Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Stray bullet injures 27-year-old techie

Stray bullet injures 27-year-old techie

Bangalore: Software engineer Niharika Jeena was injured by a stray gunshot as she was returning home on the Intermediate Ring Road, Koramangala, on Friday evening. The bullet may have been fired from the Iblur Military Camp, close to Koramangala.
The incident occurred when Niharika (27), who hails from Nainital, Uttarakhand, was returning to her house in Koramangala 6th Block.
She had stopped her two-wheeler at the traffic signal at Ejipura junction, about halfa-kilometre from the Koramangala Junction signal. As she was getting ready to start her bike, she felt an object piercing her left abdomen. A passer-by took her to St John’s Hospital.
The X-ray showed a bullet embedded 6 cm inside her abdomen. “I was shocked to see the bullet. When it hit me at the signal, I felt uneasy, but controlled myself and moved to the roadside,’’ Niharika said.
On Saturday, the bullet was removed after surgery. She is out of danger now.
The police are clueless. “We have taken up a case based on the Medical Legal Case Memo lodged by St John’s Hospital on Saturday. The case has been registered under Section 338 IPC for rash and negligence action endangering human life,’’ said a police officer.
He said it was the fifth such incident in the area and a detailed investigation will be conducted. “We have recovered the bullet, and the clothes she was wearing. They will be sent to the forensic laboratory for examination,’’ he said.
The Army has denied any role in the firing and termed the incident as “improbable’’. Military Sub Area commander Brig Clement Samuel said: “When the incident occurred, the Army was not carrying out night-firing practice. On Friday, the firing stopped at 2 pm. There is no chance that the bullet could have been fired by an Army rifle.’’
If the incident took place on October 26, why were the police not informed till date, he asked. “We got to know through media reports. We have asked for the FIR copy and an internal investigation is on,’’ he added.
Spread over 520 acres, the Iblur Camp is mainly used for firing practice. The Army use 7.62 mm rifles and the bullet is also 7.62 mm. The same bullet is also used for the AK-47 series rifles.
“We are lucky that our daughter is safe”
Niharika mother’s Champa Jeena landed in the city on Sunday morning. Niharika hails from Nainital and had completed her MCA from Kanpur and joined a software company in Bangalore three years ago. She stayed in Koramangala 6th Stage with her sister, also a software engineer, and a friend.
“We are lucky that our daughter is safe. What if something tragic had occurred’’ asked Champa. Niharika’s father is a forest officer and works in the Haldavani forest division, Nainital.

Metro Rail picks up steam

Metro Rail picks up steam
R Jayaprakash | TNN

Bangalore: The Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRC) has been busy with a series of tender finalisations in the recent past. Also, the groundwork for the Rs 6,500-crore mass transit project — expected to be operational in December 2009 — has taken off.
After shortlisting companies that will participate in the main tender bid to supply the Rs-2,200 crore rolling stocks, the authorities have finalised the structural engineering group to assess conditions of buildings that will be pulled down for Reach One.
The authorities will acquire over 642 properties and the final notification has been issued. That apart, the tender for building condition study and structural analysis of existing buildings — proposed for partial or full demolitions — on Reach Two from Magadi Road Leprosy Hospital to Mysore Road Terminal has been floated. Tenders have also been invited for the demolition of buildings.
Tenders for constructing the viaduct, including girders, have also been floated. While General Consultants, who will supervise the overall project execution, was selected in August, BMRC has invited tenders for pre-qualification for design, manufacture, supply, installation, testing and commissioning of signalling/train control and communication systems.
On October 9, tenders were floated for construction of six Metro stations on Reach One.
Detailed design and consultancy for the remaining 24 stations along other alignments will also be finalised soon and the bids were called last week.
Traffic to ease in January 2009
It used to take less than five minutes to traverse the length of MG Road, but now it takes at least halfan-hour.
With work for the Metro Rail taking place in one lane from Kumble Circle and Brigade Road junction, and over two lanes between Brigade Road junction and Trinity Circle, the road surface has shrunk by more than half.
Commuters will have to wait till January 2009 for to the traffic situation to ease.

Drive to BIAL sure to be hell

Drive to BIAL sure to be hell

Bangalore: You can reach any part of India from Bangalore by air in less than three hours. But you’ll need four hours to go to the Devanahalli international airport from Electronic City by road. With 150 days for the opening of the airport, only one national highway takes you there.
Neither the ambitious dedicated express highway planned by the BMRDA nor the high-speed rail link proposed by the government will materialise in another four to five years. Till then, air passengers have two options — take the soon-to-be choked NH-7 or fly from the HAL airport to the international airport at Rs 1,500 per ticket.
The round table on Tuesday organised by the Bangalore Chamber of Industry and Commerce (BCIC) on ‘Connectivity to International Airport’ saw stakeholders cut a sorry figure with no viable alternatives to offer.
On the Bellary Road or the NH 7, your journey to the airport will be a 90-minute drive amid chaotic traffic. It’s ironical that a passenger to Hyderabad or Chennai for a flight of about 30 to 45 minutes will have to endure a 2-hour drive just to get to the airport.
BIAL CEO Albert Brunner ruled out the option of keeping the existing airport open till proper road and rail connectivity is in place. The HAL airport will close operations on March 28 and from March 30, the runways at Devanahalli will be abuzz with action.
The cream of business class — BCIC, FKCCI and CII — waited eagerly for infrastructure secretary V P Baligar. But he had only excuses — the trumpet flyover on NH-7 and airport entrance, expressway or the speed rail link from MG Road to the airport were held up either due to litigation, land acquisition problems or clearance delays.
Those who value their time can opt the HAL airport-Devanahalli transfer by air. The government has worked out a deal with the BIAL on this. However, this may be available for only premium class passengers.
Through NH 7 Bellary Road, distance to airport will be 35 km; via expressway, it will be 22 km Existing traffic is 20,000 Passenger Car Units/day As per BIAL, nearly 11.5 million passengers will take aerial route annually which will increase traffic to 40,000 PCUs Stakeholders criticised for poor connectivity
Bangalore: Tempers flew high as industry captains questioned people at the helm of affairs about their actions, plans and credentials at the round table on connectivity to the international airport organised by BCIC on Tuesday.
The opening remarks of Albert Brunner, CEO, BIAL say it all: “I have been blamed for completing the project on time.’’
Head honchos wanted to drive home their point — keep the HAL airport open. The rallying points were: What are your plans for transporting passengers to the Devanahalli airport, which is 35 km away? If there is no dedicated road or rail link, why don’t you keep the HAL airport open till then?
However, everyone agreed on two points: there was no alternative to Bellary Road and all dedicated transport systems planned for the airport were still on paper.
Apart from Brunner and infrastructure secretary V P Baligar, BBMP commissioner S Subramanya, BMTC chief vigilance officer P S Sandhu and airport director Narendra Kausal, also the speakers, were mute spectators for most of the time. There weren’t too many takers for their proposals — introduction of Volvo buses, check-in counters in the city, expansion of Bellary Road from Mehkri Circle to Hebbal flyover, satellite checkin at HAL airport. Reason? They don’t serve the purpose.
Not pleased with answers to their questions, the members then sought Brunner’s opinion on whether it was possible to keep the HAL airport open for a short term by entering into agreement with the state government. The answer was a clear ‘No’. Brunner said there were many legal issues and he could not breach the contract entered into with concessionaires.

What they said

Albert Brunner, CEO, BIAL
Iwonder what I should tell you all. I have been blamed for doing my job — completing the project on time as per the agreement. All these years you knew that airport was coming up at Devanahalli, what were you doing?
When we started the project, the passenger volume was 4 million and it has since then seen a phenomenal growth and now it’s 9 million. We have increased the capacity of airport by 40%. The cargo capacity has increased to 3 lakh tonnes from 1.6 lakh tonnes. The day we open the airport we will start expanding it again. But, connectivity is an issue that needs to be addressed. It came as a shock to me to know that the trumpet flyover project was given to an agency which had not even built a bridge! We are pumping in Rs 120 crore for the project.
Please don’t yield to the temptation of keeping the HAL airport open, as it will only lead to litigations. The BIAL has signed contracts with the best of world concessionaries over hotel, logistics and other requirements. The BIAL has put in Rs 2400 crore. You cannot have two different airports for long haul and short haul flights.
V P Baligar, Infrastructure Secretary
There is a problem of connectivity. On March 29, the Prime Minister will throw open the airport for the public. The trumpet flyover, which was taken up by the NHAI was hit by legal battle due to land acquisition. It is one week since all the litigations were cleared. The state government has taken over the project now and L&T has been entrusted with the work. Ramp three that leads into the airport will be ready only by next year-end, so till then, passengers will have to go further down and take a U-turn and then get into the airport. The expressway being taken up at a cost of Rs 1,000 crore has been delayed, as final alignment has to be finalised. The Rs 3,700 crore high-speed rail link between MG Road and the airport has been proposed and a DPR is prepared by the DMRC. But some clearances are still pending. Both the project will be a reality in three to four years time.
Bellary Road is the only option as of now. As short term measure we have had discussions with BBMP and BMTC to provide support. Satellite check in at HAL airport, Shanthinagar BMTC Bus Station and HSR Layout Bus Station have been worked. Moreover, the BMTC will launch 40 Volvo buses exclusively for airport passengers. A cargo village will come up at the 408 acres land next to the airport and concessionaires will establish satellite pick up points.
P S Sandhu, BMTC Vigilance:
We will get 40 Volvo buses by March and by 2009, we will have additional 1,000 busses. Show us the road, we will put our best services — pick up services, check-in centres or cabin and check-in luggage service.

Devesh R Agarwal, president, BCIC
The international airport is 35 km away and we still don’t have any news about the integration of transport and transition plans. There is no second to the fact that most of the air travellers are from the knowledge industry and business sector who travel to cut time. What will people on short haul flights do?
The new business centres are coming up near Jigani, Varthur, Sarjapur, Whitefield apart from Electronic City, how will they travel to the airport. With days being numbered for HAL airport to close there are no standard operating systems in place for customs clearance of cargo for the agents. On the one hand, we aren’t sure how the cargo will be handled after March 28 as the month sees the largest freight services being used by the traders and on the other, we are not how we will reach the airport. Our suggestion is to keep the HAL open airport for flights to Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh.

S Subramanya, Commissioner, BBMP
The BBMP’s scope ends at the Hebbal flyover. From Vidhana Soudha to Hebbal, we will widen the road by 45 meters. There are six bottlenecks en route and we are spending Rs 12.6 crore to set them right. We are going for elements — pre-cast underpasses that will be placed in a day or two. In 45 days, we will complete the project and this is done in accordance to Indian Road Congress.

Bangalore calling: it all goes way back…

Bangalore calling: it all goes way back…

Sharath S. Srivatsa

BANGALORE: From the fall of Tipu’s empire to the rise of the information technology, Bangalore has witnessed a sea change in its demographic profile. Assisted by the cool climate, historical links with the neighbouring regions, opening up of employment avenues and the Mysore royalty’s eagerness to bring intellectual wealth, the city that took to its fold many linguistic minorities today presents a medley of cultures.

A large British Army presence in the Cantonment area after the fall of Tipu Sultan brought with it a number of Tamil-speaking population, who either were attached to the military or were military suppliers. In fact, the area was administered directly by the Madras Presidency, and was handed over to the Mysore State only in 1949. Today, the erstwhile Cantonment area comprising Ulsoor, Shivajinagar, Benson Town, Richard’s Town, Frazer Town, Austin Town, Richmond Town, Cox Town, Murphy Town and others still boast a large Tamil populace.
Textile industry boom

The textile industry boom in the early part of 20th Century also witnessed migration from the Madras Presidency. Some of the very well known mills of the time — Binny Mills, Maharaja Mills, Minerva Mills and Suryodaya Mills — employed Tamil-speaking people in large numbers, who settled down in areas such as Srirampura and partially in Chamarajpet.

While the migration of Tamil-speaking population to Bangalore was a result of the presence of British troops, people from the Telugu-speaking region initially came to Bangalore on invitation by the Mysore royalty.

Many big landlords from Andhra and Telangana region were lured to Bangalore for its cool summers, and bought properties here. The Kumara Park area was among their favourite localities in Bangalore, and the area boasted big bungalows owned by the land-owning gentry as well as some royal family.

However, the old Bangalore area around Avenue Road had many Telugu-speaking traders migrated to Bangalore much earlier, and there were localities named as Shettipete and Telugupete that which were predominantly Telugu-speaking. The construction boom in the 1980s also brought huge Telugu populations from Anantapur and surrounding areas.
Malabar traders

Migration from Kerala to Bangalore was around the beginning of the 20th Century when a number of traders from the Malabar region settled here for business. The number of migrants increased with the establishment of public sector undertakings in the 1950s-60s, and improving educational standards also brought a large number of students from Kerala.

The arrival of the Marathi-speaking population in Bangalore was a historical process when Bangalore region was under the Maratha rule. Though they are spread across the city, some Marathis concentration can be found at Rajajinagar, Srirampura, Munireddypalya and old Chikpet areas.

Appointment of eminent personalities such as Sir Albion Bannerjee and Sir Brajendranath Seal by the Mysore royalty, along with several other prominent persons in the field of education and administration, brought many Bengali families.

Brand Bangalore has ’em coming back for more

Brand Bangalore has ’em coming back for more

Rasheed Kappan

Today Karnataka’s capital is zooming to be a global, multicultural megapolis powered by youthful vibrancy

Arrival of Texas Instruments as the first MNC proved a defining moment

Between September 2006 and August 2007 air traffic grew by 40 per cent

— Photo: K. Gopinathan

On the fast track: With people migrating to Bangalore falling in love with its culture, food and weather, the profile of the Bangalorean has changed dramatically.

BANGALORE: Beyond the steel and glass high-rises that starkly epitomise Bangalore’s unfettered modernist push, beyond the pubs, the IT companies, the space-starved pathways, there exists a people, alive, breathing life every day to build a brand called Bangalore.

It is that vibrant, demographic mix that gives this city its image, its magnetic aura to trigger inward migrations decade after decade and earn Bangalore its “A-1” city tag. This seldom-heralded dynamism of the Bangalorean could well be the springboard for out city to eventually wear the coveted “World City” tag.

The signs of that next transformation are all over. In Frenchman Bruno Rouot’s “homey” feel of Bangalore, barely four years into his stay here as the French Embassy’s Attaché (Science & Technology), is an echo of what the 320-strong French community experience. He does not feel alien anymore. “Here, unlike Delhi, I feel I am in a European city. I find no problem with the food, dance or music here. There are world cuisine restaurants all over,” he explains.
Long journey

The journey of that change had begun much before, when the British cantonments triggered the first influx. Then came the 1940s and 1950s which spurred a rapid growth driven by the steady inflow of Kannadigas from the rest of Karnataka. The 1960s had the new public sector giants unleash the third major Bangalore rush. Then came the job seekers from Kerala and Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Gujarat. The arrival of Texas Instruments in 1985 as the first multinational proved a defining moment for Brand Bangalore. The stage was firmly set for the city’s eventual emergence as an IT hub, a Silicon Valley, a symbol of India’s software potential. The clichéd Pensioners Paradise suddenly turned an uncomfortable sobriquet to wear. Bangalore yearned for a bigger tag, a global brand name. The world city tag beckoned big time.

The transition was quick. Foreigners who, well, once looked foreign, were no longer strangers. They were not missionaries or tourists anymore. The Americans, the Europeans, the Chinese, the Japanese were the new business partners. Some were even employees.

They had a new home: Bangalore, no lesser than where they came from. Interacting on equal footing with the Bangalorean, they collectively redefined the city’s image.

For some, it was the culture, for others it was the food and weather. Some had even fallen in love with someone here.

Among the expatriates were also students pursuing professional education or internships from an assortment of countries such as Iran, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Germany and France.
Not just IT

Driving the growth of foreign traffic into the city was not just the IT industry. Education and medical tourism also brought in people with an international profile. The city’s real estate boom attracted plenty of NRI attention.

For proof of this growth, check out the rise in international air traffic to the city: between September 2006 and August 2007, it grew by a stupendous 40 per cent, the highest in the country. In the last 18 months alone, as the Airports Authority of India (AAI) informed, Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways, Malaysian Airlines, Lufthansa and Air France have increased their total seat capacity to the city.

The reverse brain drain brought back many who had left the Indian shores. But they had returned with fresh insights about a more developed economy.

In their collective attempts to replicate what they saw and felt in the West, they slowly began to transform Bangalore.

They were now more aware of the hitherto unseen chaos. They yearned for more order, more discipline, better infrastructure.

But Bangalore was no longer that small town they had left a decade before. It had exploded into a mega city with 65 lakh people.

It was not just Bangalore’s physical growth (that had virtually decimated the old bungalows to make way for multi-storied apartments), which shook the returning techies. The profile of the average Bangalorean had changed dramatically.
Change of name

If Peking was Beijing, and Bombay Mumbai, Bangalore had no reason why it could not be Bengaluru. But the name change has to wait because there was no State Government to push the proposal. Bangalore, along with 12 other cities and towns of Karnataka, was destined to be rechristened.

Yet the file is pending before the Union Home Ministry, with no urgency to change the name before Kannada Rajyotsava.

Different people, same city

Different people, same city

Swathi Shivanand

Diversity: Everyone feels at home in our city, contributing to its cultural mosaic.

BANGALORE: Many bemoan the lack of a “culture” in the global city of Bangalore. Nothing to showcase, nothing to call its own, some say disparagingly.

Comparisons are effortlessly drawn with the “cultural” cities of Kolkata and Chennai to highlight the absence of something intrinsically “Bangalore.” The burden of proving that the city has a “culture” falls on the harried Kannadigas, who reluctantly engage in conversations defending what has been branded “their city.”

But a glance beyond the usual rhetoric will reveal a pulsating and dynamic city, an amiable and enterprising entity that has allowed people, from nooks and corners of the country, and indeed the world, to make this city “their hometown”.

“I cannot imagine living anywhere but in Bangalore. At first when I came from Jalgaon in Maharashtra, I was awed by its big-city image. But I gelled in easily and the non-intrusive environment here has allowed me to lead the life I want to,” says Sanjeetha T. Reddy, a doctor, whose native language is Telugu.

For some, moving to Bangalore from other cities has been liberating. “In Chennai, it was a homogenous society with the only difference being our caste. In Bangalore, especially after I joined an engineering college, I met people from all over the country, interacted with their cultures and celebrated their festivals. Living in the city has made my life richer,” says Harini Ravishankar, software professional.

Conflicts of identities prevalent in Bangalore are similar to other cities which are in the metropolitan phase of their lifespan. While first generation migrants retained some of their cultural ties, growing up in a cosmopolitan city has influenced the identities of their children.

“When we go to our native place, my brother and I feel out of place with all the Malayali rituals that my relatives in Thrissur are so familiar with. My parents also feel slightly bad but we try our best to replicate the traditions back here,” says Dhanya Kumaran, born and brought up in Bangalore.

There are yet others who see no conflict between being a Bangalorean and the identity inherited from parents or grandparents. “I love my fish, I love my music and like most Bengalis I cannot live without them. At the same time, I am equally outraged when people condemn Bangalore,” says Snigdha Bhattacharya, a student of psychology in Bangalore University.
Perceived conflicts

These perceived conflicts and the gradual gain in visibility of a particular community are manifested through various media, says A.R. Vasavi, a professor of Social Sciences at the National Institute of Advanced Studies. “For example, with more people coming in from Rajasthan, we have a newspaper catering to that community, the Rajasthan Patrika. The Sindhi community not only has a school but also has many colleges across the city,” she says. The Kerala Samajams, Tamil Sangams, Bengalee Associations are also part of the same efforts at preserving and promoting the identities of these communities, Ms. Vasavi adds.

For the unseeing eye, it might seem yet another city caught in the throes of globalisation, fast losing its identity. Contestable as this argument is, for years now, Bangalore remains a place harbouring a mosaic of cultures, changing its nature and changing the people who live in it.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Road to make travel easy in City

Road to make travel easy in City
DH News Service, Bangalore:
In an effort to facilitate seamless travel in space-logged Bangalore, the State has proposed a three-phased integrated road network project.

The first phase (2007-2012) of an integrated network of Mass Rapid Transport Systems is being planned, at an investment of Rs 13,195 crore (see box). The subsequent phases will be taken up during 2013-2018 and 2019-24.

The network, as visualised in a Comprehensive Traffic and Transportation Survey taken up by RITES, will incorporate Bangalore Metro, Mono Rail/Light Rail Transport, Commuter Rail as well as Bus Rapid Transport systems.

The Bangalore Metro — with a Rs-7,126 crore investment — will be a key component in the first phase of the MRTS network.

The Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Managing Director V Madhu on Monday said that the survey also chalked out three potential scenarios for vehicular movement in the City by the year 2025.

“As per the figures in 2006, only 46.8 per cent of the transport demand in Bangalore is met by the public transport systems (see box). In an ideal situation, the figure should be above 70 per cent,” he said and added that the Metro could lead to people shunning private vehicles and going in for MRTS. A total of 654.5 kilometres will be covered at the end of the third phase of the plan.


MRTS Type Cost*
Metro 7,126
Mono/LRT 3,825
Commuter Rail 690
Bus Rapid Transport 1,554
Total 13,195

Court complexes works in progress

Court complexes works in progress
DH News Service, Bangalore:
A basement two-wheeler parking facility and the ground floor set to house three new court halls, related offices and judges' chambers, completed as part of Phase One of construction Annex Building in the Metropolitan Magistrate Courts Complex on Nrupathunga Road, was inaugurated in Bangalore on Monday.

The second phase construction of six more floors to house 18 more court halls, offices and chambers was also given a formal launch.

Chief Justice Cyriac Joseph inaugurated the new construction at a function organised by Advocates Association, Bangalore and PWD. Phase I works have cost the PWD, Rs 150 lakh, while Phase II constructions are estimated to cost Rs 300 lakh more.

Justice Subhash B Adi, HC Judge and former Administrative Judge of City Metropolitan Magistrate Courts, said that till date there were only 19 metropolitan magistrate courts functioning and each magistrate was over-burdened with about 3,000 cases. Such ratio was unfavourable for timely disposals, he said, while adding that still more facilities were necessary for the courts’ effective functioning.

Justice Ravi B Naik, HC judge and present Administrative Judge for these courts, said that the new building would house newly sanctioned 11 magistrate courts, 3 additional magistrate courts and proposed special courts for cyber crimes and counterfeit cases.

Chief Justice (CJ) Cyriac Joseph said that state judiciary was committed to ensure corruption free litigation system and was not showing lenience to the corrupt. All stakeholders have a role to play in this regard, he said while stressing that judges, lawyers, court staff and litigants had to be sensitised. Whatever negligible corruption is existing in the judiciary, litigants are also responsible for the same as abettors, he commented. In the past one or two years, huge amounts had been spent for court buildings, furniture, judicial officers’ chambers and bar association buildings, stated CJ.

CJ used the occasion to explain that there was no difference of opinion between himself or the High Court and Advocates or the Advocates’ Association. Some self-styled leaders among advocates had spoken against HC’s decision to shift family courts to the new building on Siddaiah Road. The decision was taken after consulting the office-bearers of Advocates Association, he said.

Ravindra Kalakshetra spruces up

Ravindra Kalakshetra spruces up
DH News Service, Bangalore:
Next time you enter Ravindra Kalakshetra you will feel the difference. New chairs, advanced light and sound system, new wall panes have given good ambience to the auditorium, which is considered one of the best auditoriums in the country.

Kannada and Culture Department has taken up renovation of the Kalakshetra at a cost of Rs 2.83 crore. The renovated auditorium will be inaugurated on the eve of 51th Kannada Rajyotsava celebrations.

Principal Secretary of Public Works Department Sudheer Krishna and Kannada and Culture Department Secretary I M Vittalmurthy will inaugurate the auditorium on October 31.

“The inauguration will be followed by cultural programmes. The formal programme is a sort of demonstration of new set ups placed on the stage. The first mega event in the auditorium will be presentation of Rajyotsava awards, scheduled for November 1”, said Kannada and Culture Department Secretary I M Vittalmurthy.

The auditorium was built in 1965. In the last 42 years the renovation of the auditorium was not taken up in a major way. The state government included renovation of the auditorium as part of its programmes to mark the Suvarna Karnataka celebrations, he added.

Mr Vittalamurthy said, renovation works have been taken up keeping needs of performers on the stage as well as the comfort of viewers. Performers will have all modern facilities. Earlier lighting was handled manually. Now it has been computerised.

Separate green rooms for male and female artists have been set up on the sides of the stage, he said.

As many as 850 seats of the auditorium have been remodelled each at a cost of Rs 3,500. The sewerage and drainage system of the auditorium was very old and flooding in its premises was common during the rainy season. Now it has been changed, he added.

The department is constructing a book shop behind the Kalakshetra. Kannada books, Compact discs will be sold there. A restaurant is also coming up in the premises. “Our aim is to convert the entire premises of Ravindra Kalakshetra into a cultural complex. Art lovers should have place access to books as well as refreshment at one place”, Mr Vittalmurthy said.

Everything’s wrong with our roads

Everything’s wrong with our roads
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Here are some photographs sent in by our readers in response to our special report ‘What’s wrong with the roads here?’ (Oct. 28). They tell the whole story — of governmental apathy and our patience with the administration to bear with it.

The B V K Iyengar road is in terrible shape. So are the roads in Chickpet. — Sajjan Raj.
In 7th Block Koramangala, opposite Sunday Monday. Entry on the side of Hutch shop off Forum. Only half the lane is shoddily asphalted and abandoned machines in the narrow lane cause more trouble. — Ambuja Narayan, Koramangala
1 The stretch from Viveknagar-Ravi Tent to the Ejipura signal needs an urgent facelift; 2. The first left road starting from 20th Main Koramangala 80 ft road (opp. Namdhari, adjacent to Indian Heritage Academy) and the parallel road to this main (behind Indian Heritage Academy, police station, Bethany school to the road connecting 5th Block KHB colony). — Mathangi K Kumar, Koramangala
Near Urvashi theatre signal (Lalbagh Road), the entire stretch of 100 metres is in terrible condition. — Aliasgar Rangwala
The Dasarahalli main road, Hebbal. One of the main feeder roads for the new international airport at Devanahalli. It’s pathetic now, waiting to be a disaster in six months! — Rajeev Rau

Not many to engineer Metro Rail

Not many to engineer Metro Rail
DH News Service, Bangalore:
Seven months into on-ground work for the Namma Metro (Reach 1), the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation (BMRC) is facing a human resource crunch on the men who matter: the engineers.

BMRC Managing Director V Madhu said on Monday that recruitment of engineers for the project had been a slow process due to the non-availability of qualified candidates.

Among the major prerequisites the BMRC is looking for in the candidates are prior experience in metro rail engineering and signalling.

The Metro, as it stands, requires another 40 engineers across divisions, Madhu said. The BMRC has already employed around 80 engineers.

The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, a default resource for metro rail engineers and experts in the country, is not in a position to chip in for the Bangalore Metro because the DMRC itself needs the personnel for work on the next phase of the Delhi Metro. Madhu added that the Indian Railways had also been approached for assistance in this regard.

The BMRC has been putting up advertisements calling for candidates to engineer posts in various divisions including Designs and Contract, Traction, Rolling Stock, Corridors, Signalling and Telecommunication.

The engineers have to resign from their present jobs before joining us... and that takes time. We are recruiting people, but they are coming in one by one,” Madhu said.

Work on Reach 1 of the project — between Chinnaswamy Stadium and Byappanahalli — had commenced in March this year. The Phase I of the Bangalore Metro is tipped to be commissioned by December 2011.

Pay problems
A major stumbling block ahead in recruiting engineers is the modest remuneration packages, according to Madhu.
“Despite pay packages that offer around 30 per cent more than what the State government is offering, recruitment has been a slow process,” he said.

According to the BMRC MD, the offer might not be tempting enough for many engineers who are being paid astronomical salaries, both home and abroad. \However, he pointed out that a stint with the Bangalore Metro would help the engineers associated with the project scale highs in their careers.

“After four years of training in the Bangalore Metro, these engineers will be considered prized resources in the industry,” he reasoned.

Changing face of the City
As the work on Namma Metro steadily gains speed, Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Managing Director V Madhu took time off to detail the various facets of the project to Deccan Herald reporters and how it’s set to change the face of the City. Making a presentation on the Rs-6,395 crore project at the Deccan Herald office on an invitation from this newspaper, the BMRC MD gave a detailed account of the project, complete with its scope, opportunities and challenges.

By the horns

By the horns

The city seems full of people in a tearing hurry as they shatter the peace with loud horns discovers Anoop Bharadwaj

Pensioners’ Paradise. The sobriquet that was granted exclusively to Bangalore and now remembered by a few, who’ve witnessed the metamorphosis of the once-peaceful cantonment into a metaphor for mayhem, has nearly sunk into oblivion. Quite rightly so, given the chaos that happens on the roads of the city daily. And let alone the proliferation of two wheelers and taxis, what adds to the irritation is the reckless honking by the drivers. Is everyone in such a hurry that he or she doesn’t care how the others are driving?

I for one wouldn’t outright accept the theory that all are in a tearing hurry to reach their destination. It may be just that the people think it’s their right to sound that horn. Like it’s absolutely necessary to use the horn every time they make the trip, however short it is, and however clear the roads are! Not for a moment would they even think about the extent of inconvenience it causes to the fellow commuters on the road. Cab drivers especially use horns that are shrill enough to shatter eardrums. Though it is understandable that more often than not, they would be ferrying employees of call centres and other BPOs, and that maintaining time is absolutely essential, the extent to which they use the horns speaks of indifference on the part of the drivers.

What is also annoying is that most of the drivers honk even when the traffic is moving smoothly, and maintaining lane discipline!! It is definitely not considerate on their part to force the vehicle in the front to make way for them, when the latter isn’t blocking the traffic at all. There’ve been numerous instances where I’ve seen some riders blasting the horn away in absolutely calm residential areas.

One couldn’t help but get a feel that the chap behind the wheel is announcing his arrival in a big way.It is sad that there’s no law against reckless use of horns in vehicles. That may not even happen, because it is all subjective, isn’t it? Again one can’t help but make a comparison with the West, where the traffic takes offence to indiscriminate horning on the roads. After all, it takes much more than IT boom to make a superpower of a nation!

Do you have anything to say? About the state of the world, the city, your angst?

Political activity leads to traffic snarl

Political activity leads to traffic snarl

Staff Reporter

Police block traffic near Raj Bhavan

— Photo: K Murali Kumar

Nowhere to go: A massive traffic jam paralysed the city’s main business district as the political drama happened around Raj Bhavan. This was the scene at Cubbon Road from BRV Police Ground towards General Post Office.

BANGALORE: Traffic in the central business district was severely affected on Monday evening following hectic political activity at Raj Bhavan.

The problem started after the city police blocked traffic between Police Thimmaiah Circle near Hotel Capitol and Basaveshwara Circle. This was done just before the arrival of legislators of the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Janata Dal (Secular) to the Raj Bhavan in a bus and other vehicles. Many supporters of both parties had gathered near the Raj Bhavan in anticipation of the legislators’ visit. Many vehicles, including those from broadcast media, were parked on this road.

The traffic coming from the Queens Road and Cubbon Road was diverted towards Cunningham Road and Vidhana Soudha. The stretch of Ambedkar Veedhi adjoining Coffee Board was made one-way to allow the traffic move towards Indian Express and Bhagawan Mahaveer Road.

This diversion affected the movement of traffic on Cubbon Road, Queens Road and other connecting roads. Traffic on both the roads moved slowly. “It took nearly two hours for me to reach HAL Corporate Office from Manipal Centre,” said Harsha B., a software engineer, who was driving his car to his house in R.T. Nagar.

Similar was the experience of those driving from Vidhana Soudha.

Vehicles moved at a snail pace between Vidhana Soudha and General Post Office.

The movement of traffic was affected on Cunningham Road, which bore the brunt of the diverted traffic.

It was difficult for people to catch buses at the bus stop near Wockhardt Hospital, as many buses were not stopping at that point. Some of the passengers were found walking down to Shivaji Nagar to catch buses.

It was also difficult for people to reach venues in the roads connecting Raj Bhavan Road.

Among those included the participants to a talk on “Library in 21st centaury” held at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan on Race Course Road. “I walked all the way from Mahatma Gandhi Road to the venue to avoid the traffic jam,” said participant Hemant C.

Normal traffic movement was restored around 8 p.m.

Political activity leads to traffic snarl

Political activity leads to traffic snarl

Staff Reporter

Police block traffic near Raj Bhavan

— Photo: K Murali Kumar

Nowhere to go: A massive traffic jam paralysed the city’s main business district as the political drama happened around Raj Bhavan. This was the scene at Cubbon Road from BRV Police Ground towards General Post Office.

BANGALORE: Traffic in the central business district was severely affected on Monday evening following hectic political activity at Raj Bhavan.

The problem started after the city police blocked traffic between Police Thimmaiah Circle near Hotel Capitol and Basaveshwara Circle. This was done just before the arrival of legislators of the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Janata Dal (Secular) to the Raj Bhavan in a bus and other vehicles. Many supporters of both parties had gathered near the Raj Bhavan in anticipation of the legislators’ visit. Many vehicles, including those from broadcast media, were parked on this road.

The traffic coming from the Queens Road and Cubbon Road was diverted towards Cunningham Road and Vidhana Soudha. The stretch of Ambedkar Veedhi adjoining Coffee Board was made one-way to allow the traffic move towards Indian Express and Bhagawan Mahaveer Road.

This diversion affected the movement of traffic on Cubbon Road, Queens Road and other connecting roads. Traffic on both the roads moved slowly. “It took nearly two hours for me to reach HAL Corporate Office from Manipal Centre,” said Harsha B., a software engineer, who was driving his car to his house in R.T. Nagar.

Similar was the experience of those driving from Vidhana Soudha.

Vehicles moved at a snail pace between Vidhana Soudha and General Post Office.

The movement of traffic was affected on Cunningham Road, which bore the brunt of the diverted traffic.

It was difficult for people to catch buses at the bus stop near Wockhardt Hospital, as many buses were not stopping at that point. Some of the passengers were found walking down to Shivaji Nagar to catch buses.

It was also difficult for people to reach venues in the roads connecting Raj Bhavan Road.

Among those included the participants to a talk on “Library in 21st centaury” held at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan on Race Course Road. “I walked all the way from Mahatma Gandhi Road to the venue to avoid the traffic jam,” said participant Hemant C.

Normal traffic movement was restored around 8 p.m.

Bedi fumes at city traffic, suggests moving SC

Bedi fumes at city traffic, suggests moving SC
Tuesday October 30 2007 14:01 IST


BANGALORE: “You all have to stop this. It is time for Bangaloreans to petition the Supreme Court for immediate improvement in traffic system.

You must exercise your rights. It’s time you also said enough is enough,” said Director General of Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPRD) Kiran Bedi on Monday.

A visibly angry Bedi told a gathering of IT professionals and participants of Bangalore 2007 how she had got entangled in the snarling traffic from Bangalore airport and lost precious time while poisoning her system with debilitating auto fumes.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Needed: A stitch in time

Needed: A stitch in time
The booming garment industry in Bangalore is hailed as the next big thing after IT and BT. But workers have to put up with poor working conditions and could do with better remuneration. Prashanth G N reports

Bangalore: “We are the labourers behind the labels’’ is how a placard describes garment workers. The labels are doing fine, but what about the labourers?
The bylanes of Peenya, Mysore Road and Hosur Road probably host the largest garment industry in Asia, with over 1,000 units. Garments worth Rs 24,000 crore are exported annually, making up about 20% of the national share. There are about 5 lakh workers.
The hands behind the impeccable stitches that make a brand are of the machines right now, in protest. Low wages, absolutely no perks and bad working conditions have demoralised workers in garment units.
What is the scene? Once in the unit, there’s not a second to waste. Thousands of shirts come in on a conveyor belt one after the other. A miss in stitch or wrong stitch means the shirt is removed from the lot and an oral abuse follows.
“The workers are under pressure to maintain the production line continuously. They can’t afford to miss a single stitch.”
In some factories, they can’t take a break for anything, not even for water or other basic needs. Even lunch is very quick. If a target is fixed, then it has to be met even by working late hours. Any break in the continuous flow of garments will invite the wrath of seniors.
In some companies things are tolerable, but in the industry as a whole working conditions are pressure-oriented,” says Jayaram, a professional with 20 years experience in the field. All the workers have to report as soon as the gates open. A delay of even 10 minutes would mean a loss of day’s wages.
The worker can only report back to work the next day. While many women live close to the garment units, hundreds of them come from Srirangapatna, Tumkur, KGF, Nelamangala, Hosur and Doddaballapur by bus and train. Apart from better working conditions, the garment workers are asking for higher wages.
A shirt produced in these units costs up to $23 (Rs 900 roughly). Workers get about 3% of this, ie Rs 25 per shirt.
The workers are asking to be paid at least Rs 35 to Rs 40. This is just 6% of the cost of a shirt sold in the US.
The garment industry — a prime export sector of the state — is yet to bring in order. It’s high time policy makers focussed on improving working conditions and wages, otherwise the industry may die a natural death.
Fabric of garment industry
Garment units are concentrated in Peenya, Mysore Road and Hosur Road; Bangalore has 800 to 1,000 units with 5 lakh workers
10-15% of Bangalore’s population depends on the industry
Bangalore exports garments worth Rs 25,000 crore a year, which is 20% of the national contribution, second only to Delhi, which is 27%
Women workers in garment industry also come from Srirangapatna, Tumkur, KGF, Nelamangala, Hosur and Doddaballapur
Minimum wage in New Delhi is Rs 131, in Tirupur, it’s Rs 141 and in Bangalore, it’s Rs 93.
Roughly 5 lakh shirts are shipped out of Bangalore every 60 days Bangalore-Southeast Asia connection
The connection between Bangalore and South East Asia is not only one of flights in the air, but also grounded alliances. Garment workers from both regions are joining hands for better wages and work conditions. One such meeting has just concluded in China and more are in the offing as the entire manufacture of garments for consumers in Europe and US is now in South and South East Asia. Connections with US universities and consumer groups are already high.

Towards safer roads

Towards safer roads
Nina C George
For once the powers that be have paused and reflected on how to make the City roads safe for motorists.

Thanks to their intervention, by November-end more than 70,000 reflectors of all shapes and sizes will be erected on the medians of all major thoroughfares in prime areas.

Besides, the medians themselves will get a face-lift.

Alarmed by the spiraling instances of accidents at the medians, the City police are undertaking this project under the B-TRAC 2010 programme on a priority basis. In the first phase, 10,000 different kinds of reflectors will be installed on the major roads across all the 35 traffic police jurisdictions in the City.

According to sources in the Traffic Management cell of the BBMP, median stretches totally spanning a length of about 10 km will be built on different roads. Each of them will be eight inches tall and 12 inches wide. The entire project will cost Rs 55 lakh.

According to Sanjeev Kumar B H, a traffic management consultant with the Karnataka Road Development Corporation and also part of the B-TRAC 2010 programme "reflectors, the reason for erecting them is to improve the visibility and make the medians more prominent for road users during the night and in rainy weather," Sanjeev says. Instances of several vehicles ramming into medians erected unscientifically sans any warning signs are commonplace in City. Most of them lack proper reflectors. The police claim to have no separate records of accidents at the medians, they are in the process of putting together a road accident analysis system so that accidents can be categorised and quantified on grounds of causes, says Sanjeev.

According to sources in the police department, lack of proper street lighting and rash driving are the two main reasons for accidents at the median. “Tenders for the installation of reflectors and construction of medians have already been issued. The work will be completed by November end. We are waiting for the rain to end to start work," says Additional Commissioner of Police and Commissioner Traffic and Road Safety K C Ramamurthy. The police department has placed an order for nearly 20,000 red cat eyes, 30,000 yellow and whites eyes, 500 blinkers, 10,000 reflective covers and 17,000 cones. These road safety furniture will be placed along the medians and cones will double up as dividers as well. Tubular cones are being installed on medians that are less than 0.5 meters wide.

Traffic experts believe that medians meant for safety of road users, themselves often end up causing fatal accidents. They aver that though medians are painted, dust and dirt deposits make them invisible on the road.

There are no reflectors placed at the beginning and end of each median. The vehicles lose control and skid and sometimes drive over the median itself. "The cones are stolen by ragpickers who make good money by selling them. Instead of narrow median and cones, a wide stretch of greenery as road separators would be a better idea. The City requires reflectors at 38,000 junctions, each costing nothing less than Rs 1,500. This is unaffordable," Prof M N Sreehari, Traffic Expert and Advisor and Chairman Engineers and Safety Trainer.

New reflectors and refurbished medians will be erected at Hosur Road, R V Road, Basappa Circle, Deve Gowda Road, Jayamahal Road and Banaswadi main road to mention a few.

Slow drain works irk residents

Slow drain works irk residents
DH News Service, Bangalore:
Delay in the progress of any development works regarding civic amenities affects citizens to a large extent.

People staying at SLV Layout would agree. The BBMP started drain widening work on Mysore Road over a month back to avoid flooding during rains. Slabs were removed from the major portion of the drain in front of The Club opposite to Rajarajeshwari Nagar arch till Sports Authority of India.

As usual Palike has left the drain work incomplete. This has left residents of this layout in a miserable condition.
“Earlier when the drain was closed by slabs, it acted as pass way to enter and exit from SLV Layout. Both two-wheelers and cars use to pass by this way. Now since the drain is open we are forced to take another way which passes through muddy, slushy and cratered roads inside the layout,” complained Dr Mahadevayya, a resident. Mr Madhadeyya also pointed out that internal roads within the layout are not tarred and is in a pathetic condition.
“Whenever it rains the situation worsens. Commuting by these roads is next to impossible. “Chances of falling down from two-wheelers is more and even as people fear to take this road they are helpless. Women cannot use this roads during night time as its very risky,” rued Meenakshi, a house wife.

Apart from this residents are facing other problems too. Push cart vendors selling vegetables and other essential commodities refuse to come inside the layout because of the bad roads.

“Palike employees entrusted for garbage collection through vans too stary off these roads. For more than a week, garbage has piled up,” added Meenakshi. Sources at the BBMP informed that drain widening work has got delayed due to rain and work is in progress.

Metro Rail compensation package ready

Metro Rail compensation package ready
By S Praveen Dhaneshkar, DH News Service, Bangalore:
Property owners who have to surrender their land to the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation (BMRC) have a reason to cheer about. The much awaited land compensation package is ready.

BMRC has completed the tedious task of valuation of properties in reach one of the ‘Namma Metro’ project and is all set to commence award of compensation to land losers during the first week of November, V Nagendra, Executive Director (Administration) BMRC told Deccan Herald.

“Valuation of lands and property surveys by BMRC has been completed. We would be sending a final note to the Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Board (KIADB) within a week, after which the KIADB will issue letters to property/land owners under Section 29 (2) of the KIADB Act,”said Mr Nagendra.

Accept or reject
KIADB will then ask owners for their consent over the award, giving them a time period of 15 days to accept or reject the award. Then BMRC would hand over cheques to individual owners. Land owners on MG Road stand to get the maximum price fixed at Rs 12,000 per sq ft on Reach One. This task is expected to be completed by November 30, add BMRC officials.

KIADB had in its final notification gazette issued on June 24 and 27 published the names of the land owners who would have to part with their land for the project. Those land owners who may not be satisfied with the award or do not give their consent could take a legal recourse, say officials.

Fair market value
A total of 127 property owners would be awarded compensation based on fair market value as calculated from the recommendations of the Land Committee headed by former bureaucrat PSS Thomas announced in May 2007 and the PWD task force constituted to ascertain the property value on Reach One (Anil Kumble Circle to Byappanahalli on Old Madras Road).

Meanwhile, BMRC officials said the KIADB would also issue the final notification for property acquisition for the East West Corridor and North South Corridors upto Mysore Road and Yeshwantpur respectively.

“Final notification for Reach One was issued by KIADB. The remaining four (Reach 2 to 5) including the underground alignment is expected to be issued,” Mr Nagandra said.

*BMRC to award compensation through consent route as per replacement value (Value of land without depreciation plus thirty per cent solatium and twelve percent interest per annum from the date of preliminary notification issued by KIADB)

*Land owners could also opt for regular route by KIADB (Value of land/property minus depreciation or reject it)

Petrol pumps under scanner

Petrol pumps under scanner
G Manjusainath
The City has by and large remained comfortably dismissive about adulteration of vehicular fuel. However, individual cases of adulteration have come to light, some of them leading to closure of fuel stations.

While government officials are cagey in discussing fuel adulteration in the City, the absence of a comprehensive, state-of-the-art facility to check the fuel quality and the absence of a mechanism to protect investigation into adulteration charges are perceived as reasons for the prevailing situation. Meanwhile, the Civil Supplies Department officials claim that adulterated fuel is far from the norm in Bangalore.

Since April this year, officials of the Commissionerate of Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs have inspected 68 petrol bunks in Bangalore. “Last year, we had inspected 612 petrol bunks across Karnataka, but we could not spot any adulteration. This year, we have inspected 307 petrol bunks till August across the State. Our survey says that no petrol bunk is mixing solvents with petrol or diesel,” A F Hafeez, Deputy Director in the Commissionerate, said.

However, the picture emerging from the Indian Oil Corporation and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) is different. In the last one year, the IOC and BPCL closed down four petrol bunks in and around Bangalore, on charges of adulteration. According to Samson Chacko, Chief Retail Manager of IOC, Classic Auto Services (Bannerghatta Road), Unity Service Station (Okalipuram) and Jai Bharath Service Station (Ramanagara) were closed down on charges of selling adulterated fuel. Chacko said two other petrol bunks in the City were under the scanner over other “irregularities”.

Chacko said the stray bunk closures notwithstanding, the quality of vehicle fuel in Bangalore is good. “We constantly collect petrol samples and conduct lab tests,” he said.

The HPCL, on the other hand, had closed down three petrol bunks in Karnataka, including one at Bangalore. Sources in HPCL, requesting anonymity, said,“Action has been initiated against a petrol bunk on Bannerghatta Road, a petrol service station at Yelwal in Mysore and one at Tumkur.”

Though three petrol bunks were closed down, the HPCL officers claim that the quality of fuel is quite good in Bangalore. HPCL Retail Manager Sanjay Malhotra said, “If the engine oil is getting black too early, it is effective. It’s intended to refine the fuel by extracting carbon components and keep the engine clean.”

Malhotra claimed HPCL is extremely careful about the quality of fuel. “We have sophisticated mobile labs besides state-of-the-art laboratory to check the quality of fuel. We are constantly collecting samples through various means. We never spare the petrol bunk owners if we have a small suspicion.”

Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited Territory Manager (Retail) Krishnan also dismissed prevalence of adulteration and said the company’s quality control system was “very strong”.

Hafeez acknowledged that naphtha — apart from solvents including hexin and benzin, besides kerosene — were used as adulterants.

He, however, claimed that the department could not find any fuel adulteration over the last one year. The Food and Civil Supplies Department itself has no laboratory.

“We are either dependent on the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) of the Police Department or the laboratory of public sector oil companies in Devanagundi,” he said.

Testing issues: FSL does not have modern equipment to test for fuel adulteration. If it sends a fuel sample to the Devanagundi laboratory, it has to give the complete address of the petrol bunk from where the sample was extracted.

A senior officer of the Food and Civil Supplies Department said, requesting anonymity, if details of the petrol bunk were furnished with the sample, it gave room for corruption. Lab authorities could contact the petrol bunk owners and strike a deal.

The government should think of establishing a sophisticated laboratory for his Department. Hafeez, however, said it was difficult to establish a laboratory on those lines because of the huge investment involved.

Sources in the private oil companies said they were “afraid” of carrying out an extensive investigation, considering the Manjunath Shanmugham case.

“What is the security that’s given to us? Why should we put our lives at risk? People should also come forward and complain,” they said.

An engineer with a reputed company, on condition of anonymity, claimed that the adulterators usually mixed naphtha with the fuel. Kerosene is also added to it. “Kerosene mixed with diesel may not cause as much damage as when mixed with petrol. It is still hazardous for the vehicle,” he said.

He further alleged that there was an adulteration “mafia” at work in the City. “The adulteration of petrol usually happens in Nelamangala, where petrol tankers come from various places. The quality of fuel is poor in many petrol bunks in Bangalore,” he said.

I bought my motorcycle just three years ago and there was no reason for it to get damaged, as I was maintaining it properly. I was astonished that the engine oil was turning black after running for hardly a thousand kilometres.
-Rajiv Baijal, a youth from Gwalior

My vehicle requires frequent servicing... I suspect that the quality of fuel has led to this problem.”
-Dasappa, an employee ,with private company

The quality of petrol available in the City raises serious concerns. In many cases, ‘white petrol’ is mixed with regular petrol, due to which vehicles get damaged soon.
-Sadiq, a mechanic in Hegdenagar

If customers have doubts about the quality of fuel, how can they establish that it is inferior? Hafeez pointed out that the customers themselves can check the petrol’s density by using hygrometers kept in the fuel stations.

Customers can demand the petrol-testing chart, issued by the oil companies. The chart displays what should be the density of petrol at a particular temperature. “If the temperature outside is 30 degree celsius, the petrol should touch a certain scale in the hygrometer. If it is not near the scale, there is adulteration,” said Hafeez. Public sector oil companies too have asked customers to complain if they suspect adulteration.

Death rides the roads of Bangalore

Death rides the roads of Bangalore
By Monica Jha, DH News Service, Bangalore:
There has been a sudden spurt in fatalities in vehicular mishaps on Bangalore City roads over the last fortnight: with three persons dying every other day during the period.

With death not discerning between motorists and pedestrians, it is with trepidation that one sets out in the City. Why have the City’s roads turned into virtual deathtraps?

Reckless driving, narrow roads, congested junctions and unprecedented volume of vehicular traffic are the contributing factors, according to K C Ramamurthy, Additional Commissioner, Bangalore City Traffic Police.

The City can handle only seven lakh vehicles, but more than 33 lakh vehicles are plying on its roads. One lakh new vehicles hit the road every year: an astounding 700 a day.

“Unlike in Mumbai, only 45.7 per cent of Bangaloreans depend on public modes of transport. About 32 per cent use two-wheelers and 7.2 per cent cars, while the remaining rely on autorickshaws and other vehicles.
Dependency on personal modes of transport should be avoided to reduce accidents,” says M A Saleem, DIGP and Director (Security & Vigilance), KSRTC.

Bad road conditions also play a part in the accidents. Besides, Bangaloreans are virtually devoid of road sense with haphazard parking being a major mishap cause.

At the slightest excuse — be it a downpour, rallies or maintenance work — the thoroughfares are clogged with vehicles.

While the traffic woes are virtually multiplying by the day, there is no saviour in sight.

Policing is virtually non-existent with a 2,863-strong traffic police making an attempt of sorts to man the City’s roads: one traffic police constable controlling 2,500 vehicles is a mockery of regulation. The reason for undetected hit-and-run cases as well as every other road user cutting corners with impunity is not too far to see. According to police estimates, more than 60 per cent of the City’s motorists routinely violate traffic norms.

In 2006, about 915 deaths were reported in the City road mishaps. As many as 39 nine per cent of the victims were two-wheeler-borne and 23 per cent pedestrians.

A majority of them were in the age group of 20-29 and 80 per cent male, while over 60 per cent suffered head injuries. Alcohol was suspected to have a played a role in 10 per cent of the crashes, while 41 per cent of them involved buses, minibuses and trucks.

DCP (West Traffic) G A Bawa, referring to the BMTC decision to ply 1,000 more buses shortly, says once they are on roads, they will pose more problems and jack up mishap statistics. Things can only worsen given the poor infrastructure, he notes.

So what is the solution? “Just be careful while driving,” the traffic police say.

The police have other measures on their mind like cancelling licences of repeat offenders, construction of new roads and widening of narrow ones.

Bangalore IT show takes off today

Bangalore IT show takes off today

Staff Reporter

BANGALORE: It promises to be bigger and grander this year. Over 200 top information technology companies, 60 of them global majors, will converge for, arguably Asia’s largest IT and telecom annual event, to take off at the Bangalore International Exhibition Centre here on Monday. The four-day event will go on till November 1.

Companies whose expertise range from software and services to telecom and ITES, e-learning and hardware to semiconductor and infrastructure, will showcase their products and services, said Karnataka IT and BT Secretary M.N. Vidyashankar.

Billed as the IT gateway to Asia, the 10th edition of will see the participation of delegates from over 20 countries, including the United States, Germany, Australia, Canada, Sri Lanka, China, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Russia, Korea, Japan and the United Kingdom.
Many firsts

Here is why this year’s event is bound to be different: for the first time the event’s focus has been shifted from being Bangalore-centric to leveraging the unique Information and Communication Technology ecosystem of the city and positioning it as the “Gateway to Asia”. Symbolic of that is the event’s new venue, away from the Palace Grounds that hosted all the previous editions. will have about 100 conferences featuring over 75 international and national speakers, including CEOs and vertical experts. “The number of participants gives a clear indication of the interest and relevance of for the industry,” said Mr. Vidyashankar.

NASSCOM president Som Mittal has more to say about’s evolution as a significant event for the industry. He said: “While it first started as a Karnataka Government initiated event, now has truly become a partnership between industry, academia and the Government.

The theme “Gateway to Asia” represents the evolving global aspirations of the industry.”

Soon after its launch by Karnataka Governor Rameshwar Thakur on Monday at 11 a.m., will get serious with sessions on Embedded Software, Business IT Infrastructure, Industry-Academia Collaboration, Security and Storage issues in the Domestic Market, and Quality in Education and Development.

MG Metro puts brakes on shopping on roads

MG Metro puts brakes on shopping on roads
Sunday October 28 2007 11:08 IST

Express News Service

BANGALORE: Every infrastructure development churns out a certain amount of disorderliness and the Metro Rail construction on M G Road is no different. The difference, perhaps, is that it is for the first time since the last century that the erstwhile South Parade is losing its charm.

With the carriage-way shrinking to half its width and no parking space left, regular shoppers are reluctant to venture into M G Road and this is translating into a dip in the sales figures of popular restaurants, showrooms and food malls.

“People used to reach here from Indiranagar within 10-15 minutes, but now it takes almost an hour because of the one-way system and long traffic jams. This is definitely affecting our sales figure,” says Cyrus Manuel, Manager of Ebony Restaurant.

Spencer’s Super food court on M G Road is another place facing a slump. “The dust from the construction site is affecting our food court outside the store,” says the in-charge at Spencer’s Super. The lack of parking space and the dust is evidently leading shoppers in search of alternate areas.

The first choice seems to be the numerous malls in the vicinity which one can get to without having to trudge past the metro construction site. Many people this paper spoke to preferred to go to malls where they had a wider range of choices, be it shopping, entertainment, food or parking, rather than getting caught for hours in a traffic pile-up.

Incidentally, a few shops located alongside the Metro’s path have shifted temporarily to Church Street, where parking space now comes at a premium. Ravindra, who used to shop at M G Road says, “My family now prefers to travel by an auto since it takes off the burden of looking for a parking space.”

Shoppers also complaint about the absence of a ‘U-turn’ at the M G Road - Brigade Road intersection, which means longer routes, increased wait and a complete pocket-pinch.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Are the civic authorities listening?

Are the civic authorities listening?

Two years ago, I conducted a survey on what caused flooding in Bangalore. I travelled on the Intermediate Ring Road (IRR) connecting Koramangala and Indiranagar on a rainy day and found that with just about 45 minutes of rain, the newly built road had got flooded. A revelation was that important roads like Brigade Road, Commercial Street and Cubbon Road did not have a single rainwater outlet to drain out water from the road. And MG Road had just one rainwater outlet between Kumble Circle and Brigade Road junction. So, where does the rainwater flow?
It naturally flows down to the lowlying areas or gets stagnated on the road. It is common knowledge that water stagnation corrodes the roads resulting in numerous potholes, even on newly laid roads.
Then, why does the BBMP ignore the reason for repeated flooding that causes damage to property, results in diseases and accidents? A system must be put in place to ensure that water does not accumulate on roads. Another challenge is the inferior quality of construction and bad road engineering, which have deprived Bangalore of good infrastructure. Shoulder-drains with metal grills along the roads, for every 40 ft to 50 ft, will prevent clogging and waterlogging.
Pedestrian sidewalks — an important aspect of traffic planning — is still not a priority. On Ulsoor Road, road topping and sidewalk pavements were laid at a cost exceeding Rs 1 crore. But the sidewalk was built of concrete with no expansion joints. A case of bad engineering, which will only ‘buckle up’ the concrete, resulting in cracks and uneven walking surfaces (causing tripping).
This, eventually, cuts down the life span of the pavement. The sidewalks are often at different levels as private properties create slopes to reach their basement parking or surface parking levels. Few people realise that sidewalks are essentially public property, and hence cannot be altered at the whim and fancy of private building owners.

George K Kuruvila, Architect / Urban Planner

‘It is wrong to single out BBMP, we need money’

‘It is wrong to single out BBMP, we need money’

In an interview with R Jayaprakash, BBMP commissioner S Subramanya admits they don’t have the kind of money to give Bangaloreans pothole-free roads. Excerpts:
Roads in Bangalore are pathetic and it is the same story every monsoon.
There’s a major problem with roads here; they are simply not designed to carry this kind of traffic load. The city’s total road length is about 7,000 km and to make it pothole-free, resurfacing has to be done at least once in three years. The cost involved to resurface 1 km is Rs 30 lakh, translating to around Rs 800 crore every year. But we spend just Rs 50 crore because a majority of capital investments goes for new roads. Since we don't have this kind of money, resurfacing is done once in five years. I went to Kolkata on Friday and saw potholes there too. Interestingly, there are only 6 lakh vehicles in that city as against a population of 80 lakh, while in Bangalore, it’s 30 lakh vehicles against a 66-lakh population. All these factors have to be taken into consideration and it is wrong to single out BBMP.
(Misra’s suggestion: Do we need to resurface all the roads every year? Why not ensure a few but good-quality roads every year which will last for many years?)
What about quality control and monitoring? Who is responsible for the shoddy work?
The BBMP had an evaluation division but it wasn’t competent enough to do its job. Right now, we have third-party inspection and a technical audit wing for evaluation. Only after that will the project management agency receive money for the work done. We have to zero in on the problem — that is insufficient funds hamper quality of work. We throw peanuts and we get monkeys. And it is not that we don’t monitor work. A classic case is the termination of contract for KMRP roads. A contractor was responsible for shoddy work on Magadi Road and New BEL Road. We have to issue three notices before terminating the contract and we have initiated this.
The 19 IT/BT roads have survived the rain fury, why not other roads?
One should understand that all IT/BT roads are 50 years old. These have undergone tens of resurfacing and maintenance work. And the cost involved for each km is a whopping Rs 1 crore. Further, all these stretches had footpaths and storm water drains in place before the project was taken up.
(Misra’s suggestion: The cost was high because complete drain work and concrete footpath work were also done. But is it not a good idea to spend more money and build roads which last for years rather than doing shoddy work every year?)
What is the permanent solution then?
Improving quality of work. The BBMP needs money for this and we are exploring all options. Pumping in more funds, monitoring work — these can ensure quality roads.
What is the action plan to tackle bad roads?
I have allocated Rs 220 crore for resurfacing and pothole-filling. We have already started the exercise for arterial roads. In new areas, we have identified some main roads that are in bad shape and will begin work immediately.
(Misra’s suggestion: Should we not include shoulder drains and tertiary drain-cleaning work as part of this package? Otherwise all this money will get washed away with the next shower.)

Who is watching the mess anyway?

Who is watching the mess anyway?

Ask Bangaloreans. There’s an overwhelming feeling of joy if and when work on a road is in progress. But it doesn’t last long, neither the joy nor the road.
Quality matters
At least on paper, every new road needs a stamp of approval by two agencies — an external work audit agency and BBMP’s technical vigilance team. The road is subjected to a core cutting test, which determines the thickness of asphalt layers and the quality of materials used. Positive outcome of this test is supposed to decide the final payment made to the contractor.
But in reality, is this process being followed — if so, then why do roads get washed away after a heavy shower? It is left to anyone’s imagination as to what is going on with the civic body’s quality audit.
Contractors’ woes
BBMP floated global tenders for the Core Ring Road, including an advertisement in prestigious magazines like The Economist. The response: no contractor of repute showed any interest.
Bangalore does not have any major construction companies of its own and outside contractors are not interested in the BBMP’s work.
Does this say something about the civic body's efficiency and working procedures? Are BBMP contracts worth the trouble? Perhaps not. Most small local contractors have been blaming the poor quality of work to the hurdles created by the faulty system.
‘‘Most tender conditions are not honoured by the BBMP. Payments are never made on time. Moreover, the new trend is to rope in contractors from other states, who even submit forged documents. Cost escalations become inevitable because site clearance is not done and work orders are not issued in time. Often, the quality and pace of work suffer as no engineer visits the site,’’ contractors maintain.

What is wrong with roads here?

What is wrong with roads here?
Bangalore roads need a major overhaul yet again. Why? The BBMP blames it on torrential rain and growing traffic. The civic body has sought citizens' cooperation saying it will resume repair work only if there is no rain within a week. But the question is: Why do we need to asphalt roads after every heavy shower? Why is the quality of work so pathetic? When will the BBMP wake up to scientific redesigning of roads? It does not need to go far — the 19 IT/BT roads are a shining example of how roads remain in excellent condition even after two monsoons. Why is the BBMP not learning from that experience? Prathima Nandakumar finds out

Many of us have travelled to New Delhi, Singapore, Tokyo, London and other cities. Have we seen potholed roads being relaid after every spell of heavy rainfall? However, Bangalore defies conventional wisdom that roads are laid to last for years, and not for just one shower. The story keeps repeating every year and nothing seems to change. Why?
The reason is simple — lack of integrated planning, poor quality of material and workmanship, and lack of preventive maintenance. We wonder why the BBMP is not aware of the same.
Two years ago when the industry threatened to boycott Bangalore, the government set up an empowered committee which took up some major
road projects, including 19 so-called IT/BT roads. These stretches have withstood two monsoons and are still in excellent condition. A good example would be Indiranagar 80 Feet Road, which was part of these 19 roads and continues to be in excellent condition, versus Indiranagar 100 Feet Road, which is a standard BBMP road.
How was this achieved?
Let us look at integrated planning. Asphalting to BBMP means putting a thin layer of asphalt, which disappears in the next rain. A road without working drains will not last. BBMP should include provision/cleaning of shoulder and tertiary drains and repair of kerb-stones and footpaths as part of road asphalting to ensure that no waterlogging happens. This will enhance the life of the road manifold. All 19 roads had this aspect of integrated planning covered with drains and concrete footpaths laid before asphalting was taken up.
A 50 mm layer of bituminous macadam with a top layer of 40 mm of bituminous concrete was used for the 19 roads.
High quality of bitumen (60/70 grade as opposed to the usual 80/100 grade) was used, which is more viscous and ideally suited for the trafficheavy roads. A temperature of 140o C was maintained while laying the road. Rolling and compaction was completed before temperature dipped to 1000 C. A computer-controlled batch mixing plant was used as opposed to the common practice of drum mixing. Asphalt laying was done at night to give sufficient time for compaction and setting.
Quality control
A third-party quality control consultant was appointed to monitor the quality of material and workmanship. Payment was made to the contractor only after a satisfactory quality report was submitted by the consultant.
It was decided at the empowered committee meetings that these specification and quality control mechanism would become a standard procedure for all BBMP work. We wonder if this is the case in reality.
The BBMP recently issued an appeal requesting citizens to wait till rain stops so that they can fill potholes or relay the roads. It would be really nice if the civic body followed the above practice to build quality roads, thus saving itself the trouble of appealing for people's patience.
Funded by the World Bank
40 roads identified
11 completed Total length of roads: 130 km Cost: Rs 177.7 crore
ASPHALTING Package 1: Covering 99 km and costing Rs 130 crore. Completed Package 2: Covering 1,000 km and costing Rs 218 crore. Still on
IT-BT ROADS — Including drainage and concrete footpaths Koramangala, Indiranagar: 14 roads; 26.87 km; Rs 50 crore Central Business District Roads: 17 roads; 24.5 km; Rs 48.5 crore Status: Completed
MAJOR ARTERIAL ROADS Roads proposed for strengthening:
Total length - 170 km; cost - Rs 130 crore
What the rule book says
Two rules are followed when roads are made. For existing ones, the IRC 81 (1981) specifications are followed, while new roads are based on those of IRC 37 (2001). Both determine the thickness, composition, soil condition, volume of traffic before laying or relaying the road
Which road needs face-lift?
Of the 4,000 km of roads in the city, which one needs immediate attention? The BBMP maintains a score card with 0 to 5 scales. According to officials, the priority is based on assessment of the condition of footpath, drainage system and volume of traffic.
Layering of roads
Most roads designed in cities have four layers — subgrade (consisting of soil, plastic), wet mix macadam, bitumen macadam and bituminous concrete. Layering of roads is also in variants depending on rainfall intensity, soil condition and pavement temperature

High speed rail link in city soon

High speed rail link in city soon
DH News Service, Bangalore:
In what can be a boon to Bangaloreans and air travellers in particular, the detailed project report of a high speed rail link from Cubbon Road to the upcoming Bangalore International Airport at Devanahalli has been submitted to the government.

Prepared by Delhi Metro Rail Corporation for Infrastructure Development Corporation, Government of Karnataka, the rail link costing Rs 3,716 crore will enable passengers to reach Devanahalli from Cubbon Road in 25 minutes flat as against 75 to 90 minutes by road.

This was revealed by S N Venkata Rao, advisor and project director, DMRC during the 44th MEA Commemoration lecture on ‘High speed rail link from city centre to new international airport at Bangalore (Devanahalli)’ on Saturday.

Air terminals
According to Mr Rao if the project gets the approval from the government, initially 10 trains at a frequency of 10 minutes will ferry passengers from check-in-station at Cubbon Road to the internodal transport station at Hebbal, from where it will move to Yelahanka and will finally reach the airport terminal at a maximum speed of 160 km per hour. “Two city air terminals have been planned, where air passengers can check in and take boarding passes at the police ground between M G Road and Cubbon Road and beyond Hebbal flyover. This project will not interfere with the Bangalore metro rail project.”

Trees to be cut
“However, 231 trees on the proposed alignment of the rail link will have to be cut and 375 trees on a private farm land at the entry of the new airport will have to be pruned, ” he said.

By 2011 the estimated air traffic at the new airport per annum will be 17.2 million and rail passengers will be 40,753 per day, Mr Rao added.

Breaking traffic rules is quite easy here!

Breaking traffic rules is quite easy here!
DH News Service, Bangalore:
Are you tired of traffic rules in Bangalore? There is a place in the city, where you dont have to follow any, but at your own risk...

National College Circle in Basavanagudi, at the intersection of Vani Vilas Road and K R Road, underneath the flyover, seems to be free from all traffic rules or at least, the commuters don’t bother to follow them.

This is where Bindu, student of Sri Bhagawan Mahavir Jain College (SBMJC) and a milk vendor Ramanna met with a fatal accident on Friday.

Traffic flows from all the directions to all others, depending on the immediate convenience or wish of the commuters at the junction. Even the one-way diagonal road is used for two-way traffic. There is no traffic signal at the junction.

Some traffic policemen were deployed at the circle on Saturday, following the accident but people continued to disobey the traffic rules. Finally, Basavanagudi traffic police barricaded a part of Vani Vilas Road towards National College, to prevent people from going to K R Road by taking a left turn at the intersection despite there being a provision for taking a safe turn before the junction.

“There are no traffic cops at the junction and commuters don’t bother to stop for vehicles coming from the other sides. Traffic violations are common at the intersection”, said Pradeep, student of I semester, BCom, SBMJC.

Before the flyover was constructed around three years ago, there was a circle and a traffic signal at the junction, said Usha, student, final year BCA, National College, Basavanagudi.

Sona - the two-year old daughter of Sangeeta Bohra (33), is asking for her mother and wondering where she has gone. Sangeeta is still in the ICU at Bangalore Hospital, where she was admitted after she was seriously injured in a road accident at National College Circle on Friday.

Sona was also injured in the accident and has stitches above her left eyebrow. Her left eye is swollen while her brother Shrey (7), a student of Class I in Jain Vidyalaya, also has an injury on his left eyebrow.

An injured Shrey gave his father Kishore Bohra’s number to a passerby, who informed him about the accident. Shreyas also informed his father that the bus that hit them was not a BMTC bus but a college bus, said Kishore. The family was injured when the autorickshaw in which they were travelling was hit by a bus belonging to Acharya Institute of Technology.

Quarrel on road leads to man’s murder

Quarrel on road leads to man’s murder

Staff Reporter

BANGALORE: A quarrel that broke out following a minor road accident ended in the murder of a 25-year-old two-wheeler rider near the K.R. Puram bridge in the early hours of Saturday.

The police gave the name of the victim as Vijay Kumar, a resident of Udayanagar on Old Madras Road and an employee of a granite polishing unit.

On Friday night, Vijay Kumar had been to his employer Vinod Kumar’s house in Banaswadi to attend a function. While returning home after dinner around 12.45 a.m., Vijay Kumar rammed his motorcycle against a stationary multi-utility vehicle (MUV) at Kanakanagar near the K.R. Puram bridge.

Two occupants of the MUV picked a quarrel with Vijay Kumar and assaulted him. When the latter retaliated, the other two telephoned their friends and asked them to come to the accident spot. Meanwhile, Vijay Kumar’s colleague and relative Kannan, who was also at the function, passed by and spotted Vijay Kumar in the middle of the fracas.

He tried to ease the situation, but to no avail.

At this point, four men came in a car and attacked Vijay Kumar and Kannan with swords. They then picked up their friends and sped away in the car, abandoning the MUV. The injured Kannan called Vinod Kumar who arrived and shifted the two to a hospital. Vijay Kumar died around 5 a.m. while Kannan is recovering, according to the police.

Investigations have revealed that the MUV was stolen from Fraser Town police station limits some time ago. The Ramamurthynagar police have registered a case.

New CDP to be unveiled in six months

New CDP to be unveiled in six months

Staff Reporter

BANGALORE: A new City Development Plan (CDP) that will include the 110 villages added to Bruhat Bangalore will be unveiled in six months.

The CDP will make an assessment and chart out a vision for the infrastructure development of these villages.

Currently, the plan includes investment details only for old Bangalore Mahanagara Palike areas, the erstwhile eight urban local bodies and Bangalore International Airport Area Planning Authority jurisdiction. The CDP, a vision document charting out the growth of the city for the next 25 years, was prepared as part of Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM).

This was announced by J.V. Nandana Kumar, Deputy General Manager (Accounts) of Karnataka Urban Infrastructure Development and Finance Corporation (KUIDFC) at a seminar on JNNURM here on Saturday.

Reach Devanahalli airport in 25 minutes

Reach Devanahalli airport in 25 minutes

Staff Reporter

DMRCL submits report on the proposed rail link

Rail link project estimated to cost Rs. 3,716 crore

Each train will have six coaches

BANGALORE: It will be a hassle-free, 25-minute journey for air-travellers from the city centre to the upcoming international airport near Devanahalli, if the State Government approves the detailed project report (DPR) on the proposed high-speed rail link connecting the two points.

The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation Ltd. (DMRCL), appointed by the State Government to conduct a feasibility study and prepare a detailed project report on the rail link, submitted the report recently.

Making a presentation on the proposed rail link here on Saturday, S.N. Venkat Rao, Adviser and Project Director of DMRCL, said the project, estimated to be implemented at a cost of Rs. 3,716 crore on a Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) basis, would be a boon to air-travellers if the Government approved it.

The rail link will start from the Police Grounds between Mahatma Gandhi Road and Cubbon Road, which will be the City Air Terminal and passengers can check-in at this station itself to avoid the rush at the airport, Mr. Rao said.

According to the DPR, each train will have six coaches, of which one half of a coach would accommodate checked-in baggage. The maximum speed would be 160 km per hour, and 10 trains were proposed to run at frequent intervals. Initially, the train frequency could be 10 minutes and could later be reduced to six and four minutes, Mr. Venkat Rao said.

It had been proposed to have parking facility for more than 1,700 cars at the Cubbon Road terminal. This could be integrated with the M.G. Road Metro Station. The Cubbon Road terminal would not interfere with the Metro project though it is put up above and by the sides of the ramp of the Metro Station

Reach Devanahalli airport in 25 minutes

Reach Devanahalli airport in 25 minutes

Staff Reporter

DMRCL submits report on the proposed rail link

Rail link project estimated to cost Rs. 3,716 crore

Each train will have six coaches

BANGALORE: It will be a hassle-free, 25-minute journey for air-travellers from the city centre to the upcoming international airport near Devanahalli, if the State Government approves the detailed project report (DPR) on the proposed high-speed rail link connecting the two points.

The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation Ltd. (DMRCL), appointed by the State Government to conduct a feasibility study and prepare a detailed project report on the rail link, submitted the report recently.

Making a presentation on the proposed rail link here on Saturday, S.N. Venkat Rao, Adviser and Project Director of DMRCL, said the project, estimated to be implemented at a cost of Rs. 3,716 crore on a Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) basis, would be a boon to air-travellers if the Government approved it.

The rail link will start from the Police Grounds between Mahatma Gandhi Road and Cubbon Road, which will be the City Air Terminal and passengers can check-in at this station itself to avoid the rush at the airport, Mr. Rao said.

According to the DPR, each train will have six coaches, of which one half of a coach would accommodate checked-in baggage. The maximum speed would be 160 km per hour, and 10 trains were proposed to run at frequent intervals. Initially, the train frequency could be 10 minutes and could later be reduced to six and four minutes, Mr. Venkat Rao said.

It had been proposed to have parking facility for more than 1,700 cars at the Cubbon Road terminal. This could be integrated with the M.G. Road Metro Station. The Cubbon Road terminal would not interfere with the Metro project though it is put up above and by the sides of the ramp of the Metro Station

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Grand plan to clear traffic mess

Grand plan to clear traffic mess
R Jayaprakash | TNN

Bangalore: A host of corridors for doubling the length of Metro Rail, mono rail, commuter rail, bus rapid transport and a slew of new roads, realignment of ring roads and parking bays. Bangalore, already coping with traffic chaos, needs to put in place a comprehensive circuit of projects to see it through till 2025.
All this will come with an investment of Rs 44,029 crore. According to a comprehensive traffic and transport plan conducted by RITES is ready with its report will be submitted to the governor on Saturday.
By 2025, the city’s vehicular population will be 1.2 crore and commuting can be normal only if an integrated multimodal mass transport system is in place. This system will add 650 km of additional lines of mass transport and perhaps encourage 73% of people to use public transport.
The city’s four corridors will have to be spruced up. These are metro rail corridors of 88.2 km, monorail/LRT corridors of 60 km, commuter rail corridor of 204 km and bus rapid transit corridors of 265.5 km. The corridors should be in place in two phases over 17 years. While Phase I will incur an expenditure of Rs 25.872 crore from 2007 to 2012, Phase II will need Rs 17,017 crore till 2025.
In the metro corridor, in addition to the existing alignment, 88 km have been added — extension of north-south corridor from RV terminal up to PRR; Byappanahalli to Benniganahalli along Old Madras Road, Yelahanka to PRR via Nagavara, Electronic City; Indiranagar metro station to Whitefield via 100 Feet Road.
For the monorail corridor with a length of 60 kms, the suggested routes are: Hebbal to JP Nagar via Bannerghatta Road along the western portion of ring road; Kathriguppe Road to National College; Hosur Road-Bannerghatta Road to PRR. The report has mooted commuter rail corridors running up to 204 km.
This means putting to use the existing railway line for local transportation with the introduction of local trains. The bus rapid transport (BRT) corridor means a dedicated bus lane cutting across the main areas of the city. For road development, a Rs 8,000-crore comprehensive plan has been outlined.
Apart from PRR, core ring road and expressway to airport, new roads and missing links, road widening, grade separators, realignment of outer ring road, parking facilities and integrated freight complexes have been suggested.

State will relook at BMIC

State will relook at BMIC
Requests SC To Put Off Hearing In Case Seeking To Re-Bid Project

New Delhi: Karnataka, under President’s rule, on Friday informed the Supreme Court it is taking a fresh look at the Bangalore-Mysore expressway project, which was the centre of a spat between contractor Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprise (NICE) and the erstwhile H D Kumaraswamy regime.
Karnataka government counsel Sanjay Hegde requested a Bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan for an adjournment of hearing on the matter that was scheduled for next week. He said, “The new administration will take a fresh look at the project’’.
NICE had filed a contempt plea against the state government alleging it was putting roadblocks at every stage, causing huge financial loss and delay to the project. On the other hand, the state government had approached the apex court seeking permission for re-bidding on the remaining work of the Bangalore-Mysore Infrastructure Corridor (BMIC).
The state said it had got a brandnew proposal from Global Infrastructure Consortium, a US-based entity, to add Rs 1,700 crore worth of monorail to the project without any additional cost to the state.
Earlier, the apex court had lambasted the government headed by Kumaraswamy for creating impediments for NICE, and imposed costs on it.
The Kumaraswamy government had accused the project promoter of trying to develop the excess land it had acquired in the garb of the expressway project, and of selling it at a much higher price.
BMIC features
Length: 111 km; 41 km linking National Highways 7 and 4; 9 km linking the Bangalore-Mysore expressway to the state highway 17; 3 km of elevated expressway connecting the Link Road to downtown Bangalore.
Five townships: With builtin schools, hospitals, parks and recreation facilities, water and power supplies and telecommunication links and sewage treatment facilities. BMIC: THE ROAD TAKEN SO FAR
The path taken by Bangalore Mysore Infrastructure Corridor (BMIC) project executed by Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprises has been plagued by controversies. Here are important milestones of project.
February, 1995: MoU signed by CM H D Deve Gowda with William Weld, governor of Massachusetts, USA, as part of sister state agreement; consortium involves VHB (USA), SAB engineering (USA) and Kalyani Group (India). Includes seven townships
November, 1995: GO based on the MoU (PWD 32 CSR 95) authorising acquisition of 18,313 acres for the highway and five townships.
1996: NICE is formed as the project implementation company, leaving out VHB.
April, 1997: Framework agreement signed. Approximate land given as 20,193 acres in an unsigned annexure.
1997: C R Ramesh, as PWD secretary files affidavit in the Karnataka High Court, questioning land requirement.
October, 1998: Agreement between KIADB and NICE, land extent estimated to be 23,846 acres.
July 2000: Public hearings on objections.
August 2002: Environmental clearance from Union ministry of environments and forests.
August 2002: Toll-franchise and land-lease agreements signed between NICE and government.
June\November, 2003:
KIADB sells 30 acres to NICE, which in turn sells to IMTMA.
March, 2004: NICE begins construction. April, 2004: Governor T N Chaturvedi advises chief secretary to take appropriate action on excess land.
May, 2004: KIADB special DC issues preliminary notification for 29,258 acres.
November, 2004: K C Reddy committee constituted.
December, 2004: Committee interim report submitted, stating 2,450 acres allocation is excess; cabinet accepts the report.
March, 2005: Committee’s final report submitted, giving final land requirement figure as 17,809 acres. Cabinet upholds this and chief secretary K K Misra files affidavit in HC based on this.
May 2, 2005: HC says CS’s affidavit is false, orders expedition of the project and criminal prosecution of Misra.
April 20, 2006: SC upholds the Karnataka HC judgment, favouring continuance of the project.
July 3, 2006: State files review petition before the SC seeking review of its April 20 order.
November 2006: SC dismisses review petition as not even an acre of land has been transferred to NICE.
November 2006: The apex court admits contempt petition against the government filed by NICE.
October 5, 2007: SC adjourns contempt case hearing against the government to October 29.
October 25, 2006: Governor Rameshwar Thakur accepts resignation of Advocate General Uday Holla, who was arguing the case for the state.