Saturday, May 31, 2008

‘Complete pending infrastructure projects’

‘Complete pending infrastructure projects’ Readers also want the govt to weed out corruption, improve law & order and preserve city’s greenery among other things

Improve infrastructure, ease traffic
Only infrastructure, infrastructure and infrastructure. I JACK SHENOY
Every CM so far, after Virendra Patil, has neglected North Karnataka. So, develop that region of the state. Improve public transport systems in Bangalore. Encourage the use of Kannada. I ANJALI
Create good roads for transportation and strictly enforce traffic rules. Control price rise. The department of culture should interact with professional cultural organizations when considering artistes for awards, programmes and sponsoring shows, etc. I SAI VENKATESH
Focus on traffic management including drainage and roads. Rename BIAL as Sir M Visvesvaraya International Airport. Concentrate on giving facilities to the newly formed BBMP areas. I PHANIRAJ
Give top priority to the worsening law and order situation and monitor this with the police department. Instruct the BBMP to complete all the half-baked infrastructure works such as flyovers, underpasses and drainage schemes and monitor them periodically. Initiate proceedings against those who have been caught red handed by the Lok Ayukta and grant more powers to the Lok Ayukta. I RAJASHEKAR PALAMAND
Put an end to traffic and civic woes. Widen roads to ease traffic congestion. Newly added areas (of erstwhile CMCs) should get priority here in terms of giving quality roads. Introduce peoplefriendly policies and schemes. Amend Sakrama suitably. Invite and involve Resident Welfare Associations in development of their localities. I P V PRAKASH
Come down with an iron hand on all traffic violators, install cameras and implement lane discipline. Traffic infrastructure has to get better. In addition to the Metro, we need suburban rail links as well. Stop land encroachment, punish those who have done it and preserve residential areas. I ALOK
Ease traffic jams and improve road connectivity in Bangalore. Give potable drinking water, a flawless sewage system and health facilities. Make government officials clean up their premises and also keep their offices neat. I GURU
Clear encroachments, creating enough space for roads and other infrastructure. Restore greenery by protecting lakes and forest areas. Ensure MLAs are accessible to the people. I SANTOSH KUMAR
Clear BMIC project and complete all infrastructure projects in a time-bound programme. Give full powers to Lok Ayukta for prosecuting any corrupt person irrespective of their position. Strictly enforce law and order. Otherwise, there are some people waiting to destabilize the present government. I M N KESARI
Reduce book burden of schoolchildren. Make rainwater harvesting compulsory. Asphalt all roads. I VIRARAJ URS
Set up Bal Bhavans all over Bangalore. Hindus need more cremation grounds and Muslims and Christians, more burial grounds; these should be identified. Regulate rickshaw drivers. I SUSHIL MEHRA
Provide clean and healthy public toilets in all BBMP parks. Introduce CNG powered autos. BMTC buses should be environment-friendly as well. I ARAVIND
Infrastructure should be the gayatri mantra. There are innumerable people under poverty line hoping for roti, kapda and makan. The chief minister must keep their problems nearest to his heart. Make arrangements to quench the thirst of people in Bangalore. Many middle class aspirants are waiting like jataka pakshi for allotment of sites in Arakavathy and other upcoming layouts in and around Bangalore. I JAGADEESH KALMATH
Good infrastructure with Mono and Metro rail. Good water supply connecting Hemavathy water. BBMP should do things better. I G S ESHWARAIAH
The top three priorities of Yeddy to better Bangalore should be: better infrastructure, security and traffic control. I VIA SMS
Better roads, strong traffic jurisdiction, security for all the employees of Karnataka, especially private companies. I VIA SMS
Improve infrastructure. Improve civic amenities and, last but not the least, involve traffic experts in solving traffic woes. I MOHINDER SINGH
The government should solve the current economic crisis. Pass on benefits to consumers by lowering prices. MLAs should meet people and sort out their problems, thus doing something for those who voted for them. Visualise infrastructure with the state’s future in mind. The other parts of the state should also be developed and not be neglected. I TARUN K JAIN
Improve infrastructure. Low interest loans for farmers and urban planning.
Weed out corruption
Trace the crores of rupees swindled in borewell, CMC, rice, Bellary mines scams and punish the guilty. Improve connectivity to neighbouring districts such as Kolar and Tumkur. The Metro alone cannot solve the city’s transport problems. Develop suburban railways. It is cheaper. Finish the incomplete infrastructure projects on a war footing. I M P VIJAYAKUMAR
Abolish rowdyism in the name of politics. Restore Bangalore’s pride of being the nation’s IT capital. Focus on infrastructure development. I MRUNAL SINGH
Lok Ayukta should be given full powers to prosecute and punish corrupt ministers, MLAs, etc, freely, without anybody’s permission. Set right the BBMP which is not functioning to the expectations of the people. Develop Bangalore’s infrastructure, which was stalled by JD(S) leaders earlier. I M B VENKATESH
Implement election manifesto in totality. Balance urban and rural development. Set up a standard model government to pave way for a national standard code. I N B VISHWANATH
Amend KMC Act to transfer delinquent officials of one corporation to another. BBMP mandarins take up the flood control measures only during the rainy season. Why? Entrust flood-control measures on a war footing, adopting magic box technology, to a foreign agency. Issue free bus passes to travel all over Karnataka to differently abled people as it may not cost the heaven to the exchequer. Please do not forget senior citizens and the disabled went in droves to cast their votes in favour of the BJP. Implement BPL tag to those earning Rs 5,000 a month. I R GURU RAO
Give BDA sites in Arakavathy Layout to those people who were allotted. Make BMIC project hurdle free. Give more powers to the Lok Ayukta. I MANJU NATH
Make surprise visits to government offices, hospitals, schools and provide necessary facilities for them. Ramaswamy’s report is hidden and action should be taken against culprits. Strictly enforce law to protect all government and public properties during strikes and bandhs. Protect ladies, senior citizens and children. I VIMALA KESARI
Take stringent measures to curb corruption in government offices and municipal council at all levels, especially at bureaucratic level. Come down heavily on terrorism. Take immediate action to improve infrastructure in Bangalore and other major cities and complete BMIC project. I S SUNDARA
People expect a corruption free and friendly administration. Reintroduce with modifications the erstwhile self-assessment scheme of property tax that was in force from the year 2000. BBMP may be directed suitably. Drinking water and power supply may be provided at reasonable rates by taking appropriate steps. I CHANDRASHEKAR NAIK
Top brass of all government departments should be made available either in person or over the phone to the general public to air their grievances and find remedies. If remedies can’t be offered at once, at least the problem should be recorded and solutions should
be offered. Root out corruption in all departments and empower the Lok Ayukta. Supply potable water to all citizens of Bangalore irrespective of their locality. I D PRASAD
Give powers to the Lok Ayukta. Improve the law and order situation. Take up infrastructure works. I ANURADHA
Keep Bangalore
Reduce air pollution. Give Kannadigas an opportunity to work in MNCs, especially IT and BT companies. New investment must be routed to smaller cities such as Hubli-Dharwad, Mangalore, Belgaum, etc. I
I’m the city of Bangalore. To save me you make promises galore. The hardships I endure have reached their peak. Give me a chance, therefore, to speak. Top 3 priorities did you say? This would be the ones if I had my way. Save trees that act as a shield. They are the treasures my ancestors did bequeath. The growing crime makes me shudder. Is there hope for me? Will I recover? The chaos of traffic makes me dizzy. Please make my life easy. I USHA G RAO
Focus on development, enhance greenery, and eradicate poverty. I SHIVANGI S K
Reduce crimes, tackle terrorists
Keep crime under control; take bold decisions on the horrible traffic problem; make Bangalore the best city in the world. I KARABASAPPA MADGOND
Preserve these three factors, that affect the common man, wisely — time, money and energy. I P AMBA BHAVANI
Bring in a strict law against terrorism. Improve roads and help the poor. I ASHISH Nab terrorists, develop good roads and promote tourism. I ASHOK JAIN
Make the police more efficient. Weed out corrupt police personnel. Eliminate goonda raj. I VIA SMS
Dear Mr CM, Readers of The Times of India have spoken. When we asked them to list the Yeddyurappa government’s top three priorities for Bangalore, they responded enthusiastically. Not surprisingly, infrastructure was top of the mind for most people. Here are the Top 10 issues that the Yeddy government needs to address on a war footing. It’s one thing to draft vision documents for the city. Execution on the ground is quite another matter. The people are waiting.
Improve infrastructure Empower the Lok Ayukta Reduce crimes Supply potable water Strictly implement traffic rules Enhance greenery Tackle terrorism with iron hand Alleviate poverty Control price rise Introduce people-friendly policies

Systems failure creates havoc

Systems failure creates havoc

Bangalore: Teething problems or otherwise, BIAL is not having it easy. Computers at all the 53 check-in counters at the BIA crashed on Friday evening, upsetting passengers forced to wait in long queues.
The computers reportedly crashed at 4 pm. While some checked in by 4.45 pm, others couldn’t do so till 5.30 pm. Immediately after the crash, airlines shifted to manual checkin, leading to delays and long queues, especially for international flights.
A passenger expecting to board the post-6 pm Kingfisher flight to Mumbai called in to say he couldn’t check in till 5.30 pm. “I’ve waited for quite a while and it’s taking at least 10 minutes for each passenger to be cleared. I did not expect this of a new airport,” he said.
The passenger said the frontage was packed. “Everybody was upset and restless. There were hundreds of passengers. As seating arrangements are inadequate, most were standing. We couldn’t get proper drinking water. Coffee was available at just one counter and there was a long queue there too.”
The passenger said for nearly an hour and a half, no official announcement was made on why the systems crashed. While BIAL staff didn’t come forward with clarifications, airline staff tried to mollify passengers. “No announcement can be heard as the acoustics are bad. If you happen to be in a shop, you just can’t hear anything,” the passenger said.
When contacted, BIAL acknowledged the crash. A spokesperson said: “The crash did happen, but things were set right in 45 minutes.” While it’s not clear what caused the crash, BIAL attributed it to BSNL. “Our operations personnel tell us a BSNL exchange in Devanahalli experienced a power cut, because of which BIAL systems fell. All airlines have taken a line from BSNL and that’s why the problem occurred. We got the systems running soon.”

Airport will function smoothly: BIAL

Airport will function smoothly: BIAL

On the seventh day of its opening, the Bengaluru International Airport reacts to the hue and cry raised by passengers and airlines.
“On completion of one week of operations, BIA has received overwhelming positive and negative responses. The feedback has been compiled and action initiated. This is only the start-up phase. Operating an airport at a first-class level is an ongoing process; we will constantly aim to increase efficiency, speed and elevate passenger experience. We appreciate the feedback and suggestions that are coming our way and take each one seriously. We intend to address all issues and ensure that the airport functions smoothly,’’ said Albert Brunner, CEO, BIAL.
Ineffective ground handling: delay in connecting aerobridges to
aircraft, baggage retrieval for
arriving aircraft; aircraft pushback for departing aircraft.
The reason for this was shortage of staff and equipment, and inadequate supervision by ground-handling systems. The shortage was caused by uncertainties about the opening date. The number of operation and supervision staff has been increased. The average time taken for a passenger to alight from an aircraft, collect baggage and exit the terminal building is approximately 20 minutes (for domestic) and 45 minutes (for international passengers). This is expected to reduce further.
Shortage of taxis
Based on permits issued by authorities, the number of airport taxis on the first day was 98. Thereafter, the number was increased every day and has now reached 670. By the end of this week, the number will increase to 900 taxis. Call 43434343 or 44224422 for taxi details
Taxi charges
Charges differ for day and night. As per government tariffs, there is an added surcharge of 50% during night (10.00 pm to 6.00 am). However, this surcharge doesn’t apply to airport taxis, which levy a single rate of Rs 15/km for A/C cars. This will be valid for one month. After this period, the surcharge will be 25% for airport taxis.
Lack of signage Added signage leading to the taxi stand and in the parking area.
Washrooms (Clogging of washrooms was reported on Day 1) Immediate action has been taken to decongest pipelines and clean them. Toilet etiquette signage being placed in all washrooms.
No television in the waiting areas Television sets will shortly be organized for passenger entertainment inside the terminal building.
No phone-charging facility Phone-charging facilities being installed.
Information/customer grievance desk Personnel strength of the counter increased to 50.
Security at entrance/exit Strength of CISF staff has been increased from 770 on Day 1 to 990 within one week of operations, further easing entry into and exit from the terminal.
Retail counters not fully stocked Stocks have been added to complete the passenger retail experience.


A week after take-off, the Bengaluru International Airport continues to be plagued by connectivity/capacity issues, infrastructure malfunctions, passenger woes and stakeholder anxieties. The king of good times, Vijay Mallya, CMD, Kingfisher Airlines Ltd, shares his views on BIA with Anshul Dhamija

Q: As an airline entrepreneur operating out of various airports in the country, what is your honest comment on the Bengaluru International Airport?
BIAL is no match to the new Hyderabad airport. It’s barely able to cope with current traffic. It will not be able to handle increasing volume of traffic.

A: It’s almost a week since the BIA took off. However, several teething issues still exist. What are the major concerns for Kingfisher Airlines?
There are several teething problems at the BIA. It is not adequately equipped for airport operations. Ground-handling systems, too, aren’t good enough.

Q: There seems to be a growing concerns regarding the airport’s infrastructure, especially capacity and congestion issues. What’s your take?

A: BIAL is already behind time. There is an urgent need for a new terminal. Regrettably, the BIA experience is similar to that of the HAL airport. Worse still, BIA is located a long distance away.

Q: What are your suggestions for improvement?

A: BIAL needs to build additional capacity urgently.

Q: Kingfisher was planning to make Bangalore a hub for its international and domestic operations. Are you still pursuing the plan?

A: I am seriously concerned that our guest experience for domestic and international travel will take a beating. Expectations of travellers from a new airport are very high and BIAL has too many constraints. Ultimately, the airlines suffer.

Q: Kingfisher has invested a lot in setting up various facilities at the new airport. In addition, there is talk of Kingfisher setting up an MRO facility. Would you rethink your investment plans under the current scenario?

A: No comments.

Q: Would you support a move to reopen the old HAL airport for commercial use?

A: It’s not possible for an airline to operate out of two airports in the current environment.

Q: Or would you look at the new Hyderabad airport or Chennai airport?

A: I will consider all options.

Q: As a discerning traveller who has seen the world, how would you rate BIA? How ‘international’ is it?

A: BIA, unfortunately, is not up to my expectations. BIAL has compromised in every possible way to reduce investment, and is now looking for quick returns by levying various charges. For airlines as well as passengers, BIA needs to improve urgently.

Tree-felling: notice to State, BBMP

Tree-felling: notice to State, BBMP

Staff Reporter

Petitioners say road-widening project has no

legal sanction

BANGALORE: The Karnataka High Court on Friday ordered issue of emergent notice to the State Government, Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) and several other respondents on a public interest litigation (PIL) petition challenging the indiscriminate cutting of trees in Bangalore.

A Division Bench, comprising the Chief Justice Cyriac Joseph and Justice A.N. Venugopala Gowda, admitted the petition and ordered issue of notices to the respondents.

The petitioners — Environmental Support Group, Leo Saldanha and CIVIC — said the State and the authorities were going ahead with indiscriminate cutting of trees in several areas of Bangalore for road-widening.

Citing records, they said the authorities had permitted the BBMP to cut road-side trees on several stretches, including Palace Road and Seshadri Road.

The road-widening project did not have legal sanction, and it was not as per the provisions of the Karnataka Town and Country Planning Act.

It said the road-widening projects in Bangalore were poorly conceived.

They urged the court to stay the felling of trees.

The DivisionBench adjourned further hearing on the case.

A Division Bench comprising Mr. Justice Cyriac Joseph and Mr. Justice Venugopala Gowda on Friday directed the State Government to consider the request of the Advocates Association for funds for taking up the third phase of work at the Advocates Academy/Vakeelara Bhavan Complex in Bangalore.

The Bench also directed the authorities to take steps to clear within two months the area adjoining the compound of the Karnataka Housing Board and behind the District and Sessions Court Complex for construction of a link road.

Four new airlines to start operations from BIA

Four new airlines to start operations from BIA

Staff Reporter

Airport authorities are rectifying teething problems

Bangalore: Four new airlines will connect Bangalore to China, Muscat, Singapore and Hong Kong in June and July.

Tiger Air will commence operations to Singapore from Bengaluru International Airport (BIA) from June 1. It will operate an A320 four times a week on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday at 10 p.m.

Oman Air will launch operations to Muscat from June 16, and its A737 and A700 fleets will connect Muscat five days a week, except Fridays and Saturdays. The departure time is 2.50 a.m.

Dragon Air (a subsidiary of Cathay Pacific) will begin operations from BIA to Hong Kong from July 1. It will connect Hong Kong daily and the departure time is 2.20 a.m.

Sichuan Airline will connect South India to China through Bangalore. Sichuan Airline will connect Bangalore to Chengdu in China from mid-July. However, the frequency and departure time are being finalised, according to a press release. Chengdu is the capital of southwest Chinese province of Sichuan.

Jett8 will start its cargo operations from the city to Singapore from June 16, according to a press release issued by the Bengaluru International Airport Limited (BIAL) on Friday.

Starting from 341 Air Traffic Movements (ATMs) on the first day, the BIA is now operating 400 ATMs (total number of landings and take-offs in a day), the release said.
Issues resolved

The BIAL, while admitting that there were many issues that affected the services during the first week of the airport’s operation, said that at least nine issues brought to its notice by passengers had been resolved.

Problems such as delay in connecting aerobridges, baggage retrieval, etc. cropped up due to shortage of staff attached to the ground-handling agencies, as there was confusion on the airport’s opening date. The BIAL release claimed that no delay had been reported due to failure of any airport infrastructure during last 24 hours.

The release stated that steps had been taken to clean toilets more frequently, and clogging of some toilets was reported only on first day. Television and phone recharge facilities were in the process of being installed. Also, more doors would be opened for entry of passengers into the terminal building with the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) set to increase its strength to 990 from 770.
Fewer taxis

Regarding complaints about fewer taxis, the BIAL said that there were only 98 taxis on service on day one and their number had been increased to 670 over last one week, even as the Government issued more permits. As many as 900 taxis would be available at the taxi stand by the end of this week, the release added.

Referring to taxi fares, the BIAL clarified that no night surcharge (between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.) was being charged for airport taxis for the first one month.

However, 25 per cent surcharge would be collected after one month as against 50 per cent surcharge permitted under government tariff order.

“We appreciate all the feedback and suggestions and take each one seriously. We intend to address all issues and ensure that the airport functions smoothly,” said BIAL CEO Albert Brunner.

UB City promoters accused of covering drain

UB City promoters accused of covering drain

Staff Reporter

Officials take action to restore the ‘raja kaluve’

BANGALORE: After facing allegations of footpath encroachment last year, UB City’s promoters have now been accused of covering a “raja kaluve” (big storm water drain) abutting Vittal Mallya Road and selling it along with their own land to a developer for construction of a five-star hotel.

However, the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) thwarted this move following a direction by Lokayukta N. Santosh Hegde, and BBMP officials have taken action to restore the “raja kaluve” and remove the structures that have come up on it.

The Lokayukta team, which is looking into the encroachments on Vittal Mallya Road, also received complaints about closing a part of the “raja kaluve” that cuts across Vittal Mallya Road and Kasturba Road. The Lokayukta officials found the “raja kaluve” filled up and underground pipes placed instead. The part of the “raja kaluve” entering the Cubbon Park was also blocked with mud.

“The raja kaluve – a property of the State Government – formed part of the land sold for building a five-star hotel,” Mr. Hegde told The Hindu. The “raja kaluve” is eight metres wide at one end and 22 metres wide at the other.

The Lokayukta team examined the original land records and the agreement between BBMP and UB City developers. “The raja kaluve belongs to the government, but the developers covered it,” Mr. Hegde said.

Mr. Hegde then called a meeting of officials, including BBMP Commissioner S. Subramanya and Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board chairperson Latha Krishna Rau, and directed restoration of the raja kaluve. “We cannot allow alteration in the natural flow of water in the name of development,” Mr. Hegde said.

In February, Mr. Hegde directed the BBMP to remove encroachments on Vittal Mallya Road and restore its original width.

It was found that the BBMP had given approval to the modified plans of UB City given by the developer that showed the width of the road as varying from 13.6 metres to 19.6 metres. The records showed the width of the road varying from 14.65 metres to 21 metres.

BIA toilets not user-friendly for physically challenged

BIA toilets not user-friendly for physically challenged

Staff Reporter

Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities has received a complaint

— Photo: Bhagya Prakash K.

To be streamlined: A view of Bengaluru International Airport at Devanahalli near Bangalore.

Bangalore: After encountering problems related to automated parking lot, aerobridges and ground-handling facilities, the Bengaluru International Airport (BIA) is now facing a new one — of toilets that are not user-friendly to the physically challenged.

The Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities has received a complaint against the BIA pointing out that the toilets for the physically-challenged, particularly at the arrival lounge, do not meet the prescribed standards.
Design defect

C. Mahesh, a physically-challenged person who is the Advocacy Coordinator, CBR Forum, said he visited the new airport on May 25 and was shocked to see the way the door opened, the way the grab-bars were designed and fitted, and other fittings in the toilet situated in the arrival lounge. “The design of the toilets does no meet any national or international standards prescribed for barrier-free access for persons who are physically-challenged,” the complainant stated. Mr. Mahesh told The Hindu that the grab-bar in the toilet blocks the wash basin, the door knob was round in shape and the physically-challenged might not be able to turn it, and there was not enough space for wheelchair movement inside the toilet. Moreover, there was no emergency alarm facility, which was essential for a such persons in case of emergency, he added. He said the Government should immediately hold access audit to check whether the airport had access for all and barrier-free access for the physically-challenged. The complainant said: “The authorities at the Bengaluru International Airport Limited (BIAL) have failed to adopt the prescribed standards even after they had assured that they would adopt the highest international standards for access for all and persons who are variously challenged when the requirements were brought to their notice about a year ago when the construction was in progress.” He requested the commissioner to direct the BIAL to redesign the toilets as per the standards.

When contacted, Das. Suryavanshi, Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities, said that the commission was seeking an explanation from the authorities concerned.

Brickbats, bouquets for BIA

Brickbats, bouquets for BIA
DH News Service,Bangalore:
The Bengaluru International Airport completed a week this Friday, yet its worries are far from over.

According to the BIA, the transition has been smooth despite hiccups. A release says the commencement of operations on May 24 at the new airport witnessed a switch from zero air traffic movements (ATMs) to 341 ATMs on the first day itself, with the number soaring to nearly 400 ATMs daily by Friday.
In one shift alone, (1300 hrs – 2300 hrs), the new airport handles approximately 241 ATMs. At the close of one week of operations, BIA reported it has received strong responses, both positive as well as negative.
Most passengers have been sympathetic to our initial problems due to the magnitude of the project and have expressed their support.
“This is only the start-up phase. Operating an airport at a first-class level is an ongoing process; we will constantly aim to better ourselves. We intend to address all issues and ensure that the airport functions smoothly,” said Albert Brunner, CEO, BIAL.
Passenger feedback has been the key to improving the airport facilities. While many have congratulated BIAL on the swanky facilities and access road to the airport, many passengers have also given objective feedback on the service and amenities, added BIA.
New international airlines will begin operations from BIA from next month.
BIA also announced the commencement of new airlines that will begin operating from June 1. Tiger Air (passenger) will begin operations from June 1, followed by Oman Air on June 16. Jett 8 (cargo) will begin a couple of days later.
Dragon Air, a subsidiary of Cathay Pacific, will begin operations on July 1 and Sichuan Airline by mid-July.
They will fly to Singapore, Hong Kong, Muscat and China. “These international carriers beginning operations from Bangalore reiterates the fact that with this airport, south India’s connection to the rest of the world will improve substantially in the near future,” said BIAL officials.


Bangalore finally has Bengaluru International Airport. The operator of the airport as well as the users are facing several teething problems. Complaints include delayed flight arrivals, delay in immigration and baggage clearance, lack of guidance to passengers among others. Deccan Herald invites its readers who have used the new airport to share their experiences so that the operator can attend to the hitches. You may have complaints or compliments or both. Mail to us, preferably with your photograph, at Selected mails and photographs will be published in the newspaper.

Yeddy show halts traffic

Yeddy show halts traffic
DH News Service,Bangalore:
The Citys roads bore the impact of the swearing-in ceremony of B S Yeddyurappa as traffic snarl has a cascading effect in and around Vidhana Soudha and Raj Bhavan for nearly four hours

. Central Bangalore was like a sea of vehicles that were literally at a stand still. Traffic moved at snail’s pace on the outskirts right from early morning as vehicles, packed with BJP supporters, started hitting the roads. It was just a sea of vehicles on Bellary Road, P B Road, Mysore Road and Kolar Road.
The Palace Grounds at Vasantnagar was jampacked with hundreds of buses and mini-vans that were deployed to ferry lakhs of BJP workers and supporters as it was the meeting point. Public transport and private vehicles were stranded and the closure of the road from KR Circle to Police Thimmaiah Circle on both sides from 12:30 pm to 2:30 pm had a cascading effect on adjacent roads.
Though there were parking facilities in Cubbon Park, the vehicles were parked haphazardly which led to further jams on the road. It was only late in the evening that the traffic situation eased up and the flow was back to normal , even in the outskirts of the city. As many as 2,500 were pressed into security service in and around Vidhana Soudha.

Law and order

No untoward incident was reported despite the swelling crowds. Praveen Sood, Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic and Security) said that the public were inconvenienced during the swearing-in because the attendees included many VVIPs and Chief Ministers with Z category security. “With an important ceremony taking place, barricades were put up in the vicinity of Vidhana Soudha. We had deployed additional policemen to cope up with the lakhs of supporters who were expected. Movement of traffic in the CBD (Central Business District) became slower than usual as people came on to the roads from Palace Grounds. We did, however, ensure that law and order was maintained and supporters did adhere to walking in a queue.”
BJP had hired around 200 KSRTC buses and more than 500 minivans to ferry party workers to the City from all parts of Karnataka.

BJP gives BMIC a NICE hope

BJP gives BMIC a NICE hope
Friday May 30 2008 11:07 IST

S Rajashekara

BANGALORE: THE change of guard in the State politics, has brought smiles to the promoters of the controversial Bangalore- Mysore Infrastructure Corridor Project (BMIC), as they feel that the new government to be headed by B S Yeddyurappa will help them steer all hurdles to complete its first phase.

NICE MD Ashok Kheny, was however, guarded in his statement. ‘’I prefer to wait for the government to take shape and comment a day after it is formed,’’ he said, and added that he did not believe in counting eggs before they hatched.

On Wednesday, former chief minister H D Kumaraswamy had threatened that the JD(S) would protest any attempt to give additional land to the BMIC. He had even alleged that the BJP was getting ready to give additional lands to the BMIC.

The Rs 3,500 crore BMIC project promoted by the NICE, landed in a string of controversies and legal wrangles ever since the work started 11 years ago. The project aims to construct 111 km of expressway between Bangalore and Mysore, besides promoting five townships.

It was given a green signal during the H D Deve Gowda government and allowed to acquire 18,313 acres, including 5,119 acres for road construction and the remaining land for five townships across the expressway.

Gowda, however, turned his guns on the NICE promoters during the 2002 Kanakapura by-election, where he alleged that the NICE had been given an additional 2,800 acres by the subsequent S M Krishna government for the construction of a peripheral ring road around Bangalore at a throwaway price.

The project landed in fresh controversies after the Dharam Singh-led Congress- JD(S) coalition government assumed office in 2002, as the JD(S) continued its tirade against NICE MD Ashok Kheny.

Later in 2007, the JD(S) attempted to table a Bill to take over the BMIC project from NICE. But Kheny had managed to find support in coalition partner BJP leaders, who boycotted the Cabinet meeting convened by Kumaraswamy, to discuss the proposed Bill. It was from here on that the relations between the JD(S) and the BJP went from bad to worse, before calling it quits in October 2007.

Recently, the Election Commission had stayed the Governor’s decision to release land for the completion of the first phase project, citing moral code of conduct. Bail granted to two Naxals.

Friday, May 30, 2008

10 trees relocated to BU campus

10 trees relocated to BU campus
Thursday May 29 2008 12:18 IST


BANGALORE: The Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Forest Cell relocated 10 healthy, fully-grown flowering Tabebuia Rosea trees from Nagarbhavi Main Road to University Law College in Jnana Bharathi, Bangalore University Campus, on Wednesday.

The BBMP has identified the Nagarbhavi road for widening, due to which 40 fully-grown trees needed translocation. As the first step in this direction, the BBMP Forest Cell relocated these 12- year-old trees at a cost of around Rs 10,000 each. BBMP Forest Cell DCF S Shekhar, told this paper that the department was doing the preliminary work for the last three days and the translocation was completed within a day.

''Many places were searched where the trees could be relocated, but the university campus is the ideal place. The university officials expressed their cooperation and have undertaken the responsibility to look after the trees until their roots hold ground firmly.'' These trees were also relocated to the university campus due to easy transportation and availability of land. The team has presently identified 25 trees for immediate translocation. The remaining will take a while, as some are old and weak.

In some cases, they are planted atop drains, electric and telephone cables, thus uprooting would be a difficult task. Also one is a banyan tree, uprooting this would also be difficult. Until all these obstacles are cleared, no further action can be initiated, added BBMP ACF H K Jagdish.

HC says speed governors must

HC says speed governors must
Bangalore, DHNS:
The Karnataka High Court on Thursday said speed governors should be compulsorily implemented for new vehicles. It also warned of contempt action if the department failed to implement the order.

A division bench headed by Chief Justice Cyriac Joseph expressed its displeasure over the State Transport Department’s misinterpretation of the apex court stay order dated March 10.
The court had summoned the Transport Commissioner in this regard on Wednesday.
M K Aiyappa, the joint commissioner, appeared before the court.
The court came down heavily on the department saying that the apex court had stayed the February 12 order, but not the notification making speed governor compulsory for new vehicles.

Free porter service at BIA

Free porter service at BIA
DH News Service,Bangalore:
The teething problems at the Bengaluru International Airport (BIA) might have triggered a nightmarish experience for the passengers. However, thanks to a unique, free porter service, they are being promised a passenger friendly service.

Instead of bing swarmed by touts and trolley pullers demanding exorbitant fares for the trolley services they will provided a hassle free porter service which is the first of its kind in the country.
The Central Parking Service (CPS) which manages the parking at BIA is offering this new porter service availing which passengers can get baggage ferried in an efficient manner.
The CPS will deploy roving agents at different locations in the airport like the domestic arrival, international arrival areas, curbside, drop off zone and the parking area from where passengers can avail their porter services.
To avail this service, passengers will have to make a reservation or call for the porter service, following which a receipt with a number will be issued towards the payment by the roving agent. Simultaneously, the number and payment amount will be updated in a server and the roving agent will assign a porter for the service.
“ In most Indian airports passengers especially the international passengers are harassed by touts posing as porters and charge exorbitant fares for the trolley services.
This new trolley service system provides an hassle experience to the passengers and there is opportunity for porters to trick or over charge them,” Central Parking Service, CEO, N Sathyanarayan told Deccan Herald.
“Apart from the roving agents passengers also can reserve through different modes like dedicated telephone numbers, website and IVR system,” he added.
For overseas traveller, the payment can be made through credit cards. The fare for a trolley with three bags or upto 90 kgs is fixed at Rs 70.

We need a world-class civic attitude

We need a world-class civic attitude
It was a long flight from Paris but exhaustion disappeared when I first saw the airport. The reception that we received felt like our dream of a world class airport was coming true

It was a long flight from Paris but exhaustion disappeared when I first saw the airport. The reception that we received felt like our dream of a world class airport was coming true. A few delays to get landing clearance and claiming luggage were there. But one can overlook the latter considering the system has to get in place soon.
But once I stepped into the rest room, it was a different picture all together. The infrastructure was world class but our civic sense was lagging far behind.
New toilets, soiled by callous users, no tissue paper, tissue stand already out of place, muddy water collected in the toilet, shoe marks all over the toilet seats, used and soiled tissues and pieces of cloth strewn all over made a sad sight.
If we do not improve our civic sense then the world class Bengaluru International Airport will remain just the structure minus world class attitude, which is the urgent need of the day.
-Elizabeth C Paramesh
BIA passenger
Exercise for cops!
As one of the passengers at the new air port, I am impressed. But there are some shortcomings
While you have highlighted that parking attends need to be educated, the civic authorities could also use a lesson.
When I was there on Monday morning, there were three police vehicles at the drop lane (which is meant only for dropping passengers for 90 seconds only). Their explanation was that they were on duty. The walk from parking lot to the airport (which is just around 50m) will surely help our pot bellied cops. Their attitude was more about being served than serving the citizens and such lethargy is not healthy. There are already marks of people spitting pan near the entrance area.
There are bound to be teething problems, but its only temporary but such behaviour of authorities (cops in particular) leaves bad taste and adds to the fact they they are a highly incompetent lot.
-BIAL passenger
Harrowing experince
I was surprised to read the rave reviews about the new airport in your newspaper. My own experience was harrowing. I landed at the airport at 12.30 pm on May 25. The aerobridges didn’t seem to be operating. We had to wait 15 minutes for the gangway. When it finally came, there was almost one-feet gap between the floor of the plane and top of the gangway.
The next shock was the toilets in the baggage claim area. There are only three toilets in the toilet block, resulting long queues.
The broadcast system failed, so there were no announcements and the luggage consoles didn't display the flight numbers correctly. When I came out of the building, no taxis were to be seen anywhere. There were no help desks.
The only service functioning well seem to be the new A/C buses going to town even though the fares seem a bit steep at Rs 100 per person up to Mekhri Circle.
- Mrs Anuradha Gokarn,
Transport woes
The efforts of the BBMP in making the ride to the airport smooth are laudable. At the same time, the traffic police must immediately address these issues.
-They must earmark a lane for slow-moving trucks.
- They must prevent trucks from plying on Bellary Road between the peak hours of 8 am and 11 am and 5 pm and 8 pm.
- ‘Janti vahana’ or the ‘road train’, which is slow moving, should not be allowed on Bellary Road.
K S Bhagavan
Shortcomings galore
It has been reported BIA CEO Albert Brunner was apologising to the passengers for inconvenience at the new airport. While one is touched by such a gesture, isn’t it time we faced up to the reality?
As with any new set-up, there are bound to be some “teething troubles”. The condition of rest rooms -stinking, no water in the taps, no toilet paper, etc - is pathetic. The immigration desks are poorly manned, while the state of affairs at the parking lots are miserable.
It is nice to blow trumpets about what a great achievement BIA is, but ground realities can’t be swept away along with the all-pervasive red mud of Devanahalli. One has to only visit Singapore’s Changi airport to be literally transported into another world – clean, dust-free and user-friendly.
Wing Commander Nayaham


To assist citizens on the shift to the new Airport , BIA has come up with a dedicated helpline to handle queries on passenger amenities and flight information. Passengers can dial 40581111 for information on routes to the airport , transportation, facilities, services at the airport parking etc.

Road-widening has cost us 700 trees

Road-widening has cost us 700 trees

Deepa Kurup

More foliage will be imperilled as 91 roads are set to be widened

— Photo: Bhagya Prakash K.

Easing congestion: Road-widening work in progress on Racecourse Road in Bangalore on Thursday.

BANGALORE: It is official. Nearly 700 trees, much loved for their vintage and comforting foliage, have been felled on four roads: Bellary Road, Racecourse Road, Sarjapur Road and Lashkar Road. The Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike has confirmed that 91 roads are set to be widened, with 10 by the end of the year.

Even though in October last, the Deputy Conservator of Forests issued an order to stop work on Palace Road and Seshadri Road, both make it to the list of roads which will be widened soon. Nearly 100 trees have been notified to be auctioned. These orders followed a site inspection of Palace Road and Seshadri Road by Subbarayan Prasanna of the Indian Institute of Management-Bangalore which found the plans ambiguous and lacking in detail.

Questioning the very rationale of road widening as an answer to traffic woes, Prof. Prasanna says: “The expansion plan does not explain performance standards or maintenance plans in terms of carrying capacity or velocity of traffic over the years.” For instance, on Palace Road, the widening plans are careful to avoid a mosque and a temple, both of which are encroachments. On Kasturba Road, rain trees and ficus will face the axe, while a temple will be retained, thereby creating another bottleneck.The BBMP proposes to increase vehicle speed from eight to 40 km per hour, according to a response obtained under the Right to Information Act. It envisages an expenditure of Rs. 8 crore to Rs. 10 crore per km, which far exceeds its budgetary allocation of Rs. 40 crore this year for road-widening.

Interestingly, while the draft version of the Master Plan (2005) does not mention road width, the final draft released in 2007 shows that the roads will be widened by 25 to 45 metres, which translates into cutting down open space by nearly 500 hectares by 2015.

BBMP Tree Officer S. Shekhar says that they will undertake a massive tree planting activity in parks and open spaces in the city. “We have transplanted 70 trees, of which 50 survived and we will work with NGOs and the public to replant,” he says.

However, the transplanting exercise has been criticised by experts who say that the replanting success rate has been quite low.

The post of the tree officer itself, constituted in 2004, has come under criticism. “By taking away powers from the Forest Department, they have made it easier for the BBMP to cut trees. He has admitted that he is under pressure to sanction tree-cutting,” alleges Leo Saldanha of the Environment Support Group.

The Karnataka High Court in 2005 directed the BBMP to involve people in all decisions involving roads and trees, but the Hasiru Usiru network, which anchors several NGOs, alleges that it was kept in the dark.

Traffic curbs for swearing-in ceremony

Traffic curbs for swearing-in ceremony

Staff Reporter

BANGALORE: In view of the swearing-in ceremony of B.S. Yeddyurappa and his Cabinet colleagues on Friday afternoon, the city police have banned movement of vehicles on Ambedkar Veedhi between K.R. Circle and Police Thimmaiah Junction from 12.30 p.m. to 2.30 p.m.

Vehicles from Seshadri Road can enter Cubbon Park and Nrupathunga Road, whereas vehicles from Queen’s Road and Cubbon Road can proceed ahead on Raj Bhavan Road and Ambedkar Veedhi towards Coffee Board Junction.

BMTC buses from Seshadri Road and Mysore Bank proceeding towards Shivajinagar have to take Palace Road at Maharani’s College Junction and proceed towards AG’s Office Junction, Basaveshwara Junction and LRDE Junction.

While vehicles carrying VVIPs, including the Governor and the Chief Minister-designate, VIPs and vehicles with car passes can enter the Vidhana Soudha premises through the West Gate, other vehicles have to be parked at the Vikasa Soudha parking lot. Similarly, cars and two-wheelers of invitees without vehicle pass have to be parked at the Vikasa Soudha parking lot.

General public intending to witness the swearing-in ceremony have to park their vehicles inside Cubbon Park, in front of the NGO Club, on the road leading to Siddalingaiah Circle inside Cubbon Park and KGID Cross.

Movement of vehicles through Cubbon Park towards Vidhana Soudha from Hudson Circle, Queen’s Circle, Siddalingaiah Circle and CTO Junction has been banned.

As a large number of people from outside Bangalore are likely to arrive here to witness the ceremony, the police have given specific routes and parking space for their vehicles.

Vehicles from the Tumkur Road side should be parked at Amanulla Khan Ground after proceeding to the city via Peenya, Yeshwantpur Circle, BHEL Circle, C.V. Raman Avenue, Mekhri Circle, Jayamahal Road and Amanulla Khan Gate. Vehicles from the Bellary Road side too should be parked at the same venue.

Vehicles from Kolar should proceed via Trinity Circle, Begum Mahal, Gangadhara Chetty Road, Dickenson Road, Dobhi Ghat, Dickenson Road, Kamaraja Road-Dickenson Road Junction, Cubbon Road and CTO Junction from where people have walk to the venue.

The city police have made elaborate security arrangements for the ceremony.

YMCA drops land deal plan

YMCA drops land deal plan

Special Correspondent

BANGALORE: Following resentment from its members, the governing board of the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) here has decided to shelve its plans for entering into an agreement with a private builder for joint development and commercialisation of 40,000 square feet of its precious property on Nrupathunga Road in the heart of Bangalore city.

The governing board had earlier adopted a resolution in favour of such a joint development and commercialisation of the property.

However, following resentment from its members, general public and media, the board, at its meeting held on Thursday, decided not to go ahead with the plans for joint development and commercialisation of its property.

The Hindu on May 22 carried a report on the resentment by the YMCA members and leading personalities against the moves to enter into an agreement with a builder for joint development of the prestigious property.

The report had referred to the apprehensions by members that the YMCA might lose this prestigious property in the name of joint development as it happened with its other two properties in Bangalore.

YMCA treasurer Noel Noronha told The Hindu that the board had taken note of the report at its meeting on Thursday.

He said the YMCA had adopted a new resolution stating that it would not go ahead with the plans for joint development of the property.

Several prominent personalities, including the former Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission Chairman Philipose Matthai, and co-ordinator for the Bangalore Initiative for Religious Dialogue P.N. Benjamin had opposed the move.

They had contended that commercialisation of the property would result in stopping socio-cultural and educational programmes being taken up by the YMCA now.

The commercialisation would pose a security threat to administration as this property lies between the Reserve Bank of India and the State Police Headquarters. Besides, commercialisation of this land abutting the Cubbon Park would not only pose an environmental threat, but also lead to violation of norms, they had said. YMCA drops land deal plan

Special Correspondent

BANGALORE: Following resentment from its members, the governing board of the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) here has decided to shelve its plans for entering into an agreement with a private builder for joint development and commercialisation of 40,000 square feet of its precious property on Nrupathunga Road in the heart of Bangalore city.

The governing board had earlier adopted a resolution in favour of such a joint development and commercialisation of the property.

However, following resentment from its members, general public and media, the board, at its meeting held on Thursday, decided not to go ahead with the plans for joint development and commercialisation of its property.

The Hindu on May 22 carried a report on the resentment by the YMCA members and leading personalities against the moves to enter into an agreement with a builder for joint development of the prestigious property.

The report had referred to the apprehensions by members that the YMCA might lose this prestigious property in the name of joint development as it happened with its other two properties in Bangalore.

YMCA treasurer Noel Noronha told The Hindu that the board had taken note of the report at its meeting on Thursday.

He said the YMCA had adopted a new resolution stating that it would not go ahead with the plans for joint development of the property.

Several prominent personalities, including the former Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission Chairman Philipose Matthai, and co-ordinator for the Bangalore Initiative for Religious Dialogue P.N. Benjamin had opposed the move.

They had contended that commercialisation of the property would result in stopping socio-cultural and educational programmes being taken up by the YMCA now.

The commercialisation would pose a security threat to administration as this property lies between the Reserve Bank of India and the State Police Headquarters. Besides, commercialisation of this land abutting the Cubbon Park would not only pose an environmental threat, but also lead to violation of norms, they had said.

Land for hardware park challenged

Land for hardware park challenged

Staff Reporter

BANGALORE: Residents of several villages coming under Jala hobli near Devanahalli and several residents of Bangalore on Thursday filed a petition in the Karnataka High Court challenging the acquisition of 294 acres by the State Government for setting up a hardware park.

The petitioners said of the 294.32 acres sought to be acquired in and around Bandi Kodihalli (B.K). Palya by the KIADB, 58.21 acres of land is classified as kharab land. It said the government had on August 7, 2006, issued a notification under Section 3 (5) of the KIADB Act, 1966, acquiring land in B.K. Palya.

They said though they had filed objections, the Special Land Acquisition Officer, KIADB, rejected them on March 15, 2007. They said the land is classified as agriculture land and could not have been acquired for industrial purposes. Moreover, the land under dispute is just two kilometres away from the new international airport at Devanahalli and as per the law, no structures can come up within a two-kilometre radius of the airport. They urged the court to stay the notification by the KIADB seeking to acquire their land.

BIAL says situation is improving

BIAL says situation is improving

On course to improvement: A view of the Bengaluru International Airport.

Our Bureau

Bangalore, May 29

Bangalore International Airport Ltd that began operating the city’s new airport on May 24 says it is progressively ironing out the early glitches on ground.

“The situation is now coming more and more under control. After six days of operations of the new Bengaluru International Airport, we can already gauge the improvements with each passing day,” BIAL said in response to queries from Business Line. “Please bear with us in the start-up phase” as things were looking up and the processes getting better.
Special task force

Its special task force has diagnosed the problem points, getting passenger feedback and addressing the hassles. “In our case, the issues arose due to some of our service providers having inadequate number of staff, inadequate supervision and not enough equipment… We will constantly be trying to increase efficiency, speed and elevate the passenger experience,” it said. Some of the other greenfield airports across the world, too, have had far more serious problems such as months’ delay, inability to handle flight traffic and huge baggage loss.
Flight schedules

On flight schedules getting upset, the company said there were delays in the first few days for various reasons. But no delay was reported due to the failure of the infrastructure at the airport (BIA). Also, the performance of an airport cannot be measured entirely against delayed departures or arrivals.

“The reasons for flight delays can be many, including delayed departures from the origin of the aircraft, weather conditions, etc. BIAL has taken this up. The performance has improved every day.”

On Day 5, Wednesday morning, for instance, the first domestic peak wave was handled without delay and the second wave saw minor delays. On an average, most of the flights that arrived on time also departed BIA on schedule.

Connectivity enhances potential of Whitefield

Connectivity enhances potential of Whitefield
A series of infrastructure projects and the shift of airport traffic to Bangalore North has brought Whitefield another dimension, says Leena Mudbidri

The metamorphosis of Whitefield, and the areas around it, from a sleepy suburb to an effervescent IT and commercial hotspot, has been stupendous over the last few years. The emergence of the International Tech Park Bangalore, the Sri Sathya Sai Hospital and the Export Promotion Industrial Park, primarily due to the proximity to the HAL Airport, fuelled hectic real estate activity in the area despite the Airport Road burgeoning with slow-moving traffic.
With the international airport opening its doors in North Bangalore, the traffic has definitely shifted there. However, the improved road infrastructure in Bangalore East, especially within and around Whitefield, has boosted connectivity in the area propelling further demand in both residential and commercial property.
A series of major infrastructure projects in Bangalore East has dramatically brought this region closer to the CBD and Bangalore North. The road widening projects of the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) saw the Airport Road and Varthur Road being developed. The completed loop of the Airport Road flyover further streamlined connectivity between Inner Ring Road connecting Koramangala and Indiranagar, decongesting the through traffic to the Airport Road from Domlur. The widening of the Marathahalli overbridge too has improved connectivity within the area.
According to K S Krishna Reddy, chief engineer - major roads, BBMP, in East Bangalore the BBMP has planned to improve all arterial roads as well as the Outer Ring Road (ORR) connecting Thanisandra Main Road in Bangalore East with Bellary Road leading to the international airport in Bangalore North, in a phased manner. "All roads will be widened and strengthened in phases along the entire length of the road. While work on some roads has been completed, work on others will begin as soon as the detailed project reports (DPR) are submitted by the consultants," he said.
Elevated roads
Reddy reveals plans to have more elevated roads linking all arterial and peripheral roads in the city. According to him, the concept will involve building these roads over major storm water drains (SWD). "We have presented a proposal to have an elevated road connecting Dairy Circle, Trinity Circle, Ulsoor Gurudwara, Wheeler Road to Mekhri Circle. We have engaged the services of a consultant who has started work on the DPR and once it is approved, work should begin by May end this year," he added.
With the proposed new elevated road coming up along the Airport Road, starting at Kodihalli Gate, just at the down ramp of the existing Airport Road looped flyover, it will mean seamless connectivity between Central Bangalore and Whitefield literally overriding the Domlur bottleneck. The residents of Whitefield and ITPL employees can be ensured of smoother commuting to the city centre and other zones.

Infrastructure is the need of the hour

Infrastructure is the need of the hour
The major civic infrastructure projects on the anvil promise to make the city that’s now on the global air map a preferred business destination in the region. B S Manu Rao and Sai Prasanna outline some major projects before the new government being sworn in today

After a spell of President's rule, an elected government is here. And this government is being sworn in at a crucial time for the city. The new international airport at Devanahalli that had been in the reckoning through the last government's term is now functioning. The development it promised to usher in is now waiting to unfold. Urban affairs had never been as crucial as they are now.
Bangalore is perhaps the only city in the world where the works on a metro rail system, a third ring road, and an international airport have been happening at the same time. Take into account the road widening projects, the development of arterial roads, elevated roads and numerous grade separators and flyovers, and you have an astounding investment in civic infrastructure on the agenda. This massive expansion in facilities indicates the sort of growth seen in the city's population, and the expected growth in the medium term.
The IT sector is now firmly entrenched in the city. It added a new dimension to the character of the city. It is driving the city's real estate sector and has created a new market for retailing, entertainment and the service industry. It brought in a large number of job seekers and entrepreneurs looking for opportunity to this city with a salubrious climate. IT was a turning point in the city's history. It brought with it a new sobriquet and changed the dynamics of the city forever. The Bangalore with large 'circles' dotting the green, air conditioned cityscape discovered an economic lever and changed gears. The new-found affluence funded a new lifestyle. With the cosmopolitan city embracing IT came the market for hypermarkets, multiplexes and global brands. And another Bangalore came about.
The government stepping into power this morning takes the baton at this crucial stage in the race for a prominent place on the global business map. With the international airport comes connectivity and a place on the world air map. Bangalore will have a signboard at departure lounges of international airports around the world. It is all the more important to make this an efficient business destination with quality civic infrastructure. While it is endowed with space around to grow and good climatic conditions, the government needs to fine-tune its civic infrastructure to give it that edge over others centres in the region. An efficient city with adequate civic infrastructure is what global players look for while choosing a base.
BMIC project
The Bangalore-Mysore infrastructure corridor project that links the two cities with an expressway is another project that has been on the anvil. This expressway along with the five townships enroute will see considerable development between the two cities. It promises large-scale commercial development with employment potential for a million people. It will open up large spaces for the IT sector and also opportunities for other industries. The infrastructure, water and power availability in the townships here promise to draw many entrepreneurs.
This project will also lead to commercial development of Mysore thanks to the efficient connectivity it provides. The expressway will mean Mysore is just a 90-minute drive from the city. These days, a 90-minute drive to work daily is relatively common. With Mysore within easy reach, many organisations will look at Mysore for a base, especially for training and such HR functions.
Elevated roads
These traffic corridors are vital to bring about quicker access to different localities on the periphery. The elevated road to the Electronic City on the one hand and the one planned to the new airport on the other will see a large number of major junctions decongested. A large number of vehicles will be off the arterial roads under them making it much easier to reach the localities around these two traffic corridors.
Elevated roads to major destinations such as business localities and transport hubs have two benefits. One, they make commuting to these centres easier and quicker. Two, they open up traffic bottlenecks otherwise seen on arterial roads in the vicinity. An important attribute of any efficient city is the good connectivity to its major transport hubs and business centres. This will be achieved in Bangalore with the elevated roads and road widening project.
Metro rail
The steel rods sticking out of the ground spell some progress. The phase one of the project will be a crucial development in the city as it heralds a new concept of commuting and high density development. This project is important to the city for two reasons. One, it eases the traffic condition, especially around the Central Business District. And two, it paves the way for vertical growth as envisaged in the new Comprehensive Development Plan - Master Plan 2015.
A metro rail is a must for any commercial centre. It augments connectivity and makes it possible to travel across the length and breadth of the city quickly and economically. This project will give Bangalore another dimension. Peripheral Ring Road
The 65-km stretch (Phase I) of the planned Peripheral Ring Road (PRR) will connect the city to the new international airport better. Linked to both the national and state highways in the path, this project will take a considerable amount of pressure off the Outer Ring Road.
Apart from connectivity to the new airport, this project opens up new vistas in the development of the city. A lesser-congested Outer Ring Road enhances connectivity within the city. And the PRR opens up land parcels for development alongside. The easier connectivity and ensuing development spells more opportunity in the city.

The focus has to be on the city as well as other parts of the State. Priority should be given to the NICE corridor as this will help in the development of both Mysore and Bangalore, spurring economic activity between the two cities. Urban planning should be looked at carefully so that the city grows in a synchronised manner to reduce congestion.
Vishal Bali
CEO, Wockhardt Hospitals Ltd

The focus of the new government should be connectivity to the international airport with additional roads connecting areas like Hosur, Electronic City, and Bommasandra. From the industry perspective, development of roads and power problems should be handled on a priority basis.
Chetan Maini
Deputy Chairman, Reva Electric Car Company Ltd

The new government should focus on completion of planned infrastructure projects and visualising infrastructure with the future of the city in mind. This has to be looked at from a 20-year perspective so that a road constructed now will bear traffic for the next 20 years.
Harish Bijoor
CEO, Harish Bijoor Consultants Ltd

The new government should take up infrastructure projects with a
sense of urgency. Projects like the BMIC corridor, metro rail, and connectivity to the international airport should be addressed primarily.
Kiran Mazumdar Shaw
CMD, Biocon India Ltd

The new government should focus on the development of roads. Frequent power outages should be addressed. The city's infrastructure has to be geared up to meet the needs of commercial development.
Farook Mahmood
President, National Association of Realtors - India



IT’S still less than a week old, and Bangalore’s brand new international airport has received both bouquets and brickbats. Frequent travellers who’ve experienced other international airports give BT the low-down on where BIA stands.
“Though the check-in counters were good and well-manned, there were long queues just to enter the airport due to extensive screening by CISF guards. More gates need to be open with a larger deployment of security,” says brand domain specialist Harish Bijoor, who flew to Singapore from BIA on May 27.
The immigration counters, however, were a disappointment for Sandeep Wadhwa, joint managing director with a fibre board container manufacturer. Says Sandeep, who flew in from Dubai on Day 2 of BIA operations, “The immigration area has been cramped into a very small area. It is too small for an international airport.” Laila Matthew, who took the Sri Lankan Airways flight to Colombo en route to Frankfurt, says the immigration counter staff fumbled with her passport and visa. “The permanent resident visa is in German and they kept me waiting while they figured out what my visa stated. I’ve never had a problem like this at any other airport,” she says.
International travellers are pleased that there are a number of conveyor belts for baggage, but delays are still common. “When I landed at BIA close to midnight, at a time when several other flights also landed, I dreaded having to push and shove past others to get near the conveyor belt,” says Sindhu Anand, who flew in from San Francisco. But while there were several conveyor belts, she had to wait an hour to get her luggage.
With most of the retail outlets at the BIA yet to open, international travellers are yet to figure out what’s in store for them. “I flew in at 5 am and was too groggy to shop, but I did notice that most of them were not open. I did, however, see many big names among the closed shops,” says Sandeep.
Agrees Harish, “They are still getting their act together. The retail arena needs to look fuller in stock and variety.”
But Jibin George, who flew in from Changi Airport, Singapore, to BIA, was disappointed with the duty free outlets. “They have the regular tobacco, liquor, perfumes and apparel. Nothing new or exciting. In comparison, Changi even has a Formula One store,” says Jibin.
If you’re looking to grab a bite before
embarking on your journey, do not expect exceptional fare, say those who’ve seen what’s on offer. “The food and beverage options are just average. The new airport at Hyderabad has better food outlets,” says Harish, adding, “There is just too much in too little space here. One needs to invest in an expansive feel in public spaces such as airports. The Suvarnabhumi International Airport at
Bangkok and the new Hong Kong Airport are classic examples of these.”
President and CEO of a retail sector firm, Bijou Kurien, was also not impressed with the F&B selection. “Most outlets were not open and among those that were, the pizza joint seemed the most decent place to dine. The Illy cafe only serves branded water that costs Rs 300 a bottle,” says Bijou.
And though he wasn’t sure if BIA had these facilities, Jibin missed the movie and music lounges he is accustomed to at Changi. “I didn’t find gaming zones either,” he says. What Aditya Natraj, who works for a venture capital firm, found amiss was that there aren’t enough seats in the waiting areas. “Also, the restrooms in this brand new facility are badly maintained and hard to find with inadequate signages,” he says.

Down the drain

Down the drain
Pre-monsoon showers herald a season of misery for Puttenahalli residents. With construction debris choking drains and encroachments making matters worse, the area is now a stinking Venice. R Krishnakumar navigates the troubled waters

Bangalore: For residents of Ashtalakshmi Layout in JP Nagar 6th Phase, Wednesday’s rain — though moderate compared to previous years — was a grim indicator of what to look forward to in the coming monsoon. A spell of afternoon showers on Wednesday did enough damage in this low-lying area, off Puttenahalli lake.
Shridhar and his family were busy clearing water from their house, as late as 1 pm on Thursday. “There are no functioning drains on this road. All it takes is a brief shower for the area to get flooded,’’ he said. Stones and sand, that have been thrown into the drains during construction of buildings, have blocked drains, the residents said. Added to this, as old drains from the lake are encroached upon, water from the lake enters the narrow drains during showers and floods lowlying areas, the residents said.
Puttenahalli has always been in the news for the wrong reasons — massive flooding and inundation of houses during rain. At least four feet of water stagnates on the road for days together after rain as the area lacks underground drainage system. The problem is worsened by blatant encroachment of primary drains by residents. Though, after last year’s rain, the civic authorities took up major demolition operations and cleaned up Puttenahalli lake, four inner roads still face the wrath of the rain.
Water sumps in some houses were also flooded. Residents dread the damage that a full-force monsoon could bring to the area. “Our toilets are blocked. The stench makes it impossible to even clear the water,’’ said Pankaja, a resident.
The sight outside his house is not something that brings cheer. Even as drains carry filth right in front of the houses, construction material is dumped dangerously close to the drains. The residents pointed out that concrete and stones had blocked the floodwater’s flow on Wednesday.
Sewerage-mixed drain water is another issue residents of low-lying areas in JP Nagar 6th and 7th Phases have been fighting for long. “Sanitary lines are running into open drains, leaving the entire area stinking. The problem has been around for over a year but there’s still no respite for us,’’ said Dinesh Reddy, a resident of 7th Phase, bordering Ashtalakshmi Layout.
Memories from previous monsoons are enough for residents to put emergency measures in place. But these not enough for low-lying areas surrounded by open, brimming drains. Renukamma, a resident, said she and her family had been working through the night to clear water that had entered her house. The family of nine lives in a small, two-room house with low floors.
The stormwater drain department is working on a detailed project to bring the drain network back on track in Puttenahalli. Clearance of small reaches from the lake is already on. Last year, we took up a demolition drive to clear encroachments. Some of the offenders, though, have moved court anticipating demolition, slowing down our crackdown. The issue of sewerage-mixed drain water will also be checked under the project.
— Nazeer Ahmed Khan
While some drains are encroached upon, others have been converted into roads. Through the demolition drive, we had evicted some encroachers. The solution is to lay wide, underground drains in the area.
— M A Sadiq
Monsoon showers hit Ashtalakshmi Layout hard in previous years as well. Residents were left negotiating four feet of water on the road for about a week. With a lack of outlets to channel excess water, officials explored options of stormwater drains beneath existing roads. Two roads were identified for the project. The roads were tipped to be laid from the weir of Sarakki lake and its sluice gate. The plan was to link drains underneath 3 km of roads to the primary drain at Bilekahalli on Bannerghatta Road. BBMP sources say the work is now being undertaken by the stormwater drain department on a budget of Rs 30 crore.
After the 2005 flooding of areas in South Bangalore, a survey carried out by the land encroachment eviction committee highlighted that rajakaluves of 29 tanks, including Begur, Sarakki, Puttenahalli, Madiwala, Agara, Bellandur and Nagawara were blocked by more than 700 unauthorized constructions. The primary valley of Puttenahalli lake was found encroached upon by 28 buildings.

Road dug up at Cauvery junction

Road dug up at Cauvery junction
BWSSB Carrying Out Maintenance On Blocked Drainage Pipe
— Akshata Acharya

Bangalore: Cauvery junction is again in the news for the wrong reasons. After BBMP’s magic box left commuters negotiating waterlogged roads, a blocked drainage pipe from Sadashivnagar has now spelt more trouble at the busy junction.
The much-talked-about underpass has run into rough weather from the very beginning. Its ‘72-hour construction time’ eventually ran into many weeks and it was waterlogged soon after its inauguration. On Thursday, to clear a blocked drainage pipe, BWSSB dug up a road at the exit point of the underpass, leading to BDA junction.
According to BWSSB assistant executive engineer, Phani Bhushan, they received a complaint on Wednesday around 10 pm that a drainage pipe was blocked and sewage water was receding at a slow pace. Officials arrived to identify the spot and it took them about 10 hours to locate the blockage.
Work is on and the road has been dug up to 15 feet to rectify the problem. However, the surprise element this time is that vehicular traffic is more or less unaffected. BWSSB officials have marked out the area and are working within the drawn margin. “It is a very important road leading to BIA. We cannot afford to cause traffic congestion because of the maintenance work. If the manhole that was covered during road-layering was still present, our work would have been easier and the problem could have been solved in an hour or two,’’ explained Phani Bhushan.
The suspected cause for the blockage is either a big stone, cement bags or plastic bags that may have been dumped in gutters in residential layouts. Officials blamed irresponsibilty of citizens with regard to disposal of plastic bags and construction material.
BWSSB officials assured that the maintenance work would be completed by Thursday evening and the drainage water would be let into other manholes to make the road stench-free. The dug-up ground will be covered by a new manhole to avoid digging the road in future and thus ensure immediacy in any sort of maintenance work taken up in this area.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Restoring gardens in Garden City

Restoring gardens in Garden City
— Nitya Andrew

Bangalore: Stumps of felled trees are all that is visible in areas where there is ongoing construction of Metro rail and underpasses. However, in an attempt to come across as environment-friendly and simultaneously continue with the developmental work in the city, BBMP and forest department have now joined hands to bring the ‘garden’ back into the Garden City by re-planting trees that were cut down for urbanization.
A tree transplantation experiment is being carried out at Bangalore University’s Jnanabharathi campus on Wednesday. Healthy trees, even a couple of decades old, that were felled, are being re-planted in the premises of Bangalore University.
The initiative was taken up by noted environmentalist Yellappa Reddy who said the procedure is 90 to 95% effective as long as the chosen tree is moderately healthy. The estimated cost for replanting a single tree is between Rs 10,000 and Rs 15,000 which is why the tree chosen for re-planting has to be healthy enough to withstand the “shock’’ of being uprooted and re-planted. The approximate cost for re-planting 15-odd trees is about Rs 1.5 lakh, which will be borne by the BBMP.
The procedure involves carefully selected trees being stripped of their smaller branches and leaves until they are left bare with only the essentials — the trunk, larger branches and the soft roots. In order to prevent damage to the tree’s sap tissue, the tender regions are wrapped with sackcloth and dried grass. The larger purpose here is to ensure food security in the ecosystem.
This experiment also provides material for observation and research for Biology students as transplanting of trees is quite a rare procedure. The gradual adaptation of these trees to their new environment and their progress will be monitored by students. The trees that are being re-planted as of now are Tabebuia Rosea and Bahunia. The former is an exotic tree that bears pink blossoms while the latter bears flowers of a deep pink hue. Just as the last tree was re-planted on Wednesday, the rain came down, as if Mother Nature approved.

Three signals on signal-free road

Three signals on signal-free road

Even as the mantra was signal-free ride/drive to BIAL and the concept is being tried by the BBMP through construction of underpasses, the entire concept seems to be defeated by the police.
After the Hebbal flyover, the drive is a crawl for about 15 minutes, thanks to the three traffic signals that have come up within a short distance from each other. The Kodigehalli signal blocks traffic, that winds down for about 500 metres.
Soon, the signal at Byatarayanapura — before the University of Agricultural Sciences (UAS) — triggers another long halt. With villages on either sides of Bellary Road and many new residential housing projects coming up in these areas, a signalfree drive looks a long shot for now. There’s no respite at the signals near the Delhi Public School and Yelahanka (where traffic from areas like Kogilu converge) either.
The passengers feel that the Volvo service is a “big relief ’’ but want more buses on the nine dedicated routes. “At least, they can publish the schedules with the starting time, instead of vaguely saying once in every hour,’’ says Seema Mohan, a passenger.
The schedules are displayed at the last stop, in front of the BIA terminal. There’s also some confusion with regard to the dedicated stops on the routes. “Since they also talk about landmarks on the route, some of the passengers think that they can board the bus from these points as well,’’ says Navin, who’s at the airport to see a friend off. On Wednesday’s drive, 18 of the 19 passengers boarded the bus at the starting point. The biggest plus that the BMTC services bring along, according to some of the passengers, is that they’ve seen the back of cab drivers who charge a fortune to cover a much shorter haul.

Vajras zoom on

Vajras zoom on
R Krishnakumar | TNN

Bangalore: The Bengaluru International Airport may still be getting over a shaky start but on the road to BIA, the pace is picking up. At least, through the windows of a BMTC Vayu Vajra.
The Times Of India, on Wednesday, hit the road from the old airport to BIA on a BMTC Volvo. While the bus stuck to the schedule and passengers nodded in appreciation, it was hard to miss this. It took an hour for the bus from the old airport road to travel about 15 km and get past Hebbal on Bellary Road. The rest — about 29 km — was done in 40 minutes.
The BMTC has got most of it right. Realistic schedules, for one. The bus covered the HAL-BIAL route in an hour and 40 minutes. The announced travel time was two hours. With the air-conditioned comfort and adequate baggage space the trip, at Rs 150, is a fair deal, say the passengers. But of course, that’s followed by the now customary question: “Can’t they operate domestic flights from the old airport?’’
On Wednesday, the 30-seater bus carried 19 passengers on the route. A board at the dedicated bus stop near the old airport announces that due to low frequency of flight departures, the buses will operate only once in an hour. The buses, though, will ply frequently from 12.45 am to 3.45 am, the peak phase for international traffic, says the board.
The non-A/C Suvarna buses operate every 30 minutes but the passengers, clearly, are keen on the Volvos. Even as the number of passengers increases at the stop, the ticket collector from the Suvarna bus tells them, “Traffic, sir. The bus will come.’’
Once the bus arrives, it’s again about meeting the schedule. The driver tells the passengers that the bus will leave only at 1 pm and those who don’t want to be delayed can hop on the waiting Suvarna. None leaves.
BIAS4 — one of BMTC’s nine Vayu Vajra services to BIA — starts at 1.05 pm. Moving through the busy pockets of CMH Road and Indiranagar, the bus hits Old Madras Road at around 1.30 pm. The signals start to pull the pace down and as the bus enters Coles Park and St John’s Church Road, it’s almost a crawl. Slow-paced sand trucks on the roads make it more difficult for the Volvo to move ahead.
At 1.50 pm, traffic from Nandidurga Road and other areas leads to a logjam on Jayamahal Road. By the time the bus touches Hebbal, at around 2 pm, a drizzle is on.
The widened road, that takes off from Hebbal, promises a free drive. But on the flanks, road-laying work is still on. Road-rollers and strewn-around construction material — some of it, right in the middle of the road — make the drive a bit slow and bumpy.
With traffic locked at three subsequent signals, the rush is diverted on to the barricaded service roads. At around 2.15 pm, the pace is considerably up as the bus zips past Sonnappanahalli and Chikkajala. The speed is, at times, checked by the trucks and even some autorickshaws.
From the trumpet interchange, it’s another free stretch. At 2.45 pm, the bus drives in to the bus bay in front of the BIA terminal. The rain has stopped.


l To turn HAL Airport into key defence establishment l Make it a major hub to train pilots l To use its base to operate copter services Chaos at BIA annoys passengers
Bangalore: Passenger frustration at the new airport continues with constant flight delays and other airport-related issues.
A JetLite flight S2 234 to New Delhi, which was supposed to depart from Bangalore at 12.55 pm, only took off at five minutes past 4 pm.
According to Shalini, a passenger on the flight, “We waited for two hours at the terminal building first and then another two hours inside the aircraft. Inside the aircraft passengers were getting various conflicting reports on the reasons for the delay.” Shalini said the first reason given by the air hostess in the aircraft was that a stepladder was rammed into the door of the aircraft causing minor dents.
“After sometime the air hostess said that there was no water available to load on to the aircraft at the new airport. This however was not drinking water, but water that is required for the use of the onboard toilets,” said Shalini.
When TOI contacted senior officials of the airline, they said that the delay was due to traffic congestion over Bangalore airspace and ATC issues. The officials dismissed all other reports. Sources at the airport said that lack of proper co-ordination between BIAL authorities and ATC was resulting in constant delays. “BIAL authorities issue one command, then the ATC gives another, finally incoming and outgoing aircraft don’t have any clue as to where to park or where to go,” said an airline official. ATC officials say that flight delays are being caused by ground handling staff. Also due to the shortage of manpower, there are too few people handling too many aircraft at one time.
Earlier, dismissing concerns over the proper functioning of BIA’s ATC, in e-mail reply, BIAL had said, “As confirmed earlier, the ATC is functioning well. The initial glitches that we faced were due to certain ground handling issues. BIAL has a special task force that is identifying and addressing issues with regards operations at the airport. We have already taken action to ensure better ground handling process.” Furthermore, passengers are feeling claustrophobic in the waiting lounge of the terminal building. “There is so much of retail space that there is no space for people to sit. Passengers are just being made to stand and the whole place resembles a bus terminus,” said a passenger. “The acoustics at the airport is so bad that one just cant hear any announcements. One literally needs to put on hearing aids to figure out what is being said,” said another passenger.

HAL airport still has its uses

HAL airport still has its uses
Anshul Dhamija | TNN

Bangalore: Now, what’s happening to the HAL Airport? Well, it will take another 60 days to know its actual flight path.
Sources close to HAL’s top management said HAL was playing a waitand-watch game to see whether there could be any chance for commercial operations to restart.
Earlier in an interview to TOI, civil aviation minister Praful Patel had said: “The ministry is not happy with having only one airport. I would have preferred to keep both airports open. We’re trying to find a way out.’’
But aviation sources said: “If HAL does not get a second chance, it has multiple options before it.’’
Top on the list would be: give it a complete makeover, to turn it into a key defence establishment. Other than that HAL could use its base to operate helicopter services related to regional tourism, medical tourism and inter-city services.
“These are exciting options before HAL, from which a lot of revenue could be generated,’’said sources. The airport operation of HAL used to rake in Rs 700 crore annually.
Also, HAL would look to strengthen its flight training school by making Bangalore a major hub to train and teach and breed pilots. With the government turning ‘swadeshi’ and setting a deadline of 2010 after which airlines would have to do away with the services of foreign pilots, HAL would greatly benefit in training a number of young Indian pilots who go abroad to learn flying.
Not to mention HAL’s plans for operating an MRO (maintenance, repair and overhaul facility). But sources indicate that as airlines would prefer having an MRO facility at their terminating destination, it is likely that they would prefer an MRO at the new Bengaluru International Airport.
Barely a quarter ago, there was talk about the possibility of HAL converting its terminal into a mall. However security concerns over having a mall in close proximity to a defence base, have put the plans on the backburner.

World class security: CISF

World class security: CISF
By S Praveen Dhaneshkar,DHNS,Bangalore:
The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), entrusted with the overall security of the Bengaluru International Airport (BIA) at Devanahalli, has stated that security accorded to the new airport is on par with the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGI) in New Delhi.

Speaking to Deccan Herald on Wednesday, Digvijay Kumar Singh, Commandant of the CISF posted at BIA said, “We have a set of parameters for international airports. It is comparably the best in the world.”
Posted to BIA after a successful stint at the IGI, Mr Singh heads a formidable team of 770 CISF personnel equipped with state-of- the-art weaponry.
“The Ministry of Home Affairs has sanctioned an additional staff strength of 228 personnel, of whom 148 have just arrived. In all, we will have a strength of 1000 plus,” he added.
In the first phase of security coverage, CISF will exercise access control to the terminal building and to the airside through control of the perimeter gates.
A ring of security will be laid along the perimeter including manning of all the watch towers.
Urging the public not to get apprehensive about the security provided at BIA, Mr Singh said the parameters/standards set by the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security was in line with that of the International Civil Aviation Standard procedures.
Explained Mr Singh, “We are also in charge of passenger frisking and hand baggage from the check-in terminal. The registered baggage that goes into the hold of the respective aircraft is taken care by the airport operator BIA. All baggage is done through a five-level process (3 automatic and 2 manual). It is totally foolproof. We are up to it in meeting the highest standards set.”
Equipped to provide security to even the Jammu and Kashmir airport that has an even advanced security system that is state-specific because of the prevailing conditions there, CISF is trained to handle or combat any situation in high security zone airports.
n Five levels of security screening system for checked baggage
n 8 Airport Security Units with one x-ray per unit for domestic check-ins
n 5 Airport Security Units with one x-ray per unit


Deccan Herald invites its readers who have used the new airport to share their experiences so that the operator can attend to the hitches. You may have complaints or compliments or both. Mail to us, preferably with your photograph, at Selected mails and photographs will be published in the newspaper

Bangalore finally has Bengaluru International Airport. The operator of the airport as well as the users are facing several teething problems. Complaints include delayed flight arrivals, delay in immigration and baggage clearance, lack of guidance to passengers among others. Deccan Herald invites its readers who have used the new airport to share their experiences so that the operator can attend to the hitches. You may have complaints or compliments or both. Mail to us, preferably with your photograph, at Selected mails and photographs will be published in the newspaper. Two such mails are published below:


Service needs to be improved

I was waiting to see the new international airport which my city had got after such a long wait. I landed well past midnight on day two after the airport became operational. My first impression was: not very warm and welcoming, especially after a long and tiring journey. It is a huge improvement on HAL airport but, it could have been better…
It may be a little too early to comment on service but definitely there were not enough people to direct tired passengers. Most passengers were prepared for the worst, knowing that it was a new facility and there were bound to be problems. The Air France flight arrived on time but in the slot our plane had to park was taken by Malaysian Airlines. There seems to be no segregation between domestic and international flights. There was Deccan, Kingfisher, Lufthansa parked next to each other. We waited for a good 45 minutes to park. We could see people struggling to connect the aerobridge to the plane.
Since three international flights landed more or less at the same time, there were long serpentine queues and just a couple of officials in immigration. Nobody wanted to fight but there were sarcastic comments floating around about the inordinate delay. Baggages took a long time coming as there was no one to load them from cargo. It was more than an hour later that we actually saw the baggage. Meanwhile, Mr Brunner (I recognise him from pictures in the papers) himself came and appealed that they were trying to sort out things, could the passengers please bear with the inconvenience. There was just one customs official in attendance. I don't know how he coped with the surge of people. I was more focused on retrieving my baggage.
My three pieces of luggage came in three different trips and took more than two and half hours after arrival. Many were still waiting.

BIA positives:
-ATM complex which houses kiosks from different banks at one place, in one compact module
-Suma Krishnaswamy ,

Steel birds hit real birds

This is with reference to the report on Page 1 of Deccan Herald (May 27, 2008)-"Bird hits, rains disrupt flights".. I was in the airport with my husband taking a flight to Delhi as the new airport was celebrating its third day. We watched grim faces of the staff who sadly announced delays in flights because of rains and bird-hits.
While the cost of Rs 80 for a plate of idli and sambar at the fancy outlet inside the airport shocked the wits out of us, (the old airport had a little cafe which served good filter coffee for just Rs 5), what is all the more shocking is the fact that Airports Authority of India (AAI) officials have said that ultrasound devices to scare off the birds in minor incidents, to shooting birds in extreme situations could be adopted.
This sends the message that the euphoria of the swanky airport has gone to the heads of humans so much that they have forgotten sensitivities towards creatures of nature. The BIA has encroached into the territories of the birds and not the other way round- "the vicinity of the airport being a vast open space full of lush greenery which is home to thousands of birds." We human beings occupy the homes of animals and birds by destroying nature and building glassy towers. We have no right to do this and on top of it blame the poor bird which is flying its way and a big fat noisy aircraft obstructs its way. So let the AAI think twice before taking the guns to harm these innocent creatures and also let the media change the headline-: Bird Suffers Plane-Hit and not Plane suffers Bird-Hit!

-Nigar Ataulla

C I Ground Floor A, Flat No 737, Austin Town, BDA Flats, Bangalore

Parking attendants need education

Parking attendants need education
By Roopa Rao,DH News Service,Bangalore
The road to the new international airport is usable but a lot of work is still unfinished. Night journeys to BIAL can be a safety hazard to women and children.

The road to the new international airport is usable but a lot of work is still unfinished. Night journeys to BIAL can be a safety hazard to women and children. Some stretches leading to the BIA are too lonely for comfort. At least road lighting from city to airport segment of NH7 must be taken up on priority. Once you reach the trumpet flyover, things are fine. The lighting is good and the road is a dream to drive on. The brightly lit stretch to the airport building is quite impressive.
The first impression of the airport is fine. The control tower looks striking. Every Bangalorean has been waiting for that first sight. The huge areas allocated for parking gladden the heart. However, actually pulling into a slot to park can be tricky. The majority population is taxi drivers and they are in a tearing hurry to park first. The parking attendants need to be educated a little more to guide people properly. They think all parking ills can be sorted out in P4 and wave their hands towards the exit… so you look for P4 and head towards the exit and after a kilometre or more, realise that you actually want to go into the parking area and not back on NH7. It is back to the parking lot and the quest for an empty slot to pull into
Perhaps the best way to commute would be the public transport. There were a number of Volvo buses, Suvarna Karnataka vehicles parked in the bus bay. One guy was shouting 'Whitefield, Whitefield' quite like the way it is done in Kalasipalyam bus stand.
The arrival area is quite spacious and more importantly, even past midnight you have a choice of foods and drinks - chaats, short eats, veg and non-veg stuff, all available outside the building. There is still no seating arrangement for those who prefer to wait outside but will perhaps be put in place soon.

Dirty toilets

Toilets are another story. There was no water in the taps; the flush wasn't working in many and almost all were dirty. The toilet paper holders were empty! Not a single one had paper that could be used. The bins were not emptied. Not a good advertisement for an 'international' effort! Clean toilets can wipe out some discomfort.
Another thing is the ‘Arrival' announcement boards could have been bigger and more prominent. Those who used Mumbai international airport were quite impressed by Bengaluru though they could not pronounce it