Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Are power cuts back unofficially?

Are power cuts back unofficially?

Chitra V. Ramani

Several areas are reeling under power cuts

Those working from home bear the brunt

Irregular shutdown aggravating the problem

Bangalore: It is happening again despite the repeated assurances from the Government and officials of Bangalore Electricity Supply Company. Several areas in the city are suffering from irregular power supply and both residents and those working there are getting fed up of such unscheduled power outages as no satisfactory explanation is forthcoming from the service providers.

Lakshmi Balaji, a homemaker and resident of Horamavu, is a harried woman these days. “We are renovating our home. Work is getting stalled because of irregular power supply. There is no electricity supply most afternoons,” she said.

Leela Ashwathnarayana, a resident of Vijayanagar, said the power cuts were not scheduled, which caused inconvenience to working professionals. “I manage my home and a career. As is the case in most households, I store perishable food items in the refrigerator. Because of the irregular power supply, I have had to throw away food as it gets spoiled.”

Revathi R., another hassled working woman, said: “I have turned my fridge knob to maximum and don’t bother to defrost it; at least then the food keeps. There are days when the power supply goes for four or five hours.”

People who work from home are most affected by the irregular supply.

Vinod Prabhakar, a chartered accountant who has a home office in Vishwapriya Layout in Begur, said that on most afternoons, the power supply was cut.

“Coupled with irregular supply is the problem of low voltage. Usually, we get single-phase supply for at least one or two hours a day. We are worried about the effect the low voltage supply will have on the electronic goods,” he said.

He said that complaining about the irregular supply and low voltage to the BESCOM authorities had not helped improve the situation
Shops, hospitals

It is not just homes that are affected. Such erratic power supply is telling on the service provided by shops and even small hospitals.

Sharada Guruprasad, a microbiologist, said that her mother-in-law often complained about the intermittent power supply during the afternoon. “It is terrible for people who are at home all day if the power supply is irregular. As most of our work is dependent on electricity, we feel crippled when there is no power supply even for an hour,” she said.

However, BESCOM officials plead ignorance. A senior official repeatedly maintained that no power shutdown was being enforced in the city.

“We are maintaining 24-hour power supply to all parts of the city. If at all there is power shutdown in an area, it could be because of an unexpected problem at the station or in the transmission lines. Power supply is irregular only because of

Congress smells scandal in EWS deal

Congress smells scandal in EWS deal

Special Correspondent

B.L. Shankar demands Lokayukta probe into the contract

State Government gave the nod to a private firm to re-build EWS quarters under PPP model

The deal allows the developer 50 per cent

of the commercially exploited land

B.L. Shankar

BANGALORE: The Congress sees the involvement of Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa in a multi-crore joint venture scandal in the development of prime Government land in Bangalore.

The State Cabinet had recently approved a joint development venture of the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike to build housing quarters for the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) of people at Ejipura, in association with a private firm.

Addressing presspersons here, Congress leader B.L. Shankar, who has demanded a probe by the Karnataka Lokayukta into the agreement, said the State Government gave a formal nod allowing Maverick Holdings and Investments to re-build the EWS quarters under the Public Private Partnership model on a built-own-operate-transfer (BOOT) basis. The proposal is to build flats for the residents on seven of the 14 acres of land and the rest of the land is to be used for commercial purposes, jointly by the BBMP and the developer.

According to the deal, the developer would get 50 per cent of the commercially exploited land.

Mr. Shankar, who is a former chairman of the Legislative Council, alleged that the owner of Maverick Holdings and Investments had violated all norms while constructing Garuda Mall.

He alleged that Uday Garudachar, proprietor of the mall, plans to develop a commercial complex on the 14 acres of land meant for the EWS quarters, and that was why he had decided to construct the quarters.

Mr. Garudachar had been keen to contest the last Assembly elections, but the party denied him ticket at the last minute, the Congress leader said.

Garuda Mall was built on prime property once owned by the Government. All the BBMP now earns out of the project is a meagre parking fee, while the mall owners get hefty rents.

The land, on which the mall has been constructed, was earlier used for parking BBMP ambulances and hearse vans and also served as an automobile workshop of the BBMP.

Mr. Shankar urged the Government to scrap the order issued to the private firm for developing the quarters and said only a probe by the Lokayukta would reveal the involvement of money in clearing the project and favours done to the private firm by the Yeddyurappa Government.

Besides recovering the Garuda Mall property, the Government must take legal action against the owner of the mall for violating building norms, he said.
On transparency

Mr. Shankar said that the Chief Minister had recently announced in Chitradurga that the Government had maintained transparency while granting approval to projects and any one could access the files. To justify his claim, Mr. Yeddyurappa should show all files pertained to the awarding of the contract to Maverick Holdings and Investments, to the leaders of Opposition in the Legislative Assembly and the Council, he said.

He accused the Government of looting public money by making appointments such as legal adviser to the Chief Minister and Chairman of the Coastal Development Authority. In fact, several parts of the coastal districts come under the jurisdiction of the Malnad Development Board, he said.

The Chief Minister had announced several schemes for the development of north Karnataka region but most of them remained only on paper, he said.

Senior officials should be posted to Gulbarga for expediting implementation of programmes, he said.

At least one Additional Chief Secretary should be posted to the Gulbarga division to monitor works, he added.

Rumours of a ‘ghost’ take off at BIAL

Rumours of a ‘ghost’ take off at BIAL

Hemanth C S | ENS
29 Sep 2008 05:11:00 AM IST

BANGALORE: After capacity constraints, connectivity hurdles and criticism from all and sundry over shabby infrastructure, there is now a problem quite without precedent at the Bengaluru International Airport (BIA).

Rumours have been doing the rounds for the past week that airport staff have been seeing ghosts on the runway. The description of the ghost has been varied: its gender, attire and features all change, depending on who sees it. A few claim that the ghost is a woman in a white saree, while others say the mysterious creature is headless.

A Kingfisher employee who works at the Cargo section told to this website's newspaper that the ghost, a woman in a white saree with her hair flying loose, has been wandering on the runway. He said this saree-clad ghost had disrupted flight movements. “A pilot of an international carrier had to abort landing after spotting a ‘woman’ with outstretched hands in the middle of the runway. Finally, after two failed attempts, when the ‘woman’ did not move from the runway, the pilot could only land in his third attempt,” he said.

Several employees say another ghost, a headless creature, was spotted near the escalators in the terminal area and in the parking bays. A photograph of the ghost is also said to have been captured on an infra-red camera by an employee.

“All that was visible on the photograph was a skeletal figure of the ‘woman’. This was later passed on via bluetooth to mobile phones and posted on YouTube,” he said. On checking, however, one only got images of ghosts wandering about airports in Thailand and Malaysia; there was nothing on our own native ghost! BIA officials flatly deny these rumours: there was no ghost buster team deployed at the airport. “It’s hard to convince someone to come down from New Delhi to investigate a bhoot. If a flight had to be diverted, we would need to take permissions. There are 10 airport controllers and none of them have seen the woman on the runway. One of the staff had a picture on his mobile, but it cannot be true,” said a BIAL official.

Life is not a bed of roses in Yeshwantpur

Life is not a bed of roses in Yeshwantpur

A busy junction in Yeshwantpur
Faiza Haneef | ENS
29 Sep 2008 05:17:00 AM IST

BANGALORE: Yeshwantpur, situated in the northern outskirts of the City, which now comes under the BBMP area, has become a busy and chaotic part of the City. Though a thickly- populated residential area, most parts of the constituency are dotted with commercial establishments.

Civic problems too, are a part and parcel of the lives of the residents here.

Roads, drinking water and sanitation are the trouble areas here.

Residents say that this constituency's localities have not seen any development projects.

However, with the constituency MLA Shobha Karandlaje, becoming the Minister for Rural Development and Panchayat Raj, people are more hopeful.

Roads in and around Kengeri Satellite town have not been asphalted in the last 10 years.

Kirtan Reddy, a resident says: “Yeshwantpur is known for its new commercial establishments, but connectivity to the other parts of the City is poor. Several complaints to the authorities have fallen on the deaf years.” “We have lived in this locality for the last seven years and have not seen any road repair work.

Bad roads apart, the interior roads do not even have street lights. It is difficult to venture out in the evening, and the potholes on every stretch make movement on the roads no less than an adventure ride,” said Timmaiah, a resident of Harohalli.

The mushrooming commercial establishments have caused a huge inflow of population and the locality is now no more home to just industry workers.

“We can at least expect that there would be some planning on development from now on,” said Thimmaiah.

Traffic chaos is a routine issue due to the narrow lanes. Stray dogs have also become a serious concern for the residents.

BBMP sources said that the road work has been taken up in the area and the potholes have been filled up. Few roads, like the Yeshwantpur - Tumkur Road junction, are still a nightmare for users, especially during the peak hours.

The junction, which is an important link from north Bangalore towards Peenya, the roads gets packed beyond its capacity and traffic moves at an unbearably slow pace.

Constituency – YESHWANTPUR

Number of wards : 3

Ward No - 22 : Harohalli

Ward N0 - 119 : Kengeri Satellite Town

Ward No - 120: Hemmigepura

Bangalore not ready for a Hyde Park, yet

Bangalore not ready for a Hyde Park, yet

Rakshita Adyanthaya | ENS
29 Sep 2008 05:48:00 AM IST

BANGALORE: As if the traffic woes are not enough, daily protest rallies have added to the chaos in Bangalore. To remedy the traffic congestion caused by this, a proposal was made to the government to create a space for protests in Bangalore a la the Hyde Park in London.

No positive developments on this front have happened since and many senior officers do not even know of any such proposal.

However, many Bangaloreans, who take to the streets protesting, do not buy the concept of a Hyde Park in Bangalore.

‘’Screaming in isolation in a park exclusively meant for protesting wouldn’t fetch us anything.What better to get attention than creating chaos in the heart of the City and a place close to most media homes,’’ said the managing director of an event management company.

Dr G Ramesh, DCP Central Zone, Bangalore city police said: ‘’It is a democratic nation and each person has a right to express his demand. A place like Hyde Park is essential, but the Mahatma Gandhi statue is no less.We make sure the protestors do not violate any law.’’ Unlike the Hyde Park, protests near the Mahatma Gandhi statue, Banappa Park, or even the Corporation Circle often cripple traffic as people from across the State want to protest at the busiest spot in the City.

So far Bangalore has witnessed more than 7,000 protests in the last eight years. On an average, each year there are about 920 protests registered and the number continues to increase every year.

With 470 protests in eight months this year, the City has witnessed an average of three protests a day, and the numbers go as high as three at one spot on certain days, said Dr G Ramesh, whose permission is to be sought before staging the protests in the Central Zone.

He added that some of them do not seek permission from the police, and many who seek permission from the Commissioner do not fall in their records.

A Central division police sub-inspector while handling a protest march said: ‘’Once permission is sought, we have to provide them with police protection. A Hyde Park-like space makes sense for Bangalore, because it is not just the protestors, even the onlookers, passers-by and the media add to the already uncontrollable traffic woes.’’ G Ramesh said: ‘’The protesters make a noise for half an hour or so and once the media makes a note of it they calm down.’’

Huffing about puffing

Huffing about puffing

With two days left to go for the ban to kick in, govt wonders how to implement it

By Bangalore Mirror Bureau
Posted On Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Don’t be astonished if you see smoke rising from a public loo. For, smokers might be trying out their luck there as well. With the ban on smoking in public areas kicking in from Oct 2, it has become difficult for people to find ‘cigarette-friendly’ areas.

Though two days are left for the ban to come into effect, the state government is groping in the dark on how to implement the Ramadoss diktat. The union health ministry has mentioned where smoking cannot be allowed, but has remained mum on where smokers can have a free-run. The short list of public places where people can smoke are roads, parks, homes and of course, the ‘smoking zones’ in the organisations.

Karnataka’s law and parliament minister Suresh Kumar said: “The Union health ministry’s move has to be appreciated, but the question is how do we implement it. We will take a decision in the cabinet meeting to be convened in a day or two.”
But the smoking ban is considered by smokers as a move geared at curtailing their ‘freedom of expression’. “It will be irritating to go out of the pub just to take a puff or two,” said Surya Makhija, a techie and a chain-smoker from Indiranagar.

Added Rohan Ramesh, a builder: “Office says smoking not allowed. Wife says don’t smoke in home. I think we soon have to build a ‘smokers home’ where we can sit in peace and smoke.”

Questioning the rationale behind the move, engineering student Anil Joshi said: “When smoking itself is harmful to health, why confine it to public places. Isn’t that unrealistic?’

Kerala buses moved out of Majestic

Kerala buses moved out of Majestic

After Tamil Nadu, it is Kerala’s turn to move out of the Kempe Gowda bus station in the city

By Neethu Reghukumar
Posted On Tuesday, September 30, 2008

After Tamil Nadu, it is Kerala’s turn to move out of the Kempe Gowda bus station in the city.

From now, all Kerala State Road Transport Corporation buses will not ply from the busy bus station, instead they will commute from the Satellite bus station on Mysore road. Hit by a space crunch and the increase in the number of Kerala-bound buses, the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) has asked the Kerala transport undertaking to move all its ‘Super Fast’ buses out of Majestic area. This change is scheduled to come into effect from Monday.

Speaking to Bangalore Mirror, P T Augustine, Special Officer (Bangalore), Kerala transport corporation said “ All buses going towards both Calicut and Palakkad side originate from the Mysore Road terminal.” The move, that comes close on the heels of what had been done to the Tamil Nadu transport undertakings, has not gone well with the passengers and the crew. Since the Majestic bus stand has good connectivity, people prefer to board from Majestic. Moreover, all Kerala bound Karnataka state buses continue to work from Majestic area. This will only confuse people and force them to shell out excess money to reach the new bus station,” he said. Over three lakh Keralites residing in the city mostly travel to their state on weekends.P T Augustine said that on an average the Kerala State Road Transport corporation will lose more than Rs 50,000 per day because of the shift in bus stand. “Passengers, especially from the eastern part of the city, will prefer to take a Karnataka state bus or a private bus that starts from Kalasipalyam rather than travelling all the way to the Mysore Road terminal,” a bus conductor said. Jayakumar, driver of a Calicut bound Super Fast bus, said “This shifting will adversely affect the revenue of the Kerala state buses”. However, the reservation counter at the Majestic bus stand, has been retained.

Fare break for Volvos

Fare break for Volvos

First it was the Re 1 ticket initiative. Now it is a concessional fare on Sundays and public holidays. Well, this is BMTC’s mantra to make Volvo a hot favourite

By Bangalore Mirror Bureau
Posted On Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Now instead of shelling out anywhere between Rs 10 and Rs 50, you have a choice to make your trip a pocket-friendly one in Volvo.”The minimum charge would be Rs 5 and maximum Rs 20 on Sundays and holidays,” Transport Minister R Ashok said in a press conference here on Monday. The move is geared to rope in more passengers, which in a way would prevent the Volvos from turning into white elephants for the BMTC. The new fare will be effective from Oct 2, a public holiday on account of Gandhi Jayanthi.

The minister also announced special services by the KSRTC and BMTC for Dasara. KSRTC will run 450 buses to Mysore from different parts of Karnataka. The Bangalore to Mysore route itself will have 200 additional buses for ten days, starting from Sept 30. The other 250 buses will be from Mangalore, Chikmagalur, Shimoga, Ooty and Hassan. KSRTC will also
be having special darshini services for ten days which includes Jal darshini (visiting water bodies), Giri darshini (visiting mountains), Nagara darshini (visiting the city) and Dhama darshini (visiting religious paces). This is a full day package and the rate varies between Rs 190 and Rs 250 depending on the package that is chosen. As part of the festival, ten Volvo buses will be running in Mysore city for a fare of Rs 5 irrespective of the distance.

So if you are planning for a nice and economical Dasara-break, you have ample choices being offered by transport department to chose from!

Protest faces residents’ ire

Protest faces residents’ ire

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The truckers’ strike has angered people, who are not very sympathetic to their plea against the state government’s insistence that they install speed governors in their vehicles.

“While it is to easy to see the truckers’ point of view, it is also important to understand the socio-economic rationale behind the government’s move which the truckers are eager to ignore,” said an employee of an IT company.

“Truckers all over India share some common traits. Barring a few exceptions, most trucks are in poor shape, are noisy and polluting and have dubious registrations. Most of the drivers are undisciplined, overbearing and aggressive. They are impatient, take sadistic pleasure in playing hide and seek with cars and smaller vehicles, and don’t care in the least for human life. All this may be fun for truck drivers but for drivers of cars it is a frightening experience,” said Sandeep Kaur, an IT company employee.

“These are weighty issues that need to be resolved over time. Yielding to the truckers’ lobby will not do when a whole gamut of issues are involved,” said another techie, Raman Shah.

Truckers strike likely to start tonight

Truckers strike likely to start tonight

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With many associ ations deciding to support the indefinite strike called by the Federation of Karnataka Lorry Owners Association from midnight of September 30 on the speed governor controversy, people in the city could face various kinds of inconvenience over the next few days.

The association has decided to go on strike although the Supreme Court has not yet given its verdict on whether heavy vehicles in Karnataka need to install speed governors or not as insisted upon by the state government.

Employees of city BPO and IT firms could be inconvenienced if taxi and cab owners join the indefinite strike. The BPO employees anticipate confusion if the cabs go off the roads as they claims their managements have let them down in the past, failing to arrange transport for them even during bandhs.

“Last time our transport department told us that cabs would be available during a bandh, but later we were informed that we were supposed to make our own way as they could not arrange the cabs to pick us up,” said a BPO employee, Chetan Sharma.

Explaining the decision of the Federation of Goods Trucks Association to support the strike, its president, Tempo Babu, said, “If we boycott the high court decision, it will be contempt of court. So instead we decided to join the indefinite strike. The state government should have considered the consequences before insisting on speed governors for our vehicles.” He claimed the government was only trying to harass truck and other commercial vehicle owners by its notification on the speed governors. “The officials have submitted exaggerated statistics on accidents involving lorries to the high court. The police will take advantage of this situation and we will be charged huge amounts as fines if installation of speed governors is made compulsory.” Mr Babu added.

The federation also feels it is unfair that only Karnatka is insisting on speed governors for its commercial vehicles. “The decision should be implemented nationwide and not restricted to a state,” he maintained.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Can we trust BIAL?

asks Devesh Agarwal in this post http://aviation.deveshagarwal.com/2008/09/bial-knew-well-in-time-and-did-nothing.html

Inox opens second multiplex

Inox opens second multiplex
Bs Reporter / Chennai/ Bangalore September 29, 2008, 0:46 IST

Inox is set to open on Monday its second multiplex in Bangalore, increasing the number of its screens in the city to eight. With this, Inox has added three screens and 793 seats. Its first multiplex has 1,103 seats.

Alok Tandon, COO, Inox Leisure Ltd. speaking on their expansion plans in Karnataka, said, “By the end of 2010 Inox will have nine multiplexes in Karnataka with 47 screens. We will open four more multiplexes in Bangalore city and one each in Mangalore, Hubli and Belgaum.”

Nationally, Inox has 26 multiplexes and 90 screens in 18 cities across India. Fewer multiplexes are coming up in Bangalore lately for want of space.

Big 3 unite for new rule

Big 3 unite for new rule
BWSSB, Bescom Will Give Access To Services Only After BBMP Nod
Aarthi R | TNN

Bangalore: Aspiring house owners, beware. It would be best to stick to the sanctioned building plan, as even the smallest deviations in the form of setbacks in front, rear, left or right side of the building, height of the structure or number of floors, could leave the building in darkness and without water.
In a bid to crack down on violators and plug loopholes, the three civic stakeholders — BBMP, BWSSB and Bescom — will coordinate to enforce the law.
The month-old pilot system makes it mandatory for BBMP to issue a statutory certificate to provide water and power supply to new buildings. It is a result of the recent decision of the Lok Ayukta which placed the onus on BBMP, and helped in spotting many fake cases and building violations. According to the new rule, Bescom and BWSSB engineers will have to write to the newly-formed Technical Vigilance Cell under the commissioner. Only after the certificate is issued, they will provide basic utility services to consumers.
The certificate is to be issued within 15 days by BBMP, based on a detailed spot inspection submitted by the Cell. It has eight executive engineers, headed by superintendent engineer S Prabhakar.
The report filed by the Cell includes all details of the inspection — right from the name of the engineer and date of inspection to details of deviation in construction from the sanctioned building plan.
So far, 300 plans have been submitted. While 164 plans have already been inspected and details recorded, more than 50 are in progress.
BBMP commissioner S Subramanya told The Times of India: “This process is still an infant. Based on the inspections done so far, we have also been able to record the details of violation and fake cases. Besides reporting, BBMP will also initiate strict criminal action against the fake cases.’’
In its drive to curb illegal constructions, BBMP also plans to set up a 24-hour helpline to lodge complaints. Our engineers will respond within 24 hours, assured the commissioner. The number of the helpline will be announced soon.
While the Cell will look into spot inspection, the calls will be operated by a call centre. In addition, by paying a stipulated fee, the party concerned can also avail a video certification of the inspection for further clarifications. Work on this system is in progress and soon, the helpline will be on display across the city.
TOUGH RULE Aug 13: Ward 37, building on 17th cross, Srinivasnagar — 100% violation — power supply denied
Aug 21: East division, property in C V Raman Nagar — fake plan
Aug 28: R R Nagar, Vaddarapalya village, Uttarahalli — Occupation Certificate not obtained — power supply denied


Drag racing, that hazardous night street racing spectacle, has vexed Bangalore police for years now. Drag culture has even made city roads unsafe. Now the racers, who get a high on speed and slick motors, have moved on to the highways

Bangalore: Drag racing, once common in the heart of the city, has now shifted to the outskirts, with the police coming down heavily on the racers. Earlier, Anil Kumble Circle to Trinity Circle was used as a drag strip by wannabe racers.
Racing culture is not new to Bangalore. Not long ago, Jakkur airstrip was used for drag racing events. But with the Army and government refusing to allow races at Jakkur, space-starved youngsters have been using smooth roads for their sport.
According to motor sports promoter and one-time drag racer Ashok Vasa, the noisy racing by youngsters on modified bikes cannot be called drag racing. “A proper drag race is where only one person races in a specified lane, with all the safety measures. But today, the scenario has changed. Most youngsters who can afford an imported bike or a modified one, get into this kind of racing. This can at best be called ‘street racing’, which is illegal.’’
In February this year, police had arrested eight youth involved in drag racing. The smooth NICE Road had become a racing circuit for enthusiasts. But police have cracked down on NICE Road, and the daredevils have taken their roaring beasts to other roads.
According to police officials, Mysore Road is a favourite stretch, and the destination is a coffee outlet at Maddur. After the shutters are downed on pubs and bars at 11.30 pm, party-crazy youths head out of Bangalore to this 24-hour coffee shop on their bikes or cars, leading to accidents.
Bellary Road stretch is also popular with youngsters who drive at full throttle. According to DCP (East) K Shrinivas, the police have taken all security measures to curb such races. “Along with night patrolling, we check for such activities. If there are complaints against such races, we will immediately take action.’’ Mysore Road a killer stretch
Bangalore: Mysore Road is a stretch of death traps from Vijayanagar to Bidadi. It has the dubious distinction of being an accident-prone zone, with several accidents being reported after the Bangalore-Mysore Road was laid.
Traffic expert M N Sreehari says: “Spots like Nayandahalli junction, Rajarajeshwarinagar junction, R V College junction, a skywalk near Kengeri, DPS International School and Kumbalagodu are some places where the most number of accidents occur. Road widening has led to an increase in the speed of vehicles, but pedestrian safety has been neglected,’’ he added.
According to DCP (West) Panduranga Rane, the number of accidents on Mysore Road has come down now. “The road has been widened, and there is strict policing. We have booked over 1,300 cases this month, with the maximum number for overspeeding. There is one interceptor on Mysore Road which catches the offenders.’’
Nayandahalli junction Rajarajeshwarinagar junction R V College junction Kengeri skywalk junction DPS International School Kumbalagodu
SUPERBIKES — Imported ones include Hayabusa, Yamaha R1, Kawasaki Ninja, Honda CBR. Modified bikes include Hero Honda CBZ, Karizma, Suzuki Fiero, Bajaj Pulsar City has nearly 150 superbikes, most not registered with RTO Modification could cost Rs 2,000 to Rs 25,000 Money spent on body kits, aerodynamic components, neon tubes, xenon headlights, exhaust filters Racers loyal to their mechanics, won’t allow anyone else to touch bikes Some bikes can do 300 kmph; bikers zip up to 200 kmph

Subway magic created in 24 hrs

Subway magic created in 24 hrs
BBMP Makes Up For Underpass Gaffe
Aarthi R | TNN

Bangalore: No noise or publicity. But this 3.6 mtr x 3.6 mtr magic subway for pedestrians, opposite the Hebbal police station, was laid in a record 24-hour operation that started on Friday morning. While BBMP shying away from publicity — following their ‘magic box’ underpass experience — can be expected, what’s interesting is that the operation on a busy road with more than 1.35 lakh vehicles plying everyday was completed without much diversion or complaints.
What did it take to create the magic this time? Nearly 100 workers, eight trucks, six lorries, two cranes and two earth-movers were part of this silent day-long operation that began as early as 5.30 am on Friday and ended by 6 am on Saturday.
The silent success story has surprised many. “When I left for work by this road at 10 am on Friday, all I saw was a diversion board. I left expecting a few months of regular inconvenience. Surprisingly, on my return at 10 pm, I found most of the work completed’’ said Chandru, who lives nearby.
Even cable work by BSNL, that was stated as a six-day operation, was completed by 10 am on Sunday — yet another 24-hour operation on field. Being the first of eight such pedestrian subways planned for the city, the project at Hebbal cost Rs 40 lakh. “With the available technology, we can build such magic subways in just two days, but a lot of this depends on feasibility of the land. This place had just the BSNL cables interfering. There are places where drains and waterways may cause delays,’’ BBMP chief engineer (roads) K S Krishna Reddy said, adding that laying magic subways will soon be routine activity.
More than 70% of the work on this subway is complete. What remains is building a ramp into it on either end, that will take another 15 days. With the festive days in between, there might be a few ‘no-work’ days.
According to BBMP commissioner S Subramanya, all the magic subways planned will follow a similar hassle-free procedure with not much obstruction to people or traffic. Five such subways are being planned at Basaveshwara Circle alone. “The attempt is to insulate pedestrians and cyclists from vehicular traffic,’’ he said. The palike is also looking at having subways around Vidhana Soudha and at High Grounds.
Earlier in the year, BBMP’s announcement of completing its magic-box underpasses in 72 hours was met with sarcasm. After initial enthusiasm, the civic agency found water lines running at the spot — Cauvery Junction on Bellary Road — the relocation of which needed more than 15 days. The 72-hour deadline got extended to 45 days! This time, they did not want to make much noise over its magic subway and quietly completed the work. Way to go BBMP!

From limelight to neglect in 4 months

From limelight to neglect in 4 months
By Rashmi R Hebbur,DH News Service,Bangalore:
It was with great fanfare that a citizens' park with colourful fountains and waterfalls came up in Jayanagar 4th block, two years ago. But a visit to this green spot now gives a picture of government apathy, the idle fountain equipment left to rust.

Bavi Park’ on Diagonal Road in Jayanagar 4th block, with walking tracks and children's play area, was developed by BBMP in 2005-2006. To give a natural look to the park, pre-cast cement sculptures of various animals were positioned on the lawns. Fountains with colourful lights were installed in the central area, by spending Rs 4.90 lakh.

The park, which was officially thrown open in August ,2006, attracted huge crowds. The waterfalls and fountains, illuminated in the evenings, became the major attraction.

However, the scene changed after about four months. The waterfalls and fountains stopped working, owing to problems in the motors. Since then, there has been no attempt on the part of BBMP officials to repair the motors. Now, the fountains are rusting and the light boxes are full of cob-webs. The water in the fountain pond is filled with tadpoles, plastic containers, spoons and garbage.

Even now the park is visited by at least 300 people on weekdays and more on weekends.Two gardeners and a watchman take care of this park. In the absence of the elected members, BBMP officials are not taking steps for proper maintenance of equipment.

When enquired, Jayanagar MLA B N Vijayakumar told Deccan Herald that he was recently appraised of the situation and has conducted a joint inspection with the officials of the BBMP's Projects department. "I have asked them to take action on priority. The fountains will start working again, before the end of this month (September)," he assured.

Who built these shelters?

Who built these shelters?
By G Manjusainath,DH News Service,Bangalore:
While the BBMP floated tenders last year in October for the construction of the bus shelters at Ulsoor, Indiranagar, Kensington Road and Old Madras Road, the same were to be done under the MPLADS on the recommendation of Sangliana in October 2005.

Have you ever heard of a bus shelter under the MPLAD scheme constructed on the ‘Build Operate and Transfer’ (BOT) and ‘Develop, Operate and Transfer (DOT) basis?

Well, this is the marvel of the BBMP. The bus shelters in question were to be at Ulsoor, Indiranagar, Kensington Town, Binnamangala and Old Madras Road but only three have come up so far.

The million dollar question with regard to the bus shelters is ‘Whose baby is it?’ Does it belong to the BBMP or the expelled BJP MP H T Sangliana.

While the BBMP floated tenders last year in October for the construction of the bus shelters at Ulsoor, Indiranagar, Kensington Road and Old Madras Road, the same were to be done under the MPLADS on the recommendation of Sangliana in October 2005.

On the MP’s recommendation, the then deputy commissioner of Bangalore Urban district M A Sadiq had given administrative approval for the construction of the bus shelters on January 18, 2006.

Missing bus shelters

But till the end of 2007, there were no bus shelters at those places. In this regard, Deccan Herald published a report last year on August 27 titled ‘Despite aid, bus shelters remain unsheltered!’ Subsequently, a team headed by the assistant commissioner visited the locations to see the ‘missing bus shelters.’

As the matter was in progress, Sangliana shot off a letter to Sadiq requesting him to cancel the sanction ‘due to the reason of wrong selection of spots.’ Interestingly, the BBMP came into the picture on November 26, 2007, which floated tenders for bus stops at Ulsoor, Kensington Town and Old Madras Road.

People of Ulsoor say that the BBMP made the bus shelters but what had happened to the administrative sanction given to Sangliana’s proposal for bus shelters in all the places, remains a mystery.

Sangliana said, he had asked the DC Sadiq to cancel the sanction. “The BBMP had some plans about the designs of the bus shelters, so they wanted to construct it. I did not follow up what had happened to my letter asking the urban DC to cancel the sanction,” said Sangliana.

On the other hand, the then deputy commissioner of Bangalore Urban M A Sadiq said he has no idea about the case. “It was long back when I gave administrative sanction to the bus shelters. I am no more the DC of Bangalore Urban. I have no idea what has happened,” said Sadiq. He admitted that the MP can withdraw the proposal under the MPLADS even after the administrative sanction is given but not after the construction starts.
However, a letter writen by the executive engineer of the Panchayath Raj Engineering Division, dated April 5, 2007, says that the fabrication work for remaining five bus shelters is in progress.

What had happened to the ‘five fabricated bus shelters’ is a mystery. There is no one to answer where the fabricated bus shelters have been dumped.


The bus shelters in question have no amenities. Even though several heavyweights are behind the construction of the bus shelters, it neither have seats for the commuters nor light. “It is an ‘Adda’ (meeting point) of miscreants in the night in absence of light. People even fear going to these bus stops. The BMTC too is apathetic as buses are not stopped at these bus shelters,” said Kalidas Reddy, one of the residents who fought for the bus shelters.

Water accumulation hits smooth flow of traffic

Water accumulation hits smooth flow of traffic

Afshan Yasmeen

Motorists forced to exercise extra caution at underpass

— Photo: K. Murali Kumar

UNDER PRESSURE: The Cauvery junction underpass has become a problem because it was ‘planned and executed in haste’.

Bangalore: After the frame of the steel girder on the floor of the “magic box” underpass near the Cauvery junction gave way in March under the weight of a loaded lorry, Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) officials attributed the damage to the heavy load, and quickly repaired it.

Then a water supply line passing underneath broke, and water leaked from it. The problem was again set right quickly. This time the officials said the pipeline was about 500 metres from the underpass and the leak was a “minor” one. There were no major traffic holdups on the stretch then, although drivers had to slow down.

Now, motorists driving from the Bashyam Circle side have been experiencing a similar situation for the past month as continuous leakage of water from the line accumulates around the girder. After crossing a stretch of road where the tar has been washed off at the entry to the underpass, motorists have to drive through the muddy water that has accumulated near the girder. If that is not enough, the stretch of road at the exit point near the Cauvery junction is full of potholes.
Trouble even then

The rupture of a water pipeline had caused severe problems for the underpass even as it was being built. The three-day deadline set to complete the work could not be met because of this, and the work got extended to 36 days. The facility was opened to traffic in February.

S. Gopalan and Guru Murthy, who pass through the junction every day, derided the “magic box” as more of a “matchbox”. “It is so narrow we cannot avoid the dirty water, and because of this traffic piles up at the mouth of the underpass and two-wheelers and autorickshaws have to jostle through it,” Mr Gopalan said.

“The situation is really bad when it rains. Most of the time, the area near the girder gets clogged and we have to wade through the water,” Mr. Murthy said.
Hasty planning

C.E.G. Justo, who heads the BBMP’s Technical Advisory Committee on major projects, said the problem was because this project was planned and executed in haste.

The project did not have to be referred to the committee because of its low cost, Prof. Justo told The Hindu. “The project was planned as nothing was being done to provide connectivity to the new airport then, and the BBMP was under pressure. The whole thing was done in a hurry without even [the authorities] realising that the underground water line could cause major problems in future,” he said.

He said the problem could have been avoided if the project had been planned meticulously and enough time was spent on its execution. Ideally, the underpass should have been located exactly at the Cauvery junction, he said.

BBMP Chief Engineer (Major Roads) K.S. Krishna Reddy said the seepage was because the water-table near the junction was high.

“What will happen if you cut a watermelon? Water will come out. It is the same situation here. The soil investigation had revealed there is water six feet from the ground level, and the earth has been excavated a little beyond five feet for the facility. Hence, the seepage,” he said.

He said there was a similar seepage even at the Mekhri Circle underpass. “We will temporarily repair these seepages now and take up permanent corrective measures after the monsoon,” he added.

City gets green fingers

City gets green fingers

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As global warming, the greenhouse effect and other such environmental issues threaten the earth, Bengaluru is doing its best to eradicate these problems. It is the first city in India to introduce the concept of urban forests.

Mr Suresh Heblikar, chairman of ‘Eco Watch’, an NGO that helps conserve forests and water resources spoke about the importance of urban forests in large cities. Planting trees would reduce the amount of carbon dioxide present in the atmosphere and simultaneously release oxygen into the environment. Urban forests would also help reduce sound pollution, soil erosion and improve ground water level in our city. “As there is little or no space available in Bengaluru, people are not willing to give up land to plant trees as they see it as a waste of space. Even religious institutions are reluctant as they lose out on commercial gain if there are trees in the way of a Shamiyana or any other temporary structure,” he said.

He also adds that some large companies such as Motorola, Intel and Deutsche Bank are concerned about ecological issues and are helping in whatever way they can. Eco Watch was the first organisation that conceived the idea of urban forests in Bengaluru.

On the Intermediate Ring Road between Koramangala and Indiranagar, it has planted over 50,000 trees, most of which are now fully grown.

Renowned environmentalist A.N. Yellappa Reddy has been actively working with Bangalore University to make it as green as possible. Presently, three lakh trees surround the campus and Mr Reddy is trying to advice the government to adopt tree parks around the city. He stresses on the importance of a Green Bengaluru and says, “Our lungs need about 90 per cent of moisture to be present in the air we breathe. Planting more trees will help release moisture in the air and trap the particulate matter that would have otherwise irritated our respiratory system. Birds, insects and some small animals would also prosper with the growth of trees around the city and this would help in pollination of flower bearing trees around the city.” Together, they urged the citizens to help with this venture and plant as many trees as possible.

Road hell for pedestrians

Road hell for pedestrians

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Though Forum Mall is a haven for shoppers, the road leading to it is nothing short of hell for pedestrians.

The Adugodi Road and Koramangla Main Road junction is so busy during peak hours that it becomes virtually impossible for pedestrians to cross that road. Pedestrians say they are forced to run through moving traffic to cross the road.

“Crossing the road here is very risky. There has to be proper traffic management and pedestrians should be given time to cross the road,” says Dr M. Muni Reddy, president, Koramangla Residents’ Welfare Association.

He adds that the flow of traffic in Koramangala has increased after Forum Mall came up and gross mismanagement of traffic at the junction made the problem worse.

The junction has traffic flow from three areas — Koramangala, Adugodi and Madivala.

“It is a prime junction through which vehicles from different directions pass, so it is important that traffic there is managed well. People running in between traffic is not just dangerous for pedestrians; it also makes it difficult motorists to drive or ride,” says Dr Reddy.

“No where in the world do authorities sit back and allow people to make their way through busy traffic to cross the road,” he says.

However, Adugodi Police Station traffic inspector Ravi Shankar says that ‘ things will soon be set right. “There is a median at the junction which does not allow vehicles to turn. We have already written to Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike, asking that the median be removed,” he says. “We know that it is difficult for pedestrians to cross the road especially during peak hours between 6 pm and 8 pm, so we have deployed extra traffic wardens there.” Mr Ravi Shankar explains that during peak hours time there is a sudden rush of over 3,000 pedestrians.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Nightmare on ring road

Nightmare on ring road

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People living in the vicinity of the Outer Ring Road dread using it as they have to deal with its speeding heavy vehicular traffic which has been the cause of several accidents here.

Many of the people living here have themselves met with accidents on the ORR, says Mr Prakash Reddy, a resident of Horamavu and a private engineer. “Travelling on Outer Ring Road (ORR) is risky. Trucks zoom past you or even graze your vehicle leaving ugly marks and dents although the ORR is not meant for trucks and lorries,” he says.

To make matters worse there is little hope of the Hennur — Banasawadi underpass being completed as scheduled on January 18 next year. The underpass is important as this stretch of the ORR connects two busy national highways, the Old Madras Road (NH – 4) and Bellary Road (NH – 7).

The BBMP began constructing the underpass at the Hennur-Banaswadi junction to provide for smooth flow of vehicles for people living in Hennur, Banaswadi, Horamavu and surrounding areas and to allow unhindered traffic flow on the ORR. The delay in its completion is upsetting the people.

“We have provided a lead off for storm water at the underpass and a ramp has been built on one side. We are hopeful of completing the work on schedule. Diverting traffic took some time. Excavation work will begin within a week,” says site engineer Kaliraj S, explaining that work was delayed as water pipes and Bescom lines had to be shifted. “Work was also affected due to the incessant rain,” he claims.

BBMP engineer N Mallegowda says the contractor had given a programme chart. “We have been pressurising him to complete the work at the earliest,” he adds.

on the street where you live - Even autos say no to this posh area

on the street where you live - Even autos say no to this posh area

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Autorickshaws refuse to enter this road and at least five to six vehicles have a flat tyre on it every week. When it rains it becomes a pedestrian’s nightmare. Welcome to 17th F Cross Road in JP Nagar V phase.

People who use the road to go to work say their clothes become so dusty by the time they reach their offices that they feel they have been through a construction site.

The frustrated people have formed an association called 12th Main Association only to deal with this one road. They are hoping that at least this will draw the authorities’ attention to its condition.

“We sometimes feel as if we are not in Bengaluru but in some village,” says Sai Kiran, secretary, Madurasuraksha Apartments, add ing, “It was to get this road repaired that we formed the 12th Main Association two years ago. Last year to worsen the situation, they filled all the potholes with pebbles and mud. All the mud was eventually washed off, leaving the stones behind which made travelling on it much worse.” Recalls Sundaramma, “A year ago, a senior citizen, who was walking on this mud road, which has never seen tar, fell down and suffered a fracture. She has not been able to walk since.” The area has numerous posh apartments but the road has remained muddy as ever. Says a vegetable vendor, “I have been selling vegetables on my cart here for the past 10 years. The condition of this road has never changed and is in fact becoming worse.” The potholes here have even defeated autorickshaw drivers, who outright refuse to take passengers to 12th main JP Nagar. “Autos stop at the entrance to the road even if we have children with us,” says a housewife, Shyamala. “It’s impossible to walk or ride here. When it rains vehicles skid,” says Ananth, another resident.

BBMP assistant engineer N.A. Khan, in charge of this zone, claims that estimates have been drawn up on the repair of the road which have been sent to the commissioner. “Once they are approved, we will call for tenders and start work immediately,” he says.

smooth operator - BIA needs a Mr Fix It

smooth operator - BIA needs a Mr Fix It

Article Rank

: Mr Shivamurthy is as low profile as they come. For the last 34 years, this one man has ensured the “flight” to success of a string of politicians, businessmen, bureaucrats, film stars and celebrities was always smooth.

The man in question? Terminal manager of HAL airport, who was only a phone call away when former chief minister Devaraj Urs or Gundu Rao travelled and was on the speed dials of Dr Rajkumar, NRN and Kiran Mazumdar Shaw.

One call and Mr Dependable ensured hassle free boarding or landing.

With HAL turning into a virtual no-man's land, only the occasional VIP passing through, the once high profile but intensely private Shivakumar sits in a corner of HAL airport.

“I was approached by the then chief minister Devaraj Urs in the mid 70s when he had a flight to catch to Delhi. A man in hurry. I ensured he didn’t miss his flight. After that, many leaders started approaching me. Only one man, former KPCC chief K. H. Ranganath who came in a little too late missed his flight!,” he says.

He still get calls as many do not know he is grounded at HAL, far away from the action at Bengaluru International Airport. Shivamurthy, who joined Airports Authority of India in 1974 retires in 2009, and plans to write his memoirs on his many trysts with the powers that be.

BIAL’s CEO Albert Brunner is failing to cope with this all too Indian problem - making VVIPs comfortable. After criticism of the cold reception at BIA Brunner has ensured a VIP lounge is in place.

If he followed the babus’ advice to “get Shivamurthy here or hire someone like him”, will the turbulence over BIA blow over?

Revised Metro station designs approved

Revised Metro station designs approved

Staff Reporter

BANGALORE: The Board of Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd. (BMRCL) approved the revised designs of Mahatma Gandhi Road and Trinity Circle stations, here on Saturday.

“The new designs are an improvement over the earlier designs and have more features,” BMRCL Managing Director N. Sivasailam told The Hindu. The meeting, chaired by BMRCL chairman M. Ramachandran, who is Secretary, Ministry of Urban Development, also gave the go-ahead for inviting tenders for power supply and traction work at an estimated cost of Rs. 650 crore. The corporation on Saturday invited tenders for construction of three elevated stations each on Reach 2 and Reach 3 of Namma Metro Phase I. On Reach 2, tender has been invited for construction of Tollgate (Magadi Road), Hosahalli and Vijayanagar stations. These stations will be constructed at an estimated cost of Rs. 98 crore. On Reach 3, tender for construction of Yeshwanthpur, Soap Factory and Mahalakshmi Layout has been invited. The estimated cost of construction of these stations is Rs. 111 crore.

Priority will be given to urgent needs, says legislator

Priority will be given to urgent needs, says legislator
DH News Service,Bangalore:
Sarvagnanagar, a constituency with problems aplenty, will wear a new and pleasant look in two years. But presently we will undertake projects that need to be addressed urgently, said newly-elected Sarvagnanagar MLA, KJ George. He was addressing the residents of his constituency at a Janaspandana organised by Deccan Herald and Prajavani.

"The new constituencies have hundreds of problems and all the problems cannot be solved in one go. On the basis of priorities, we can carry out developmental projects," said the MLA.

The MLA added, “It is not advisable on the part of people to be completely dependent on officers, but there is need for active officials in some department. It is not possible to remain mute spectators to officials' inaction for the failure in solid waste management.”

He quoted the Chief Minister to say that a big ‘garbage mafia’ is active in the city. However, there is need for the officers to take precautionary measure to deal with the solid waste management, he added. He also felt the need for BWSSB officers to redress public grievances quickly.

The legislator stated that the State Government has released a sum of Rs 19 crore for various projects ,but denied having received even a rupee from contractors. “I am committed to quality work in my constituency. Next month, I will have a new office where people, irrespective of their political beliefs, can come and register their grievances,” he said.

The office will work from 10 am to 7 pm, to receive complaints from the people and initiate necessary action. “It is not possible to redress all grievances, so in future Janaspandana programmes may be organised every Saturday, in the respective wards. People can submit their memoranda at their respective wards too, or call 98450 67437 to lodge complaints,” he added.

Fly-over by April

The fly-over near the ITC factory, work on which had come to a halt, will be begun, and work will conclude by March or April, said TJ George.

He expressed his concern over the fly-over construction work, which is progressing at snail’s pace.

At HAL it's Lights, Camera, Action...

At HAL it's Lights, Camera, Action...

From Vidhu Vinod Chopra to AVM productions, filmmakers are using Bangalore’s old airport to can fictional arrivals and departures

By Sameer Ranjan Bakshi
Posted On Saturday, September 27, 2008

Once or twice a week the old HAL airport comes back to life. Passengers mill about, some in nervous tension, others aimlessly, a few saying hurried goodbyes, many of them busy at the luggage carousel. A group of nattily dressed flight attendants swish past the security gates. In the distance, you can hear a Airbus revving up.

You shake your head in disbelief, wondering if you’re caught in some timewarp, or if, without your knowledge, the government has reneged on the BIAL contract and recommissioned the HAL airport. Then it dawns on you.

The strobe lights shrouded in canvas, the coils of cables and the overhead pylons attached to camera cranes are the only giveaway. Welcome to HAL airport’s new avatar, as a much-in-demand film locale.

After the shifting of the Bangalore airport to Devanahalli four months ago, the city’s once overcrowded and busy HAL airport had become a picture of desolation. The unattended tarmac had acquired a green mossy tinge while the empty arrival and departure lounges resembled some musty, cavernous mausoleum.

Of course, the airport is being used as a training centre for commercial airline and airforce pilots and is also used by VVIPs. But the general opinion was that the old airport would soon fall into disrepair or get converted into something else altogether. But then the AAI hit upon an innovative plan to reclaim some of the airport’s old glory. They decided to rent it out to the movie-makers.

The AAI allows production houses to shoot inside the terminal building and outside, charging Rs.28,000 per hour with a service tax of 12.38 per cent. It also allows still photography at the rate of Rs.300 per hour.

“Instead of keeping the existing infrastructure idle, we thought we can allow it for film shoots and earn money for the government. The international departure and arrival gives a real feeling of movies having been shot in international airports,” AAI’s joint general manager (commercial) B R Sena told Bangalore Mirror.


Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s 3 Idiots, spun out of Chetan Bhagat’s best-seller Five Point Someone, and starring Aamir Khan and Kareena Kapoor amongst others, was shot here a couple of days ago. “Maddy (Madhavan) had come to the airport for the shooting. We brought our family members to see him and the shooting,” an AAI official said.

The film crew did not get enough time to shoot at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi, so they hit upon the idea of picturising the movie at the HAL airport.

Practically, the film units find it difficult to shoot at working airports because of the hectic activity. “Lighting and working on different camera angles need a lot of time. Delhi or Mumbai airports are so busy that the film crew do not have the freedom to shoot at their own pace. It is here that the readily available facilities at the HAL airport come in handy,” said Sena.

Moreover, the HAL airport also helps film-makers avoid expenditure on erecting costly sets resembling an airport.

It is not just Bollywood, even Kollywood has used the airport. AVM Production’s Avan starring Surya was also shot between September 8 and 11.

The movie was shot for a total of 39 hours. “The film crew replicated the Chennai airport here. Mostly, scenes such as hero or the heroine arriving from abroad were picturised,” another AAI official said. The shooting, in a way provide great entertainment to the AAI staff, as the unit literally creates a busy airport by making the ‘extras’ play airhostess, pilots and flight stewards,” an official said.

Kannada film industry too has joined the bandwagon. While Ramu Enterprises’ Gulama, directed by Ranganath, was shot for two hours, the AAI has got a request from Shailendra Productions to shoot a yet-to-be-named film starring Upendra and Maya next month. Well, for the HAL airport, it seems there is still along way to go.

Subway built in 24 hours!

Subway built in 24 hours!

Bangalore: Some have criticized the BBMP ‘magic boxes’, but the experiment has produced another innovation: magic subways. The BBMP launched its first magic subway in Hebbal on Saturday.
The subway is one of 37 planned in Bangalore with the same technology used in magic boxes. “The subways will have elevated boxes,” BBMP chief engineer (roads) K S Krishna Reddy said. The subway opposite Hebbal police station was assembled in a ‘’record time’’ of 24 hours. Five subways have been proposed at Basaveshwara Circle, Hosur Road, CBI junction, Chalukya Circle and Race Course Road.


A slew of transport projects is set to transform the commuter’s experience. But the old problem — of each agency functioning in isolation — remains. When will these be integrated, asks R Krishnakumar

Bangalore: The Bangalore traffic grid is set for a makeover with three major rail lines tipped to run through various pockets of the city. The city’s showpiece rail link — Namma Metro — is expected to commence service by December 2010, even as the Karnataka State Industrial Investment and Development Corporation (KSIIDC) clears the decks for the high-speed rail link (HSRL) from the city centre to the Bengaluru International Airport (BIA) in Devanahalli. The state has also cleared four corridors in the city for Monorail, planned as feeder links to Metro.
In the years to follow, Bangalore could have rail lines running up to more than
100 km. This, when the city’s planners are still grappling with basics like maintenance of roads and enforcement of traffic discipline. The situation makes Bangalore the ideal candidate for multi-modal transportation systems, according to traffic and transportation experts. The ambitious Comprehensive Traffic and Transportation Plan (CTTP) for the city has dealt in detail with the scope of integrating various forms of transportation, like mass rapid transport, buses and light rail systems.
According to senior officials monitoring the traffic and transportation systems in the city, the issue now is that different agencies are planning and functioning in isolation. This is the critical aspect that the chief minister’s ABIDe (Agenda for Bangalore Infrastructure Development) team is also focusing on.
Three hubs on the cards
The state is planning to develop three major traffic and transportation hubs in the city, at the BRV parade grounds near MG Road, Hebbal and Byappanahalli. M N Sreehari, traffic and transportation expert and adviser in the ABIDe task force, says the Bangalore Metropolitan Land Transport Authority (BMLTA) is streamlining the integration of various departments towards a multi-modal transportation system.
“In Hebbal, the idea is to integrate bus traffic to the rail link to BIA. Availability of land is one aspect that will work well for the project. The area will be planned as a major interchange hub,’’ says Sreehari. Byappanahalli — that will have a Namma Metro depot as well as bus terminals — is set to emerge as another traffic integration point. The area is also being planned to accommodate Monorail and a traffic and transit management centre (TTMC). According to officials in KSIIDC, the nodal agency for the implementation of HSRL, a Namma Metro ramp is tipped to pass through the city airport terminal (CAT) building of the HSRL at the BRV parade grounds. With the Namma Metro and HSRL stations dedicating space for bus bays and other integration features, core city areas like MG Road will also double as traffic interchange points.
The Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation (BMRC) Ltd and the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) are working on the concept of smart cards, with which passengers can board the Metro as well as BMTC buses. Sreehari says the long-term plan is to integrate Monorail and HSRL services into the smart cards. With the concept of common ticketing, the city’s planners are looking at the possibility of a commuter moving around in Bangalore, in different modes of transport, with the same ticket.
Skewed priorities?
Even as the integration of different modes of transportation gains prominence in the planners’ agenda, misplaced priorities continue to cloud the grandiose plans. An ABIDe task force member points out that the integration plans are, by and large, pegged to connectivity to BIA, while choked traffic centres like the Majestic area are being sidelined.
There has also been a persistent demand for commuter rail networks on the city’s fringes. Sreehari sees commuter rail system as the way forward in cracking the gridlock. “We already have tracks to other districts and states and a lot of people are moving on these corridors anyway. If the commuter rail takes off, it could solve 30% to 40% of Bangalore’s traffic problems,’’ he says.
Namma Metro Phase 1
Two corridors that cover 33 km. The East-West corridor (18.1 km) between Byappanahalli and Mysore Road and the North-South corridor (14.9 km) between Yeshwantpur and RV Road. Operation to begin in December, 2010
Phase 2
Electronic City to Yelahanka (36 km) Whitefield to 100 Feet Road, Indiranagar, via HAL Airport Road (19.5 km) Extension of North-South corridor of Phase 1: Jaraganahalli to PRR (7 km); Byappanahalli to Benniganahalli, along Old Madras Road, (1.5 km). Plans for the expansion have been cleared
High-Speed Rail Link
From BRV parade grounds to BIA in Devanahalli, with two stations at Hebbal and Yelahanka (33.65 km). Letter of award of project work expected in February, 2009
Corridor 1: Hebbal to JP Nagar (31 km) Corridor 2: PRR to toll gate along Magadi Road (9 km) Corridor 3: Kathriguppe-Ring Road junction to National College (5 km) Corridor 4: Hosur Road-Bannerghatta Road junction to PRR (15 km) Detailed project report (DPR) expected by October 8

Friday, September 26, 2008

BBMP all set to lose prime property

BBMP all set to lose prime property

Staff Reporter

BBMP has lost prime properties through similar PPP projects

Bangalore: The State Cabinet’s decision to award the contract to reconstruct the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) housing quarters for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) in Koramangala may have brought relief to the 8,000 residents of the complex. But it could mean that the BBMP could lose yet another piece of commercial property in a prime locality.

Though the BBMP’s intention is to provide good quality houses to the EWS residents who have been living under the constant fear of the building collapsing thanks to the substandard construction, the public-private-partnership (PPP) model that has been adopted to execute the project will definitely make the BBMP poorer by more than Rs. 200 crore. The current market value of the land is around Rs. 5,000 a square metre.

Last Thursday, the Cabinet gave a formal nod allowing Maverick Holdings and Investments to rebuild the EWS quarters under the PPP model on a built-own-operate-transfer (BOOT) basis. The proposal is to build 1,640 flats for the residents on seven of the 14-acres of land and the rest is to be used for commercial purposes jointly by the BBMP and the developer.

According to the deal, the developer will get 50 per cent (three and half acres) of the commercially exploited land. Though the BOOT agreement means that the developer has to build the flats and the commercial complex, operate and maintain it for 30 years and transfer it back to the BBMP, there is no hope that the civic body will get back the property going by the PPPs executed in the past.

The BBMP has lost prime properties in Langford Town adjacent to the Hockey Stadium, on Magrath Road and also on K.G. Road through similar PPP projects.

The BBMP, which developed a first ever joint venture with Shyamaraju and Company to build Divyashree Chambers on 88,660 sq.ft. of land, sold its stake to the developer at a throwaway price of Rs. 25 crore.

The agreement then was that the builder would develop the land by constructing a complex with two basement floors, ground floor and three floors. In return, the company was entitled to 60 per cent of the land and the building. But after some time, the BBMP sold its interests in the land and the building, which had an area of 1,92,235.3 sq. ft., to the builder at a throwaway price. The Government also allowed the builder to construct four more floors.

BIAL sets up emergency handling hub at airport

BIAL sets up emergency handling hub at airport

K.V. Subramanya

AOCC is the first of its kind in the country

The AOCC is the nerve centre from where decisions will be taken in case of an emergency

Representatives of all stakeholder organisations are stationed at the AOCC

CHICKBALLAPUR: The Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL) has set up a new facility — the Airport Operations Control Centre (AOCC) — to ensure better coordination between various agencies connected with the operations of the airport and to enable it to take a quick decision during an emergency. Said to be the first such centre of its kind in the country, this one is at the Bengaluru International Airport at Devanahalli.

The AOCC is the nerve centre of the Bengaluru International Airport from where the collaborative decision-making process will be facilitated. Representatives of all the stakeholder organisations operating at the airport, including airlines, ground handlers, cargo handlers, flight catering, fuel suppliers, security (Central Industrial Security Force which provides air side security), immigration, customs, Air Traffic Control (ATC) and the airport operator, are stationed at the AOCC.

According to Albert Bruner, CEO of BIAL, the presence of representatives of all stakeholders at a single point helps them in taking immediate decisions, without wasting precious time, in case of an emergency. The AOCC, Mr. Burner said, is a pioneering concept in Indian airports.

Planning and allocation of resources and dissemination of information takes place at the AOCC. This set up encourages and enables automatic and seamless sharing of information. The AOCC, located in the arrival area, is “crucial in operational recovery in times of disruption and delays”. It helps enhanced predictability, resulting in better planning and real-time overview of operations, according to BIAL officials.

Broken water pipe: Chaos on road

Broken water pipe: Chaos on road

The Millers Road flooded due to leak of a drinking water pipe./Pic:SURESH NAMPOOTHIRI
Express News Service
26 Sep 2008 04:14:00 AM IST

BANGALORE: The monsoon may have left us. But the motorists and pedestrians on Millers Road were in for rainy day-like memories with water-logged surroundings on Thursday.

The culprit was a broken water pipe.

The water pipeline in front of Bhagwan Mahaveer Jain Hospital was damaged, resulting in the flooding of the area.

Out-patients and visitors to the hospital had a tough time evading the huge pool of water. As part of damage control measures, the hospital authorities put up sandbags in front of the main entrance gate.

Traffic movement towards the Cantonment Railway Station and J C Nagar was severely affected.

The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) control room, which received the complaint from a resident, immediately alerted the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) officials who rushed to the spot and rectified the damage.

“As the damage caused was huge, there was a delay in rectifying it. Following the repair work, the water that flooded Millers Road was cleared. Although there was a disruption in traffic, the situation was brought under control soon,” said a senior BWSSB engineer, who inspected the repair work.

BBMP plans chain-linked fencing for open drains

BBMP plans chain-linked fencing for open drains

The open drain which claimed the life of a four-year-old boy.
Faiza Haneef | ENS
26 Sep 2008 04:20:00 AM IST

BANGALORE: After turning a blind eye to several such instances in the past, the BBMP finally seems to have woken up, following Wednesday’s incident at Chandra Layout in which a fouryear- old boy lost his life after falling into a storm water drain. It now plans to cover the drains in the city, to prevent them from becoming death-traps.

Coming under severe public criticism, the BBMP swung into action on Thursday, to cover all open drains with chain-linked fencing to avoid such tragic incidents.

Deaths due to drowning in open drains is not new to Bangaloreans.

During the monsoon, quite a few children and also an entire family were washed away in these ‘black holes’. Despite announcing several measures to prevent such accidents, the BBMP had so far not done anything worthwhile.

“We have proposed to provide chain-linked fencing for all open drains across the city.

Because of the resistance from the public to the move earlier, the work had not progressed.

But now, with the increasing number of such incidents, BBMP will take up the work again,” said Additional Commissioner (South) Ramakrishna.

“Fencing work is expected to be completed in the next six months and this would help prevent recurrence of such incidents,” said Chikkarayappa, BBMP Chief Engineer, in charge of storm water drains.

Officials in BBMP caution against people walking on the retaining walls of these drains, as they may lose balance and fall into the drains.


A one-year-old boy slipped and fell into a drain near Lottegollahalli off BEL Road in February this year.

A boy fell into an open drain and died at Banashankari 3rd Stage in February 2007.

Two eight-year-old girls were found dead in an open drain in Bhuvaneshwarinagar.

An old woman was washed away in a drain that was under construction in Hebbal.

Five years ago, a family of four was washed away in a storm water drain, when the car in which they were travelling was driven onto the adjacent footpath and it fell into the drain, during a heavy downpour. Their bodies were recovered a day later.

‘We’ll make BIA the south hub’

‘We’ll make BIA the south hub’
Anshul Dhamija & Sujit John | TNN

Bangalore: Most of those who have seen the new airports in Bangalore and Hyderabad say the latter is superior in most respects. This has hurt Bangaloreans. But Albert Brunner, boss of the Bangalore International Airport Ltd (BIAL), assures us that once the second terminal is done, that image would change and Bangalore would be the gateway city to south India.
“We started the process of planning for the Bangalore airport about two years before Hyderabad did. So we couldn’t anticipate the huge growth Bangalore was to see subsequently,” he said, adding that the company is in the process of developing a plan to ensure that Bangalore pips rival southern cities Hyderabad and Chennai in attracting airlines and customers.
“We have to build an airport that will be the best in south India. We are not here to compete with South East Asian airports in which governments pump in billions of dollars to create style symbols and not worry about profitability,” he said.
He added that BIA is not seeking to compete with airports in Mumbai and New Delhi either, as both cities cater to different markets and have their own positions in the Indian aviation market. The work on the second terminal and runway is expected to start next year and be complete in about three years.
Brunner admitted that the existing airport terminal could have been better utilized in some respects. “Too much space has probably been given to retail. We are currently evaluating what can be done to rectify that,” said Brunner.
BIAL is also talking to Jet Airways and Kingfisher Airlines to set up maintenance, repair and overhaul facility (MRO), which would enhance BIA’s position to be a southern hub for airlines.
The airport has set aside close to 100 acres of land for the MRO. The airport was previously in talks with Lufthansa Technik to set up an MRO, but that did not take off.
Financially, BIAL is taking a beating with losses amounting to almost Rs 22 crore a month. “We thought the losses would be lower, but with the overall aviation slowdown, which has resulted in a 16% dip in domestic traffic, and the fact that the domestic user development fee is still not being charged, our losses are rising,” said Brunner.
He said the UDF was absolutely essential. “Only that will convince our shareholders to bring in more money for the second phase of development,” he said.
CM’s remark on potholes was unfair: Brunner
BIAL chief Albert Brunner said he was disturbed by Karnataka chief minister B S Yeddyurappa’s recent comments about the airport’s standards. “I tried to meet him recently to understand his concerns, but the CM was too busy with the issue of attacks on churches,” Brunner said. BIAL officials also said it was unfair of the CM to have said there are potholes on the link road to the airport. “If there’s one road in Bangalore that has no potholes, it’s the airport link road,” an official said.

No relief on St John’s Rd

No relief on St John’s Rd
How long does it take to fix a drain? Prolonged work on St John’s Road has ruined the stretch

Bangalore: Once surrounded by theatres and now by piles of debris. Standing at Shree Circle on St John’s Road and looking at stagnant development is an unnerving experience. It’s high time this high-density traffic zone got some relief.
The bridge that collapsed here six months ago sparked some development initiatives but these hit stagnation once it was reconstructed. There’s been no work for over a month on the open drain below the bridge and the conditions are appalling. Rocky roads flanked by piled-up debris, pipes and concrete blocks are all that welcome you here. People and traffic have been suffering heavily due to this apathy.
BBMP embarked on desilting of the drain, reconstruction of the retention wall and building the bridge after the bridge collapsed. A woman was washed away in this drain during the monsoon after which the authorities took up the work.
The huge, deep pit dug outside the Shree Complex is one month old. “Stagnant and stinking with drainwater littered with plastic, bottles and bent or broken pipes — you need to hold your nose when passing by. But now, we are getting used to it,” says an employee at the complex.
Alongside, the disconnected and half-laid retention wall of the drain and the pile of debris make a ride through this area a traumatic experience. A few residents living nearby are fearful of sending their kids alone on cycles lest they slip and fall into the drain.
Traffic is worst hit on weekends and on Monday morning. And less said the better about rainy days. Travelling amid the slush, drains and blocked traffic is rather routine. The shops in this area have also been suffering. “We have a tough time keeping the dust off the medicines,” complain workers at a pharmacy. About 15 days ago, Manjushree Hospital in this area complained about the abysmal conditions to MLA Roshan Baig. But this too didn’t bring any relief.
According to BBMP officials, the agency which was awarded the project contract stopped work midway due to the rain. “Work will be resumed after the festival as there is a shortage of workers till then,’’ officials said.

This yawning crater on St John’s Road is a deathtrap

Rs 3 crore goes down the drain

Rs 3 crore goes down the drain
CAG Unearths Major Irregularities In Bellandur Lake Rejuvenation Project
Vinay Madhav | TNN

Bangalore: Even as Bangalore is fast losing its lakes, plans to rejuvenate them are turning sour. The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the legislature has highlighted a scam in a project to revive Bellandur lake, one of the first lakes restored by the Lake Development Authority (LDA).
The issue came up for discussion during PAC meetings on Monday and Tuesday. The panel referred to a report of the comptroller and auditor general (CAG) that pointed out irregularities in implementing the rejuvenation programme.
After a detailed discussion, the PAC team has decided to visit the lake on September 30 to asses the situation. “The project speaks of bio-rejuvenation of the lake. A lot of technical terms and names of equipment have been mentioned. But nothing seems to be in place and the scam appears to be running up to Rs 3 crore. Going by CAG reports, we are doubtful if anything was done to the lake at all. It is said that the Bellandur lake is no better than it was before rejuvenation. Even effluents are said to be let into the lake now,’’ PAC sources pointed out.
Bellandur lake, once famous for its bird and fish population, degraded during the ’90s. Industrialization around Bellandur did the damage and effluents were let into the lake. In the late ’90s, Bellandur lake shot to attention when water pollution caused froth to form around it during the monsoon. Besides damaging crops in Bellandur village, the water was declared not fit for use. This created a hue and cry, leading to some action.
Meanwhile, the LDA was formed to restore dying lakes across the state. Bellandur was one of those taken up for restoration. The LDA took up ‘ecorestoration’ of the lake, including introduction of bacteria that convert organic silt into carbon dioxide and water. Besides constant aerating the water, there were plans to introduce dephospating chemicals and monitor water so that it does not harm the crops.
PAC chairman S Siddaramiah said there was a discussion on CAG’s observation. “The officials didn’t have the papers sought by the committee. The members have decided to visit the spot to assess the situation better. We can comment only after the visit,’’ he said.

BMRC may tweak Metro station plans to cut costs

BMRC may tweak Metro station plans to cut costs
Promises Better Amenities

Bangalore: The artist’s impression of Namma Metro stations, complete with swanky facades and a futuristic look, may still stay in spirit. But the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation (BMRC) Ltd is also looking at balancing the look with the cost. After initiating the new model on four stations in Reach 1 of the Metro’s East-West corridor, the BMRC is now set to propose new designs for the two other stations on the Reach: MG Road and Trinity circle.
The BMRC had cleared new designs for stations on Old Madras Road, Ulsoor, CMH Road and Byappanahalli. These are pegged to new “economic considerations’’, according to BMRC sources.
B S Sudhir Chandra, director (projects and planning), BMRC, told The Times Of India on Thursday the cosmetic changes proposed across stations would not be at the cost of passenger amenities. “In fact, the new designs have enhanced amenities. The proposal provides for an increase in the number of escalators and kiosks in these stations,’’ Chandra said.
According to Chandra, the passenger experience in all the stations is going to be the same as proposed in the original designs. The changes will, by and large, be pegged to aspects like elevation of the stations, taking the cost factor also into consideration. The changed designs cleared for the four other stations also focused on the elevation factor.
“There is no change in the functionalities of the stations. There can’t be a change in features the automated fare-collection (AFC) systems or paid and unpaid spaces. So the design change is not going to impact the way the passenger experiences these stations,’’ Chandra said. The proposal on the new designs will be made during the BMRC’s board meeting, scheduled to be held on Saturday.
Designs with minor changes proposed for MG Road, Trinity Circle stations Economic considerations behind change in designs Proposal to be made in BMRC board meeting BMRC says designs offer enhanced amenities Elevation focus of new designs

Tech park still in compensation deadlock

Tech park still in compensation deadlock

Bangalore: The deadlock on compensation continues for farmers who stand to lose land to the proposed hardware park in Devanahalli. On Thursday, another round of talks between farmers and a
team of officials, headed by Bangalore Urban deputy commissioner G N Nayak, failed to resolve the issue.
Nayak announced rates framed by the government for land in three villages — Bagalur (Rs 60 lakh per acre), Hoovanayakanahalli (Rs 50 lakh per acre) and Mahadeva Kodigehalli (Rs 45 lakh per acre). Farmers dismissed these as “too low” and stopped further interaction.
D S Gowda, convener of Raitha Horata Samithi, said the farmers want around Rs 2 crore per acre. “The government has not announced uniform rates for the three villages. Further, the rates are much lower than present market rates,” Gowda said.
The proposal for the electronic hardware park, which has been on hold since 2002, has failed to take off due to the compensation row. The Karnataka Industrial Area Development Board (KIADB) identified 869 acres in three villages at Jala hobli, Bangalore North taluk (Urban district).
The farmers last met the DC in July, but the meeting failed. KIADB maintains the compensation package has to come at the policy level, which cannot be changed outright. The farmers are likely to make another representation to the government to find a way out of the deadlock.
Three major projects have been proposed in Devanahalli. The aerospace industry park also faced resistance from farmers over compensation. But the issue was resolved recently after rates were fixed at Rs 55 lakh per acre (Rural) and Rs 57 lakh per acre (Urban). For the park, 918 acres were identified and the compensation drive started early.
Aerospace industry park
Farmers agree, compensation drive on
Hardware park
Negotiations over compensation fail
Information technology park
Final notification yet to be issued
Another round of talks fails Demand for uniform compensation in three villages Farmers demand higher compensation than what has been offered Officials pass buck to government Farmers plan representations to the government

Stakeholders’ refusal led to mess

Stakeholders’ refusal led to mess

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[Click To Enlarge]

: According to a highly placed official, who was part of key board meetings of BIA during 2005 and 2007, none of the partners were ready to fork out the Rs 200 crore that was needed to make the airport better, if not the best in the country.

The approximate cost of BIA to date stands at around Rs 2,200 crore including the land cost.

“When the work on BIA had commenced, there was a report that called for immediate attention —colossal air traffic growth. The study was commissioned by BIAL. Lufthanasa Consulting carried it out. The verdict was that between 2005 June and 2006 July, air traffic grew by 45 percent, the largest in the history of any city in the country. The revised traffic study showed Bengaluru's explosive air traffic growth and pegged it at 10.1 million passengers by 2010, which it has already crossed now,” sources said.

A special board meeting was called to discuss the report in mid 2006. “The stakeholders led by Mr Albert Brunner, were called to attend that meeting. During the meeting, all the four members of management belonging to Siemens, Unique (Flughafen Zürich AG) — Zurich Airport, Switzerland, Larsen & Toubro, and officials of the Airport Authority of India and KSIIDC were apprised of the situation.

“The time was ripe to affect any changes in the structural and design plans as the blueprint was still on the drawing board and no work had taken place,” sources said adding that it was arrived at that an additional Rs 200 crore had to be invested to meet the growing demand.

Already drained in terms of the two years taken in signing the concession agreement, the private investors were in no mood to listen. “They outright rejected the proposal stating that a lot of time and money was already wasted and that they wouldn’t give in to the new demand, despite the state argued that it has provided land free of cost and centre stated that it was pumping in 13 percent of total cost. But the private partners while refusing to pump in additional funds said that they could make good with a functional airport and at the same increase the airport’s capacity. So a compromise was made on the aesthetics and futuristic architecture to save money,” the official said. So what Bengaluru eventually ended up with is a 71,000 sqft unimpressive terminal with maximum holding capacity of 15 million passengers as claimed by BIA as against Rajiv Gandhi International Airport at Hyderabad, which has 1,05,300 sqft of terminal space for 12 million passengers.

haphazard growth - State yet to okay plan

haphazard growth - State yet to okay plan

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Successive governments since 2004 have failed to approve a Master Plan prepared by Bangalore Metropolitan Region Development Authority (BMRDA) resulting in haphazard growth and rise of a ‘concrete jungle’ surrounding Bengaluru International Airport (BIA).

The Master Plan prohibits highrises within a radius of 20 km (aerial distance), so that there is no obstruction of flight operations. But four months after BIA’s inau guration, the government is yet to approve the Master Plan prepared by Bengaluru International Airport Planning Authority (BIAPA).

“Since 2004, three drafts have been sent for approval. The government has not approved even one,” said the sources. Allegedly, the plan’s approval is being delayed to favour bigwigs who own land here and want zoning regulations in North Bengaluru changed. The government has already permitted KIADB to acquire land for setting up a Hardware Park and SEZ.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

BMRC approves designs of 8 more metro stations

BMRC approves designs of 8 more metro stations
By S Praveen Dhaneshkar, D H News Service, Bangalore:
The Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation (BMRC) has now approved the designs and cost estimates for the construction of eight more stations for Namma Metro.

With the ‘Namma Metro’ on track on Reach 1 (Byappanahalli to BRV Police Parade Ground-Chinnaswamy Cricket Stadium), commencement of work on Reaches 2, 3 and 4 has also gained momentum. The Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation (BMRC) has now approved the designs and cost estimates for the construction of eight more stations for ‘Namma Metro’.

These include stations to be constructed in Reaches 2, 3 and 4. Construction of these stations will commence soon after the tender process to select the contractor is completed.

Meanwhile, BMRC officials said progress made in Reach 1 upto September include construction of concrete piers (via-ducts) on M G Road.

“Twelve pillars have already been cast. We will commence placing of girder segments (super structures on which the metro tracks will be laid) from October. On CMH Road, the BMRC has also completed two pile foundation for piers. Fifty-six streetlights on the road have also been relocated,” informed officials.

A total of 85 buildings have also been demolished and possession of 95 properties taken to pave way for construction of stations and depots. Officials added that awards (compensation) to land/property owners for Rs 79 crores, 10 lakh, 69,000 with respect to 72 cases has also been completed

Church attack: Protests paralyse City traffic

Church attack: Protests paralyse City traffic
DH News Service, Bangalore:
With over half a dozen organisations, including the Congress party, hitting the streets almost simultaneously on Wednesday protesting attacks on churches, traffic had come to a standstill on the main thoroughfares of the city.

Vehicles had piled up on Sheshadri Road, Nrupathunga Road, Ambedkar road, Queens’ Road, Race Course Road, Kasturba Road, Infantry Road and Cubbon Road at around 11 am, when protesters descended on streets.

Hundreds of Congress workers took out a protest march from St James Church in Mariyannapalya to KPCC office. Similarly, another batch of Congress workers from Sarvagnanagar, Pulakeshinagar and Byatarayanapura assembly constituencies took out a rally towards the KPCC office.


Krishna Byregowda led the party’s Sadbhavana Padayatra comprising over 4,000 party workers from Mariyannapalya in Hebbal to KPCC office, covering 10 kms. Besides, there were protests by CPI(M) on Nrupathunga Road by All India Christian Democratic Front in front of Gandhi Statue, M G Road and by Karnataka Christian Federation from Frazer Town. In addition the All religion parliament at Town Hall slowed down traffic on J C Road.

Moreover, on Queen’s road, traffic was blocked for nearly two hours between 11 am and 1 pm.
KPCC President Mallikarjun Kharge criticised heads of various Hindu mutts petitioning the Governor against conversion, saying religious mutts should confine themselves to religious activities and should not interfere in the political affairs of the State. Addressing the party workers in front of the KPCC office on Queen’s road, he said in order to cover up its lapses, the State government is alleging that the Central team of Home Ministry officials was sent by the Congress to assess the ground situation.

“It is a fact-finding team of officials and the party has nothing do with it,” Kharge claimed.
Youth Congress President Krisha Byregowda alleged that recent attacks on churches were not stray incidents. It was a well planned drive. As many as 28 incidents of church attacks had been reported from different parts of the State. Despite having prior information about the attacks the government failed to avert them.

15 arrested

The police arrested 15 protesters, including Krishna Byregowda, as the protesters tried to continue with their rally up to the Raj Bhavan. However, they were released later. The delegation of protesters led by Byregowda met the Governor and submitted a memorandum requesting him to ban Bajrang Dal and Srirama Sena, who were allegedly involved in attacks on churches.

Committee formed

Meanwhile, citizens for Harmony, a city NGO, has constituted a fact-finding committee to look into attacks on churches in the state.

Journalist P N Benjamin, former judge R Ramakrishna, former IGP Y R Patil, Dr R Vaidyanathan, columnist V Sundaram and creative director Jayalakshmi have been nominated as members of the committe.


Bangalore, dhns: CPI (M) activists staged a protest in front of DGP’s office on Wednesday, urging the police to release the 30 people who were taken into custody by police in connection with a violent incident that occurred during Ganesha immersion, at Gangonanahalli recently.

The protesters alleged that police had taken innocent people into custody. “The arrested were not at the spot when the incident occurred. So police should release them and initiate action against those who are responsible,” they urged.

CPI (M) Bangalore District unit secretary Prakash K, secretariat committee members KN Umesh and Gopalkrishna and SFI State president HR Naveen Kumar led the protest.
They submitted a memorandum to the State Human Rights Commission.

Task cut out for BIAL House panel

Task cut out for BIAL House panel

Express New Service
25 Sep 2008 09:47:00 AM IST

BANGALORE: Has Bengaluru International Airport Limited (BIAL) fully utilised the 4,000 acres allotted to it? Can the excess land, if any, be withdrawn? Why did the airport project cost shoot up from Rs 1,350 crore to Rs 2,700 crore? These are some of the posers which the 21-member House Committee have for BIAL and will seek answers for over the next three months.

The Committee, headed by Chickpet MLA Hemachandra Sagar,which has been set up by the State Government to probe into the alleged violation of terms and conditions by BIAL during the airport’s construction, has 15 terms of reference, including various MoUs and agreements signed by the stakeholders.According to the detailed notification issued by the Secretary, Legislative Assembly, the Committee will look into the Airport Authority of India’s (AAI’s) report to the Ministry of Civil Aviation on capacity constraints. It will also probe as to why despite providing tax exemptions to the tune of several crores and free water and power supply, the airport is sub-standard? Other terms of reference include passenger facilities at the airport, absence of VIP lounge, outsourcing of the taxi services to private operators and permission for construction of second terminal at the airport. It will also make recommendations on how to give a facelift to the airport in line with other international airports.

Fourteen MLAs who are members of the committee include N Yogesh Bhat, Veeranna Charanthimatt, M Srinivas, C N Ashwath Narayan, M V Nagaraj, N S Nandish Reddy, S R Vishwanath, D K Shivakumar,V Srinivas Prasad, Qamarul Islam,M B Patil,N L Narendra Babu, H D Revanna and H C Balakrishna.The six MLCs are: K C Kondaiah, Munivenkatareddy, Manohar Maski, Thontadarya, Abdul Azim and M C Nadagoud.

The House Committee will examine the following: *MoU signed between KSIIDC and AAI:May 1999.

* Bidders asked to give detailed project report: November 8, 2000.

* Siemens-led consortium selected by Government of Karnataka: October 29, 2001.

* Share holders’ agreement: January 20, 2002.

* Concession agreement between Government of India, Government of Karnataka and BIAL: July 5, 2004.

*State support agreement between Government of Karnataka and BIAL: January 20, 2005.

* Land lease agreement between Government of Karnataka and BIAL: January 20, 2005.

* EPC contracts with Siemens Germany, L&T and Siemens India: March 11, 2005.

*Operation and management services agreement between BIAL and Unique Zurich:April 8, 2005.

* CNS/ATM agreement between BIAL and AAI:April 6, 2005.

*Land lease deeds signed between BIAL and KSIIDC:April 30, 2005.

* Extension of shareholders agreement: June 10, 2005.

* SBI guarantee to BIAL on state support of Rs 350 crore: June 22, 2005.

* Declaration of financial closure by ICICI Bank: June 23, 2005.