Thursday, January 31, 2008

It’s now over to Brand Bengaluru

It’s now over to Brand Bengaluru
Swati Anand & Anshul Dhamija | TNN

Bangalore: It’s not official yet, but corporates, hotels, cafes and even the new airport has already warmed up to the idea of Bengaluru.
The airport was rumoured to have considered various names — from H D Deve Gowda to Sir M Visvesvaraya — before freezing in on Bengaluru International Airport.
“The name of the airport was decided by S M Krishna during his regime as the chief minister. All other speculations of names are merely political play,” clarify company sources. “As for Bengaluru over Bangalore, since the official directive had been given — though not in writing — we decided to kick-off with it anyway. Besides, Bengaluru is simply the Kannada variant of Bangalore. Since the logo was reflecting the native Bangalorean spirit, we decided Bengaluru would blend in well.”
The Pub City’s newest addition, Hard Rock Cafe, sports Bengaluru with the same elan as Bucharest. Jet Airways too is now flying with the spirit of the city, changing the name of Bangalore to Bengaluru on all its boarding cards, baggage tags, including its boarding nameplates across all airports. “We have also changed the city’s name in our in-flight magazine, timings booklet, and other journals that we publish,” said a Jet Airways official.
The ITC Windsor, which was recently rebranded — moving one notch up on the luxury ladder — kept with the sentiments of the city and got its name board changed to read ‘The ITC Windsor, The Luxury Collection, Bengaluru’.
However, most are switching over simply as a preventive measure.
“Change in signage and brand identity across visiting cards, stationery and the like are major expenses. One never knows when the directive will become official. The transition phase of Bangalore to Bengaluru leads to confusion, so it makes sense for new ventures to start with Bengaluru and existing ones to get proactive,” says a brand strategy consultant.
Hard Rock cafe sports Bengaluru Jet Airways has Bengaluru on boarding cards, timings booklets, baggage tags, in in-flight magazine, journals ITC Windsor too jumps on to Bengaluru

City now grapples with cholera

City now grapples with cholera

Bangalore: After gastroenteritis, the city now faces the threat of cholera: eight cases were reported on Wednesday. But the BBMP is still clueless and admits as much. This is because, as per the disease surveillance system, there is no way to track patients from Bangalore city limits seeking treatment in staterun hospitals as they directly report to the office of the joint director (communicable diseases).
Meanwhile, 200 new cases of gastroenteritis were reported on Wednesday, sending the total count to 1,230 cases. To check the spread of epidemics, zonal-level epidemic task forces, headed by the joint commissioner, were constituted to attend to emergencies.

Underpass: Major works completed

Underpass: Major works completed

Staff Reporter

Bangalore: The Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike on Wednesday began giving finishing touches to the underpass being built at the Cauvery junction with a hope of opening it for public use by Sunday.

“All major works related to underpass have been completed. Now, we are in the last leg of the construction work,” K.S. Krishna Reddy, Chief Engineer (Major Roads), BBMP, said on Wednesday.

He was confident that the underpass would be ready for public use by the weekend. He made it clear that the underpass would be fully utilised when another underpass, proposed at the BDA office junction, becomes operational. Mr. Reddy said the workmen of Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) were working on shifting sewer and water lines at BDA junction and they were expected to complete it by the weekend. The BBMP will begin construction of the underpass at BDA junction as soon as the BWSSB completes its work. He said the underpass at BDA junction would be built using partially conventional construction method.

It is still Bangalore International Airport

It is still Bangalore International Airport

Staff Reporter

Centre yet to approve adoption of ‘Bengaluru’

BIAL has put up signboards without waiting for Centre’s approval

‘Board of Directors decided to change the name’

BANGALORE: The Union Government is yet to approve the change of name of Bangalore to Bengaluru but Bangalore International Airport Ltd (BIAL) seems to have jumped the gun and named the upcoming airport at Devanahalli as Bengaluru International Airport.

Although Kannada organisations had suggested to the State Government several names related to erstwhile rulers of the region, the BIAL board decided on the name and sent the proposal to Union Government for approval. Pending approval, the BIAL had already changed the name on its website. The timing of the decision had raised eyebrows as a popularly elected government was not in place.

Sources said the new international airport at Devanahalli could not be called “Bengaluru” International Airport till the Union Government approved the change in name.

“There is no question of officially changing the name to Bengaluru without getting approval from the Union Government,” a top State Government official, who has been associated with the BIAL, told The Hindu on Wednesday.

“The board of directors of the Bangalore International Airport Ltd. in its last meeting decided to send a proposal to the Government to use “Bengaluru” instead of Bangalore. Besides it was also decided to adopt a new logo for the BIAL.”

“However, the name Bengaluru can be used officially only subject to clearance by the Union Government,” the official said.

Meanwhile, the officials pointed out that it would be the prerogative of an elected government to name or change the names of the airports.

On the other hand, the BIAL said the company and its shareholders, when preparing for opening of the new airport, felt a clear need to focus on the destination (city of Bangalore) and not on the operator and hence adapted a new logo inspired by the flowers of the garden city.

The statement said: “The new Bangalore airport now has a new identity inspired by flowers of Bangalore City. It will reflect the reputation of Bangalore as the Garden City. Furthermore, we have adapted to the new city name as Bengaluru.”

Meanwhile, several activists of Kannada organisations on Wednesday staged a protest in BIAL worksite and obstructed movement of traffic from the National Highway 7 demanding the airport be named after the Bangalore founder Kempegowda.

Chief Project Officer of BIAL Sivaramakrishnan S. Iyer, who received a memorandum from the protesters, said the decision was left to the Centre and that the protesters should approach the State authorities to prevail upon the Centre to name the airport as Kempegowda International Airport.

Authorities to rein in meter manipulators

Authorities to rein in meter manipulators
Nina C George
The authorities are bucking up to check meter tampering by auto drivers now that the fares have been hiked. Metrolife spoke to the police and the road transport authorities regarding the stringent measures they are planning to implement.

Now that the road transport authorities and police have given into the demands of autorickshaw drivers for a hike in minimum auto fare from the existing Rs 12 to Rs 14, they are also taking enough measures to make sure that with the hiked fares the tampering of meters is also considerably reduced.

Autorickshaw drivers have been demanding the fare hike following increase in per litre of auto LPG price from Rs 33.58 to Rs 35.58. The drivers’ demand that the fare rate be hiked to Rs 7 per km has also been approved.

With the hike, the burden on the passenger will now become more odious if the blatant tampering with the auto meters continue. The authorities are, however, leaving no stone unturned to prevent the tampering of meters.

Official sources in the Legal Metrology said that most of the mechanical meters are tampered with to make them tick faster. To avoid the tampering, digital fare meters were introduced two years ago. But stiff resistance from auto drivers didn't see many autos switch over to digital meters. Now the regional transport department is contemplating making digital meters mandatory for all autos. The authorities plan to do it in a phased manner so that by 2010 all autos in the City have digital meters.

“More than 40 per cent of the autos in the City have digital meters. We would be able to get all the autos to go digital only by 2010. The 8,000 to 10,000 new autos hitting the City's roads every year come equipped with digital meters,” explains M Lakshmi Narayana, commissioner of the RTO.

Official sources with the RTO say that the tampering is very subtle. “Most autorickshaw drivers either manipulate the meters themselves or get it done with the meter repairer. The process is simple. There are two fixed assembly gears — one beneath the autodriver's seat and the other at the rear of the auto. The reading of each of these gears is manipulated inversely, that is, if one reads more the other reads less. Soon, the meter reading starts jumping. “Tampering of meters is much less with the digital meters. Cancellation of licences will be adopted only for repeated offenders," he says.

Taking note of the increasing instances of meter tampering, the police department too has written to the government demanding that the Motor Vehicle Act be amended to include compulsory electronic meter for all autos.

"Cancellation of the vehicle's permit and suspension of the driver's licence are just some of our proposals to keep a tab on meter tampering. We will implement this as soon as it is approved," says DCP East Seemanth
Kumar Singh.

Another interesting development is the hike in the LPG prices every month in the year 2007. The LPG auto gas price was Rs 25.85 in January 2007 and by January 2008 the amount rose to Rs 35.38. The same is likely to rise to Rs 40 soon. There has been Rs 1.50 to Rs 2 hike every month. This is also cited as one of the primary reasons for the demand in fare hike.

The public becomes victim of the row between the law enforcing authority and the auto drivers.
While some don't mind paying extra bucks because their only mode of transport is the auto, others are clearly unhappy with the fare hike.

Smooth drive to new airport still a far-cry

Smooth drive to new airport still a far-cry
By Satish Shile, DH News Service, Bangalore:
The first of the seven underpasses planned to ensure signal-free route to the airport is not complete...

The countdown for the Devanahalli airport launch has begun.

Yet, the first of the seven underpasses planned to ensure signal-free route to the airport is not complete. Delay in the Cauvery junction underpass work may cascade down to the other six pending underpass works.

Palike Commissioner Dr S Subramanya’s plans to complete the Cauvery junction in three days has gone terribly wrong.

The Palike was to start work on the BDA junction underpass soon after the completion of the first project on January 19. The delay in the first project could delay all other underpasses.

Originally scheduled for completion by February 28, the BDA junction underpass is unlikely to start before February first week, while work on the underpass at Windsor Manor was slated to begin on January 28.

A senior BBMP engineer felt the Palike should not have announced the three-day deadline.

But Chief Engineer (Major Roads) K S Krishna Reddy said the Palike was committed to meet the deadline. “Still there is two-month’s time. It has given orders for 500 pre-cast elements. 225 elements are required to complete seven underpasses. There are 40 elements sufficient to finish works at BDA office junction and Windsor Manor junction,” Mr K S Krishna Reddy said.

According to the Palike engineers plans, the BDA office junction underpass will require 40 days, while the CBI office junction will take at least 30 days to complete. Other pending projects on Bellary Road include underpasses at Sanjay Nagar junction, Hebbal junction, and Hebbal police station junction.

The Palike has refrained from announcing any fresh deadlines for individual underpasses. Commissioner Subramanya said, “We will try to finish all works by March 30”.

Metro rail - long wait

Mr K S Krishna Reddy said the Metro Rail would require at least five years to complete. Bangaloreans could not wait for such a long time, since the International Airport was scheduled to take off soon.

At peak hours, the Bellary road traffic moves at 10 km per hour. By the month of April vehicular movement on the road will increase and the traffic speed is bound to reduce further.

Touch screens add to chaos at Cantt station

Touch screens add to chaos at Cantt station
Thursday January 31 2008 09:58 IST

Nandini Chandrashekar

HURRY! GEMS Portfolio closing on 15th Feb'08

BANGALORE: Is technology the solution to all problems?

Well the Railways certainly seem to think so. Take the age-old complaint of lack of an enquiry counter at the Cantonment railway station.

Modern day amenities being planned for this station do not include a simple manned enquiry counter. The logic behind this according to railway officials, is the installation of touch screen enquiry counters.

A question remains: What of an illiterate person or someone not well versed in technology to use this for information.

A cursory glance at the reservation counters reveal that people flock to the counters to enquire about trains and a small percentage use the interactive panels for information.

Railway officials have an explanation for this well. That their online systems are integrated so well, that the person behind an enquiry counter will not have access to on-the-spot information that the interactive kiosks will have, since they are updated constantly.

Then maybe the officials would care to explain how a fight erupted at Cantonment station recently because the touch screen enquiry for a particular train showed that tickets were available, when in reality, it was already on the waiting list.

In addition, one touch screen counter is already non functional, due to irregular power supply. This station has been earmarked to be developed as a model railway station, but the ongoing renovation work is taking its own sweet time.

The new building which is supposed to have more reservation counters has people commissioned for the job, but the building is a long way from being complete.

A separate platform is also ready, so that three trains, Prashanti Express, Kachiguda Express and Kochuveli Express can start from Cantonment station and ease the burden off the City station. But that is still some way off as the water hydrants are not yet ready.

The starting of Kochuveli Express from Cantonment will be welcomed by the many travellers who still throng this station without realising that it is not scheduled for a stop.

No action has been taken on repeated requests from people, since the next stop for this train after the City station is Salem.

Sources say that South Western Railways are not eager to pursue the matter of an additional stop as this train is run by Southern Railways.

Auto fare: Minimum fare increased to Rs 14

Auto fare: Minimum fare increased to Rs 14
Thursday January 31 2008 09:46 IST


HURRY! GEMS Portfolio closing on 15th Feb'08

BANGALORE: Under pressure from autorickshaw drivers, the State Government on Wednesday increased autorickshaw fares in the City with effect from Feb 1.

The minimum fare has been increased from Rs 12 to Rs 14, and after that for each kilometre commuters have to pay Rs 7 instead of Rs 6.

The decision to increase the fare was taken after a joint meeting conducted by Deputy Commissioner (Bangalore Urban), DCP (Traffic) and Regional Traffic Authority officials on Wednesday.

Deputy Commissioner M A Sadiq said the fare will be effective from February 1. “We have asked autorickshaw drivers to recalibrate their fare meters in two months. Till then, they can display the new fare chart in the vehicles,” he told this website’s newspaper.

Trees in trouble

Trees in trouble
Plans are afoot to fell thousands of trees to make way for roads. Kathyayini Chamaraj wonders why trees have to always bear the brunt of development.

The voiceless victims of development, or rather, the devastation of Bangalore are its road-side trees, which until now also constituted its pride and soul. But, in the mercenary rush characteristic of new Bangalore, trees are considered a nuisance to be hacked away at the slightest inconvenience.

The latest is, of course, that the trees are a hindrance to people rushing about in their individual cocoons, called cars. Whole lines of trees on 84 roads, numbering thousands, are to be hacked away because Bangalore, if it has to be a global city with any self-respect, has to have 6-laned roads.

Alternative Law Forum, CIVIC, Environment Support Group, and a few concerned individuals, under the banner of Hasiru Usiru (HU), are daring to raise their voice against this collective suicide.

The body authorised to give permission for felling trees in any urban area is the Tree Authority, to be set up under the Karnataka Preservation of Trees Act, 1976. HU has questioned whether this has been constituted, with three non-official representatives, and if its permission has been taken for the large-scale felling of trees.
HU has questioned whether road-widening is necessary at all since the proposed Metro will be passing through many of these areas and the quantum of vehicular traffic is expected to reduce on these roads.

Surprisingly, the National Urban Transport Policy (NUTP), which has been passed by the Union Cabinet in 2006, has enlightened elements, which have come as a god-send to HU activists.

The vision of NUTP is to recognise that “people occupy centre-stage in our cities and all plans would be for their common benefit and well being”. The NUTP recognises that “a disproportionate amount of road space is being allocated to personal vehicles”. The mission of the NUTP is hence to bring about “a more equitable allocation of road space with people, rather than vehicles, as its main focus” and “encourage greater use of public transport and non-motorised modes”.

The NUTP says the vision and mission can be achieved “by reserving lanes and corridors exclusively for public transport and non-motorised modes of travel”. The drawings of the plans to widen some of the roads, such as Palace Road and Seshadri Road, which have been given to HU, merely show two red lines indicating the new width of the road. The final design of the roads has not been given.

HU has been questioning why an earlier decision to create dedicated lanes for cycles and two and three-wheelers, while retaining the trees as the median, was given up, after public assurances regarding the same were given in newspapers? Urban Planner Dr S Prasanna has submitted that it is possible to do this. In Bangalore, where the chaos and deaths are mainly due to cycles and two and three-wheelers weaving in and out amidst 4-wheelers, there is a case for such a design for the road. This would not only preserve the road’s aesthetics and be environment-friendly, but also add to road capacity, while enhancing safety and speed of travel.

The NUTP calls for the setting up of a Unified Metropolitan Transport Authority in all 1-million plus cities for better coordination. Karnataka is however one of the first states which has done this by setting up the Bangalore Metropolitan Land Transport Authority (BMLTA). The NUTP also calls for an ‘integrated urban transport policy and plan’ which looks at multi-dimensional ways of de-congesting the city. Widening roads has never provided the solution for congestion anywhere in the world.

The NUTP states that the Centre is willing to finance projects that “divert funds from projects that add to road capacity towards public transit systems” and “to promote non-motorised transport”. These points could be made use of to acquire more land, if necessary, along these roads to create additional lanes, while retaining the trees. As most of the lands in these areas belong to government, this should not be difficult.

In response to the memorandum submitted on 30.10.07 to the Governor by CIVIC on behalf of HU, the Chief Secretary & Chairman of the BMLTA called for a special meeting of the BMLTA and allowed CIVIC to make a 10-minute presentation on November 30, 2007. The meeting failed to address almost all of the concerns expressed by HU. Disappointed, a public meeting was called by HU on December 20, 2007. However, not a single member of BMLTA participated.

Meanwhile, a Comprehensive Traffic and Transportation Plan for Bangalore (CTTPB) has been drawn up by KUIDFC, accepts all the suggestions made in the NUTP but in its implementation plan, includes only a few of the measures. It does identify certain out-lying roads for the creation of Bus Rapid Transport System. But, it seems to accept road-widening as inevitable and hence many of the measures suggested and allocations made are for road-widening and construction of underpasses. However, there are no plans for introducing fiscal incentives and disincentives, such as congestion tax, graded parking fees, etc; no identification of only-pedestrian-zones, NMV zones; car-free days, etc. which could all be undertaken in the short-term to reduce personal vehicles on the roads.

There have also been reminders from the Ministry of Urban Development to the State. The Secretary to the Government of India has requested feedback from State authorities on action taken for the implementation of NUTP 2006.

The suggestions of HU were for an integrated, holistic, sustainable and equitable urban transport system for Bangalore. The onus to establish the rationale, on the same lines, for the current ad hoc decision to widen roads and fell trees, lies on the current decision-makers. Until the rationale and justification for the current decision is established, the plans to fell trees must be put on hold.

Kaveri junction underpass still not complete

Kaveri junction underpass still not complete
Another deadline passes by...
DH News Service, Bangalore:

Delay in completion of the underpass at Kaveri junction has left shoppers furious against the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP). Intermittent supply of power, non-supply of drinking water and disruption for parking place have resulted in huge loss in business for them.

Sameer Choudhry of Trident showroom (Hyundai) at Kaveri junction said, “We normally sell 500 cars in a month. In January the sales have come down by 150. Who will bear the loss?”
“The Palike started the work promising that it would be over in three days. We are not getting customers as there is no parking place”, Choudhry said.

A businessman, who preferred anonymity, said, “My building is not getting water for the last one week. On Monday last, they cut the sewerage line. Workers of BWSSB, Bescom demand bribe to set things right. We are being extorted by the civic agencies”, he said.

Manager of a company located on T Chowdiah Road said he could not take out his company’s car for the last 10 days. “Even crossing the road has become difficult. I have to walk a kilometre to get an autorickshaw”, he alleged.

Baskin Robbins, an ice cream parlour here, has found the time appropriate to take up its renovation work. Umashankar of the parlour said, “We have not opened the shop due to renovation work.”

Grievance cell

A builder who has rented out his building for shops demanded that the Palike should set up a grievance cell at the work site.
“There is no one to listen to our complaints. Nobody speaks to us politely. We have every right to demand basic services”, he said.

4 days to go

Palike Commissioner’s second deadline for the Kaveri junction underpass completion came and went on Tuesday. Palike Chief Engineer (Major Roads) K S Krishna Reddy has now set a third deadline, though not officially: Saturday.

The Palike had begun construction work on January 16. The commissioner had promised that the work would be completed within three days. As water supply pipelines ruptured during excavation, work was delayed and the three-day magic did not work.

The commissioner sought 10 more days to complete the work. However, that too did not work. Asked about the delay, Commissioner Dr S Subramanya said he will speak only after completion of the work.

Airport to be named after Bengaluru

Airport to be named after Bengaluru
By Hemanth C S, DH News Service, Bangalore:
The Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL), the main promoters of the country's first greenfield airport confirmed to Deccan Herald that the new airport would henceforth be called the "Bengaluru International Airport".

The Garden City may still be awaiting a green signal from the Union Home Ministry to get its name changed from Bangalore to Bengaluru. But the promoters of the new Devanahalli international airport have gone a step ahead and christened the airport “Bengaluru International Airport”.

The airport has also been given a new logo, reflecting by the City’s floral charm.

The Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL), the main promoters of the country’s first greenfield airport confirmed to Deccan Herald that the new airport would henceforth be called the “Bengaluru International Airport”.

The first flight is set to take off from the new airport in about 60 days.

“We have adopted the City’s proposed name of Bengaluru, and the airport will be called Bengaluru International Airport,“ said BIAL Officials.

Ever since the airport construction commenced in July 2005, suggestions and demands had come from several quarters on a suitable name. The debate had even triggered protests from various organisations who wanted it to be named after prominent personalities like founder of Bangalore Kempe Gowda; former Mysore Diwan Sir M Visvesvaraya, matinee idol Rajkumar and Tipu Sultan who was born in Devanahalli.

However, both the State government and promoters have opted to name the airport after the City. Their rationale: It is more apt for an international airport to be named after its city as is the case with several airports round the world.

New logo & identity

BIAL has also unveiled a new logo for the airport. Officials said the logo that was being sported till now was representative of the BIAL company and its shareholders, Siemens Projects Ventures, Larsen & Toubro, Unique Zurich Airport, Karnataka State Investment and Industrial Development Corporation and Airports’ Authority of India.

“As we prepare for the opening of the new airport, we felt a clear need to focus on the destination (the City of Bangalore) and not on the operator. The new Bangalore airport now has a new identity inspired by the flowers of Bangalore City. It will reflect the reputation of Bangalore as the Garden City,” the officials added.


There were demands to name the airport after Kempe Gowda, Tipu Sultan, Sir M Visvesvaraya and Rajkumar. But the promoters thought it fit to go by the practice world over and name it after the City

The logo reflects Bangalore’s floral wealth unlike the earlier one which embodied the promoters.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

New logo for ‘Bengaluru airport’

New logo for ‘Bengaluru airport’

Our Bureau

Bangalore, Jan. 29 A three-petalled flower seemingly swaying in welcome is the new logo of the new airport at Devanahalli - the Bengaluru International Airport.

BIAL, the airport company, has just started sporting the logo of green, red and yellow on its Web site.

“The new Bengaluru Airport now has a new identity inspired by the flowers of Bangalore,” a spokesperson said. “It will reflect the reputation of Bangalore as the garden city and its new name, Bengaluru.”

The branding exercise comes less than two months from the airport’s opening date – March 30, 2008. The Rs 1,900-crore airport in its phase 1 is putting the final touches and testing all its systems ahead of a formal inauguration by the Prime Minister on March 28.

“BIAL (earlier) had a logo identity which represented the company and its shareholders. However, as we prepare for the opening of the airport, we felt a clear need to focus on the destination – the city of Bangalore – and not the operator,” the spokesperson said.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Licence renewal soon

Licence renewal soon
Bangalore, DHNS:
BBMP has taken up renewal of trade licences in three phases.

The process will begin on February 1 and traders can renew their licences without penalty till February 29. Those who apply for renewal between March 1 and March 31 will have to pay 25 per cent of the licence fee as penalty.

For renewals between April 1 and June 30, traders have to pay double the licence fee as penalty. Palike commissioner Dr S Subramanya said licences will be renewed without inspecting trade premises. The Palike has tied up with the Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce and Industries to renew trade licences. Palike counters will be set up at the FKCCI head office on KG Road for the purpose. The counters will be open till February 29. Traders should produce filled in application, the fee and the original trade licence certificate issued for the year 2007-08.

Fresh licence

He said traders can also apply for fresh licences through counters at FKCCI. Fresh licences for non-food trades will be issued within three working days without inspection.


The population of Bangalore city is close to 70 lakh. The city has 27 lakh registered vehicles, but only 39,115 licenced traders! BBMP commissioner Dr S Subramanya revealed this on Monday and said in 2005-06 there were 36,500 authorised traders in the Palike limits. After Suvarna Paravanagi was introduced for 2007-08, the number had increased to 39,115.

Decision on auto fare tomorrow

Decision on auto fare tomorrow

Staff Reporter

Drivers want the minimum fare to be raised to Rs. 15

Sub-committee yet to give its report to the RTA

About 20 variables are considered for fare increase

BANGALORE: Autorickshaw passengers may have to dig deeper into their pockets soon. For, the Road Transport Authority (RTA) is likely to take a decision on increasing the auto fares on Wednesday.

Deputy Commissioner of Bangalore Urban and RTA Chairman M.A. Sadiq told The Hindu that a decision is likely to be taken on Wednesday after the sub-committee set up to look into the matter submits its report. The likely increase in the fare comes in the light of autorikshaw drivers and owners, who had taken their vehicles off the road on January 11, seeking a raise in the minimum fare.

When asked about the likely fare increase, Mr. Sadiq said: “I will be in a position to comment on the fare only on Wednesday as a decision has not been taken in this regard. The meeting will review the recommendation of the sub-committee.”

The State Government has delegated the powers to revise the auto tariffs to the regional transport authorities in the respective districts. With respect to Bangalore, the RTA Bangalore district has been empowered to revise the auto tariff.
Sub-committee report

DCP (Traffic-East) Seemanth Kumar Singh, who is heading the sub-committee, said that the process was still on and the committee was yet to give the report to the RTA. He said: “We are working out on the details from the technical point of view and variables laid down in the guidelines are being considered.” The sub-committee would submit the report in two days time, he added.

It is learnt that there are about 20 variables including the fuel cost, wear and tear of the vehicle, insurance, permits and tax structures that are considered before deciding on fare increase.
Union confident

Meanwhile, general secretary of Sri Jai Bhuvaneshwari Auto and Taxi Driver’s Union C.T. Lokesh told presspersons on Monday that they were confident that the RTA would meet the demands of the union. Unions have been demanding the minimum fare to be raised to Rs. 15 from Rs. 12 at present, and Rs. 7.5 for every kilometre thereafter.

Underpass to be ready by Friday

Underpass to be ready by Friday

Staff Reporter

BANGALORE: Work on the “ready-to-fit” underpass at Cauvery junction is going on in full swing and is likely to be completed only by February 1.

After officials from the civic body recovered an encroached property near the work site, work on reconstruction of the side drain and the pavement is on, BBMP Chief Engineer (Major Roads) K.S. Krishna Reddy said.

“Soil nailing on one side of the underpass on Bashyam Circle side has been completed and work on the other side has started. Construction of ‘wing walls’ is nearing completion and sub-grading of the roads has started,” he explained.

He said the facility would be ready in the next three days and work on a similar underpass at BDA junction would start after that. “We are ensuring that the problems we faced in the first project do not repeat. The BWSSB has already started shifting utility lines and all care would be taken to meet the deadline in the second project,” he added.

Public see red

Public see red
Bangalore, DHNS:
Commuters travelling in the ubiquitous autorickshaws have given a thumbs-down to the rude behaviour of drivers...

Commuters travelling in the ubiquitous autorickshaws have given a thumbs-down to the rude behaviour of drivers. They have demanded fool-proof meters to reduce the tampering of conventional meters and asked for stringent action against drivers demanding excess fare.

The special committee headed by Deputy Commissioner of Police, Traffic (East) has received responses via e-mail and snail mail from the public offering suggestions on the increase in minimum auto fares as demanded by various auto unions.

Seemanth Kumar Singh, DCP (East) told Deccan Herald on Monday said that a mixed response has been received over the issue of an upward revision in auto fares. “Majority of commuters have expressed their views against the behaviour of auto drivers and called for better etiquette. Installation of digital metres are also suggested,” he said.

Syed Shafi Ahmed, Regional Transport Officer and Additional Secretary RTA suggests that more buses be introduced to reduce dependency on autos by the middle class commuters. “Out of 32 lakh vehicles registered in the city, 72 percent comprises two wheelers, 16 percent cars, 4 percent buses/public transport and just 3 percent autos. People don’t like to spend about Rs 80 to Rs 100 a day on auto expenses. They want a comfortable mode of transport,” he opined.

Fare hike demand isn't fair

Fare hike demand isn't fair
By P M Raghunandan, DH News Service, Bangalore:
Drivers are up in arms demanding fare hike again though auto LPG price is Rs 35.58 per litre, breaching their own agreement...

On March 15, 2006, all autorickshaw drivers’ associations of Bangalore had signed an agreement with Road Transport Authority (RTA) that they will not demand for fare hike till per litre cost of auto LPG crosses Rs 40. The drivers then readily signed the pact as RTA accepted their demand to hike the minimum fare from Rs 10 to 12.

Cut to 2008. The same drivers are up in arms demanding fare hike again though auto LPG price is Rs 35.58 per litre, breaching their own agreement. They started demanding the hike following recent increase of Rs 2 in auto LPG price.

Why was the agreement signed? It was believed autorickshaw drivers will not incur loss unless the auto LPG price crosses Rs 40 per litre. “The average mileage of per litre of auto LPG is 20 km. With the present fare (Rs 12 minimum and Rs 6 for every km), drivers stand to gain,” say official sources.

“If a vehicle rides for, say, 10 km with the passenger, the total fare chargeable is Rs 60, which is almost double the cost of per litre fuel. And the driver still has fuel to run 10 more kms. So, the average profit will be Rs 80 to 85 for every litre of auto LPG,” officials explained.

Why drivers are going back on their agreement? “I agree our demand is against the agreement. But we were forced to demand as cost of living has gone up in two years. The cost of milk, house rent, land rate, school tuition fee and others have gone up,” State General Secretary of Adarsha Auto and Taxi Driver’s Union B S Narayanamurthy argued.

He further said autorikshaw drivers are in a bad shape and a slight increase in the fare, will do them a lot of good.

But officials, who do not want to be quoted, call the drivers greedy. “If they are so particular that the fare has to be hiked corresponding to increase in auto LPG price, why didn’t they voluntarily come forward to reduce the fare when the LPG price came down by Rs 1.20 last year?...It’s really mean on their part,” officials stated.

In fact, autorikshaw drivers’ associations’ initial reaction when auto LPG price went up last month, was mixed. While Karnataka Rajiv Gandhi Autorickshaw Drivers’ Association said it will not demand for fare hike, two others, Adarsha Auto and Taxi Drivers’ Union and Autorickshaw Drivers’ Union, demanded the hike. However, the association that was against fare hike later joined hands with other two in their protest. A series of protests, including a dawn-to-dusk bundh, were being staged pressing for fulfilment of the demand. They also held a Raj Bhavan chalo on Monday.

Even before RTA could take a decision on fare hike, many autorickshaw drivers have started fleecing the public.

Facts to chew on
*Per litre of auto LPG costs Rs 35.58
* Average mileage per litre 20 km
* Present autorickshaw fare:
Minimum Rs 12 and Rs 6 for every km (after minimum)
* Average profit per litre of auto LPG is Rs 80


“The sub-committee has gone into all details and made some recommendations. Arguments of both autorickshaw drivers and the public have been taken into consideration. We will take a decision in the interest of both parties.”
-- RTA secretary Rudra Nayak


The government has set up a sub-committee headed by Bangalore Urban Deputy Commissioner M A Sadiq, RTA officials and others to look into the demand and submit a report with recommendations. RTA will take a final decision on January 30.

Fare hike demand isn't fair

Fare hike demand isn't fair
By P M Raghunandan, DH News Service, Bangalore:
Drivers are up in arms demanding fare hike again though auto LPG price is Rs 35.58 per litre, breaching their own agreement...

On March 15, 2006, all autorickshaw drivers’ associations of Bangalore had signed an agreement with Road Transport Authority (RTA) that they will not demand for fare hike till per litre cost of auto LPG crosses Rs 40. The drivers then readily signed the pact as RTA accepted their demand to hike the minimum fare from Rs 10 to 12.

Cut to 2008. The same drivers are up in arms demanding fare hike again though auto LPG price is Rs 35.58 per litre, breaching their own agreement. They started demanding the hike following recent increase of Rs 2 in auto LPG price.

Why was the agreement signed? It was believed autorickshaw drivers will not incur loss unless the auto LPG price crosses Rs 40 per litre. “The average mileage of per litre of auto LPG is 20 km. With the present fare (Rs 12 minimum and Rs 6 for every km), drivers stand to gain,” say official sources.

“If a vehicle rides for, say, 10 km with the passenger, the total fare chargeable is Rs 60, which is almost double the cost of per litre fuel. And the driver still has fuel to run 10 more kms. So, the average profit will be Rs 80 to 85 for every litre of auto LPG,” officials explained.

Why drivers are going back on their agreement? “I agree our demand is against the agreement. But we were forced to demand as cost of living has gone up in two years. The cost of milk, house rent, land rate, school tuition fee and others have gone up,” State General Secretary of Adarsha Auto and Taxi Driver’s Union B S Narayanamurthy argued.

He further said autorikshaw drivers are in a bad shape and a slight increase in the fare, will do them a lot of good.

But officials, who do not want to be quoted, call the drivers greedy. “If they are so particular that the fare has to be hiked corresponding to increase in auto LPG price, why didn’t they voluntarily come forward to reduce the fare when the LPG price came down by Rs 1.20 last year?...It’s really mean on their part,” officials stated.

In fact, autorikshaw drivers’ associations’ initial reaction when auto LPG price went up last month, was mixed. While Karnataka Rajiv Gandhi Autorickshaw Drivers’ Association said it will not demand for fare hike, two others, Adarsha Auto and Taxi Drivers’ Union and Autorickshaw Drivers’ Union, demanded the hike. However, the association that was against fare hike later joined hands with other two in their protest. A series of protests, including a dawn-to-dusk bundh, were being staged pressing for fulfilment of the demand. They also held a Raj Bhavan chalo on Monday.

Even before RTA could take a decision on fare hike, many autorickshaw drivers have started fleecing the public.

Facts to chew on
*Per litre of auto LPG costs Rs 35.58
* Average mileage per litre 20 km
* Present autorickshaw fare:
Minimum Rs 12 and Rs 6 for every km (after minimum)
* Average profit per litre of auto LPG is Rs 80


“The sub-committee has gone into all details and made some recommendations. Arguments of both autorickshaw drivers and the public have been taken into consideration. We will take a decision in the interest of both parties.”
-- RTA secretary Rudra Nayak


The government has set up a sub-committee headed by Bangalore Urban Deputy Commissioner M A Sadiq, RTA officials and others to look into the demand and submit a report with recommendations. RTA will take a final decision on January 30.

New airport with old problems

New airport with old problems
Monday January 28 2008 10:18 IST

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BANGALORE: The new Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL), set to take-off on March 30, will carry the problems that plague the present HAL airport when operations shift to Devanahalli.

Frequent flyers have to manage with the maddening traffic on Bellary Road and be prepared for last minute cancellations and delays due to bad weather, as the airport is not equipped with the latest instruments.

Like many old airports, the international airport at Devanahalli will have CAT-I Instrument Landing System (ILS).

The system requires minimum Runway Visibility Range (RVR) of 1200 metres, which is of little help to land an aircraft in bad weather, especially during fog when RVR will be much less.

The HAL airport has the same CAT-I, system and every winter it faces major problems of maintaining flight schedules during fog.

The BIAL maintains that the selection of visual aids to be provided at the airport depend primarily on the visibility conditions under which it intends to conduct operations and on the type of aircraft.

"The new airport is equipped with precision approach category system 1 known as CAT I which is in accordance with requirement for Bangalore," said a BIAL official.

Aviation experts, however, differ with the BIAL logic of going for the old system.

"Bangalore weather has changed drastically and air traffic is increasing. We need CAT II ILS to ensure hasslefree flying throughout the year," he said. Mumbai has CAT II and New Delhi airport is equipped with CAT III ILS.

The air traffic at HAL airport is very heavy. It handles a take-off or landing every two minutes. The number will increase once the operations shift to BIAL, which justifies having CAT-II ILS, which costs a little more.

"It will be very difficult for the new airport to change from CAT I to CAT II at later stage, as they will have only one runway till 2011-12. For CAT II, they need to put runway centre lighting system,"an expert said.

While, air travellers will continue to suffer, the BIAL is preparing to deliver yet another blow to them in the form of user charge.

Before facing these problems, people have to first mend their way through the traffic on Bellary Road. The road-widening work is continuing, but is unlikely to be ready by the time airport is operational.

Even after widening, the roads will not be free of bottlenecks and people coming from South Bangalore will suffer the traffic, especially during peak hours.

USER CHARGES: The BIAL is planning to impose user charges on those travelling from the new airport. While it will be Rs 675 for domestic passengers, international passengers have to shell out Rs 955-plus. If the Ministry of Civil Aviation approves the BIAL proposal, Bangalore will be the first airport in India to impose such steep user charges.

The BIAL claims that revenue generated from the user charges is important for airport operations. The Authority, however, has not clarified why it is collecting user charges from people.

TRAFFIC PROBLEM: Even if the Bellary Road is widened it will not be free from bottlenecks, especially at Hebbal Flyover.

It will take nearly two hours for people from South Bangalore to the airport during peak hours. Though the State Government is planning to have high-speed rail links, it will take time to put the project on track.

Bangaloreans go for guns

Bangaloreans go for guns
Monday January 28 2008 10:14 IST

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BANGALORE: The boom in real estate business and suspected terror activities in the City has made many feel insecure and take up arms for selfdefence.

The number of people applying for gun licenses has increased in the last few years. In 2007, 332 people applied for gun license, compared to 172 in 1998.

"Increase in crime rate and terrorist activity in city is the reason for more and more people applying for gun license," Deputy Commissioner of Police (Admin) Muniswami told this website's newspaper.

"As real estate prices have gone up drastically, those in the business do not want to take any chances and make arrangements for their own safety," the officer added.

After 1998, there was a slight decline in the number, but it increased again after 2002. Prior to 1998, police encouraged people, especially those living on the City outskirts to buy guns for selfdefence as those areas were not developed. The number of robbery cases in those areas were high.

Auto drivers want fare hike

Auto drivers want fare hike
Tuesday January 29 2008 01:48 IST

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BANGALORE: Autorickshaw drivers staged a demonstration in the city on Monday, demanding increase in minimum fare from Rs 12 to Rs 15.

Members of 21 autorickshaw drivers unions took part in the protest.

Adarsha Auto and Taxi Drivers Union president M Manjunath said three years ago the fare was increased from Rs 5 to Rs 6 per km when fuel was Rs 25 per litre.

"The fuel rate has increased to Rs 35 per litre, but the minimum fare has not. We are facing loss," he said.

They are also demanding facilities like provident fund, ESI and Yashaswini scheme for auto drivers.

The government should provide loan to install new electronic meters in autos.

"If our demands are not met, we will stage an indefinite strike from February 1," he said.

Deputy Commissioner (Bangalore urban) M A Sadiq said a decision on the demand for fare hike will be taken after a meeting on January 30.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Commuters okay fare hike, seek better service

Commuters okay fare hike, seek better service

Bangalore: “Make meters tamper-proof, ensure more courteous service and we won’t mind a nominal increase in autorickshaw fares.’’ That’s Bangaloreans telling autorickshaw drivers, who have been demanding a steep rise in fares.
The revised fares will be decided at a Road Transport Authority meeting on Tuesday. The autorickshaw unions have demanded a minimum fare of Rs 15 and Rs 7.50 per kilometre thereon.
The subcommittee formed by Bangalore Urban deputy commissioner M A Sadiq to study fare demand has submitted its report after factoring in feedback. The auto union members had threatened to take out a Raj Bhavan Chalo on Monday. But they’ve decided to wait out till Tuesday following a meeting with Sadiq on Sunday.
Sadiq, who is also the RTA chairman, told The Times of India that a concrete decision would be taken as the subcommittee’s report has been finalised. “There will be no protest or auto strike on Monday. The issue will be sorted out amicably.’’

Khus grass to keep Lalbagh lake clean

Khus grass to keep Lalbagh lake clean

Staff Reporter

Their roots absorb the toxins in water and purify it naturally

– Photo: Bhagya Prakash K.

A new lease of life: The Lalbagh lake in Bangalore, which is being beautified.

BANGALORE: Heard of grass keeping the lakes clean? Here is an experiment being conducted by the State Horticulture Department.

After cleaning the Lalbagh lake for the second time in six months, the department has hit upon an idea of keeping it clean naturally and also save cost on cleaning.

Vetiveria zizanioides, popularly known as khus grass, will be grown around the lake, which will help the authorities to keep the lake clean. The roots of khus grass have a special characteristic of absorbing the toxins in water and purify it naturally.

Khus grass is being grown in Lalbagh to reduce the expenditure being incurred on cleaning the lake. Visitors have been polluting it by throwing waste into it.

K. Ramakrishnappa, Director of the department, told The Hindu that the department got information about the khus grass during a seminar organised by the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi Arid Tropics in Hyderabad.

“A detailed discussion on various uses and qualities of the khus grass was held. The department is yet to experiment khus grass on the Lalbagh lake,” he said.

The grass will be grown on ramps made of bamboo poles, which will float on the lake. The purpose is to keep the lake water clean and use it for irrigating the garden.

The cost of the project will be reasonable as the khus grass is being grown in Lalbagh itself. The department, which plans to commence work on the project in February, will incur about Rs. 50,000.

M. Jagadeesh, Deputy Director, said the department was also working on beautifying the lake by planting ornamental plants around it. Besides, the department had a plan to create a water fall to enhance the beauty of the lake. It would be ready in a year.

“We are seeking financial and administrative approval for the project,” he added.

He said that it was important to control pollution around the lake and maintain its ecological balance, as the island within provided habitat to various species of birds.

Any disturbance could perturb them

Parking lot courts mess

Parking lot courts mess
By Rashmi R Hebbur, DH News Service, Bangalore:

More than an year ago, the Public Works Department (PWD) completed construction of a multi-storeyed parking facility at the City Civil Courts’ Complex in Bangalore, for the benefit of advocates, judicial officers and court staff. But, till date, the parking complex remains a mess as there is none to supervise and regulate the parking of vehicles or to maintain the premises.

The multi-storeyed parking facility comprises of four floors which can accommodate about 115 four-wheelers each, and about 460 four-wheelers in all. Three floors of these were inaugurated in mid-2006, and the fourth floor too was completed in June 2007.

But, this huge facility available is not being utilised well for want of supervision for parking vehicles. Presently, those parking vehicles in the three floors in use, have nobody to guide them and no security arrangements is in place. While vehicles are parked haphazardly, entire parking premises is in a poor condition without regular cleaning. Since, top two floors of the complex, which will house court halls and offices, are still under construction, construction materials are also dumped in the parking spaces.

Three floors of the parking complex is supposed to be earmarked for advocates’ cars on payment of Rs 5 ‘maintenance charges’ per day. Half of the basement is earmarked for cars of judicial officers and Government officers attending courts, and rest is for two-wheelers of advocates. Litigants and visitors to the court complex are not allowed to park in the new parking complex. But, now, not only people attending courts but also those working at or visiting neighbouring offices are also parking their vehicles here.

Advocates Association, Bangalore president D L Jagadeesh said the Association has been persuading authorities for providing maintenance for the parking area, since past eight months. The association had earlier expressed its readiness to manage the facility by itself.

In November 2006, Karnataka High Court passed an order entrusting the task of maintenance and regulation of parking to the PWD, subject to its approval. And the PWD is said to have begun the process for outsourcing maintenance work to private contractors. But, nothing is implemented yet.

PWD superintendent Engineer Rajesh said that initially, the department was waiting for completion of the fourth floor of the parking complex. Later the process for entrusting the contract for regulating parking and maintaining the building after necessary approvals from the High Court and the State Government was taken up. He said, now the highest bidder had been identified and within a week, agreement in this regard would be signed.

Poor work

Advocate Ramesh Babu: “Parking area is always dirty and vehicles are being parked haphazardly. Only once in a month or two, the building contractor gets some cleaning done, and premises stinks most of the time. Cellar area is being misused for drinking and other activities after 6 pm.”

Advocate S Nagaraj: “Entry and exit points are the same for the parking complex, and hence it is inconvenient while driving the vehicles in or out, especially during peak hours. There are several pillars in the parking area, and no boards or arrow marks to guide entry, exit or parking spaces. The parking facility needs to be manned. We are ready to pay charges.

Further, owing to poor quality of work the flooring is already damaged at some places.”

Pro-Kannada organisations rail roko irks passengers

Pro-Kannada organisations rail roko irks passengers
DH News Service, Bangalore:
Train passengers had a harrowing time on Sunday, as more than half-a-dozen trains leaving Bangalore were delayed by several hours. Reason: Agitation by the pro-Kannada organisations.

Sara from Belgium could not travel to Chennai on Sunday. She was asking people for the reason for the strike and wanted to know why innocent people were tormented.

A marriage party was also the sufferer of the agitation. The group was to go to Chennai by Brindavan Express. But due to the rail roko, they were stranded at the Bangalore station for at least two hours. The worst hit were the people going to the North as they had no alternative but to wait for the train.

Lack of coordination

Sources said, the differences and lack of coordination between the City police and the Railway police led to a near total rail bandh by the pro-Kannada organisations on Sunday at the Bangalore City Railway Station.
According to the police sources, the DGP K R Srinivasan had summoned a meeting in this regard where the IGP of Railways Hafiz, senior officials of Bangalore city and Vatal Nagaraj had attended the meeting where it was decided that the train services will not be affected.

However, on Sunday as soon as the activists stormed the Bangalore City Railway Station, the police found itself helpless.

It was learnt that the RPF and the Railway police insisted to prevent the crowd entering the station but the city police preferred holding talks with the leader of the agitation Vatal Nagaraj to avoid any confrontation.
Nagaraj assured that the agitation will last till 6 pm and it would be ‘totally peaceful’.

But after entering inside, there was utter commotion and everywhere there were pro-Kannada activists holding banners, posters, waving yellow and red flags and shouting slogans. Sources said there were standing instruction to the police not to use force to suppress the agitation.

A top police officer of the city on condition of anonymity, denied lack of coordination between Railway Police and the City Police. “The agitators were in great number and we never wanted any confrontation or violence. So we allowed the protesters inside the Railway Station.”

After holding the successful rail roko the pro-Kannada organisations are gearing up for a major show in the national capital. According to the Kannada Chalavali Vatal Paksha president Vatal Nagaraj and the president of Karnataka Rakshana Vedike Narayan Gowda, on February 12, a dharna would be staged at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi to highlight the plight of Karnataka.

Trains delayed

As many as 11 train services in Bangalore Railway Division were affected on Sunday due to the agitation by the Pro-Kannada organisation against the alleged injustice with the Kannadigas.
The trains affected are:
1) Kakinada- Bangalore Express
2) Madras-Bangalore Brindavan Express
3) Mysore-Bangalore Express
4) Bangalore-Ahmedabad Express
5) Bangalore-Bhubaneshwar Express
6) Bijapur-Bangalore Basava Express
7) Bhubaneshwar-Bangalore Express
8) Kachiguda-Yeshawanthpur Express
9) Salem-Yeshawanthpur Express
10) Bangalore-Ernakulam Passenger
11) Hubli-Bangalore Express.

Tepid response to water scheme

Tepid response to water scheme
By S Lalitha, DH News Service, Bangalore:
The much-hyped JNNURM-funded 100 million litres a day (MLD) water supply scheme launched by the BWSSB has evoked poor response with only 5,000 out of the targeted 72,000 households in the newly-added BBMP zones opting for it.

Governor Rameshwar Thakur had turned on the taps on December 3 last to launch the project at K R Puram, but BWSSB officials are still desperately trying to convince the public to subscribe to the facility. Officials are now trying to garner clients through pamphlets and door-to-door canvassing in the 72 wards selected out of 225.
With borewell water available at a lesser price, people seem are reluctant to pay monthly water bills despite the Pollution Control Board certifying that water was contaminated. ”The public prefer drinking that than paying Rs 150–Rs 200 for Cauvery water,” a top official said.

Rate details

The rates depend on the dimensions of the site. Beneficiary capital contribution for a 30X40 site is Rs 5,000, Rs 10,000 for a 60X40 site, Rs 15,000 for a site above 60X40 and so on. The public however feels short-changed because of the penalty amount imposed for not applying for the connection within the deadline of July 31, 2005.
The BWSSB officials even attribute this as a reason for the poor response.

When calculated at a rate of Rs 100 to Rs 200 per month till December 2007, the amount works out to about Rs 2,900 to 5,800 and there are added costs of Rs 1,740 for house service connection and Rs 100 for fixing meters. One can make the payment through installments, though.

The BWSSB is also particular that all the houses in a street pay for the facility to prevent unauthorised connections. However during a spot check, residents had a bag of complaints to share with Deccan Herald.
Munikrishna, who resides at RHB Colony in Mahadevapura and has made the required payments said, “ The facility reached our door step two months ago but our meter has not been connected and water is not being supplied”

No connections

Latha a resident of Gayathri Layout at K R Puram is furious that despite the payment of Rs 10,000 two years ago, the water does not reach her house. Munisangappa, from the same area says, “Ninety per cent of my neighbours in our street have paid for water but yet to receive connections.”

Sulochana, a homemaker at Ayyappanagar’s argument is, “They have not even laid the pipes in the main road. I do not want to tie up Rs 10,000 without being convinced that work will begin.”

New airport gets cell to face emergencies

New airport gets cell to face emergencies
By Hemanth C S, DH News Service, Bangalore:
Promoters of the airport, Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL), are leaving no stone unturned by setting up an effective disaster management system to counter possible terror attacks and disasters.

At a time when airports are perceived to be high on the terror radar and prone to disasters, airports around the world have put in place a mechanism to counter possible terror attacks and disasters.

With such disasters looming large over several airports across India, the airport in Bangalore is no exception. In this context Deccan Herald takes a look at the disaster management facilities at Bangalore International Airport in Devanahalli, which is starting commercial flight operations from March 31.

Promoters of the airport, Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL), are leaving no stone unturned by setting up an effective disaster management system to counter such eventualities. BIAL, which has selected Columbia Asia as the partner in providing medical care at the airport apart from establishing a round-the-clock medical care unit at the airport, will also provide total medical assistance in case of any disaster. “The medical care facility will have the latest in medical equipment, technology and expertise to handle routine outdoor medical care and stabilise emergencies. In addition, Columbia Asia, with its partners, will provide total medical assistance in coordinating any mass casualty event or a disaster,” BIAL officials said.

On the evacuation front, one ambulance will be stationed on the land-side and three ambulances on the air-side and one stand-by in case of any emergency. Though there will not be any heli-ambulance services provided by promoters, BIAL officials say based on requirement, it will accommodate heli-ambulances at the airport subject to service operator obtaining all statutory clearances.

Officials further said the service providers on the medical care and disaster management front have been chosen after a comprehensive tender process and after checking their past track record of providing effective medical care facilities and handling disaster response services.

Underpass may be ready by weekend

Underpass may be ready by weekend
DH News Service, Bangalore:
According to BBMP chief engineer K S Krishna Reddy, 75 per cent of the work has already been completed and at least four-five days are needed to finish the remaining work.

Commuters on T Chowdaiah Road will have to put up with inconvenience at least for another five days. Work on BBMP’s pre-cast underpass at the Cauvery junction is certain to drag on for at least three more days beyond the January 29 deadline.

According to BBMP chief engineer K S Krishna Reddy, 75 per cent of the work has already been completed and at least four-five days are needed to finish the remaining work.

Soil nailing and filling up of concrete on either side of pre-cast elements are going on, while asphalting work is yet to begin.

Citing reasons for the delay, Mr Reddy said most of Sunday was spent on recovering Palike land from encroachments by business establishments at the Cauvery junction.

“Business establishments had encroached area measuring close to 3,000 sq ft above a drain. The recovered property is worth close to Rs 4.5 crore,” he said.

The BBMP had begun the underpass work on January 16 last and announced that the work would be over in three days. On January 19, Palike Commissioner Dr S Subramanya said the BBMP needed 10 more days to finish the work.

Meanwhile, Krishna Reddy said there would not be any problem in the construction of the proposed underpass at the BDA junction as there is no need for much excavation work. “We are confident of finishing the work in one month’s time,” he said.

Bangalore Railways on upward growth

Bangalore Railways on upward growth
Sunday January 27 2008 11:59 IST

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BANGALORE: Bangalore Division of South Western Railways has earned Rs 512 crore till December 2007, a growth of 12 per cent over last year.

Passenger earnings stood at Rs 393 crore as opposed to Rs 336 crore last year, registering a growth of 17 per cent, said Divisional Railway Manager Mahesh Mangal at the Republic Day celebrations in the city on Saturday.

He also said that arrangements have been made to improve the infrastructure of level-crossing gates. While nine gates will be manned, 12 gates have been interlocked and 49 gates have been provided with lifting barriers.

Mangal also said that work has been completed up to Bidadi on line doubling between Bangalore and Ramnagaram and the rest will be commissioned shortly.

Similarly, doubling work between Yeshwantpur and Tumkur had been commissioned up to Golahalli, he added.

City inches towards summer: Met dept

City inches towards summer: Met dept
Sunday January 27 2008 12:00 IST

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BANGALORE: Bangaloreans are experiencing sunny days and not-so-cool nights. One may be wondering whether we are approaching summer. Its true.

According to meterology officials, we are moving towards summer after January 15. This is a transition period. There is a decrease in night duration and increase in the day length.

According to Professor of Agro-Meterology of University of Agricultural Sciences M B Rajegowda, this transition period is leading to increase in radiation and decline in outgoing radiation, resulting in the accumulation of heat units in the atmosphere.

Director of Meterology Department A Muthuchami said that the cloudy condition prevailing for 2-3 days lead to sudden increase in heat quantity in the earth’s surface, resulting in a rise in night temperature.

Presently, the sky is clear and the temperature has come to its original level, he said. In Bangalore, it is observed that the earth’s surface cools at higher rate and temperature declines in evening and night. The clear sky in the evening enhances the outgoing radiation and thus the earth’s surface generally cools down.

The tendency of increasing night temperature will continue till April second week. The day temperature is maximum between 1 pm to 3 pm and the temperature will increase till April second week. Rajegowda said that no rainfall is expected in January and February, unless, there is a storm in Bay of Bengal.

Pro-Kannada stir delays trains

Pro-Kannada stir delays trains
Monday January 28 2008 07:08 IST


Passengers waiting at the City Railway station as pro
Kannada activists stage ‘rail roko’ demanding classical language status for Kannada and appointments for Kannadigas in Railways, in Bangalore on Sunday.

BANGALORE: Rail services in the State were affected on Sunday, due to agitations by organisations protesting the anti-Karnataka stance of the Centre.

They demanded higher representation to locals in railways and classical status to Kannada, Railway police said. Protests disrupted both outbound and inbound rail traffic in Bangalore City and Cantonment stations.

About 1000 activists attempted to stop trains and staged a protest at platform number one of the City station, police said. They tried to block the Prashanti Express leaving for Hyderabad from Bangalore City Railway Station, but were whisked away by the Railway police.

Nearly 150 activists were arrested in the city and later released, police said. Agitations were also held at Doddaballapur.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Road woes make it to R-Day address

Road woes make it to R-Day address
DH News Service, Bangalore:
In his address after unfurling the national flag at the Manekshaw Parade grounds here, Governor Rameshwar Thakur said the State government was studying various measures to alleviate the traffic problems in Bangalore.

The traffic woes in Bangalore City wound their way into the Republic Day address of Governor Rameshwar Thakur on Saturday.

In his address after unfurling the national flag at the Manekshaw Parade grounds here, Mr Thakur said the State government was studying various measures to alleviate the traffic problems in Bangalore.

He said the Comprehensive Traffic and Transportation Plan (CTTP) for Bangalore has identified a host of measures, to ease mobility within the City and several projects were being developed for implementation under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission.

He said the State has undertaken the improvement of over 1,000 kms of roads in Bangalore Metropolitan Region at an estimated cost of Rs 997 crore. The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has recommended to the Planning Commission, to provide a one-time assistance of Rs 516 crore to the State government for the project, he said.

Devanahalli airport

The Governor said the Bangalore International Airport at Devanahalli will set a new benchmark for the future development of Indian airports. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has been invited to dedicate the international airport to the nation. He said Karnataka ranked second in the country in respect of Foreign Direct Investment approvals. During 2006-07 approvals have been accorded to the tune of over one lakh crore rupees for 946 projects with an employment potential of over 15 lakh jobs, he said.

Tier II and III cities were also being developed for attracting investments by offering incentives and infrastructural facilities.

During 2006-07, 278 projects which would bring in investments to the tune of Rs 5,607 crore and generate over four lakh jobs have been approved for these cities, he said.

He assured that all rural government schools would be provided with water supply and sanitation facilities by March-end.

Mr Thakur said presently 2,386 rural schools have drinking water facilities, and the remaining 4,741 schools will also be covered within the next two months.

Running for a better road

Running for a better road

Bangalore: It’s all about relocating a slum and a small temple on Parappana Agrahara Road off Naganathapura junction and allowing a part of NICE road to function to ease traffic on the choked Hosur Road. But, as usual, nothing has been done. Inaction here has been so frustrating that more than 1,000 techies took out a ‘run’ to wake up the authorities.
The corporate run, organized by the Electronic City Industries Association (ECIA) on the Republic Day, saw hundreds of users of the Hosur Road sending a tough message. The run, a 3.5 km and 7 km one, that began from the toll gate of NICE Road, just across Hosur Road, was flagged off by Lead India finalist R K Misra.
The ‘Run for Bangalore city’ stressed the need for a comprehensive infrastructure policy and completion of projects. “The NICE road connects South Bangalore to Tumkur Road and is convenient for commuters from Kanakapura and Bannerghatta. But a small stretch — approximately 400 metres — on NICE road has not been completed, affecting smooth flow of traffic. Some professionals have quit jobs not being able to take this,” claimed ELCIA member Rama N S.
The run began at 9 am and had a participation of 1,150 people. Many of them said they were “direct victims” of crumbling infrastructure. Aruna Newton, a corporate honcho, has been using Hosur Road for nine years now. Though a cervical spondylitis patient, she ran 3.5 km. “I am on Cloud Nine. We have placed our demands in style. Being a regular commuter between Indiranagar and Electronics City, I have faced real problems on this stretch. Pedestrians cross the road without any safety arrangements at more than 10 junctions. We don’t want to antagonize anybody, but the reality is we spend four hours a day on this stretch.’’ RUN FOR BETTER ROAD No time for kids, rue IT women
Bangalore: Many IT professionals have been facing the brunt of the bad stretch on the Hosur Road. Women professionals said: “Eight hours at work and four hours on road ... there is hardly any time to spend with our children. S h o u l d we wait till weekends to speak to our children,’’ a participant asked. The ECIA has employed at least 50 traffic wardens on Hosur Road. “We are concerned about repeated accidents here. Commuters have found the arrangement useful,’’ ECIA member Rama said.
Misra criticizes system
Lead India finalist R K Misra, who flagged off the event, criticized the authorities for poor decision-making. He compared the run with Dandi March. “This run is just a beginning. The association will try to meet the governor soon. It is shameful that an almost completed project has not been thrown open to the public. This is a clear example of mismanagement of infrastructure projects,’’ he said.
Better connectivity between Hosur Road and the new international airport
Completion of NICE Road to connect South Bangalore and Electronic City
Completion of Outer Ring Road near Sarjapur
Connectivity from Mehkri Circle to the international airport

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Smooth passage to Devanahalli

Smooth passage to Devanahalli
The National Highways Authority of India is extending the service road along the entire Bellary Road stretch so that traffic from nearby areas doesn’t get onto the main highway. S Kushala finds out how this will help commuters

Bangalore: Could the drive to Bangalore International Airport at Devanahalli be a little bit smoother? The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) is doing its bit to improve the passage by upgrading the National Highway 7 by developing service roads.
A 7-metre-wide service road will be developed on either side of Bellary Road starting from Hebbal to prevent the local traffic from entering the highway. Currently, a 5-metrewide service road exists on a few stretches and without the cover on either side, vehicles enter the highway without any hindrance.
“Once the service road is built along entire stretch, commuters travelling towards villages, Yelahanka town or other areas can use it instead of entering the highway and disturbing the high-speed traffic. We will close major intersections so that traffic is not hindered,’’ NHAI officials told The Times of India. Very few intersections will be opened and people will have to travel some distance before crossing the road, they said.
The busy Bellary Road clocks 20,000 passenger car units (PCU) per day. According to a study conducted by the Bangalore International Airport Ltd, nearly 11.5 million passengers will fly out of Bangalore, which breaks down to 40,000 PCUs per day on the highway.
In the second leg, the NHAI proposes to take up three flyovers on the stretch. Under this, the construction of a continuous ramp is being seen as a relief to the swelling traffic in future — a 4-km elevated road from Hebbal (ahead of the existing clover-loop flyover at Hebbal) to Yelahanka has been proposed. The project, to be taken up on a build-operate-transfer (BOT) basis, will also comprise two more small flyovers after Yelahanka at two intersections. “Earlier, seven flyovers were proposed and now it has been narrowed to three. The elevated road will come in place of four small flyovers,’’ officials said.
After the jinxed expressway project, the authorities wanted to initiate some short-term measures which can be implemented to improve connectivity. Hence, a feasibility study was commissioned on further improvements to NH7. Upgradation of the NH and elevated road, among several other suggestions, are the result of that study. While the proposed 22-km access-controlled Expressway connecting the Outer Ring Road to Devanahalli is still on paper, the highspeed rail link is gathering momentum and work is expected to commence by this year-end.
The widening of National Highway 7 from Hebbal to Devanahalli was taken up much before the Bangalore International Airport at Devanahalli was proposed. The road was widened to 60 metre with three lanes on each side with central median and service roads at a total cost of Rs 122 crore. Nearly 69 hectares of land, both government and private, were acquired for the upgradation and the road was designed to last five years without maintenance.
The Hebbal corridor improvement project began from widening of road. The BBMP’s five magic-box underpasses coming up on the stretch will ease the traffic. The Hebbal flyover will take vehicles to the highway. Those travelling towards other adjacent areas will take service roads. The airport traffic will hit the highway.
The 4-km elevated road, a speed-rail link and, if everything goes as per schedule, a 22-km access-controlled Expressway will script smooth passage.
Upgradation of 120-km Dobbspet-Sarjapur road to divert truck traffic. The existing stretch is in a bad state. Eight roads identified around the Bangalore International Airport for improvement. The National Highways of PWD will take up the project. Installation of signages and signboards along the corridor. A dedicated corridor for Bus Rapid Transit System from Hebbal to airport.

Power cuts loom over State

Power cuts loom over State
Bangalore, DHNS:
Get set for unscheduled load shedding in the next few days. The State has come under the grip of severe power shortage following failure of the entire Nagajhari hydro power project and one unit of Raichur thermal power project.

KPTCL has decided to resort to load shedding across the State, including Bangalore, for at least half an hour in the next few days. “There is shortage of power due to technical problem at Nagajhari project. There will be unscheduled load shedding,” KPTCL Managing Director Bharat Lal Meena said. All six generators of Nagajhari underground project in Uttara Kannada stopped functioning on Friday due to tripping of the system, resulting in shortage of nearly 800 mw of power.

The entire State needs around 5,800 mw of power per day. “It needs at least three to four days to restore the project,” official sources said.

Accident triggers violence on Old Madras Road

Accident triggers violence on Old Madras Road

Special Correspondent

Private bus set on fire after KAT employee is mowed down

— Photo: K. Gopinathan

Targeted: Policemen inspect the bus that was set on fire by a mob after it hit a KAT employee, resulting in her death, in Bangalore on Friday.

BANGALORE: A road accident triggered violence on Old Madras Road on Friday morning, leading to traffic snarls in the surrounding areas. The police resorted to lathi-charge and dispersed a mob that indulged in arson and stone-throwing.

Around 10.30 a.m. a private bus mowed down H. Yashodamma (45), an employee of the Karnataka Administrative Tribunal (KAT), who was riding a scooter, at the Old Madras Road-Murphy Road junction. The KGF-bound bus dragged Ms. Yashodamma, who was caught under its wheels, for some 100 metres.

On learning about the death of their colleague, angry employees of the KAT office, situated at the BDA complex on Old Madras Road, gathered at the accident spot. Several passers-by joined them.

The mob smashed the windscreens of the bus and set it on fire. The mob also blocked the busy junction leading to traffic jams in the surrounding areas for more than an hour, the police said.

Ms. Yashodamma, a resident of M.S. Palya in Vidyaranyapura and wife of a HMT employee, was on her way to office. While she was entering Old Madras Road from Murphy Road, she came under the wheels of the bus that was coming from Ulsoor side, Assistant Commissioner of Police (Traffic-East) M.B. Mallikarjuna Swamy told The Hindu.

The Ulsoor traffic police have registered a case and are on the lookout for the bus driver, who ran away after the accident, he said.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (East) Bijay Kumar Singh said they use batons to disperse the mob, which included several KAT employees.

The police doused the fire and removed the partially gutted bus from the road and restored normal movement of vehicles.

Mr. Singh said a case of rioting had been registered in the Indiranagar police station and the mobsters would be arrested in a couple of days. No other vehicle was damaged in the violence, he said.

The protesters complained that though accidents were taking place regularly at the junction, the authorities had not taken any remedial measures. They said rash driving by private bus drivers was mainly contributing to accidents on Old Madras Road. Every day hundreds of private buses going towards Kolar, and Chittoor and Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh pass through Old Madras Road.

Past the velvet curtains

Past the velvet curtains
The same year that the Lumière brothers introduced cinema in India, Elgin Talkies was born. The past lives on in this Bangalore institution

I t's a sudden transition. One moment you are guarding your ears from the clamour and noise of the busy Shivajinagar bus stand in Bangalore and the next, the moment you step into the clean portico of Elgin Talkies, you can hear faint sounds of men cheering and clapping inside the halls. I peeked into a window that was latched not quite right.

Saturated colours and loud music from the screen riveted the attention of at least 300 men as they watched Raveena Tandon swing her hips to Tu cheez badi hai mast mast from Mohra, their faces wearing the same expressions that they perhaps had when they watched it for the first time in 1994. Taken back in time, the film did to them, what standing in the Elgin Talkies premises did to me.

Music filled this hall a century ago too, but the air was different.

Dance and drama troupes travelled from across the country to perform at the very elite Elgin, named after the British Viceroy, Lord Elgin.

The founder, Veerabhadra Mudaliar, was a showman with taste who understood that entertainment was serious business. Families dressed for an evening at the Elgin then. 1896 was when Elgin was built, the same year that the Lumière brothers demonstrated to a speechless audience in Mumbai a new experience called cinema.

That year, Bangalore became a part of the history of Indian cinema. Silent films made their popular entry and there was no looking back.

In 1930, Elgin converted to a talkie and then began a saga that went from Alam Ara to Mohra. From sepia posters to jarring multi-coloured banners, not much has changed in or around Elgin.

Barring a few minor renovations Elgin remains the same, mortar and brick. The same projector installed in1930 still rolls reel after reel of Hindi and Tamil films from around a decade ago, and it sells at least 300 tickets for four shows every day.

The projector was Mudaliar's wisest investment, says proprietor V.S. Krishnamurthy, taking great pride in his fourth generation ownership of history.

With just a few tweaks here and there, the projector has been serving its years without a groan. But running the old girl, who still shines, is a laborious task. The projector has the audio system incorporated in it, and calls for the attention of engineers who are familiar with its working every now and then.

The good news is that spares for the machine are still available in Bangalore.

Two men are needed to run the projectors and one to roll used reels back for the next show. They have been repeating the process for decades now, the old walls, the grease on the machine and the mustiness in the room. "Does it get monotonous?" I ask. Both men threw a quick smile at Krishnamurthy. Clearly, it's a question they have been asked before. "When journalists like you visit and remind us about what we hold, it keeps us going," Krishnamurthy said.

Elgin runs the same way it used to more than 75 years ago.

But there are lines on Krishnamurthy's face that suggest he wishes things were better. "Elgin is not what it used to be," he says, as he proudly explains the blueprint of the building. Selling tickets at Rs20 is not a profit-making deal in Bangalore. Today, it is only economically viable for him to run second or third run films on a fixed rent basis.

Elgin Talkies was a rage after it converted to a talkies, during the time of Krishnamurthy's grandfather, Natesha Mudaliar.

He maintained meticulous records that give us a glimpse of the popularity of the hall in his times. Name the film, and it is most likely to be listed in the the dog-yeared, yellow-leaved notebooks. The records mention the year and date of release, the number of weeks that the film ran for, and how Mudaliar rated it. The ratings ranging from "highly entertaining" to "big bore" are of course directly proportionate to the number of days the film ran. Interestingly, the registers also make a mention of the weather condition and the publicity material used when a film ran at Elgin.

Today, most of the films at the Elgin don't run for more than a week or two, largely because it only shows films that are more than a decade old. Yaadon Ki Baraat (1973), Krishnamurthy remembers, was the only film that ran for eight weeks in its second run.

Outside Elgin Talkies, the narrow lane is packed with little eateries, swarming with young men waiting to pack some jalebis and rolls to eat during the movie.

Arumugam's father sat in the very same seat around a century ago at the New Star Hotel right opposite the gates of the Elgin selling "only beef", as a bright signboard suggests. Arumugam has only seen the new face of Elgin, but remembers his father talking about the "English speaking couples" who would walk into the hall to watch English films. The crowd has changed to young boys from in and around Shivajinagar who throng the hall during the day and lower middle-class families in the evening.

The narrow streets and crowds of Shivajinagar have managed to keep heritage hidden from the eyes of real estate dealers, but the thought of renovation has crossed the mind of the proprietor. "But we will certainly not take away the main structure in any way," says Krishnamurthy, assuring me that the Elgin heritage is not in danger.

Sacrilege: Metro eats into Lalbagh

Namma Metro set to shrink Lalbagh
By P M Raghunandan, DH News Service, Bangalore:
It's not only property owners of Bangalore but also the Horticulture Department that has had to sacrifice a bit of its land for allowing Namma Metro to pass through.

But this bit of land — around a quarter of an acre — will be taken from the Lalbagh Botanical Garden.

So Lalbagh, which is one of the City’s major lung spaces and is spread over 250 acres, will shrink by 1,135 sq metres. And in the process about 35 trees will be axed. The State Executive Committee on January 17, 2007 approved the handing over of 1,135 sq meters of Lalbagh land (along R V Road) to the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation to implement the proposed Namma Metro project.

The Executive Committee, however, kept the subject under wraps fearing a backlash from Greens, official sources told Deccan Herald. Besides, the Executive Committee has decided to amend the Karnataka Park and Preservation Act 1975 to clear the hurdles for a smooth takeover of the portion of Lalbagh. “In the absence of the Legislature to amend the Act, the Executive Committee decided to place it before Parliament in the next session,” the sources said. The Act forbids any non-horticulture activity inside Lalbagh.

BMRC has proposed to construct the Lalbagh station of the Namma Metro on R V Road abutting the park. It will take over a patch of Lalbagh measuring 5 meters wide and 135 meters long and starting from the West gate towards the South End circle. The existing compound facing R V Road will be pulled down for the acquisition, BMRC Managing Director V Madhu said. The State Horticulture department was also against the takeover. Department officials at several meetings held in the past, had asked BMRC to look for an alternative land and to keep off Lalbagh.

However, the stretch of the land that will be acquired has eucalyptus grove, besides some rocky terrain.
The BMRC officials ruled out any change in the Metro alignment, as work was already on in full pace. The Executive Committee has also decided to hand over 1,123 sq meters of the Indira Gandhi Musical Fountain Park along T Chowdiah Road to the BBMP , to widen the existing road.

The BBMP will also widen the road to ensure smooth flow of traffic to the Devanahalli airport.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Driving a smoke-belcher? You could soon be taxed

Driving a smoke-belcher? You could soon be taxed

Bangalore: With a study by the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board blaming the transportation network for the high state of pollution in Bangalore, KSPCB chairman H C Sharatchandra says the Board has initiated studies and implementable action plans in the transport, energy and waste water sectors. “We are working towards an air-quality index, which will indicate the cause, levels and implications of each of these pollutants.’’
The Board will circulate the inventory among fellow scientists and institutions and will then compile their comments. “In five months, we hope to take this study further. We will include five other cities in the state under it,” he said.
The Board has recommended reduction in private vehicles, strict implementation of emission-compliance norms, encouragement of fuelefficient vehicles, special tax on non-fuel efficient vehicles, check on growth of two-wheelers and strong awareness campaigns. These recommendations will be submitted to a committee, headed by council chairman B K Chandrashekhar, formed to check climate change.

BREATHLESS in Bangalore

BREATHLESS in Bangalore
Unplanned growth and increased vehicular population are choking not only Bangalore’s roads, but also its residents, says Prathima Nandakumar

The Garden City literally takes one’s breath away — not only because it is awe-inspiring, but also because it causes asthma. Over 10% of Bangaloreans and over 50% of children suffer from air pollution-related illnesses.
Air quality monitoring stations across the city indicated that the Victoria Hospital zone was the most polluted. A two-day workshop on ‘Environmental health - intervention for mitigating air pollution-related health risk in Bangalore’, organized by Karnataka State Pollution Control Board recently, brought many shocking facts to light.
Both, the IT city and its people are choking, thanks to unplanned growth, increasing vehicular population (with 1,500 new registrations every day) and poor compliance with pollution norms.
While air pollution claims one lakh lives in India and affects the health of 250 lakh every year, Bangalore lacks data of this nature and is yet to come up with an integrated approach to the problem.
Said KSPCB chairman H C Sharathchandra, “We realize raw data is simply not enough. A lot of research on health impacts of pollution is needed. A simpler air quality index is necessary to increase awareness about pollution among people. Indoor air quality is also an important, but neglected area. We need an integrated approach as monitoring and data alone will do no good, unless we act to reduce pollution. Whether vehicles are meeting pollution control norms is also to be examined.’’
Frequent respiratory ailments among children are linked to pollution, feels paediatrician Jagadish Chinnappa. “Pollution aggravates asthma and wheezing lasts longer. Viral infections can only make a situation worse. Many parents take their young children out in traffic, while many children suffer due to adults smoking at home. Indoor air quality is equally important for good health.’’
To add 7 more manual monitoring stations — GoK has sanctioned Rs 15 Lakh. To monitor PM2.5 particulate matter at traffic intersections — CPCB has sanc tioned Rs 20 lakh. Characterization of PM2.5 particulate matter for metals, anions and cations, CO, organics like aldehydes, HCs, PAHs, VOCs, benzene, toluene and xylene. POLLUTION AND HEALTH EFFECTS
Particulate matter (PM) in air is a major health concern as it is small enough to penetrate deep into the lungs, cause inflammation and worsen pre-existing heart and lung conditions. It leads to systemic inflammatory changes, which affect blood coagulability. They can also carry surface-absorbed carcinogens into the lungs.
—Ozone (O 3 ) is produced by a reaction between nitrogen dioxide, hydrocarbons and sunlight. Ozone irritates the airways of the lungs. It produces alterations in breathing patterns.
The principal source of NO 2 is road traffic. When asthmatics are exposed to nitrogen dioxide, they experience broncho-constriction. It lowers resistance to and increases susceptibility to respiratory infections such as influenza.
A major source of sulphur dioxide (SO 2 ) is fossil fuel combustion. It can cause broncho-constriction, irritation in nose and throat.
Carbon monoxide is a toxic gas, which is emitted as a result of combustion. CO prevents the normal transport of oxygen in the blood and this leads to reduction in the supply of oxygen to the heart.
Lead exposure through batteries is linked to impairment of mental faculties and visual motor performance. It also causes neurological damage in children.

Feel choked? Blame it on two-wheelers

Feel choked? Blame it on two-wheelers

Bangalore: If you are a twowheeler owner, this will make you sit up and take notice. For, you belong to that category of vehicle-users who pollute the most. With the vehicular population growing rapidly and number of two-wheelers going up three-fold in the last 10 years, emission of both greenhouse gases and health-damaging pollutants has increased alarmingly.
As much as 56% of carbon monoxide emissions come from two-wheelers. Of the carbon
dioxide emissions, heavy-duty diesel vehicles contribute 60%.
These killer numbers have been extracted from the ‘Greenhouse Gas Inventory of Karnataka series I: Bangalore city — Road Transport Sector’, a study conducted by the Karnataka State Pollution Board along with energy and environment consulting firm Enzen Global. The study was released on Thursday.
The estimated emission of direct greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide (CO 2 ), methane (CH 4 ) and Nitrous Oxide (N 2 O), annually is 2.24-2.19 million tonnes, 325-350 tonnes, and 19 tonnes respectively.
The report says the estimated CO 2 emission has increased from 1.01 MT in 1997 to 2.26 MT in 2005-06. If the present trend continues, CO 2 emissions will be about 4.06 MT by 2017.
Health-damaging pollutants are also on an alarming rise. For example, the transport sector contributes to 51,000 tonnes of carbon monoxide (CO) and around 2,500 tonnes of particulate matter annually. Uma Rajarathnam, head (environment practice) of Enzen Global, said narrow and badly laid roads were major contributors to increasing pollution.
Two-wheeler population has gone up from 0.75 million in 1997 to 2.04 million.
In the mixed-vehicular population, two-wheelers dominate with 73%, light motor vehicles 19%, heavy motor vehicles 5% and threewheelers 3%.
As on January 2007, 28.153 lakh vehicles were registered in Bangalore.
Of them, 20.4 lakh were two-wheelers, 86,490 autos and 4.2 lakh cars.
Petrol consumption has risen from 2.26 lakh tonnes in 1998-99, to 3.47 lakh tonnes in 2005-06; diesel consumption has gone up from 2.74 lakh tonnes in 1998-99 to 4.65 lakh tonnes in 2005-06.

Instant underpass not so instant

Instant underpass not so instant
Friday January 25 2008 10:29 IST


BANGALORE: The instant underpass was after all not so instant as it was expected. The work on the Cauvery Junction `instant' underpass started on Saturday and nearly 40 per cent of it is yet to be completed.

The deadline for completing the work was 72 hours. According to the BBMP officials it will take another three days to complete the work.

While the work on the underpass is taking more time, motorists are already facing inconvenience due to traffic restrictions as they have to travel longer distances to reach Sadashivanagar, Malleswaram, Palace Road and other areas.

BBMP Commissioner S. Subramanya, refused to say anything about the deadline.”60 per cent of the work has been completed and people can monitor the progress,” he said.

Officials, however, said that shifting of BWSSB sewer lines took some time and that was the main reason for the delay. Asphalting the carriage ways on either side of the underpass is yet to commence. Laying of cement blocks for the underpass is also underway.

Construction of only one side of the ramp has been completed. “We are optimistic that the work will be completed in another three days and is likely to be inaugurated by Monday. Placing the remaining eight blocks of the underpass will take place during the late night hours after which the ramp will be levelled and asphalted,” said a senior BBMP engineer.

The official also pointed that work regarding construction of another similar underpass near BDA Junction will soon commence after this is completed.