Thursday, April 30, 2009

Cross this point at your own risk

Cross this point at your own risk

Without a subway, chances of accidents are more at Yeshwantpur railway station

Shwetha S. Bangalore

Two pedestrians were run over by vehicles this month as they were crossing the highway at Yeshwantpur railway station.
A subway could have averted their deaths. Many more may die if the civic authorities delay their plans for an underpass across the highway connecting the station with the nearby bus stop.
Passengers face grave risk as they cross the highway with luggage to the bus stop. Others, heading towards the station, blindly run across the road so as not to miss the train. About 13,000 passengers use the station every day.
Station manager Kumar agreed that passengers faced risk while crossing the road.
"Since it is NH4, vehicles go at high speed. The risk factor is more for those carrying luggage. Passengers arriving at the station need a safe and easy passage like the subway at Bangalore city station," he said.
Although Yeshwantpur is the second terminal point after Bangalore city station, it does not have many exits. A stone wall runs all the way up to the main gate forcing many passengers to take a short cut by scaling the wall.
Railway passenger Shivaram T said, "I come to the station from Basaveshwanagar. There is always chaos as road medians block our quick access to the station. So we have to go half a kilometer further and take a U-turn to reach the station. Most of the time, we get stuck in traffic. Twice I missed my train because of this."
Abhishek Tripati , another passenger said, "It's difficult to cross the road with baggage to reach the bus stop. Vehicles move fast and it's too risky."
Kumar said passengers coming from Rajajinagar, Navarang, Vijaynagar, and Majestic keep complaining about the additional stretch they have to walk because of the U-turn.
"We have given a proposal to the BBMP to make some arrangements like a flyover to reduce the road chaos," he said.
But a BBMP official said they had not received any proposal for a subway or flyover from the railway authorities. Jayaprasad, technical adviser of BBMP said, "We are aware of the problem faced by rail passengers. Till now, we have not received any proposal from the railway officials. But we have plans to build a subway near the station.
"We are building a flyover too, and the project has already started. Once this comes, the traffic will be diverted. This will help passengers reach the station without delay."
MR Srinivas, one of the commuters using the road, said, "I take this route every day as my factory is located in Peenya. There is always traffic jam near Yeshwantpur bus stop as rail passengers keep crossing the road slowly with their luggage."
AV Ravishankar, a bank employee, said, "There is a bus stop located near Govardhan theatre. But none of the buses stop there. BMTC and private buses stop on the main road. Railway passengers keep crossing the road without any concern for people like us behind the wheel. Because of this, I get stuck here for nearly half an hour in the mornings and evenings."

Yeshwanthpur flyover could open in 20 days

Yeshwanthpur flyover could open in 20 days

Express News Service First Published : 30 Apr 2009 03:38:00 AM ISTLast Updated : 30 Apr 2009 09:36:57 AM IST
BANGALORE: As if the persistent delays dogging the Yeshwanthpur Flyover were not enough, it is dragging on even in the last lap. This time it has been pushed by another 20 days from the recently extended deadline of April-end as it is getting the ‘finishing’ touches.
Road-users are in no mood to accept delay after four years of noise and grind and traffic jams caused by the the four-lane flyover. The Yeshwantpur flyover construction which started in 2006 was expected to completed by December 2007 and then the deadline was extended to January 2008 and further to April 2009.
But the present status of the work shows that the final completion of the flyover would require a minimum of one month’s time and the traffic coming from NH-4 would be eased only after the flyover is open. The project which was estimated at Rs 19.
30 crore at the Yeshwantpur junction connects five roads including NH-4 and the Yeshwanthpur main road. Speaking to The New Indian Express, BBMP sources said that there has not been any additional financial burden due to the delay and the remaining work of asphaltation and concreting would take about 10 to 15 days. The sources said that it would be difficult to inaugurate it by May 16 as it would be a code violation.

Craters and stones can hurt their bones

Craters and stones can hurt their bones

Residents of Canara Bank Layout in Kodigehalli have to take a bumpy ride every time they venture out of their homes as the approach road to the layout is a bad patch of 200-feet long. Rain or sunshine, this road has been the bane of the residents as they have to use it to connect with the outer world.
Since the first residents settled in the layout in 2001, the road has been in a sorry state.
VR Gaikwad, Secretary, Canara Bank Layout Residents' Welfare Association, says: "Actually, it is not a road. That patch is a private property. However, it has been used as an approach road from the very beginning."
Gaikwad says that the owners of the property had proposed to give about 20-feet area for the construction of the road but "demanded compensation on present day rates."
The road is used by people from adjoining townships such as Virupakshapura, Indian Express Layout, Dhanalakshmi Layout. There are several apartments that are being developed in the area and those residents too would be using this approach road very soon.
Health issues
Residents have been using this untarred stretch for over eight years and some of them even had to suffer severe health problems.
SC Vaishist, a retired banker and resident, says: "When riding the scooter one has to be firm on the handle as the road is uneven. This usually affects the shoulder and back. The jolts suffered during the ride have given many residents severe back problems." The unevenness of the stretch is increased every time construction debris is thrown there. Residents pointed out that over the years the rubble has been thrown on the road to increase the height as well as level it. Inadvertently, this has left huge caters in the area and sharp protruding stones pose a threat to motorists.
DNA reporter who rode to the place found out that the residents had good reason to be upset with the state of the road. It is difficult to avoid the craters and the pointed stones make it impossible to speed without risking a skid.
Virupakshi Mysore, joint commissioner, BBMP, when contacted by DNA said: "The road has been in use for long." He added that the woes of the residents will be solved once GKVK Road gets ready. Apart from the residents, there are organisations such as National Centre for Biological Studies (NCBS), Soil Survey of India (SSI) and India Population Project Hospital (IPPH) whose employees are dependent on this approach road.
Overcharging Autos
Since the approach road is in terrible shape, auto-rickshaw drivers refuse to come into the layout. Or if they come at all, they charge exorbitant rates for a bumpy ride. A ride from Kodigehalli Gate to the layout can cost anywhere between Rs40 to Rs50, and the distance is only about three kilometres.

Trees martyred to downpour

Trees martyred to downpour

Imran KhanFirst Published : 30 Apr 2009 08:30:36 AM IST
BANGALORE: Two hundred is a small number, but not if you know that it is mentioned in relation to the number of trees uprooted due to the recent downpour in Bangalore. The heavy rains in the last few days brought relief to the sun-stroked Bangaloreans, but has also uprooted around 200 trees in the city, says the BBMP.
Deputy Conservator of Forests (DCF) BBMP North division, SA Hubert said that the uprooted trees were old and couldn’t withstand the heavy rain. “We have registered around 115 incidents of trees being uprooted in the past four days,” he said. On an average, he gets around eight calls everyday related to tree-fall. Hubert informed that the BBMP has constituted nine calamity squads comprising 15 men per squad.
Squads have been provided with a vehicle and cutting machines.
He said, “We have planted 1.5 lakh seedlings on either side of the roads across the city.” G Balakrishna, Forest Conservator of BBMP South division said,”Around 90 trees were uprooted in the south division.
There were several cases where just the branches had fallen but not the entire tree,” he informed.
He said, “The primary reason is the Bescom, who cut trees since some of the tree branches fall on the electric lines which could lead to short circuits. Due to this, the tree starts tilting towards one side and a heavy shower uproots it.” “This however is not the only reason. During the course of laying footpaths, they cement the entire base of the tree. This stops the trees from getting the required water and they get uprooted,” he informed. Even metro construction, that loosens the roots of the trees, can be blamed for their uprooting.

Building owner gets stay against metro station

Building owner gets stay against metro station

Staff Reporter
BANGALORE: The Karnataka High Court on Wednesday ordered status quo on possession of land at Rajajinagar for construction of metro rail station by Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd. (BMRCL).

Justice Nagmohan Das passed the order on a petition by Sharada who had challenged the acquisition of her building on 10th Cross, West of Chord Road, Nagpura Ward.

Ms. Sharada said she had several years ago purchased the site from the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA). Subsequently, she said she had applied and obtained permission from the Government to convert the residential site into a commercial site.

She had obtained a plan from the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) for construction of a commercial complex.

She said when she approached the BBMP for modifying the construction plan, she was asked to get a no-objection certificate from BMRCL.

In her petition, Ms. Sharada said she was unaware that her building had been acquired. She said she had not been given an opportunity of hearing.

Litterbugs ruining Kumara Park

Litterbugs ruining Kumara Park
Even strong advice, with statements like ‘please don’t litter, even dogs and pigs don’t,’ fails to convey the message to the public

Kumara Park has become a haven for litterbugs. Tired of pleading with the public to stop littering, the local residents welfare association has put up six or seven posters which read “Please don’t litter, even dogs and pigs don’t”. But in vain. Paper cups and glasses and bottles are strewn around these banners. “Though the there is a garbage bin near the Gullu’s Chats and Chetty’s Sandwiches, no one uses them. For people, it seems the park is a more convenient place to throw disposable plates, cups, tumblers and paper napkins after taking a walk, munching bhel-puri and other snacks,” said Ramakanth, Kumara Park Residents’ Welfare Association.
Kumara Park, situated near Seshadripuram, is popular for its well-maintained garden and the light music that enchants evening walkers. The garden also has its own compost pit where all the natural waste is turned into manure for the plants.
The two joints near the park cater to over 200 people everyday. Serving pani puri to sandwiches and bhel puri to masala colas, they are crowded most of the time and more so in the evening, especially with the summer holidays on.
The manager at Gullu Chat house said, “We only serve the people in plantain leaf cups. We have kept a garbage bin near the shop, but no one uses it. What can we do? We have even asked them not to litter the paper napkins and bottles, but nobody listens.”
Anil Kumar, who owns Chetty’s Sandwiches, said, “I am running my business here for the last 13 years. But we never faced any problem till now. People just take their food and sit on the compound walls of the park. They have dust bins there, but we can’t force them to use them.”
Ramakanth said he had donated two dustbins to the shops but they are not being used either. “There are three colleges nearby, Seshadripuram College, Composite College and Yadava College. All the students come here to eat junk food in the afternoon. In the evenings also, it is crowded by students and professionals who work in the nearby offices. Despite being educated people, they are least bothered about the environment,” he said.

Eateries flout BBMP’s safe summer directives

Eateries flout BBMP’s safe summer directives
Hot water for drinking, cleanliness of the premises, keeping the food covered at all times are some of BBMP’s directives to the city’s eating joints

Acup of hot water is your right as a customer at every restaurant this summer. In a bid to make the season disease free, the BBMP has issued a five point health directive to all eating points. “These are regular directives that the hotels have to follow. However, with the risk of water borne diseases looming large because of the weather, we have intensified the health drive in restaurants,” said K L Venkateshappa, Deputy Commissioner Health.
So all the 12,000 licensed eateries in the city now have to mandatorily display a board (distributed by the BBMP) about providing hot water for drinking, the cleanliness of the premises, keeping the food covered at all times and a food handling certificate for every member of the staff who serves or prepares food. They also have to maintain an inspection book specifying 21 points which will be signed by the medical health officers conducting unannounced checks.
“According to the rule book, the employees must undergo a medical examination every six months to ensure their general well-being. They are specifically checked for contagious disease like TB, gastroenteritis and skin ailments,” said Dr S B Nagaraj, Health officer, Bangalore South. If the hotels are found violating the rules, they will be served notices and may even be shut down.
However, ten days into the directive and half way into summer, the restaurants of the city seem to have scant regard for the rules of the BBMP. Water is still served straight from the tap or a tanker and the medical certificates for staff are rare at best. “There are about 60,000 people who work in the hotel industry and about 60 percent of them deal with food directly. The number of those who have medical certificate cannot be verified because the BBMP cannot maintain individual files,” said a health official who wished to remain anonymous.
The hoteliers have officially welcomed the drive, but say they are hampered by more practical problems.
“The rate of attrition in the industry is very high as some of them leave within days. Where do we have the time to get them certified? Also, the certificates should be given to us free of cost, but we end up paying about Rs 100 for each. If my employee turnover is high, how can I afford it? The BBMP comes to inspect the premises only twice a year so these things can be managed,” said Raghu Hegde, who runs a darshini in Hanumanthnagar. The bottom line is always the deciding factor for hoteliers. “Heating water for drinking will eat into my profits. If someone wants to have very clean water, then they can buy a bottle,” said Vishwanath Rai who runs a small chat joint in Koramangala.
With serious ailments like jaundice, cholera, gastroenteritis and dengue clouding the season, the BBMP is leaving no stone unturned to ensure a safe summer. But the effectiveness of the rules seem to leave a lot to be desired.
“We need the public participation to make this an effective drive. If anyone sees violations of the directives in the display boards, please call 22975585 to register a complaint. We will ensure that the guilty are brought to the book,” was Venkateshappa’s plea to the general public.

• Clean hot or filtered water must be provided

• The kitchen and serving area should be kept clean

• The food should be covered at all times

• A closed dustbin should be used to dispose of the water generated that should be handed over to the BBMP.This dustbin will be stored outside the hotel premises.

• The trade license issued by the BBMP should be on display for the public.

Traffic lights go on the blink

Traffic lights go on the blink
Commuters Left Confused In Many Parts Of The City
Aarthi R | TNN

Bangalore: ‘Stop’ says red, ‘Get ready’ says amber and ‘Go’ says green. But, when all three lights come on or off at the same time at a traffic signal, what does it mean?
“Very confusing,’’ say commuters across the city who are seeing this happen too often at a few junctions. Signals at South End Circle don’t work; at Hosakerehalli Cross and parts of Ring Road, all the three lights glow simultaneously. Near Jyothi School on Hennur Main Road, the lights operate at erratic intervals, causing frequent jams during peak hours.
Nearly invisible poles is another problem. “No signal, grey poles by the roadside and a hardly noticeable traffic policeman standing in a corner, trying to tame late evening traffic — I almost met with an accident a couple of days back,’’ complains a commuter from Jayanagar.
As per specifications set by the Indian Roads Congress (IRC), all traffic signal poles need to be painted yellow for greater visibility, especially during the night. But, almost all new poles in the city are bluish-grey. “The grey poles might violate the IRC norms and also cause problems to night traffic. Even the old signals we had were painted yellow. Why change of colour all of a sudden?’’ asks traffic expert M N Sreehari.
The erratic signals at places might be due to improper survey done at the time of erecting the poles. “While setting up these traffic signals, one needs to take into account the traffic count, volume count and the saturation flow at the junctions. But, considering that close to 300 new signals have hit the city recently, I doubt if they had time to look into all these parameters at every junction’’ he said.
Additional commissioner of police (traffic & security) Praveen Sood, however, says the new signals are all according to IRC norms. “The IRC says poles must be preferably painted yellow, but it is not mandatory. Before the B-TRAC came in, even the 160 old signals were not uniformly yellow. Many of them were also blue and so we chose to retain the same,’’ he explains. Apart
from the
colour, all other IRC norms have been checked on. This includes height and width of the signal panels, he said.
For the past week, commuters in many parts of South Bangalore were taken by surprise seeing traffic being manually controlled by policemen. “No fuss or error, just a simple shift for Namma Metro,’’ says the traffic department. Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation has identified about 10 signals along the southern corridor which could be shifted due to work on the project. These include prominent junctions like South End Circle, R V College Teacher’s Circle and a few other junctions in Jayanagar. Work on shifting the signals is now in
progress and might take another week to be complete in all aspects.
With work on Metro now started on almost all reaches, it’s possible that at any given point, at least 5-6 existing traffic signals along the 33-km track may be in the process of being shifted. And we might not be able to shift a few of them back till the work is complete. For example, the signal at South End Circle has not been working for at least a month now and it might take time to be re-located, says Praveen Sood.
On any day, it’s possible that 5% of the signals might go defective due to various reasons. A majority is due to snapped cables and power cuts. None of them fuse as all of them have been fitted with LED panels. Time taken to rectify them depends on nature of defect. Apart from a helpline, we are also working on a system where a software can detect defective signals automatically.

Help at hand Bangalore now has 303 signals. Till 2008, the number was just 160
Setting up one traffic signal costs anywhere between Rs 5-6 lakh
Spot a signal that makes you blink on the road? Just call 22942926

Call/SMS 9844112233 for an auto from June

Call/SMS 9844112233 for an auto from June
Deepa Bhasthi | TNN

Bangalore: An old initiative is being dusted off and will soon see the light of day. Several thousands of daily commuters could breathe a collective sigh of relief, for hailing an autorickshaw is being simplified.
Easy Auto was an initiative announced in 2007 where people could call, SMS or book an autorickshaw online. Delay in licences put the project on the back burner. From the first week of June, armed with the licence, the project will be re-launched with 250 autos and over 3,000 registered users.
Padmasree Harish, CEO, Internet World Wide, which is starting Easy Auto, told TOI that the Indiranagar RTO cleared the pending licences. Part of B-TRAC, Easy Auto will be a callan-auto service where people can call
or SMS a number and a call centre will
track the nearest registered auto which will be fitted with a GPS device. “We
have a database of 250 registered auto
drivers. For the first 2-3 months, people can register on our website and avail the service by calling the 30-line mobile number. Later, even unregistered commuters can use it,” she said.
The transport department and the traffic police will give ground support for the project. Transport commissioner Bhaskar Rao said this would bridge the last-mile connectivity and avoid dry runs of autos. “We’ll be connecting auto drivers and passengers and this will ensure less harassment and more convenience for both,” he added.
Call/SMS 9844112233

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Pedestrian woes - Magic box signals chaos

Pedestrian woes - Magic box signals chaos

Article Rank

One of the busiest junctions of the city, KR Circle is having to do without traffic signals ever since the BBMP began work on building a magic box underpass here. In the resulting traffic chaos it is the pedestrians who are suffering the most.
KR Circle sees heavy traffic as vehicles going to Majestic, Vidhana Soudha and the Corporation use it frequently.

Government employees, lawyers and litigants all converge on the circle on their way to the multi-storied building, the high court and city civil courts, while holidaymakers and those bound for Lavelle road use it to get to Cubbon Park and Bal Bhavan.

Hanumappa D. Goward, a traffic policeman says the circle sees constantly heavy traffic between 8.30 am to 10pm. “Compared to other junctions in the city, traffic defies control here. As the roads are goods, drivers like to speed which makes things even more difficult ,” he says.

As traffic has been chaotic here since the work on the Rs 2.5 crore magic box underpass began, pedestrians have their hearts in their mouths every time they try to cross the road in the vicinity of the the circle. To their misfortune there is almost no let-up in traffic at any point during the day as vehicles from the Majestic are allowed to take a free left turn in front of the University Visvesvaraya College of Engineering (UVCE) and vehicles from Vidhana Soudha and the high court are allowed to take a free left to Corporation circle. In the absence of speed breakers and zebra crossings, pedestrians have to necessarily snatch an almost never arriving interval in the traffic flow to cross the road.

Many blame BBMP and traffic police for the situation. Says senior citizen Harish Alva,“As most of the government offices and courts are located around K R circle this sort of indifference to the situation here is unpardonable. It is unfortunate that both BBMP and traffic police did nothing for the convenience of pedestrians before starting the underpass work. Every day hundreds of senior citizens and handicapped persons come here to get their work done and have to depend on others to cross the road.” Unfortunately the three or four traffic constables present at the circle seem indifferent to the plight of pedestrians, and don’t bother to stop the oncoming traffic to help them get across the roads.

Complains Sneha Hebbar, a visually handicapped employee with a hotel near the circle, “Till we approach them, cops do nothing. It’s difficult to find them as they are not stationed at one particular spot.” But the traffic policemen claim they are trying their best to ensure smooth flow of traffic at the circle. “It is natural for development work to cause inconvenience sometimes. People have to just put up with it,” they say.

Potholed Bengaluru is still ‘best city’

Potholed Bengaluru is still ‘best city’

Article Rank

Bengaluru is still the best place to live in the country. Though potholed roads and poor infrastructure have pulled down the city by a couple of notches on the best cities list compared with last year, global human resources consultancy firm Mercer still rates it as the best city in India followed by Mumbai, whose ratings fell since last year after 26/11.
The just released Mercer’s Quality of Living Global Cities Ranking-2009 pegged Bengaluru at 142, down by two points from last year, out of a sample survey of 215 cities from across the world.

Interestingly, this year’s rankings also identify cities with best infrastructure based on electricity supply, water availability, telephone and mail services, traffic congestion and the range of international flights from local airports.

According to the Mercer Report, Vienna is the best city in the world and Baghdad at 215 has been rated as the worst and the most unsafe city. The other top cities after Vienna are Zurich, Geneva, Vancouver and Auckland.

Mercer conducts an annual study to help multinational firms and governments to place their employees in the international job market based on the quality of living in the respective cities.

The report is based on an evaluation of 39 criteria for each city including political, social, economic and environmental factors, personal safety and health, education, transport and other public services.

The cities are compared to New York as the base city, with an index score of 100.

In India, New Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai follow Bengaluru in terms of better quality of living for expatriates.

Mumbai’s image in the global positioning fell drastically from last year’s 142 to 148.

However, New Delhi has managed to maintain the same rank this year at the 145th place in the global list, while Chennai has been ranked at the 152nd place, the survey revealed.

According to Mercer’s information product solutions India business leader Gangapriya Chakraverti, when firms relocate executives from one country to another they need clear and objective information establishing quality of living differences between cities.

“Some are perceived to be safer, while others provide entertainment activities or more comprehensive medical services,” he said.

RTO ‘permits’ racket

RTO ‘permits’ racket

Article Rank


The latest racket in the transport department involves transferring of autorickshaw permits for a price to unauthorised claimants, alleges an activist, referring to two contradictory orders issued by the department within a span of four months to support his case.
The activist, Samiulla, who learnt of the two notifications under the RTI Act, says that while the first restricted the transfer of auto permits, the second put the earlier notification on hold, in effect allowing the transfer of auto permits.

“Nearly 2,500 auto permits were transferred in this manner in violation of the Central Motor Vehicle Act and without the knowledge and consent of the original auto permit holders,” he alleges.

The first notification was issued by the transport department in July, 2005 cancelling the transfer of permits saying it had come to its notice that a large number of permits issued by RTO offices were being transferred without the knowledge of the auto drivers concerned.

This notification was withdrawn in November 2005 although autos fall in the “motor cabs” category and are governed by the Central Motor Vehicle Act which does not allow transfer of auto permits to anyone other than family members like spouses and children. The permits need to be surrendered to the RTO if they cannot be transferred, he said.

The modus operandi of those involved in the racket is simple, according to him.

“As the original documents of auto permits are with financiers, when auto drivers fail to pay their EMIs their vehicles are seized. Later, their permits are sold for a price without their knowledge,” he claims.

“Permits are being transferred or sold to favour vehicle dealers and financiers and not poor auto drivers. RTO authorities have been creating an artificial scarcity of auto permits to create a demand for them,” he alleges.

Transport commissioner Bhaskar Rao, when contacted, said permits could not be transferred without the knowledge of those who held them.

“Usually, the transfer is done in the presence of the buyers and sellers. If permits are sold without the knowledge of the owners this should be brought to our notice. The records will be examined and action will be taken,” he promised.

New areas have to wait longer for Cauvery water

New areas have to wait longer for Cauvery water

Tenders for ground level reservoirs delayed further

Senthalir S. Bangalore

"We are waiting for Cauvery water . The earlier it reaches us, the faster our problems would end," said Janaki Ramamurthy, a resident of Dooravaninagar near KR Puram.
The problems she was referring to were the non-functional borewells due to which she has to fully depend on tanker water paying through her nose.
But residents like her living in the newly added areas of the BBMP will have to wait longer.
Although the work on Cauvery Water IV phase (II stage) is progressing, the construction of ground level reservoirs (GLRs) to store the water will be delayed as contractors are quoting a larger amount. The Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) plans to build 10 GLRs in the former CMC areas.
The Cauvery Water IV phase (II stage) is expected to provide 500mld of water by 2012 to people in the newly added Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) who are facing severe water shortage.
The tendering process for the ground level reservoirs that began in October last is yet to be finalised as contractors are reluctant to take up work.
"So far, we have called the tenders thrice — first in September/October, 2008, then in November, and finally in March, 2009. But there were not many participants to take up the work," a BWSSB official said. He said the good contractors quoted a larger amount.
"We want to award the work at Rs10 crore to build a GLR but they are asking for Rs50 crore. Our plan is to give all the 10 GLRs to one contractor and that would come to Rs100 crore. But they are reluctant to take it up as they find it hard to work in 10 locations. We will call for re-tendering after the election code of conduct is relaxed," the official said. This means the tendering work is delayed.
"Once the model code of conduct is relaxed in May, we can call tenders for the works. This will not affect the GLR work as there is a lot of time. The reservoirs have to be completed only by 2012. Tender for one GLR has been called and it will be finalised soon," said AN Prahlad Rao, a BWSSB spokesman.
"These are big projects and they require time. But they will be completed by 2012," he said.

Fast-track the project and end the misery

Fast-track the project and end the misery

Residents of Maruthinagar are forced to spend an extra hour on the road because of the delayed construction of a bridge across a drain on the main road between Maruthinagar and Venkateshwara Layout in Madiwala. Earlier, there was a road over the drain.
As the area has been closed to traffic on and off, residents are finding it difficult to commute. Not just them. The commercial establishments in and around the neighbourhood are incurring huge losses because of the never-ending construction work.
The construction of the bridge began in December 2008. It was supposed to end by March this year, but the work is still incomplete.
DNA reporters also found out that entry into BTM Layout is not possible because of the construction, and the residents there too had to go through Madiwala, which takes 45 minutes more for the trip.Maruthinagar is behind Anjinaya Temple, opposite Total Mall. Because of the diversions for this construction, pedestrians who would take usually a few minutes to cross over earlier, now need close to an hour to reach BTM Layout.
Residents and shopowners say that the delay has affected not only their business but their peace of mind too.
Now that there are few commuters on this road, shopkeepers are finding it difficult to carry on with their business. It is highly impossible to make profit, they complain.
Sridhar R, a shopkeeper, says: "The loss in business is huge since the construction of the bridge began. Now we do not know what to do. We have been running these shops for years but are helpless now."
Unbearable stink
The construction has also impacted the Under Ground Drainage (UGD) system below the bridge, and as a result, drain water and rain water get mixed. Whenever it rains, the stink that permeates the area is unbearable.
Since the drains are left uncovered, garbage often gets dumped there.
The clearance of garbage is apparently done only once in two days. "This is adding to the mosquito menace here," says Revathi Devi, a resident of the area.
On the 10th and 11th main, the water is brown in colour, as drain water gets mixed with borewell water, say residents. As the bridge is still incomplete, no one is bothered about the drains.
No negligence from our side, says BBMP
The Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) officials say they are waiting for the UGD work to be completed by the BWSSB, and that is why they are unable to finish the construction of the bridge. The officials said that there is no negligence on their part.

Metro caught on the wrong track

Metro caught on the wrong track

An underage boy was rescued from a work site, while two others fled the place

Vaishalli Chandra. Bangalore

Donning a yellow security helmet and an orange reflector jacket, Mohammad may pass off as any labourer at a work site. But, a close look at him reveals his young age.
Look at the picture and decide — does he look older than 14? Mohammad maintained that he was 20.
A resident of Malda, West Bengal, speaking in a heavily Bengali accented Hindi, Mohammad said he studies in Standard VIII at his village school.
With a month off from the school, he was in the city to earn a few bucks for the family. But as fate would have it, he was identified by some residents of Nanda Road, who filed a complaint with the labour commissioner, under the Juvenile Justice (JJ) Act.
Acting on the complaint and a call to the helpline, the boy was rescued by members of the Association for Promoting Social Action (APSA). It was close to lunch break at 36th cross on Nanda Road where the metro work is in progress.
In the complaint, three underage children were mentioned, but by the time the members of APSA reached the spot, two of them had already fled.
On questioning, Mohammad informed that he had come to the city last week. His primary work was to dig mud from the site. Working from 6 am to 6 pm he made Rs110 per day which was paid on a weekly basis.
The contract on that stretch (Nanda road) is given to Nagarjuna Construction Company (NCC). Workers informed that Mahesh was the engineer on the site. The company has been informed and it has agreed to come for a hearing on Thursday.
When DNA contacted his father, he said, "We are poor farmers. He has gone to make a few rupees." Mohammad has three brothers and a sister.
When he spoke to Anwar, the agent who got him here, over the phone, Anwar assured the shocked child, "Kichu hobe na" (Nothing will happen).
Mohammad was taken to the Government boy's hostel behind Kidwai hospital, his new home. His case would be heard by the Child Welfare Commission on Thursday. Until then, Mohammad will stay at the hostel.
A visibly shocked Mohammad was reluctant to eat or drink and after a lot of persuasion from child helpline members, he finally ate at around four in the evening.
The rescued boy's name has been changed to protect his identity

Huge traffic snarl on Old Madras Road

Huge traffic snarl on Old Madras Road

Senthalir S. Bangalore

Tuesday was a traumatic day for those travelling on Old Madras Road. Many were stranded for more than an hour, with vehicles moving at a snail's pace right from 8.30 am till late in the evening.
All credit for the snarl went to a broken pipeline and the Namma Metro work.
Ravi Subramanya, a frustrated motorist, said, "I left home by 10 am. I need to reach my office on MG Road by 11 am. But now, it's been more than half an hour and I'm still stranded in this chaos. I will be really late to work today."
A 27-inch water pipeline near the Indiranagar depot ruptured on Monday night. Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) officials were busy rectifying the fault, but in the bargain, it affected vehicular movement badly.
"The water pipeline broke on Monday night and water supply to areas like HAL, Indiranagar and Jeevan Bhima Nagar was affected on Tuesday. So we had to start work in the morning. It will take some time. We will finish the work by 6.30 pm," said a BWSSB contractor, who didn't want to be named.
The ongoing Metro work added to the woes of motorists, especially officegoers. "We find it difficult to travel on this road, especially during peak hours. There is relatively less traffic during off-peak hours. But today, it is a completely different scenario. I should have taken a different route," lamented Sai Priya, a motorist. She added that the BWSSB should have carried out the work in the night or during off-peak hours so that people are not put to inconvenience.
However, BWSSB chief engineer, Venkataraju said, "It is difficult to carry out work in the night as the visibility is low. We had to finish the work on Tuesday as there was water leakage."
At least four traffic police personnel were on duty on this stretch to manage the traffic flow. "We have been here since 7 in the morning. But the situation worsened only by 8.30 am and we are finding it difficult to handle such a jam," a traffic policeman said and added that since the road was narrow, it added to the woes of commuters. "Even if the BWSSB completes work by evening, they need to next fill up the hole with mud. It will take another two days for vehicles to be able to use that stretch of the road," he said.

No parking space? Go underground

No parking space? Go underground

Basement parking proposal for Manekshaw Grounds

Basavaraj Itnaal. Bangalore

Trouble finding a good parking spot for your car? Here's a reason to cheer. The Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagar Palike (BBMP) is working on a proposal to to create an underground parking lot at Manekshaw Parade Grounds. The good news is that the Army Command of Karnataka and Kerala Sub Area, which manages the place, has told the BBMP that it is open to the idea.
Colonel S Kemparaj, attached to the General Staff of Headquarters, Karnataka, told DNA that the plan was discussed in a meeting with traders and BBMP officials.
"We said we have no problems with the proposal and asked BBMP to make a clear proposal," he said.
Col Kemparaj said that if the local command has no objection, the ministry is likely to clear the proposal early.

Flyovers to get green facelift after LS polls

Flyovers to get green facelift after LS polls
Bangalore, DHNS:

Medians, circles and spaces under the City’s flyovers are all set for a green facelift. The Urban Spacing project worth Rs 25 crore will be taken up by the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) after the Lok Sabha elections.

The project is an initiative by BBMP Commissioner Dr S Subramanya who has proposed to cover the empty spaces in the City with greenery.

The project will allot Rs 10 crore for 'urban spacing' and Rs 15 crore for beautifying circles, medians etc. But the main concentration will be on the empty spaces, which will be covered with lawns, shrubs and trees.
Joint Director of Horticulture A Narayana Swamy explained, “It is an effort to make even the empty spaces in the City look beautiful. We will try and install fountains and sculptures too. Saplings, mostly bogainvillea and almond species will be planted wherever possible.”

Urban spaces to be beautified have been identified on Palace Road, Magadi Road and West of Chord Road. The project will be taken up in all the eight zones of the City, (East, West, South, Mahadevapura, Bytarayanpura, Rajarajeshwarinagar, Bomanahalli, Dasarahalli) including the stretch of ten corridors to the City from Hosur Road, Bannerghatta Road, Kanakpura Road, Mysore Road, Tumkur Road, Magadi Road, Bellary Road, Old Madras Road, HAL Airport Road and Sarjapura Road. A total of 911 parks have been identified under the BBMP limits for development. Of these, 625 have already been developed.

Mission to reduce noise levels in city

Mission to reduce noise levels in city
Bangalore, DHNS:

A majority of the 80,000 autorickshaws on road in Bangalore have the silencers tampered with under the mistaken impression that it increases mileage.Several ‘high spirited’ youth remove the silencers from their two-wheelers and drive rashly to attract attention. Almost all vehicle drivers honk frequently.

These critical observations by “Mission Peace -- Stop The Noise” tellingly brought to fore the dangers of an oft neglected pollution, at an ‘International Noise Awareness Day’ event arranged in partnership with the State Transport Department here on Tuesday.

The event also highlighted the dangers posed by the use of multi-blow, multi-tone, loud-reversing and air horns on heavy vehicles including government vehicles. “With Bangalore’s traffic doubling every five years and with about three million vehicles of all types plying on the roads, noise pollution has become a major danger to public health,” said a speaker at the event.

The Transport Department, along with organisations such as “Mission Peace” has decided to educate the RTO officials and traffic police about noise pollution; make it mandatory for the RTO officials and traffic police to create awareness among vehicle users on the evils of noise pollution; make compliance to noise regulations a part of ‘fitness certification’ and design and implement punishment schedules for frequent offenders.

“Mission Peace--Stop the Noise” is a community participatory project to help control and eliminate noise pollution initially in Bangalore, and later in other cities and towns with the cooperation of government agencies.

IT’S ALMOST 1 murder a day

IT’S ALMOST 1 murder a day
Despite New Police Stations, Rate Of Murders In City Is Cause For Concern
A T Subrahmanya | TNN

Bangalore: Almost a murder a day! That is the dubious record in the city this year, with 89 murders in 110 days.
This despite a new police sub-division — North East — with 10 new stations was created this year. Three months after an old couple was murdered in daylight, the police are yet to crack the case. Ditto with the R T Nagar triple murder, where an elderly couple and their physically and mentally disabled son was murdered.
Police say, these two cases apart, the detection rate has gone up, with about 79 murders solved since January 2009. Last year till April 20, there were about 79 murders, with about four incidents of murder for gain.
Police commissioner Shankar M Bidari said, “The rate of murders has actually come down this year. Usually there is a 10% increase in crime rate every year but this year, the number of murders has remained steady at last year’s figures.’’ The rate of murder cases being solved has also gone up, Bidari added.
2009 89 murders 79 solved
Five incidents of murder for gain, three solved APRIL 2008 79 murders with four incidents of murder
for gain
238 murders in the whole year and 192 cases solved NO PROGRESS YET
CRIME: A S Venkata Rangan, 79, a retired deputy accountant general and his wife Vasantha, 72, were murdered at their residence on 11th Main, Jayanagar III Block on January 10. Their throats had been slit. The incident had created panic across the locality.Initially the police suspected the murders were a fallout of a property dispute, as the couple was believed to be contemplating selling their house and moving in with their son in Mysore.
STATUS: UNRESOLVED The police had questioned a maid who was allegedly last seen at the house. However, a CCTV grab from a neighbouring shop showed a few people entering the house. But several rounds of investigations later, the case remains unsolved.
CRIME: A retired IISc professor Purshottham Lal Sachdev, 65, his wife Rita, 60, and their son Munna Sachdev, 35, were found murdered in their house on 80-Ft Road in RT Nagar I Block on February 16.When the murders came to light, police first suspected the couple’s adopted son Anurag alias Happy, 23, believed to be a drug addict. Investigations revealed that the Sachdevs had employed a couple from West Bengal as domestic help a little before the murders. The couple was missing.
STATUS: NOT RESOLVED Upon investigation, the police learned the couple may have escaped to the Sundarbans in West Bengal. A police team was sent to look for them, but due to the political turmoil and the villagers’ support, the couple remained elusive. Only when the couple is detained will the murders be solved, say the police.

Choked to death

Many trees were uprooted during the pre-monsoon rain. Concrete has covered their roots, choking and killing them. Trees need space to breathe, say experts
Jayashree Nandi | TNN

Bangalore: Early last week, a huge Ashoka tree broke into pieces and fell on the premises of a popular restaurant on Church Street, destroying the adjacent concrete wall. Customers were shocked when the debris fell right across their table.
The cause of the incident is now being debated. Was it because of a light shower or something else?
According to environmentalists, concrete has covered the roots of many trees in Jayanagar, Malleshwaram and Chamarajpet; these places were once abundant with trees. But the authority tasked to look after them — BBMP deputy conservator of forests (DCF) — seems to be unmoved by incidents of tree-fall due to use of concrete in construction activity around tree trunks.
“This is an old story. We’re not the authority concerned to take care of this. Tree officers usually go and inspect the spot, and then give permission for public auctioning. Uprooting is taken care of by the engineering department. I don’t know of any regulation about how much space needs to be kept for tree roots,” DCF S A Hubert explained.
However, space around trees is important to maintain their health, according to BBMP horticulture joint director A Narayanaswamy. “The amount of space to be left depends on the species. For instance, dwarf varieties need 15 to 20 feet and huge trees need 30 to 35 feet, sometimes even 40 feet,” Narayanaswamy explained. “It also depends on the size of the road. For highways or bigger roads, large trees can be planted.” In K R Circle, trees-planting is planned before paving the area with cobbles. “But in most parts of the city, this kind of planning was not done.”
A noted environmentalist said roots are choked in most areas. “There’s a tree every 100 feet on a sidewalk. But one can’t plant a tree there as the whole place is set in concrete. If trees fall at the current rate due to malnutrition, the local ambient climate will change fast. Bangalore will be hotter by five degree Celsius soon,” the environmentalist explained.
Hasiru Usiru activist Vinay Sreenivasa is disappointed. “I’ve seen some trees on pavements where not even a centimetre of space has been left. How will they (trees) breathe? Isn’t it a natural consequence that they are falling?”
BBMP tree officer M R Suresh, too, acknowledged that many trees are falling than ever before.
“Statistics show that incidence of tree fall has increased of late. A major reason is cementing work around the roots. But there are other reasons, and every issue can’t be taken care of by the civic authority. Citizens need to be more proactive,” he said.
Ecological science experts also confirm that mass concrete work on pavement has choked the roots. “Cementing is the culprit. There is no proper aeration, which stops growth. The root breathes like any other living being. But if they (roots) are covered in concrete, then there is no oxygen flow,” said T V Ramachandra, Centre for Ecological Science, IISc.
Fallen giants
The amount of space a tree needs depends on the type of the species, though most require at least one metre. That helps in water penetration. Otherwise the tree suffocates and hardly gets any nutrient. In some new layouts, people cover the soil with concrete, which stops air and water circulation. Naturally, trees are uprooted as a result of the damaging practice. Also, BBMP should focus on pruning trees on avenues so that branches don’t fall T V Ramachandra | CENTRE FOR ECOLOGICAL SCIENCE, IISC Give some space Space around trees is a must to maintain their health The amount of space depends on the type of species Dwarf varieties need 15 to 20 foot Huge trees need 30 to 35 foot, sometimes even 40 foot
Problem areas Jayanagar, Malleswaram and Chamarajpet were once abundant with healthy trees Concrete has covered the soil in many new layouts Now, existing trees on sidewalks can’t be replaced when they die Trees are fast disappearing without any replacement Experts fear the situation has become unsustainable
Rising temperature At the current rate of trees falling, Bangalore’s ambient climate will see a rise by 5 degree Celsius in some years Experts call the situation “unmindful development”

BIA rail link project may pick up speed

BIA rail link project may pick up speed
This mammoth PPP undertaking is likely to receive Rs 1,040 crore under the Viability Gap Funding
S Kushala | TNN

Bangalore: The High Speed Rail Link (HSRL) to Bengaluru International Airport (BIA) is all set to pick up pace after initial hiccups.
The Rs 5,700-crore project is coming up for the Viability Gap Funding (VGF) review by the central government.
Notwithstanding the economic meltdown, 27 companies of international repute have applied for the publicprivate partnership (PPP) project. Billed as one of the largest PPP projects, the proposal will be placed before the Centre for clearance to avail of Rs 1,040 crore, a grant to be released under VGF.
The meeting, earlier scheduled for this week, has been postponed to May 10.
Once the project is cleared, the VGF will be released during implementation.
The project was stalled for a while last year due to bureaucratic wrangles. Just when everything seemed on track, the infrastructure development department and ABIDe lobbied hard against it and suggested alternatives.
However, the implementing agency, Karnataka State Industrial Investment Development Corporation (KSIIDC), and Delhi Metro Rail’s E Sreedharan, pushed for the project. Finally, the state cabinet, which met in Belgaum during the legislative session in January, gave its nod — all over again. Earlier, tenders were floated for Request For Qualification in August but after cabinet approval, KSIIDC called for a second pre-bid meeting next month with the 27 firms which participated in the tendering process.
The 34-km rail link starts from M G Road and runs along the right side of the national highway to reach BIA. For the project, an estimated 162 acres have to be acquired, of which 130 are private and NHAI lands.
Compensation of Rs 532 crore has been allocated for private lands and government/BBMP properties will be acquired free of cost.
HSRL will begin from M G Road and run along the national highway at a distance of 23 metres from the median At a distance of 5 m from proposed NHAI’s elevated road corridor
To start from BRV Grounds, where there’ll be a city air terminal (CAT)
There’ll be two stops — Hebbal and Yelahanka
Will be integrated at two places with Metro Rail — at Minsk Square of Phase I and Yelahanka of Phase II. Phase II is aimed at connecting Electronic City with BIA via M G Road-Tannery Road-Nagawara-Yelahanka

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

State rules out changes in metro rail alignment

State rules out changes in metro rail alignment

S. Rajendran
Decision after high-level meeting with Centre
State Government cannot affect changes in alignment unilaterally

Consent for land in Lalbagh was given during President’s Rule

Bangalore: Much to the chagrin of some important political leaders, particularly those in the ruling party who have been backing the demand for changes in the metro rail alignment, the State Government, which has held discussions with the Union Government, has ruled out any change in the track alignment.

The Bangalore Metro Rail is a Centre-State project and changes in alignment cannot be effected by the State Government unilaterally. It is another matter that the details of the Government’s discussion and stand on alignment have been kept a closely guarded secret since general elections are presently on and the demand for changes has come about from a section of the people residing in the Bangalore South Lok Sabha constituency.

Sources in the State Government told The Hindu that a high-level meeting was held here recently in the background of the change in alignment being sought. The conclusion at the meeting was “the Detailed Project Report for the Bangalore Metro Rail prepared by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation is final. The alignment for the Southern Line (Reach 4 of phase one) has been finalised after considering all other alternatives including techno-economic and environmental considerations”.

With reference to the land (1,135 square metres) in the periphery of the Lalbagh Botanical gardens which has been granted for the project, it has been clarified: “The Government has thoroughly examined the requirement of land in the western periphery of Lalbagh and has approved the grant of land for the construction of a railway station. The land shall be utilised only for providing access of the metro rail from and to the railway station and construction of staircases for the emergency evacuation of passengers, if need be (as required under the fire safety norms). At this stage of the project execution it is neither possible nor desirable to change the alignment”.

Asked for his reaction to the stand of the Government, N. Sivasailam, Managing Director, Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation, told The Hindu that the project was under execution as per the Detailed Project Report and was on schedule. Demands for changes in the alignment were there from across all areas. “It is our duty to execute the project as promised to the people. Around 0.001 per cent of the land in the periphery of the Lalbagh Botanical gardens has been earmarked for a railway station and work has commenced,” he said.

The consent for the strip of land in Lalbagh was given during the President’s Rule in the State in early 2008. Following the decision, the Karnataka Parks Preservation Act was amended through an ordinance and Government orders were subsequently issued.

It is understood that the BMRCL has also sought 40 acres of land at Kinmiki village along the Mysore Road for construction of housing quarters for the crew and other staff of the metro. The requisition for this piece of land is now before the State Revenue Department.

In another development, the Government is also stated to be seized of the matter relating to the huge advertisement revenue that would be generated by the metro rail. Advertisements would be permitted all over the piers and the viaduct apart from the metro rail stations. With the metro project largely coming up on the BBMP lands, the BBMP has also sought a share of the advertisement revenue while the BMRCL has claimed that it should be granted permission to enjoy the full advertisement revenue.

Traffic streamlined

Traffic streamlined

Article Rank


Come June andthe city may be able to cope better with its traffic which is driving most people insane at the moment.
The city police plans to soon set up a Traffic Management Centre (TMC) to monitor traffic jams, inform drivers about which roads to avoid and provide live traffic updates on specially installed signboards.

The end result could be smoother traffic flow on Bengaluru’s roads, says additional commissioner of police (traffic) Praveen Sood. “We plan to install 20 variable message signboards for live traffic situation updates to help road users. The operators at the TMC will keep a tab on traffic jams and inform motorists about them through the signboards. Ten such signboards which will begin to function from June,” Mr Sood reveals.

Signboards will be seen on Bellary Road leading to the Bengaluru International Airport, KR Puram, Old Madras Road, at the Central Silk Board on Hosur Road, Mysore Road, Residency Road, Richmond Road, Tumkur Road, Kanakapura Road and Mekhri Circle.

The city police is in the process of developing a traffic scan system to get real time information on traffic congestion. The information will be collated from videos, mobile phone density and data from GPS fitted BSNL buses and processed to arrive at the average speed at which vehicles are travelling on roads to indicate their level of congestion.

The scan system is being developed by Dr Ashwin Mahesh of the Indian Institute of Management with the help of the Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation and two IT firms.To streamline the traffic, signals within a 100 metres of each other, will be suitably linked. “This is being done using the signal progression method which ensures partial synchronisation to minimise delays.

Already, the signals on Manipal Road, Cubbon Road, BRV junction, Minsk Square, State Bank circle, KG Road, Upparpet, Minerva junction, Ulsoor Gate, Police Corner, Hudson Circle and Web junction have been modified,” the additional commissioner adds.

There’s more good news.

An area traffic control system (ATC) has been planned for 14 corridors. A pilot project is in the offing on Bellary Road between Hebbal flyover and the international airport with the assistance of Bharath Electronics Ltd. The ATC will use traffic density data of all major junctions in a corridor and adjust the countdown at signal lights to reduce traffic hold-ups.

“In due course a parking information system will also be put in place. The availability of parking slots across the city will be fed into the TMC and displayed on VMS boards for the information of motorists.

The details will also be relayed through SMSes and websites. But this will be possible only after all parking lots are computerised,” Mr Sood explains.

The police, which is working on improving communication among its officers as well, has provided them 280 fully operational blackberries and plans to procure 400 more handsets for the use of cops up to the rank of assistant sub- inspectors.

Project reduces pollution, says Yellappa Reddy

Project reduces pollution, says Yellappa Reddy
Noted environmentalist and former Indian Forest Service (IFS) officer Dr A N Yellappa Reddy has said that the alignment issue should not be allowed to stall the Namma Metro project at the present juncture.

“When 30 to 40 percent of the work is already completed and the project costing thousands of crores having made a headway after a number of years, the protests now are not feasible and not wise. The Metro, once operational, will reduce the number of vehicles on roads and bring pollution levels down,” he told Deccan Herald, referring to increasing protests by Hasiru Usiru against the project.

Dr Reddy, however, added that he shares the concern, which has to be looked at with a holistic approach.
A group of 200 people cannot be allowed to take the City for a ride long after the State Cabinet and Union Ministry of Urban Development approved Bangalore Metro. “When half of Bangalore has been destroyed for various infrastructure projects, why rise a hue and cry now? Do they know the City once had 300 lakes and how many of them exist today,” questioned Dr Reddy.

Blaming the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) for lack of adequate transparency, Dr Reddy felt that the Corporation should have come out with more facts and made public the approvals accorded by the Centre and State governments.

Alternate open spaces

Calling for a new look to develop alternative open spaces in the City as green cover, the former secretary to Government (Department of Forests and Ecology) observed that the demand to take Metro underground is not viable.

“It is very expensive and means going back to square one. Do the protesters realise the time wasted for the project to take shape? Every decision has to go for approval by the Centre and State, who are equity partners in Namma Metro. Tenders have to called for again. There is ample scope to restructure and redesign lost green cover,” he added.

Suggesting that State government consider developing the vast area on the Race Course as a tree/bio-diversity park, the green expert said this and the BU Jnanabharathi campus are examples of potential bio-diversity spots amidst the urban environment in the City.

“These can be converted into lung spaces. We can also recover and develop vast chunks of land that have been encroached and identified by the A T Ramaswamy committee. While 70 percent of such land can be converted into green cover, 20 percent can be allotted to housing facilities for the homeless and urban poor,” Dr Reddy opined.

Neglect set to wipe out another lake

eglect set to wipe out another lake

Article Rank

Hosakerehallitank may soon be counted among the many lakes that have disappeared in the city over the years under pressure from urbanisation unless immediate action is taken to conserve it. The once beautiful lake is turning smelly and dirty, besides becoming a health hazard as sewage is being let into it from neighbouring localites.
People living in the vicinity not only need to put up with the stink, but also the mosquitoes that breed in the sewage contaminated water.

They live in fear of confronting an outbreak of malaria, chikungunya and other mosquito-related diseases in their midst and have become more anxious with the monsoons fast approaching.

The problem has already been compounded by the pre-monsoon showers the city has been experiencing of late.

The culprit appears to be the absence of an underground drainage system in the areas nearby, which is causing sewage to find its way into the lake instead.

“Sewage is being accumulated in the tank and is leading to breeding of mosquitoes in the locality. This must be checked before the monsoons as this could prove much more of a hazard then,” said secretary of the Federation of Residents’ Welfare Association, Padmanabhanagar, T.B. Niranjana, urging BWSSB officials to look into the matter with some urgency.

People say their complaints have been falling on deaf ears as no one is doing anything to remedy the situation.

“The authorities have not taken any action although we have approached them several times. The lake is spread over 60 km and can be utilised better if its beauty is exploited for leisure and tourism. But nothing is being done about the filth and sewage in and around it.

The department concerned needs to act to keep our lakes beautiful,” Mr Niranjana stressed.

To the anger of the people here, the grounds around the lake are turning into a garbage yard with BBMP vehicles often seen dumping the rubbish collected from the city, on them.

“We have often seen BBMP vehicles dumping garbage here. If a civic body can do this, what about the common man?” asked a resident of Banshankari 3rd Stage, Radha Raman.

BWSSB chief engineer, Venkatraju, when contacted acknowledged that complaints had been received about the lack of an underground drainage system in Banashankari.

“We will send our officials to inspect the area and do our best to meet the needs of the people as soon as possible,” he assured.

A nightmare potholed by sheer neglect

A nightmare potholed by sheer neglect

The 1.2 km-long Vittal Mallya Road is a commuter's nightmare. The two-way narrow and uneven road is bedevilled by potholes. The stretch connecting St Mark's Road and Siddhalinga Circle is a prime junction and sees a passenger car per unit (PCU) of over 5.000 during peak hours.It is also turning into one of the prime commercial and tourist destination with the presence of UB City. But one downpour is enough to reveal the true picture of the road. Potholes get filled with water and uprooted trees block traffic. For most of the stretch, footpaths have been encroached by commercial outlets. During school hours, in the absence of space on footpaths, students are forced to walk on the road. Leaky manholes, dug up drains, garbage heaps with street dogs feeding on it and overflowing sewage expose the dark side of this road. Residents and commercial establishments fear to use water for drinking as it is likely to be contaminated. The health of children is at risk.A large number of offices are located on either side of the road, but without parking space. Vehicles are parked on roadsides at any given point of time and due to footpath encroachment, pedestrians are seen walking on the road.
Traffic Travails
Vittal Mallya Road connects Lavelle Road and St Mark's Road but gets choked with traffic. Its width is only 8.2 metres. With vehicles parked on the road, the two-way traffic is obstructed leading to accidents and traffic congestion. Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) officials, however, say the road repair works in the city are going on smoothly. But regarding Vittal Mallya Road, they absolve themselves of any responsibility, saying that it belongs to the Mallyas and they should maintain it.
BBMP Chief Engineer (major roads) Chikkarayappa said: "Vittal Mallya Road was earlier called Grant Road and when Vittal Mallya wanted to change it to Vittal Mallya Road, they had signed a contract with us that they will maintain the stretch. Thus, the BBMP has not been involved in it. The name of the road was changed in 1971."On questioning why the BBMP has not yet found out whether the maintenance work is carried out on the road, the official said the matter was in court and also under the investigation of the Lokayaukta. So, the agency could not do anything about the matter.
A spokesperson for The UB Group said "Vittal Mallya road, in front of UB CITY, was beautified by The UB Group 20 years ago and The UB Group has maintained it, at its cost, ever since. We have only recently received approval from BBMP for rebuilding the road, at our cost, and we have immediately commissioned our architect and a traffic consultant to design the road. We are awaiting the completion of major civil works in the neighbouring JW Marriott hotel before rebuilding the road. If Vittal Mallya road is commissioned before the JW Marriott hotel is completed, it can lead to damages to the road. Vittal Mallya road belongs to the BBMP and the citizens of Bengaluru."

UNDERPASSES are the new high

UNDERPASSES are the new high
After its debut in Cauvery junction, the magic box is slowly replacing flyovers. This engineering marvel cuts costs, ensures fast work and eases traffic in the long run
Aarthi R | TNN

Bangalore: Think underpass, and you think work in progress, endlessly. But not anymore. Magic boxes have worked wonders, and today they are preferred over traditional construction or even flyovers. Initially, the first magic box at Cauvery junction may have disappointed many, but now, people have a reason to cheer — the Bellary Road stretch has become a free-flowing traffic zone. The two traditional underpasses at Puttenahalli and Kadrenahalli are still under construction.
With the magic of these quickfix underpasses having worked in Bangalore, civic authorities are no more considering the highcost, long-work flyovers. With Namme Metro tracks also going elevated at many places, flyovers are ruled out in these areas, in favour of underpasses. It’s underpasses all the way, be it conventional cut-and-cover ones or pre-cast boxes.
Earlier, underpasses would take more than three years of work with costs going beyond Rs 10-15 crore. Now, technology has ensured that magic boxes are fitted across junctions in a month at just one-eighth of the traditional cost or even less. These engineering marvels will enter core business areas and even narrow, congested lanes like Avenue Road to ease traffic.
In 2003-2004, there were plans for 45 grade separators, including 14 flyovers, a majority of them within city limits. A few of them are still under construction, hanging midway.
However, with underpasses becoming the order of the day, the BBMP has drawn up plans for at least 35 underpasses using pre-cast segmental technology on four major roads. These will be on Hosur Road, Airport Road, Dr Rajkumar Road and on the stretch from Yeshwantpur to Hope Farm. Another eight underpasses are being planned on Outer Ring Road.
According to BBMP sources, one of the main advantages of underpasses is that they ease traffic on arterial roads. “They also ensure that lateral roads are not rendered useless,” a top Palike official said. While current plans favour underpasses, a mix of flyovers and underpasses are essential for Bangalore, according to BBMP engineers.
“Although places like Kalidasa junction and Avenue Road benefit from underpasses, other areas like Banashankari, Chenamma Circle, JC Road, etc. need a flyover,” a BBMP engineer said.
“Much of it depends on feasibility. Flyovers planned earlier in a few areas are being converted to underpasses due to the elevated Metro track.”
Stronger than flyovers Take less space. Last longer. The average life span of an underpass is 80 years while that of a flyover is 40-45 years No two flyovers can be next to each other but the same is possible with underpasses
AESTHETICALLY... Does not obstruct too much of space, view
Less expensive Takes less time to build MIX OF BOTH Current plans favour underpasses
Engineers, however, say both flyovers and underpasses are essential
Underpasses best suited for Kalidasa junction and Avenue Road
Flyovers are ideal solution in Banashankari and Chenamma Circle and on JC Road and Lalbagh (front side) in Jayanagar FORGOTTEN
At CAUVERY JUNCTION — Not feasible
At TOWN HALL — Not feasible
— Due to Namma Metro
Near GPO — Due to aesthetic reasons

Blame BIA if your flight gets delayed

Blame BIA if your flight gets delayed

Bosky Khanna. Bangalore

Flight delay? Don't blame the rain, blame the Bangalore airport's bad rain measuring skills instead. The Bengaluru International Airport (BIA)has a Rs 2-crore state-of-the-art weather monitoring system in place, but it is of little or no use during monsoons.
Without a proper rain gauge, most pilots landing at BIA during monsoons have to struggle with wind-speed, air pressure and cloud cover. A rain gauge helps pilots measure the amount of liquid precipitation, which helps pilots locate runways during heavy rainfall when visibility is very low.
BIA has been struggling with flight delays, which become worse during the monsoons. The absence of a rain gauge not only disrupts fight movements but also increases the possibility of mishaps. "There have been instances when visibility has been reduced due to heavy rainfall and pilots fail to see the runway. In such cases, we inform the pilots and ask them to take alternate routes," said an ATC official at BIA.

‘Power’ house halting Metro in its tracks

‘Power’ house halting Metro in its tracks

Hemachandra Sagar’s property near the National College Flyover.
Monica JhaFirst Published : 27 Apr 2009 04:08:00 AM IST
BANGALORE: Between the National College Circle and Vasavi Vidya Niketan close to the National College flyover, stands a quiet old building.
There are reasons to believe that this building with high compound walls and white iron gates, could be one of the epicentres of the wide-scale protests against the Metro Rail work.
A black granite slab, with the name ‘Chandra Nursing Home’ carved on it sits on the right side of the gate and on the left a board reads Dayabhavan The property, with a huge old house, a newer fancy three-storeyed building, several trees- mango, jackfruit and coconut- belongs to the family of D Hemachandra Sagar, the BJP MLA from Chikpet constituency.
This property falls in the way of the Metro Rail alignment between KR Road and RV Road terminal via Lalbagh and has been notified for acquisition. The powerful family, however, has not vacated the property despite the fact that the deadline set by the Karnataka Industrial Area development Board (KIADB) to hand over the possession of the property expired over six months ago.
Hemachandra Sagar also was one of the first elected representatives to support the protests related to the Metro work in this reach. November last year, when some NGOs (including Hasiru Usiru and its supporters) protested against the Metro work through Lalbagh and RV Road, the MLA joined them.
Sagar also demanded Metro rail to go underground across the city.
Interestingly, in his constituency Chikpet, the Metro rail has been planned to go underground.
The Dr H Narasimaiah flyover, popularly known as the National College flyover, has occupied the first natural right of way for the metro alignment in the area. Therefore, the Metro rail cuts through the private properties on the right (from Vasavi Vidya Niketan to National College) to get onto KR Road. The MLA’s property is one amongst these properties that the metro alignment cuts through and have been notified.
While the ‘power’ house is still to be vacated, most of the neighbouring properties have already been acquired for Metro work.
A branch of Vijaya Bank, right next to the MLA’s property, has also vacated its premises for Metro.

Bangalore goes hi-tech to clear the traffic jam

Bangalore goes hi-tech to clear the traffic jam (FILE PHOTO)

Express News Service First Published : 28 Apr 2009 03:29:00 AM IST
BANGALORE: Amidst the increasing traffic jams, the city traffic police are giving Bangaloreans a reason to smile. The recent initiatives include efficient regulation of traffic, enforcement of traffic rules and maintenance of traffic-related equipment. Eight components have been implemented as an Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) integrated at the Interim Traffic Management Centre as a pilot project.
The project was inaugurated at the Ashoknagar police station on Monday in the presence of city Police Commissioner Shankar Bidari and Additional Police Commissioner Traffic and Security Praveen Sood.
The recent components include
Increasing traffic surveillance by doubling the surveillance cameras to 160 from the present 80. Five more enforcement cameras would be installed which would be used to capture traffic violations and also the output from these cameras would be used for designing signal timings.
All the 299 traffic signals would be connected to the TMC by July 2009, however at present only 163 of them are connected. This would help in vehicle-actuated signals where the light would turn red, if there are no vehicles standing in the stop line for more than four seconds, saving time.
Signal progression method will be practiced.
Traffic police is also working with installation of 20 Variable Message Sign Boards which can make it easier for road users.
Parking information system also through electronic information channels, SMS or websites.
Integrated complaint management system if a signal has a defect, a message would be sent to the supervisors.
Improving enforcement management system through blackberries and also a web-enabled redressal system. About 100 police personnel will be trained to operate the centre round-the-clock, added Praveen Sood.

Protests over Metro Rail alignment not justified'

Protests over Metro Rail alignment not justified'
S Praveen Dhaneshkar, Bangalore:
The Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) now going ahead with the Namma Metro work on R V Road and Lalbagh, has found support from the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation Limited (DMRCL), that prepared the Detailed Project Report (DPR) for Bangalore Metro Rail, Phase I in 2003 in partnership with RITES.

Senior officials of DMRCL speaking to Deccan Herald from New Delhi said the whole issue of protests on the proposed alignment and station on a portion of the Lalbagh is amusing as it was approved by the State government years ago.

“The DPR was prepared after thorough study by experts from DMRCL, taking into consideration all aspects such as environment, traffic density, ridership, topography and geo-hydrological studies. Finally, DMRCL Chief Dr E Sreedharan came down from New Delhi and submitted the DPR to the then chief minister S M Krishna in the presence of chief secretary Dr A Ravindra on March 31, 2003. The DPR was approved by the then government on April 1. All concerns were taken into consideration. We had included the area of 1135.18 sq.mtrs for the Lalbagh station as other alternatives were not found to be feasible. Why is all the fuss happening after all these years,” sources in DMRCL said.

The Bangalore Metro Rail project finally took shape with the Karnataka government clearing the project in March, 2005 and the Union government according its approval in April, 2006. Officials also said the project and its alignment on all Reaches 1,2,3 and 4 are known to all the State governments that were in power from 2003.
“As consultants to the BMRCL, it was also suggested that the Delhi Metro model be followed in Bangalore and have the GoI (Government of India) as a equity partner in the project to ensure transparency and accountability in the project. So, each and every aspect was examined and cleared by the Centre as well,” officials explained.

Monday, April 27, 2009

City to hug, save trees

City to hug, save trees

Article Rank


Tree lovers planto do a ‘chipko’ in the city by hugging trees to prevent them from being chopped for the Metro project.
After a series of protests and online campaigns failed to have the desired impact, green activists are considering desperate measures to make Bengalureans sit up and take notice.

On Sunday, women and even children took to the streets to save the canopied road, one of the few green stretches in the city. Women stopped speeding vehicles and distributed pamphlets to people on the importance of saving the green cover.

“We are not against the Metro Rail as we want a mass public transport system. But that should not be at the cost of parks and the green cover,” said Chandra, a teacher who joined the movement to protect the green patch.

The activists are stressing on an underground route for the Metro or a realignment which is convenient and will not affect the green cover.

“We will hug the trees if the need arises and will not let the work continue at any cost. We cannot afford to lose our heritage and greenery as these are necessary for the city. Bengaluru is already left with very little green cover now,” said Chandra. Instead of taking Nanda Road and RV Road, Metro officials can just take KR Road. It is a straight road and will also not affect the green cover, they say.

Hasiru Usiru, a network of concerned individuals and members of several Resident Welfare Associations, but now these women have taken the movement to a different dimension and are keen on carrying on the movement on a daily basis.

“Why should we sacrifice our 600-year-old heritage to the whims and fancies of politicians or bureaucrats,” asked Dharma Somashekar, an activist.

The activists intend to spread the word around and gather near Lakshman Rao Park on Nanda Road on a daily basis. The common concern is that children will lose the few parks remaining in the city.

“We keep complaining that children only watch TV.

But they are not to be blamed as parks are being wiped out and they are left only with a concrete city,” said a concerned mother.

But all of them were of the unanimous opinion that the Metro Rail is a must and work should continue as long as it doesn’t damage the city’s green cover.

Mahalakshmi Layout MLA Narendra Babu said based on the feedback from Hasiru Usiru, he had expected a bill to be tabled during the special Assembly session in Belgaum, which amended the Karnataka Open Spaces and Parks Act to pave way for the Metro to take over a portion of Lalbagh. The amendment will also clear the way for similar take overs in Cubbon Park. He said it is shocking that the government went ahead and changed the Act without consulting the Assembly. He called the process as state terrorism, adding that he would like to see BMRCL to explore all alternatives to save Lalbagh and Nanda Road.


LPG pilfering and reselling thrives in the congested localities of the city, frequent police raids notwithstanding. Not surprising, considering that the stolen gas costs autowallahs a good Rs 10 less than the official rate

Does your LPG cylinder get over, rather suspiciously, sooner than it should? Don’t blame your better half in a fit of self-righteous male indignation; it’s far more likely that the cylinder has been tampered with. Welcome to the parallel world of LPG “redistribution”, a racket that involves tapping a portion of a cylinder meant for domestic use and reselling it to a readymade clientele.
The pilfered gas is sold to autorickshaw drivers, hotels and caterers, among others. Needless to say, there is no dearth of takers as it costs just Rs 17 per litre — a steal compared to the current petrol bunk rate of Rs 27.70 per litre.
Bangalore Mirror decided to investigate the scam and visited the narrow lanes of BDA Colony in Austin Town several times searching for “ground gas” — as it is known in the black market. We had our task cut out, as Operation Pilferage is conducted with such secrecy that even next-door neighbours are none the wiser.
On our first visit, we asked a young girl to point out the place where autorickshaws come for their “fill”. Her response was prompt, but unfortunately so obvious to onlookers that the auto drivers were alerted and vanished from the scene. Our next four attempts drew a blank, but we got lucky on our sixth try. We were led to an asbestosroofed shed in front of which around eight autorickshaws were lined up. The gas was being filled in each autorickshaw’s cylinder from a pipe coming out of the shed. We saw a woman lending a hand with the illegal operations.
Sources said everyday around 40 LPG cylinders are brought to the place by autos and cycles and are subsequently delivered to unsuspecting consumers after a part of the contents is siphoned off. Around 30-40 autorickshaws make a beeline daily to the place for the cheap refills, the sources said.
LPG suppliers whom we spoke to squarely blamed their delivery boys for the underweight cylinders that are palmed off on domestic users. “The volume of this illegal business has grown since 2000, when autorickshaws began to switch over to LPG. Earlier, these delivery boys used to sell LPG cylinders meant for domestic use to hotels. What makes matters worse is that there is no proper mechanism to check the weight of LPG cylinders,” said an official of a private LPG company.
According to a Hindustan Petroleum dealer, every delivery boy should carry a portable weighing machine so that the consumer can weigh the cylinder at the time of delivery. “But till now we do not have such weighing machines, and moreover there are no proper guidelines from the government in this regard,” he said.
Frequent police raids had done little to curb the racket, which continues to thrive in the congested inner areas of the city. Speaking to this paper, Viveknagar police inspector Manjunath Babu said he had just taken charge but would look into the matter.
Central Crime Branch sleuths raided an illegal LPG refilling unit in Nayandahalli.Three people were arrested and 113 cylinders were seized.
Jan 4, 2008
Department of Food and Civil Supplies officials raided a house in Tippasandra and seized commercial LPG cylinders used for refilling.
March 2004
One person was arrested and two domestic LPG cylinders were seized by Central Crime Branch sleuths in a raid in Kambathalli.

For a start, create bulk parking space in CBD

For a start, create bulk parking space in CBD

Just two roads, both one-ways, connect Frazer Town, Cooke Town, Cox Town, St John's area to the Central Business District (CBD). The daily commute makes the residents feel they are staying far away from the CBD while location-wise, the area is so close to MG Road, Commercial Street and Residency Road.
Two roads that connect East Bangalore to the CBDare Kamaraj Road and St John's Road. But the problem is that Kamaraj Road is a one-way towards Wheeler Road while St John's Road is a one-way after Naga Theatre Junction, towards Dickenson Road.
Choked carriageway Kamaraj Road
When you take a trip down Kamaraj Road you encounter a major bottleneck at the junction of Dickenson Road and Kamaraj Road and the movement of shoppers only gets more crowded near Commercial Plaza. Though the traffic is much easier further down Kamaraj Road, you would spend a good 15-20 minutes to navigate the busy stretch. Ajay Motwani, Vice-President of Bangalore Commercial Association, feels that the major factor contributing to congestion is roadside parking.
"There are auto-rickshaws parked by the side of the road and this restricts the width of available carriageway. We have told this to the police many times but little help is available. Interestingly, the police station is located on Commercial Street," he said.
Traffic Bottleneck St John's Road
This is the road used by most people to go to MG Road and Commercial Street. You hit a major bottleneck while crossing a culvert near Naga Theatre Junction. This is a problem largely due to the apathy of civic authorities. You would be lucky if your car navigated the culvert across a stormwater drain.
Soundar Rajan, a resident, says: "The work has been going on for the last three years and in the last six months the work has not progressed at all. Few months ago, a drunkard was tripped down and succumbed to injuries. Driving through this stretch is a nightmare."
Gopal, a motorist using the stretch, said the civic officials do not care about the delay. "They are doing the work with in a half-hearted manner. Otherwise, how can anyone let those stone slabs and debris block half the road which is already congested?" he asks.
the other route
The alternative route for a motorist would be to take St. John's Road back towards Benson Town and take Queens Road via Cantonment Railway station. Another option is to use the road from Frazer Town connecting Ulsoor Lake near the office of Fire and Emergency Services. But these are lengthy options. The former takes you to Balekundri Circle and the latter to Trinity Church Junction.

Residents take out padayatra to save trees

Residents take out padayatra to save trees

Staff Reporter
BANGALORE: Protesting against the proposed tree felling for Namma Metro work by Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd. (BMRCL), over 200 citizens, mostly women and children, took out a padayatra on R.V. Road (Nanda Talkies Road) here on Sunday.

Organised by Hasiru Usiru, the walk started from Lalbagh West Gate in protest against the proposed felling of trees on R.V. Road for the Metro project.

The protestors urged the Government to stay the Metro alignment in Bangalore South and evaluate proposed alternatives.

Over the past week, four protests have been staged in the wake of the felling of trees and the demolition of Lalbagh’s compound wall to pave way for a Metro station.

Among others who participated in the walk were the Coordinator of Environmental Support Group (ESG) Leo Saldanha, MLA N.L. Narendra Babu, faculty member at the Indian Institute of Management Rajeev Gowda.

Online petition
Sources in Hasiru Usiru said an online petition, addressed to the Chief Minister, is also being circulated in which over 2,500 people have signed.

The environmentalists are planning to meet B.S. Yeddyurappa with the petition and propose alternatives to the Metro alignment in Bangalore South.

Hasiru Usiru is planning to call for public consultations and invite officials from BMRCL to discuss the issue.

The consultation will elicit public opinion and try to persuade the Government to stop felling of trees by considering re-alignment of the southern reach of the Metro project or take it underground.

Cubbon Park suffering from plastic menace

Cubbon Park suffering from plastic menace

Plastic and other waste piled up to be burnt at Cubbon Park.
NavyaFirst Published : 27 Apr 2009 03:55:00 AM ISTLast Updated : 27 Apr 2009 08:39:21 AM IST
BANGALORE: Even as burning of plastic waste is banned in many parts of the city, Cubbon Park — termed as a lung space in the heart of the city — is not free of this menace. Though the Horticulture Department has appointed contractors to manage waste, burning of waste within the park premises continue on a regular basis. And the accumulated waste includes everything from leftover food, broken tree branches, Tetra Pak products, plastic and glass bottles.
Officials at the Horticulture Department maintain that burning of waste has been strictly banned within the park, but visitors have a different tale to tell. “The burning of waste has been happening for long, polluting the area. We come here to relax, but it is hard to sit and bear the stench,” says Rama, a regular visitor at the park.
According to KJ Jayadev, Deputy Director of Horticulture, waste in the park is removed everyday by the contractors incharge.
“All biodegradable waste collected is used as green manure, while non-biodegradable materials are removed from the area. Burning of waste was banned several years back and since the last two months we are strictly enforcing it,” he said.
The organisations Cubbon Park Mitra Sangha (CPMS) and Saahas, that have been informally handling waste management in Bal Bhavan premises in Cubbon Park, say that lack of infrastructure is the main reason for pollution. There are no facilities to segregate types of waste.
While plastic waste was banned in the park in 2003 as per the Environment (Protection) Act and Wildlife (Protection) Act, the ban has remained on paper only. According to Mohammed, a member of Saahas, the amount of plastic waste here is much higher than biodegradable waste.
“On a weekend day, we collect around 6-8 kg of plastic waste and around 5 kgs of degradable waste in Bal Bhavan premises alone. During fall season, dry leaves contribute to more degradable waste,” he says.
A sorting station to segregate waste set up by CPMS and Saahas is functioning in Bal Bhavan premises, in collaboration with the Bal Bhavan Society. The station has nearly achieved the aim of making Bal Bhavan a zero waste zone. “We make sure that biodegradable waste is used in compost and plastic waste is sent to recyclers. The rest of Cubbon Park can also use the sorting station, but there has been no initiative from the Horticulture Department on this front,” Wilma Rodrigues of Saahas, says.
“Strictly enforcing the ban on plastic is another option. This has been done in many places including Bannerghatta National Park and can be replicated here. Visitors should also ensure that waste is deposited in waste bins,” says Rodrigues.

Park of protests astir with hope

Park of protests astir with hope

Several protestors became nostalgic while opposing the loss of the green cover

Vaishalli Chandra. Bangalore

Ten thirty on Sunday morning. There was a sudden rise in the number of pedestrians near Lalbagh West gate. Concerned citizens gathered with posters, tree twigs and banners for the fourth time in the week to protest and raise concern over the present alignment of the Namma Metro. They demanded that the work be stopped at the proposed Lalbagh site.
Today, NL Narendra Babu, Congress MLA from Mahalakshmi Layout, and IIM-B professor Rajeev Gowda joined the marching protestors.
Babu informed the gathering how the ordinance was passed at the Assembly session held in November at Belgaum without a debate. Opposed to losing the green cover, he said, "World over, the Metro has done well underground. That is the way to do it in this city as well." "It is a moment of sadness to see a portion of Lalbagh go away," said Prof Gowda. He got nostalgic about spending "childhood days at my grandmother's house nearby, playing cricket".
There were two protests, one that started from Lalbagh West gate and the other, an all-women protest near Ganesha temple on the 28th cross at RV road. The protestors gathered there and amidst sloganeering, some protestors distributed pamphlets at the signal to make more people aware of the issue. Resident association members from Jayanagar 2nd block were also present at the meeting.
"On May 1, we will hold a public debate," informed Leo Saldanha of the Environment Support Group. Details of the time and place are yet to be decided, but there was an open suggestion from Gowda that "we should picket outside the BMRCL office".

Bangalore streets may go solar after elections

Bangalore streets may go solar after elections

Move afoot to promote LED lanterns

Bosky Khanna. Bangalore

Solar lamps are the ideal solution to beat the problem of power cuts in urban and rural areas and also to save energy.
To make this effective, officials of the Karnataka Renewable Energy Department Limited (KREDL) are promoting the usage of solar lamps. They are also seeking help form the Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (Bescom).
Solar lanterns, with their light emitting diodes (LEDs), have been found to be high energy savers. Hence, KREDL has reinvented these lanterns to help conserve energy and it is now seeking help from Bescom to instal these energy saving devices even in the farthest corners of the state.
A senior KREDL official said, "Once the elections are over, we will request Bescom officials to help us promote LED solar lanterns, which are much more effective than other forms of lights."
Figures until June 2008 show that the department has installed solar lights in 23,000 homes. It has also installed 2,271 solar streetlights across the state. It has also sold 11.5 lakh solar water heaters, each with a 100-litre capacity, and 7,734 solar lanterns and has set up eight solar power plants.
Now, the department is keen on promoting the sales of their LED solar lights.
Each LED solar light, with a 3.6-volt battery and a 2-watt solar panel, costs about Rs2,000. The battery can run up to 10 hours after being charged for four hours.
"We are presently in talks with Bescom officials to chalk put plans for various energy conservation programmes. But if they help us promote these solar LED lanterns, it'll help solve power cut problems even in urban areas, especially during examination times. Plans to sell them at subsidised rates will also be chalked out. These also come with a one-year warranty. We will request BESCOM to promote these LEDs as an alternative in all those rural areas where they are promoting compact fluorescent lights (CFLs)," he said.


Booming Bangalore needs to think ahead, or residents of new areas will neither have Cauvery water nor borewells to sustain them
S Kushala & Jayashree Nandi | TNN

Bangalore: An apartment block of 500 flats spends Rs 7.2 lakh per month to buy water! The residents spend Rs 24,000 for 80 water tankers per day. The high price notwithstanding, the residents as yet have no control over water usage, and end up wasting 50% of the water they buy.
This water-starved cluster of housing colonies is situated along the Outer Ring Road, off Sarjapur Road.
They are ready to pay, but not conserve. An ongoing study by Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) and researchers from Sweden has thrown up interesting observations. The residents use around 400 litres of water per person per day, vis-a-vis the normal 150 litres. The impact of the water crisis is such that these new apartments are not sure how they will sustain themselves in the long run. A report on newly-added areas and their water needs points out that water reuse can ease the situation to a great extent.
The study is being carried out in different water-starved areas of the city by researcher at Linkoping University in Sweden Jan-Olaf Drangert, researcher at Stockholm Resilience Centre Jenny T Gronwall and KSPCB chairman H C Sharatchandra. The study looks at how a fast-growing city like Bangalore is an example of third-generation water management that can utilize used water as a source. These apartments dotting Sarjapur Road were sold by developers, who promised the moon. By the time the buyers realised that their dream homes could not get Cauvery water connections, it was too late — neither could they sell their flats nor abandon them. The only option was to pay a fortune for water tankers and mineral water cans. On an average, the monthly water expense of these households comes to Rs 1,500-2,000.
“In the initial days of our study, we observed that these apartments used to get 140 tankers. The tanker agencies would cheat them with halftank supply. After counselling the residents, the numbers came down to 80-100. But still, the per person usage is high, the culprits being the maids,’’ says Drangert.
These apartments are in proximity to Bellandur Lake and many tankers drew water from wells near the lake. The water would smell as the lake is highly polluted and water holes surrounding Bellandur are also polluted.