Friday, March 20, 2009

VVIP fliers go hungry at BIA

VVIP fliers go hungry at BIA

Article Rank


When formerprime minister H.D. Deve Gowda and Telugu Desam chief Chandrababu Naidu checked in at the VVIP lounge at Bengaluru International Airport recently, all they received by way of refreshment was a glass of water. With the pantry closed, members of the leaders’ retinue had to rush to the coffee shop in the terminal to get them a bite to eat.
Caterers at the VVIP lounge in the international airport closed the pantry and shut shop 10 days ago after the department of public administration and reforms (DPAR) failed to clear dues of over Rs 8 lakh.

The dues have been pending since August 2008.

The catering company had entered an agreement with DPAR to serve state guests at the VVIP lounge, under which the expenses were met by BIA for the first two months.

Guests of the state government, chiefs of the armed forces and other VVIPs use the lounge as do other notables who are provided with Z-plus security. Around 40 VVIPs and 400 VIPs use the lounge every month.

The government has 24 employees working round the clock in shifts at the VVIP lounge but they now have no food to serve.

They now buy food from coffee shop in the terminal building and serve it on paper plates.

“We have written to the government and personally met DPAR officials for release of the dues, but nothing came of it. The last time we met the government officials concerned, they asked us to meet them after the elections,” said a representative of the catering company.

“We also cater at the VIP lounge in the airport where the monthly bills come to about Rs 70,000. The overheads at the VVIP lounge are Rs 1 lakh even though fewer people use it. We cannot spend any more till we are paid our dues,” the official added.

When contacted, DPAR secretary K.R. Srinivas said a meeting of the parties involved will be called shortly to resolve the issue.

15-day no-entry on Seshadri Rd

15-day no-entry on Seshadri Rd

Senthalir S. Bangalore

It's another fortnight of traffic woes for Bangaloreans travelling on Seshadri road.
The Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) is constructing an underpass using pre-cast elements at the Palace Road-Seshadri road junction.
"We have completed the bridge work and now we are casting the approach ramps to the underpass. We may not be able to complete the work in 10 days. It might take us atleast 15 days to complete it," said Chikkarayappa, BBMP chief engineer.
This underpass will enable two-way signal-free vehicular movement on Palace Road between the State Bank of Mysore circle and Basaveshwara circle.
The traffic department has diverted vehicles away from this junction.
"We have diverted the traffic in three routes. The route has been closed for vehicles moving towards Maharani College circle from Mysore Bank circle, Seshadri circle and from the CoD headquarters on Palace Road towards the junction. Vehicles traveling from Kanakadasa Circle to Jail Junction and also from Kanakadasa Circle to Palace Road junction have been diverted," said A Nagappa, ACP, traffic central.
Vehicles moving from KR Circle towards the City Civil Court Complex will have to take a detour via Nrupathunga Road and KR Road.
Buses to KR Circle via Khoday's Circle will need to take a left turn at Jail Junction and travel via Y Ramachandra Road, Palace Road and Old Post Office Road. Other vehicles can, however, take a left turn on the flyover and move on to the Race Course Road.
Buses travelling towards Palace Road from Basaveshwara Circle have been diverted towards the High Grounds police station junction, Chowdiah Road and the Traffic Headquarters.
Other vehicles will need to take a left turn at the AG's junction and touch Vidhana Soudha West Gate circle, Devaraj Urs Road, MS Building Road and Dr Ambedkar Veedhi.
The construction work of the underpass started on March 13 and the project is likely to be completed in a month at a cost of Rs4 crore.
Frequent commuters on this route are only hoping that the underpass helps smoothen the traffic flow in the area.

Kheny dream to skirt lake

Kheny dream to skirt lake


Srikanth Hunasavadi. Bangalore

It is time for the Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprise (NICE) Limited to celebrate.
The High Court of Karnataka on Thursday cleared all legal hurdles affecting the construction of the Peripheral Ring Road (PRR) around Gottigere Lake.
The court quashed a government notification dated November 4, 2006, ordering that the alignment around the lake be changed and the road be built across the lake.
A division bench headed by Chief Justice PD Dinakran and Justice VG Sabahit allowed the NICE petition challenging the government notification.
The HD Kumaraswamy government had changed the alignment of the NICE PRR near Gottigere tank, directing that the road be built in the middle of Gottigere lake on pillars.
But the High Court quashed the change of alignment and ordered NICE to implement the project as it was conceived and expeditiously in public interest.
And it was not just NICE which had challenged the change of alignment of the road.
Dr BK Chakrapani, an environmentalist, and also the Electronic City Industry Association (ECIA) had filed independent writ petitions challenging the government notification over the change of alignment.
Dr Chakrapani had contended that the construction of the peripheral ring road in the middle of the Gottigere tank would not only destroy the tank but would also affect the ecology and the environment there, even if the road was to be built on pillars.
The ECIA on the other hand contended that the incomplete work of the PRR near Gottigere tank was causing enormous inconvenience to the people who had to commute from different parts of the city to Electronic City for work.
The story so far
Gottigere lake is situated in Gottigere village on Bannerghatta Road and is said to be more than 500 years' old.
It is a live tank and a source of discharge for downstream lakes like Hulimaavu, Madiwala and Bellandur lakes. NICE had entered into an agreement with the state government in April 1997 to build a peripheral ring road.
According to the original alignment, the road had to pass through the lake, bisecting it at a grade point.
Environmentalist Suresh Heblikar then filed a petition in the Karnataka High Court in June 1999 after which NICE was ordered not to lay any road that bisects the tank, as this bisection could prevent or disturb water inflow into the tank.
NICE accepted the order and in June 2002, the Public Works Department (PWD) accepted the NICE proposal of realigning the PRR.
However, the Kumaraswamy government's notification sought to undo this around-the-lake realignment.
The matter was again dragged to the Supreme Court but the apex court referred the case to the High Court. The High Court then heard the matter and disposed it of.

Thumbs up: NICE Chairman Ashok Kheny can heave a sigh of relief as the High Court quashed a government order seeking a change in the road alignment around the Gottigere lake

Namma Metro to go underground in July

Namma Metro to go underground in July

Before tunnelling work starts, engineers have to close all open wells and borewells

Aarthi R | TNN

Bangalore: Tunnelling work for Namma Metro Project will start in July. Right now, engineers have to find the right way through ‘restricted zone’ and close all open wells and borewells. Some of these obstacles are bound to come along the tunnel path.
Nearly 70 open wells and 47 borewells — owned by the government, private agencies and residents — were identified along the north-south and east-west corridors in a survey by Torsteel Research Foundation.
The Bangalore Urban district commissioner’s office had notified them in January this year, calling for objections. “The objections we got are now being evaluated. A committee has been formed to look into the matter and decide compensation packages as well,” a Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation (BMRC) spokesperson told TOI.
Tenders for the work on closing these water sources have been called for, and is expected to be finalized by Marchend. The actual work is likely to begin by mid-April.
The structure proposed by BMRC will have two tunnels each — along the north-south (NS) and east-west (EW) metro rail lines. The diameter will be 5.5 metres running for 4 km. The tunnels will be separated by 5 metres with a depth of 12 metres.
Mending borewells and open wells along the tunnel path was recommended to minimize the impact of the ‘Earth Pressure Balance’ tunnel boring machine. The presence of any such water sources may damage the machine or the water itself may be contaminated.
The mines and geology department recommended that a restricted zone around the tunnel be set up. Accordingly, 30 metres on either side of the central line along the tunnel will be out of bounds for building or borewell activities. This is to insulate the tunnel from disturbances.

Board these buses easily

Board these buses easily

Revised Routes Soon For BMTC Orange, Blue Bus Services

Deepa Bhasthi | TNN

Bangalore: The latest services of the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC), the orange and blue lines and the Big 10, collectively called Kendriya Sarige, were expected to lure those working in the central business district (CBD) into taking public transport system.
But barely a month after being introduced, the BMTC finds that there are few takers — a glitch that the corporation now hopes to turn around by reworking on the routes.
While the first few days saw occupancy hovering at just 10%, a month later, BMTC officials say occupancy varied between 30% and 40%.Though traffic experts had recommended a Rs 5 fare, BMTC had rejected the proposal citing higher operational costs on the Volvos and other high-end buses that have been pressed into this service.
Why less occupancy
The other complaint was that none of these buses touched Kempegowda, Shivajinagar or Shantinagar bus stations — three chief depots that see high passenger movement.
BMTC director of projects P K Garg told TOI: “Talks are under way in the corporation to rework the routes for the orange and blue lines and the Big 10. The area along which the Big 10 services run is likely to be expanded. Currently, these buses ply on Tumkur Road, Hosur Road and eight other high-density traffic corridors on the outer fringes of the city to the CBD.”
Revised routes to touch major areas
According to him, these buses will also touch City Market, KBS, Shivajinagar and Shantinagar bus stations, extending the service to more passengers. “There are some issues between the traffic experts and our officials based on our experience, like the fares on these routes. If three persons travel together, taking an auto would be an easier option than paying Rs 10 each on these buses. But reducing the fares will also hit running cost,” he explained.
The revised routes are expected to be finalized in a day or two. Officials also expect the service to pick up gradually as it happened with Vajra and Vayu Vajra services.
Tumkur Road, Hosur Road, Bannerghatta Road, Kanakapura Road, Mysore Road, Bellary Road, Magadi Road, Sarjapur Road, Old Madras Road, HAL Airport Road.
Fares vary from Rs 5 to Rs 15
Orange and blue line buses ply on clockwise and anticlockwise routes, covering CBD for a flat fare of Rs 10
Private firm offers help
ING Vysya marketing and products head Sonalee Panda said the company will create awareness about the advantages of the bus services. “It’s unfortunate that most of these buses are running empty.”
(With inputs from Shivani Mody)

HC nod for NICE road around Gottigere tank

HC nod for NICE road around Gottigere tank


Bangalore: The Karnataka High Court on Thursday quashed the Kumaraswamy government notification of November 4, 2006 on the alignment of the NICE peripheral road near Gottigere tank. It directed the road be based on pillars sunk in the tank and go over it.
“It is apparent on the face of records that the government had interfered and intruded into the power conferred upon BMICAPA. The BMICAPA also failed to discharge its authority and the order passed under Section 14-A of Karnataka Town and Country planning Act is contrary, gross violation and extraneous interference in the domain of statutory authority BMICAPA,” the division Bench headed by Chief Justice P D Dinakaran observed in its verdict running into 100 pages.
The Bench allowed the petitions filed by Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprise and PILs filed by B K Chakrapani and the Electronic City Industries Association and dismissed the contempt petition filed by Vijayaraghavan.
NICE challenged the notification on various grounds, contending that the order was against the approval accorded under the BMICAPA master plan on Feb. 12, 2004 for laying the road around the lake. After the Supreme Court confirmed the judgment of the high court upholding the project and directing the state government to implement it expeditiously, the government placed new hurdles. One was the Nov. 4, 2006 notification, the company claimed. Environmentalist B K Chakrapani and ECIA filed independent writ petitions challenging the notification. Chakrapani contended that the construction of the road in the middle of the tank, though on pillars, would destroy it and affect the environment. ECIA contended that the road was incomplete near Gottigere tank on account of the realignment required by the notification and caused enormous inconvenience to employees of industries in Electronic City in their daily commute.
In Gottigere village on Bannerghatta Road Live tank reportedly over 500 years old Source of discharge to downstream lakes like Hulimaavu, Madivala, Bellandur lakes Total area 14.98 hectares Water-spread area (as per Lake Development Authority) 8.52 hectares RAP AFTER RAP
In their battle with NICE, H D Deve Gowda and son have been repeatedly pulled up by the courts over the years. The latest judgment is another blow
Bangalore: Although former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda and his son former CM H D Kumaraswamy would like avoid any more court censure, their mistakes related to the Bangalore Mysore Infrastructure Corridor (BMIC) project have led them to face the court’s wrath.
On Thursday, they got the latest rap when the high court quashed the notification issued by Kumaraswamy as CM in November 2006 on the Gottigere tank issue.
Through a government order, Kumaraswamy directed Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprises (NICE) to build the BMIC peripheral road over Gottigere tank by installing pillars in the tank bed. However, the notification was challenged by NICE on the grounds that a road in the middle of the tank would destroy it and affect the environment.
With this court order, NICE can link peripheral road connecting Hosur Road and Kanakapura Road taking the alignment by the side of the tank near Bannerghatta Road. This development is certainly a setback to the father-son duo, who have been on a collision course with BMIC promoter Ashok Kheny ever since J H Patel signed the Frame Work Agreement (FWA) in 1997 for the BMIC project.
Recently, the Supreme Court made strong observations against Gowda related to the letter and book on BMIC, which he forwarded to high court judges.
The SC observed that Gowda was free to write any number of letters, books and could hold seminars on BMIC, but should not doubt the court’s integrity on the issue. The SC rap was a follow-up to a stricture passed by the Karnataka HC in the same case.
Ever since the government started taking the NICE head-on, the father and son have been rapped on five occasions by the HC and SC.
NICE entered into an agreement with the state government in April 1997 to build a peripheral road. The alignment passes through Gottigere Lake bisecting it. Based on the petition by Suresh Heblikar, the high court in June 1999 ordered NICE not to lay any road bisecting Gottigere Lake, preventing or disturbing inflow of water into the tank. NICE accepted the order and the PWD department in June 2002 accepted the NICE proposal to build an alternative road. A realignment was proposed but, due to various reasons the matter was pending in the high court. ROUGH HISTORY
May 2005: HC in its judgment allowed NICE to go ahead with the BMIC project
April 20, 2006: A severe censure when the same order was upheld by the Supreme Court. It also imposed a fine of Rs 5 lakh on the state and asked it to deposit with NICE for bringing frivolous arguments in an appeal against the HC
November 2006: Perhaps the most severe when the SC dismissed the government’s petition seeking review of its April 20 order on BMIC project, and rehearing of the matter. The Kumaraswamy government had contended that NICE had secured 2,150 acres excess land around Bangalore worth over Rs 30,000 crore, which would result in loss to the exchequer
October 2007: The Kumaraswamy government decided to ditch NICE and invite global tenders to complete BMIC project. However, the plan remained only on paper as this idea was struck down by the SC
March 2008: The SC issued notice to the government asking it to reply on the contempt petition filed by NICE. The court issued notices asking the government to respond why the SC order on BMIC was not implemented

Metro rail corridor set for boom

Metro rail corridor set for boom

Anil Kumar Sastry
But nothing promised for those who make way for it
BANGALORE: If you live along the “Namma Metro” corridor, your area is likely to witness unprecedented commercial growth once the metro rail starts running.

A recent Government Order decrees that localities abutting “Namma Metro” stations and terminals — within a distance of 150 metres of these structures — could become commercial areas as the floor area ratio (FAR) has been increased to four for these areas. The order amends the zoning regulations of the Revised Master Plan – 2015 of the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA).

Consequently, Regulation 3.16 (ix) under Chapter 3 – Regulations applicable to all Zones – came to be amended as follows: Areas within a distance of 150 metres from the outer boundary of the metro station/ terminal, subject to the confirmation from the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd., (BMRCL), will be eligible for a maximum FAR of four for all permissible use, irrespective of the FAR applicable for the respective uses in the respective tables.

Little cheer
However, this largesse from the authorities is unlikely to bring any cheer for thousands of shop owners who have lost their livelihood across the city as no promises had been made for their relocation.

The entire 41-km metro route will virtually be converted into a hub of commercial activities. While the east-west Corridor (Byappanahalli to Mysore Road) with a distance of 18.1 km will have 17 stations, including five underground, the north-south corridor (Hessaraghatta Cross to Jaraganahalli) will have 24 stations, including three underground, within a distance of 23.6 km.

Earlier, BMRCL planned to allow commercial exploitation of land within 50 metres on either side of the track along the route.

However, sources in BMRCL said it was felt prudent to allow commercial activities within the vicinity of stations and terminals so as to curtail avoidable movement of people.

People using the stations/terminals could shop their necessities within the walkable distance thereby curbing use of private vehicles, the sources said.

Still, only small portions of land, measuring around 200 metres between two stations, could remain non-commercial, that too, if it was not converted into commercial. Because the distance between each station was around 1,000 metres and the average length of stations is 220 metres.

And the new regulations allow commercial activities within 150 metres distance from the outer boundary of the station/ terminal.

Multi-level car parking
In order to address the severe parking problem that is haunting the city, the amendment has made special provisions for multi-level car parking (MLCP). When an MLCP is proposed on a plot as an independent activity, there shall not be any limitation on FAR or the height of the building subject to the condition that it satisfies fire safety and airport authority restrictions, the amendment said.

Permissible land use
A host of commercial activities, including retail shops, restaurants and hotels, showrooms, offices, boarding and lodging houses, banking counters, indoor recreation, multiplexes, clubs, godowns, two-wheeler parking and other conforming commercial activities that are ancillary to the main use could be undertaken within this declared zone.

However, for ancillary use purpose, the area shall not exceed 45 per cent of the permissible FAR of the project when taken up by central/ state governments or their agencies and 20 per cent of the total built up area for others.

City sanitation in the pits

City sanitation in the pits

Navya P KFirst Published : 19 Mar 2009 04:52:00 AM ISTLast Updated : 19 Mar 2009 02:29:52 PM IST
BANGALORE: Even as residential layouts are developing thick and fast, the sanitation infrastructure in the city is at a standstill. Of the 147 wards under the BBMP, 47 wards that were part of the erstwhile City Municipal Council still do not have underground drainage systems (UGD). Residents in these areas are having to be content with digging temporary pits next to their houses, which serve as septic tanks.
“Five-feet-deep sewage pits are usually built in two hours and covered with a slab. Mosquito menace is severe and chances of groundwater contamination is high,” says Sanjeev, who has been residing in Thalakkaveri Layout in Basavanagar near Marathalli for the last two years.
Even in areas that have UGD, sewage lines are not linked to the Sewage Treatment Plants(ST Ps). According to M Lakshman, Senior Environment Officer at the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB), 80 per cent of the sewage problems in the city can be solved if the inter-linking of UGDs to ST Ps are done efficiently. Currently only 30 per cent of the city’s sewerage is treated in the 14 STPs, which have a collective capacity of 718 MLD.
“The capacity of K&C valley in Challaghatta, Varthur - which comprises three ST Ps - is 248 Million Litres per Day (MLD), but only 55 MLD of sewerage is treated here. Fourteen sewerage lines in the area makes their way into the Bellandur Lake instead. Storm water drains are also polluted this way. Linking UGDs is a complex process and has to be prioritised. More ST Ps will also have to be built,” says Lakshman. Three cases logded by KSPCB against Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board for polluting lakes has been pending for two years.
BWSS B’s project under World Bank and JNNURM to construct and interlink UGDs is still in an infant stage.

BBMP contractor axes trees for vaastu

BBMP contractor axes trees for vaastu

Imran KhanFirst Published : 19 Mar 2009 04:50:00 AM ISTLast Updated : 19 Mar 2009 10:58:43 AM IST
BANGALORE: As if trees being cut for road-widening were not enough, some are getting chopped for vaastu now. A BBMP contractor has axed three Gulmohar trees in front of his house at Sadashivnagar, claiming they were standing against the vaastu of the house.
Maile Gowda, a BBMP contractor for the past 10 years, was on the way to chopping off a fourth one too, but timely intervention by the neighbours saved the tree.
Gowda purchased the house a year-and-a-half back and explained to his neighbours who confronted him that the trees were not good for the vaastu of his house and that he had obtained permission from the BBMP to chop them.
“The BBMP had given permission for only two trees, but he has chopped three already and would have chopped another one too,” said Venkat, a man who caught the whole event on video.
“I don’t know how the BBMP gave him the permission since they weren’t dead trees though the contractor claims they were,” he added.
Venkat went ahead and launched a complaint with the Deputy Conservator of Forest (DCF) and BBMP officials. “Nothing has happened so far,” he said.
Dr Devika and Vedam Jaishankar, Maile Gowda’s neighbours, said that around 10 am, people came with axes and started chopping down a tree which was in a perfect condition. They confronted Gowda, who told them that as the trees were not good for the house’s vaastu, the earlier inhabitants of the house had lost their mental stability.
When Express asked Maile Gowda about the event, he denied any knowledge of it at first. But later he acknowledged that two trees had been cut with the permission of BBMP.
Maile Gowda, however, could not recall the name of the Tree Officer who granted him the permission. He also dismissed the claim that the trees were felled for vaastu reasons. “The trees were old and could have caused damage to the public,” he claimed.
When contacted Tree Officer Suresh said, “We get hundreds of applications every day and it is hard to remember each of them.” However, he vaguely remembered this case and said that permission could have been granted on technical grounds.BBMP contractor axes trees for vaastu

Imran KhanFirst Published : 19 Mar 2009 04:50:00 AM ISTLast Updated : 19 Mar 2009 10:58:43 AM IST
BANGALORE: As if trees being cut for road-widening were not enough, some are getting chopped for vaastu now. A BBMP contractor has axed three Gulmohar trees in front of his house at Sadashivnagar, claiming they were standing against the vaastu of the house.
Maile Gowda, a BBMP contractor for the past 10 years, was on the way to chopping off a fourth one too, but timely intervention by the neighbours saved the tree.
Gowda purchased the house a year-and-a-half back and explained to his neighbours who confronted him that the trees were not good for the vaastu of his house and that he had obtained permission from the BBMP to chop them.
“The BBMP had given permission for only two trees, but he has chopped three already and would have chopped another one too,” said Venkat, a man who caught the whole event on video.
“I don’t know how the BBMP gave him the permission since they weren’t dead trees though the contractor claims they were,” he added.
Venkat went ahead and launched a complaint with the Deputy Conservator of Forest (DCF) and BBMP officials. “Nothing has happened so far,” he said.
Dr Devika and Vedam Jaishankar, Maile Gowda’s neighbours, said that around 10 am, people came with axes and started chopping down a tree which was in a perfect condition. They confronted Gowda, who told them that as the trees were not good for the house’s vaastu, the earlier inhabitants of the house had lost their mental stability.
When Express asked Maile Gowda about the event, he denied any knowledge of it at first. But later he acknowledged that two trees had been cut with the permission of BBMP.
Maile Gowda, however, could not recall the name of the Tree Officer who granted him the permission. He also dismissed the claim that the trees were felled for vaastu reasons. “The trees were old and could have caused damage to the public,” he claimed.
When contacted Tree Officer Suresh said, “We get hundreds of applications every day and it is hard to remember each of them.” However, he vaguely remembered this case and said that permission could have been granted on technical grounds.

Police seek public opinion

Police seek public opinion
Bangalore,DH News Service:
The City police have invited suggestions, opinions and objections from the the public on the proposed draft regulations to streamline public processions and meetings in the city.

Public can send in their opinions to the Commissioner of Police, No 1, Infantry Road, Bangalore 560 001 or DG&IGP police head quarters, No 2 Nrupatunga Road, Bangalore or mail to or, within April 25.

“The new set of rules has nothing to do with the coming Lok Sabha polls. They might come into force by Feb 25, 2010,” City Police Commissioner Shankar Bidari clarified on Thursday.” Bidari said the State was lagging behind by more than four decades when compared to Mumbai, Pune, New Delhi, Chennai and West Bengal in regularising protests and public meetings.

The High Court took cognisance of a PIL in this behalf in 2006 and asked government to streamline rallies. The Court had come down heavily on the government after the Oct 17, 2008 political rally brought the city traffic to a grinding halt. The High Court made serious observations and suggested the government control and regulate the assemblies and processions in the city. It directed the police department to ensure smooth flow of traffic and to prevent inconvenience to the public.

A proposal was submitted to the government in this regard and the same was approved after dropping few stringent measures. The proposed draft is now ready for notification and members of the public, individuals and organisations are welcome to air their opinion.


Organisations which plan to conduct protest or meets need to obtain permission from authorities (separate application for protest and public meets).

* The application should reach the competent authority seven days (working days) prior to the proposed date.

*No processions or assemblies shall be allowed in the City without obtaining prior permission.

*The completed application must be accompanied with a demand draft of Rs 100.

*The rule applies to public meets by various political parties, religious groups, social organisations, route marches and protests. Marriage and funeral are exempted from the rule.

*The authorities will inspect and clear the time of start and finish, venue and the route of the procession or assemblies.

What the police look for before obtaining permission:

*Public interest

*Availability of parking space

*Law and order problem in the locality

*Whether any disturbance or nuisance will be caused to any hospital, educational or religious institutions or court or government office in the vicinity.

*Whether the said procession or public meeting is going to cause nuisance to the residents in the area.

Shopkeepers of BDA complex stunned by salvo

Shopkeepers of BDA complex stunned by salvo
By S Lalitha, Bangalore, DH News Service:
A battle is brewing between the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) and shopkeepers who have occupied its complexes in different parts of the City for decades.

This is in the wake of sudden notices ordering shopkeepers to vacate the premises by March 31 this year.

The notices have been despatched to shopowners at BDA complexes at R T Nagar, Indiranagar, Vijayanagar and Austin Town. While some have received the couriered notices just three days ago, some have received them a fortnight ago, leaving very little time on hand to make alternate plans.

BDA plans to demolish the buildings and transform them into bigger complexes. The lease agreements or licence agreements entered into by BDA with different shops specifies that a six-month notice period would be served. Many are now contemplating legal action against the BDA.

The oldest of these complexes is the one at Indiranagar, which was inaugurated in 1982. Leaving aside the government buildings, 84 shops occupy the ground and first floor premises. Restaurants, stationery shops, beer and wine shops.

M S Rehman, has been running a footwear shop here for 25 years. “I have been renewing my lease agreement every five years. I received the notice by courier asking me to vacate on March 13. The notice bears the date March 4. Expecting me to vacate my shop within 18 days is grossly unfair and I am not going to do so,” he said.
Dharnas in front of the BDA Commissioner’s office and the CM’s residence are in the offing, he added.

President of the Indiranagar BDA Shopping Complex Shopowners Welfare Association, Harish Begane, who runs a beer joint here, said the shopkeepers are contemplating legal action. “I have invested Rs 15 lakh on my shop and spent my life nurturing it. I just cannot quit and go,” he said. There has been no mention of compensation or rehabilitation, he added. “They did not bother to call us for talks or issue any previous notice in this connection,” Begane adds.

A copy of the notice, available with Deccan Herald, states that a decision to demolish the buildings was taken at a BDA board meeting on November 6, 2008 and approved by the Commissioner on January 31, 2009. The deadline for evacuating shopkeepers was specified as on March 31. Despite repeated attempts, BDA Commissioner Siddaiah, could not be reached for comments.

No road over lake, says HC

No road over lake, says HC

NICE wins battle as HC nullifies govt order to build a road across Gottigere lake


The Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprises Ltd (NICE) has won a legal battle against the state government in the Karnataka High Court. The HC on Thursday nullified the notification of the state government directing NICE to construct a peripheral road across the Gottigere lake by erecting pillars.
The notification was issued during the coalition government headed by H D Kumaraswamy. NICE had challenged the notification which re-aligned the project.
Apart from NICE, Dr B K Chakrapani, an environmentalist, and the Electronic City Industry Association had filed independent writ petitions challenging the notification. The petitioners had contended that implementing the directions given in the notification would affect the ecology of the lake.
They also contended that the re-alignment of the work had delayed the completion of the peripheral road, causing enormous inconvenience to the employees of the industries in Electronics City.
The Division Bench of the High Court comprising Chief Justice P D Dinakaran and Justice V G Sabhahit had heard the writ petitions last month and had reserved the verdict till Thursday.
NICE sources told Bangalore Mirror, “The order of the HC will enable us to complete the project within three months, except construction of a bridge which will connect the peripheral road to Bannerghatta road. The road will now be constructed around the lake without affecting its ecology.”
NICE, however, has a rough road ahead because, for the completion of the project, it will have to acquire above 20 acres of land near the lake, most of which belongs to relatives of powerful politicians.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Unclog Bangalore’s core with m

Unclog Bangalore’s core with m

Express Features First Published : 17 Mar 2009 09:20:00 AM ISTLast Updated : 17 Mar 2009 02:13:01 PM IST
BANGALORE: One of the major challenges in solving the city’s traffic problems is decongestion of the core area that has witnessed unplanned development, narrow roads and a large volume of traffic. A monorail could be an answer to this problem.
The government has been contemplating over a monorail proposal through the inner part of the city.
The proposed alignment is different from the one suggested in the Comprehensive Traffic and Transportation Plan (CTTP) for Bangalore. The new alignment could help solve traffic problems as it runs through densely populated and high-traffic areas and also integrates with other modes of public transport- metro, railway and bus system.
The new proposal from Scomi- Geodesic consortium has three lines (as shown in the map), totalling 61.5 km, that cross core areas like Cantonment Railway Station, Millers Road, Residency Road, MG Road, Kamraj Road, Minsq Square, Trinity Circle, Ulsoor Lake, KH Circle, Majestic, Ananda Rao Circle, Race Course Road, Nrupthunga Road, Hudson Circle, Lalbagh Road, JC Road,Sampangiram Nagar, Wilson Garden, Lakkasandra, VV Puram, Forum Mall, Koramangala, Banashankari, Basavanagudi. Bellary Road, Sankey Road, Malleswaram, Mahalakshmi Layout, Rajajinagar, Chord Road, and Bapujinagar.
The CTTP had suggested four corridors (a total of 60 km) of monorail/ LRT line: Hebbal to J P Nagar (Bannerghatta Road) along the western portion of outer ring road (31 km), PRR to Toll Gate along Magadi Road (9 km), Kathriguppe Road / Ring Road Junction to National College (5 km) and Hosur Road - Bannerghatta Road Junction to PRR along Bannerghatta Road (15 km).
The government’s decision on the proposal is awaited. A presentation on the same before Agenda for Bangalore Infrastructure Development (ABIDe) task force is expected to be held in May-June.
“Monorail could be the best solution to solve traffic problems in the inner city to a great extent and the proposed alignment, with a few minor changes, seems efficient, said Advisor to Government of Karnataka on Traffic and Transportation issues,” Professor M N Sreehari.
However, he emphasised that integration of metro rail, monorail and bus system would be crucial for the success of each of the systems.
Monorail to support other modes of public transport The new alignment of monorail is proposed as a feeder to metro rail and not as an alternative and hence the alignment supports metro rather than competing with it and thus avoid running parallel to metro. The proposed monorail alignment crosses metro rail phase I line at six places, and the proposed alignment of Phase II at another six points.
Traffic from monorail and metro can integrate at these intersections. The alignment also crosses three railway stations and seven traffic and transit management centres (TTMC) of Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corp which have been designed to facilitate integration of different modes of traffic.
Integration Points ● The monorail alignment crosses the Metro alignment at 12 places: Phase I- West of chord road (Mahalakshmi layout), Leprosy Hospital (Magadi road), South end circle, Majestic, SJ Polytechnic, Old Madras road Phase II- Banashankari, Lalbagh road, Dairy circle, Cantonment, St John’s church road, Domlur junction ● It connects to seven TTMCs: Yeshwanthpur, Subhashnagar (Majestic), Shantinagar, Jayanagar, Koramangala, Domlur, Indiranagar ● It connects to 3 railway stations: City, Cantonment, Yeshwanthpur ● It connects to 2 KSRTC terminal stations: Subhashnagar (Majestic), Mysore Road

BBMP using pre-cast segment technology

BBMP using pre-cast segment technology

Go underground: Top: The Basaveshwara Circle subway has been built using the precast segment technology. The only problem is -- there are no takers fo
Faiza HaneefFirst Published : 17 Mar 2009 04:09:00 AM ISTLast Updated : 17 Mar 2009 10:31:06 AM IST
BANGALORE: The BBMP is on an underpasses and subways construction spree using the pre-cast segmental box technology since the success of underpass work at the Cauvery Theatre junction.
As per the Palike’s budget announced recently, seven pedestrian subways using this technology have been completed in record time and using the same technology in 2010, the BBMP proposes to construct 220 underpasses on all important roads.
This seems to be the driving force for the BBMP -- which has nosedived into the projects in great earnestness with no apparent feasibility studies before identifying the locations.
Take for example the Basaveshwara Circle.
Despite the presence of two subways here, The New Indian Express found that nobody seems to be using it.
On the other hand, we have the Hudson Circle, which is crying out for a safe pedestrian subway, but the spot has missed the BBMP’s eyes.
“Crossing the road opposite to Hudson church is a challenging task as there is no proper zebra crossing and the traffic movement is very fast. One has to wait for long to cross this stretch and it would have been appreciated if a subway were built here on priority basis,” says Sunita Mohan, an employee of a bank opposite the Hudson church.
At the Basaveshwara Circle, even the students keep away from the sub-ways while on the busy Bellary Road, students of the Veterinary College, complain that the subway is locked at most times.
The pedestrian sub-way at Malleshwaram also seems to be a waste of money as there are hardly any users. As it is a very small stretch, people prefer crossing the road rather than using the subway.
The subway on the Nrupatunga road is quite helpful for the students especially when the traffic is heavy but there was no requirement for another such sub-way on the same road.
Considering that each subway costs anything between Rs 45 and Rs 60 lakh, it becomes obvious that the BBMP is not putting its money in the right place.
BBMP sources told the Express, “The main objective of constructing these subways is to ensure pedestrian safety at every 300 metres on arterial roads. People might not use it initially but after some time, they will start using it once they realise that it is safer.
The Palike insisted that it would continue providing pedestrians with options such as subways and sky walks.
Urban Planner A S Kodanda Pani said,“Subways would be used by the public if the Palike ensures that they are clean and devoid of any nuisance. Proper lighting of the sub-way is a must. One can have small shops inside the sub-ways to attract more users.” Kodanda Pani was of the opinion that subways are a better option than sky walks.

HC says no to religious events, mikes in parks

HC says no to religious events, mikes in parks
Bangalore, DH News Service:
The High Court has granted injunction against the use of loudspeakers and conducting religious programmes in parks and open places in the City.

Former Commissioner of Police and MP P Kodandaramaiah, in his petition had alleged that certain persons were conducting religious activities at Mini Forests park at J P Nagar, Bhashyam Circle and other places on July 16, 2008 with BBMP’s permission.

Kodandaramaiah alleged that they were trying to spread communal.

The petitioner said the religious activities in the park have driven off the birds nested there and also barred children and residents visiting the place. He also suspected a plot to occupy park and open spaces, behind such activities.

The division bench comprising Chief Justice P D Dinakaran and Justice V G Sabhahit granted injunction against the use of loudspeakers, and ordered notice to the State government, BBMP and Bescom as well.

Sign boards

The HC has ordered the BBMP Commissioner, to appear before the Court in connection with the Palike’s order to erect ‘gantry’ sign boards. Hearing a petition by Greenline, an outdoor ad agency, Justice Ram Mohan Reddy said, “Neither the acts nor bye-laws provide for installation of gantry across the street, and it is not known who floated this project.”

It seems so easy to park your litter here

It seems so easy to park your litter here

Staff Reporter
Why are Garden City’s lung spaces full of garbage and debris by the end of the day?
— Photo: Bhagya Prakash K.

What a mess: Despite public awareness initiatives and cleanup drives, garbage is strewn in parks in Bangalore.
BANGALORE: By sunset every day, the so-called plastic-free zone around the Kempe Gowda Tower is swamped with plastic packets and bottles. Litter cops in Lalbagh have been collecting no less than Rs. 10,000 in monthly fines ever since the latest clean-up drive was initiated six months ago.

Things are much worse at the centrally-located Cubbon Park. Unlike Lalbagh, it is impossible to regulate littering considering High Court Complex, Bal Bhavan and a central public library are located inside the park, says K.G. Jayadev, Deputy Director of the park. In a city, which prides itself on its “Garden City” tag, why is it so difficult to maintain its lung spaces, despite several public awareness initiatives and cleanup drives?

Perhaps, the sheer size of these lung spaces makes it a difficult proposition. However, scores of smaller parks, maintained by the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), lie in a similar state of neglect. Officials from the Pollution Control Board say that complaints about poorly maintained parks revolve around two issues: dumping of garbage or debris, and negligence on the part of maintenance workers.

The BBMP is responsible for maintaining nearly 550 parks in the city, and the funds earmarked for development of horticulture (which includes parks) has doubled this year. While many of these have little or no maintenance work happening, several others are being maintained by private players.

Entry restricted
Consider this. The Richmond Town Park, with well-pruned foliage and grass lawns, looks picture perfect. However, a placard at the gate announced that entry is restricted to only a couple of hours a day: it is open to public between 6 a.m. and 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 7.30 p.m. every day. The park, like several others in the city, is being maintained by a private group, which owns a few buildings in the area.

Rohan D’Souza, a researcher with ATREE, points out that while this model is convenient for the civic body, it often renders the space “exclusive”. “Restricting access to parks is not an acceptable trade-off. People who question this are told that the park is shut down to carry out maintenance activities, which is an excuse to ward-off ‘unwanted elements’ and keep it exclusive for a certain section,” Mr. D’Souza points out.

Savitha Swamy, who is working on a thesis on parks in Bangalore, finds that parks maintained by Resident Welfare Associations did better. “People lack a sense of ownership, and this attitude can only change when residential communities are involved in the maintenance,” she says.

For instance, the park located in Kumara Park-West is maintained by the Residents’ Welfare Association. The RWA has not only built toilets but also made provision for a musical fountain. N.S. Ramakanth, president of the RWA, feels that parks are community spaces which must be nurtured.

This model, as community-based as it is, also runs the risk of promoting “exclusivity”. Mr. D’Souza points out that such parks often have guards who turn away people who do not conform to a certain construct of “respectability”. “Indirectly, it becomes a class issue. When the timings are restricted to morning and evening hours, the message is clear: park users can only be residents of the area,” he points out.

INTACH re-listing heritage structures in city

INTACH re-listing heritage structures in city

Sharath S. Srivatsa
The meticulous segregation will also include intangible heritage such as fairs and festivals
The exercise is expected to be completed

by 2010

15 per cent monuments identified in the previous census are gone

— Photo: Bhagya Prakash K.

In focus: The survey will include listing of tangible heritage and material heritage such as sculptures.
BANGALORE: Even as heritage structures in Bangalore are making way for glitzy modern structures, the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) has embarked on re-listing of heritage monuments as well as the intangible heritage. A similar exercise by INTACH in 1980s had identified about 800 heritage monuments of which many have vanished from the city’s landscape.

The listing work, which started in October 2008, is expected to be completed by the early part of 2010, and so far students and volunteers for INTACH have completed listing of monuments in the military areas and Cubbon Park.

“We have taken up the re-listing of heritage monuments on a scientific basis. Development may have cost us about 15 per cent of monuments that were identified in the previous census,” H.R. Pratibha, INTACH’s Bangalore Chapter Convener, told The Hindu.

This comprehensive survey will include listing of tangible heritage such as the natural heritage, built heritage and heritage precincts and material heritage such as sculptures.

Besides, it would also look at intangible heritage such as fairs and festivals associated with Bangalore and informal heritage in terms of informal markets of the city such as the flower market at K.R Market.

Even a regulation proposed by Heritage Commissioner for conservation of heritage sites, including buildings, heritage precincts and natural features, which is pending for approval, entails listing of buildings, artefacts, structures, areas, precincts of historic, aesthetic, architectural, cultural or environmental significance.

In the next phase, listing of buildings would be taken up at older areas of the city, including Ulsoor, Basavanagudi, Old Gavipuram area, Fort area including Balepet and City Market area. Once the overall listing is completed, the INTACH plans to segregate monuments based on the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) wards. “This segregation would at a later stage help in conservation, especially once legislation to preserve these monuments is put in place,” Ms. Pratibha said.

“The idea of listing is to find out the heritage stock and to know what extent of heritage is surviving in Bangalore since we do not have information,” Pankaj Modi, a conservation architect who is overseeing the project, said.

“Certain regulations are required to protect the heritage buildings from being demolished or to protect the characteristics of the heritage precincts. If legislation comes into effect, this database will help in protection of heritage structures,” he added.

“Any city is dynamic and conservation is not against development. It is the way we manage change that the place will witness and also to see the change is positive in heritage precincts,” Mr. Modi said.

He said: “Finally what we want is protection of heritage monuments on the lines of those that are present in Hyderabad, Nagpur and Mumbai.” To explain intangible heritage associated with Bangalore such as Karaga and Kadlekai Parishe, he said, INTACH would rope in experts from the field.

Due to development pressure, INTACH is anticipating reluctance on the part of owners of heritage structures in revealing information about their buildings, and this is especially true with private building owners in Cox Town, Frazer Town and others in Cantonment area.

Seshadri Road pays the price for ‘development’Seshadri Road pays the price for ‘development’

Seshadri Road pays the price for ‘development’

S. Nityananda of Bannerghatta Road has this to say about Bangalore getting hotter (Public Eye, March 11, 2009):

While some loss of the city’s green cover may be inevitable, there are glaring examples of “development” that could have been avoided. A case in point is the widening of Seshadri Road and Palace Road, which according to Bangalore’s standards were already wide roads.

Better synchronisation of signals or restrictions on movement of private vehicles on these roads, especially during peak hours, could have been explored as a possible solution to congestion.

We see instead that hundreds of precious trees have been felled on these two roads, creating a desert-like ambience.

Part of the problem lies with the citizens, various environmental experts and statutory committees themselves for not protesting strongly against the “plunder of the city’s green heritage”.

H.L. Cadambi of Wheeler Road comments on attacks on women (Public Eye, March 4, 2009):

The Chief Minister and his Home Minister, who are responsible for maintaining law and order, have not unequivocally condemned attacks on women, which are now systematically on the rise.

They have taken no real action against the perpetrators — nor against the police, who directly report to them.

On the contrary, through overt statements and covert inaction, they are actually encouraging the continuance of such incidents.

Considering that elections are round the corner, what all politicians desire most is victory.

The best way to bring public feelings to the notice of politicians is through a campaign.

One million points to be replaced with CFLs

One million points to be replaced with CFLs

Jayashree Nandi | TNN

Bangalore: Cut your carbon footprint by replacing the bulb! To address power crisis concerns in states and the larger threat of global warming, the Centre has come up with a unique scheme of making energy-saving compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) as cheap as Rs 15. Power-starved Karnataka will be one of the pilot projects.
In Bangalore alone, Bescom is planning to replace 1 million points in Bangalore Rural, as part of the scheme. “We will start inviting tenders in the next two months before shortlisting agencies.
“Our first target will be 1 million homes in Bangalore Rural district. We are expecting an energy saving of 70-75%, compared to the use of incandescent bulbs. But it also depends on the duration of usage. It is expected to be a good leap in power conservation in the state,” Bescom general manager B N Satya Prem Kumar told The Times of India.
It plans to utilize the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) of the Kyoto Protocol to recover the cost differential between the market price of CFLs and the price at which they are sold to households.
Though CFLs have penetrated the commercial market completely, the needs of the household sector are still vastly met by incandescent bulbs, which are energy inefficient and costly — over 90% of the electricity is converted into heat, and only up to 10% is used for lighting. CFLs provide an energy-efficient alternative to the incandescent lamp as they use only one-fifth the electricity. According to the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE), it is estimated that about 400 million points in India today are lit by incandescent bulbs. If replaced by CFLs, it would lead to a reduction of over 10,000 MW in electricity demand. This would not only reduce carbon emissions but also result in reduction of peak load.
The yojana is a public-private partnership between GoI, CFL manufacturers and state-level electricity companies. Under the scheme, only 60 Watt and 100 Watt incandescent lamps will be replaced with 11-15 Watt and 20-25 Watt CFLs respectively. BEE will monitor electricity savings in each project area in accordance with the monitoring methodology by CDM.
Greenpeace India has been commissioned by BEE to conduct stakeholder meetings and monitor the project in different parts. “There is a lot of interest in the market. We consider the scheme a milestone because if it actually replaces 400 million bulbs, it means avoiding up to 55 million tonne of carbon emissions. But we will monitor the project thoroughly because implementation is key to its success,” said Greenpeace climate and energy campaigner Vinuta Gopal.
POWER-POINTS With incandescent bulbs, over 90% of power turns into heat, up to 10% used for lighting; CFLs use only one-fifth this energy Around 400 m points in India lit by incandescent bulbs: replacing them would not only reduce emissions but also peak power load in the country, which faces shortage of 15% CFLs save over 10,000 MW in electricity CFLs in houses account for only 5-10% Low penetration rate due to high price: costs 8-10 times more than incandescent bulbs, but last 10 times longer
Smartmeter BEE has developed smartmeters based on GSM technology that are fitted between the socket and CFL in sample households in each project area. The GSM-based meter collects data on hours of use and energy consumed by the sample CFL, and sends this information by SMS to the central server.
Blowing out
the lamp Some countries have banned or will ban incandescent bulbs Ireland in 2009 Australia, Argentina, Italy, France by 2010 UK by 2011 via voluntary retailer agreements Netherlands by 2011 voluntarily Canada by 2012 US by 2014 China in 2017 Cuba, Venezuela provide free CFLs Brazil subsidizes CFLs Russia begins marketplace initiative Belgium announced ban Japan, New Zealand considering ban

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Bellandur lake: Like a fish out of water

Bellandur lake: Like a fish out of water

Imran KhanFirst Published : 16 Mar 2009 11:37:00 AM ISTLast Updated : 16 Mar 2009 02:14:55 PM IST
BANGALORE: Once, this lake was their livelihood. Today it is dying a slow death. The fishermen of Bellandur, around 400 to 500 families till the early eighties are now reduced to a mere 10, due to the contamination of the tank due to effluents and owing to the apathy of the authorities concerned.
Fishing used to be a fairly organised activity in the Bellandur tank and fishermen from Kempapura and surrounding areas used to fish in this tank for their livelihood.
People, sometimes from far off places, used to migrate here. On an average, each fisherman used to catch at least Rs 50 (10 plus kilos) worth of fish per day, says an old fisherman.
However, due to contamination of the tank through chemical effluents and rapid urbanisation, the fish started dying and the whole market crashed, says Rohan from Atree.
Rohan adds that slowly the Fisheries Department stopped issuing fishing licences for Bellandur tank, given the polluted nature of it. They also filled in and closed the fish market.
Now with the fish gone, fishermen of Bellandur have either become daily wage labourers or have moved to other lakes in search of livelihood.
The fish in this tank was very tasty till 1978, says Jagannath Reddy, ex-president of Bellandur panchayat and a prominent activist in that area.
He says, more than 400 to 500 families of fishermen were dependent on this lake.
Jagannath also highlighted the case of a HAL employee, who had resigned his government job and had made fishing his livelihood, since it was very profitable.
He said the departments concerned neglected the lake completely and they had adopted an attitude of disregard.
He said, “I have booked cases against them at the lok adalat and every department member is attending it.”

In the search of Arkavathy

In the search of Arkavathy

Jayadevan P KFirst Published : 16 Mar 2009 11:35:00 AM ISTLast Updated : 16 Mar 2009 02:13:29 PM IST
BANGALORE: Less than a kilometre from the dusty city bus stand of Dodballapur, is Nagarkere- one among the 150 big and 1,084 small tanks in the course of the dying river Arkavathy.
Over the years, the tank has shrunk in size. The once brimming tank, no longer fills up. More than 10 per cent of the tank, according to local NGOs, has already been encroached upon and some villagers are hopelessly fighting further encroachment.
The story of Hanumanthappa, a villager who lives by the Nagarkere, brings some perspective into the issue. He barely understands terms like urbanisation and rapid industrialisation. But as he recalls his childhood days spent at the banks of Arkavathy, it becomes evident that much has changed- not to his liking, though.
The once full tank was the primary source of water to his house. Drinking, cooking, washing and other household activities were supported with the water from the tank. These days, he buys a pot of water for Rs 2. Stating the obvious, yet forgotten, he says, “It was free before.” “The irony of it all is that I have to buy water though I live right next to the tank,” he says.
In his younger days, he does not remember of a well deeper than 30 feet in the entire command area (151.75 acres) of Nagarkere tank. Water was available at a level of five to 10 feet from the ground.
The wells used to have water even during summer months. Until the 1980s, more than 30,000 wells were present in the Arkavathy basin.
Nowadays, bore wells are as deep as a thousand feet. “Even the bore wells go dry in summers,” he says.
He recalls the drought during the early eighties which lasted for almost seven years. Most wells dried up during that time giving way to bore wells. Soon many industries came up. “They wanted water too,” he says. Dodballapur houses about 50,000 power looms and 80 dyeing units which use up about 2,40,000 liters of water per day in the cottage industry alone. In addition to this, the town has many other industries of a larger scale.“We dug, as if it was a competition.
The more we dug, the deeper we had to dig,” he laments.
According to local activists, the feeder streams, which bring in water into the tank have mostly been encroached or diverted.
Water no longer flows into the tank. This is not only the case of Nagarkere, but also the case of the many other tanks in the Arkavathy basin which has more or less dried up. The river, which was once called a perennial river, hardly flows during most parts of the year.

Home Guards to manage City traffic

Home Guards to manage City traffic
Bangalore, DH News Service:
Two hundred young men and women have been inducted as first year Home Guards for Bangalore District with the inauguration of their basic training camp. These young volunteers will be trained in fire fighting, traffic management, first aid and shooting.

The Bangalore District Commandant, Home Guard B Amarnath said, “We are training them at a budget of Rs 3.5 lakh but they are all volunteers who are here solely for the purpose of serving society.”

Manohar K, a trainee and an former credit card salesman said that he wil use the training given to him to serve society. Bhavya, a former primary school teacher also said that she joined the Home Guards with the intention of serving society. “I always wanted to join the Home Guards but I just did not know the procedure. Now I have joined and am looking forward to the training,” she said.

Out of 1200 trained Home Guards in the city, several have been deployed at Bangalore University and in various parts of the city to manage traffic with a number of them deployed at sites where the Bangalore Metro is being constructed.

About 120 Home Guards have been posted to manage traffic near Metro sites and are paid a stipend of Rs 175 a day to manage their expenses. Amarnath said they were paid Rs 125 a day till November but since then there has been a hike of Rs 50. On Friday these uniformed young men and women will help the traffic police. He said, “Nearly 1000 of them are being deployed for pedestrian safety mainly because there is a shortfall in the number of policemen.” He added that there is a requirement of at least 4000 Home Guards for Bangalore City alone.

Rain leaves many in dark for hours

Rain leaves many in dark for hours
Bangalore, DHNS:
Sapna, a resident of L B Shastrinagar said there was no power between 7 pm on Sunday and 2 am on Monday.

Several areas including Indiranagar, Jeevanbhimanagar, areas in and around HAL, OMBR Layout and other areas under Banaswadi substation had to undergo an extended power cut due to rains on Sunday.

Sapna, a resident of L B Shastrinagar said there was no power between 7 pm on Sunday and 2 am on Monday.

Residents at OMBR Layout also experienced blackouts lasting nearly two hours as the rains began. A Bescom official said the power supply was disrupted due to the tripping of 220 KV transformer in HAL area caused by rains. As a result, three to four feeders drawing power from that transformer failed.

Earth Hour

India will also be taking part in the Earth Hour celebrations which is held on the last Saturday of March. The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE) will be seeing this effort through and in Bangalore, ING Vysya will sponsor the celebrations. The bank will shut down all its branches and corporate offices in India for one hour at 8.30 pm on March 24. A series of talks and exhibits are also planned for March 20. TiE is also in talks with residential associations to implement the Earth Hour shut down on a larger scale.

BBMP promises signal-free ride

BBMP promises signal-free ride
Bangalore, DH News Service:
All Roads to Maharani Circle were on Monday yet again shut with the Bruhat Bangalore Mahangara Palike (BBMP) constructing an underpass to make the road signal free from Anand Rao Circle to K R Circle.

It is also believed that in the long term, BBMP and the Bangalore Traffic police intend to make the traffic two-way on Palace Road to ease the traffic at K R Circle. “We have made provisions for a two-way traffic by installing two ‘magic boxes’ for the underpass, if required,” said a BBMP official.

Heeding to the Agenda for Bangalore Infrastructure and Development (ABIDe), the BBMP this time, remembering the ‘magic box’ fiasco at the Kaveri Junction in the city are installing a modified version of the technology. The height and width of the ‘magic box’ has been increased from 4.5 metres to 6 metres for the Maharani Circle underpass.

BBMP officials said that the underpass is nearing completion with 44 elements being already placed and the ramp work to begin at the earliest.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, Additional Commissioner for Traffic, Praveen Sood said that the traffic situation will ease once all the development works are completed including the widening of roads joining Mysore Bank Circle.

“We cannot say as to when the work will be completed and traffic will resume normally,” he said.

‘Subway, security threat’

Taking the plot straight from Hollywood movie, “Die Hard 2”, the Congress on Monday protested against construction of subway on Nrupathunga Road stating it as a ‘threat to national security’. Reason: It is right in front of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Bangalore.

“We have seen movies that show people digging into banks through narrow pipelines below ground. This underpass at night can be used in a similar fasion,” said Cong former mayor Ramachnadrappa. He said that the BBMP has been utilising the Municipality Funds to create such flawed infrastructure .

Delay-hit Metro chugs along

Delay-hit Metro chugs along
As traffic-weary Bangaloreans prepare to welcome Namma Metro, the project appears to crawl in its journey to meet deadlines, says S Praveen Dhaneshkar

A year behind schedule, the city’s flagship “Namma Metro” project is slowly gathering pace to meet its operational deadline of December 2010 / January 2011. Cutting through the bustling commercial and residential neighbourhoods of the city, covering a total distance of 33 kms across a North-South and East-West corridor, the project is expected to substantially reduce vehicular traffic once it is operational.

However, Bangaloreans will have to endure months of hardship before the Metro dream becomes a reality. The project is a year behind the schedule on Reach 1, the original schedule for completion on M G Road was December 2009. In 2007 the BMRCL had announced that it would complete all works on M G Road in December, but it had to announce a fresh deadline after delays, such as land acquisition on CMH Road and the slow pace of construction, default in performance by Navayuga Engineering Ltd, the contractor who was awarded tender on this reach.

Deccan Herald takes a relook into the progress made on different reaches and vast corridors Namma Metro would traverse to offer seamless and faster connectivity to the traffic weary Bangalorean.

Work on the 7 km elevated section in Reach 1 (Byappanahalli to M G Road) that began in January 2007 is expected to be over in December 2010, while on Reaches 2, 3 and 4 (the full network) is expected to be commissioned by September/October 2012.

On Reach 1, viaduct works are underway on M G Road and foundation works are nearing completion in CMH Road. Works in the stretch between Halasuru police station and Trinity Circle has also started. The piers (concrete pillars) have come up in full length at 69 locations.

The casting of grider segments by the BMRCL is also progressing well, with 332 segments already cast out of the total 1929. Erection and testing of launching girders have also been completed on this reach by erecting four spans on M G Road (Trinity Circle towards Chinnaswamy Cricket Stadium). Public sector Bharat Earth Movers Limited (BEML) will be manufacturing the rolling stock (stainless steel coaches) for the project.

Namma Metro coaches

*Each train will consist of three coaches (2.88 m wide) to start with when commissioned. The train can accommodate a total of 1,000 persons. The coaches will be light weight modern coaches and will be later augmented to six - the carrying capacity of a six coach train will be 2,068 passengers. The coaches, with stainless steel shells will be air-conditioned and have self-closing automatic doors.

*The Bangalore Metro has been designed for a capacity of 40,000 PHPDT (Peak Hour Peak Direction Traffic). The number of passengers expected to travel on the metro everyday is estimated at 10.20 lakhs in 2011 and 16.10 lakhs in 2021.

*The frequency of the Metro trains will be every four minutes initially in 2010. This would increase to three minutes by 2021. The travel time from end to end on the East-West corridor will be 33 minutes, and on the North-South corridor it will be 28 minutes. The system is designed for a maximum train speed of 80 kmph.

Snapshot of Namma Metro progress

Reach 1: Contracts have also been awarded for construction of six elevated metro stations on this reach viz S V Road and Ulsoor at a cost of Rs 75.77 crores to IVRCL Infrastructure Ltd and, CMH Road and Byappanahalli at a cost of Rs 92.5 crores to IVRCL-CR 18G consortium. Meanwhile, construction of the metro depot at Byappanahalli has also begun in earnest at land on the erstwhile NGEF, with land formation work and boundary wall going on. Tenders for construction of metro stations on M G Road will also be awarded shortly.

Reach 2: On this Reach (Magadi Road to Mysore Road Terminal), BMRCL has begun road widening for traffic management between Magadi Road and Mysore Road terminal and entrusted works to Karnataka Land Army Corporation that is in progress. Demolition of structures/buildings are also underway with 98 percent of work completed.

Reach 3: Along this Reach (Swastik to Yeshwantpur), construction of via duct covering a length of 5100 meters, excluding the station area has begun at a cost of Rs 209 crores. BMRCL has also commenced shifting of utilities by respective civic departments from Rajajinagar station to Yeshwantpur Station on this reach.

Reach 4: On this Reach (K R Market to R V Road terminal), tenders have been awarded for design and construction of via-ducts to Nagarjuna Construction Company Ltd at a cost of Rs 150.63 crores. Utility diversion of BSNL, BWSSB, BESCOM and KPTCL is also in progress, with trial trenching completed.

Long History of Metro

*Several Mass Rapid Transit System (MRTS) proposals for Bangalore have been in the pipeline for over 25 years.

In 1982, a study suggested that the MRTS should have a route length of 12.20 km and pegged the cost at Rs 239.15 crores.

*In 1983, the Metropolitan Transit Project, an organisation of Indian Railways, prepared a feasibility report for provision of suburban rail services on existing lines, a circular railway of 57.9 km, metro system on two corridors, in Phase-I 12.9 km from Rajajinagar to Jayanagar and in Phase - II 11.2 km from Hudson Circle to Krishnarajapuram. In 1988, a World Bank aided study was carried out by RITES and the study recommended a Commuter Rail System along with improvement of road transport system.

*Later, in 1994, the Bangalore Mass Rapid Transit Limited (BMRTL) was incorporated by the State government to implement the Mass Rapid Transit System. BMRTL in turn asked the IL and FS to carry out a feasibility study for LRT System on Public-Private Partnership. However, though the partner was selected, the project did not take off. Later, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) in partnership with RITES prepared a Detailed Project Report (DPR) for Bangalore Metro Rail, Phase I in 2003 at the instance of the government. It proposed two double line corridors: East-West (EW) and North-South (NS) with a total length of 33 km.

*The Bangalore Metro Rail finally took shape with the Karnataka government clearing the project in March, 2005 and the Union government giving its approval in April, 2006. The BMRTL was then renamed as the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) as the project began in January 2007.

The facts

33 km

*Byappanahalli to Mysore Road 18.1 kms, Yeshwantpur to R V Road 14.9 kms

9.3 km

*North extension to Hesarghatta Cross by 5.6 kms, South Extension to Puttenahalli by 3.7 kms

6,395 cr

*Project cost in 2005 will escalate to more than Rs 8000 crore when completed in 2010

HC gives go-ahead for road-widening work

HC gives go-ahead for road-widening work


Bangalore: The Karnataka High Court on Monday asked BBMP to proceed with road-widening works as per the stipulations of the Karnataka Town and Country Planning Act and Karnataka Preservation of Trees rules.
The division Bench headed by Chief Justice P D Dinakaran gave this clarification on a PIL filed by Environmental Support Group and Civic, Bangalore. The petitioners claimed the authorities only wanted to cut trees while widening roads and no tree officers supervised this exercise.
The division Bench had earlier issued notices to Union forest, roadways, and urban development ministries as well as state forest, home, urban development departments apart from BBMP, BDA, BMLTA and BMRCL in this matter.
“Road-widening programme, being undertaken in some city roads like Bellary Road, M G Road, Palace Road and Race Course Road, are not following legal norms as required under the Karnataka Town and Country Planning Act as well as Karnataka Preservation of Trees Act. Only widening of roads would not decongest traffic as such. The tree patta scheme should be extended to urban areas and necessary guidelines for greening urban space and landscape is necessary,” the petitioners said.
The issue was referred to Lok Adalat which formed an expert committee and directed authorities to take the permission of its committee before cutting trees. But this is delaying work, Government and BBMP told the court. The issue was returned to the Chief Justice.
Karnataka Tree
Preservation Act,
Safeguarding trees
The Town and Country Planning Act — (Chapter 5) calls for due course of public consultation at the local level and formulation of a scheme in conformance with the comprehensive development plan — Plan a scheme, make it public, take objections from affected public and draft a final scheme to be then approved for budget and then ready for implementation.
Section 8(2), 8(5)
Where permission to fell a tree is granted, the tree officer may grant it subject to condition that applicant shall plant another tree or trees of the same or any other suitable species of the same size or other suitable place within 30 days from the date, the tree is felled. But, the application for felling a tree must be accompanied by a site plan or survey sketch specifying clearly the site or survey number, the numbers, kind and girth of the tree sought to be cut.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Cost of guarding a Rs 1 lakh tree: Rs 10 lakh

Cost of guarding a Rs 1 lakh tree: Rs 10 lakh

B Aravinda ShettyFirst Published : 15 Mar 2009 03:11:00 AM ISTLast Updated : 15 Mar 2009 11:56:51 AM IST
BANGALORE: Strange as it may seem, a fifteen-year-old sandalwood tree in the High Court premises near Cubbon Park enjoys round-the-clock security by the City Armed Reserve (CAR) police apart from security by the High Court police. According to the sources in the High Court, the price of the tree is not more than Rs 1 lakh and interestingly the police department is spending (read splurging) around Rs 10 lakh an year in terms of salaries to the CAR police who are guarding this 'precious' sandalwood tree.
This precious tree has been given special attention by the High Court security people.
Interestingly, the night security for this tree was tighter than daytime security.
While watching the High Court premises, three policemen have been placed on guard for this tree and what more the High Court has even provided search lights to the police.
Every five minutes the policemen focus the light on the tree. When asked for the rationale involved behind such security, which might rival that of any high-profile person, a CAR policeman who has been guarding the tree for five years said that, “It was the part of our duty to guard this tree, because this is the only sandalwood tree in the High Court premises, so we have considered it as precious tree. Sandalwood trees in Cubbon Park were stolen and owing to this tree’s proximity to Cubbon Park, we are giving more attention to the tree.” A police officer in the High Court told on the condition of anonymity. echoed the CAR policeman’s sentiments, “Yes, we are providing round-the-clock security to the tree, which is situated in the backyard of the High Court. During daytime, three policemen guard the tree and in night three policemen are on their feet, equipped with powerful search light.” In the middle of this one wonders if this is a no-brainer of massive proportions. Advocate and notary N P Amruthesh said that: “Round-the-clock security is not necessary for this. The government is spending too much of money to guard of this tree.”

Groundwater levels may change

Groundwater levels may change

Anil Kumar Sastry
BMRCL to take up tunnelling work in central business district

BANGALORE: The groundwater scenario in the central business district surrounding Majestic area is set to change permanently once Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd. (BMRCL) completes tunnelling work for the North-South and East-West corridors.

While the groundwater levels may not appreciably alter in 13 of the 27 wards of erstwhile Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP) where the tunnels pass through, the levels are likely to decrease in six wards in the heart of the central business district and increase in equal number of wards by two metres, according to “Geo-hydrological studies along the Metro Rail alignment in Bangalore,” commissioned by BMRCL and conducted by M. Sekhar and M.S. Mohan Kumar from the Department of Civil Engineering, Indian Institute of Science (IISc).

BMRCL has proposed to build tunnels in the central business district in the North-South and East-West corridors of Namma Metro. Two tunnels of 5.5 m diameter at a depth of 12 m, and at 5 m apart, will be built for a distance of approximately 4 km in each corridor.

The tunnelling begins from the cricket stadium and ends near Leprosy Hospital on Magadi Road in the East-West Corridor while it starts near Swastik and ends at Makkala Koota Circle on K.R. Road in North-South Corridor.

The study noted the tunnels will be in the saprolite and fissured zone of the earth. Fissured zone has the highest permeability, and blockage of this zone (due to tunnelling) may result in substantial reduction in the effective transmission of water.

Areas lying in the heart of central business district — Chickpet, Cottonpet, K.R. Market, Chamrajpet, Ramachandrapura and Sevashrama — are likely to witness decrease in the groundwater levels. These are the ones which witness the highest floating population and house a number of hotels and cinemas that require a considerable quantity of water.

At present, these areas get around 12.3 million litres a day (MLD) water from Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) while around 5 MLD is sourced from underground, the study recorded.

On the other hand, groundwater levels in Dattatreya Temple, Dharmarayaswamy Temple, Vasanthnagar, Jayamahal and Aramanenagar are likely to increase once the tunnelling work is completed. Water levels more or less remain the same in other wards.

The study noted that the groundwater levels in the tunnel region are shallow as the groundwater withdrawal from the area was less than the recharge. Only minor effects of rises and declines (plus or minus two metres) could be seen in the groundwater levels in tunnels’ vicinity.

Worst case scenario
It noted that in the worst case scenario, the groundwater level may decrease by 10 metres in the tunnel region if the present levels of pumping increase and recharge decreases. The study recommended adoption of groundwater recharge techniques in areas that are likely to be affected by decrease in water levels, while suggesting that better management practices to supply water might be taken up in coordination with BWSSB.

On the other hand, in areas where groundwater levels are likely to increase, improvement in drainage systems should be taken up and steps may be taken to drill additional wells for pumping out excess water, it said.

Pedestrians see the light

Pedestrians see the light

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Pelican lightsinstalled on Bellary Road has proved to be a boon for pedestrians.
Though such lights at nearly 10 signals including Infantry Road and Cunningham Road have not really helped, traffic officials think it will be a big help on Bellary Road where it was installed around 20 days ago and been functional from the past three days.

About four or five traffic policemen man the traffic here and help pedestrians cross the road.

However, many commuters and pedestrians are not aware of the new system. The cops say they have not started imposing a fine on vehicles that fail to follow the system as they are unaware of it.

“People will take sometime to adapt to the lights as it is a highway and commuters are not in the habit of halting on this road. However, more cops are deployed here until people get used to the system. Even if commuters sometimes don’t follow the Pelican lights, we don’t impose a fine on them as they still need time to get used to the system,” traffic officials at the spot told Deccan Chronicle.

“Once people get used to the system, we will decrease the number of cops deployed there and pedestrians will have to use the Pelican light system on their own,” he added.

The lights function on solar energy function till 11 pm. Later, the light is put on Orange mode and blinks to make commuters aware of the zebra crossing there.

Expressing confidence in the new system, additional commissioner of police (Traffic and security) Praveen Sood, said more home guards will be deployed to assist pedestrians. “Currently, there are 13 pelican lights in the city.

Sadly, public awareness is not up to what was expected. So we deploy home guards to help pedestrians,” he said. Mr Sood stated that the pelican lights on Infantry and Cunningham roads have been switched on the blink mode.

“Many VIP’s visit the police commissioner’s office on Infantry Road. So, a traffic policeman has been deployed to control the traffic. As for the pelican light opposite Wockhardt Hospital in Cunningham Road, lack of public cooperation forced us to switch it on blink mode,” Mr Sood said.

Mr Sood expressed confidence that the accident rates will come down at least by 15 per cent now.

“Pedestrian safety is our prime agenda. We are concentrating on busy roads like Old Madras Road and Bellary Road,” he added.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Medians pose traffic hurdles

Medians pose traffic hurdles

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Is there anythingscientific at all about what the BBMP and the traffic police do in the name of helping commuters? The more they do, the greater the problems they seem to create.
Take medians and road dividers for instance. Anyone will tell you that in most cities medians and road dividers are meant to regulate traffic and prevent accidents.

But in Bengaluru both medians and road dividers have become a traffic hazard in many areas, posing a threat to motorists and pedestrians. Their presence often increases congestion on the roads, which become narrower as the wide bases of the medians occupy quite a bit of space, leaving lesser room for vehicles. “Crossing a road where tall dividers have been placed is a daunting task,” says a pedestrian Ram Mohan, pleading with the traffic police and the BBMP to change the design of the dividers to make them more people-friendly.

He points out that traffic has been known to come to a grinding halt if a big vehicle breaks down in the middle of the road as the medians leave little room for maneovre.

Traffic expert and advisor to the state government M.N. Srihari is clear that no real thought goes into laying medians in the city.” Have the BBMP or the traffic police consulted any traffic expert before erecting these dangerous medians?” he asks, pointing out that road dividers must be placed in accordance with traffic norms and guidelines on safety of vehicles and pedestrians.

“For urban roads, the maximum height of a median is prescribed at 30 cms and for highways it is 45 cms for reasons of safety and preventing accidents. Also, a median must be painted n yellow and black for visibility at night,” he explains.

Prof. Srihari adds a median must be flexible enough to ensure that even when a vehicle crashes into it the driver is not hurt. “If a vehicle crashes into the medians, not only will it be damaged, but there is very little chance of the driver surviving,” he regrets.

Bangalore's dusty theatres

Bangalore's dusty theatres

Y Maheshwara ReddyFirst Published : 13 Mar 2009 12:13:00 AM ISTLast Updated : 13 Mar 2009 11:30:46 AM IST
BANGLAORE: In an age when cine-goers are being weaned away by the multiplexes, the old theatres, especially those screening Kannada movies, are doing themselves a disservice, by not upgrading the facilities. Forget, luxury seats, even hygiene and basic amenities are being given a go-by. This could also be one of the reasons for the number of Kannada movie- watchers going down.
The condition of a majority of theatres on KG Road are a testimony to to the sorry state of affairs.
It seems the exhibitors are interested only in collecting rentals from producers.
Most theatres welcome you with a stench, thanks to the negligence of the managements in ensuring that the cinema halls are properly cleaned before the shows start.
If one happens to come late for the show, locating one’s seat is a Herculean task with only one usher (having a torch) guiding around 500 people to their seats.
“One of my friends told me that he went to watch a movie at a theatre on KG Road. He had to sit on the edge of the seat for twoand- half hours to protect himself from protruding iron springs,” director S V Rajendra Singh Babu said, narrating an incident of theatre inconvenience.
Rodents that have made the theatres their homes are no less a problem. Don’t be surprised if a few of them run all over your feet. One has to take extra caution while watching films at theatres like Nartaki, Sapna, Kapali, Ajantha and Movieland, in this respect.
The difference between AC and non-AC theatres is only in the ticket fares and not in the facilities, say cinegoers. Cinegoers pay Rs 1.50 at AC and Re 1 at non- AC theatres as service tax on each ticket. This money is meant for improving facilities in theatres.
But the truth is, this money is rarely used for maintenance purposes.
The less said the better about the eatables outlets at the theatres.
They get most of the stuff from third rate bakeries, but sell it at a premium. They sell a samosa at Rs 8 to Rs 10 and a 250 ml bottle of Sprite or Pepsi for Rs 15, more than their actual price. “Earlier, efforts had been made to regulate the prices of eatables, but in vain,” says H D Gangaraj, former president of Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce.
The toilets in the theatres are filthy and no special effort is made to maintain hygiene.
There are even instances of sex workers from Majestic area, visiting theatres where the crowd is less. More often than not they occupy a seat beside men sitting alone. The men usually oblige their demand for money, lest the sex workers create a scene. Theatres do not even have staff in place, to check the entry of such people.



Harrowing time for residents


Bangalore: It’s been a day now. No power, water shortage and even telephone lines snapped till 5 pm on Friday. Residents at this road in Madhavnagar, next to hotel Highlands have been trying hard to get back to normal life post the road cave-in on Thursday. Though no one was injured, an autorickshaw and a two-wheeler were also sunk with the road here.
“Jumping over a six-foot-high wall early morning to go to school for an exam.. it was really not easy’’ says Meenakshi, a student of Sophias high school who stays here. With no power the entire night, she had a tough time preparing for the exam.
Normal life here was hit yet again after a little more than four months with the sudden wall collapse on Thursday evening. “The crashing pole, falling auto and flickering lights were a shuddering sight,’’ says Lakshmi finding her way out to the main road with Disha (4), her granddaughter.
Hollow for atleast 10-15 feet below the ground, the only connecting stretch for these residents seems to have exposed more horrors beneath. “It happened four months back also,’’ says Surekha who has been living here for nine years now. The remains of a fallen pole now horizontal, hidden by mud and memories of two workers injured by it then are the only remains of the previous crash that had atleast 100 m of the supporting wall caving in.
People cite many reasons — ‘a compounding effect’ of complex issues leading to the crashes. Much of it due to the construction of the 12-storey hotel building on for two years now. The constant digging for the three-level basement parking and the haphazard work by the BWSSB in re-laying the sewage lines on this partially cemented road five months back, cited as the common reasons.

Stranded residents in Madhavanagar on Friday. The road next to a construction site caved in on Thursday evening sinking an autorickshaw and a two-wheeler

BBMP unscientific

Addressing media at the KPCC office on Friday, the Mayors expressed their unhappiness over the bus shelters that have come up in the City recently, and claimed that they had been awarded to private companies without calling for any tenders.

Former Mayors and Congress men, M Ramachandrappa and J Huchappa, on Friday alleged that Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike(BBMP) had embarked on several projects that were unscientific and dangerous.

Addressing media at the KPCC office on Friday, the Mayors expressed their unhappiness over the bus shelters that have come up in the City recently, and claimed that they had been awarded to private companies without calling for any tenders.

Ramachandrappa claimed that about 600 bus shelters in the city constructed recently, did not follow the specified format in design. “The earlier designs showed BBMP in front, along with the name of the road. But now, advertisements are everywhere. BBMP should stop treating everything as a source of revenue,” he complained.

They said the advertisers on these bus shelters paid Rs 25,000 a year as revenue.

Even the pedestrian crossings next to the bus bay at Nrupathunga road was dismissed as ‘unscientific’ and that buses would crash into them.

BBMP Commissioner S Subramanya could not be reached for comment.

Concretely yours, promises BBMP

Concretely yours, promises BBMP

Enough is enough, reply residents of Kadirenahalli. Construction of Puttenahalli-Kadirenahalli underpass which started on May 16, 2008, seems to be going on endlessely. The result: a concrete mess


The misery that usually accompanies an urban infrastructure project has just been prolonged for the residents of Kadirenahalli indefinitely.
When the BBMP began constructing the 387.81-m Puttenahalli-Kadirenahalli underpass on May 16, 2008, it had promised that the work would be completed within ten months. The project is nearly overdue by a month and the Palike has not even completed digging for the foundation 14-m wide two-way. The noise and pollution have already made life unbearable for the residents. The cherry on top of this concrete cake is that Madhava Hightech Infrastructure that won the tender for this Rs 28 crore deal has asked for an extension till June 30. But engineers who work for them say that there is no hope for the project to be completed before December. “Officially, we have requested for an extension till June, but at the speed at which the work is progressing, there is no way we can complete the project before December,” said Ramalingappa, one of the engineering hands.
The residents have understandably reached the end of their tether. “It has been a year since the connectivity to our shops were disrupted. Many of the shops in the area have wrapped up business and left because their clientele cannot navigate the dangerous pathways here. Those remaining are doing so more out of compulsion since they are are unable to return the advance amounts,” says Raghavendra Babu who runs a mobile phone shop in the locality.
B M Govindaraju Naik, another resident of the locality, says, “There is no clarity on required land for the project. The officials have been dilly dallying between a 5-m underpass and a 7-m underpass. I do not know why anyone would need a 7-m underpass on a service road. They have not issued a notification to the owners about land acquisition and the project was to be over by now! They can’t wake up one fine day and expect us to give up our homes.”
Sushilamma, a home maker with a 10-year-old son, is more worried about the safety of the people. “There are no streetlights as they were the first casualties of the project. No alternative lighting has been provided. So the visibility is next to nil. How does one walk here?” The dug up area has not been barricaded either by the company despite the BBMP levying a penalty on them. There are no markers to detail the dug up area which makes it prone to serious accidents. The residents have lost track of the number of vehicles that have fallen into this dug-up area. “A few days ago, a child also broke her leg. Despite repeated complaints, nothing has been done to address the issue.”
Madhusudhan Reddy of Madhava Hightech Infrastructure however denied the charge that safety was being sidelined. “We have barricaded the entire area, but the barricades are stolen every other day. What do we do? I also employ round the clock security.” When Bangalore Mirror visited the site, neither the barricades nor security personnel were spotted. Reddy added that the delay in the completion of the project was because of the non-acquisition of land. “The BBMP is yet to acquire land towards Mysore Road. We can complete the project in a few months if that comes through. Even our contract says the completion date is subject to land acquisition.” The BBMP also conceded that the delay was from their end. Narasaram Rao, executive engineer, BBMP, said, “Yes there is a delay from our end. We have run into some resistance with regard to land acquisition. Many of the houses do not have their papers in order so the compensation issue has to be sorted out. But the notification will be out in a couple of weeks.”
Till then, the residents have to wait and watch.
Puttenahalli-Kadirenahalli Underpass Work started: May 16, 2008 Deadline: March 16, 2009 Probable date of completion:
December 2009 Bottleneck: BBMP yet to acquire land on Mysore Road
Side effects:
* Loss of business * No barricades in work area



Traffic was held up for three hours on the busy Magadi Road as a private bus collided with four vehicles, causing injuries to 15 persons


There was high drama on Magadi Road when a runaway bus collided with four vehicles one after the other on Friday, causing injuries to 15 persons, including five school children. As a result of the freak accident, traffic on the arterial road was thrown out of gear for around three hours.
At the time of the accident, traffic was moving slowly on the main road as construction work on a flyover was going on at Sumanahalli junction.
The bus, belonging to the SRT group, had been hired by a marriage party from Chitradurga and was parked next to the Poojashree Convention Hall off the main road. The bus had ferried people from Chitradurga on Thursday evening and was to leave for Chitradurga to bring more people to the city.
Recounting the incident, Ramaiah, who had come for the function, said, “The driver was unable to start the bus at around 9.30 am and requested us to push it. I and six others were pushing it when it went out of control. We jumped out of the way. We tried to put stones under the wheels but the bus was in neutral and kept moving. It came on to the main road, whereupon the driver steered it to the left but hit other vehicles.” Ramaiah added, “Before leaving Chitradurga, we had warned the driver a hundred times to drive carefully in the city. But he did not listen to us and this is what happened.”
Varadharaju, a tailor and resident of Sunkadakatte, was waiting for a bus in front of Andan restaurant when he saw the private bus ram the other vehicles. “I ran to the spot to help the victims,” he said.
Narrating the sequence of events, Varadharaju said, “I saw the private bus coming at high speed on the main road. People waiting for their bus jumped on to the footpath to save themselves. As the gradient was steep, the driver could not control the vehicle. The bus first rammed into the right side of a BMTC bus (248F from K R Market to Krishnarao Layout), injuring three men seriously. Then it hit a Santro car which turned turtle and slammed into a Maruti Swift. Still unable to control the bus, the driver rammed a bus of the Sri Vani Education Centre which veered right and hit a tree on the median. The runaway bus finally came to a halt after dashing another BMTC bus (route 243F/1 from Majestic to Giddakennahalli). Two persons on a two-wheeler that was in the path of the bus escaped by a hair’s breadth when they jumped off their vehicle.”
Those injured included three passengers on the BMTC bus, Shankar, Basavaraj and Ranganath, who sustained injuries to their legs; five Vani Education Centre students, Ashish (12), Sunith (14), Sujan (12), Suhas (8) and Parikshit (8); maths teacher G S Bhagya and the person in the Santro car. According to Vani principal Kathahini Bhat, Ashish was under observation for a head injury while Sunith suffered a fracture on his left hand.
Dr Prakash of Magadi Government Hospital, who was driving the Maruti Swift car, was unhurt in the incident. Shivakumar and Manjunath, who were riding the twowheeler, were lucky to escape unhurt. Members of the public helped in shifting the injured persons to nearby hospitals. The police cleared the traffic pile-up and had the damaged vehicles shifted with the help of a crane. Fearing the public’s wrath, the driver of the private bus fled from the scene. The Kamakshipalya traffic police are investigating the incident.