Friday, May 29, 2009

Bannerghatta Road- The Road to Hell

Bannerghatta Road- The Road to Hell
Guest post by Parag Patankar

“Roads, Potable Water and Electricity” - These are the promises a politician typically makes to win votes in rural areas. Ironically, in IT capital Bangalore, 2 of the three (water and road) have been taken away by powers that be—all in the name of “improvement work” on the Billekahalli canal (the third was solved long ago by citizens installing captive generator sets).

The BBMP began work on the Billkeahalli canal on Wednesday morning, with no traffic planning visible, resulting in total chaos on the Bannerghatta Road. The Chaos was reported in the papers, but no one has paid any attention to a possible disaster waiting to happen on the diversion. The “diversion” is a illegally covered part of the drain—done by a real estate developer. Nobody knows if it has the load strength to bear the heavy traffic pounding it, including BMTC buses and heavy dumpers –it may just collapse. Luckily no heavy rain has happened in last two days, else that diversion will become an impassable muddy field, making things worse for commuters.

On Thursdy May 28 , BBMP “discovered” that there is a water pipe below, with no idea on how to proceed. Work came to a grinding halt at the site and the BWSSB engineer promised resumption of water within 1 hour. This ws repeated ad nauseum every hour –maybe the engineer is a fan of Joseph Goebbels who famously said “ If you need to lie, make it big, and repeat it till people believe it”.

Consequence- No water to Billekahalli area, residents are being forced to order water tankers, which supply water of questionable quality, and posing a health hazard.

As of Friday afternoon, more than 24 hours of “water supply will be restored in an hour” have passed— there is no sign of any progress on that front. Obviously no progress on the road work either, and the 15 day estimate could stretch to months or even years the way most civic projects are handled in Bangalore.

What needs to be done urgently:

Specifically- Repair the water pipe, get water flowing, and check if the diversion is roadworthy, or some alternate route needs to me made before disaster strikes.

In General - More planning, and prompt action from the concerned authorities. The same politicians who were at our doorsteps a few months ago with folded hands should at least respond to our pleas for assistance in ensuring basic quality of life.

Here's what some of effected people have to say:
" We have the entire Bannerghatta road traffic running in our front yard, no water and no idea on how long this is going to take. " - Priya Patankar (Resident)
" The entire manner in which this is being done shows the apathy of the authorities. Why could they not involve people like us - the affected parties in finalizing things before they dug the road?" - Ritu Shah (Resident)
"One fine day they got a bulldozer and dug the main road. Then they broke the water pipes and yanked out the Broadband cables. Now I think once it rains they will leave the road as it is and disappear for the next few months. We need a citizen movement to stop this mindless nonsense. Shashi (Resident)

What time is the movie?

What time is the movie?

An advertisement by ‘City’s cinema hall owners,’ in Thursday’s newspapers has announced that film screening timings will revert to what existed before May 22. The Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce had, with help from the state government, changed the timings only last Friday.
For the last one week, the screening timings for four shows a day in all of Bangalore’s single screen cinema halls was 11.15 am, 2.30 pm, 6.15 pm and 8.30 pm. This followed a prolonged struggle by the Film Chamber as the city police did not want the last show to start late. A delegation to Home Minister VS Acharya finally helped the Chamber secure its demand.
But now, to the surprise of the Film Chamber, exhibitors have decided to go back to the old timings of 10.30 am, 1.30 pm, 4.30 pm and 7.30 pm. But the people who have placed the advertisement have not revealed themselves, only claiming that it is being done as “audiences in film halls have reduced and the old timings are comfortable.”
Film Chamber president Jayamala had said that the change in timings was necessary only in 39 cinema halls in Bangalore screening Kannada films. Most other cinema halls screen films under the 11.15 am format.
Speaking to Bangalore Mirror, Jayamala said the advertisement was only a “small mischief,” and that cinema halls will not revert to the earlier timings; but slight alterations have been made. “We had comprehensive discussions with exhibitors today (Thursday) and the issue has been sorted out. We wanted the new timings only in halls screening Kannada films in Bangalore. In the last one week since the new timings have been introduced, the audiences have increased for the morning and noon shows. Only the first show at 6 pm was affected and we have decided to change it to 5 pm from this Friday,” she said.
According to Jayamala, the new timings from Friday, May 29 will be 11 am, 2 pm, 5 pm and 8 pm.
Sources, however, say that the problem is deeper than just the show timings. Singlescreen cinema halls in Kempe Gowda Road and Gandhinagar area numbering nearly 20 are considered ‘main theatres’ for Kannada films. Each and every film that releases has been traditionally released in one of these theatres. These cinema halls command the maximum weekly rent and also gross the highest box office collections. Times have changed, from the days when these exhibitors used to give advance payment to producers to release their films in them; today it is the producers who give advance rent. Cinema hall rents are the the highest outgo for film producers today rather than film making.
It is learnt that exhibitors have threatened to cancel one show and go with only three shows per day. With exhibitors calling the shots, the real fight is yet to begin.

How safe are you in that auditorium?

How safe are you in that auditorium?
Although theatre and multiplex owners say they are equipped to handle fire, there is concern over whether employees in these places are trained to use extinguishers, basic gadgets
A T Subrahmanya | TNN

Bangalore: Wednesday’s fire at Innovative Multiplex on Outer Ring Road in Marathalli has stoked apprehensions and raised a significant question. Do the city’s multiplexes and stand-alone theatres have safety measures in place? What if fire breaks out when a movie is being screened with hundreds of people in the auditorium?
Multiplex and theatre staff say they are equipped to handle such situations. All multiplexes have fire-fighting equipment ranging from extinguishers to smoke detectors, water sprinklers and automatic fire alarms.
But is it enough in a crisis? Many stand-alone theatres have only basic fire extinguishers. Sadly, the staff are not trained to use them. Many are not equipped to handle crowd or evacuation in eventualities.
“I’ve been working here for the past 18 years, and I don’t know to handle a fire extinguisher,” an employee of a theatre on Magadi Road told TOI. The person said fire extinguishers remain showpieces and are kept as token safety measures. “These gadgets should be regularly checked.”
Many theatre managers said they have all fire safety measures in place, and there are as many as 10 exit points for people to leave quickly.
MAY 21: Items worth over Rs 6 crore were gutted at a major handicrafts shop near Trinity Circle on M G Road. Short circuit was suspected to be the cause
MARCH 31: Cauvery Arts and Crafts Emporium on M G road was partially gutted. Later, the incident was proved to be an act of sabotage
JANUARY 26: A food court in Forum Mall, Koramangala, was partially gutted, forcing hundreds of shoppers to evacuate the building Prepared for the WORST
Twenty employees of the multiplex underwent a threeday training at Bannerghatta Fire Force Academy. Its (Fun Cinemas) three auditoria have four exits. Each floor has four gas cylinders and four water cylinders along with two hose pipes. There are water sprinklers around each screen along with smoke detectors and beam detectors.
We have both precautionary and response measures in place. All our five screens have fireresistant wall curtains, seats and carpets. Each screen has a minimum of three exit points. Every 50 metre, we have emergency exit routes too.
We have all fire-fighting technology including beam detectors and smoke detectors. Even the smallest screen has three exit points while bigger screens have five. We also have enough emergency escape routes since one can’t use lifts during fire
Sathish Kumar | GENERAL MANAGER, PVR CINEMAS According to
For every 100 seats, there should be a 2-metre wide double leaf outward opening. In 400-600 seaters, there should be over 6 exit points. Temporary theatres should obtain a ‘no-objection certificate’ from the fire department every year while regular theatres should obtain it every three year. That’s subject to periodical testing of extinguishers
N U Eerappa | cHIEF FIRE

Police homeless in BIA

Police homeless in BIA

For want of a proper structure, they operate from Devanahalli Thana

Santosh Kumar RB. Bangalore

Despite an amount of Rs5 crore being allocated for the Bengaluru International Airport (BIA) police station building, the construction work is yet to commence for want of a suitable piece of land near the airport, police said.
The BIAL, however, denied the police version and said they had allotted police a piece of land within the premises itself. Police said that the BIAL had earlier allotted a piece of land near the Trumpet Road, about 3.5 kilometres away from the airport. The police refused the land, stating that it was too far away from the airport, and demanded space within the BIA terminal or at least reasonably closer to the structure.
"The department had asked the BIAL to allot space within the terminal building or land close by for the police station. But the BIAL ignored our pleas," deputy commissioner of police (North-east) Basavaraj Malagatti said. He cited inconvenience to women passengers as the police's reason to turn down the land offered near the Trumpet Road. A Joint Legislature Committee headed by Dr Hemachandra Sagar, MLA, had also recommended that the police station should be located closer to the airport.
The state government had released Rs3 crore for the construction of the BIA police station three months ago. The BIAL also had chipped in, offering Rs2 crore to construct a police station conforming to international standards.
Currently the BIA police share the Devanahalli police station building, located five kilometres away from the airport. This distance from the airport prevents passengers from availing police aid.
The police are now operating from an outpost – as big as a kiosk – at the BIAL with deficient facilities.
"The BIApolice are currently operating from the Devanahalli police station. This is causing some inconvenience to the people. After space is allotted within the BIA terminal or land closer to it, we will shift our operations there," Malagatti said.

BDA's work leads to slums in KEB Layout

BDA's work leads to slums in KEB Layout

Construction workers have put up over 25 huts on either side of KEB Layout Main Road. Heavy traffic endangers their lives but they have little choice. Basavaraj Itnaal reports

Basavaraj Itnaal

The state government had entrusted some road works to Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) to be taken up in the jurisdiction of BBMP. The decision was taken under the pretext that Palike had no adequate staff. Apparently, BDA is not doing any better as its road works have created temporary slums.
The case in point is KEB Layout in Sanjayanagar ward.
Last month the BDA took up road work on the KEB Layout Main Road but even as the work is completed, the construction workers whom the contractor brought have set up huts and settled next to the KEB Layout Park near Rangabharana Kalakendra.
Over 25 huts on either side of the road next to the park have not only become an eyesore but also a health hazard to the poor labourers. It also exposes them to the risk of traffic on the main road.
Muniraju, assistant executive engineer, BBMP blames BDA. But isn't his duty to clear encroachments on the roadsides?
"When BDA has allowed its contractor to use the roadsides to house the labourers, I will be in trouble if I took action," he says.
SM Joshi, assistant executive engineer, BDA, on the other says the road work is not over and the workers will stay for another month on the roadsides. But why cannot the contractor provide safe shelter to his workers?
Venkatram Reddy, contractor, says: "I understand the huts are not to be there. I will find another place and shift them in 10-15 days."
About 500 morning walkers use the KEB Layout park and two schools are close by. Interestingly, JD(S) leader C Narayanaswamy lives a few yards away and former minister Dr Malak Reddy lives on the next street.
The construction workers, all hailing from Raichur district, have no clue as to where they ought to be housed by the contractor.
One of the workers, Mayamma says: "We were employed in the asphalting of this road. We were asked to set up huts here and we obeyed."

Living dangerously
But what about safety while sleeping on the roadside?
Do they feel comfortable in running kitchen by the side of the road? "This is our fate. We have come seeking work and we have to adjust," she says.
On the other hand, for Sameer, a marketing professional who drives on the road every day, it is scary. "These people live mostly on the road. They have put firewood all over the road and they virtually live in the middle of the road. Whenever I drive on the road I'm scared for their safety," he says.

We need trees, not underpass'

We need trees, not underpass'

Students from IISc and NIAS team up with social activists to protest tree-felling at CNR Rao Junction

DNA Correspondent. Bangalore

Activists from various groups such as Hasire Usiru, Environment Security Group and Sanmati as well as students and faculty members of the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) and the adjoining National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS) came together on Thursday to stage a one-hour protest against the felling of trees at the CNR Rao Junction, where the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) plans to build an underpass.
"Tree cutting has become a casual affair these days. Instead of destroying the city's greenery, the BBMP should try controlling the use of private vehicles and promote public transportation. Felling trees is a very short-term as well as harmful solution to the traffic problem," Atul Choksi, a faculty member of the IISc, said.
As many as 60 persons gathered at the circle around 5.30 pm on Thursday and shouted slogans such as Dhikkara dhikkara BBMPge dhikkara, beda beda underpass beda (we don't want underpass) even as the mildly-amused workers continued to chop down the trees. The BBMP plans to cut around 123 trees near CNR Rao Circle.

Are we ready to fight fires?

Are we ready to fight fires?

Fire personnel engaged in extinguishing the fire at the agarbathi factory at K P Agrahara
Faiza Haneef & Naveen AmmembalaFirst Published : 29 May 2009 08:06:22 AM IST
BANGALORE: High-Rise buildings and multiplexes continue to violate fire safety norms, despite an increase in the number of fire mishaps.
The fire safety norms are not in place in most of these buildings, including hospitals and schools. None of the concerned departments is bothered to bring violators to book.
The recent fire accidents at the food court of Forum Mall, Cauvery Emporium and other places have highlighted the loopholes in the legal provisions that govern safety norms.
It is said that the mandatory inspections to ensure that safety norms are in place, are not a routine job any more. The Karnataka State Fire and Emergency Services Department sources said that they had proposed to the government that it provide the latest technology to them as also a training academy.
"For effective fire fighting, there should be adequate staff, said Jija Hari Singh, DGP (fire and emergency services).
"We issue no objection certificate to buildings and ask the licencing authority to issue the licence once we are satisfied with fire safety measures," she said.
Buildings should have fire extinguishers, dry/wet riser, yard hydrant, automatic sprinkler system, manually-operated electric fire alarm systems, automatic detection system, underground static water storage tank and proper escape routes, she said.
Other agencies like fire services, electricity suppliers and municipal bodies also certify their respective components, before the licence is issued, she said.
Public places should be brought under periodical inspection clause for licence renewal, she added.
RECENT FIRE MISHAPS May 23 Materials worth more than Rs 2 Crore were gutted in a fire mishap at the Cauvery Industries and Exhibits outlet on trinity Circle, MG Road.
April 1 Fire mishap that occurred at Cauvery Arts and Crafts Emporium on M G Road Jan 27 Food Court in the Forum Mall in Koramangala damaged due to fire mishap. It raised the issue of preventive measures in highrise building.

Turf club relocation may hit roadblock

Turf club relocation may hit roadblock

Sharath S. Srivatsa
There is a court order against use of tank beds for private purposes
. — File Photo: K. Murali Kumar

In transition: Horse-riding classes being conducted at the Bangalore Turf Club
BANGALORE: The allotment of 95 acres of land at Chikkajala-Doddajala villages on the city’s outskirts to relocate Bangalore Turf Club (BTC) may hit a roadblock, as restrictions have been imposed by a court on utilisation of land in tank beds.

The Government had asked the Bangalore Turf Club to vacate from its premises before December 31, 2009, and had offered the 95-acre land on the dry Doddajala Amani tank.

However, the Karnataka High Court had, in a public interest litigation petition, granted an interim stay order (in 1995) that prevents usage of tank beds in metropolitan areas other than for irrigation purpose.

“The Revenue Department had asked our opinion in the matter pertaining to allotment of land and we have cited the High Court order in our report. At the moment, the tank bed can be allotted to the BTC provided the Revenue Department, a party in the petition, gets the stay order vacated,” an official in the Minor Irrigation Department told The Hindu.

Meanwhile, it is learnt that even a senior Minor Irrigation Department official had, during a meeting with the BTC authorities, suggested that the land could be granted to the club, subject to the matter being processed legally in terms of the existing court order.

However, some officials at the meeting indicated that the status of land could be reviewed as the tank bed had been dry for the last few decades, and also proposed to de-classify the tank bed at Chikkajala-Doddajala through a Gazette notification.

But such a move could set a precedent for other individuals and institutions to seek similar plots of land, feared the Minor Irrigation Department official. Such demands have been turned down by the Government in the past. “At a time when there is tremendous pressure on land, many tank beds have been encroached upon in the city, and the department is trying to safeguard them,” the official said.

He said that such plots have in the past been given only for development activities and drinking water purposes.

“We have given Bellandur and Varthur tanks to Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) to develop them. Tanks cannot be given for private purposes,” the official said. BTC Chairman P.V. Shetty said that the identified land had been dry for almost four decades now and the Government had assured that it would take care of the procedural aspects of transferring the land.

ISc staff, students protest tree felling

ISc staff, students protest tree felling
Bangalore, DH News Service:
Friday, May 29, 2009, 1:30 [IST]

Even as the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) students and teachers on Thursday staged a demonstration against tree felling at the CNR Rao Circle, it became clear that the permission to cut the trees was given on April 10, much before objections were called for.

The permission was reportedly granted by the BBMP Assistant Conservator of Forest on April 10, more than a month before advertisements appeared on May 15 calling for objections from the public.

Among the 100 plus demonstrators at the CNR Rao Circle was Prof Atul Choksi from the IISc, who enthusiastically took part in the protest on his wheelchair. He said, “Felling of trees must be the last option when development work is taken up. But here trees are being felled with no strategic plan. BBMP should make an effort to retain the greenery.”
Shouting slogans against the Palike, many IISc students voiced their support to save tree campaign. Daniel, a student from IISc said, "It is very upsetting to see such carelessness. They have taken the decision all by themselves without consulting the public as to the underpass is really required.”

Krishnappa, Garden Head at IISc, said the trees marked to be chopped were more than 50 years old. “Trees are like lifeline to human beings, we need to respect them for our good. Careful execution of tree transplant can be carried out to save these huge old trees,” he said.

Disaster in waiting

Another professor from IISc, S Mahadev said it was a disaster waiting to happen. “I cannot imagine this place without greenery, BBMP should come up with a plan to retain the trees and build a plan around it. Motorists will prefer standing below a tree at traffic signal than having a signal free road.”

Among the protesters were also faculty members from National Institute of Advanced Studies. One of them, Prof A R Vasavi said, “Alternate options need to be explored and objections filed must be considered.”

However, the BBMP is continuing with the underpass plan. Engineering Department's Chief Engineer A K Gopalaswamy said the plan for the underpass was like ‘indirect saving’ by having a signal free traffic flow.

He said, “The amount of petrol burnt at signals can be saved by allowing free flow of traffic at this junction.” He said the Palike had received objections from the public and will work on their suggestions.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


Traffic comes to a grinding halt for hours on Bannerghatta Road due to works on a storm water drain; police divert traffic, which leaves commuters confused in the absence of signboards

The works on a storm water drain had ‘kicked up a storm’ on Bannerghatta Road as well as in Panduranganagar, near IIM-B, on Wednesday. The BBMP workers dug up a stretch of the Bannerghatta Road, holding up traffic from 7.30 in the morning.
The BBMP, which has taken up drain works, has also been diverting the traffic originating from JP Nagar. “The BBMP told us the work will begin on Monday, but then it started only today. We were informed yesterday but the JP Nagar traffic police took some time as they did not know,” said Ravi Kumar, the traffic sub-inspector, Bilekalli traffic police station.
The situation was brought under control by evening, he said.
Commuters had a tough time in the morning and the afternoon as people coming from the Meenakshi temple side and heading towards the Shoppers Stop had to take a deviation. They had to take a diversion towards Panduranganagar and proceed towards Dalmia Circle or BTM Layout.
“There are no policemen to regulate traffic here,” said Ramesh S, a commuter proceeding to Jayanagar. Suresh R, an auto driver, said, “There isn’t enough space for all vehicle to pass through this narrow stretch.”
“The work will be completed in 10 to 15 days. We do not want residents to suffer again this monsoon,” said Muniraju, BBMP engineer in charge of the storm water drain works.
The reason why the work is getting delayed is due to shifting of utilities. “We need one day to shift the water pipe. It’s not easy to move it,” said Shashidhar, BWSSB engineer.
When the BWSSB starts shifting the water pipe, water supply will be affected. It will be hit for eight hours and the areas likely to be affected are the first and second phases of JP Nagar and BTM Layout, said Shashidhar.
Said Shrinidhi Rai, a resident of Hulimavu, about her woes, “I was shocked to see the diversion. But when I went ahead, there were no signboards to guide me further. I hope the BBMP will fix signboards at the earliest.”
Balaji Vijaykumar, a resident of Hulimavu who travels to Marathalli every day, said, “There was a notification in the newspapers last week that the BBMP would begin work on Monday. However, we realised the work began only today and there was no notification or public announcement on the change of date. We were also not informed about how long the work would last.”
Kripali, a resident of Vijaya Bank Layout, said, “The alternative route is not meant for fourwheelers and it gets congested. As the alternative road does not have signboards, we tend to lose our way.”
This morning, when I started out for my walk, my world looked pretty normal. But when I returned half an hour later I could not recognise my road as it was packed with vehicles of all kinds honking away impatiently. It seemed as though some kind of traffic tsunami had moved Bannerghatta Road to our doorstep, crushing the three lanes in between... As of this minute, it seems that about a hundredth of Bengaluru vehicles are right outside my house. There is no one to tell them where to turn and how to go. Whoever had the bright idea to divert traffic through our layout did not seem to have thought of the fact that beyond our road, these vehicles would have to use a series of roads barely about 15 ft in breadth before they can reach the next main road.
Usha Vaidyanathan, a resident of
Panduranganagar, on her blog

Two-stroke autos still plying in city

Two-stroke autos still plying in city

Around 45,000 two-stroke autorickshaws are playing a big role in increasing the pollution levels in the city. Bosky Khanna finds out the details

Bosky Khanna

Despite the Regional Transport Authority curbing the registration of two-stroke autorickshaws in Bangalore, 45,000 of them are still plying in the city.
According to an RTO official, there are 80,000 registered autorickshaws in Bangalore and of this 50 per cent of them are two-stroke. Since these autorickshaws cannot be banned in the city, their registration is being curbed to control the pollution levels.
"These existing ones are old and not one of them has been registered. They cannot be banned due to legal reasons. The registration was stopped in 2005 and despite that they are still plying. As per Motor Vehicle Act they cannot be banned so we are controlling their number by not increasing them further," the official added.
These two-stroke engines do not adhere to Bharat-2 standards, which is the minimum standard for companies all vehicles to ply by.
Noise pollution
Noise pollution is also higher as in two-stroke engines the silencer is easily tampered with. The fuel in these engines burns partially compared to four-stroke engines, leading to more pollution levels.
In some cases people are misguided that by stuffing a muffler inside the silencer there is complete combustion.
People also use local oil instead of branded oil, which further reduce the efficiency of vehicles.
However, the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB)officials say they are unable to calculate the pollution levels. They say that it is much higher than other vehicles and is much more harmful to people.
The vehicular pollutants emitted are —unburned hydrocarbon, organic carbon, sulfur dioxide, nitrous oxide and carbon monoxide. Increasing pollution levels leads to cancer, lung related diseases, respiratory problems, cough, cold, asthma and other heart ailments.
"The ideal solution is to ban them in the city and phase them out either by replacing them or restricting them in city limits. RTO should also issue directions to government authorities to allow only four stroke engines," said a KSPCB official.

Government offers new lease of life for city lakes

Government offers new lease of life for city lakes

The state government has identified 100 lakes for rejuvenation in the city. The grand design behind the project is to restore ground water resources and meet the growing requirement for drinking water.
Bosky Khanna reports

Bosky Khanna

There is some oxygen coming in the way of city lakes. For years, city lakes have been treated as dumping yards. Encroachments and diversion of sewage almost choked them to death. Now the state government, led by Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa, is giving these lakes a new lease of life, by reviving 100 of them.
On Wednesday, Yeddyurappa inaugurated work on 12 of these lakes. The grand design behind the project is to restore ground water resources and to meet the growing requirement for drinking water in the city.
The government has identified the lakes to be renovated based on the Lakshman Rao report. The revival of lakes will happen in three stages.
During the first stage 33 lakes will get the treatment. Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) is spearheading the project which has a budget of Rs104.61 crores.
Inaugurating the project, Yeddyurappa said: "The aim is to make Bangalore a world class city. Had the decision of reviving the lakes was taken by the previous governments, we would have to spend only Rs25 crore for maintenance. Now the government is spending Rs100 crore for rejuvenation."
Speaking on the occasion, Katta Subramanya Naidu, Minister for Excise, BWSSB, IT, BT and Information, said 33 lakes will be revived and developed by BDA and BBMP with a cost of Rs300 crores.
"Bangalore does not have adequate drinking water. Once we revive these lakes and improve the water quality, it would go a long way to meet the drinking water requirements. After the rejuvenation of lakes, we will ensure that sewage does not enter them. We will not allow any encroachment. In two years, all 378 lakes in the city will be restored," he added.
Shobha Karandlaje, Minister, Rural Development and Panchayat Raj, said once the lakes are revived, it will put an end to flooding. The government is also planning to include lakes in revenue areas in the project.
The assigned agencies have been handed over the task of de-silting the lakes, development of water inlet and outlet channels, stone revetments on tank bunds, construction of wet lands, development of water sources, fencing of boundaries to avoid solid waste dumping and afforestation. The agencies will also construct walkways along the lakes and develop parks and gardens. They are also entrusted with the sanitation.
For Mallathahally Lake, BDA will construct a sewage treatment plant. In other lakes there will be separate areas for idol immersion. Improving the water quality will be a prime objective.
Landscaping and beautification of the lakes will take place through community participation. The agencies will have to complete the projects within 12 months, starting from May 27, 2009. Yeddyurappa added that he will visit the lakes with his family after a year, as committed by BDA.

More trees face the BBMP axe

More trees face the BBMP axe

The Palike seems least concerned about public opinion as it begins axing trees despite objections

Vaishalli Chandra. Bangalore

Trees at the CNR Rao circle now face the axe, as BBMP decides to go ahead with the proposed felling of trees. This, even as objections keep piling up in their offices
However the BBMP couldn't be less concerned about public opinion. Less than a fortnight back, they issued a public notice announcing their plan to fell 120 trees at Professor CNR Rao circle, asking people to file objections, if any.
Concerned citizens who noticed the advertisement responded within the given 'one week' deadline. However, they haven't heard from the authorities. To their surprise, even as they waited for BBMP's response to their objections, tree felling on Professor CNR Rao circle kick-started.
When the greens contacted MR Suresh, KFS, Asst. Conservator of Forests and Tree Officer, Bangalore (North), he agreed that he had given permission for the tree-felling, even though they had not replied to any objections. DNA tried calling him repeatedly, but he could not be reached.
Felling of trees is against the Tree Act and thus the High Court's decision. If the Tree Act provisions are followed, the process of replying to objections takes at least a month or more.
When greens contacted Suresh's superior, Deputy Conservator of Forests (Bangalore North), BBMP, Hubert, he claimed that he had nothing to do with this decision. He also confirmed that the decision to fell trees was taken by Suresh much prior to the issue of the advertisements.
Speaking to DNA, Hubert confirmed that the decisions were taken by Suresh. However, he added, "We are also planting saplings for every tree that we cut. Why can't these activists come up with some concrete suggestions along with their objections?"

Tata’s funds for new facility at IISc

Tata’s funds for new facility at IISc

Front row and from left) Ratan Tata, Prof CNR Rao, Dr Kasturirangan and IISc Director Prof P Balaram.
Express News Service First Published : 28 May 2009 04:40:00 AM ISTLast Updated : 28 May 2009 09:00:17 AM IST
BANGALORE: Tata Group chairman Ratan Tata, on Wednesday announced that the Tata group would donate a substantial amount for a new facility at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc).
It is worth recalling that Ratan is the great grandson of Jamshedji Tata, who was the institute's founder.
Speaking at IISc’s centenary celebrations, Tata said that this would be the group’s contribution for the institute’s new century, in addition to the grants that the Tata group has already given to it.
According to IISc officials, this grant will go towards the setting up of an inter-disciplinary research centre, which will focus on problem solving.
The centre will concentrate on solving ten problems in three broad areas - energy, biomolecular engineering and material sciences.
Addressing the staff and students, Tata said, “We must re-invent ourselves with regard to how we operate. We have to tear down the silos, barriers and hierarchies in which we have been functioning. I hope the multidisciplinary and multi-tasking approach in science and technology will bring this about.” He said that faculty and students should be given the freedom to participate and the freedom to dream.
Ratan Tata also released the IISc centenary medallion on the occasion.
Former IISc director and chairman of the centenary celebrations committee Prof CNR Rao, said that for the next 100 years, IISc must be very choosy about the courses it starts.
“We have a tendency to start any programme, which sinks in a few years,” he said.
IISc must look to setting up science parks on the lines of the Cambridge science parks, Rao added.
IISc Council chairman Dr Kasturirangan, said that it was time to introduce a strong component of the humanities in the institute.
“I request the director to take a look at improving the synergy between the National Institute of Advanced Studies and IISc for achieving this,” he said.
IISc must look at forming a very strong group in modelling and simulation, particularly in the area of climate sciences, Kasturirangan added.

A cup of honest brew

A cup of honest brew
Madhuri Kalyan
Thursday, May 28, 2009, 1:00 [IST]

The Indian Coffee House, re-opened its doors at a different location, after closing down for a short while. Metrolife finds out what has changed

On a walk down M G Road, one sorely misses the hustle bustle at the Coffee House, that was once the most prominent landmark on the road.

Instead, you see a large door adorned with a lock, as though to signify the end of a 50-year-old Bangalore culture.

And there was an outrage alright, by media and citizens. Save Indian Coffee House, a Facebook group, consisting of around 570 members, also made attempts to retain their favourite hangout. The hue and cry of the coffee loyalist sure didn’t go waste as they got themselves a brand new location for themselves barely 30 meters away, at Brigade Gardens, Church Street, and viola! the new incarnation of The Indian Coffee House was born.

And as you enter the place, you hear the same clanging of glasses and the rich aroma of freshly brewed coffee, that drew tourists from far and wide. Susie, a student from Chicago, sits down on the same plank benches, and awaits her coffee, while flipping through the Lonely Planet. “When I came to Bangalore, I looked for the Coffee House as it was mentioned in the Lonely Planet, but was disappointed to see the ‘shut down’ sign. But two days back, I found out, it was just shifted and was thrilled, and have been coming here very regularly ever since,” she says.

The first Indian Coffee Workers Co-Operative Society was founded in Bangalore on August 19, 1957. The 50 year old Indian Coffee House at M G Road closed on April 5 this year, after the Indian Coffee Workers' Cooperative Society Limited lost a legal battle with the owner of the building to continue in the premises.

So now that they have moved after a 50 year gap, what has changed in the new avatar of Coffee House? Not much, the menu remains the same, so do the prices, except, the famous coffee now costs Rs 9 instead of Rs 8. “The quality of food is as delicious, if not better, the dosa is crisper, and thank god, they retained those old pictures, which ensures that the old world charm stays within the four walls, so what if the walls have changed,” says Chetan, a doctor.

But not everybody agrees that the Coffee House has changed for the better. Says Trupti Naik, a manager, “I am still a little apprehensive, the newly-painted walls, and the old benches here make this place look like a classroom, so although the food is exactly the same, am not sure about the ambience.”

But B H Gundaih, the cashier, who has worked at the Indian Coffee House for the past 20 years, is positive, the business is as good as ever, “although we just opened two days back, without any notice or publicity, the restaurant has been full. We are really happy to see a lot of our regulars back, moreover, the place is easier to maintain, and we re-employed all our staff, almost all of those who have worked here for 20 years,” he says.

And sure enough, the same waiters, adorned in white uniforms with white and red turban, go about from table to table, stopping at times, without even asking for the order, but simply bringing the ‘regular’ for the ‘regulars’.

“It’s hard to find places like these, the City is infested with commercial coffee outlets, which I am tired of. I would always want to come back to places like these at the end of the day, and have cup of honest brew,” sums up Susie, vowing to return as soon as possible.

CNR Rao plants, BBMP chops

CNR Rao plants, BBMP chops
Bangalore, DH News Service:
Thursday, May 28, 2009, 1:30 [IST]

Shocked at hearing about the tree-uprooting drive, CNR Rao’s instant reaction was ‘My God!’ and then he wore a silence for half-a-minute.

When eminent scientist CNR Rao was planting saplings at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) campus along with Tata Group chairman Ratan Tata here on Wednesday, barely did he know that the BBMP’s tree uprooting drive was going on at the very CNR Rao Circle, named after him as a ‘mark of respect’ for his contribution to Science in India.

Shocked at hearing about the tree-uprooting drive, CNR Rao’s instant reaction was ‘My God!’ and then he wore a silence for half-a-minute. He then wanted to know, “When did it happen? I am a tree-lover. I have planted nearly 12,000 trees in the IISc premises. I am shocked. It is disgraceful that trees are uprooted for the infrastructure projects.” The scientist commented there could have been better means of developing infrastructure but not killing the trees.

The reason this time for uprooting the tree was another underpass right at the CNR Rao Circle. The tree uprooting drive was carried out on Wednesday despite many objections filed by the people living in the vicinity against the tree felling to construct an underpass.

This act caused much despair in the public eye especially to those who have filed objection against the project. Among the many who had filed their objections was an IT professional Ashwin Hegde, who resides very close to CNR Rao Circle.

No strategic plan

He said, “There is no proper strategic plan by BBMP. They first place an advertisement, which is just an eyewash and then they do not respect the objections filed by the pubic. This is just another useless underpass being proposed which is not a requirement now.”

BBMP had placed an advertisement in leading newspapers regarding their proposed plan of road widening at Hosur-Lakshar Road by felling 375 trees and planting 1,275 saplings.

The Deputy Conservator of Forest Hubert had his say: “Nearly 120 trees around CNR Rao Circle have been permitted to be uprooted. It is a project undertaken by the BBMP and will be carried out. The tree uprooting drive will be compensated by planting 400 saplings around this area.” He admitted that the BBMP had received objections but he did not give the number of objections filed.

Rejuvenation of dying lakes begin

Rejuvenation of dying lakes begin
Bangalore, DH News Service:
Thursday, May 28, 2009, 1:30 [IST]

Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa on Wednesday inaugurated the programme to rejuvenate the fast dying lakes in the City.

The first phase will include 31 lakes around Bangalore, of which, the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) will begin the work on 12.

“We have allocated over Rs 104 crore for the redevelopment of these 12 lakes. Perhaps if the previous government had taken a keen interest as this Government, then may be the cost would have been only Rs 25 crore,” Yeddyurappa said.

Under the BDA, the lakes will be redeveloped in one year. “I assure you that by the end of these 12 months, I will be back to inaugurate the lake for public usage,” he said. Approved by a special committee constituted under Yellappa Reddy, the 12 lakes taken up by the BDA for redevelopment has been allocated a sum of Rs 104.61 crore by the Government.

Present at the event, Minister In-Charge for Bangalore (South), Katta Subramanya Naidu said, a total of 378 lakes would be redeveloped in the next two to three years.

Minister In-Charge Bangalore (North), R Ashok blaming the previous governments said, “If you consider the statistics, the number of lakes closed by the previous government is itself higher than those closed by private enterprises.” He added that the 100 lakes within the core area of the City will be redeveloped in the 2nd and 3rd phase of this work.

Other projects

The chief minister said, henceforth nearly 2,000 people from poor families, in villages and cities will be given free treatment for cardiac problems at the Jayadeva Hospital in Bangalore. “I have often seen and wondered what the poor man would have to do to get operated for his cardiac trouble. Hence we have decided to provide free medical treatment for 2,000 people every year from the State,” Yeddyurappa said.

Besides, the scheme of providing monetary aid to SC/ST students scoring 75 per cent marks in SSLC, currently restricted to girls, is likely to be extended to boys as well. “The scheme will ensure that 36,000 children in the State will be given Rs 10,000 each for further studies,” he said.

Weekly trip to slums

After the weekly review of development works that seems to be put on hold indefinitely, the CM Yeddyurappa has now promised to visit slums in the City every week and try to look into the works taking place there.

“I wish to tell our BDA Commissioner Siddaiah that every week I will be visiting one slum in the City and look into the troubles there,” he said.

Medium: Govt faces contempt

Medium: Govt faces contempt
Nandini Chandrashekhar, Bangalore, DH News Service:
Thursday, May 28, 2009, 1:30 [IST]

The Karnataka government is clearly looking for a confrontation over the English medium issue although it is certain that there is no legal basis for its inaction.

Legal experts say that when the State government could not obtain a stay from the Supreme Court against the full bench order of the High Court, there is absolutely no ground for the government not to entertain applications from the schools seeking permission to conduct classes in English medium.

Advocate Sreekanth, who is representing about six schools, categorically said that the government’s stand clearly points to contempt of court.

“There is a full bench order of the High Court. The Supreme Court received the Special Leave Petition of the High Court, but refused to grant a stay order on the full bench’s judgment. So automatically, it has to revert to the High Court order. If that is not done, then it amounts to contempt of court,” says Sreekanth.

He said he would file the contempt case on Thursday.

A key senior advocate, whose words the government values, said the State’s ploy was typically the one used to prevent implementing the decisions that have gone its stand.

No ground

“Legally speaking, there is no ground for the government not to adopt the full bench order of the High Court. But these things are politically sensitive and motivated. The government can always say they are waiting for further hearing of the Supreme Court. This approach is not new,” a source commented.

Incidentally, the case in the Supreme Court will be heard only after the vacation, which ends on June 9, well after the academic year begins.

More cases

Meanwhile, the contempt of court cases against the government are only bound to increase. While two cases have already been filed by school associations, more are expected to be filed by individual schools.

Karnataka Unaided Schools Management Association president G S Sharma said he expected a hearing in a day or two on the contempt of court case filed by their association.

On a lighter note, Sharma said the Education Department lacked good legal advisors, for otherwise they would have seen the folly of disregarding a court order.

As usual, it is the students and parents who stand to lose in this tussle. Classes begin on June 1, and some schools are going ahead with conducting classes in English medium, in accordance with the High Court order.

But that is unlikely to provide any succour to the anxious parents who have been forced to live in absolute indecision over the fate of their children and schools.

Even a clear order of the High Court giving the child and the parents the right to decide the medium of instruction at the primary level has proved insufficient to convince the government to abide by it.

Beggars’ Colony will make way for “mini-Lalbagh”

Beggars’ Colony will make way for “mini-Lalbagh”

Staff Reporter
Chief Minister announces this during surprise visit to the premises
— Photo: K. Murali Kumar

MARKED FOR PRESERVATION: Children swimming in Ullal Lake at Ullal, which was taken up for development by Bangalore Development Authority on Wednesday.
Bangalore: The ruefully neglected Beggars’ Colony at Sumanahalli on Magadi Road is set to become a beauty spot in its new avatar as “mini Lal Bagh,” according to Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa.

Occupants of the 159 acres of prime land would be relocated, Mr. Yeddyurappa told presspersons during a surprise visit to its premises on Wednesday. He said he had given the management of the Colony “one month” to improve living conditions. “We will be inquiring into the health, food and working conditions of the inmates,” he said.

The Beggars’ Colony was established in 1944 to serve as rehabilitation centre for those arrested for begging. According to C.B. Gokak, superintendent of the colony, there were 922 inmates here, of whom 131 are mentally disabled, 45 are persons with disabilities, and 402 elderly.

The Colony is funded by Beggary Cess collected by civic authorities and operates according to the stipulations of the Central Relief Committee Rules for Prohibition of Beggary Act 1975. According to the Act, each inmate is entitled to two sets of clothes for a year. Any “insubordination” or “misbehaviour” on the part of the occupants — which includes singing, “making loud noise” or “quarrelling” — will be met with punishment, according to the rule book. The punishments enumerated range from reduction in meals (which often consists often of ragi mudde) to denial of visitation rights.

Lake development
Earlier in the day, at the inauguration of a multi-crore lake development project, the Chief Minister said that the colony, when relocated, would be renamed as the word “beggar” had derogatory overtones. His aim was to ensure that no one was seen begging on the streets of Bangalore in the next two years. There was a proposal to build a hospital on the site at Sumanahalli.

Mr. Yeddyurappa said that four hospitals were to be established in the city “on the lines of Bowring Hospital”.

At Ullal Lake in Vishveswaraya Layout, the Chief Minister flagged off a Rs. 104-crore project to develop 12 lakes in the city, undertaken by the Bangalore Development Authority. The project will involve dredging, creating walking paths, installing chain-link fences and making provisions for boating and security. The 12 lakes include: Ullal Lake, Jakkur Lake, Sampigehalli Lake, Rachenahalli Lake, Venkateshapura Lake, Mallathahally Lake, Kommaghatta Lake, Thalghattapura Lake, Konasandra Lake, Sompura Lake, Ramasandra Lake and Kothanur Lake.

Parallel to this, another 21 lakes would be developed by the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike at Rs. 190 crore in the first phase of the lake development project. Minister for BWSSB Katta Subramanya Naidu, Minister for Transport R. Ashok and Minister for Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Shobha Karandlaje spoke.

Bangalore-Mysore State highway to be six-lane

Bangalore-Mysore State highway to be six-lane

Special Correspondent
Reliance Infrastructure Ltd. has shown interest in project
After the upgrading, road-users will have to pay toll

The six-lane road is likely to be completed by 2012

BANGALORE: The Bangalore-Mysore State highway will be upgraded from four to six lanes, and Reliance Infrastructure Ltd. has exhibited interest in developing the road, according to Minister for Public Works C.M. Udasi.

Addressing presspersons here on Wednesday, he said technical bids would be opened soon for developing the road between the two cities.

After the upgrading, road-users will have to shell out a toll.

The six-lane road is likely to be completed by 2012. Presently, the use of Bangalore-Mysore road is toll-free.

Other roads such as the Bangalore-Raichur corridor via Bagalkot (Hungund-Lingsugur), the Hiriyur-Bellary-Raichur road and the Gulbarga-Bijapur-Belgaum road via Jewargi, Athani and Chikkodi would be developed on public-private partnership. The Government has decided to rope in private companies for developing three major roads under the BOT scheme: Yelahanka to Kudumalakunte in Andhra Pradesh (137.16 km), Arsikere to Pandavapura (107.20 km), Hoskote to Chintamani (44.95 km), Mundargi to Koppal (31.83 km) Hoskote to Tekal (31.83 km) and Hoskote till the Tamil Nadu border (53 km), Mr. Udasi said.

Under the Rural Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDF), Rs. 381 crore had been spent and 1,465 km of road developed in 2008-09. Under the national highway category, the State had spent Rs. 215 crore and completed 100 works, he said.

All those developed on public-private partnership (PPP) would be toll roads. About 10,000 km of road would be developed on PPP model by 2012.

Bengaluru International Airport records slump in passenger traffic

Bengaluru International Airport records slump in passenger traffic

K.V. Subramanya
Only 8.7 million passengers as against 13 million projected for first year
Promoters attribute slump to economic slowdown

Study puts figure at 14 million by 2013-14

— FILE PHOTO: G.R.N.Somashekar

Passenger turnout in the first year has belied the projections of Bengaluru International Airport Ltd.
CHICKABALLAPUR: Passenger traffic (domestic and international) at Bengaluru International Airport (BIA) at Devanahalli dropped by 14 per cent from the previous financial year (in comparison with passenger traffic at HAL airport), and the situation is unlikely to change in the near future.

While commencing commercial operations on May 24, 2008, promoters of Bengaluru International Airport Ltd. (BIAL) had forecast that it would handle 13 million passengers in the first year. Only 8.7 million passengers used the airport till May 23, 2009. The slump has been attributed to the economic slowdown.

A study conducted by BIAL has indicated that passenger traffic will approximately touch nine million this year. The figure is likely to touch 14 million only by 2013-14.

“Even with the current slowdown, the traffic figures in this region are set to stabilise and grow at a steady pace. International passenger traffic at BIA increased by 7 per cent as many new international airlines started operations from here,” BIAL Chief Executive Officer Marcel Hungerbuehler told The Hindu on Wednesday while providing the highlights of the study. BIAL would continue to realise its master plan and expand to accommodate increased traffic in terms of aircraft movement and passengers, he said.

With the existing infrastructure, the airport can easily handle the passenger traffic for the next couple of years. BIA’s next expansion, expected to begin in early 2010, will include extending the apron from 42 aircraft parking stands to 62. Additionally, the existing terminal building will be expanded to accommodate the expected increase in passenger traffic, Mr.Hungerbuehler said.

The next step would be construction of the second terminal and runway: a mirror image of the present airport infrastructure. “From this, you will gather that this airport will be a work in progress project for the next 10 to 15 years with gradual but continuous expansion phases, the way it was initially envisioned and planned,” he said.


The met department tells citizens to be prepared for more rain than usual. Taking no chance, BWSSB will use 30 additional jetting machines to pump out flood water. BBMP, too, is readying to meet the challenge
Aarthi R & Jayashree Nandi | TNN

Bangalore: Pre-monsoon showers and news that the monsoon has just hit the Kerala coast, have triggered the worst fears among Bangaloreans. It’s best to be prepared for more rain than usual, says the Met department.
“There are chances of heavy rain in the first month of the monsoon. The city is likely to receive more than moderate rain,’’ Met director A Muthuchami told The Times of India. He explained the impact, “There will be one spell of heavy rain in the next two/three days. And another following it. A week of thunderstorms may follow, to settle down to drizzles for another couple of weeks.”
FACING FLOODS: With old pipelines and an underground drainage system that’s still under renovation, the BWSSB hopes to redress many of the flooding issues during the monsoon, with 30 additional jetting machines to pump out flooded sewerage waters.
Last year, BWSSB embarked on a massive manhole cleaning drive and covered 60,000 of them. This year, the drive has started again, with workers notching up 30 to 50 manholes a day. “We are trying to speed it up before the monsoon completely sets in,’’ a spokesperson for BWSSB said.
PROBLEM AREAS: One of the major issues BWSSB faces is: in 80% of houses, water stagnating on terraces is let into the underground drainage system (UGD). The UGD has the capacity to manage only waste water. The excess pressure on the system by flooding rain water leads to frequent overflowing of chamber lines. “We urge all residents to channelise rain water flow from their terraces to a network connected to adjoining storm water drains,’’ a BWSSB official said. HSR Layout and parts of HAL vulnerable to floods.
MORE MEASURES: Reacting to fears of sewage water contaminating drinking water supply, he said, “The issue cannot be completely ruled out, considering that they run parallel to each other. In case of UGD, only reactive measures can be taken and not precautionary. We have changed old pipelines in many areas, including Bharathinagar, where we spent Rs 3 crore to change the UGD system, and 90% of the work is complete. We have changed some pipelines in Shivajinagar as well.’’ Any floods and the Board hopes to provide immediate remedial measures.
Now, we are cleaning everything BBMP engineer-in-chief A K Gopalaswamy speaks
Comparing last year and now, how prepared is Bangalore to face monsoon days? Any lessons learnt from pre-monsoon showers?
It may be too early to comment. Pre-monsoon showers have not left major damage. Places like Puttenahalli and Mysore Road, which faced severe floods last year, were safe despite 65 mm of rain recently.
Storm water drains have been a problem every monsoon. This seems to have continued into this year as well, despite the projects taken up.
Yes, it’s always been an area of concern. We have a team of 20 workers headed by a superintendent engineer to look into regular de-silting of these drains. Apart from that, we have also initiated works on remodelling of these drains in many problem areas. The BWSSB will also be providing us with jetting machines for flood control.
Road widening has resulted in a lot of manholes on the roads. And a few of them are in poor condition. What do you plan to do?
True. We had met up with BWSSB two days ago on this. Within a week, all manholes on the roads will be cleaned and we will ensure that they are on par with the road surface. We will also be looking into the safety aspects, checking on the lids.
A way out for Sai Layout?
Crude roads, a slanted, uncared-for signboard welcomes you to Sai Layout in Vaddarapalya, which remains deserted and is yet to get over last year’s flood damage. And chances of a way out are remote for this layout that’s built on the bell-mouth of the lake backwaters, says the BBMP. Located at the lowest limits of Hennur Bande, this layout is perennially affected during the monsoon days. Much of the layout is on the banks of a huge drain, that forms the backwaters of the Kalkere lake. Waters from nearly 11 lakes across the city join up here. Despite moderate rain here, this area has floods whenever it rains heavily elsewhere. Last year, the floods forced many to even move out of their homes. The Rs-1,000 compensation hardly got them over their heavy losses. And even today, the conditions are similar.
Palike takes a few steps
Vishnu, 7, trips lightly on a long, thin, looselyfixed wooden plank to cross the wide drain flowing in front of his house — right on the main road. “After last year, this drain was cleaned just a few days ago,’’ complains his mother. During the recent rain, the drain waters reached an alarming level, say fearful residents. The interiors of the layout reveal even more pathetic conditions. “It’s the same. Nothing has changed,’’ rues Alexander, who works in an industry making pollution masks. No proper roads, no proper drinking water and no street lights while walking along the isolated roads in the dark. And there are mosquitoes and even huge snakes — some pythons have made their way into homes too. “During floods, it’s not just the waters but also snakes that worry us,’’ says Priscilla, a resident. Interestingly, more than one department of the BBMP has been working on this area — the storm water drain department and zonal division in Byatarayanapura. “But, located at the lowest level, it remains an area of concern,’’ BBMP joint commissioner (Byatarayanapura) Virupaksha Mysore said. But the recent work initiated should spell relief this year, he said. TNN

Multiplex audi in cinders

Multiplex audi in cinders

Bangalore: A movie auditorium at Innovative Multiplex, in Marathalli, was gutted in a major fire accident early on Wednesday.
Around 2.45 am, a security personnel saw smoke coming out of the first auditorium, ‘screen one’ of the multiplex, which has four screens. There were 25 to 30 workers, including security personnel, at the complex and fire force personnel were called immediately.
Nine fire tenders were pressed into service and after two hours, the fire was doused. The entire auditorium, including the cushioned chairs, several electrical items and movie hall ceiling were completely gutted.
Though ‘screen one’ was gutted, the projector room and three other screens were not affected.
The cause could be short circuit, said an official of Innovative Multiplex.
“The fire was first spotted by a security person and a staffer in the projector room, who called the fire force,’’ said the official.
The official stated that they are still evaluating the losses, and by Thursday, the estimate might be complete.
He ascertained that it could be well over Rs 1 crore. He added that it was too early to predict when the auditorium will be reopened.
DCP (South-East) B N S Reddy rushed to the spot immediately after the fire broke out. A case was registered at HAL police station.
“Though it has been said the fire was due to short circuit, the exact reason is yet to be ascertained. We are investigating and will know once Bescom, FSL and fire force personnel submit their reports,’’ added Reddy.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

BBMP Administrator, Commissioner and Tree Officer (Bangalore North) make mockery of High Court directions and the Public

BBMP Administrator, Commissioner and Tree Officer (Bangalore North) make mockery of High Court directions and the Public

Tree Officer approves tree felling at CNR Rao circle within 48 hours of public notice

On 15 May 2009, the Administrator and Commissioner of Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike issued half page advertisements in several leading dailies costing at least 50 lakhs to the public exchequer. The ads constituted an undated, unqualified Public Notice announcing their plans to fell over 375 massive trees on Hosur Lakshkar Road and near CNR Rao Circle. The ad requested public to file their comments and objections to the projects and tree felling within 7 days to the office of Deputy Conservator of Forests, BBBP, Bangalore (North Division). That 7 day period ended on 23 May 2009, Saturday.

The undersigned filed a statement of objection to this plan (copy enclosed) on the following grounds:

“The said advertisement is issued in several prominent newspapers incurring massive public expenditure, but there is no mention whatsoever on the basis of which statute such public expenditure was incurred. This would have to be clarified first and foremost.

The Hon'ble High Court of Karnataka in its interim direction on 16 March 2009 in WP No. 7107/2008 (PIL filed by Environment Support Group and ors. vs. State of Karnataka and ors.), to which BBMP is a respondent, has categorically stated that all Respondents must “strictly follow” the provisions of the Karnataka Town and Country Planning Act and Karnataka Preservation of Trees Act when implementing urban infrastructure projects. Specific reference is made to BBMP to ensure such compliance when undertaking road related works.

Nothing in the advertisement clarifies whether such compliance has preceded the proposal as mentioned in the advertisement above. Further, BBMP has not demonstrated the need for road widening being in the wider public interest as per the provisions of the Karnataka Municipal Corporations Act and Chapter V of the Karnataka Town and Country Planning Act. Further, no explicit case has been made to demonstrate the need for removal of the said trees as per Section 8 of the Karnataka Preservation of Trees Act.

It is implicit therefore for the Tree Officer, per his/her mandate under the Karnataka Forest Act and the Karnataka Preservation of Trees Act, and also in compliance with the aforementioned direction of the High Court, to not allow for felling of trees till such time there is strict compliance with the provisions of the Karnataka Town and Country Planning Act.

Any action in contravention of the directions of the aforementioned decision of the Hon'ble High Court would amount to contempt of court, and appropriate action in this regard would be initiated by the aforementioned Petitioners.”

Similarly, many other organisations and individuals would have filed their comments and objections to such mass felling of avenue trees. It is a well established norm of any public administrator who has called for public comments to first address such comments and objections before taking any executive action. And if the provisions of the Tree Act are to be followed, this process takes at least one month, if not more.

Less than hours from the expiry of the commenting period, and quite contrary to settled norms and rules, Mr. M. R. Suresh, KFS, Asst. Conservator of Forests and Tree Officer, Bangalore (North) ordered the felling of trees at CNR Rao circle. The tree felling is going on throughout the day. Mr. M. R. Suresh unilaterally took this decision in clear contravention of the provisions of the Tree Act and the High Court decision.

It must be observed here that the advertisement issued to invite “suggestions or objections”, interestingly claims that “(a)s the two development works mentioned above need to be completed very fast, removal of trees is inevitable”. If the decision had already been taken, what was the need for the BBMP to spend lakhs of public money to invite “suggestions or objections”. If a decision was already taken, what was the purpose of investing lakhs into these ad? (A half page advertisement in Deccan Herald costs Rs. 15 lakhs on an average!)

When called on his cell phone, Mr. Suresh confirmed that he has authorised the felling. But he refused to demonstrate the legality of his action suggesting, instead, that we address our concerns to his superior. When these concerns were addressed to his superior Deputy Conservator of Forests (Bangalore North), BBMP, Mr. Hubert claimed that he had nothing to do with this decision. He also confirmed that the decision to fell trees was taken by Mr. Suresh much prior to the issual of the advertisements.

Such wanton abuse of executive power is unprecedented, particularly given that an executive action is taken to fell trees within two days of the closure of a public notice inviting suggestions and objections. It is expected of a public official to consider each and every response and provide a reasoned order rationalising why a particular decision has been taken. All this requires investment of administrative time and resources, and clearly per the Tree Act and its Rules, it is not a decision that should be taken when a commenting period is in process. In fact, Form 1 (per Rule 4 of the Tree Act Rules) requires a very deliberate review of every application for tree felling, which could not have been achieved even with the most efficient bureaucracy in less than 48 hours.

This is nothing short of an open abuse of power, in which the Administrator, Commissioner and Tree Officer (Bangalore North) of the BBMP have colluded.

Keeping the above in view we have demanded that the tree felling be stopped immediately and an enquiry be undertaken into these highly questionable decisions by Mr. Suresh, by way of a letter to the Deputy Conservator of Forests, Bangalore North Division, BBMP (enclosed).

Environment Support and ors, who are Petitioners in the aforementioned PIL, will explore all legal and other remedies to ensure such blatant abuse of executive power by the Adminstrator, Commissioner and BBMP Tree Officer (North Bangalore) must not go unpunished.

Leo F. Saldanha


Environment Support Group

Vinay Sreenivasa

Hasiru Usiru

Is BMRDA being sidelined by the government?

Is BMRDA being sidelined by the government?

Officials at BMRDA say despite preparing blueprints for major infrastructure projects, the authorities ignore them when it comes to execution. Bosky Khanna reports

Bosky Khanna

Now is the season for reviews. The state government ministers are engaged in reviewing the work and the projects launched by various civic agencies including Public Works Department (PWD) and BBMP.
But among all these activities, officials of Bangalore Metropolitan Region Development Authority (BMRDA) feel they have been left out.
BMRDA officials feel they are not getting their due from the state government.
A BMRDA official, on condition of anonymity, told DNA that all projects which were initiated and planned by BMRDA have been handed over to other agencies and their task has been limited to planning.
Citing two examples, the official said: "The blueprint for radial roads was prepared by BMRDA. But the execution of the project was handed over to Public Works Department (PWD). The project was to kick-start in January, 2007. Similarly, the construction of Satellite Town Ring Road (STRR) was initiated by BMRDA but now this task too has been handed over to PWD. Presently, the alignment has been fixed and the project now awaits the clearance from the government to start preliminary notification."
BMRDA official says he is not upset over projects being handed over to PWD or any other agency. He, however, adds that BMRDA is not allowed to undertake any developmental work including the construction of five satellite townships on city outskirts.
"Chief Minister has organised review meetings with various agencies but has ignored BMRDA and its efforts. There are a few proposals that now await clearance from the government. It's a bit disappointing," he added.



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FOCUS B The country’s tallest tower? A state selfsufficient in power and water. Lakes that breathe. Green parks where children play, the old soak in the peace and quiet.

Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa’s to-do list as he commences his second year in office as head of the southern state that has changed the BJP’s cachet of being a North Indian party, is long and impressive.
Speaking exclusively to Deccan Chronicleduring a visit to the newspaper’s offices in Karnataka’s capital, days ahead of his government’s first anniversary that coincides with this newspaper’s first year celebrations, Mr Yeddyurappa said,“My focus will be Bengaluru.” “There is so much that has to be done.We must make Bengaluru a world class city.The opposition has been criticising me, but judging by the parliament polls where we won 19 seats, and our party’s voting percentage went up from 34 per cent in the 2008 Assembly elections to 42.37 per cent, the people have spoken, they have backed us,” the Chief Minister said.

“With 19 MPs in Parliament, we will fight for what is rightfully Karnataka’s,” he said, adding he had already spoken to the two Union ministers from Karnataka, foreign minister S.M. Krishna and M.Veerappa Moily. “I sought their guidance for the development of the state.We are expecting things to move.”Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa, who visited Deccan Chronicle on Tuesday on its first anniversary refuses to start his second year in office on a negative note.

Reminded of his statement to the Opposition leaders in the state Assembly that he would ensure that they would sit in the Opposition benches permanently has almost become a reality, a smiling Yeddyurappa said, “Now, I will not speak in that tone. I will be nice to them as I need their support for developing the state.” Clearly, this is a Mr Yeddyurappa, extremely conscious of the fact that the Congress-led UPA is ruling at the Centre and must tread carefully to extract as much as he can for the development of the state.

“Let me not say anything negative,” Mr Yeddyurappa said, when asked what kind of trouble he would anticipate during the second year of his tenure.

On a more positive note, he said that 90 per cent of greenery of the present Race Course would be retained. But on about 200 sq. ft of the area a tall building would come up which would be a tourist attraction to all. The proposed tall building in the present race course would be tall enough to provide a panoramic view of the city.

“The present licence of the Turf Club would end by December this year. The licence would not be renewed. All the racing activity of the Bangalore Turf Club can be shifted to Mysore. That way, no one would be affected," he said.

He added in a lighter vein that sooner the race course is shifted the better for his administration. Vidhana Soudha being close by, most of the officials would be rather in the race course than in the secretariat, he quipped.

A recent photo of his playing cricket with his granddaughter at his official residence revealed how relaxed he was after his party’s victory in the state to the Lok Sabha. “For 45 days, I campaigned, addressing seven to eight public meetings daily," Mr Yeddyurappa said.When pressed on who was his favourite daughter of the three, and whom he gushes about frequently, he quipped: “They are taking very good care of me now.

You want to spoil it by playing favouritism among them? I wont even get a cup of tea then.”

ORR to take time to come full circle

ORR to take time to come full circle
City motorists will have to wait at least a year to use the ORR to commute right around Bangalore without taking any diversions

The 62-km outer ring road (ORR), the crown jewel among infrastructure projects in the city, will not be touching the finishing line anytime soon.
Bangalore Development Authority (BDA), which started work on the project in 1998, has said it will need at least another year the road forms an unbroken circle. The stumbling block is the 5.60-km stretch between Tumkur Road junction and Mysore Road junction, which has three flyovers and underpasses planned at Sumanahalli, Nayandahalli and Nagarbhavi near the National Law School.
Speaking to this paper, Vishnu Kumar, executive engineer (west) of BDA, said, “We have been working on the project in parts. In 2002, a temporary link was created to connect Magadi Road through Kengeri Layout because of rehabilitation work. That meant a deviation from the originally planned circle that was marked in the Comprehensive Development Plan of 1984 during the tenure of Ramakrishna Hegde. However, in 2006 we took up the task of reverting to the original plan of connecting Tumkur Road and Mysore Road junction. We have completed most of the work.”
However, the ground reality is quite different. The 323-metre flyover project at Sumanahalli, which has a 22-metre-wide carriageway, was originally to be completed by June 2009. Two 200-metre approach roads were also part of the project. But according to the progress report submitted by BDA on May 6 this year, only 40 per cent of the work has been completed. While M A Azeem, BDA assistant engineer working on the project, refused to comment on the delay, Chinna Dorai, senior manager with Chennai-based East Coast Construction which has been awarded the tender, blamed it on the rain.
As things stand, BDA has extended the deadline for the project to August 2009. But the foremen working at the site say the project will not be completed before October. “There is still a lot of work to be completed in terms of ramps, gutters and obligates. We will need at least six months to complete the project at Sumanahalli,” said S Adhikari, one of the foremen. With a passenger car unit (PCU) capacity of close to 70,000, the existing road connecting Tumkur Road and Mysore Road junction is among the busiest stretches.
But what has truly hit the brakes on the ORR project is the railway bridge near Mysore Road. The 0.8-metre stretch where an underpass has been planned has not even reached the tender stage. BDA has paid Rs 12.13 crore as deposit to the railways for the release of the land so that the work can begin.
“But with live rail traffic, there is a lot of work that needs to be completed, including the shifting of the tracks and diverting the trains before we can even begin to think about starting work on the underpass. It will take about a year and a half from the date that we begin for the project to be completed,” said Vishnu Kumar.
It has been close to a quarter of a century that the ORR first made an appearance on the city planners’ wishlist. Yet, Bangalore still waits for it to come a full circle.
First proposed during the Ramakrishna Hegde government, the project was taken up on a war footing when the J H Patel government came to power in 1997. The ORR runs round the perimeter of Bangalore city and connects all the major highways, including Tumkur Road and Old Madras Road (NH-4), Bellary Road and Hosur Road (NH-7), and Bannerghatta Road and Kanakapura Road (NH-209).
Originally envisaged in 1984 at a cost of Rs 300 crore, the project’s cost escalation on account of the decades-long delay is something the authorities are not keen to comment on.
Meanwhile, Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprises (NICE) has almost completed another partial ring road around Bangalore as a part of the Bangalore-Mysore Infrastructure Corridor (BMIC) project.
BDA and BMRDA have planned three more ring roads beyond the existing ring road. The first of these, the peripheral ring road, will run a few kilometres beyond the BMIC-PRR. The second and third of these will be known as the intermediate ring road and the satellite towns ring road respectively.

Gloom Has No Effect On Bangalore’s Young ’Uns

Gloom Has No Effect On Bangalore’s Young ’Uns
Shruthi Balakrishna | TNN

Bangalore: Recession? What recession? For college students, it is a word far removed from their lifestyle, a distant ogre which is temporarily reducing job opportunities and laying off people.
By and large, students are insulated from the pinch of the R-word: over 80% say there is no change in the amount spent on transportation, mobile bills, web downloads and eating out due to a gloomy economy. Over 60% have not decreased spend on personal/fashion accessories, gifting, electronic gadgets, magazines, clothing and CDs.
A recession reactions study 2009, conducted by an integrated brand communications firm in association with
the department of management studies of Jyoti Nivas College, has revealed that nearly 50% of students have admitted to a decrease in their savings in the past four months.
“But spending has not come down. In fact, an interesting insight into recession-proofing is a student who expressed clear insulation from recession as her parents were working for a government organisation,’’ said Pavan Padaki, director (insights and creative), Brandcomm. The study covered 459 students from 30 colleges across Bangalore.
While most students feel they have become conscious about the way they spend, consumption seems unchanged to a large extent. Notably, there seems no significant difference in consumption pattern among graduates, postgraduates, boys or girls. For college kids, recession means little TIMES NEWS NETWORK
Bangalore: The recession seems to have had little or no effect on Bangalore’s younger generation. A majority perceived recession to be generating fewer jobs and layoffs or a slowdown in business activities. Only some students expressed it in terms of the country’s economy/GDP growth/inflation etc., while 15-20% were unaware or had no opinion on the term ‘recession’, a study said. It was carried out by a brand firm and the department of management studies of Jyoti Nivas College.

Fire at Innovative Multiplex

Fire at Innovative Multiplex
By: Ramesh H S Date: 2009-05-27 Place:Bangalore

A major fire broke out at Innovative Multiplex at Marathahalli today morning, destroying screening equipment as well as seats inside one of the screening halls.

According to fire service personnel, they were alerted about the fire around 2.45 am by the projector operator, who saw thick smoke coming out of one of the halls of the building. About six fire tenders and 25 personnel were pressed into service and the fire was brought under control.

There are four screening halls at the Innovative Multiplex. The fire gutted the Screen 1.

An Innovative Multiplex official said had there not been timely intervention by the personnel, the other halls would also have been gutted. The affected area measured around 150 square meters and equipment such as electrical fittings, projector and air conditioners and the entire ceiling had been damaged.

The reason for the fire is not yet known. "The situation was under control and the officials are yet to confirm the reason for the fire accident," Deputy Commissioner of Police (South-East Division) B N S Reddy, who visited the spot said.

Coffee House fiascos no more

Coffee House fiascos no more
By: B V Shiva Shankar Date: 2009-05-27 Place:Bangalore

If ABIDe has its way, city heritage structures can't be altered and sold at will even if they're private property

MTR, a heritage hotel, can't shrug off its iconic status as easily as Coffee House did if the government acts on a report ABIDe is working on.

To avoid incidents like the closure of Coffee House in future, Agenda for Bengaluru Infrastructure and Development Task Force (ABIDe) wants a heritage commission to conserve the city's heritage.

FREEZE FRAME: Plaza cinema on M G Road is among the structures that could get a heritage tag, which will make it mandatory for the owners to preserve it in its present form

ABIDe spokesperson Aswin Kumar told reporters, "The heritage commission will be a statutory body. We will ask the government to set up the commission through legislation so that it will have the power to act effectively."
He said ABIDe would go around the city identifying heritage structures both public and private properties for three months before submitting the final proposal to the government.

The proposal will include preparing a Bangalore Heritage Register (BHR) and setting up a Heritage Museum at Mayo Hall.

Though the modalities are yet to be finalised, ABIDe is hoping to win over the owners of private properties with heritage value.

Permission please

Owners of such property will have to take the commission's permission before altering or selling it.

"It is very difficult," said Kumar. "But, it can be achieved through proper legislation and social awareness."

He said, ABIDe was aware of the challenge in striking a balance between development and conserving heritage.

"If a theatre owner wants to build a shopping mall in place of the theatre, it is a commercial interest that may kickstart economic activity and that's something we should not stop. At the same time, we are interested in preserving the theatre because it is our heritage."

Get the pros

Experts will be roped in and consulted to address these issues, he said.

Citing the example of Lal Bagh, he said it had been partly acquired for the Metro Rail project. The commission, he said, would explore avenues to undo the damage to such heritage sites.

MTR view
When MiD DAY contacted MTR (Mavalli Tiffin Room), a manager said he was not aware of the development.
"We know the heritage value of our restaurant and will take appropriate steps in the event of such a situation," he added.

Exclusive clubs now free for all

Exclusive clubs now free for all
By: Omi Gurung and Tanu Kulkarni Date: 2009-05-27 Place:Bangalore

Some city clubs are getting off their pedestal and throwing open their doors to non-members this summer. The little income on the side helps in these recessionary times

Clubs, once all toffee-nosed and hoity-toity, have opened their doors to non-members this summer. Call it the recession effect.

Making a splash: Swimming is the main attraction at the clubs during summer, and the pools get crowded because of guests. The club members hope the trend is seasonal

Ironically, the clubs that gained popularity because of the exclusivity they provided are now free for all. With recession pinching, some clubs are conducting coaching camps and even charging a fee for the use of their facilities.

Camps galore

While the Sadashivnagar Club offers tennis and badminton classes through the year, the Malleswaram Club is offering swimming, badminton, tennis and table tennis classes to members and non-members during summer.

And there's also a summer camp on at Patel's Inn in R T Nagar with a host of activities to choose from.

"Even non-members can register and enjoy the facilities for a nominal fee. It's a summer camp that is educating and entertaining at the same time. We call it edutainment," said Shekhar J, manager of Patel's Inn.

"Kids have a lot of free time during summer. Hence, we have started such activities for their recreation," says Krishna Murthy , chairman of Malleswaram Club Association.

With the fee between

Rs 1000 and Rs 1800 per month, people have been lapping up the services offered at Malleswaram Club. But what about the members?

"We have made provisions for the members," says Krishna Murthy. "And they do understand that summer is the only time kids can have fun."

But some members aren't convinced.

"As a member of the club, I cannot avail facilities during summer because of the camps. We do not have a choice. But I'm sure this crowd will disappear in a month's time," grumbles Satish.

Exclusive club

But there are some clubs that are striving to keep their members-only tag.

Anand P B, manager, Palm Meadows Club, says: "We have summer camps going on that include coaching in various sports like swimming and snooker. Since we have elite members from the city, we do not allow non-members to avail the facilities.

Bowring Club also conducts swimming camps and children's camps exclusively for members. In fact, they are so strict about the members-only norm that they have even introduced smart cards.

"This is to make sure our facilities are used only by members and not misused," says Sanchit Sawhney, member incharge of catering .

The step has been appreciated by the members. Since Bowring Club has been registered under the Societies Act as a non-profit organization, making money is not the criterion.

"The moment the club meets its cost of expenditure, we pass on the discounts. Profit is not our concern, only providing quality service is," says Sawhney.

Make a racquet or hit the deck
>>Guest fee: Rs 1,800 for a month
>>Parents are suddenly discovering that they can take their kids to the posh Malleswaram Club for some tennis, while they can indulge in some rummy

Old world charm rules at Coffee House on Church Street

Old world charm rules at Coffee House on Church Street
Chethan Kumar, Bangalore, DH News Service :
Wednesday, May 27, 2009, 1:30 [IST]

''It almost smelt Japanese as I entered Coffee House this morning and the place looked strange. But just in time the aroma of the coffee took over and now it feels like home, yet again.'' This remark by Gregory David Ritchie, a regular, summed up the old timers’ love for the place, with a tinge of nostalgia.

The regulars’ joy was apparently overwhelming and the smiles on the faces of the workers, genuine. The mood was tellingly demonstrated by the sunny warmth and openness of the new place on Church Street.

Joseph, a regular, had this to say: “I am quite excited that I could sit and have my coffee the old way. Though the place does not exactly seem the same, it is better than the others in the City. After all it is our Coffee House.”

The human tendency of comparison had taken over almost instinctively and the nostalgia, associated with the over five-decade-old address of the restaurant creeped in quietly.

However, not for too long. The charm of the restaurant was not only an association with the place, but more. The pleasure of just being part of Coffee House had the regulars back, and complaints faded away. “It feels great to have it back. No more searching and seeking or trying to adapt to new people and coffee, and of course, the price,” said Ravi.

It seemed almost magical, that this place could draw people over and again despite all odds. Time will tell whether this is a new legacy by the old legend.

Bangalore City police issues order for granting licence for rallies

Bangalore City police issues order for granting licence for rallies
Bangalore, PTI:
Wednesday, May 27, 2009, 12:00 [IST]

In the wake of strictures passed by the Karnataka High Court, the Bangalore city police issued an order outlining guidelines and procedures for granting licence for rallies and processions by any political, religious and social groups to ensure that they do not cause traffic snarls and inconvenience to public.

The order issued on May 20, calls for issuing licence for a gathering of more than 250 persons at one place for conducting a meeting or protest or to hear a public speech including political, social, religious and cultural meetings to which public have free access.

However, it does not include concerts organised for public amusement and indoor meetings, for which the organisers have to secure separate permission.

The order which includes processions in its ambit defines it as an assembling of people, who are accompanied by music or otherwise consisting of more than 25 persons passing in a group on any public road in Bangalore city, with a common object.

It includes processions organised by political parties, religious groups, social organisations and route marches, but does not include marriage and funeral processions.

It said every application for procession or assembly be made atleast seven days prior excluding the proposed date of the procession or assembly. In exceptional cases, the reasons should be given in writing and the licensing authority would accept application with a short notice.

The order comes in the wake of JD(S) rally in the city in November last, which created traffic chaos.

City’s aesthetics go for a toss

City’s aesthetics go for a toss

A huge hoarding of the chief minister in front of the Vidhana Soudha.
Express Features First Published : 26 May 2009 08:07:58 AM ISTLast Updated : 27 May 2009 09:02:03 AM IST
BANGALORE: Erecting banners, hoardings or cutouts in the vicinity of banners, nearabout Vidhana Soudha which comes under zone ‘A’ (advertisement free zone), is a strict no for any citizen, but not for the government it seems, which has shown disregard to the city’s aesthetics.
Even though the Chief Minister Yeddyyurappa had directed the BBMP to allow hoardings in the city, except in zones A and B, his government itself has gone ahead and violated the rules.
A huge hoarding with the Yeddy’s and the Minister for BWSSB, Katta Subramanya’s photographs on it, was set up in front of the Vidhana Soudha on Monday, to mark the inauguration of the drinking water project, which was organised by the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board, When contacted, a senior BBMP official said that the government banners can be put up in these zones and that the Palike will bring them down only if they receive any complaint from the public.
The hoardings and banners put up by the political parties or anybody else will be allowed with prior permission from the Palike and it can be put up only a day before the programme and on the day of the programme and should be immediately removed after that.
However, the Palike has not received any complaint so far and it seems they will not take action until they receive one.

BIA says it again, in Kannada

BIA says it again, in Kannada

Hemanth CSFirst Published : 27 May 2009 07:41:12 AM ISTLast Updated : 27 May 2009 09:07:46 AM IST
BANGALORE: The Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL) is learning to speak Kannada. It better, considering the flak it received flak from legislators and the Kannada Development Authority for not adopting Kannada in its day-to-day activities and not adopting the State’s culture in the airport’s architecture.
The Bengaluru International Airport (BIA) which has been at the receiving end since its commissioning last year over the absence of Kannada culture and language has said that all festivities and welcomes at the airport revolve around the local themes.
“We have been showcasing the state’s culture in the internal events, highlighted local art at the duty free shops, local pride of gardens, flowers and lakes through the shopping area design, local cuisine through F&B. Besides, we have also been celebrating the local events - Rajyaotasava Day, Diwali and Ayudha Pooja,” said BIAL Officials. Legislators who are members of the house committee which is probing the alleged lapses at the airport has been vocal about the promoters of the airport for not doing enough to highlight Kannada culture and language.
The legislators have accused the promoters for giving importance to western culture in day to day activities and architecture over Kannada.
Recently, Kannada Development Authority Chairman Mukhyamarti Chandru had written to the Civil Aviation Ministry to instruct BIAL to give due priority to Kannada by the way of providing Kannada papers to passengers at the airport and on board flights.
In response to this BIAL has said that newspapers are provided in all languages at the lounges, VIP lounge and all books stores and shops. “ Yes, we are working towards creating special spaces for freely distributing these around the airport as well,” added officials.
BIAL which had initiated Kannada classes for its non-Kannadiga’s employees last year has said that the HR team is initiating more batches.

Lakes in city to get new lease of life

Lakes in city to get new lease of life

Express News Service First Published : 27 May 2009 04:42:00 AM ISTLast Updated : 27 May 2009 08:48:28 AM IST
BANGALORE: In an effort to bring back Bangalore’s past glory as the city of lakes, the state government is taking up rejuvenation of 33 lakes in the city at a cost of Rs 294 crore.Of the total 33 lakes, BDA will develop 12 lakes, while rest of the lakes will be developed by BBMP.
The government is trying to get funds from the Centre for the programme under JNNURM.
Bangalore South MP and ABIDE vice president H N Ananth Kumar, along with ministers Katta Subramanya Naidu and R Ashok held a meeting with the BBMP and BDA officials in this regard on Tuesday.
Later speaking to reporters, Ananth Kumar said that Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa will inaugurate the programme on Wednesday at Ullalu satellite town.
Lakes that are being taken up for rejuvenation in the first phase include Jakkur, Sampigehalli and Rachehalli lakes in Arkavathy Layout, Kothanur lake in Anjanapura, Talaghattapura, Konasandra and Somapura lakes in Banashankari 6th stage, besides Mallathahalli, Ullalu, Ramasandra and Kammaraghatta lakes in Sir M Vishveshwaraiah Layout.
Rejuvenation of lakes includes desilting of lake bed, putting up silt traps and screen barriages to avoid silt formation, removal of encroachments on the lake beds, strengthening embakments, stopping the flow of sewerage water into lakes, besides creating lung space and pathway around the lakes.
On leasing out lakes to private players, minister Naidu said that the government would never lease out or privatise lakes in future and those which were already leased out would be taken back. "We have already sought the opinion of the advocate general in this regard,’’ he added.

Bangalore heritage will now ABIDe with its past

Bangalore heritage will now ABIDe with its past

Express News Service First Published : 27 May 2009 05:05:00 AM ISTLast Updated : 27 May 2009 12:10:27 PM IST
BANGALORE: Finally, Bangalore’s past will be dressed up for its future.
The Agenda for Bengaluru Infrastructure Development (ABIDe) Task Force has recommended to the government the setting up of a nodal agency for the identification, protection and conservation of heritage sites in the Bangalore Metropolitan Region.
The statutory nodal agency will conserve sites that are not within the jurisdiction of the Archaeological Survey of India or the state archaeological department. Funding for the heritage commission will be made available under the BBMP or BDA budgets, ABIDe member Prof. Ashwin Mahesh announced in Bangalore on Tuesday.
He said that the documentation of Bangalore’s heritage will be an ongoing programme. Specific restoration plan for heritage sites will be developed and the ongoing development plans of the civic bodies will be subject to guidelines for protection of such sites.
For this purpose, members of the heritage commission will have a fixed tenure of five years and the commission’s secretariat will be with the urban development department.
If all goes according to plan, the policy framework will be ready in at least three months.
The panel will maintain an online registry which will have an exhaustive compilation of heritage locations.
This online register will be maintained and updated every three years to reflect the evolving character of the city.
A museum housing permanent archives and gallery of the built, natural and cultural heritage sites of Bangalore will be established at Mayo Hall. Also, a heritage cell will be set up to manage publicly-owned heritage locations. A specific conservation plan, including awareness campaigns, will be developed for such locations.
ABIDe’s recommendation to the government will also make it easier for Bangalore’s citizens and its visitors to see the heritage sites. Access will be provided to each site and tourism promotion programmes will also be developed.
A specific date will also be identified to mark the founding day of the city and to celebrate its history.
Sanjay Sridhar, member of ABIDe said, “At present, there is no balance between development and conservation of heritage.” With this heritage project, hopefully that balance will be achieved.