Sunday, November 30, 2008

Tree-felling: Greens see red

Tree-felling: Greens see red

E xpress News Service
First Published : 30 Nov 2008 04:14:00 AM IST
Last Updated : 30 Nov 2008 11:00:03 AM IST

BANGALORE: Environmental groups like the Hasire Usiru and the Environment Support Group (ESG) has appealed to the High Court that the empowered committee constituted hear the public’s views on road widening work before the Bruhant Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) goes ahead with tree felling for such work.

At a protest demonstration on Saturday, members of the two groups noted that the empowered committee which was constituted in June this year has not approved a single road widening project so far, but the BBMP and forest officials have carried on with the works felling trees, removing pavements and so on.

It was noted that BBMP has already identified about 91 roads for widening and another 200 are likely to be listed soon. It effectively means many trees will be felled and therefore there is an immediate need to take the general public’s view into consideration, they said. The road widening projects are illegal, and are against the provisions of Karnataka Town and Country Planning Act, Karnataka Municipal Corporation Act and tree felling in particular is against the provisions of Karnataka Tree Preservation Act, the protesters said.

Avenue Road traders protest

Avenue Road traders protest

Staff Reporter

They are against the plan to widen the stretch

Bangalore: “Beke beku, nyaya beku” was the chant heard at Town Hall between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Saturday. People were holding a candlelight vigil protesting against road-widening in the city, among other issues. Traders on Avenue Road downed shutters and hawkers wrapped up operations for the day to join the protest. As the project to widen 97 roads across the city, many of them in the central business district (CBD), is set to take off, people want to present their case before they actually get affected.

L.R. Kumar Gupta, who owns a mobile accessory store on Avenue Road, said: “The livelihood of close to one lakh people depends on this road. Our shops have been there for the past 90 to 100 years and how can we move out all of a sudden.”

Satyanarayan, member of The Avenue Road Commercial Association, said: “The traffic there is congested, but there has been no accident or major traffic jam on the road.” Activists from organisations such as the Environmental Support Group (ESG) and Civic Bangalore have joined hands with them to ask for many areas of the CBD to be declared as heritage sites. “Bangalore began expanding from here; some of our families have been here for generations,” they said.

Campaign launched against tree felling

Campaign launched against tree felling
DH News Service, Bangalore:

“Nearly 40,000 trees would be lost if BBMP undertakes road-widening on the 91 identified roads in Bangalore and if more road-widening projects are in the pipeline, then most of the trees would be lost.”

This was the fear that inspired a campaign against the road-widening for the Metro projects, a movement organised by Hasire Usiru, an environmental organisation here on Saturday.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, Leo Saldanha from Hasire Usiru said that Government's plan to cut trees and widen roads is an illegal plan and should not be encouraged by the citizens, he said, "Instead of cutting down trees, Government should treat intersections scientifically, make traffic signal work efficiently and encourage people to use mass transport".

The campaign, he explained, was to protest against the BBMP and the forest officials who were allegedly violating the law by cutting down trees, removing pavement and widening roads without following the orders of the High court. As per the order in a public interest litigation road widening and other projects must comply with all provision of law.

An Empowered Committee was also set up to ensure the project was handled as per the law and in consultation with the public. But, Saldanha alleged, officials of BBMP were violating the law and not following instructions given by the Empowered Committee which has not approved a single road widening project since it was constituted in June 2008.

More than 200 supporters covering the entire steps of Town hall shouted slogans carrying posters like "Metro Go Underground", "Give space for Footpaths”.

A child carried a poster, "Budda never attained enlightenment under a lamp-post". An enthusiastic cyclist in sportswear had a poster which said "Create Cycle lanes".

'Make 3 industrial hubs notified area'

'Make 3 industrial hubs notified area'
DH News Service, Bangalore:
Concerned about security in the wake of ghastly terror attacks in Mumbai, industries in Bangalore, especially IT and BT firms, on Saturday urged the State government to give a notified area tag to Electronic City, Whitefield and Peenya Industrial Area.

“We have asked the chief minister to declare these three places as notified area, to build confidence among entrepreneurs. The notified area should have controlled access and outsiders will not be allowed inside without a specific reason,” Infosys Director (Human Resources) T V Mohandas Pai told reporters.

He was speaking after attending a high-level meeting convened by CM B S Yeddyurappa with his Cabinet colleagues, top police officials and representatives of industries, to discuss steps to be taken to beef up internal security.

“People are apprehensive after the Mumbai attack. Moreover, business is suffering. Businessmen are refusing to come to Bangalore. There has been heavy cancellation of business meetings. We do not mind paying more tax, but provide us adequate security,” Pai further said, adding that the CM has responded positively to the request in this regard.

‘Amend Arms Act’

Earlier in the meeting, Pai said, amendment should be brought to the Arms Act and allow corporate companies to buy sophisticated weapons if the Government cannot ensure security. Chairman and Managing Director of Biocon Limited Kiran Mazumdar Shaw said, “The security personnel in private companies cannot face terrorists who are armed with AK-47s.”

She was reacting to the CM’s statement in his opening remarks that not only the Government, but corporate companies should also step up their internal security. “Assurances and promises will not do anymore. It is the time to act. We need military patrolling on Bangalore roads. We need crack squad and anti-terrorist squad to deal firmly with terrorists,” she stated.

It is the fundamental duty of the Government to ensure security. The Government need to invest heavily on security.

“Bangalore is not at all prepared to face a Mumbai-like attack. It was due to lack of preparedness in Mumbai, there was heavy casualty,” she pointed out. Briefing the media after the meeting, Yeddyurappa said, the Government is taking all steps to ensure that a Mumbai-like incident does not occur in the State. He further said, all suggestions given by industries will be taken seriously.

Meanwhile, Yeddyurappa held a separate meeting with some of his Cabinet colleagues including RDPR Minister Shobha Karandlaje, IT and BT Minister Katta Subramanya Naidu, Labour Minister Bache Gowda, Industries Minister Murgesh Nirani and Minister for Municipal Administration S Suresh Kumar at his home office Krishna.
The CM is learnt to have directed his ministers to take all necessary steps to ensure safety to people.

Chief Minister’S TIPS

*Strengthen private security
*Provide special training to private security guards
*Install metal detector at the entrance
*Install luggage screening device
*Install CCTVs
*Verify passports of foreigners and keep a watch on their movement
*Provide necessary information to police


*Co-ordination between State police and companies’ private security in patrolling
*Set-up a rapid action force to face any eventuality
*Effective sharing of information between police and private companies
*Training to private security guards by police
*Collect more tax and give adequate security

Where ‘idli-vada’ sells like hot cakes

Where ‘idli-vada’ sells like hot cakes
Aarthi R | TNN

Living on junk food and multi-cuisine, the traditionally simple South Indian idlis might seem like those ‘boring round and white’ food regime for many. But not at Veena Stores. Fluffy white idlis and crispy golden vadas with chutney at this small yet popular store, are still a hothit wooing many. And it’s been the stuff of local lore for more than 30 years.
At the outset, it looks like any small shop spotted along a busy one-way zone in Malleswaram. If not for the board or the crowd eating outside, anyone new to the area might take it to be a departmental shop. And there are times when the crowd here leaves you little leeway to go in and find out more. Squeezing between the hungry, happy groups with their plates, just their expressions and reactions can tell a lot about Veena Stores.
Barely measuring 10 ft by 15 ft, it was started in 1977 by S D Suryanarayana Hegde (now almost 70 years old) as a small coffee shop with the traditional idli-vada-chutney combo. It still measures the same, but there seems no measure for the crowd it gets in every day. “My father made a start with what he thought he could, and now I have taken it from there to ensure that it continues, says S Pradeep, the proprietor.
Today, there is a two-sided menu list with almost all the South Indian dishes listed and displayed at the shop: khara bath, kesari bath, bisi bisi pongal, puliyogare and the bisibele bath, to name a few. But, the hot idlivada-chutney still rules them all.
“It’s the only dish that still gets me here,’’ says Muralidhar, not looking up from his plate. A resident of Malleswaram, he makes at least one visit every week, like he has been doing for the past 20 years.“Earlier, I used to come here all alone, now I accompany many who are also regulars, he says, pointing to Anish M who works nearby.
Hemalatha (57) from New BEL Road first visited Veena Stores just last year. Now, she makes at least one or two visits a week. And its not just for the idlis or vadas, she says, finishing her plate of bisi-bele bath. “You can also try it out. It’s good,’’ she recommends, crushing her empty plate into the bin.
15th Cross, Margosa Road Malleswaram Phone: 080-23344838 Open from: 6.30 am - 11.30 am, 3.30 pm - 8 pm Price range: Rs 8 - Rs 20
(Send your suggestions to with ‘What’s Cooking’ in the subject line) DOSA POLL
With reference to last week’s poll on dosa places on MG Road, very few voted for Hotel Brindavan (1), Shesh Mahal (2), India Coffee House (1) and Hotel Empire (1). Kaycees was a runaway winner with 22. Go ahead, check them out and decide for yourself.

MARKET mayhem

MARKET mayhem
Avenue Road-Chickpet area sells just about everything you need, at dirt-cheap prices. Yet, many Bangaloreans dread to step into the area. Sujit John & Mini Joseph Tejaswi examine what ails Old Bangalore

Youngsters don’t come here. They prefer malls,” says G V Sreedhar, whose family has been running a jewellery business on Avenue Road for close to 90 years. “They come only if they want something they don’t get elsewhere: craft items, creative blouse pieces or decorative articles for festivals.”
We hear a similar lament from B K Goyal, secretary of the Federation of Trade Associations of Central Bangalore: “This place has the highest business turnover in the city, but it’s also the most neglected. If things remain as they are, malls will take away our business.”
There’s almost nothing you can’t possibly get in the Avenue Road-Chickpet area, the place you may call the original or Old Bangalore. It’s a one-stop shopping area no mall can match. Some say there’s nothing like this anywhere else in India.
Yet, it’s suffering. Some traders admit business has fallen in the past few years. For many others, business is still good, but they are worried about the future.
Already, some big wholesalers have moved to other locations where conditions are better. This worries people like Suresh Manandi, president of Bangalore Wholesale Cloth Merchants’ Association, who says such movement will make the area less attractive. “Customers come here from Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala. If the market is in different places, it will create problems for them and business here will suffer,” he says.
Even residents and customers are tiring. Padmavati (44), who has lived in Akkipet all her life, says she used to come 3-4 times a week earlier to shop and to a temple, but now it’s just about three times a month. “Even when I come, there’s no satisfaction. The government gives money for tennis and cricket, but not for this area,” she says.
The frustration is easy to understand. The area is congested. There’s hardly any parking space. Narrow roads are occupied by two-wheelers. Many shops, like Vishwa Book House and Aum Gold Covering Works, have extended their wares on to pavements, forcing people to walk on the crowded road. Piles of books lie on footpaths. There are hawkers like Krishnamurthy, who sells jalebis on the pavement.
Electricity wires hang dangerously. There are oil spills. If there’s a blaze, fire engines wouldn’t be able to get onto most roads because they are so narrow.
Retired Justice M F Saldanha, a member of Transparency International, a global body that works against corruption and public misbehaviour, blames corruption for the “insane” growth of the area. “Traders and officials are equally responsible for the uncontrolled, preposterous growth and congestion of these areas,” he says. “Be it households or enterprises, there is a growing need for additional space. But creating space through unscrupulous means, flouting regulations and by-laws will only create congestion and chaos. Almost every official is part of this chain of corruption. The BBMP is the most corrupt government body in the entire country.”
The roads are not meant for buildings over two storeys high. But today, there are many multi-storey buildings, some going up to seven floors. Together with houses and shops that have extended themselves on to pavements and roads, they stand testimony to this corruption.
Now, after turning a blind eye to all this, BBMP is proposing a demolition of much of this area and rebuilding it with wider roads and better facilities. Similar things have happened elsewhere. Saldanha says when Shanghai’s old market became congested and dirty, the Chinese government temporarily shifted it elsewhere to cleanse and rebuild the original marketplace. Even in Mangalore, the congested and dirty city market was shifted to a large maidan before the corporation refurbished the market.
Doing that with Old Bangalore is easier said than done. It will require a Herculean effort, huge resources and careful planning to ensure all archaeologically and architecturally important buildings are preserved. And no government in India in recent times has displayed the determination required for this.
Goyal says traders and residents cannot be expected to put in any significant money for rebuilding the area. “If some agency can take responsibility to temporarily rehabilitate everybody, do the reconstruction, and then hand over the place back to the traders, then it may be feasible,” he says.
(Tomorrow: Other solutions to
Old Bangalore’s problems)
The story goes that Kempe Gowda (1510-1570) decided to build a city that would be his future capital, and which would have a fort, reservoirs, temples, and people of all trades. According to some historians, at an auspicious moment in the 1530s, Kempe Gowda harnessed four pairs of oxen and started ploughing in four directions from Doddapet square, the point where Chickpet and Doddapet met. These became four important market roads, what we know today as Nagarathpet Road, Chickpet and Avenue Road (Doddapet).
Streets and blocks were marked out for different purposes. Some blocks were to be residential. Nagarathpet, Chickpet and Doddapet roads were meant for marketing of general merchandise. Cottonpet, Tharagupet, Akkipet, Ragipet and Balepet were marked for sale of cotton, grain, rice, ragi and bangles respectively. There were streets for crafts. Many temples were built; some flourish even today.
This city is what we know as Old Bangalore. Tipu Sultan later contributed to its development and built a dargah that stands today. You can also see Tipu’s Horsemen’s Houses on Avenue Road, as also a British addition — the Rice Memorial Church built by Sir Benjamin Rice in 1916.
For many today, despite all the malls and modern shopping centres, Old Bangalore is still the one-stop
shop for everything. It’s difficult to get accurate numbers, but it is estimated that there are 30,000-40,000 traders in the area and that “thousands of crores of rupees” of business is done here every year, both wholesale and retail. Suresh Manandi, president of Bangalore Wholesale Cloth Merchants’ Association, says there are 800-1,000 wholesale textile shops in the area, and estimates that Rs 1,000-Rs 1,200 crore of wholesale textile business happens here.
G V Sreedhar, secretary of the Jewellers’ Association, says there are some 200 jewellers in the area. He estimates the area sees 10 lakh footfalls a day, with customers coming from all parts of Karnataka, as also border areas of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.

Avenue Road surely can’t get more congested. Parking is not allowed here, but notice the mini-truck illegally parked, unloading goods in the middle of a crowded day. Traffic police often turn a blind eye to violations

The pettas and their best-known products

Old Bangalore as it was in 1940. Below: The princess of Denmark and her entourage jostle with locals while shopping at Chickpet in 1963

HALLI, now a tony address

HALLI, now a tony address
Kammanahalli, which was once an agricultural tract, has today emerged as one of Bangalore’s best planned layouts. Times City explores this change
— Sonal Naroth and Smriti Kumar

Kammanahalli: The word halli evokes a picture of dusty mud roads, small houses, some bullock carts and bicycles... But not Kammanahalli, for here you are welcomed by big brands, supermarkets, coffee joints and huge apartment blocks.
Next only to Indiranagar and Koramangala, this once vast agricultural land is a posh locale of the city. With one of the best planned layouts, Kammanahalli also boasts of a cosmopolitan culture and balanced environment. “I have been living here for 16 years, and back when we bought the house, this was a very remote area with few shops and houses. The school behind my house was a guava grove,” Dechamma Thimmaiah reminisces.
No more. The Devanahalli airport has changed all that — over the past two years, Kammanahalli is growing fast. Property prices have shot through the roof. In fact, it looks like a clone of the city centre, and is well connected to most other parts of Bangalore.
Jagadeesh Shetty, owner of a restaurant here, has words of praise: “In the past two years, development has been immense. There was nothing here, now even Indiranagar is no competition.” The owner of a nearby Punjabi restaurant adds: “There is a tech park close by, because of which young professionals frequent our restaurant. Also, I find that compared to other residential areas, the roads here are really good and the layout is well-planned.”
Residents are happy with the progress. “We have been staying here for the past five years. There was hardly any development then. Today everything is available on one road,” points out Ram Mudra. “All the major joints have opened here. Two or three malls are also coming up. Everything we need is a stone’s throw away,” adds Ruchira Banerjee, a resident of five years. Her teenaged daughter is delighted with the arrival of hip food and coffee joints.
Youngsters like Jeevith Belliappa agree: “The hang-outs in Kammanahalli are better than in most other residential areas. It’s not often that we find cafes near residential areas. This makes them more accessible.”
Radhika Poovayya, who has been staying here for 15 years, is impressed with the lightning speed of development. “Connectivity has improved and everything we need is right here.” Today, there are many direct buses to major depots from here, though this was not the case a year ago.
While on one hand residents welcome the change, others recall a time when the traffic was much less and the locale had no more than a few houses and just one shop for all their daily needs. Like other posh localities which boomed, for Kammanahalli, this is just the beginning.

• Kammanahalli is close to Kalyan Nagar, Banaswadi, surrounding IT belt

• Has classy restaurants, malls and a pub

• Brand outlets, pizza and coffee chains

• Residents from the tech field

• Close to Ring Road, with access to main road leading to BIA

• Accessible from Whitefield and surrounding areas

• Close to well-known Dodda Banaswadi temple

on the street where you live - Death traps near Garuda Mall

on the street where you live - Death traps near Garuda Mall

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‘ We could have a permanent solution if BBMP replaces the ‘ slabs with a prope
: The swanky Garu da Mall is surrounded by roads littered with rubbish and broken pavements making things very difficult for people visiting its shops and restaurants..

The Magrath Road near the mall which sees heavy traffic and a large number of pedestrians, desperately needs asphalting, but the authorities seem either unaware or not to care. As a result the road is dusty and muddy most days. Worse still it gets water logged when it rains as it is on a lower elevation than the areas around.

People living here have begun to use the road as a dumpyard for domestic waste in the absence of a dustbin, which vehicles then run over, spreading the rubbish around .

The vegetables and other eatables dumped by the houses on the road prove a magnet for street dogs whose number has risen significantly here, much to the dismay of pedestrians. Many have now begun to avoid the road and take a more circuituous route to reach the nearby bus stand.

People fear that diseases might break out as a result of the waste being dumped on the roads and demand that proper waste disposal facilities be provided in the area.

With several cement slabs of the footpath being broken those who live here find it risky to send their children out, fearing that they could fall into the drain below.

“We could have a permanent solution if BBMP replaces the slabs with a proper pavement. But as it has decided to stop construction of pavements we are left with no option but to walk on broken slabs every day,” says Mr Usman Sheikh, a local resident.

“There are many commercial establishments and hotels here. But because of the bad road most are expe riencing huge losses. BBMP must act immediately to solve the problem,” say others.

The bad roads are the result of negligence by the civic authorities. Every citizen who pays his taxes has a right to clean surroundings and good roads. It is sad that they have to put up with these conditions Riyad, Civil engineer We can’t ride on this road because of the waste dumped on it. There are many street dogs here which are scary.

BBMP authorities must upgrade the road and install a dustbin here. They should also replace the slabs with a proper pavement Adil, Student We have a very bad time when it rains. This can be solved only if we have proper drainage in the area. There hould be proper dispos al of domestic waste. Only this can put an end to the stray dog menace here Suresh, Chef at a hotel

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Contractor assures BMRC of work completion by June 2010

Contractor assures BMRC of work completion by June 2010
By S Praveen Dhaneshkar,DH News Service,Bangalore:
Following reports of an inordinate delay in the Namma Metro works on the seven km stretch of Reach One (Chinnaswamy Cricket Stadium to Baiyappanahalli), the contractor entrusted with the construction of piers and viaducts (Navayuga Engineering) has given a fresh assurance to the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation (BMRCL) of completing the work by June 2010.

However, the extension of the Bangalore Metro Rail Project (North-South) that was approved by the State government in October will be completed in 2012.
The extension runs from Yeshwantpur to Hesarghatta Cross in the north and Jaraganahalli in the south.
Officials in BMRCL said the assurance comes in the wake of a tardy progress of ground work on many stretches of Reach One. “The earlier deadline for completion of works was January which has been extended by six months with instructions to complete within the fresh time line” added sources.
BMRC Managing Director N Sivasailam had earlier told this paper that 30 percent of the project construction is over, with the remaining 70 percent expected to be completed on time.
The project construction commenced in January 2007.
Meanwhile, the BMRCL is expected to announce the consortium selected to begin construction for the metro stations at Halasur and CMH Road in the first week of December, followed by the Old Madras Road station. Construction of these stations is expected to be completed in 22 months, from commencement.
Lowest bid
The BMRCL is also expected to announce the selected consortia to build/manufacture the rolling stock (coaches) for the metro.
Sources told Deccan Herald the Bangalore based public sector giant, Bharat Earth Movers Limited (BEML) led consortium, that includes Rotem and Mitsubishi has offered the lowest bid. “BEML has however quoted Rs 250 crore more than what it had offered to the DMRC (Delhi Metro Rail Corporation) for manufacture of rolling stock.” informed officials.
The selected bidder is likely to be announced during the third week of December, after further evaluation of prices quoted and the ability of the company to deliver the goods on time. Construction of new housing blocks for the rehabilitation of slum dwellers of the Basaveshwara Nagar and Jai Bhim Nagar slums at Peenya and Magadi Road that have begun are expected to be completed in April 2009.
BMRC has acquired land in these areas for the metro rail project.

Car pooling kicks off in City

Car pooling kicks off in City
DH News Service,Bangalore:

Traffic is sure to hit major junctions in the city and is likely to move at snail’s pace as the BMRCL kickstarts its works at three different destinations shortly.
Launching 'Lets Pool In', a public service initiative on car pooling here on Thursday, Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic & Security) Praveen Sood said the Metro rail work from Mysore Road to Magadi Road, Peenya to Sheshadripuram and Jayanagar to Majestic area will begin in two months.
The project will consume considerable amount of space on roads which will result in traffic congestion. Such inconvenience is inevitable as the project is aimed to solve traffic woes, he added.
There are 70 lakh people in the City and 34 lakh vehicles as against 18 lakh vehicles for 1.2 crore population in Mumbai. Absence of adequate and efficient public transport system has created problems which can be reduced by encouraging initiatives like car pooling, he added. Shyju Varkey, station head, Radio One-Bangalore said transportation alternatives that will reduce the number of cars on roads are needed. Fewer cars means lower emissions and less carbon footprints. Small changes can make a huge difference and car pooling is one such small change, he added.
Cricket commentator Charu Sharma said official support was needed for such initiatives. Cricketer Robin Uthappa declared that he was ready to spend some time on a busy road with traffic police to manage the traffic and to create awareness among road users. Cine actor Anu Prabhakar said that the initiative should be encouraged and sustained. K Srinivas, DCP (East Division), A Nagappa ACP (Traffic Central) and Vipul Kasera, founder, CommutEasy were present.

‘Lets pool in’

‘Lets Pool In’, is an initiative of Bangalore traffic police, Radio One-Bangalore and CommuteEasy. People can register and then look for car sharing partners at and also match their work timings and route. Depending on whether one has a car or nor, one can offer a ride or accept a ride.
The commuters can either use the same car sharing pool or use different car pools depending on their work timings. Users can choose their level of privacy and preferred mode of pooling. Praveen Sood launched by registering his name first.

BBMP admits to underpass folly

BBMP admits to underpass folly

Express News Service
First Published : 27 Nov 2008 10:13:42 AM IST
Last Updated : 27 Nov 2008 10:52:52 AM IST

: BBMP on Wednesday admitted that work on the controversy-ridden Cauvery underpass had been undertaken and completed, even before its Detailed Project Report (DPR) was approved by the government.

Responding to an expose in The Express, BBMP explained that though any project costing more than Rs one crore needs approval from the government, it was during the initiation of the project that the government was also toying with the idea of enhancing the BBMP’s administrative sanction powers to projects costing up to Rs 3 crore.

In a press release, BBMP stated: “As the relevant government order was about to be issued, the BBMP Commissioner had been requested orally to keep such files at the BBMP-level for the time being.” On the difference in the project cost - DPR vs actuals - the BBMP said that DPR costs are estimates and do not include cost revisions as per the current schedule of rates and the tender premium. The actual cost of completion of projects would always be higher than the DPR cost, BBMP noted. It further says: The cost is Rs 192.45 lakh and not Rs 225 lakh.

The increase must be compared with tender cost and not DPR cost.

Further, the actual cost is Rs 192.45 lakh against tender cost of Rs 168.23 lakh. The increased cost is well within the sanctioning powers of the commissioner, it said.

BIA turns a fortress

BIA turns a fortress

Express New Service
First Published : 28 Nov 2008 10:32:00 AM IST
Last Updated : 28 Nov 2008 11:03:27 AM IST

: A red alert has been sounded at the Bengaluru International Airport and security cover has been beefed up in and around the airport’s vicinity.

The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), which is in charge of the airport’s security, apart from stationing additional personnel and Quick Reaction Teams (QRTs) in different locations of the airport, has also deployed armed men in plain clothes with an order to open fire in the eventuality of any suspicious activity.

A senior CISF official told Express that additional groups of QRT armed with AK-47 have been stationed on the city side. One set of QRT personnel are taking care of the security of passengers going from the airport to the city.

Extra QRT personnel have also been placed at the Haj passenger lounge.

“All vehicles entering the airport are being screened and CCTV cameras have been installed at the vehicle parking bays. Additional personnel have been placed at the check-in counters.

On the air side, mobile patrol squads have been deployed,” said officials.

Apart from placing armed plainclothesmen in different locations of the airport, they have been ordered to take stock of the situation and open fire on finding any suspicious movement.

Similarly, anti-sabotage teams have been formed to sweep out any Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) from the city side. Additional Karnataka State Reserve Police personnel have also been stationed.Officials informed that an emergency airport security meeting was held on Thursday in which all airlines and agencies working in the airport were directed to brief their employees to be more vigilant and inform the security of any suspicious activity.

Flights to Mumbai cancelled

Meanwhile, a number of flights operating on the Bangalore-Mumbai and Mumbai- Bangalore routes were cancelled on Thursday following the series of terror attacks in the financial capital of the country. Most of the flights operating on the routes witnessed a dip in passenger numbers as many of them cancelled their flight bookings.

Bangalore boy’s supreme sacrific

Bangalore boy’s supreme sacrifice

The cold-blooded massacre of innocents in the country’s financial capital has not left Bangalore untouched. On Friday, a city lad died a hero’s death in front of the embattled Taj Hotel

Bhavya Thimmaiah & Niranjan Kaggere
Posted On Saturday, November 29, 2008

Death is something every soldier has to make a pact with, but that doesn’t lessen the suffering for families who lose their precious sons in the line of duty. One Bangalore family’s deepest emotions will always be inextricably entwined with this week’s terror outrage in Mumbai. On Friday, Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan (31) of the NSG was felled by a terrorist’s bullet while taking part in the flushing-out operations at the Taj Hotel.

Entrusted with the task of evacuating the hostages, Major Unnikrishnan was coming down one of the hotel’s floors at around 6 pm when he came across an injured constable battling for life. In trying to shield him, Sandeep was felled by a terrorist’s bullet.

Speaking to Bangalore Mirror, Sandeep’s father K Unnikrishnan said he had called home on the night of Nov 26 to inform them of his assignment. “He was sounding very confident and telling us that the situation was one that would test his skills. He had also told us to watch the TV channels. But my sixth sense told me something could go terribly wrong.”

Sandeep had told his mother he would be coming to Bangalore on Dec 17 to attend a schoolmate’s wedding and would return on Dec 30. In fact, Unnikrishnan said, he had even booked the tickets for the journey. In anticipation of her son’s arrival, Dhanalakshmi Unnikrishnan had already started planning for his favourite dishes, considering that he came home only twice in a year. But Friday’s black news has put paid to her joyous plans.

Born on March 17, 1977, Sandeep came from a humble background. Despite his Keralite roots, his upbringing was in Bangalore as his father was working here as a personal assistant to the ISRO director. An alumnus of Frank Anthony Public school, he excelled in both academics and sports. After finishing school, he joined the National Defence Academy (NDA), where he was part of the 106th regular course and was attached to the ‘Juliet’ squadron. After passing out, he was commissioned in the 7th Bihar Regiment. During his brief stint there, Sandeep was posted to Jammu & Kashmir and was there till last year. His leadership qualities were noticed by his seniors during his J&K stint, and he was deputed to the NSG, based in New Delhi.

Sandeep was driven by the desire to join the armed forces from his teens, but his parents were opposed to the idea as he was their only son. “However, he managed to convince them of his dream of serving the nation rather than working in an office,” recalled Krishnan, a neighbour and family friend.

Pramod, a former ISRO colleague of Sandeep’s father, said, “Sandeep was a brave and intelligent lad. He always excelled in his studies and stood first in sports too. It is unfortunate that such a tragedy has hit the family.” Damodaran, a resident of ISRO Layout and a neighbour of the Unnikrishnans, said, “He was adventurous and always wanted to be in the middle of action. His leadership qualities helped him come out on top in difficult situations.” According to some relatives, Sandeep was married to Neha, a civil engineer and his former classmate, but the couple later separated.

‘He was innately patriotic’

Aditi Soni
Sandeep’s former headmaster at Frank Anthony Public School, Christopher Browne, remembers Sandeep as a teenaged braveheart with an innate sense of patriotism. A resident of Milkman Street, Ulsoor, Sandeep studied in Frank Anthony throughout — he joined the nursery section in 1981 and completed Standard 12 in 1995.

Describing Sandeep as a ‘brave all-rounder’, Browne said, “I joined as principal in 1994. Though it was just for a year that I knew him, he was an excellent student.” A favourite with his teachers, he excelled in all he did, be it studies or sports. “No wonder, in the Mumbai encounter he would have been the first to jump into it since he loved taking initiatives and had no fear,” said Browne.

Apart from being an avid science student, Sandeep took an active part in extra-curricular activities. Immediately after completing school, he cleared the exam for the National Defence Academy. “In just one shot, he got selected to the NDA. That itself shows how intelligent Sandeep was,” said Browne.

Two of Sandeep’s batchmates, Suresh and Deepak, are also Frank Anthony alumni. They too were part of the flushing-out operations in Mumbai.

Commenting on the motivational factor for the trio opting for the armed forces, Browne said, “All the credit goes to our first headmaster, H D’Souza, who was himself a Wing Commander. He made it a tradition that for every annual function, the chief guest would be from the armed forces. That was a big inspiration for the students.”

Hundreds pay tributes to slain NSG major Sandeep in Bangalore

Hundreds pay tributes to slain NSG major Sandeep in Bangalore

The only son of a retired Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) officer K. Unnikrishnan, Sandeep led his men into Taj Thursday. During the gunbattle he was separated from his men but continued taking on the terrorists, according to NSG Director General J.K. Dutt

Posted On Saturday, November 29, 2008

Bangalore: "Major Sandeep amar rahe", "Bharat Mata ki Jai", slogans rent the air as hundreds followed the army truck carrying the body of National Security Guard (NSG) commando Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan, who was killed in a firefight with terrorists inside the Taj hotel in Mumbai.

Students in school uniform, young and elderly men and women in hundreds, walked along as the truck wound its way from the residence of the NSG commando in Yelahanka, about 12 km from city centre, to the crematorium, about four kilometres away.

Dhanalakshmi, mother of 31-year-old Sandeep Unnikrishnan, was inconsolable. She swooned as the Karnataka police band sounded the bugle after a police gun salute marking the beginning of the last journey of her son from their residence to the crematorium.

She was given medical aid as relatives consoled her.

The body of Major Unnikrishnan was brought to Bangalore late Friday night from Mumbai and kept at his Yelahanka residence for people to pay their last respects.

The only son of a retired Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) officer K. Unnikrishnan, Sandeep led his men into Taj Thursday. During the gunbattle he was separated from his men but continued taking on the terrorists, according to NSG Director General J.K. Dutt.

To prevent his colleagues from getting caught in the crossfire, Sandeep told them to keep away. He was grievously injured and died Friday.

His parents hail from Kerala but Sandeep was born and brought up in Bangalore.

"I lost my son in Mumbai Friday but we are proud that he has served the country well," the father told reporters Friday night.

Unnikrishnan said Sandeep had called on Nov 26 to inform that he would be coming home early next month as his friend was getting married on Dec 17.

The March 17, 1977, born Sandeep had his schooling from Frank Anthony Public School in Bangalore. After passing out of the National Defence Academy, he was commissioned in the 7th Battalion of Bihar Regiment in 1999. He was deputed to NSG in January 2007.

City hero goes down fighting

City hero goes down fighting
Team TOI

Bangalore: Like any parents with a single child, the Unnikrishnans too were against their only son joining the defence forces. However, Major Sandeep had made up his mind while in Class VIII itself.
Major Sandeep was killed on Thursday evening when he was engaged in an the operation to clear terrorists holed up in the Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai.
Back home in Bangalore, gloom loomed over Unnikrishnan’s house near Yelahanka. His father, a retired ISRO employee, spoke twice to the media, his voice heavy with grief. But other family members were not forthcoming. The NSG DG confirmed Sandeep’s death around 11.30 am.
It was a gruelling wait for the family — the body was scheduled to arrive at 5.30 pm, but was put off to 9.30 pm. The body was brought to the Yelahanka Air Force base and taken to the Command Hospital. The last rites will be performed on Saturday with full military honours.
Born on March 15, 1977, joining the Services was a childhood dream for Sandeep. Even as a Class VIII student at the Frank Anthony Public School, his parents could sense the determination in the boy. He joined the 7th Bihar Regiment on June 12, 1999. He underwent rigorous training in counter-insurgency operations. He joined the NSG on January 20, 2007, and became team commander of 51 SDG.
On Thursday evening, Sandeep led the operation in the Taj, engaging himself in clearing the terrorists. When one of the NSG commandos was injured, Sandeep organized his evacuation and noticed one of the terrorists moving to the next floor through a staircase. Sandeep followed the terrorist and engaged him in a gunbattle, till others joined him. By then, he was seriously injured.
His passion for working in the defence forces took a toll on his personal life too. Sandeep had married his childhood friend and classmate Neha, but their relationship was strained. A MARTYR COMES HOME An athlete, singer, science student
Bangalore: Maj. Sandeep Unnikrishnan spent 14 years of his life at the Frank Anthony Public School. A popular figure among his contemporaries, Major Unnikrishnan had only one mission in his life — to join the Army.
According to principal C Browne, who also taught the Armyman math and physics in Class 10, Maj. Sandeep Unnikrishnan was an outstanding student. “He finished ISC Science from here, way back in 1995. Besides this, he was also a fantastic athlete. Most of his athletic records remained unbroken for many years,” reminisces Browne.
The principal, who has taught at FAPS for the past 30 years, said he remembered Sandeep as a tall, slim boy with the most genial personality. “He was the house captain and loved by all. Ever since he was a boy, he wanted to join the Army. He even wore his hair like the commandos,” added Browne.
Besides displaying traits of courage and valour, Maj. Unnikrishnan also had a soft side to him.
According to Browne, he also sang in the school choir for many years. “I remember him as a happy-go-lucky kid. As a school, we plan to honour him by holding a memorial assembly service along with a few of his classmates,” said Browne

Foul smell drives people miles away

Foul smell drives people miles away

Article Rank

[Click To Enlarge]

I Storm drains in Ramamurthynagar are filled with sewage water I ‘ Although this is a prime commercial area few shoppers ‘ ‘ come here now due to the poor road Reaching college on time has become difficult due to the lack of buses from here Daniel P, College student Travelling on Ramamurthynagar main road consumes extra fuel and we are forced to charge extra from the public Sreekanteshwara, Auto driver Walking along this road is risky, especial- ly for senior citizens and schoolchild- ren Jayanth, College student
Visit Rama murthynagar and you find stinking sewage water has entered some houses and shops. The foul smell drives people miles away. Storm drains in the area have been filled with sewage water due to the ongoing work on laying the underground drainage (UGD) system for the last week.

The BWSSB has dug 10feet deep and five feet wide trenches to lay the huge sanitary pipes on the middle of Ramamurthynagar main road. The excavated earth on either side of the road blocks traffic and gives pedestrians a hard time.

Mr S. Sagai Raju, who lives in the areas says the conditions in Ramamurthynagar have been miserable for the last 18 months.

“The miseries of the people are beyond anybody’s imagination. The residents have been inconvenienced for over a year while water pipes have been laid for supplying Cauvery water under the Greater Bengaluru Water Supply Project (GBWASP) to the area. But there is still no water in the taps. The latest BWSSB work has made the road completely off bounds,” he says.

Ramamurthynagar main road is also filled with knee-deep potholes stretching over three kilometers, making it unfit for pedestrians, two-wheelers and cars.

Mr S. Shivakumar, a shopper says although this is a prime commercial area very few now visit the shops here due to the bad road conditions.

“The stench and the inconvenience caused to vehicles has hit business badly,” he adds.

As work has been going on at a snail’s pace, traders have planned to give a rep resentation to the area legislator and the BWSSB to speed it up.

Contractor of the UGD project on the at Ramamurthynagar Main Road B. Munirathnam says the work is being done on priority after getting the permission of the traffic police. He assures part of the work will be completed by November 30 and the rest by December 15. The UGD work is being done at a cost of Rs 98 lakh “About 75 per cent of the work has been completed. We are making an effort to allow people to use the completed stretch. Shifting of some utilities has been a major problem,” Mr Munirathnam adds.

Masterplan remains on paper

Masterplan remains on paper

Bangalore: Four chief ministers and a period of governor’s rule haven’t been enough to ease this deadlock.
The masterplan of the Bangalore International Airport Area Planning Authority (BIAAPA) has been in the waiting for about four years. It was learned that
the plan prepared by the Bangalore Metropolitan Region Development Authority (BMRDA) has been kept on hold because some “influential’’ developers were trying to exercise control over the plan.
According to officials involved in developing the masterplan — that got provisional approval in 2004 — the mandatory requirement to incorporate objections to the plan, from the public, have also been ignored. “Some high-profile developers with vested interests have been trying to ensure there’s no transparency in the manner in which the masterplan is cleared. This had led to a deadlock and successive governments have also not done their bit to clear it,’’ an official said.
A leading developer in the city underlines the irony of having massive real estate development in areas surrounding Bengaluru International Airport (BIA) in Devanahalli, when there’s not even a comprehensive masterplan that can chart out development in the region. “We talk about the rise in real estate activity in the BIAAPA region, even when stalemate over the masterplan is on for four years. The development is still based on an interim masterplan, that typically doesn’t have a life beyond two years,’’ he said.
It’ll be ready before Dec 18: govt
The finalized BIAAPA masterplan will be ready before December 18, the government told the high court on Thursday. Advocate-general Udaya Holla, who appeared before Justice Ram Mohan Reddy, gave this assurance to the court.
Ramakrishna and others had challenged the rejection of their applications seeking a layout plan approval for their lands. Based on the September 2004 provisional masterplan in which their lands were shown as agricultural ones, the applications were rejected. The BIAAPA area includes Devanahalli, parts of DB Pura and Yelahanka. “The applications were rejected in 2006 on the basis of the provisional masterplan. This is impermissible in law. Even though the government had promised a finalized masterplan at the last hearing, it is yet to materialize,’’ Srinivasa Rao, counsel for the petitioners, told the court.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Holding rallies may become tough

Holding rallies may become tough

Bangalore: No political party wants to make a commitment that it will not hold rallies in Bangalore’s central business district. But a draft titled Licensing and Controlling of Assemblies and Processions (Bangalore city) order, 2008, has been submitted by advocate general Udaya Holla to the high court on Wednesday regarding rallies in the city.
As the rallies, processions and assemblies affect the smooth flow of traffic and cause a lot of inconvenience to the public, the draft order (under the Karnataka Police Act 1963 Section 31 sub-section o) puts strict regulations on the organizers of rallies.
As per the draft order, the organizers have to submit the application in the prescribed format at least 7 days (3 days in exceptional case) in advance from the date on which the procession or assembly is proposed.
The application is to be submitted to the Deputy Commissioner of the zone concerned if it is conducted within the jurisdiction of one zone and to the Additional Commissioner of Police, Law and Order, Bangalore City, if it passes through more than one zone.
The procession or assembly means the congregation of more than 25 people, barring marriage and funeral processions. No procession or public assembly will be allowed without obtaining permission from the competent authority.
If the application submitted by the organizer is found not in order, it will be forwarded to the Additional Commissioner of Police Traffic/DCVP Traffic. The authorities concerned should send their views to the licensing authority i,e. the Deputy Commissioner of the zone concerned or Additional Commissioner of Police, Law and Order, Bangalore City. The authorities specified should satisfy themselves the following subclause/aspects which are most crucial in licensing.
In respect of assemblies, authorities specified should furnish their opinion on the number of persons likely to participate, time of start and close, dispersion, whether adequate parking facilities have been made for all vehicles of persons attending, whether area where assembly proposed can accommodate such large turnout, whether organizers are capable of adhering to above conditions which may be imposed in licence etc.
More importantly whether such an assembly is likely to cause annoyance to any other group of persons or institutions or individuals in the vicinity has to be furnished before a licence can be issued. The licensing authority may decide whether to grant or refuse licence after considering whether the organizers have made adequate precautions that have to be taken to the smooth flow of traffic and peace and tranquillity on the route.
The high court Bench has suggested many changes regarding wording and language of certain provisions to make it more appropriate and complete and asked the government to submit proposals containing conditions.
Roads on which procession is proposed to be taken will not give scope for any disturbance or for any obstruction to the smooth flow of traffic and cause inconvenience to the public.
Number and type of vehicles which can be permitted to use by organizers.
Route by which procession may be permitted and time during which procession should start and conclude.

The recent high court order gives water bodies back to citizens

The recent high court order gives water bodies back to citizens
Jayashree Nandi | TNN

Bangalore: The Karnataka High Court’s interim order staying privatization of lakes brings new hope to citizens as it clearly prioritizes the rights of people to enjoy nature. The order also emphasized that protection and conservation of lakes is government duty. But the question is: Are people going to get back the three lakes already privatized?
The government is going to get back to the court in a few days with a proposal on how to proceed with the lakes. The parties involved suggest that there are fair chances of getting back the three privatized lakes. The Lake Development Authority (LDA) could also get a makeover with representation from the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) and the tourism department. KSPCB counsel S Basvaraj says the government has two options — i) terminate the contracts early and pay compensation that can add up to a few crores or ii) cancel the contracts straightaway. The chief scretary also proposed a facelift for LDA by adding representatives from other departments like the pollution control board and the tourism department.
There were no illegalities in the contract as such and cancelling it could invoke the damage clause. However, if the court orders cancellation, the government need not bear damages. Chief secretary Sudhakar Rao said the government would comply with “whatever the court says and whatever is good for the people’’.
Money involved
This is not just a landmark case in restoring the citizens’ right to access the beauty of the environment. The case has also revealed the huge revenue that these privatized lakes were generating for the respective companies and the LDA. Soon, there could be an end to this.
According to Sunil Dutt Yadav, the advocate fighting the case for the Environment Support Group (ESG), the report submitted by LDA during the case showed the companies were earning crores of rupees just by having the lake as part of their property, with the LDA contributing a part of it. While the Vengayanakere lake fetched Rs 15 lakh per month, Nagavara lake Rs 40 lakh, Hebbal Rs 72 lakh and Agara Rs 46 lakh. The Lumbini Gardens on the bank of Nagavara lake, for instance, generates up to Rs 2.5 crore per year. Raju Prasad, CEO, Lumbini Gardens, says of this amount, almost Rs 1.6 crore has been given to the LDA in the past four years. All contracts are for 15 years.
ESG filed the petition on January 14, 2008 for stopping privatization of lakes. Yadav says his primary argument was the development of water bodies should involve preserving quality of water to improve aquatic life, improving life and vegetation around lakes and maintaining them for the pleasure of citizens. There shouldn’t be any third-party interest like that of real estate people in the same.
“Though LDA said that leasing out lakes was a non-profit initiative for their development, their own report showed how much revenue these lakes were generating for the companies,’’ he says. The Supreme Court held that according to the public trust doctrine, natural water bodies should be preserved for future generations as representative samples of the ecosystem.
Section 67 of the Land Revenue Act that says state is the owner of lakes has also been flouted by privatizing these lakes. Agencies like the urban forest department, the state forest department, BDA and KSPCB had all supported the argument by filing statements of objection to privatization of lakes by LDA.
Impact of privatization
In 2006, researcher Rohan D’Souza did a study on the impact of privatization of lakes. According to him, the foremost problem with it is denial of public access to public space. “Water is a common property resource. Earlier, lakes supplied water for varied uses to people from all sections of society. The forest around the lakes was used for firewood. Now, these needs have changed to that of leisure or dumping of waste water. At least access to people’s needs from water bodies should not be blocked,’’ he says. Since privatized lakes are primarily for entertainment and enjoyment of the elite, the lakes have been turned into artificial aquaria to keep the water clean. Water bodies fail to retain their natural character. Once, there were over 3,000 lakes in Bangalore; now, there are only about 80.
HABITAT value of lakes
Principal conservator of forests Dilip Kumar says discussions are taking place to come to an agreement on privatized lakes. The government has to find a way of not damaging business, but at the same time take the lakes back under its wing. The forest department is keen on submitting an action plan for 60-66 lakes that have habitat value and can be considered wildlife spots. “Lakes like Puttenahalli, Hebbal and Agara have good habitat value for wildlife like migratory birds. We’ll fence them and post watchmen. I’ll appeal to the government to give funds to protect these lakes,’’ he says, while welcoming the high court order.

BBMP sets up call centre for complaints about buildings

BBMP sets up call centre for complaints about buildings

Staff Reporter

You can call 22276151 or 22222753

There is an option for the caller not to reveal his identity

Bangalore: Do you know the persons who were building houses and buildings without obtaining permission from the authorities and those putting up constructions in deviation of sanctioned plan?

Just pick up your phone and call the 24-hour call centre of the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), which would be operational from December 1 exclusively to register complaints of this nature.

The citizens can call 22276151 or 22222753 (from December 1) to give information about any illegal constructions instead of submitting complaints in writing by visiting BBMP offices and taking acknowledgements.

This call centre would register complaints pertaining only to illegal constructions.

The complaints registered in this call centre, set up by the Technical Vigilance Cell (TVC) working directly under the control of the Commissioner, would be fed to the software, generated in-house by the Cell, and the persons who lodged the complaints would be given a complaint identity number, said S. Prabhakar, Superintending Engineer, TVC.

A team led by an officer of the cadre of Executive Engineer, attached to the TVC, would be inspecting the property to verify the complaint and take action as per the law.
Follow-up calls

The complainant can know the action taken by the TVC by calling the 24-hour call centre and providing the identity number of the particular complaint.

The option of revealing the identity, like name, address and phone numbers, of the complaints has been made optional. If the complaints provide these details it would be easy for the BBMP to follow up. But the TVC will look into the complaints where the caller does not want to disclose his or her identity.

The call centre would come as handy to the citizens to register complaints from their home.

Metro notice to East Coast

Metro notice to East Coast

Staff Reporter

BANGALORE: After the Lokayukta sleuths trapped the member-engineering of Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) while accepting Rs. 20 lakh from the representatives of East Coast Constructions and Industries Ltd., Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd., (BMRCL) has issued a show-cause notice to the company asking why it should not be disqualified from participating in various tenders of BMRCL and from participating in future tenders.

Citing newspaper reports on the incident, BMRCL managing director N. Sivasailam drew the company’s attention to Clause 3.5 of the tender document.

The clause says the applicant should observe high standard of ethics while submitting the tender application and that the bidder who indulges in fraudulent and corrupt practices would be disqualified.

The company had submitted tenders for construction of nine Metro stations — C.M.H. Road, Byappanahalli, Old Madras Road, Ulsoor, Hosahalli, Tollgate, Jayanagar and R.V. Road Terminal.

The company has submitted tenders for construction of boundary wall for Peenya Yard and Byappanahalli Depot.

Mr. Sivasailam had asked the company to furnish the explanation within three days, failing which action would be taken to disqualify the company from tenders till it was conclusively proved in an appropriate forum that the company was free from corrupt and fraudulent practices as reported in newspapers.

Healthy Bangaloreans might go extinct by 2020

Healthy Bangaloreans might go extinct by 2020

K Shiva Kumar
First Published : 26 Nov 2008 03:51:00 AM IST
Last Updated : 26 Nov 2008 03:19:42 PM IST

MYSORE: Bangalore will not have any healthy people left in 15 years if the government fails to arrest soaring pollution levels in both urban and rural levels. This grim warning came from Vision Group 2020, a panel comprising of eminent personalities from the state, constituted for making Karnataka a developed state.

In a meeting held in Mysore to devise a New Industrial Policy for the state, representatives from the Vision Group observed that the pollution levels and congestions posed a threat to people even in residential areas which house more than 8,000 small scale industries (SSIs).

Criticising successive governments for failing to shift the SSIs out of the city in a phased manner, the group said that the situation would further worsen as there are already 1.5 lakh SSIs in Bangalore alone.The majority of SSIs located at Ramaiah Industrial area, Jaibharathi, Maruthi, Kamakshi Palya, Peenya industrial area, Hosur Road, K R Puram, Yelahanka and Mysore road are into plating, chemical toning and hard-crome plating. Efforts to shift these hazardous industries have repeatedly failed. The group said that the Industries and Commerce department, Karnataka Industrial Area Development Board and Karnataka State Small Industries Devlopment Corporation should take the blame for this mess as they were supposed to acquire land for shifting the red-category SSIs working in residential areas.

Air pollution levels have also hit alarming levels. Pollution levels are said to be at a record high at Mysore Road. According to pollution board authorities, the Suspended Particulate Matter (SPM) is 305 microgram against a minimum of 140.

Speaking at the meet, former president of Peenya Industrial Association (PIA) A Padmanabha said that many of the industrial areas have no common effluent treatment plants, green belt or buffer zones. He asked the government identify suitable land and shift SSIs out of residential area in phased manner providing suitable land at subsidised rates.

The Vision Group, taking note of alarming situation, said that its immediate aim is to create buffer zones to demark both residential and industrial areas and acquire land to bring down pollution and vehicular traffic pressure inside the city.

BBMP buried all rules under underpass

BBMP buried all rules under underpass

Faiza Haneef
First Published : 26 Nov 2008 03:41:00 AM IST
Last Updated : 26 Nov 2008 10:22:42 AM IST

BANGALORE: The miracle of Cauvery junction magic box is just unfolding. The project may have overshot its deadline by several days, but it’s a wonder that it was completed two-and-a-half months before its Detailed Project Report (DPR) was prepared.

The DPR was prepared and sent to Urban Development Principal Secretary, Jothiramalingam only on May 14, 2008, while the magic box had already been inaugurated on February 20, 2008.

What’s bizarre is that according to the DPR, which was approved on May 29, the “underpass is yet to be constructed”.

The DPR, which is essential for commencing detailed designs of any project, was prepared exactly 84 days after the completion of the underpass.

This is probably the first time in the history of BBMP that a project report was submitted to the government for its nod after the completion of the project.

The DPR was submitted by BBMP commissioner S Subramanya.

This information was accessed through a right to information petition (RTI) filed by an advocate and technolegal advisor L V Sreerangaraju. He had to wage a long struggle and appeal before the Karnataka Information Commission to get the details.

It is evident from the goof-up that while the BBMP was misleading the government, the latter too turned a blind eye to the entire sequence of events preceding the approval of the DPR on May 29.

While the total cost of the project was Rs 224 lakh, the DPR pegged it at Rs 146 lakh. Though the BBMP mentioned wrong details, they were approved by the government. What was more absurd was that tenders were floated without a DPR and with legal and technical flaws.

The work on the underpass was started on January 16, 2008 and was inaugurated on February 20, 2008. Traffic was allowed in the first week of March.

“Technically, it was impossible to shift the precast elements and place them within three days as it would take minimum 28 days’ strength for them to be shifted,” said Sreerangaraju.

“According to the DPR, the project does not conform to designs of the curves for the arterial road in keeping with the Indian Road Congress standards and the BBMP has admitted that in the DPR.

With similar structures constructed enroute to the airport, BBMP has violated all engineering principles and this is abuse of authority vested with the commissioner under sections 265, 266 and 267 of KMC act,” Sreerangaraju observed.

Further, the BBMP has spent about Rs 4 lakh for the DPR and the total cost according to the actuals is Rs 228 lakh which is 53 per cent above the approved DPR cost of Rs 146 lakh.

“According to the amended Rule 6 of the KMC Act, the commissioner has no authority to either incur or ratify 53 percent extra over the approved cost,” explained Sreerangaraju.

Draft rules on rallies submitted

Draft rules on rallies submitted
Bangalore, dhns:
City police, in pursuance of the directions by High Court, submitted a draft of of measures to control public meetings in the city, on Wednesday.City Police Commissioner Shankar Bidari submitted the draft of the proposed rules during the hearing of a long-pending petition by A V Amarnathan and others seeking a ban on rallies causing inconvenience to public.

The draft comprises rules, regulations and procedures to be followed while granting permission for public rallies.
The draft, known as Licensing and Controlling of Assemblies and Processions (Bangalore City) order 2008 under Section 31 of Karnataka Police Act, 1963 aims at ensuring smooth flow of traffic during such political rallies.
As per the draft, no procession or public assemblies will be allowed in the City without prior permission. Organisers have to obtain permission from zonal Deputy Commissioner of Police before taking out a procession. If the rally extends beyond a single zone, application should be made to Additional Commissioner of Police, Law and Order.


The organisers should get the applications for procession (form no 1) and assembly ( form no 2) by making a payment of Rs 100 in the form of demand draft. The applications undergo several processes and will be cleared within a period of seven days, while in emergency cases, it will be three days.
The authorities will grant permission after they are convinced that the route proposed will not disturb the public or affect the traffic.
The number and type of vehicles to ply on the road during the procession, starting and concluding time of the programme, possibilities of inflammatory speeches and slogans which might annoy the religious, political or social or cultural groups will also be examined. The licensing authority (Deputy Commissioner of Police or Additional Commissioner of Police), if necessary, will visit the venue of the programme or may depute the officers above the rank of Police Inspectors to do so.
The decision to issue or refuse license will rely on the statement of the organisers recorded by the licensing authority of their subordinates above the rank of Police Inspectors. If it is political rally the statement of authorised representatives will be recorded.
Public interest, status and antecedents of the applicants, parking space for vehicles, law and order problem, disturbance to the educational or religious institutes in the vicinity, troubles like resentment amongst the members of the public belonging to any religious, cultural or social groups will also be taken into consideration before granting permission.
License authority will communicate refusal of the permission to the applicant in writing within five days of receiving the application. The license shall be deemed to have been granted if the authority fails to dispose off the application within five days.
The organisers are bound by the rules like providing water to the participants, ensuring electricity safety by ensuring that the installations over there are tested by competent authority and take adequate precautions to prevent fire mishaps. The division bench comprising Justice S R Bannurmath and Justice Venugopal Gowda, which heard the draft adjourned the matter. The bench has invited the suggestions and corrections to the draft during the next date of hearing.

No more outdoor thrills, as chill brings mercury down

No more outdoor thrills, as chill brings mercury down
DH News Service,Bangalore:
Bangaloreans woke up to a chilly and gloomy weather on Wednesday as the cyclonic storm Nisha moved over the Southwest Bay of Bengal, headed slightly towards north and lay centred near Nagapattinam by 5.30 pm.

Continuous drizzle and cold gusty winds sent Bangaloreans diving into their jackets as the city saw a maximum of 22 degrees Celsius and a minimum of 19 degrees Celsius. The weather is expected to continue on Thursday as the cyclone will hit the coast and weaken.
A Meteorological Department official said that temperatures on Thursday would stay the same although the winds would weaken. This was because the effect of the cyclonic storm would wear off as the day progressed. Rainfall is expected in Bangalore, Mysore, Mandya and Chamarajnagar. Isolated rain is expected in coastal and north coastal Karnataka.
The official also stated that the city would have been seen more rain and cold weather, had the cyclone moved in the northwesterly direction.
But none of these observations mattered much to Bangaloreans on Wednesday as they huddled and went about finishing their work outdoors as early as possible. Business shops were worst hit. Shakun Gulrajani, an accountant at the Olympus Digital Camera shop, on Brigade Road said customers normally do not come out during such weather.
Vijaykumar, a shop owner at Avenue Road, did not bother go to his shop. He said: “I knew that there would be less customers. People do not go outdoors in this kind of weather unless they have to.”
The drizzle also meant that several people had to travel by auto rickshaws. Several were wary of the extra fare that auto drivers demand. Brenda, a trainer, said she did not mind paying the extra amount to travel during rough weather.

BBMP turns haven into hell

BBMP turns haven into hell

It’s been a nightmare for Alister Vieyra and his family in their 100-year-old house on Residency Road. They have been deprived of electricity and water, their compound wall and gate has been demolished, as the BBMP continues unconcerned with its ‘repairs’ on the storm water drain

Shashwathi Bhanukumar & Vinesh Vasanth Betrabet
Posted On Thursday, November 27, 2008

Because of the trench, Alister, who needs help to walk, finds it risky to even venture out.
Instances of the BBMP’s callousness are legion. But this beats most of them. For almost three weeks, Alister Vieyra and his family, the occupants of Beck Haven, house number 29 on Residency Road, have been living without electricity and water because of ‘repair’ work being carried out by the civic body outside the house.

Alister’s problems don’t end here. The BBMP has encroached on the property where the house stands and the existing compound wall and gate have been partially demolished. The worst part is that the BBMP has been totally indifferent to Alister’s protests.

The house incidentally is the only house standing on Residency Road and is 100 years old.

It was around three weeks ago that the BBMP dug up the area near the War Memorial at the Residency Road-Brigade Road junction and had promised to complete the storm water drain works in a week’s time. But then, as expected they have not kept their deadline.

Little did Alister and his family foresee the nightmare that they would go through, just a few days after the BBMP started digging work in the name of ‘repairs to the drain’ when there was no problem with the drain in the first place. “This work is totally uncalled for. When it began we thought it would be good for the future regarding the drainage but now the situation is getting out of hand. They have encroached about three to four feet of our property,” Alister said. The workers even had the temerity to tell Alister that they were from the BBMP and would do as they pleased, and dared him to try and stop them.

Alister, venting his anger at the BBMP, said, “We have been staying in this house for the past one hundred years. First it was my forefathers, now it is my family. We have been earnest in paying taxes for our part of the property”. Alister needs support to walk after having suffered an accident last year. The digging work has made his movements extremely risky and restricted.

Part of Beck Haven’s compound wall been demolished by the BBMP
His wife Rosanin too speaks about the problems they are facing. “We were told that it would get over soon and moreover they did not tell us that we would lose a part of our property. They have destroyed half our compound and also the gate without our permission. We did not get any kind of notice from the authorities and the engineers here are rude too,” she fumed.

She added that at night the workers come and urinate in their compound and have also dirtied their newly painted walls with ‘paan’.

In fact, Rosanin and Alister along with their daughter, have survived without electricity and water for quite some days as the BBMP workers had cut the cables while working. “We then contacted the BESCOM people and they came and put a temporary board with a connection but that too was taken out by these people,” said Rosanin. They have now kept the board in what remains of the house compound. Water too was restored only after five days.

When confronted about the problems the people in the house are facing, the engineer in charge, Chikryappa, had this to say, “They were informed about the work and gave their consent to it and now they are complaining. It is for their welfare that this work is being done.” As for Shivanna, the contractor, he didn’t even feign any concern. “We will put up the gate and the compound once the work is done,” he said dismissively.

As though all this weren’t enough, the public too seems to be bent on adding to Alister’s problems. People have started using part of the demolished compound now as parking space! “The road has turned into a pseudo-parking lot. Vehicles are parked in a haphazard manner. The least they can do is to put up a ‘no parking’ board here,” said Alister.

This thoughtless and unplanned execution of so-called repair work by the BBMP has not only thrown traffic out of gear on that road but has also put lives in danger. Trenches have been left open. Nor are there any signs to warn people not to venture anywhere near them. Water and power to many shops in the area were completely cut off and they stayed so for three days.

Now, who is answerable for all this?

‘Nisha’ chills Bengaluru

‘Nisha’ chills Bengaluru

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The weather spells gloom for the city for a few days as the cold spell will continue with the sun hiding behind dark clouds.

The city is under the ‘Nisha effect’, the cyclone which has been active over the Bay of Bengal causing a fall in temperature in the city during the last two days.

The Indian Meteorological Department has forecast light to moderate rainfall and heavy rainfall over parts of south interior Karnataka including Bengaluru.

“The cyclonic storm over Bay of Bengal located about 50 km east of Vidyaranya in Tamil Nadu is likely to cross on Wednesday or Thursday. The cyclone is causing heavy rainfall over Tamil Nadu and parts of south interior Karnataka,” A. Muthachami, director, IMD, Bengaluru, said.

This is the second cyclone in the last one week which has originated from the Bay of Bengal. The cyclone, Khai Muk, which was active over Bay of Bengal weakened few days ago. Meteorologically, the North East Monsoon is always attached to the cyclone.

The city’s temperature is expected to plunge due to the effect of the cyclone. While the minimum temperature on November 20 was 19.3 degree C, on Wednesday the minimum temperature recorded was 18.5 degree C. “As the cyclone effect continues to bring with it showers and cold waves over Bengaluru, the temperature during the day is expected to fall further,” Mr Muthachami added.

The city receives about 60 mm rainfall on an average during November, but this time the total rainfall in the last 27 days was 29.4 mm which is less than normal.

IMD did not say if the temperature will go down further in winter. “It is too early to predict the winter over the southern peninsular. While the northern parts of the country come under heavy cold waves, the temperature is moderate in south India. IMD will issue the winter prediction for Bengaluru and surrounding areas before the onset of winter,” said a meteorologist.

Owners to land building deal

Owners to land building deal

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I 200 roads to be widened, additional floor as compensation I If the landlord gives a 100 sq. ft area for widening of the road, he will be permitted to build on 150 sq. ft on additional floors
: The plan to widen 200 roads in Bengaluru may take off at last as the government intends to give owners of buildings an additional Floor-to-Area ratio as compensation under the transfer of developmental rights (TDR) scheme.

The compensation offered under TDR has now made the road widening project more feasible, leaving build ing owners with no grounds for protest.

“If the landlord gives a 100 sq. ft area for widening of the road, he will be permitted to build on 150 sq. ft on additional floors. He can either build additional floors for himself or sell the rights to someone else,” explains Mr Krishna Reddy, engineer (major roads), BBMP. The dual benefit scheme offers the landlord 1.5 times the area he gives up, he points out.

“The entire road-widening plan will be subject to minor matters of litigation within the next two to three months though legal hassles are not expected at all,” says profes sor M N Sreehari, member of the expert committee, Bengaluru Infrastructure Development and advisor to the Karnataka government. The duration and comple tion of the entire project will depend on the availability of finances and which roads need to be tackled on priority, Mr Reddy explains.

Roads have already been identified for widening across the city. The work will be undertaken in phases with 45 roads being modified in phase I and 46 roads in phase II.

Most of the widening will be concentrated in the areas in and around Central Bengaluru. Work is already underway at Palace Road, Race Course Road and Nrupatunga Road. It is expected to be completed in these parts by the end of December. Later Infantry Road, Frazer Town and Wheeler Road will be tackled.

In the second phase the police commissioner’s residence, the RBI building and the government home science college will also have to give up land for the roads to be widened.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Bescom to clamp down on billboards

Bescom to clamp down on billboards

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I Switching off hoarding lights after 10 pm will save electricity, say authorities I There are nearly 25 lakh billboards in the city and many of them display advertise- ments well past midnight. Commercial establishments also waste electricity by leaving their signboard lights on late into the night
With the power crisis threatening to spiral out of control, Bescom has decided to clamp down on outdoor advertisers who keep hoardings lit past midnight and in the daytime.

To save power Bescom has requested advertisers to reduce power consumption by a third during peak hours, from 6 pm to 10 pm.

“It is a request that is not legally binding on the advertisers for now,” said Bescom managing director Tushar Girinath. “We are trying to come out with a legalised order.” Mr Girinath said the switching off hoarding lights after 10 pm will save electricity and reduce the load on transformers. “During this crisis, it would be unfair for outdoor advertisements to be given priority over homes,” he said.

Billboards lights are left on in the daytime in many parts of the city. There are nearly 25 lakh billboards in the city and many of them display advertisements well past midnight. Commercial establishments also waste electricity by leaving their signboard lights on late into the night.

Civic authorities are no exception to the squandering what is now a very scarce commodity, even though they are expected to set an example for the rest of the city.

To light up a hoarding, the advertiser has to receive a no-objection certificate from the landlord and get permission from the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike. Following these approvals, Bescom provides electricity to light the hoardings.

Outdoor advertisers deny that they are big power guzzlers, and complain instead that power cuts during peak hours result in their hoardings not being lit the entire day.

“The hoardings use an automated lighting system set to a particular time. Suppose I set the timer at 6.30 pm and there is no power at that time, the hoarding will not be lit until 6.30 pm the next day,” explained a prominent outdoor advertiser.

“Our consumption of electricity has already reduced by almost 75 per cent. Bill boards are lit for only an hour or so instead of three hours,” he added.

In Mumbai, solar-powered hoardings are used to cut down on electricity consumption. However, the cost of installing such hoardings deters advertisers in Bengaluru from using them. “Night-glow stickers are a better and cheaper option,” said Surendranath of Megha Publicity. “It requires onetime installation and serves the purpose.”

City to go horn free on Dec. 1

City to go horn free on Dec. 1

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About 70 per cent of autorickshaws in the city produce more noise than they are permitted to.
December 1 could come as a relief for those looking for some peace and quiet on the city’s roads. The police has in association with Mission Peace, an NGO, declared it a No Honking Day.

The idea is to create awareness among people that the noise levels in the city are rising at an alarming rate. According to a survey, the city makes 20 decibels more noise than permissible.

Ms Sunita D’Souza, who heads Mission Peace — Stop the Noise, says a recent survey by the organization found that autorickshaws contribute hugely to the noise pollution because many of them do not have silencers that work.

Consequently, about 70 per cent of autorickshaws in the city produce more noise than they are permitted.

The campaign will target the nearly 80,000 registered autorickshaws to make them aware of the need to cut down the noise they are making. “Even when we held the sound recording device about a foot away from an autorickshaw, the decibel levels were alarming. An autorickshaw is allowed to make noise as loud as 80 decibels. But a large number of them touch between 80 and 100 decibels. The noise they make affects not only the people, but the drivers themselves,” Ms D’Souza explains.

Ms Radhika Poovaiah, director of Samvaad Institute of Speech and Hearing says it is high time the police was serious about curbing noise pollution in the city.

“The noise levels in residential areas touch 70 decibels and in business areas they go up to 90 decibels, whereas the prescribed levels are 55 and 70 decibels respectively,” she says. The police and the NGO plan to launch an awareness campaign across the city in the days leading to December 1 to prepare commuters to observe the No Honking Day. Director general and inspector general of police R. Srikumar will launch the awareness campaign on November 26. Volunteers holding placards talking about the consequences of noise pollution will interact with commuters at major junctions to prepare them for the day when they will be required to stop honking like everyone else.

Bengaluru is darkest city of all

engaluru is darkest city of all

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Fretting over power disruptions is a daily ordeal for this city, but here’s a statistical translation: The number of ‘dark’ days in Bengaluru has reached seven this year. The highest ever in its history. A survey by Bangalore Electricity Supply Company in 2005 states that on an average there are three and a half ‘dark’ days in the city every year.

But, according to sources, power outage in one year in the city, which used to be 86 hours amounting to more than three and a half days, has doubled in 2008 to 180 hours making the number of dark days for the city 7.5. The world average stands at 12 minutes per year, while the Indian standard is between 50 and 115 hours. Tokyo’s annual outage is 8 minutes.

Bengalureans used to comfort themselves with the thought that other Indian cities are worse off. In annual hours of outage, Chennai records 115, Kolkata 90, Hyderabad 80, Delhi 70 and Mumbai 50. But this year with the state reeling under power shortage, the tech city has climbed to the top.

Spot the lake here if you can...

Spot the lake here if you can...

This stinks: Arekere lake near Bannerghatta Road in Bangalore/Ajilal
Navya P K
First Published : 25 Nov 2008 04:01:00 AM IST
Last Updated : 25 Nov 2008 09:00:12 AM IST

BANGALORE: For families staying near the Arekere lake in Hulimavu, clean water is a rare, precious commodity. Here groups of 10 to 12 families share water from one well each. While seepage from the highly-polluted Arekere lake has caused water in the wells to be polluted, residents are left with no other option but to use it. Raw sewage and effluents from the nearby garment factory make their way into Arekere lake, which is almost completely covered with water hyacinth, an indication of reduced oxygen content due to pollution.

“Well water is unfit for consumption. We use it only for ablution, washing clothes and dishes. In the common borewell, water comes only once a week. Otherwise, we rely on private tankers for water supply,” says Amjad, a resident in the area. However, private water supply is not affordable to many families here.

“Even borewell water is not clean. There is high incidence of fever, allergy and respiratory problems among people. But it has become so routine that no one complains anymore,” says another resident Mohan Gupta. The stench from the lake is unbearable during rains and mosquitoes which breed in the open drains and the lake also contribute to diseases.

The case is not unique to Arekere lake.

People residing near many lakes in the city, such as Singasandra, Chikkabegur and Bellandur lakes, face similar problems and the poor people are the worst-affected. Advocate S Vasudev, counsel for the PIL demanding potable water supply in areas surrounding Bellandur lake, says, “Builders of new apartments pay crores of rupees for unrestricted water supply while local residents are deprived.” When contacted, Public Relations Officer of BWSSB A N Prahlada Rao said, “Until two to three years back, water was provided to apartments that paid nearly Rs 80 lakh for laying of water connection pipelines.

But due to supply constraints, new apartments would not have the option. Water supply problems are higher in areas that are newly added to the BBMP. Borewells are being dug in these areas from the last three to four months. By 2012, 500 MLD of Cauvery water will be available, which can solve water shortage problems.” However, in reply to a PIL filed by Bellandur gram panchayat, the High Court had in 1999 ordered immediate measures to supply potable water to residents in Bellandur, clean all lakes in the city and to channelise sewage to the treatment plants. Following the authorities’ lack of compliance to the HC directives, another petition on contempt of court was filed. It is still pending before the Lok Adalat.

The sewage treatment plants (STPs) around Bellandur now have a capacity of 248 MLD, which is insufficient to handle sewage from the area. “The BWSSB has spent nearly Rs 185 lakh to divert sewage to the treatment plant, without much respite.

While sewage is accumulating in the lake, it’s impossible to clean it,” says C S Vedant, Chief Executive Officer, Lake Development Authority (LDA).

Pollution in lakes also assume larger dimensions, threatening livelihoods. “The vegetation in areas surrounding Bellandur lake were damaged due to pollution. The vegetables taste different and are no longer accepted in the market. Agricultural activities have come to a standstill and farmers are suffering silently,” says Advocate Vasudev. The fishing community is also affected as the fish have died in many lakes.

Another problem plaguing residents is flooding during rains. The leakage of a drain connecting to Arekere lake has led to lake water flowing out into the residential areas. “We had complained about the issue many times and efforts were made to stop the leak. But as water flows in great force, temporary measures do not work,” says a resident in the area. Now many houses here are surrounded by water during all seasons.

Lack of proper drainage system worsens the situation.

LDA officials flatly blame encroachments for outflow from lakes. “People encroach outflow channels, making them narrow.

During rains, water gushes out causing flooding. BDA and BBMP should take initiative to demolish illegal structures,” says Vedant. He cites interlinking of lakes as a key cause for pollution. “In Bangalore, all lakes are interlinked, due to which pollutants from one lake will be carried to another during rains. There is lack of funds from the state government and it takes nearly five years after a proposal is submitted for any project to take off,” he adds.

Ever since LDA’s constitution in 2002, three lakes - Vengaiahnakere, Nagavarakere and Jaraganahallikere - were rejuvenated.

Whether masterplans are chalked out or not, the lives of many still hang in the balance.

Missing in action

Missing in action
By: Chetan R
Date: 2008-11-25


Long wait: Vehicles piled up in the 9 hours it took
to get the truck fixed
Cops were so busy with the Turkish prime minister's visit to the city that the task of regulating traffic on the Sarjapur Outer Ring Road was all but forgotten.

A truck carrying timber had broken down in the middle of the road at 4 am yesterday but remained unattended for nine hours since police personnel incharge of clearing traffic were deputed as part of Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan's security. As a result, cars were lined up as office-goers struggled to make it to work on time.

"The truck was left unattended for hours together and nobody was bothered to clear it," said Ramesh.V, a software engineer, who spent almost three hours in the jam.

By 7 am, two cops made an attempt to clear it with the help of a crane but the truck was overloaded. Soon, traffic piled up from Eco Space on the Outer Ring Road to the BDA complex in HSR Layout.

"There were only a few policemen to clear it," said R Prasad who was on his way to Sarjapur. "We heard that most of them were on duty during the Turkish PM's visit to the Infosys campus."

Apart from the police, even the truck owner did nothing to clear up the mess on a road that sees mostly techies travelling to over 40 companies and over 10,000 to 15 000 vehicles during peak hours.

1km per hour

"We took nearly an hour to travel a kilometre," said Prasad. "Police should be around at least during such crises to take steps to clear the traffic."

However, traffic police and ORRCA (Outer Ring Road Companies' Association) staff said the truck was cleared by 1pm and traffic flowed freely.

And police say there was no lapse in the first place. We made all attempts to clear the traffic," said Venkatesh, traffic inspector, "there was no lapse from our side."

Kannada boards not for police

Kannada boards not for police

Mukhyamantri Chandru was flummoxed when he came across a barricade that had only English close to his office in Vidhana Soudha

Suchith Kidiyoor
Posted On Wednesday, November 26, 2008

It is no use walking anywhere to preach unless walking is our preaching, goes the saying. That’s precisely what Kannada Development Authority (KDA) chairman Mukhyamantri Chandru realised when he walked out of his chamber on the third floor of Vidhana Soudha on Tuesday.

Chandru, who has been shouting out loud for mandatory use of Kannada language in all government offices and also in the private sector, was in for a shock when he found a steel barricade on the same floor with all the writings, including an advertisement, in English. Stumped, Chandru walked away silently as he came across the barricade barely minutes after he told media persons on how aggressive the KDA would get in the coming weeks with regard to use of Kannada. The barricade had the words ‘Cubbon Park Police Station, Bangalore’ written and a service advertisement that read ‘Do not drink and drive’ along with an advertisement pertaining to a bank.

According to an order issued in 2000, police personnel should communicate in Kannada language, be it the words on their vehicles or other forms of communication. Another order (issued in 2002) related to advertisements states that at least two lines of the advertisement should be written in Kannada language. However, in the barricades that dot the seat of power, service advertisements displayed on either side do not have even a single letter written in Kannada.

Though Chandru tried to downplay the issue, claiming that the police need to be reminded about the order, officials maintained that use of Kannada in administration has been reduced to mere rhetoric over the years.

Earlier, Chandru set Dec 31 as the deadline for all commercial establishments to changes the nameplates from English to Kannada. “The names should be predominantly in Kannada. They can write in other languages too, but that should be less highlighted,” Chandru said. If the establishments fail to put up Kannada nameboards, a penalty of up to Rs 10,000 will be imposed on them. “If caught subsequently, their licenses will be cancelled,” Chandru added.

KDA authorities said though the government has passed more than 300 orders for use of Kannada in administration, a majority of the officials don’t bother to implement it. “We will organise a workshop for the officials to discuss their problems and find out solutions for implementation of Kannada in administration. Noted Kannada writers will address them so that the officials will understand the importance of Kannada language in administration," he said.

KDA has also decided to honour top scorers of SSLC and PUC who have studied in Kannada medium. A total of 210 students have been selected from four divisions of the state this year and students will be honoured.

Greens, HC panel lock horns

Greens, HC panel lock horns

Bangalore: The friction between environmentalists and the high court-empowered committee on road widening came to the boil over tree felling for Namma Metro and road-widening projects taken up by the Brihat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP).
Environmentalists and civic groups have alleged that though the empowered committee should include the public and other stakeholders in their deliberations, they were not doing so. The groups had approached the Lok Adalat to resolve the issue and make the system more transparent. As per the Lok Adalat order on November 19, the empowered committee held a meeting on Monday at the BBMP office.
Representatives of public groups like Hasiru Usiru, Environment Support Group (ESG), CIVIC, Citizen Action Forum and Samuha also attended the meeting. Their suggestions and issues were put forth, some were deliberated but the committee decided to come back with responses on the next meeting on December 10. BBMP tree officer and member-secretary of the committee, M R Suresh, said the complainants had come before the committee and presented their suggestions. “We deliberated on some; we will also discuss some later and come back on December 10. They can put forth their suggestions but cannot dictate to the committee. We are here to take responsible decisions,’’ he said.
Some of the points put forward by the groups were that the committee should work in compliance with the Town and Country Planning Act, and that they be more transparent with respect to the planning of road widening and Metro to the public so that people can put in their views and concerns with respect to the projects.
All recommendations made by them were asked to be submitted in writing to the empowered committee. Advocate Sunil Yadav, on behalf of ESG, asked for a stay order on the road-widening project but the empowered committee observed that it was not possible. “Work on all fronts will continue,’’ Suresh said.