely to call for global bids to prepare a feasibility plan for the project before giving its final approval. The State has submitted two ring road projects for approval: a 200-km intermediate ring road or a 300-km satellite towns ring road. The Centre is likely to approve the intermediate ring road since it will link the national highways criss-crossing Bangalore city.

BMRDA in charge

The Bangalore Metropolitan Region Development Authority (BMRDA), which has been given overall charge of building ring roads and satellite towns to decongest Bangalore, has received a shot in the arm with the assurance given by Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways T.R. Baalu. The State Government's aim is to complete the project in two years along with the simultaneous development of at least two satellite towns.

Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy, Minister for Public Works and Energy H.D. Revanna, State's Special Representative in New Delhi Mahima Patel, BMRDA Commissioner Sudhir Krishna and several top officials called on Mr. Baalu recently and requested that the National Highways Authority of India undertake the construction of the ring road.

The State Government, in its proposal to the Centre, has said that traffic congestion in Bangalore is largely due to long-distance lorries passing through the city on their way to other States. According to an estimate prepared by the BMRDA, the cost per kilometre of the eight-lane intermediate and satellite towns ring road is around Rs. 10 crore. The total cost of the projects works out to Rs. 5,000 crore. If the Centre undertakes even one project, it will result in quick completion of the project, apart from considerable savings to the State exchequer.

State of the art

BMRDA Commissioner Sudhir Krishna said the two ring roads would be state of the art with service roads alongside, avenue trees and service ducts for telephone, electricity, telephone and gas lines. The BMRDA and the Public Works Department has already completed the survey for the two ring roads and notified the alignment.

Pvt suppliers make hay as City water lines get choked

Pvt suppliers make hay as City water lines get choked
Deccan Herald

Need drinking water? Pay Rs 2 per pot! This is not the situation in the dry north Karnataka belt but in ‘cool, green’ Bangalore, where not a day passes without at least a dozen protests against the Cauvery water tribunal.

Need drinking water? Pay Rs 2 per pot! This is not the situation in the dry north Karnataka belt but in ‘cool, green’ Bangalore, where not a day passes without at least a dozen protests against the Cauvery water tribunal.

This paper has received several complaints regarding short supply of drinking water in the last few days. On a reality check, this reporter found people in many localities -- Kalyan Nagar, Vishweshwara Nagar, Muneshwara Nagar, Anand Nagar, parts of Vijaya Nagar, Bharati Nagar and Shanti Nagar -- do face severe drinking water shortage.

Says Ms Victoria of Muneshwara Nagar, “We’ve been buying water paying Rs 2 per pot for the the past 20 days. Otherwise, we would have to buy a tank of water, paying Rs 350”.

“Earlier we used to get water twice a week. But for the last 20 days, there is no supply at all. Everyone in the family is busy fetching water from distant places”, she adds.

‘Pressure’ on pipes

Ditto the the situation in parts of Bhartinagar and Shantinagar Assembly constituencies where many residents rely on private water suppliers. Mr Kannan, a coffee planter residing at Artillery Road, says that for the past three months “we and our neighbours are not getting drinking water regularly”.

“We’ve been purchasing water at Rs 375 for one tank (4,500 litres). On record, we are getting drinking water on ‘alternate nights’, but in reality it is not so. If water is supplied to two streets at once, we would not get sufficient water because of less pressure in the supply pipes,” he adds.

Similar is the plight of residents of Chandra Layout, MC layout, Dasarahalli and Shivanalli. Though they get water on alternate days it the low pressure in the pipes ensure that it is not enough.

First and second-floor residents have no choice but to literally carry water from the ground floor if they do not have sumps or such other facilities.

Midnight queues

Shivalingappa, resident of the Police Quarters, Jogupalya, says drinking water has been a problem “for many years”. “We get drinking water only at around midnight. Sometimes supply is stopped by 2 am itself. Moreover, only two taps have been provided for the quarters with 84 houses and that forces us to stand in long queues at night. Now we bank on neighbouring localities and private suppliers,” he adds.

People living in Deenabandhu Nagar, Gouthampura, Ulsoor, Hoysalanagar face the same problem.

Radhamma of Ulsoor says residents spend nights in queues to fetch water. “Earlier we used to get water till 8 am. But now supply is stopped in the middle of night. If we don’t queue up at midnight, we won’t get water at all.”

Register any property anywhere soon

Register any property anywhere soon
Deccan Herald

The State government is seriously considering making entire Bangalore city as one unit to help the public register their property in any sub-registrar office instead of its jurisdiction.

The State government is seriously considering making entire Bangalore city as one unit to help the public register their property in any sub-registrar office instead of its jurisdiction. Officials have been asked to work out modalities as such a system would eliminate corruption completely, said Revenue Minister Jagadish Shettar.

Addressing a press conference here on Saturday on the occasion of his completing one year in office, Shettar said all these years, six to seven sub-registrars of different jurisdictions used to sit in one office. But now, 27 divisions have been created in Bangalore city alone. A ‘Kandaya Bhavan’ is also being built in Bangalore.

“The government hit upon this idea following complaints of corruption and the menace of agents in the sub-registrar offices,” he said. Once the system is in place, a resident of Jayanagar can get his property registered at Vijaynagar or any other place of his choice.

The system will first be introduced in Bangalore and later extend to other important cities depending upon its success, Shettar said.

The government also plans to introduce online registration of property in Bangalore so the public need not come to the sub-registrar offices. “Karnataka will be the first state to be doing so.”

Once this system comes into place, corruption can be eliminated in the sub-registrar offices across the State, he said. The department is studying the legal aspects and pros and cons of the system and working out a software for the purpose.

Shettar said the Ramaswamy Committee constituted by the government to survey the extent of government land encroached by land sharks in and around Bangalore, has found indicated 18,000 acres has been encroached.

After the government promulgated an ordinance and amended the Act by including a penalty clause and a two-year jail term, many had been voluntarily returning the encroached land, he said.

Already, 200 criminal cases have been filed against land sharks, as a result of which 1,000 acres of land has been retrieved. This land would be auctioned and it is expected to fetch crores of rupees.

The deputy commissioners of all districts have been asked to study the extent of encroachment of government land in their jurisdiction and take necessary action.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Building by-law violators to face imprisonment

Building by-law violators to face imprisonment
Deccan Herald

Those who have violated building by-laws could run the risk of facing imprisonment of three months, if the charges against them are proved, the Bangalore Development Authority has said in a report.

The report, a part of the petition dealing with the building by-law violations in Sadashivanagar, states that the BDA had granted permission for change of land use only to 23 buildings in the area as against the 100-odd buildings identified by Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) for violating the norm.

The issue is a fallout of a public interest litigation in which several residents of Sadashivanagar had complained that a large number of persons had violated building by-laws by effecting a change in land use without obtaining prior permission.

The BDA which had been directed by the High Court to file a status report, stated that while granting permission for change in land use with respect to the 23 buildings, it had followed the norms before making a recommendation to the government, which has the final word.

The BDA made it clear that permission for change in land use could be granted only if the road width in the area was more than 40 feet. Persons seeking change in land use had to apply to the BDA, which would invoke provisions of Section 14 (A) of the Karnataka Town and Country Planning Act.

The BDA had inspected the area, considered the feasibility and then published the matter in newspapers, before recommending to the government to allow the request for change in land use.

The BBMP stated that since the violative buildings came under its jurisdiction, it had the power to impose fines.

Following a public interest litigation, the Karnataka High Court had directed the BBMP to conduct an inspection and file a status report. The BBMP then sealed several properties which were found to be in violation of the norms. However the building owners approached the court and obtained a stay.

Challenge of recreating greenery

Challenge of recreating greenery

The Hindu

BANGALORE: The Forest Department, which has reclaimed 35 acres of land of Turahalli Minor Forest from the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA), now faces the challenge of recreating greenery on the denuded land.

The contours of the land have changed following its levelling to make way for over 200 sites, which were to have been a part of Banashankari 6th Phase Layout. Much of the hillock in the area has been flattened and the BDA has put up poles, made roads and created shoulder drains.

The Turahalli Minor Forest has been in the eye of a controversy following the alleged encroachments by not only the BDA but also private developers and individuals, threatening the deciduous forest's existence.

The Forest Department repossessed the land on February 12, a month after it had served notice on the BDA.

Senior forest officials and the local staff have made a detailed survey of the land and commenced re-greening of the area. It will take at least five years to see the results of the afforestation efforts.

Forester Bylappa, who was in the area, told The Hindu: "We will start planting saplings to restore the green cover that had been removed. It will take some time for this minor forest to regain its original state."

"This is a proud moment for the forest personnel as this is the second time that we have succeeded in reclaiming forest land. Last year, we reclaimed 623 acres of forest in Chikmagalur after a long legal battle," said Deputy Conservator of Forests (Bangalore Urban) A.M. Annaiah.

"After the first rain we will start planting saplings, including honge, tamarind, neem and peepul," Mr. Bylappa said.

The saplings will be planted in such a way that the roads will act as pathways and the shoulder drains as waterways in the area.

Cauvery protests hit policing

Cauvery protests hit policing
the Hindu

Besides handling demonstrations, the Central division police provide security to key buildings, writes K.V. Subramanya

DEMONSTRATIONS against the final award of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal have severely affected routine policing and crime investigation in police stations in the Central division for the past two weeks.

Since the tribunal announced its award on February 5, at least 15 demonstrations are being held at different places in the Central division.

Almost the entire police force in the division is spending around 12 hours a day making security arrangements during the rallies, a senior police official said.

Routine work, including crime investigation, has come to a halt, as the policemen are busy maintaining law and order during the demonstrations, the official said.

Sir Puttanna Chetty Town Hall, Banappa Park, K.R. Circle, Basaveshwara Circle, Mysore Bank Circle, Mahatma Gandhi statue, Raj Bhavan, the venues of most of the demonstrations, come under the Central division.

Besides handling the demonstrations, the Central division police have been providing security to the Vidhana Soudha, Vikasa Soudha Raj Bhavan, High Court, a large number of ministerial bungalows, government guesthouses, stadiums and star hotels that are in their jurisdiction.

Palace Ground, the venue for huge public meetings and exhibitions, is also under the limits of the Central division police.

Such a situation has been prevailing in the Central division for years and the Cauvery agitation had only worsened it, the official said.

As the police personnel are often put on security duty, routine policing, mainly the day and night beats, are affected.

Even maintaining records at police stations has been suffering due to this.

Most of the time, inspectors and sub-inspectors are exhausted making security arrangements. They would not be in a position to apply their mind in investigation and guide their subordinates in crime-related work. Thus, investigation had been affected, he explained.

Incidentally some of the sensational murders that have remained undetected for years were reported from the Central division. For instance, the twin murders of Meena Rasquinha and her maid in Ashoknagar and Indu Rajagopal and her sister in High Grounds and that of Delci Vaaz in Cubbon Park police station limits.

Senior officials are of the view that the Government should ban demonstrations within a 3 km radius of the Vidhana Soudha. Organisations and political parties should be made to hold rallies in other parts of the city as this would prevent traffic jams in the busy central areas and also reduce the burden on the Central division police.

Some officers even suggest that a special squad, comprising two Assistant Commissioners of Police, five inspectors and a few sub-inspectors, should be formed to exclusively deal with demonstrations.

Farmers' protest hits traffic

Farmers' protest hits traffic

The Hindu

BANGALORE: Motorists had a harrowing time negotiating slow moving traffic in the central business district on Friday after the protest by KRRS on Raj Bhavan Road threw the traffic movement out of gear.

The KRRS activists from Mandya district who were protesting the final award of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal squatted on Raj Bhavan Road, occupying more than half of the road even as the leaders addressed them.


This led to slowing down in traffic movement that eventually caused chaos in the surrounding area.

Following the protest by the farmers, traffic snarls were witnessed for nearly two hours on Raj Bhavan Road, Infantry Road, Cunningham Road, Kasturba Road, Hudson Circle, J.C. Road, Seshadri Road, Palace Road, M.G. Road and surrounding areas, while at several places, the traffic had come to a standstill.

A Deputy Commissioner of Police said he had to walk from his office on Infantry Road to Raj Bhavan Road where protesters were waiting for their leaders who had gone to meet Governor T.N. Chaturvedi.

According to Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic) M.N. Reddi, the traffic snarls witnessed in the city business district was due to the protest staged by farmers.

The police officials later persuaded Mr. Puttannaiah to withdraw the protest on Raj Bhavan Road as traffic jams had been reported at several places.

Only after the protesters dispersed, normality was restored in the traffic movement. A police official said that if the protests had continued during the peak traffic hours, the central business district would have witnessed chaos.

No TDR, only compensation for builders

No TDR, only compensation for builders
BBMP Will Work Out A Plan In Consultation With The State Government
The Times of India

Bangalore: BBMP commissioner K Jairaj said the Palike will approach the state government to work out compensation for people who are forced to give up buildings (and not empty land/sites) for road-widening work.
At a public meeting with builders and property owners, Jairaj said the Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) is now applicable only to land and not building losses. To overcome this problem, the BBMP will work out a solution in consultation with the state. A meeting will be held with immediate effect, he added.
Jairaj said BBMP would contemplate the appointment of a third party, like HDFC, to deal with the sale and purchase of TDRs. “The BBMP would not be involved in this. People who know the TDRs, like HDFC, would be asked to negotiate issues concerning value of TDRs. This will be an exchange mechanism.”
The BBMP commissioner added that efforts would be made to create a market for TDRs and that builders would be asked to create that market, in consultation with the state government and BDA. A ready market for TDRs would mean that land and building losers can sell their certificates immediately after loss. “I shall be frank. The builders have to create a market for TDRs. They have to come forward,” Jairaj asserted.
KOAPA president Balkrishna Hegde, on behalf of the builders, suggested a framework for TDR rates/prices across three zones: Zone A - Rs 2,500 per sq feet; Zone B - Rs 2,000 per sq feet; Zone C-Rs 1,500 per square feet. “It has worked very well in Hyderabad and Mumbai. We are giving higher rates than in Mumbai, where it is between Rs 1,800 and Rs 2,000 per square feet.”
To demonstrate the actual sale and purchase of TDR, the BBMP commissioner instructed officials to conduct a meeting of Hosur Road land and building losers with private builders before February 28. This will be the first meeting of buyers of TDRs with land and building losers following the price/rate framework worked out by the builders. Subsequently, meetings of residents of Bellary Road, Airport Road and Old Madras Road will be held.
BDA to give land
To appeals of compensation for owners of small areas of land/sites or shops, BDA commissioner Shankarlinge Gowda said the BDA would be willing to give land, wherever possible, in areas close to the area where land/shop has been lost. But the compensation by and large would be land/area in new layouts only and not within city areas, he asserted. “The BDA is ready to give land to the BBMP as part of this project as it is a public cause. The BBMP can inturn sell it to people losing their land. We would like this to be demonstrated. This decision is final.”
BBMP would contemplate the appointment of a third party, like HDFC, to deal with the sale and purchase of TDRs. Efforts would be made to create a market for TDRs and builders would be asked to create that market, in consultation with the state government and BDA

Friday, February 23, 2007

More projects this year from BBMP

More projects this year from BBMP
The Times of India

While plans are being drawn on Greater Bangalore by the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagar Palike (BBMP), many projects involving lakes, footpaths, playgrounds, public toilets, parks and crematoria in the city will be given a fillip in the ensuing budget. Sources in the BBMP say, "in the coming budget, to be presented in early March, infrastructure projects would be fully supported. Playgrounds in Pottery Town, Shivajinagar, and Jayanagar, Ambedkar Stadium Phase III and the Rajiv Gandhi Multipurpose Sports Complex will be taken up this year. Coming to putting in place the muchneeded road infrastructure, the BBMP has divided the city into three corridors for a comprehensive solution - south, west and east under the three zones of the BCC.
South Corridor Under the South Corridor the BCC has planned a sixlane road from Sirsi Circle to Bangalore University and a feasibility report is awaited. Apart from this, grade separators and flyovers are planned at South End Circle, Minerva Circle, Kanakapura Ring Road junction, Kittur Rani Chennamma Circle, RV Teachers College, Ramakrishna Ashram, Tagore Circle, and Mission Road. Tenders have been called for Minerva and South-End Circle flyovers.
West Corridor
Under this corridor, grade separators and flyovers have been proposed at MES Road (Ring Road/railway station), Peenya Dasarahalli, Yeswanthpur, and Malleswaram. Some projects that could not take off or were not completed last year will be taken up and completed this year including the Vijaynagar-Magadi Road junction.
East Corridor
East Corridor has two flyover projects at Trinity Circle and Balekundri Circle.

Road widening project set to move

Road widening project set to move
The BBMP’s project to widen the city’s major roads is now set to begin,
The Times of India

The Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) is slated to begin work on the muchtouted road-widening scheme. Many deadlines later - the last was December 31, 2006 - set by none other than Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy, civic authorities are saying that they will take up work wherever land has been cleared. For instance, Hosur Road which was the first stretch identified for the exercise has even identified land of 30 metres on either side and compounds have been fenced out.
Widening roads using the provisions of Transferable Development Scheme (TDR) was a scheme evolved and approved by the State Government in January 2005. In the scheme, a person losing a portion of land to the road widening exercise gets a Development Rights Certificate which can be used to sell FAR ratio to the tune of 1.5 times of the acquired land.
Many meetings and issual of notices later, the scheme faced some roadblocks. BBMP officials explain that Defense authorities prolonged the approval process. A total of 44,464 square metres land belonging to the Defense was pending approval, a final nod is awaited.
Engineers at the BBMP explain that the task they faced was a Herculean one - convincing people to part with land. "For a year we have been going road to road, identifying the specifics required, and trying to convince people that the land required is for public good. We have explained the concept of TDR, but they are just not willing. They are demanding, Give us an alternate site with house or give us market compensation", explain engineers associated with the project.
Progress so far Topographical survey completed for 30 roads Road alignment for 12 roads has been approved and DPRs for six roads completed Land cost for private properties taken through land acquisition at present market rate for 12 roads amounts to Rs 266 crores

For a Greener Bangalore…

For a Greener Bangalore…
Plans are on to increase the green cover at entry points to the city.
The Times of India

Green Bangalore could become greener still. As part of the Greater Bangalore project, there are plans to take up afforestation work at nine entry points to the city. The idea is to have a thick cover of vegetation at the beginning of arterial roads leading into the city. The roads that have been identified for the purpose are Mysore Road, Bellary Road, Old Madras Road, Kanakapura Road, Yelahanka Road, Magadi Road, Hosur Road and Bannerghatta Road. The plan is awaiting budgetary allocation in the coming budget. If all goes well, visitors to Bangalore could have a warm and green welcome by the end of the year, according to Krishna D Udapudi, Deputy Conservator of Forests.
There are also plans to have theme parks in different zones of Greater Bangalore. These parks, which are not likely to consume much resources will have a variety of tree species to create awareness and provide education and information to the public. Plans are afoot to locate places in different zones that are suitable for the project. Each park is likely to have a theme. If one is on medicinal plants, the other could have a variety of hibiscus plants. Some places could be earmarked exclusively for medicinal plants.
Apart from this, the department is already involved in maintaining traffic islands and medians. Parks are being fenced to protect them from encroachers. Over 50,000 saplings are planted every year, but this year, as the average rainfall received was less, only 20,000 saplings were planted. Mahatma Gandhi Park, Coles Park, Bugle Rock Park, Lakshmidevi Park in Koramangala and the Silver Jubilee Park were among some of the parks that received attention. Providing benches, developing play areas for children and landscaping work were taken up in some of these parks.
There are also plans to cover up Government offices and buildings with tree paths.

Zoom on 8-lane Devanahalli road

Zoom on 8-lane Devanahalli road
The Times of India

Bangalore: Tenders have been called for the Rs 450-crore tolled airport expressway that will connect Horamaavu on the Outer Ring Road (ORR) directly to the international airport at Devanahalli.
Public works minister H D Revanna on Thursday said the road will have eight lanes and 400 acres will be required for the project.
There is an existing major district road from the ORR to Devanahalli that was originally supposed to be upgraded. But the government has decided against it; the new road will be straight and overlap the existing one.
The Bangalore Metropolitan Area Development Authority (BMRDA) and the PWD have written to the Centre for development of the 364-km satellite town ring road (STRR) around Bangalore.
“The project, costing Rs 5,347 crore, will be taken up as a Centrestate-private partnership. The Centre and the state’s shares will be 20% each and the private partner will put in 60%,’’ Revanna outlined.
The same model will be followed for the 150-km intermediate ring road (IRR). The project cost is Rs 200 crore.
No politicking: Revanna said there was no politicking in allocation of roads under the K-SHIP II project as alleged by the Congress and BJP. “It has been done as per the World Bank norms. If anyone has any problems, let them complain to me, I will ask the World Bank to reconsider the roads that have been taken up,’’ he said.
On the recent protest by BJP MLAs that roads in their constituencies have been ignored, Revanna said: “I have financial limitations.’’
Underpasses on ORR
The ORR will get an alignment of underpasses to be constructed at a cost of Rs 20 crore. The underpasses are slated to come up at JP Nagar 24th Main, Kanakapura Road-Ring Road junction and Kadirenahalli Circle junction.
BBMP commissioner K Jairaj and other engineers inspected the site on Thursday.
Road works covered under the KMRP scheme were also reviewed. Of the 40 roads that have been taken up covering 140 km, 35 km will be completed by March-end.

Work on new underpasses to start next month

Work on new underpasses to start next month
Deccan Herald

The work on three new underpasses proposed at JP Nagar 24th Main (Puttenahalli), Kanakapura road-Ring road Junction, Kadirenahalli circle junction will commence on March 10.

BBMP Commissioner K Jairaj, who inspected the alignment for the Rs 20-crore worth projects being taken up under JN-NURM, on Thursday, directed the Chief Engineer (Projects) to complete all formalities at the earliest.

The Commissioner also inspected the World Bank-aided Karnataka Municipal Reforms Project (KMRP), that covers a total of 40 roads (140 km) at a cost of Rs 177.7 crore. Mr Puttamaligaiah, KMRP Project Director said the project includes development of footpaths, roadside drains, cement concrete path, installation of street signages etc.

No kidstuff this, residents warn BDA

No kidstuff this, residents warn BDA
Deccan Herald

It is definitely a luxury to have a playground in your own locality. You won’t then have to unleash your children on the already overcrowded streets to let them flash their new cricket bat or swing a tennis racket - and thus get yelled at, or worse, by strangers for having inconvenienced them.

Not surprising then to see residents of Jeevan Bimanagar all set to wage a legal battle with the Bangalore Development Authority, to save the last piece of open space left for their children. They have filed a writ appeal against the order of a single judge, who had dismissed a PIL stating that no public interest was involved.

For seven years, these residents have been petitioning BDA and other civic authorities to leave the only playground in the area alone, as the area has been leased out by BDA to four private parties.

According to the residents, this two-acre piece of land - Plot No 2 - despite being classified as ‘residential’ in 1995 CDP (where community centres are not allowed to come up), and as ‘existing sports/playground’ in CDP 2005, has fallen prey to construction activities.

Norms flouted

“BDA’s layout formation guidelines explicitly dictate that 15 per cent of the total space of a layout be mandatorily set aside for parks/playgrounds. We have tried speaking to the BDA Commissioner several times, but he hasn’t responded to any of our calls or letters,” says Nitin Deshmukh, one of the residents, “who’ve been continuously writing to the Commissioner for the past eight months.”

“The LIC colony has duplex row housing, where every house has two common walls with the neighbouring house. The only ventilation is in the front and back of the house. This has led to very high population and housing density, making availability of open space outside the houses even more critical,” says Amitabha Samanta. All access roads to Plot No 2 were narrow. “These roads are 15 to 20 feet wide. How can they handle the traffic generated by four large multistorey buildings?” he asks.

The plots have been leased out to Moghaveera Sangha, Humble Charitable Trust, Kodagu Mathhu Dakshina Kannada Gowda Samaja and Orissa Cultural Association between 2002 and 2004.

The Moghaveera Sangha has started construction activities, and the residents are worried.

“There are 400 children in this colony, and there is no play area. Now that construction activities have started, one never knows if they will pay heed to what we are saying at all,” says Saritha, a mother of two.

BDA Secretary Rajashekhar insists the residents are ‘mistaken’, as the BDA is “certain that all norms are being adhered to.”

He, however, has no answer to why there was a need for four Community Centres in one area. “There is nothing in the Act which says that a Community Centre should not come up in a residential zone,” he says.


Extracts from BDA's 1995 Bangalore CDP zoning regulations, page 33, relating to open spaces and civic amenities (Document available on

Sanctioning of a layout plan for residential purpose shall be subject to the following conditions:

* 50 per cent of the total area shall be earmarked residential sites.

* Remaining 50 per cent earmarked for roads, parks, playgrounds, civic amenities.

* Parks/playground shall not be less than 15 per cent of 50 per cent marked.

These stipulations notwithstanding, the ground reality is that Jeevan Bimanagar has no playground or park and there are around 20 CA sites already in the colony


Dwellings, hostels, including working women’s and gent’s hostels, Dharamshalas, places of public worship, schools offering general education course up to secondary education. public libraries, Post and Telegraph offices, KPTCL and BWSSB Counters, clubs, semi-public recreational uses, milk booths and neighbourhood or convenience shops, occupying a floor area not exceeding 20 sq mts; doctors’ clinics, offices of advocates and other professionals in public interest, again not exceeding 20 sq mts of floor area in a building.