Friday, August 31, 2007

Bridge over troubled waters

Bridge over troubled waters
Michael Patrao
The road overbridge (RoB) at Lingarajapuram has proved to be more of a bottleneck for the smooth passage of traffic.

It is nearly three years now since the inauguration of the road overbridge (RoB) at Lingarajapuram. It was constructed at a cost of Rs 15.43 crore and was inaugurated on October 16, 2004. Over the last three years, the bridge has proved to be more of a bottleneck for the smooth passage of traffic.
The two-lane, 684-metre grade separator has reinforced earth-retaining approaches. It connects Hennur Main Road to Outer Ring Road, Shivajinagar and the central business district. It is 10 kms from the City Railway Station and passes over Yeshwantapur-Salem railway track.
Life divided
With the commissioning of the bridge, it is as if life has been divided into two—life over the bridge and life under the bridge. Life over the bridge has a larger connotation as it gives access to a large number of people in the surrounding areas. Many feel that the lanes are too narrow for an important arterial road. There is a traffic jam both on and off the bridge during peak hours. In the morning the jam occurs on the lane moving towards the City. In the evenings, the traffic jam is on the opposite lane, when the commuters go home.
One of the reasons for the traffic jam is the parking of vehicles and autorickshaws near the St Charles High School, which is located just near the starting point of the bridge. This resricts the free-flow of vehicles. Attempts have been made to set right this bottleneck, but the problem persists.
Life under the bridge is a nightmare to those who are compelled to walk. There are at least 200 shops on either side of the road across the bridge.
There are several streets under the bridge—Gospel Street, 4th Cross Hutchin's Road, Old Bagalur Layout Main Road among several other cross roads, which lead to residential localities with thousands of houses.
The residents are compelled to use what is left of the Hennur Main Road under the bridge. There are 24 pillars, tapering towards the ends, right in the middle of the road. Besides there are potholes or rather craters. In the monsoon there are large pools of stagnant water.
Unmanned track
The Salem-Yeshwantpur railway track is not only unmanned, but it is also not barricaded and as a result vehicles keep moving across the track. This is a dangerous practice since trains keep moving all night and day and train frequencies are proposed to be increased on this route. Vehicles can get stuck in the tracks especially during monsoons. According to Railway authorities there is a person deputed to keep a watch from 7 am to 7 pm, but not many have seen this person.
“There is haphazard movement of vehicles under the bridge since there are no rules. Pedestrians do not know which direction vehicles are coming from. Added to this there are stray dogs and cows moving at random”, laments Shankaran, a resident.
Vegetable and fruit vendors also use the space between the bridge pillars. Every morning, vegetables are brought in tempos and unloaded here. Business is done either on push carts or by squatting on the ground. At the end of the day, the vendors litter the place with vegetable waste. Garbage is also dumped in a large vacant site near the tracks.
Another bottleneck in the narrow passage on the side of the bridge near St Charles School. School children walking to school use this passage. Autos and cars also use this passage and this leads to jams during school hours.
“The jams cause pollution in the form of nauseating fumes from the exhaust of the vehicles, which is not good for children’s health”, says a parent.
Although attempts have been made by the traffic police and even volunteers, who are often seen guiding students and traffic, many feel that much of the problem can be solved with a little discipline on part of the people like avoiding parking of vehicles near the school and boarding buses near the school.

State cant deny NICE its right

State cant deny NICE its right
DH News Service, Bangalore:
Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprise on Thursday reacted to the government's new designs by maintaining cancellation of an administrative agreement can in no way take away from NICE the right to get land for the Bangalore Mysore Infrastructure Corridor by way of sale deeds.

“... the fact is the tripartite agreement was signed only to assign the rights of implementation of the first phase of the project to Nandi Economic Corridor Enterprise Limited... only to facilitate speedier implementation of the project and for NICE to achieve financial closure and other administrative necessities, which will then allow NICE to focus on implementing the second and third phases,” a NICE spokesperson said.
Quoting from the agreement, he said cancelling a “purely administrative agreement” did not take away the right of NICE from securing lands on sale deed basis. Calling the move an “indirect violation” of High Court and Supreme Court orders to both NICE and the State government, he said it was the State’s attempt to favour a “non-registered and fraudulent consortium” called Global Infrastructure Consortium.
NICE slammed the move to invite global tenders for BMIC under Swiss Challenge Method, contending the method could be adopted only for new projects. “This method can be applied only in the initial stage of awarding the contract for a particular project,” he said. He said the company would take the issue up in the SC.

Have a grievance? Call up BBMP cell

Have a grievance? Call up BBMP cell
DH News Service, Bangalore:
"One centre will be set up for every 4,000 houses which will keep track of all properties in that zone, oversee tax collection, etc. A mobile unit will travel across the zone and ensure all demands of citizens are met," said BBMP Commissioner S Subramanya.

The BBMP will set up contact point centres at various locations across the City in an attempt to speed up the redressal mechanism and ensure a better delivery system, said BBMP Commissioner S Subramanya.

Speaking at an interactive meeting with the Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FKCCI) on Thursday, Subramanya said an enforcement officer along with officials from health, administration and horticulture departments will be manning these centres.

“One centre will be set up for every 4,000 houses which will keep track of all properties in that zone, oversee tax collection, etc. A mobile unit will travel across the zone and ensure all demands of citizens are met,” he said.

Also call centres

These centres will double up as call centres, where the public can air their grievances and get them solved. “The call centre will be a manual system and not an interactive voice system,” he said.

On BBMP’s upcoming projects, he said Rs 50 crore will be spent on asphalting arterial roads. The work will be taken up after October. “Under Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), we’ll take up six more projects, including allocation of Rs 368 crore for storm-water drains in new areas of BBMP, asphalting 100 km of arterial road, developing parks and providing houses for slum-dwellers.”

He said all open spaces below the flyovers will be converted into gardens and parking spaces.

Route to school still unsafe

Route to school still unsafe
By S Praveen Dhaneshkar, DH News Service, Bangalore:
While road users fume about the lack of motorable space, school managements continue to block entry of vehicles into their premises. The police, meanwhile, claim they are helpless.

Vehicles parked around schools in the Central Business District have for long been choking roads during peak hours. While road users fume about the lack of motorable space, school managements continue to block entry of vehicles into their premises. The police, meanwhile, claim they are helpless.

In spite of the Safe Route To School (SRTS) initiative started more than two years ago by the Bangalore City Police and the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation, the problem continues.

While the initiative received an encouraging response when introduced as an alternative to private vehicles ferrying kids to school, it did not yield the expected results later.

While about 50 educational institutions in Bangalore are utilising the services of 245 BMTC buses under SRTS, many parents continue to prefer using private transport like cars, two-wheelers, tempo/maxi-cabs and auto-rickshaws to drop/pick-up their children.

A senior police officer said while the primary reason to introduce the SRTS was to provide a safe and alternative mode of public transport, lack of support from parents resulted in the project not yielding expected results.

“The situation is bad during the rush hours, between 8 am and 8.30 am and 3 pm and 3.30 pm. We do admit that that enforcement is not up to the mark. We are facing numerous constraints, including inadequate manpower.

The responsibility to relieve congestion also lies with the school authorities and parents. They could allow parking of vehicles into their premises and use BMTC buses,” said the officer.

Police sources added that Safe Route to School should be institutionalised, to encourage parents to make use of public transport.


We are aware of traffic jams around schools. One way of solving this is to encourage use of school buses and BMTC vehicles. At present, we are not part of this initiative. We are open to examining the possibility of hiring buses in future. Allowing vehicles into our premises may be an option, but the school has been built on a higher plane, making it impossible for vehicles to park.

Sister Preeti, Principal,
Sacred Heart Girls High School

What is of paramount importance? Is it safety of the child at the school or allowing parking in our premises? We had recommended a viable solution to the parents and the police: a change of timings, from 7.30 am to 2.00 pm.

A survey was done at our school to seek feedback from parents on this suggestion. We received a positive response from 70 per cent of the parents. This solution, if accepted, could reduce traffic to a large extent. Better traffic management and no-parking zones outside schools are other measures.

Colonel John Ellis, Principal,
Bishop Cotton Boys School

Our school does not directly contribute to inconvenience caused by parking of vehicles outside our premises. We have six school buses, apart from another six hired from BMTC as part of the SRTS. The onus also lies with the traffic police to strictly enforce the ‘No Parking’ zone of 200 metres from the school premises. We also encourage public transport and car pooling. Allowing parking of vehicles inside our premises is ruled out.

Ms Franklin, Principal,
Bishop Cotton Girls School

Govt gives new twist to NICE tale

Govt gives new twist to NICE tale
DH News Service, Bangalore:
In a new twist to the long standing battle between State government and Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprise (NICE), promoters of the Bangalore Mysore Infrastructure Corridor (BMIC) Project, the State Cabinet on Thursday decided to withdraw a certain clause pertaining to transfer of land to the promoters in effect stalling the project.

The Cabinet decided to abrogate a clause in the agreement signed between the State government, NICE and Nandi Economic Corridor Enterprises on August 9, 2002, which provides for acquisition of land through absolute sale deed for the toll road, 10 interchanges and also the first township.
Further, in a move to terminate the original agreement with NICE, the Cabinet decided to seek Supreme Court’s permission to call for fresh global bids to implement the project.
Briefing reporters after the Cabinet meeting, Primary and Secondary Education Minister Basavaraj Horatti said that no sale deeds will be executed in favour of NICE until the matter is disposed of by the SC.
Mr Horatti said on the consent of the apex court, international bids will be called through “Swiss challenge method” following the proposal given by the Global Infrastructure Consortium (GIC) regarding the BMIC project.
In July this year, the State government, in an affidavit before the Supreme Court, had stated that the new consortium has filed a proposal to take over the Rs 2,250-crore project from NICE and implement it on an “as-is-where-is” basis, utilising only 20,193 acres of land and providing more facilities like a monorail link.
Mr Horatti alleged that NICE had made attempts to get sale deeds for a larger extent of land than 20,193 acre — the quantum agreed in the Frame Work Agreement (FWA) of 1997 and upheld both by the Karnataka High Court and Supreme Court. Mr Horatti said that it has come to the notice of the State government that NICE was illegally trying to sell lands in road portions and also interchanges of the project.
He said that the GIC had given a proposal to carry out the BMIC project in terms of the FWA and had agreed to effect certain modifications in the agreement which were favourable to the State. The new consortium had also agreed to have the arbitration at Bangalore.
Mr Horatti said the Cabinet was of the view the new proposal indicated that the BMIC project was viable even without “the deviations which have occurred subsequent to the FWA”.
Moreover, under the new infrastructure policy formulated by the State, a suo motto proposal has to be placed for global competitive bidding through ‘Swiss challenge method’.
In view of this provision, the offer made by the GIC can be placed for global bidding to get better offers, he said. The Cabinet also decided that promoters carrying out the BMIC project will not be entitled to receive more than 20,193 acres as stipulated by the Karnataka High Court in the Somashekar Reddy case.
Further, the promoter will not be entitled to sell any portion of the land allotted for the project.

Bangalore, DHNS: The NICE slammed the move to seek SC’s permission to entrust BMIC project to a new consortium, saying cancellation of an “administrative” agreement could in no way take away from NICE the right to get land for the project. “The tripartite pact was signed only to assign the rights of implementation of the first phase of the project to Nandi Economic Corridor Enterprise Limited... only to facilitate speedier implementation of the project,” a NICE spokesperson said. Ashok Kheny, MD, NICE, said he was unable to comprehend how the State could act against the “wishes of the people and the law of the land”.

NICE describes latest action as harassment

NICE describes latest action as harassment

Staff Reporter

‘Indirect violation of High Court and Supreme Court orders’

BANGALORE: Dubbing the State Government’s cancellation of the Tripartite Agreement harassment, Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprise (NICE) Ltd. on Thursday charged that the action was an “indirect violation” of the Karnataka High Court and Supreme Court orders directing the two parties to implement the project in letter and in spirit according to the April 1997 Framework Agreement.

In a statement, NICE said it would take up this issue in the Supreme Court along with its contempt petition.
Assigning rights

It maintained that the Tripartite Agreement was signed only to assign the rights of implementation of the first phase of the project to Nandi Economic Corridor Enterprise (NECE) Ltd. “Apparently they (the State Government) are under the impression that by cancelling this agreement, they will take away the right of NICE for getting land by way sale deeds to implement the Bangalore-Mysore Infrastructure Corridor (BMIC) project,” said the statement.

The agreement, according to NICE, was signed only to facilitate speedier implementation of the project and for NICE to achieve financial closure and other administrative necessities, which would then let NICE focus on implementing the 2nd and 3rd phases of the project.

On the Government’s decision to transfer land to the project company citing the High Court Order in the Somashekar Reddy case, NICE said it was contradictory to the State’s other decision to invite global tenders for the BMIC project under the Swiss Challenge Method.

Terming it a “ridiculous proposition”, NICE explained that the Swiss Challenge Method was only adopted for new and innovative projects where any company could come forward to execute the project in the interests of the public and the State.

“This method can be applied only in the initial stage of awarding the contract for a particular project. In this method, once a company has come up with its innovative ideas and technology and submitted its bid to implement the project, then the Government can allow any other company to counter-bid for the project at a lower cost or better condition thorough an open bid system,” the statement said.

Here, the original company that came up with the innovative project is allowed to match or better the offer made by the other company. The company with the lowest or better proposal is allowed to finally execute the project. “Hence, this decision by the State Government is not in compliance with the law and goes against the spirit of business ethics, and it is clearly aimed at favouring a non-registered and fraudulent consortium called Global Infrastructure Consortium,” NICE charged in its statement.

The courts, the statement recalled, had ordered both the parties to expedite the project. Besides, the Framework Agreement had clauses that said the Government would not restrict the use of the land in any way, and the company should have full freedom and discretion to industrially and commercially develop and use the land, as generally contemplated by the agreement.

Jet Air chooses Bangalore as its next gateway for intl flights

Jet Air chooses Bangalore as its next gateway for intl flights

Our Bureau

Bangalore, Aug 30 Jet Airways has chosen Bangalore as its next gateway after the major metros of Mumbai, Delhi and Chennai for its international flights.

The new Indian international carrier plans to first connect Singapore before embarking on its long haul service to US cities from the IT Capital. The Singapore connection will start in December with a daily flight from Bangalore, said Mr U. Harish Shenoy, General Manager, South and Sri Lanka.

Addressing a press conference here on Thursday, Mr Shenoy said the airline was planning to schedule its flights to New York and San Francisco from the new Bangalore International Airport from April 2008, when the airport was expected to be for commercial operation. Showcasing passenger facilities in its First, Premium and Economy, the airline official said South India accounts for 40 per cent of its passenger traffic.

Govt. annuls NICE

Global tenders sought for Bangalore-Mysore corridor project

Karnataka cancels tripartite pact with promoter consortium


Govt adopts Swiss Challenge System: invite a third party to offer a better deal and ask original promoter to match it.

Global Infrastructure Consortium has offered to take the project forward.

Govt. stopped executing sale deeds that lets the earlier consortium sell project land.

Our Bureau

Bangalore, Aug. 30 The controversy over the Bangalore-Mysore Infrastructure Corridor Project reached another flashpoint on Thursday as the State Cabinet decided to call global tenders to take over the ongoing project.

It plans to do so under its recent infrastructure policy which adopts the Swiss Challenge System, i.e. to invite a third party to offer a better counter-deal for a project and ask the original promoter to match the deal.

It also approved cancelling a tripartite agreement signed by the State Government on August 9, 2002 with BMICP promoter consortium NICE and its special purpose vehicle, NECE.

The agreement, in particular Clause 1.1.3, entitles the two entities — Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprises and its subsidiary vehicle for phase 1, Nandi Economic Corridor Enterprise Ltd, to sell the project land in their hold.

The State has already stopped executing sale deeds in favour of NICE and the sale of BMICP land, while NICE has challenged the matter in the Supreme Court.

In a briefing after the Cabinet meeting, the Primary Education Minister, Mr Basavaraj Horatti, said NICE was trying to acquire land in excess of the court-stipulated 20,193 acres and also alienate land at the interchanges and the State has been looking into irregularities in the project.

Meanwhile, the State, he said, wants to go ahead with the project through another consortium which has made a counter-proposal.

Global Infrastructure Consortium (GIC) has offered to take the project forward as per the framework agreement and agreed to have the arbitration at Bangalore as against London at present.

The new proposal’s benefit to Karnataka would be ascertained by placing a global bid under the new infrastructure policy through the Swiss challenge method, Mr Horatti said.

The State would seek the apex court’s permission to sign a new pact with GIC.
Project so far

The three-phase BMIC project is currently in its first phase, at the Bangalore end. Only the road work has been taken up.

Phase 1 includes a 41-km semicircular peripheral road hugging Bangalore and connecting stretches of three national highways.

A 9-km link road and a township at Bidadi are part of it. NICE says 95 per cent of Phase 1 is ready and that it needs another 3,000 acres, including land for the township.

It currently has 7,000 acres in its possession, of them 700 acres is Government land transferred to it. Some Rs 1,500 crore has been spent.
NICE to fight move

The Rs 2250-crore BMICP, conceived in the mid-1990s, is co-promoted by the Kalyani group and comprises a 111-km tolled expressway between Bangalore and Mysore and five townships along the route.

Reacting to the move, NICE said it would pursue this in the Supreme Court along with its contempt petition.

“The State Government has done this to harass NICE. The action is in direct violation of the Honourable High Court and Supreme Court of India’s orders to both NICE and the State Government to implement the project in letter and spirit (of) the Framework Agreement entered into between the State and NICE on 3rd April 1997,” its release said.
Land issue

According to NICE, the tripartite agreement was signed only to assign the rights of implementation of the first phase to NECE.

“Cancelling the purely administrative agreement between GoK, NICE and NECE does not take away the right of NICE from securing lands on sale deed basis since this right of NICE is upheld in the framework agreement,” it said, citing clauses 3.2.3 and 3.2.4 of the Framework Agreement.

The decision to invite global tenders for the project under the Swiss Challenge method, it said, was “a ridiculous proposition”.

The method applied only to new, innovative projects in the early stages of awarding the contract.

“This decision (goes against) the law and the spirit of business ethics. It is clearly aimed at favouring a non-registered and fraudulent consortium called Global Infrastructure Consortium,” it said.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Trees to make way for new commissionerate


Ashwini Y S & Ambarish B | TNN

Tile-roof offices with an old world charm, the small patch of greenery and asphalted pathway, and rows of vehicles with beacons.
This image of the police commissionerate on Infantry Road is all set for a makeover in keeping with the changing face of Bangalore.
The sprawling structure is built in U-shape and apart from housing many offices of the police department, it is also home to old trees and a few hundred bats!
Built four decades ago, the commissioner’s office may have weakened over the years. Soon, some portions of the old building will make way for a modern structure with a glass facade, the works on which has been entrusted to the Karnataka State Police Housing Corporation (KSHPC).
This futuristic seven-floor structure of 1.7 lakh sqft will be built in two years at a cost of Rs 18 crore, KSHPC commissioner Sri Kumar told The Times of India.
Some portions of the old building such as the commissioner’s office will be retained, but other portions will be brought down once the trees on the premises are relocated. Around 18 trees in the compound, barring the three trees that have been home to hundreds of bats, will be relocated inside the premises itself.
“We didn’t want to disturb the bats in any which way, hence we changed some of our structural plans so that we were not coming in way of the creatures. Around three tress are home to bats,’’ Sri Kumar added.
Once work begins, most of the office staff will have to be shifted, while a few of them, including the commissioner, will continue to stay on in.
After the trees are shifted, the next step will be to build a first floor over the control room to house the staff.
The new building will be built in phases. Changes, if any, can be incorporated subsequently. For now, a basement parking will be built. The remaining floors will be built in phases.
Apart from the existing wings, the new facility will include additional wings like the PM’s security section and the prosecution section.
For many years, hundreds of bats have nested in the trees inside the commissionerate. The bats may have caused inconvenience to visitors, who find that their vehicle seats are torn. Nevertheless, the police department is used to the presence of these creatures and has decided not to disturb them. Three trees that house the bats will not be relocated, but the remaining marked ones will be shifted within the premises.
Bangalore is the first city to get commissionerate in the state. It was built in 1963 1st police commissioner: C Chandy The city had of 37 stations in 1963 IN PLACE NOW...
102 law and order stations under six zones; 35 traffic stations
300 control room staff, 300 officials, including senior police officers and clerks
Departments: administration, traffic police, city armed reserve (CAR), airport security, VVIP security, immigration, foreigners registration officer (FRO), city special branch (CSB), central crime branch (CCB), city crime records bureau (CCRB), Makkala and Mahila Sahayavani

Roads, parks to be renamed

Roads, parks to be renamed
DH News Service, Bangalore:

Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike is shortly going to rename some roads and parks in the City.

The service road of Chord Road connecting wards 33 and 34 will be called Harihara Raghavanka Road and the garden on 5th Main Road of Srirampura in ward 25 will be named after late Dr C Balasundaram.

Similarly, the 26th Main Road of Jayanagar, under ward 58 will be named Sri Ragigudda Prasanna Anjaneya Swami Temple Road and Hosagurana Palya in ward 64 as Sudarshan Layout.

Rain throws life out of gear

Rain throws life out of gear
Bangalore, DHNS:
The heavy rains which lashed many parts of the City on Wednesday evening resulted in water logging and traffic jams.

Heavy rains lashed many parts of the City on Wednesday evening resulting in water logging and traffic jams. At around 4 pm water was flowing one foot above the ground level at Lalbagh main road because of a clogged drain.

There was waterlogging at the subway near the City railway station due to which pedestrians faced a lot of difficulty.

The impact of the downpour, which lasted around 20 minutes, was, however, not felt throughout Bangalore. Till 5.30 pm the City had recorded 35.6 mm rainfall while at the airport it was merely 7.3 mm.

The duty officer, MET Department said that Wednesday’s rain was mainly because of thunderstorm activity. “The rain was due to the stretch of low pressure trough between western MP to Peninsula.

There was heavy rainfall in several parts of Karnataka on Wednesday. Bajpe, Karwar, Panambur and Belgaum airport witnessed 28 mm, 26 mm, 15 mm and 13 mm rainfall respectively,” she said.

The weather in the next 24 hours would be cloudy and there would be one or two spells of rain or thunder shower in Bangalore. There would be rain in some coastal parts of the State, said the MET officer.

BMRC chief paints rosy picture

BMRC chief paints rosy picture
DH News Service, Bangalore:
"As Namma Metro passes mainly through commercial thoroughfares, BMRC has immense commercial opportunities" Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Managing Director V Madhu said.

Namma Metro will start making profit within seven years of its commissioning, Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Managing Director V Madhu said on Wednesday.

Making a presentation on the Metro Rail project to the members of Rotary Bangalore, Peenya, he said as Namma Metro passes mainly through commercial thoroughfares, BMRC has immense commercial opportunities. “We will make use of them completely,” he added.

It was BMRC which proposed to the BDA to increase the Floor Area Ratio (FAR) in its Master Plan 2015 in and around Metro Rail stations. Hence, FAR has now been increased to 4, Mr Madhu added. He said most Metro Rail systems across the globe are running under loss and governments are operating them at a subsidised rate. “We may have to run Namma Metro under subsidy for just 10 years,” he said.

Completion by 2011

He assured the project would be completed as per schedule - by 2011

Netravathi holds hope for B'lore

Netravathi holds hope for B'lore
By K N Reddy, DH News Service, Bangalore:
Irrigation expert G S Paramasivaiya, who heads the committee set up by Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) to identify new sources of water for Bangalore, said that 1,330 tmc ft water is flowing into the sea from rivulets in Dakshina and Udupi districts.

The west-flowing rivulets are the only hope of Greater Bangalore to meet its future water needs.

Irrigation expert G S Paramasivaiya, who heads the committee set up by Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) to identify new sources of water for Bangalore, said that 1,330 tmc ft water is flowing into the sea from rivulets in Dakshina and Udupi districts.

“If we manage to bring in even 80-90 tmc ft water from these rivulets, we’ll not only be able to meet the requirements of Greater Bangalore, but will also be able to address the need of six districts - Bangalore Urban and Rural, Kolar, Tumkur, Mandya and Hassan,” said the 89-year-old expert.

He said in a few months, he would make a recommendation to the BWSSB as well as the State government in this regard.

A committee headed by him had conducted a feasibility study on harnessing water from the west-flowing rivers in the State when Mr S M Krishna was the chief minister. Subsequently, the government ordered a survey of garland canals and service canals by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

“ISRO completed the survey. As the government made only a part-payment, it hasn’t submitted the report. I have requested the government to pay the balance amount so it will release the same. With the help of the report, we will be able to submit our report to the BWSSB in six months,” Mr Paramasivaiya said.

The present committee sees three to four options to solve water woes in Bangalore. The first one is to get water from Torekadadevanahalli, where a pumping station already exists; the second is to draw water from Hemavathi canal in Kunigal and the third is to tap the west-flowing hallas (rivulets) in the Nethravathi valley.

The committee has shelved the first two options as it it feels they are not feasible. Mr Paramasivaiya said if the project, estimated to cost Rs 12,000 crore, is implemented, a navigation facility in the 400-km canal from Western Ghats to Bangalore can be created. However, the proposed project is facing opposition from the people of Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts.

“There is a misconception that we will divert the Nethravathi river, which is wrong. We plan to collect only six per cent of waste water from the ridges of Western Ghats and direct it to six districts through canals. As no reservoir will be constructed, there will be no submergence of land in the region. The concern over damage to environment is also not well-founded. Once the canal is ready, we can plant 25 lakh saplings on either side of the canal,” Mr Paramasivaiya said.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

BBMP’s road widening plan hits roadblock

BBMP’s road widening plan hits roadblock

Bangalore: BBMP’s road widening plan on four arterial roads has hit a roadblock as many owners are refusing to part with properties.
The BBMP is also facing stiff resistance from environmentalists and companies who have laid underground cables.
The BBMP has taken up the job of widening Sheshadri Road, Palace Road, Kasturba Road and Race Course Road.
Recently, a citizens’ group submitted a memorandum to the BBMP commissioner urging him to not to cut trees till the BBMP could justify its plan.
The green brigade says that though the BBMP promised that trees will be retained along the medians by creating dedicated lanes for two and three-wheelers, the BBMP held an auction of trees.
On its part, the BBMP has decided to go ahead with felling of trees that stand in the way of the project. Though translocation of trees was mooted earlier, it did not take off due to technical hitches.
Some of the questions raised by green groups and citizens are:
Did the Tree Authority, which was to be constituted for every urban area under the Karnataka Preservation of Trees Act, 1976, give permission to the large-scale felling of trees?
Why didn’t the BBMP disclose its decisions to widen roads and felling of trees?
Why can’t the BBMP dissuade people from using private transport by imposing higher parking fee?

Panel chief asks govt to restore 450-yr-old lake

Panel chief asks govt to restore 450-yr-old lake

Bangalore: Over four centuries ago, it was conceived by Kempe Gowda for the residents of Basavanagudi. Today, very little remains of Kempambudhi lake since it has become a breeding ground for mosquitoes, emanates stench and makes the lives of residents miserable.
Expressing dismay at the state of affairs, joint legislature house committee chairman, A T Ramaswamy, who visited the lake with his team on Tuesday, said the authorities concerned have ruined the lake in the name of development.
The 47-acre lake was constructed during Kempe Gowda’s reign 450 years ago. Today, only 20 acres remain. All, thanks to encroachment. Parks and roads have been constructed along the lake bed area and untreated sewage is being let into the water body. What’s more, concrete structures have come up, violating all norms, said Ramaswamy.
The Karnataka Slum Clearance Board is constructing concrete houses on one-and-a-half acres of lake area to rehabilitate dwellers of nearby Sanyasikunte slum. “The 1995-96 Karnataka High Court order clearly states that no activities whatsoever should take place in the lake area. Measures will be taken as per the ruling, and the buildings will be demolished,’’ Ramaswamy added. He has directed the BWSSB and BBMP to take steps to restore the lake at the earliest.
In Koramanagala
Ramaswamy and his team then went to Koramangala, where he said, around 8.11 acres of service Inaam land (survey numbers 138, 149, 148, 147 and 154), worth nearly Rs 325 crore, have been encroached upon for over fives decades.
Five buildings — Big Bazaar, Salarpuria Tower II (NDS Pvt Ltd, Globus Building), Salarpuria Annex, UCO Bank and Indian Oil Pvt Ltd buildings — have come up on 3.37 acres of encroached land (survey No 149). While Big Bazaar has occupied 1.32 acres, KPTC has encroached upon 32 guntas (survey No 148), Ramaswamy said.
“All the buildings are being rented out, with the encroachers enjoying a rent of Rs 6 crore annually. The land was bought by the previous beneficiary, K B Yellappa Reddy, through false documents. According to them, five parties are involved, including Srinivas Reddy and Vijaykumar Agarwal. Records show that Agarwal recently sold the Big Bazaar building to one Janardhan Reddy.’’.
But it is yet to be established as to who Janardhan Reddy is; the matter will be probed to ascertain who are actually involved, he added. He has ordered the tahsildar to register the land as government land immediately.
has erred’
Suspended BJP MLC G Janardhana Reddy sought to clear the air as to who the ‘Janardhan Reddy’ is, as mentioned by Ramaswamy. Speaking to reporters in Bellary, he dismissed the committee findings. “The Ramaswamy committee has erred on the information. The land was purchased and owned by me. This is again a ploy and the chief minister is behind it. I have sufficient records to prove that I am the owner of the said land. It’s an inherited property and not an encroachment. We purchased it in 2005 after obtaining legal opinion from reputed consultants,’’ Reddy said.


BMRC plans to put in place design, supply, test runs and commissioning in such a fashion that railway rolling stocks are available for introducing commercial services in stages from December 2009 to September 2011
R Jayaprakash | TNN

Bangalore: Plush interiors, central airconditioning, aesthetic designs, sleek seats and an international look... these are the luxuries that will lure you when the Metro starts its journey in Bangalore.
Seven giants in the railway rolling stocks manufacturing sectors have shown interest in supplying coaches for the project.
Based out of Europe, Japan and China, they have bagged some of the top contracts for providing coaches, including for the London, Paris, Sydney and Beijing Metro trains, apart from the US.
The BMRC will procure 180 coaches in the first phase and 260 in the second. Each coach will cost Rs 5 crore and the total cost of coaches for both phases is estimated at Rs 2,200 crore.
The companies are Firema Transporti (Italy), Norinco International Cooperation Ltd (China), Siemens AG Earlangen (Germany), Bombardier Transportation Gmbh (Germany), CAF (Spain), Alsthom Transport (France) and BEML, which has tied up with Mitsubishi Corporation (Japan) and Rotem (Korea).
BMRC MD V Madhu said: “All the seven companies have received pre-qualification documents for design, manufacture, testing and commissioning of passenger rolling stocks, and also training of personnel.’’
A global tender will be floated in the coming months after which technical and financial bids will be evaluated. The General Consultants, the advisory body for Metro Rail project, will decide on the final tender document.
“However, applicants will have to confirm their intention to submit valid and confirming tenders,’’ Madhu said.
Apart from designs and technology, the authority has stressed on safety worthiness of the rolling stocks to be evaluated by an independent agency appointed by BMRC.
“The safety worthiness is to ensure that components of the rolling stocks are within prescribed limits of stress, temperature rise and oscillation behaviours. We want the coaches to be state-of-the-art and will conduct oscillation trails to ascertain whether they meet international standards,’’ Madhu said.
The BMRC plans to put in place design, manufacture, supply, trials, test runs and commissioning in such a fashion that rolling stocks are available for introducing commercial services in stages from December 2009 to September 2011. A prototype rake of three cars will be ready by September 2009 for performance evaluation and oscillation trails.
The supplier will be solely responsible for maintenance, over-hauling, jigs and fixtures, maintenance depots, workshops, cleaning facilities to progress along with design development, Madhu said. IN NUMBERS
First phase 180 Second Phase 260 Each coach will cost 5 Total cost of coaches
for both phases at 2,200 * Estimated costs in Rs crores

Row over road continues

Row over road continues
DH News Service, Bangalore:

The row over motorable space on Vittal Mallya Road took another turn on Tuesday, when a high-level team constituting senior officials of Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike and Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board inspected the road.

Residents of the road maintained that despite the demolition of the forecourt of a commercial complex on the road, the road width was yet to be reverted to the original 15 metres. Officials on Tuesday took measurements of the road and also inspected the road plans for around two hours.

BBMP is reportedly tallying the plans with the original plans and will submit a report soon. Some residents of P G D’Souza Layout pointed out that the road width varied at different points, and at some points, it was only 13.6 metres.

Residents have been contending that the forecourt of commercial complex UB City, apart from flawed drains, ate into the motorable road space.

Deccan Herald had, in May this year, reported the issue, following which the BBMP initiated action and demolished the forecourt.

Tuesday’s inspection by BBMP high-level team follows the residents’ continuing efforts to ensure the original road length.

Aug 31 deadline for removal

Aug 31 deadline for removal
Bangalore, DHNS:

Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagar Palike has set the dead line of August 31 for advertising agencies to remove unauthorised hoardings in Bangalore city.

The Palike in a release said that a large number of unauthorised hoardings have been put up in the City and if they are not removed within the deadline, they will be removed by the Mahanagara Palike in a special drive, to be launched on September 1.

Moreover, penalty will be levied on those agencies which fail to remove hoardings with the dead line. The Palike has also asked advertising agencies to display registration number and period for which permission has been granted beneath each hoarding.

Illegal works on tank bed: BBMP flayed

Illegal works on tank bed: BBMP flayed
DH News Service, Bangalore:
Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) drew flak from the Joint Legislature Committee for illegally taking up a housing project on Kempambudhi tank bed.

Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) drew flak, on Tuesday, from the Joint Legislature Committee for illegally taking up a housing project on Kempambudhi tank bed.

Speaking to reporters after inspecting the tank, the Committee Chairman A T Ramaswamy told reporters that BBMP is constructing houses for slum dwellers on one acre land on the tank bed near Kempe Gowdanagar.

“But as per the High Court order, no construction activity is allowed on the tank bed,”Ramaswamy added.

He also took a dig at BBMP for not maintaining the historically-significant lake, which was constructed by the founder of Bangalore, Kempe Gowda. Sewerage is flowing inside the lake and there has been no maintenance, he said.

He asked the BBMP officials to stop laying roads inside the lake and also directed them to immediately plug the sewerage flow.


Even as Ramaswamy was inspecting the lake, members of Kempe Gowda Vokkaligara Vedike and some supporters of local Congress MLA K Chandrashekar protested over the issue of lack of maintenance of the lake.

The Vedike members alleged that the MLA has spoilt the lake by taking up unnecessary developmental projects.
The Congress workers took objections to this and a clash ensued. Ramaswamy pacified both parties saying that he has directed officials to restore the lake to its old glory.

Route changes leave commuters in lurch

Route changes leave commuters in lurch
By Satish Shile and Monica Jha, DH News Service, Bangalore:
The Bangalore Metropolitan Road Transport Corporation (BMTC) has suddenly changed its bus routes in and around MG Road without any official notification.

Trying to catch bus on MG Road? Give up hope because the Bangalore Metropolitan Road Transport Corporation (BMTC) has suddenly changed its bus routes in and around MG Road without any official notification.

Those of you dependent on BMTC buses to reach Majestic and Shivajinagar, be prepared to walk at least one and half kilometres to catch a bus.

Majestic-bound buses plying from KR Puram and Ulsoor, which earlier used to pass through Mayo Hall and stop at Garuda Mall, now go straight to Richmond Road, without entering MG Road.

Similarly, Shivajinagar-bound buses coming from Ulsoor now take a right turn at Trinity Circle and pass through Commercial street. Earlier, they used to enter MG Road and take a right turn to Kamaraj Road at Cauvery Emporium.

This has caused a great inconvenience to people, whose office is on MG Road. Dhananjay, who works in Manipal Centre, said, “A few months ago, I used to get BMTC buses near Central Mall. Later, the stop was shifted near Garuda Mall and now, it has been further shifted beyond that. I have to walk more than two kms to catch a bus.
Otherwise, I have to go Shivajinagar, which is again 2 kms away from my work place.”

A few K R Market and Majestic-bound buses cross all the BMTC stops at Mayo Hall, without stopping anywhere in between. Only a few buses stop at the bus stop adjacent to Karnataka Football Association (KFA) near Garuda Mall. “I’ve been waiting for a bus to Majestic for half an hour,” said Shivakumar from Vijayanagar, waiting at KFA stop. On Tuesday, between 2:10 pm to 2:40 pm, 362C was the only bus that halted at this stop.|

And it is not just the commuters who complain about the change in bus routes, Garuda Mall Managing Director Uday Garudachar has also taken exception to that.

“I see many people struggling to get either bus or autorickshaw in front of our mall everyday. Earlier there was a bus stop in front of our mall. But recently it was shifted.” he said.

Shelter, no stop

A BMTC bus shelter has been set up on Commissariat Road opposite to Ashoknagar Police Station, but no bus stops there. Nirmala, a resident of Srinagara, who came to MG Road on Tuesday, said, “Policy makers do not take pedestrians into consideration. Even autorickshaw drivers refuse to come to a near-by bus stand due to short distance,” she added.

A BMTC bus shelter on Brigade Road has a similar fate. Ankur Garg, resident of Richmond Town said, “I came to Eva Mall last Sunday and waited for a bus at this stop for at least 45 minutes in vain.”

Chief Traffic Officer of BMTC Dastagir Sharief holds traffic police responsible for changes in routes. “We changed the bus stops following the request from the traffic police. We have a very limited role to play. If people suggest any alternative and the traffic police accept it we are ready to bring in changes,” he said.

DCP traffic (East) said that the changes on routes have been done in the wake of the on-going Metro work.

The Metro is occupying 8 mtr of the road. If BMTC buses are allowed as they were before, it will result in utter chaos on the road. “However we are aware of the problem faced by pedestrians and those who do not have private vehicles. We have been looking into realignment of bus routes keeping public convenience in mind. Things will change in the days to come,” he added.

Janardhan Reddy lands in Big lafda

Janardhan Reddy lands in Big lafda
DH News Service, Bangalore:
The Joint Legislature Committee probing encroachment of government land, on Tuesday claimed to have unearthed a major land-grabbing case in the upmarket Koramangala area involving several swanky properties including a Big Bazaar building owned by suspended BJP MLC Janardhan Reddy.

Committee Chairman A T Ramaswamy, after inspecting the spot, told reporters that 8.11 acres of prime commercial land along Madiwala Road in Koramangala (bearing survey numbers 149, 148, 154 and 137 of Begur hobli), has been encroached upon by big builders by creating fictitious documents.
The estimated cost of the encroached land is Rs 325 crore. However, Mr Ramaswamy did not divulge the name of any encroacher.
It’s mine: Reddy
When contacted, Mr Reddy confirmed over phone from Bellary to Deccan Herald that he had purchased a Big Bazaar building — a part of the property that has been allegedly encroached upon — two years ago for Rs 33 crore.
He also added that the High Court has issued a stay on a Karnataka Land Tribunal order holding that the property belonged to the government.
According to Mr Ramaswamy, the encroached land houses many huge buildings like Salarpuria Towers, UCO Bank, Globus, Raheja Arcade and an Indian Oil Corporation petrol bunk.
“All these buildings are illegal as they have been built upon encroached government land, and I have directed officials to recover the entire property,” he stated.
He said the encroached property was originally an inam land granted to some persons to carry out agricultural activities till 1950s. But in 1956 the beneficiaries did not apply for re-grant of land, Mr Ramaswamy said.
In 1982, some five persons claimed the ownership of the land by producing fictitious records, which was challenged by the Revenue department in the court. The case went on for 20 years in the High Court before the single-judge bench which in 2002 upheld the Revenue department’s claim over the land, he added.
The single-judge order was challenged before the divisional bench, which in 2004 directed the Karnataka Land Tribunal to hear the case. The tribunal also upheld the department’s claim and directed the government to recover the encroached land on July 30, 2007, Mr Ramaswamy said, adding that efforts to get a stay on the tribunal order by the encroachers have been in vain.
Though the case went on for nearly 24 years, Mr Ramaswamy pointed out, huge commercial complexes came up on the disputed property, illegally.
“This also shows that the officials were hand in glove with the encroachers,” he charged.
According to Mr Ramaswamy, these buildings are together earning a whopping Rs six crore rent annually.
‘We have no idea’
Mr Ramaswamy, however, did not confirm that Mr Reddy was the owner of Big Bazaar which stood on a part of the encroached land. He merely said: “The committee has no idea about Mr Reddy being the owner of Big Bazaar. The committee acted up on a complaint that the government land has been encroached. Our action is not politically motivated,” he added.
Moreover, Mr Reddy might have only bought the property recently and that he does not figure in the list of encroachers.
“I will able to confirm the ownership of Big Bazaar after verifying documents,” he said.
Bangalore: The ongoing drive against government land encroachment in and around Bangalore City is all set for a climax. For, the Joint Legislature Committee probing the encroachment will start making public instances of land grabbing by “influential” persons from the first week of next month.
“I along with other members will start inspecting encroachments by influential persons from next week,” Committee Chairman A T Ramaswamy told reporters in Bangalore on Tuesday. He said that a list of 160 persons has been prepared and inspection will be conducted in batches. These cases are important not only because of the VIP involvement but also because they involve assets worth several crores of rupees, he added.
Mr Ramaswamy, however, did not divulge the names of the “influential” persons.

Security stepped up in malls, cinemas

Security stepped up in malls, cinemas

Staff Reporter

BANGALORE: The Bangalore police will review the security at malls, cinemas and major shopping centres in the city in the wake of the twin blasts at an eatery and an amusement park in Hyderabad on Saturday night.

After a meeting of senior police officers here on Tuesday, Commissioner of Police Neelam Achuta Rao told presspersons that he had instructed all the Deputy Commissioners of Police to review the security arrangements at malls, cinemas and shopping complexes which attract huge crowds.

Mr. Rao said that though the police had carried out such an exercise earlier, the officers had been told to do it afresh in view of the Hyderabad blasts.

The meeting also discussed the security arrangements to be made in view of Shab-e-Barat, the annual feast at St. Marry’s Basilica in Shivajinagar as well as the Gokulashtami.

Additional Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) Bipin Gopalkrishnaand all the DCPs attended the meeting.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Work apace at Bangalore’s new international airport

Work apace at Bangalore’s new international airport

‘Will be ready for commercial flights in April 2008’

At a glance

Total land area – 3,900 acres

Total cost – Rs 1,930 crore

Terminal building – 68,631 sq m

Aircraft stands - 42

Number of aerobridges – 9

Boarding gates – 9

Cement consumed till July 2007 – 71,392 tonnes

Steel consumed – 11,000 tonnes

Number of mandays – 3 million

Take-off on schedule: Mr Albert Brunner, Chief Executive Officer, Bangalore International Airport Ltd, at the BIAL construction site at Devanahalli, near Bangalore. - G.R.N. Somashekar

N. Ramakrishnan

Chennai, Aug. 27 The car driver breezily tells you it will only take about 45 minutes, or at the most an hour, to get to your destination — Devanahalli, about 35 km to the north of Bangalore, where the city’s new airport is fast coming up.

But with horror stories of traffic snarls, especially after 8.30 in the morning, at the back of your mind, you ask the driver to be ready to leave by 8.15 a.m. for the 10 O’clock appointment.

Sure enough, you crawl in bumper-to-bumper traffic and wonder whether you should have left even earlier. After a while, traffic becomes lighter and then you are on a highway. Your tension eases when you see a sign on the national highway indicating that the airport is 5 km away.

As the car turns off the highway, it is a bumpy drive on a makeshift road till you reach the air-conditioned site offices at the airport. Once comfortably seated inside Larsen & Toubro’s site office, you wonder aloud whether the airport will be ready on schedule for commercial flights in April 2008.

“Definitely yes,” asserts Mr Albert Brunner, Chief Executive Officer, Bangalore International Airport Ltd, as he walks you through the construction activity. So too do officials from Larsen & Toubro, an equity partner in the project as well as the contractor.
Completion schedule

Construction on the airport started in July 2005 and according to the concession agreement the company signed with the Centre, it is obliged to open the new airport within 33 months after start of construction.

Now, Mr Brunner says, the airport will open for commercial flights on March 30, against the original target of April 2.

The airlines will change their timetable for the summer that day and the airport will be ready for that. “We have to inform the airlines six months before (the scheduled opening date) and we will do that,” he says.

“You should have come here one year ago. Then you would believe that we can actually do it,” says Mr Brunner in response to your concerns. Eucalyptus trees and shrubs covered the 3,900-acre site and they had to be cut down.

Sticking to schedule, he says, is a remarkable achievement considering that the scope of the work was increased by 40 per cent without any increase in the period of construction.

By the time the company completed negotiations and overcame legal problems, it realised that airline passenger traffic in Bangalore had increased tremendously. Therefore, it had to provide for more space at the terminal and more aircraft parking stands. It had to do this without any change in the airport opening date.

A private sector consortium led by Siemens, the Karnataka Government, and the Airports Authority of India (AAI) have formed Bangalore International Airport Ltd (BIAL), which is constructing the airport and will operate and manage it.

Siemens Project Ventures of Germany, the lead member of the private sector consortium, has a 40 per cent share of the Rs 326-crore equity, and the other two private sector partners — Unique Zurich Airport, Switzerland, and Larsen & Toubro — hold 17 per cent each.

KSIIDC, a Karnataka Government undertaking, and AAI hold 13 per cent stake each. The ECC division of L&T is also the engineering, procurement, and construction contractor for the project.
Trial run

The 4-km long and 60-m wide runway has been completed and can handle Boeing 747 aircraft, although Mr Brunner says it can even handle the next-generation larger Airbus A380 aircraft. The terminal building’s structure is ready and helmeted-workers are putting other elements of the building in place for trial flights to begin in January.

It will be a regular trial with flights and passengers so that all systems — the aerobridges, the control tower functions, the conveyor belts that move the bags from the aircraft for passengers to retrieve them, and the check-in counters — are tested and glitches ironed out before regular commercial flights begin.

There are nearly 5,400 workers engaged by L&T and another 600 employed by Siemens, which is also the electrical contractor, at the site, as BIAL is racing against time to get the airport ready.
Flyover access

BIAL will also construct a Rs 117-crore flyover that will provide access from the national highway to the airport. This should make entry to and exit from the airport smoother. However, as Mr Brunner points out, a high-speed rail link from the city is definitely required. “We cannot rely on this highway alone,” he says. Otherwise, as our driver informed us, the commute during peak hours, which now stretches throughout the day, could be anything upwards of two hours.

Both Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh decided to go in for new airports to be constructed with private-sector participation, as the infrastructure at the existing airports were creaking and inadequate to handle the growing air passenger traffic.

The greenfield airport at Hyderabad is scheduled to open a month before Bangalore’s begins operations.

Electric vehicles for last-mile connectivity

Electric vehicles for last-mile connectivity

Bangalore: Bangalore Metro Rail will be a reality by 2011, going by the momentum of the work in recent months. While it will be able to ferry lakhs of passengers each day, integrating it with other modes of transport to carry passengers to their homes are still being worked out.
Even as BMTC is busy with modalities to resolve issues like introducing buses as feeder services and commission dedicated bus routes, a private firm has proposed electric vehicles that will provide last-mile dropping facility at reasonable prices.
But questions remain. How will lakhs of passengers reach the Metro catchment area? Will there be enough parking facility for commuters to park their vehicles at Metro stations?
Ten Systems and Services Private Ltd has proposed creating an access control zone of 3-km corridor on either side where only light, CNG/electric rickshaws and bicycles called ‘neighbourhood vehicles’ are allowed, and passengers are dropped at their doorsteps.
Optimal spacing of stations, in conjunction with a feeder sub-system saves capital cost (principal and interest repayment burden) as well as provide significant benefits in operational efficiency, better trip frequency, lower electricity bill, faster travel time, better ridership.
“Electrical vehicles will be handy, as they are low on economy and high on ecology. We could keep the pricing at Rs 1.50 per passenger per kilometre as we would use electric cars, three-wheelers and bikes. Acceptance and penetration will be high, and it will reduce travel time,’’ said managing director Chandra Vikash.
Use a fleet of Eco-friendly Vehicles (EV) which can seat 4, 8 or 15 persons for feeder trips Develop a network of EV stations at 0.5 km distance around the city EV-friendly routes connect inner residential areas to arterial routes (with congestion/emission charges for space-inefficient, polluting vehicles) Encourage people to avoid using cars for short trips/single-driven/low-occupancy trips Additional, detachable, rain cover

Parks to double up as nurseries

Parks to double up as nurseries
Prathima Nandakumar | TNN

Bangalore: Wondering what plants to grow in your terrace garden — roses or chrysanthemums, medicinal or ornamental plants? If BBMP’s Green Plan takes shape, you can just walk up to your neighbourhood park and pick the right plants for your garden. By 2008, the BBMP hopes to develop 25 ‘diffused nurseries’ in the newly added zones of Greater Bangalore.
Also, the parks will double up as local vermicompost units and centres for gardening workshops. The city’s greening plan will be implemented in 25 parks in five stages under the JN-NURM with a funding of Rs 40 crore. Later, the plan will be extended to all the 800-odd parks in the city, said BBMP commissioner S Subramanya.
The detailed project report, awaiting Centre’s approval, pushes for integrated recycling of kitchen waste and vermicomposting. “We want people to walk up to the parks and deposit their kitchen waste, which will be processed into manure. The nurseries will have a range of saplings — both medicinal and ornamental plants to promote greenery,’’ said Krishna Udapudi, a tree officer.
The department is developing a concept to replace manicured lawns with trees and a variety of plant species, as these parks help improve air quality and do not need a lot of water and maintenance like lawns and gardens. Trees will be planted in all the parks and open spaces.
“Parks will also emerge as a one-stop shop to encourage social forestry. Apart from jogging tracks, play areas and nurseries, we will also set up help points to disseminate information on the types and species of plants suitable for urban homes, terrace gardens and common plots,’’ said Udapudi. A team of horticulture experts will man the kiosks and give tips on gardening, while a separate unit will handle the kitchen waste, which is segregated at source (houses). “We can prevent useful waste from being dumped in the landfills along with hazardous material. There is a growing demand for manure and it can help us raise small funds for upkeep of parks and gardens,’’ an official said.
Mahadevapura — AECS Layout Park, HAL Quarters Park, HAL Park, Vengaiyanakere Park, Ramamurthynagar East NGEF Park Byatarayanapura — HBR Layout Brindavan Nagar, Sahakarnagar Main Road Park, CIL Extension Police Station Road Park, Yelahanka Sector A Park, Sector B Park Dasarahalli — Gruhalaxmi Layout (2 parks) and MEI layout Bagalgunte (3 parks) Bommanahalli — Iblur Temple Park, Singasandra Park, Kodichikkanahalli, Harkeri Mico Layout, Harkeri Government School parks Rajarajeshwarinagar — Nagarbavi MPM Layout, Nagarbavi 14th Block, 9th Crs, Subramanyanagar

Bangalore ready for A-1 tag, but red tape holds it up

Bangalore ready for A-1 tag, but red tape holds it up
Naheed Ataulla | TNN

Bangalore: It is the issue of how fast the Karnataka government cuts the red tape and sends information sought by the Centre, if Greater Bangalore has to join the elite club of New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata as ‘A-1’ class cities.
Bangalore though classified as ‘A’ class now, it is qualified for the upgrade (A-1), which stipulates the population should be above 50 lakhs. “With the merger of seven city municipal councils, one town panchayat and 110 villages, the population has reached 57,99,613 from the previous 43,01,326. The area has gone up from 226 sqkm to 757.92 sqkm. Including the floating population, the number of people here has touched 65 lakhs,’’ urban development department sources said.
The reclassification will benefit 5.32 lakh state and over 51,950 central government undertaking employees, whose house rent allowance will increase from 15% to 30% of their basic pay. This is a boon, considering the high rentals in Bangalore, while the City Compensatory Allowance hike (15% for both sectors now) will be meagre.
Aso, it entitles the state to higher central grants.
“We’ve sought details on Bangalore and Hyderabad populations after their governments added some areas. Both qualify for ‘A-1’ with the population going up. With the A-1 tag, there will be a 50% jump in the HRA of central government employees,’’ Union finance ministry sources said.
The finance department admitted that certain information was sought and the file sent to the urban development department. The latter said the information was procured and it was now up to the finance department to process and send it. The matter lies there.
Karnataka State Government Employees’ Association president L Byrappa said the Fifth Pay Commission had corrected certain anomalies in the payscales, like raising HRA in Bangalore from 12% to 15%. “Of the two Pay Commission reports, the first on revision of basic salaries was implemented. The second on allowances, has not been implemented by the government.’’

Residents oppose plan to open pubs

Residents oppose plan to open pubs
Bangalore, DHNS:
"There is already a liquor shop on Walton Road. With two more pubs and restaurants coming up in the locality, drunken brawls will increase and disturb the peace of this area," complained Dr K O Mammen, a resident.

The residents of Walton Road have objected to the proposed opening of two pubs and restaurants in their area.

While BBMP officials say they have granted permission to convert a residential premises into commercial establishment, sources in the Health Department say they have not received applications seeking licenses.

The irked residents argue that Walton Road is primarily a residential locality though by an aberration of town planning, some plots on this road have been granted change of land use for commercial purposes.

“There is already a liquor shop on Walton Road. With two more pubs and restaurants coming up in the locality, drunken brawls will increase and disturb the peace of this area,” complained Dr K O Mammen, a resident.

Apart from this, residents also state that as Walton Road is very narrow, traffic congestion is a regular menace here. The vehicular density will increase after these joints come into existence and add to the chaos.

“These joints don’t have any space specified for parking within the premises. Traffic and parking problems will multiply on Walton Road and Lavelle Road, especially after the UB City is commissioned,” rues K S Ramaswamy.

“Certain extensions added to accommodate these pubs and restaurants in a building, appear to be prima facie illegal and in violation of the building by laws,” alleged Bharati Govindaraj, another resident.

Residents have already written to the officials concernedabout these problems in June this year. But, they express their helplessness. “The owners of the pubs and restaurants have their building plan legally approved for commercial purposes. The BBMP can’t do anything about it,” said Assistant Engineer of BBMP, Idrus.

Sources in the Health Department said the parties concerned have not applied for license to run a restaurant or a pub on Walton Road. The official said that even if they do, there is no question of issuing a license as it is a residential area.

Malls on high alert

Malls on high alert
Bangalore, DHNS:
In the wake of Hyderabad blasts, Red alert has been sounded by malls and multiplexes in Bangalore in their premises.

There’s a high alert in the City in the wake of Hyderabad blasts. But, over and above that alert is the red alert that malls and multiplexes in Bangalore have sounded in their premises.

“There are three levels of alert that we maintain at Forum Mall; green, yellow and red. Since last Saturday, we have escalated it to red alert, which means physical and technological preparedness at all times,” said Mr Neeraj Duggal, vice president, Retail Development, Prestige, the developers of Forum.

Right from checking the underbelly of the entering cars and recording their numbers and duration of parking to security at the entrance, basement and at all levels, the mall management is trying to ensure secure visit to its shoppers and movie goers. “We will shortly increase the strength of our security personnel by 20 per cent,” he added.

They have recently purchased a bomb suppression blanket with police permission to subdue any untoward explosion in the mall. “Besides, we make sure that no dust bin is more than a quarter filled at any time because dust bins can be misused to hide any explosive devices,” said Mr Duggal.

At Inox multiplex at Garuda Mall people are not allowed to carry any eatables inside. “There are 25 security guards in three shifts each including three lady guards per shift barring the night shift. We physically check the baggage of people at the mall.

They are not allowed to carry tool box or knife etc. There’s additional security during weekends,” said Mr Mohit Bhargava, regional general manager, Inox. The security at Garuda Mall has also been heightened. “We are checking the cars at the entry point itself,” he added.

Similar security measures are also in place at Bangalore Central. “Bags are not allowed inside and there are metal detectors to screen any objectionable object from coming inside the mall,” said Mr Raj Sethia, owner, Gangotree — a famous chain of chat store in Bangalore Central.

BMRC to buy air-conditioned, disabled-friendly coaches

BMRC to buy air-conditioned, disabled-friendly coaches

Govind D. Belgaumkar

It will run 39 trains each with three coaches

The first train is scheduled to run in March 2010

BANGALORE: Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation (BMRC) is getting ready to identify companies that build and deliver 117 air-conditioned, disabled-friendly coaches at a cost of more than Rs. 760 crore to begin with.

The plan is to run 39 trains each with three coaches of modern design, light weight and made of stainless steel/aluminium. The number of coaches can go up to six if required.

BMRC plans to acquire the coaches in phases. The Byappanahalli terminal will have the facility to park and maintain 170 coaches while the proposed Jalahalli terminal, behind the Aiyyappa Temple near Jalahalli Circle, will have the facility to park and maintain 110 coaches.

The first train is scheduled to run between Byappanahalli and Chinnaswamy Stadium in March 2010. To begin with, BMRC wants to run trains at a frequency of four minutes and increase it to three minutes as and when demand increases.

BMRC Managing Director V. Madhu said seven entities, including five consortia, had responded to the global tender. They are Fireman Transport SPA, Caserta, Italy; CAF, S.A. Madrid, Spain; Norico, China-led consortium with Changchun Rail Co., China and Jessop and Co. Ltd., Kolkata, as members; Siemens AG Earlangen, Germany-led consortium with Siemens Ltd., New Delhi, as member; Bombardier Transportation, Berlin, Germany-led consortium with Bombardier Transportation, India Ltd., New Delhi, as member; BEML, Bangalore-led consortium with ROTEM, Korea, Mitsubishi Corporation, Japan, and Mitsubishi Electric Corporation, Japan, as members.
‘No smoking’ coaches

Mr. Madhu said that smoking would be a strict no-no both on platforms and in the Metro coaches. The coaches will be vestibuled and they will have public address system and electronic displays showing the name of station approaching or the station where the train has made a halt.

He promised that the coaches would be absolutely safe for women. “You will reach the next station in just about a minute or two,” he told The Hindu. There would be no reserved coaches for women.

“You will not see people hanging from the metro coaches as you do in the Mumbai suburban trains. The trains will not move unless the doors are closed,” he said. BMRC would allow people with bags even though a law under preparation does empower us to restrict baggage. But vendors would not be allowed to use the Metro to transport vegetables, fish, etc.

There would be no toilets and washbasins in the coaches. The coaches will be disabled-friendly with their floor level being on par with the platform. Wheelchairs could move into them easily, Mr. Madhu said.

BDA master plan in broadsheet

BDA master plan in broadsheet

Staff Reporter

It is priced at

Rs. 5,000 each

BANGALORE: The hard copy of the Revised Master Plan-2015 document, Volume-2 containing the Proposed Land Use Plan is now being made available in broadsheet.

Those who want to view the Proposed Land Use Plans in a broader prospect can buy the copy on presenting a Demand Draft or Pay Order in favour of Commissioner, Bangalore Development Authority, Bangalore. Each document is priced at Rs. 5,000.

It will be available at the BDA PRO counter, BDA Head Office, T. Chowdiah Road, from Monday, a press release from BDA said.

The n

Sunday, August 26, 2007

BDA clears layout plan on lakebed

BDA clears layout plan on lakebed

Bangalore: On one side of the sprawling 900-acre Bellandur Lake, towards Kempapura village, is a layout being developed where the mouth of the lake is filled with sand. It appears to be a clear case of encroachment of the lakebed.
The BDA approved a layout plan for 5 acre and 3 guntas of Bellandur lakebed of Kempapura village in Varthur hobli.
While a portion of the land has been converted for nonagricultural purpose, a chunk has been left unconverted. This irregularity came to the notice of the A T Ramaswamy Committee. This has not escaped the Lok Ayukta’s attention either.
Based on the Lok Ayukta’s query, deputy commissioner, Bangalore Urban, M A Sadiq wrote to the BDA commissioner for details of encroachment of the lakebed. According to the BDA, a layout sanction plan was given to 5 acres 3 guntas, which includes a portion of the lakebed. The BDA approved the plan in May 2004 and issued the work order along with a copy of the layout plan in August 2004. While 4 acres of land have been converted, the remaining have not.
“The developer had included the lakebed in the plan that was approved. He constructed a wall showing the boundary and filled the mouth of the lake with sand. We have demolished the wall and have directed him to desilt the portion of the lake, failing which action will be,” Sadiq told STOI.

Holidays: Travellers face harrowing time

Holidays: Travellers face harrowing time
DH News Service, Bangalore:
All means of transportation, with the exception of buses from Bangalore to other metros will remain over-crowded till the beginning of September.

If you are planning now for a journey to utilise the weekend holiday, then be warned: all means of transportation, with the exception of buses from Bangalore to other metros will remain over-crowded till the beginning of September.

The festive week began with Varamahalakshmi Puja on Friday, followed by Saturday and Sunday.
Monday and Tuesday have gone into the account of Onam and Raksha Bandhan while Muslims will observe Shab-e-Baraat on Wednesday.

Last minute rush

Those who got their seats reserved in buses and trains much earlier are better off. For latecomers, however, it is only long queues and crowded buses and trains.

Bangalore City Railway Station on Saturday witnessed huge crowds eager to get tickets.

According to sources, there are no seats left in second class sleeper coaches in trains to Hyderabad, Kochi and Chennai till August 30.

A booking clerk said, the average rush on other days used to be around 1,000 but due to festive season it has increased to around 1,200. The Railways are running some Onam special trains and have extended the period of some special trains. Yet, it could not reduce the rush from the reservation and booking counters.

It was no different at the Kempegowda Bus Terminus (KBS) on Saturday. Commuters were seen making a beeline to the ticket/reservation counters.

As usual

However, according to K A Rajkumar, General Manager (Traffic), Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation, “this is a common phenomena for the Corporation.”

“With the on-going festive season, KSRTC operates 20-25 buses to various destinations including Kerala such as Trivandrum, Ernakulam, Palakkad and Thrissur. We estimate a two percent rise in passenger traffic,” he says.

“With the commencement of Dasara and Deepavali, traffic generally picks up. With reservations done 15 days in advance, tickets to all destinations operated by KSRTC are available. Additional buses to meet demand this month, is considered as normal operation,” he adds.

Rise in traffic

Buses from the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation that operates 24 buses from KBS has also seen a three to five percent rise in traffic/revenue on Kerala bound buses.

Private bus operators including KPN, Kallada, VRL and Sharma say the weekend reservation bookings have risen on account of festive season, but will not affect availability of buses to destinations both

Airport highway: New notification, new twist

Airport highway: New notification, new twist
DH News Service, Bangalore:
"The idea behind rechristening the expressway as State Highway - though both are essentially the same - was to make the acquisition easier and circumvent cases that are on against the project," Hemchandra, a resident of Kylasanahalli, a village that's covered in the road alignment said.

There’s no end in sight yet to the tussle between promoters of the State Highway connecting Bangalore to the upcoming international airport in Devanahalli and people who are set to lose their property to the road.

Property owners have alleged that a latest land acquisition notification issued by the Public Works Department has altered survey numbers proposed for acquisition, and also called it an attempt to circumvent the ongoing court cases against the project.

After proclaiming the expressway as a State Highway through a notification dated July 28, the Government carried a corrigendum calling the road “State Highway (Special) 1” or “connecting road between Bangalore and Devanahalli”. According to property owners, the corrigendum and the latest notification, dated August 20, are aimed at bolstering the State’s position during land acquisition, citing the road’s “special” status.

“The land proposed to be notified is more than what it was in the March notification. The idea behind rechristening the expressway as State Highway — though both are essentially the same — was to make the acquisition easier and circumvent cases that are on against the project,” Hemchandra, a resident of Kylasanahalli, a village that’s covered in the road alignment, said on Saturday.

Continuing opposition

The alignment of the 21.2-km road has undergone many changes, leading to staunch opposition from people who own properties in the villages covered under the project. The latest notification has a 60-day period for people to object to the acquisition.

While property owners alleged that PWD and Karnataka Road Development Corporation Limited didn’t publish the notification in newspapers and they were even denied copies of the same, sources in PWD said the notification was displayed at the Bangalore Metropolitan Region Development Authority’s office.

“There are glaring changes in the new notification. Some survey numbers in the old notification have been replaced by fresh ones... BMRDA, which was originally the project’s nodal agency, is washing its hands off the road now,” said Ramanujan, a resident of Challakere.

While senior officials were not available for comment, sources in PWD said there were “minor” differences in the acquisition pattern between the March and August notifications.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Seven bids for Devanahalli hotel project

Seven bids for Devanahalli hotel project
Anshul Dhamija | TNN

Bangalore: Karnataka's department of tourism has received seven bids for the convention centre and five-star luxury hotel proposed near the greenfield Bangalore international airport at Devanahalli.
The project involves developing a 10,000-seater convention centre and a 500-room luxury hotel over 35 acres of land at a cost of Rs 600 crore.
Those who have bid include: THDC and Indian Hotels (Taj Hotels, Palaces & Resorts); L&T and Starwood Hotels & Resorts; Reliance Energy and Bharat Hotels (The Grand); Soma and Sunway Construction (part of the Malaysian conglomerate, Sunway Group); Simplex and East India Hotels (Oberoi group); MR properties, MGF Development and AAPC India Hotel Management (Accor hotels); and DLF and Hilton International.
The tourism department, which had accepted the bids on August 7, will give their final verdict in two months. "In the first phase of construction, the hotel will see 500 rooms, but later, more will be added," said Karnataka tourism secretary I M Vittala Murthy.
The convention centre is also seen as a much needed facility, considering Bangalore is emerging as a major MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conventions & Exhibitions) destination.
Several luxury hotels in the city are also looking at building their own convention centres. In the pipeline is a double storied 2,000-seater convention centre by the Leela Hotels adjacent to its Airport Road property.
The Bharat Group that runs The Grand Ashok is also planning to set up a 3,000-4,000-seater convention centre alongside its Kumara Krupa Road property.

Tunnel road project gropes in dark

Tunnel road project gropes in dark
P M Raghunandan, Bangalore, DH News Service:
Is the State Government really serious in implementing the proposed tunnel road project in Bangalore City?

Almost five months after the project was announced in the State budget, the Government has not given any instruction to Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) on going ahead with the project. It is also maintaining silence on the presentation made by Shanghai-based firm on the project three months ago. The presentation was made to Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy himself.
“We were only asked to do some spade work, and it was done by working out rough estimate and design. Now, we are waiting for further directions from the Government,” said BDA Commissioner Shankarlinge Gowda.
As per the BDA’s rough design, the project is estimated to cost Rs 800 crore. The tunnel will be of eight kms with two decks of three-lane each, and it will connect Minsk Square with Hebbal Flyover, which is linked to the six-lane Bellary road, making it a smooth drive up to the proposed Devanahalli international airport.
A major advantage of this project, according to BDA officials, is that it doesn’t require any land acquisition and nothing on the surface will be disturbed. The entire work will happen underground and people over ground will not realise the work is progressing.
Mr Shankarlinge Gowda said the project site (between Minsk Square and Hebbal flyover) falls under Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) area. Moreover, as the project is the first of its kind in the country, BDA has to have a technical collaboration with a firm which has expertise in building tunnel road. For this, Government’s permission is a must,” he added.
No takers
Besides, official sources said, there is no takers for the project among private firms.
Except for Shanghai-based firm, nobody has come forward so far in this regard. “Had any firm come forward to take up the project, we could have proposed them to the Government,” BDA officials said.
Swiss Challenge
As a result, officials in the Urban Development department said, there is a proposal to throw open the project under the Swiss Challenge system, wherein the first bidder will be entrusted with the project, if not challenged.
For this, the State Infrastructure department has to be roped in to implement the Swiss Challenge system. But nothing has been done so far in this regard also.
“There is no instructions on tunnel road project from the Government,” Infrastructure Development department Principal Secretary V P Baligar clarified.

Soaring cement, bitumen prices halt road works

Soaring cement, bitumen prices halt road works
By Satish Shile ,DH News Service,Bangalore:
Widening of four main roads in Bangalore City has come to a standstill. Reason: Sudden escalation in prices of cement and bitumen...

Widening of four main roads in Bangalore City has come to a standstill. Reason: Sudden escalation in prices of cement and bitumen.
The BBMP entrusted the task of widening Palace Road, Race Course Road, Seshadri Road, Kasturba Road to Karnataka Road Development Corporation Limited (KRDCL) in May.
The total stretch of four roads taken up for widening was 5 km and the cost of the work was estimated at Rs 14 crore.
KRDCL returned the proposal last week stating it cannot take up the work at the cost estimated earlier.
Not feasible
KRDCL Managing Director Ramesh Jhalaki said the Corporation returned the proposal because it was not possible to complete the work within the estimated budget. “There was a sudden increase in cement and bitumen prices. Cement price went up by more than Rs 100 per bag. The price of bitumen went up by 20-30 per cent. It was impossible to take up work at the cost estimated earlier.”
After the KRDCL returned the work proposal, the Palike decided to float fresh tenders. BBMP Chief Engineer (Road widening) Krishna Reddy said the work, estimated at Rs 14 crore earlier, was revised to Rs 17 crore.
However, KRDCL sent the returned proposal stating it required at least Rs 19 crore to complete the work.
“Widening work was started by cutting trees on Race Course Road in June. Hotel Taj West End, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan and other buildings have already given up their land for widening. The Palike will float fresh tenders by the end of September,” he said.
The total corridor (road, sidewalk and utility duct) width will be between 24 and 30 metres after the widening works. Roads will be widened considering the volume of traffic on each road, he said.
Utility ducts
Mr Reddy said the Palike has decided to set up utility ducts on either side of Race Course Road.
“Cables passing through the road are too old and it is necessary to remove all of them.
The Palike will set up utility ducts which can be used by Bescom, BWSSB, BSNL for their cables. Works on utility ducts between Chalukya Hotel and Taj West End will begin in two-three days and funds estimated for the work is Rs 49 lakh.”
“These ducts will be used by other departments on rental basis,” he said.
Palace Road
Race Course Road
Sheshadri Road
Kasturba Road
Width: Between 24 metres and 30 metres

Friday, August 24, 2007

Corporates pitch in for greener city

Corporates pitch in for greener city
Parks, medians and traffic islands are being adopted and developed into green spots by firms in the city, says Leena Mudbidri

While the city's tree-lined avenues will make way for the widening of roads, it comes as a whiff of fresh air to know that responsible corporate houses, colleges and residential neighbourhoods are pitching in with the greening initiative on their campuses and the city's roads.
The various road widening works will see numerous trees being axed to accommodate the huge commuter flow. As part of the corporate social responsibility, several business houses, real estate firms, advertising agencies, banks and educational institutions in the city are taking up the cudgels for enhancing the green cover to make up for the depleting greenery on the roads.
According to Deputy Conservator of Forests, Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagar Palike (BBMP), Krishna Udapudi, the BBMP has invited corporate sponsorship of parks, lakes, boulevards, medians, circles and traffic islands in the city. "It is an ongoing process and so far 30 corporate bodies have come forward to adopt parks and medians," he says. "We have drafted a brochure and sent it across to large IT companies which have evinced interest in the park adoption scheme," he adds. As part of its Greener Bangalore drive, the BBMP has converted 386 open spaces into parks and is in the process of roping in corporate houses in the maintenance and development of these green spaces.
Several large firms have come forward in support of the BBMP's park and lake adoption schemes which are offered on a lease basis. Says Snehal Mantri, Director of one such firm, "We approached the PWD with the offer to take up widening of roads. In the bargain we decided to also take up maintenance of the median along the entire stretch of a road. We also maintain three gardens in the city". The organisation has also adopted a lake on a lease for five years from the Lake Development Authority.
Likewise, another firm has taken up advertising space along the median on a road on a lease basis which contributes to the maintenance of the green space. Of 55 medians along the city's roads, 16 are maintained by advertising agencies. Mahpara Ali, Chief General Manager of a bank, says, "Our bank has adopted the island in front of our campus as well as several other traffic islands and medians in the city."
Large corporate houses have pitched in with their own kinds of support in making the cityscape greener beginning with their home turf. Lush green and sprawling campuses dotted with water features are well proving to be the lung spaces of the city.
The Indian Institute of Science and Indian Institute of Management campuses have mini forests which are very old. Similarly, several educational institutes in the city have tree planting projects on a regular basis. For every tree that is felled, if corporates and the public come forward to plant two more, the BBMP's PPP (public-private partnership) project towards a greener Bangalore will bear fruit. Developing greenery
Open spaces identified : 574 Open spaces developed : 386 Parks given for adoption : 35 Circles developed : 68 Circles given for adoption : 38 Boulevards developed : 24 Boulevards given for adoption : 4 Medians developed : 55 Medians given for adoption : 16

New roads set to change city’s realty scene

New roads set to change city’s realty scene
The expressways and second ring road will create more well-connected localities, and add another dimension to the city’s real estate, writes B S Manu Rao

Rarely would a city have seen the sort of thrust on connectivity that you can see in Bangalore today. An international airport, metro rail, a second ring road, and three expressways are in the making. While the second ring road (Peripheral Ring Road), the expressways (Bangalore-Mysore Infrastructure Corridor), the new road to the international airport, and metro rail are some time away, the airport will soon be ready.
All over the world, a trend that has been noticed significantly, is that cities tend to grow towards major transport hubs. Be it a new international airport, a road transport hub or a port, mass transit infrastructure has drawn development towards it. Economic reasons and convenience in commuting, predominantly, are the reasons offered for this trend.
In Bangalore, it has been seen that all it takes is a good six-lane road to drive growth and development in the vicinity. The Outer Ring Road saw new localities emerge all around, thanks to the connectivity it offered from the other parts of the city. This road brought many localities considered 'far off' virtually into the city. "We are now in the city", was an often-heard comment from people living 12 km from the city centre after the Ring Road was ready.
So what do these new developments hold for the city? International airport The fact that the international airport is coming up in the north of the city holds more significance for the localities there than just the obvious. While surely land rates will see considerable increases as the project nears completion and the airport becomes functional, the roads leading to it will see a spurt in real estate activity around. The new expressway connecting the international airport from the Outer Ring Road will see more residential and commercial hubs being carved around. On the one hand, demand will come from the gamut of services needed to run an international airport, and on the other, good accessibility and consequent proximity to the city will drive demand from both investors and those looking for a house in the city.
The ambitious tunnel project (Minsk Square to Hebbal Flyover) to augment connectivity to the airport will mean many extensions in the northern parts of the city being just 20 minutes away. This again spells good news to those holding property in these localities.
Metro rail
The connectivity that this mass transit system entails holds promise for many located near the proposed stations. The State Government's initiative of increasing the floor area ratio in these areas to promote the use of the metro rail will see a lot of rejuvenation of existing buildings. In many cases, the yield in terms of rent will increase significantly with the higher rentals that the location will command and the additional space possible in the light of the increased floor area ratio permissible.
Peripheral Ring Road
This new road, with its linkages to the Outer Ring Road, will on the one hand decongest the Outer Ring Road, and create new localities in between on the other hand. It will add to the connectivity the Satellite Town Ring Road planned between the proposed five townships will bring. This is a key infrastructure project that is coming up just as many large IT organisations in the city will be looking for another round of expansions. Connectivity and large land parcels are just what campus development needs.
Bangalore-Mysore Infrastructure Corridor
This expressway to connect Mysore, along with its five townships, will be another catalyst in the development of the city's realty. The integrated townships and the expressway's connectivity will pull development on the other side. Given the city's draw and the fact that around four new IT organisations set up shop in the State, predominantly in Bangalore, every week, this corridor will see considerable and rapid development.
Changing skyline
A rather unique aspect of Bangalore's Central Business District (CBD) has been the fast-changing skyline. A good many large and landmark buildings have been pulled down for redevelopment in the early stages of their lifetime. Corporate offices to commercial centres, the fact that solid and occupied structures are pulled down, indicates the demand and potential seen in these localities. This, along with the new road infrastructure, will see the city's realty scene changing gears.
There are a good many reasons why property is always a sound investment. Demand and supply equations apart, Bangalore offers another unique one. Even if you buy property on the outskirts, your property comes closer to the city centre every time a major new road is planned.

Underground utilities on radar

Underground utilities on radar
Prathima Nandakumar | TNN

Bangalore: In June, BBMP drew flak from Bescom for damaging the underground electric cables during road widening along Race Course Road.
BBMP was again cornered when it exposed a portion of the underground drainage near City Market while digging for a new subway. It was handed a bill for Rs 84 lakh by BWSSB.
BBMP is now preparing to move out electric and sanitary lines in Cantonment area to pave way for a new railway underbridge. This time, it is taking no chances.
BBMP is planning to acquire a Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) to detect the network of underground cabling and pipelines. The device can determine the diameter and location of cables. It also captures images of underground assets — utilities storage tanks, watertable, buried artifacts, landmines and graves.
On Thursday, the radar was tested on Bellary Road, where the BBMP has proposed road widening and an underpass. “The software has recorded the underground assets, which will put out a report within a day,’’ said a BBMP official.
“Often, we were left to hazard a guess on the cable network as the service agencies had little idea as to where their cables or pipes were located. But now, we can be assured that no damage will be caused to the cables,’’ explained a senior BBMP official. Apart from losses caused due to damaged cables, there is a huge risk of coming in contact with a live electric wire.
Trial on August 23: The first trial will be held on August 23 near Town Hall, when engineers will be trained to use the device. As the device is expensive, costing about Rs 50 lakh, the BBMP wants to hire the equipment to train its engineers and study its usefulness in ongoing projects.
“Shifting of utilities is a big challenge for the BBMP as it is executing major development projects. The new device will help reduce project delays and cost escalation,’’ officials said.

Sidewalks double up as parks

Sidewalks double up as parks
DH News Service,Bangalore:
Flamed granite stones, red tiles, attractive lights, chairs to take rest, well maintained plants and green lawn have added beauty to sidewalks in Basavanagudi...

“Earlier I used to go to a park for my morning walk. But now park has come near my house. Sidewalks in our locality serve as parks. Moreover it is a pleasant experience to go for a walk on these sidewalks,” Madhukar, a resident of Basavanagudi police station road said.
Flamed granite stones, red tiles, attractive lights, chairs to take rest, well maintained plants and green lawn have added beauty to sidewalks in Basavanagudi. MLA K Chandrashekhar has developed sidewalks at a cost of Rs 5 crore. Unlike in other areas of the city, cobble stones have not been used for sidewalks in Basavanagudi. Instead, granite stones have been used along with red tiles with button like structures on them.
“We have used granite stones of Sadarahalli and Sira. After granite slabs are placed pores will be made on them using machines to prevent people from slipping. It costs around Rs 800 per sqft to have this type of sidewalks. Though cost is higher than other methods, durability is more,” he said. The MLA claims that he first constructed similar sidewalks in his ward Hanumanthanagar thirteen years ago, when he was a corporator. Even today sidewalks are intact.
“Whereas life of cobble stones is only three years, you can expect 100 years life time with granite tiles,” he said.
Mr Chandrashekhar got the idea of modern sidewalks during his visit to European countries in early 1990s. Sufficient space has been earmarked for plants within sidewalks, he added.