Friday, July 31, 2009


In a bid to safeguard cables lying beneath the roads during digging work, BBMP Commissioner has asked service providers for GIS data

Telephones going dead or internet link remaining ‘down’ due to cable damage could soon be a thing of the past. For, the BBMP has ordered the telecom providers to furnish GIS data on roads where their cables have been laid.
The civic body has already refused permission to ‘faulty’ telecom service providers for digging roads.
According to a BBMP officer, the GIS (Geographical Information Systems) data will help contractors who take up road or subway digging works to know where the cables are lying. Which means the cables will be safe from damage.
On learning that the BBMP had no detailed information on cables laid by the service providers, Commissioner Bharat Lal Meena has ordered officials to collect the GIS data within a fortnight.
In a letter, Meena said it is unfortunate that the BBMP has no details about the utility services or others’ cables lying beneath the roads. He wondered how the BBMP had been functioning in the absence of such information.
Subsequently, letters were shot off to 12 service providers. While some have sought more time, others have said they will submit data only by next month. Some providers have said they have huge networks and will be able to submit details as soon as possible.
The Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation Limited (KPTCL) was the first to provide GIS data. As Meena had served as KPTCL managing director, the data had already been stored and immediately provided to the BBMP. Bell Tele Services has submitted its data and we are sending reminders to other providers,” said the officer.
The data has been sought in hard and soft formats. “Earlier, we used to store information on paper, but found it difficult to trace it. In this method, we can access data in quick time,” he added.

What’s on the menu? Kannada, maybe

What’s on the menu? Kannada, maybe

Express News Service First Published : 31 Jul 2009 08:40:26 AM ISTLast Updated : 31 Jul 2009 08:50:53 AM IST
BANGALORE: Whether it be the Punjabi Channa Batura or the Keralite Appams, or the Bengali Murighanto, all of this will speak in Kannada from now on. At least from the menu cards at eating joints. Because that is what the Kannada Development Authority (KDA) is proposing to do. It has asked Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) to direct all the hotels and other eateries that come under their jurisdiction to make Kannada compulsory on sign boards, name boards and menu cards too. Or else face the music.
According to the Karnataka Shops and Commercial Establishment Act 1961, all sign boards and name boards should be in Kannada, failing which the establishments attract a penalty amount upto Rs 10,000. So far, in Bangalore more than 450 cases have been registered for violating the act.
Now, KDA is insisting that Kannada be used in menu cards too.
KDA Chairman Mukya Mantri Chandru said that he did not have any hatred towards other languages.
But there should be Kannada too along with any other languages of their choice, he said. Chandru was of the opinion that even star hotels need to follow this.
Chandru said that the Authority does not have direct command over the implementation. “We will wait for a couple of weeks. If we find that it is not properly implemented by BBMP, we will write to the government,” he added.
BBMP officials say that they are conducting special drives. Govindraj, BBMP, Joint Commissioner has conducted several meetings with the zonal-level officials. “We have personally told many hotel owners to obey the order,” an official said. Speaking to the Express, Vasudeva Adiga, president to Bangalore Hotels assoication said that there are around 2,500 darshinis in Bangalore and more than 1,000 medium and big restaurants. “We will obey the rule. But we need at least six months to implement,” he said.
According to Adiga, cost of one menu card varries from Rs 400 to Rs 2,000, depending on the standard of the hotel. “Atleast 10 to 20 menu cards are needed in any hotel. But we will obey,” he added.

Cyber cafe at Bangalore Rly station to be shut down

Cyber cafe at Bangalore Rly station to be shut down
S Lalitha,DH News Service,Bangalore:

Internet cafe at the concourse area in the main entrance of the City railway station that had been functioning erratically for the last six months, has shut shop completely.

Closure of ‘Cyber Express’ has come about even before its contract with RailTel, the IT wing of the Railways, expires on August 10, 2009.

Similar fate is in store for many other internet cafes run by VSNL (a Tata group) at key railway stations all over the country. “We have received a letter from VSNL stating that they were not interested in continuing with internet operations at 25 railway stations across the country,” a top source at railways said.

The city railway station had earned the distinction of being the first wi-fi enabled cyber cafe railway station in the country during its inauguration on July 14, 2006. Apart from internet access, audio-video chatting, scanning, internet telephony and mobile charging facilities were also made available here.


"The non-payment of electricity bills to BESCOM by the cyber cafe, despite repeated pleas and subsequent disconnection of power supply is the chief reason for closure,” a source said.

It was the intervention of RailTel and its repeated assurances to BESCOM that it was permitted to continue without payment for months.

Irregular functioning

The cafe was irregular in its functioning. However, when operations resumed after a few days, those running it just said that there was no problem and that they were on a break.

With infrastructure intact and a plush office at the station’s busiest part, RailTel is now eyeing the vacant spot.

VSNL was awarded the franchisee rights to run 82 `Cyber Express’ centres at railway stations across the country, in the railway budget 2006-2007.

Quality time

The idea behind setting up the centres was to allow passengers to spend quality time, while awaiting trains. Mysore and Hubli are the other stations in South Western Railway with such cafes.

As the communications office is headquartered at Mumbai, local VSNL officials refused to comment on the closure issue.

B’lore-M’lore day train still a daydream

B’lore-M’lore day train still a daydream
S Lalitha,DH News Service,Bangalore:

Minister of State for Railways K H Muniyappa gave a categorical assurance in this regard last month, after the railway budget, made no mention of the train service.

The day train promised between Bangalore and Mangalore before July end has remained a mere promise.

Minister of State for Railways K H Muniyappa gave a categorical assurance in this regard last month, after the railway budget, made no mention of the train service.

He has, however, changed his track now. In a telephonic conversation with Deccan Herald from New Delhi, Muniyappa only had this to say, “Very soon. We will try to start it as early as possible.” The Minister was careful not to mention a date this time.

Technical details were being worked out as precautions have to be taken against landslides along the Shiradi Ghat section between Sakleshpur and Subramanya, Muniyappa added.

Officials too were tightlipped about the launch date.

The South Western Railway had recently written to the Election Commission seeking permission to inaugurate the day train in the light of the model code of conduct for the byelections in the State next month. The EC granted the permission.

The railway timetable has been carrying the day train schedule since two years, ever since a previous rail budget announced its launch.

The monsoon launch promised this time round has put the Ministry in a tight spot. Already, the night train between Yeshwantpur and Mangalore has been cancelled four times in July due to landslides blocking tracks following heavy rain.

According to top railway officials of SWR division, “The debris from landslides during night can be cleared only during the day when the track is free. It will be really tough to introduce a day train at this juncture,” they said.

Protests by businessmen demanding a day train, held at Mangalore last week, prompted Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee to invite them to Delhi for talks.

While there seems to be no end to traffic snarls

While there seems to be no end to traffic snarls

Traffic chaos at K R Circle.
Faiza HaneefFirst Published : 31 Jul 2009 05:20:00 AM IST
BANGALORE: Did Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike get it totally wrong by building underpasses near Maharani’s College and K R Circle junction, pedestrian subways and the rotary concept at K R Circle? This is the instant question that pops in one’s mind considering that these BBMP innovations to ease the traffic flow might backfire.
Case in point is the feeling among motorists that it would be an arduous task to take the main junction and the underpass near the Maharani College.
BBMP's claim that once the road widening work is completed the traffic flow would improve already sounds hollow. Here’s why. The introduction of innovations like rotary and magic boxes as part of the “signal-free” concept has been irritating for both pedestrians and motorists.
At peak hour, the traffic seems to be in a mess, to put it mildly and the underpass built across the road leading to Cubbon Park at K R Circle, connecting Ambedkar Veedhi with Nrupatunga Road has not been of much help.
Motorists using the Palace Road also have problems as the underpass is not open for the traffic coming from the Chalukya Circle side while it is open for the traffic from the K G Road side. Consequently, the buses moving towards the K R Circle have to go up to CoD office and take an U-turn to join the Sheshadri Road.
BBMP’s effort to ensure free flow of traffic at the cost of about Rs 5 crore is not bearing the desired fruits what with, during peak hours, the vehicles being held up right from Sheshadri Road to Nrupatunga Road. To add to motorists’ woes is the unnecessary signal opposite RBI.
“BBMP could have done wonders with just taking up the road widening work and maintaining traffic signals and that would have solved 90 per cent of the traffic issues at these junctions.
But, now with their hasty decisions, they have created a mess, which cannot be rectified,” said Muniyappa, a resident of Banashankri.
Speaking to Express, BBMP Chief Engineer (major roads) Chikkarayappa, was however confident of putting an end to traffic snarls: “Once the works get completed, it would be the end of problems and confusion. To avoid confusion at these junctions we are putting up sign boards, which would direct the traffic. More such signboards will be put up soon.” He said that the work on the pedestrian subways and road widening is in the process and would be completed once Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation Ltd (KPTCL) lays the cables.
Chikkarayappa also informed that the (BBMP) commissioner gave an ultimatum to BWSSB over shifting of underground drainage lines.
“One layer of asphalting is completed and another round of asphalting has to be carried out, which we would take up depending on the weather conditions,” he said. When asked about using the innovative rotary concept in other parts of the city, the official said that BBMP is awaiting feedback from the public and depending on the feedback further course would be decided. At the face of it, this concept might never get replicated anywhere else.

BBMP draws grand plan to end infrastructure woes

BBMP draws grand plan to end infrastructure woes

Raghavendra RFirst Published : 31 Jul 2009 05:16:00 AM IST
BANGALORE: If everything goes as per plan, Bangalore will have world-class infrastructure on par with other metropolitan cities in the country. In a bid to bridge the gap in the infrastructure needs of the IT city, BBMP has submitted a proposal to the state government on Capital Investment Plan worth Rs 22,000 crore for infrastructure development for 2009-2012.
The proposal is believed to be an answer for decongesting traffic as well as avoiding flooding during rain. If various infrastructure projects under CIP are taken up and completed in the next three years, traffic problems in the city will be addressed to a great extent.
Sources in BBMP said that the Outer Ring Road of about 62 km, which cuts across various radial roads such as major national highways and state highways, is mostly underdeveloped in terms of size, structure, continuity and connectivity.
“Nearly 82 per cent of the total existing roads in old BMP limits are twolane carriage ways. Thus, a majority of these roads are congested, leading to traffic snarls,” they said.
“There has been an increase in the length of arterial and sub-arterial roads with newly-added zones,” they said. The officials also said that it had been proposed to build five more Town Halls in the newly-added zones.
The CIP estimation also includes the cost of land acquisition required for these projects in case the transferable development rights scheme does not work out. The scheme promises land acquisition by allowing land-losers more vertical floor area, while constructing buildings. Sources said that the funds for CIP were expected to be mobilised from BBMP, state government, Centre/JNNURM, bonds/loans with government guarantee, BDA contributi on and public private partnership.
Proposed projects under CIP
Making 12 important corridors signalfree, covering a distance of 118.5 km
Widening, strengthening and asphalting of arterial and sub-arterial roads in newly-added zones of BBMP for identified length of 494 km
Construction of elevated via-ducts
Construction of railway overbridges/ underbridges
Construction of elevated road over stormwater drains (SWDs) from Double Road (KH Road) to Koramangala (NGV) on Koramangala valley (5 km) and from Rajiv Gandhi Circle near Sheshadripuram to Mysore Road on Vrishabhavathi valley (10 km)
Remodelling of SWDs in newly-added areas of BBMP
200 skywalks along signal-free corridors
200 pedestrian subways using precast RCC segment
Construction of elevated North-South corridor (Madiwala to Hebbal) and East corridor via Vellara to Whitefield
Improvement of lakes and parks
Improvement of existing markets and construction of new ones in newly- added zones of BBMP.

Bad news: You won't have power for 2 hours

Bad news: You won't have power for 2 hours

Starting tomorrow, city will have power cuts in the morning and evening

Hemanth Kumar & Senthalir S. Bangalore

It's official. Urban areas will have scheduled power cuts of one hour each in the mornings and evenings from August 1. But the state government is trying to spare Bangalore to ensure 24X7 power supply to the IT city.
Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (BESCOM) managing director Tushar Girinath said the power cuts would be introduced as mentioned in the public notification. The notification states that different localities in the urban areas of Karnataka would go without power for an hour between 6am and 10am in the mornings, and between 6pm and 10pm in the evenings.
The state government has decided to regularise power cuts to enable people to plan their day as per the times when there would be no power supply. "Scheduled power cut (or load-shedding) is inevitable because of the gap in demand and supply," energy minister KS Eshwarappa said.
The energy department on Thursday announced two-hour power cuts for urban areas and 14-hour power cut for rural areas in Karnataka. "We will provide steady, uninterrupted power for 22 hours in cities and town. All efforts would be made to provide 24X7 power to Bangalore. The intention is to keep Bangalore free from power cuts," Eshwarappa said.
The scheduled power cuts in urban areas will be staggered in nature, which means that different areas will have different periods in which these areas would not have any power supply. But, mostly, these will be in the mornings and evenings.

Govt plans garden on BTC land

Govt plans garden on BTC land

Bangalore: Chief minister B S Yeddyurappa wants to develop a garden at Bangalore Turf Club on Race Course Road. The government recently issued orders to shift BTC to the outskirts at Chikkajala by Dec 31.
“A major portion of the existing race course will be developed into a magnificent garden. The BDA will plan it,” the CM wrote to the assembly on Wednesday.
Government has issued orders to give 85 acre to BTC at Chikkajala on a 30-year lease. It will cost Rs 50,000 per acre per year. Of this, 10 acres will be for parking.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

KSRTC ends unfare parking

KSRTC ends unfare parking
A Bangalore Mirror report on the parking scam at Kempe Gowda bus stand has forced KSRTC to terminate the services of the parking contract

Jolted into action by a Bangalore Mirror report, the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) on Wednesday terminated the contract awarded to a private party to collect parking charges from motorists at the Kempe Gowda bus stand.
Bangalore Mirror’s front page story ‘Unfare’ on Wednesday had highlighted how the parking contractor was making a killing by overcharging motorists at Kempe Gowda bus stand. Though the parking contractor was supposed to collect a parking fee of Rs 2 per hour for a two-wheeler, he was collecting Rs 5 per hour. He had been fleecing motorists for the last two-and-a-half years.
Reacting to Bangalore Mirror’s report, KSRTC Managing Director Gaurav Gupta stated that action had been taken to cancel the licence given for collecting parking fare for twowheelers at the bus station. Alternative arrangements will be made. This apart, KSRTC will shortly introduce computerised ticket issue system for twowheeler parking at the station, he stated. The contractor has been given a weeks time to vacate the premises, sources said. Following this, KSRTC will deploy its personnel to manage the parking system.


For more than 40 years, bus No 1 cut across the city from Yeshwantpur to Jayanagar 4th block. Now, after a three-year hiatus, the bus will be back from August 1, unleashing a flood of nostalgia

No 1 is more than just a bus route. It is about memory. It’s about vintage Bangalore where business had still not elected itself the new culture. It was before migrants had flooded the city, people new even to themselves, their pasts locked away, and with no qualms about shifting allegiances and replacing loss.
In Route No 1’s heyday, in the eighties and early nineties, the city was routinely bivouac and not the crammed, claustrophic one it has become. Travelling by this route as it meandered past Malleswaram, Vidhana Soudha and Chamrajpet, office goers, students and travelling salesmen experienced the charm that follows slow unspooling, different neighbourhoods lending themselves to protracted and delightful discovery.
Then the BMTC suspended the route. But now, after a hiatus of three years, Route No 1 will be back on the roads from August 1. Of course, nostalgia had a large part in it as well: Commuters missed it sorely and wanted it back, and the BMTC has willingly obliged.
For those who don’t know, or have forgotten, Route No 1 was the first route introduced in the citys transport system and plied to and from Yeshwantpur and Jayanagar fourth block, via Malleswaram, Seshadripuram, Shivananda circle, Vidhana Soudha, K R circle, Hudson Circle, K R Market, Chamarajpet, Basavanagudi and Jayanagar 4th block. It underwent many avatars, including a road train version, but continued to ply for decades. That’s until the service had to be withdrawn in 2006 once developmental works like construction of underpasses and flyovers undertaken by city civic bodies swamped the route.
It was a popular route among school and college students, office goers and traders. It connected the industrial suburb of Yeshwanthapur to Jayanagar passing through residential areas like Malleswaram, Seshadripuram, Mavalli and Basavanagudi.
Route No 1s have always caught the fancy of commuters across the country. As these were one of the first buses to be introduced in the respective cities, they connected various far flung parts in several cities.
Afzal Ganj to Secunderabad
Ramlal Bazar to BBD Bag (It is called ‘L1’ route)
Tondiarpet to Triplicane
RC Church in Colaba to Byculla (It is called ‘N’ route)
Kendriya terminal to Adarsh Nagar (100 is the first route as the bus numbers start from 100) FAVOURITE BUS
The bus was a favourite with students, since it connected the premiere and best colleges of the city, such as Indian Institute of Science, UVCE, Central College, Government Arts and Science College, SJ Polytechnic, Vijaya college, RV School, Malleshwaram Government junior college and MLA College.
It was a great hit among office goers too, especially state government employees, from these areas, since it passed through Vidhana Soudha and K R Circle area where a maximum number of state government offices are located. During peak hours, people struggled to get space on the footboard. For Vidhana Soudha goers, it was the preferred ‘vaahana’. As the bus used to travel next to Vidhana Soudha (the road was closed after construction of Vikasa Soudha) and for those Vidhana Soudha employees residing between Yeshwnathpur and Jayanagar fourth block, number one was part of office life. It was also children’s favourite bus. Those college students who were not familiar with bus routes were always curious about the first route of the city. Keerthi, a techie says, “When I started moving in the bus in seventh standard, I used to ask my dad to take me in bus number one once. Moreover it connected me to Makkala Koota, the children’s park.”
But there came a time for the BMTC to shut it down. An official said, “It was inevitable for us to cancel the operations of the bus owing to the developmental works undertaken by civic bodies. But now all is okay. The underpass works near Maharani Circle and K R Circle have been completed and the route has been kept open for traffic. We have planned to reintroduce Route 1 with the operation of five buses.”
It is said that Route No 1 was operational when BMTC had only 400-500 buses a few decades ago. The cancellation of Route No 1 affected commuters from Vidhana Soudha, K R Market, Chamarajpet, Gandhi Bazaar and other prominent areas. BMTC officials however contend that the cancellation of the route’s operations did not affect commuters.”We are operating 5,000 odd buses within the city limits. The cancellation of Route No 1 did not affect any of the commuters. From Yeshwanthpur, buses ply every five minutes. To add to it, Route No 1 will re-start service from August 1. We will observe if there are enough commuters on the route or not. If the demand is sufficient, we are also ready to operate Volvo buses on Route No 1.”

Rain takes city by surprise

Rain takes city by surprise

Staff Reporter
It was only 6.5 mm of rain; roads were flooded
Rains are attributed to break monsoon period

Overcast skies and rain forecast for next 48 hours

Bangalore: After a gap of several weeks, the city received a sudden spell of rain on Wednesday that brought with it an instant nip in the evening air. The city, which had been largely sheltered from the monsoon that lashed coastal Karnataka all this month, received a modest 6.5 mm of rain.

Modest though it was, the steady downpour was enough to leave roads flooded and residents scurrying for cover. This unexpected showers could be a harbinger of a “break monsoon” period, said director of the meteorological centre A. Muthuchami.

Break monsoon refers to the phase when rainfall begins to decrease over the coast and intensify over the interiors, he said.

Rain and cloudy skies would prevail for the next 48 hours in the city moderating the temperatures too, said Mr. Muthuchami. There had, over the last few weeks, been a gap of over 10 degrees between the maximum and minimum temperatures in the city. Bangalore recorded 21 degrees Celsius (minimum) and 30 degrees Celsius (maximum) on Wednesday.

Several other parts of interior Karnataka are likely to receive rain in the next couple of days, according to the meteorological department’s forecast. “Heavy to very heavy rain” will continue to lash coastal Karnataka and the Western Ghats in the next 48 hours.

Coastal Karnataka recorded heavy rainfall between Tuesday and Wednesday with parts of Udupi and Agumbe receiving 14 cm of rain over the last 24 hours while Dakshina Kannada, Kodagu and Shimoga received between 10 cm and 7 cm of rain.

Moving towards a cleaner Bangalore

Moving towards a cleaner Bangalore

BBMP sets up environment cell for better solid waste management

DNA Correspondent. Bangalore

The Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has constituted an environment cell for better management and disposal of solid wastes generated in the city. BBMP commissioner Bharat Lal Meena sent a direction in this regard to set up the environment cell.
Until now, the health department of the BBMP was managing the garbage disposal. But from August, the environment cell will take charge and implement the programme in several stages.
The environment cell officers will work in collaboration with the health, welfare department, BWSSB, Pollution Control Board and Bangalore Development Authority.
61 officers will be appointed to the cell. It will comprise if seven environment engineers, 26 health officers and 28 assistant executive engineers, with two to three senior health inspectors and three to four junior inspectors.

Felling trees for metro is insensible

Felling trees for metro is insensible

Vaishalli Chandra. Bangalore

Like many of the greens in Bangalore, renowned eco-feminist, Vandana Shiva, who was in the city said that felling trees to make way for the metro is not a sensible move and can have adverse effects in future.
"I don't feel that it is a smart idea to cut trees. In fact, it is a criminal act, especially in a country like India where the summers are harsh and monsoons heavy," said Shiva. The environmentalist felt that cutting trees further will only de-stabilise the climatic conditions.
The activist went on to add that the act of assaulting trees is almost similar to attacking the Indian culture.
"Addressing people in a foreign land, Tagore said that while they learn by brick and motar, we Indians, learn through our forests and trees. He called ours a forest civilisation — aranya sanskriti. So doing away with trees means hurting our unique heritage," she said. Shiva also blamed the affluent class of the country and said that their obsession with hi-tech, modern ways of life meant cutting of more and more trees, thus inconveniencing the poor.
Be it for the metro works in Bangalore or for constructing highways in Andhra Pradesh or making way for broader roads in Dehradun so that ministers' cars can reach their destinations faster, trees are being felled across the country.

CM recites poem on his dream Bangalore

CM recites poem on his dream Bangalore
Bangalore,DH News Service:

Chief Minister Yeddyurappa turned a poet on Wednesday while explaining his dreams to make Bangalore a liveable city. He read out a special poem - My Dream Bangalore- in the Legislative Assembly.

The Kannada poem, which has six stanzas, highlighted how the Capital should be according the CM.

The poem was part of the written reply he gave to the discussion on demands for grant of various departments.

He wants to make Bangalore free from poverty, civic amenities for all, security for its citizens and state-of-the-art infrastructure facilities. CM said the State government had already commenced several programmes and projects to realise the dream. The Government had taken up road widening, new flyovers, grade separators, drinking water projects. It was almost recap on all the programmes which has been initiated and which are in the pipeline.

Projects and allocations

* Rs 450 crore released to make the stretch between Hebbal flyover and Kanteerva Studio signal free
* Rs 563 crore for development of 1,276 km road in BBMP limits.
* Development of 73 parks by BBMP and seven parks by BDA taken up.
* Development of 29 lakes at a cost of Rs 294 crore
* Metro phase-1 to be completed by December 2010.
* Cultural programmes in various parks to be held every Sunday.
* Complete the Cauvery II phase IV stage scheme by spending Rs 4,000 cr
* Rs 100 crore for providing drinking water to new areas coming under BBMP
* Develop creatively Devikarani Roerich estate on Kanakapura road
* Develop forest in 180 acres in BM Kaval.

Greens give new hue to Race Course row

Greens give new hue to Race Course row

Here is some ''green noise'' for a cause which, if taken cognizance by the Karnataka High Court, may give some breathing space to Bangaloreans.

A coalition of City environmentalists of all hues—academics, cine artists, dramatists and writers—have joined hands in an effort to apply pressure on the State Government to retain the Race Course’s greenery once its lease period ends.

Dramatist Girish Karnad, actor-environmentalist Suresh Heblikar and writers like U R Ananthamurthy, Maralu Sidappa, G K Govinda Rao and others like S G Vasudeva and Ammu Joseph have moved the High Court seeking directions to convert the 70-acre place into the City’s lung. In their petition, filed on Wednesday, the activists have apprehensions stating that the State Government was planning constructing the City’s tallest highrise on the Race Course’s current location. The petitioners have prayed for directions to the government that no new contract is entered into with builders or developers without the Court’s consent. The rationale for this stand is that the City needed more green cover.

Speaking on the public interest litigation that he and some of his co-activists filed, Heblikar said it was an attempt to protect the race course as lung space. “We are not fighting on behalf of horse-owners or employees. We are concerned that the Race Course needs to be a lung space considering the general pollution that Bangalore suffers from,” Heblikar said.

Heblikar reasoned that there were 34 lakh vehicles that ply the City’s roads and, therefore, the Race Course needed to be a carbon sync where thousands of trees will be planted to absorb the daily emissions. He said the Race Course, spread over and area of 70 acres, can recharge underground water “so vital” for a city whose water was going down steadily.

Pointing out that thousands of trees have been felled for road-widening, Heblikar said retaining the Race Course as a green patch will compensate for the loss to a certain extent.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Yeddyurappa told the Legislative Assembly on Wednesday that the existing Race Course premises would be developed into a beautiful park.

In a written reply to the discussion on demands for grants for various departments, he said Bangalore Development Authority will consult experts to prepare a plan for developing the proposed park. His government is firm about shifting the Race Course to reduce congestion on the road. The government has decided to sanction land in Chikkajala for opening a new race course on a contract basis.

No settlement on defence road: ASC

No settlement on defence road: ASC

July 30th, 2009
By Our Correspondent

Bengaluru, July 29: The Army Service Corps (ASC) Centre, Domlur, on Wednesday said before the Lok Adalat that it is not ready for any kind of settlement on the road in its premises for public use.
Several residents of Krishna Reddy Layout had approached the court after defence authorities shut the road for civilians citing security reasons.
Earlier, the high court had directed the local authorities to come up with an alternative road for the colony residents in Domlur. It had then referred the matter before the Lok Adalat for a settlement between ASC, colony residents and BBMP. On Wednesday, the counsel appearing for the defence forces submitted that it is not ready for any settlement.

Boards down, traffic hit

Boards down, traffic hit

July 30th, 2009
By Our Correspondent

Bengaluru, July 29: A special drive by BBMP on Wednesday to clear hoardings and hawkers paralysed traffic in the central business district area of the city for more than two hours.
The drive was carried out during peak hour leaving motorists confused and angry. Huge hoardings were pulled down on Brigade Road blocking the area, causing bumper-to-bumper traffic till the Coffee Board junction and Ulsoor Circle on the other side.
“There were traffic jams on MG Road, Brigade Road, Kamaraj Road junction and surrounding areas soon
after BBMP personnel started removing the hoardings,” a traffic police personnel said.
BBMP commissioner B.L. Meena told Deccan Chronicle, “This is a special drive that will go on for a while. We will undertake the drive at night too and special batches of BBMP officials are being deployed for the same,” added Mr Meena.
“The traffic police was primarily informed about the drive and they coordinated with us,” said Mr Meena.
But the city traffic police said BBMP started the operation without informing them.
“BBMP officials started their operation without informing us. In addition to personnel, lorries and other BBMP vehicles blocked the road affecting traffic,” the officer said.
“If we were informed earlier, traffic could have been diverted to MG Road and surrounding areas. We have more traffic flow from the north of the city, especially from the Bengaluru International Airport. The six-lane road ends at Infantry Road ending in a complete bottleneck,” said ACP (Central traffic) A. Nagappa.
Many shop owners were upset as they were not informed earlier about the operation.
“When we questioned the officials, we were told that the notification was published in some newspapers,” said Rashid Farooq, manager, American Corner.
Basha (name changed), who owns a luggage shop, said he was asked to pay a fine along with a renewal fee if he wanted the hoardings back.
“I have spent more than Rs 20,000 on the hoardings. The way they are being handled, they will be completely damaged,” he said.
Suhail Yusuf, secretary, Brigade road Shop Owners and Establishment Association (BSEA), welcomed the BBMP move saying: “Justice has been done to shop owners.”
But by evening many hawkers were back to business.
“It is common. Luckily, they came in the morning, much earlier than us,” said Usman Paasha, seller of leather materials.

‘Make BTC area a green zone’

‘Make BTC area a green zone’
URA, Karnad And 5 Others File PIL

Bangalore: Even as the tussle between Bangalore Turf Club (BTC) and the government over shifting of the race course continues, seven citizens have moved the high court, seeking directions to maintain the place as a green zone.
Jnanpith awardees U R Ananthamurthy and Girish Karnad, environmentalist Suresh Heblikar, litterateur K Marulasiddappa, theatre personality G K Govinda Rao, painter S G Vasudev and journalist Ammu Joseph have filed a PIL seeking to restrain the authorities from entering into a contract or lease for a building on the said premises.
“In Bangalore, air and sound pollution levels are high. The city needs green cover and the BTC area should be converted into a lung space. The 70-odd acres should be declared a green zone and necessary rules should be framed to safeguard Bangalore from environmental degradation,” the petition states.
The petition is likely to come up for hearing this weekend.
The 73.35-acre land on Race Course Road where the Bangalore Turf Club is situated at present is considered an important lung space in the heart of the city. The BTC had requested the state to extend the lease but the state was not inclined. They then sought for alternative land to shift the race course. The government considered this and a site measuring 152.02 acres in Jaala hobli was identified.
The government had sought modification of the August 22, 1995 interim order of the court which asked the authorities not to make any grant of lands pertaining to tank bed areas.
On July 13, the high court had given the government liberty to take appropriate action in the matter of shifting the race course from the heart of the city. A division Bench headed by chief justice P D Dinakaran told the authorities to act ‘strictly in accordance with law’ while dealing with the matter.

Slow down, for your own good

Slow down, for your own good
Traffic Interceptors With Speed Guns Deployed On Road To BIA
A T Subrahmanya | TNN

Bangalore: Bikers zooming on the road to Bengaluru International Airport, slow down! Traffic police on their hi-tech interceptor vehicles are waiting to slap a fine. The speed limit for twowheelers, contrary to popular belief, is only 60, and not 80 km/hour. Devanahalli Road’s smooth tarmac may seem enticing to motorcycle enthusiasts, but the rising number of accidents has the police stepping up their guard. Two interceptors have been deployed on the stretch covering five police stations. For the record, there have been 106 fatal and 600 non-fatal accidents on this road since January 2008!
Speed guns on the interceptors are being used to catch those crossing the lawful limit. “Naturally, motorcyclists aren’t amused and some of them even claim that the speed shown on the ticket is incorrect,” a police officer said. The problem is that most people are not even aware of the limit and start arguing, he added.
Adding to the confusion, till recently, was the absence of signboards indicating speed limit for two-wheelers. But that has been rectified now. There are clear boards put up, indicating the limits: 60 km/hour for two-wheelers, 80 for four-wheelers and 40 for heavy vehicles.
Police say there are nearly 120 cases of overspeeding registered on the road every day. An officer said there are only nine interceptors in the city, two of which are used on this road.
Additional commissioner of police (traffic) Praveen Sood said: “There was some confusion earlier but now there are signboards indicating the limits. We are not very strict with two-wheeler riders but those speeding too much have to be stopped and fined.”
Speed limit within the city is 50 km/hour but the rule is not enforced strictly for practical reasons, he added.
Overspeeding and other cases from interceptors on Bellary Road in 2009
January: 3,067 cases, Rs 9.1 lakh fine collected February: 2,047, Rs 6.1 lakh March: 2,721, Rs 8.1 lakh April: 3,018, Rs 9 lakh May: 3,037, Rs 9.06 lakh June: 2,849, Rs 8.5 lakh Total: 16,739, Rs 49 lakh IN NUMBERS 2008: 74 fatal accidents, 80 dead; 414 non-fatal accidents, 372 injured 2009 (till June): 32 fatal accidents, 37 dead; 186 non-fatal accidents, 170 injured.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Land-use fee goes through the ceiling

Land-use fee goes through the ceiling
Govt Fixes Fee As Percentage Of Prevailing Guidance Value
S Kushala & Jaideep Shenoy | TNN

Bangalore: Take a deep breath, here comes a shocker. Property buyers and land and layout developers will have to pay a very steep fee for change of land use and layout approvals. The government had on June 30 published the draft rules to amend the Karnataka Planning Authorities Rules, which have fixed the fee based on a percentage of guidance value.
What was Rs 75 per sqm for change of land use in Bangalore from residential to commercial is now 18% of the guidance value of total land area. Similarly, the Rs 40/sqm being paid for change of land use to industrial has been revised to 17% of the guidance value of total land.
Strangely, the draft notification has not been publicized by the authorities, who have called for objections/suggestions within 30 days.
Earlier, the change of land use fee was based on the population and varied from gram panchayats, CMCs, TMC and corporations. Now, with the new amendments, the rates are based on a percentage of guidance value.
The amendment to Section 18 (i) reads: “At the rates equal to such percentage of the value of the building determined on the basis of guidance value notified under the Karnataka Stamp Act, in the case of permission for change in use of land or approval of layout.’’
According to town planners, the revised fee will have an adverse impact on the already-shaky realty sector. “Layout sanction fee may go up manifold, thanks to the percentage rate. This is going to have a negative impact on the industry,’’ they explained.
Karnataka Township Developers’ Association general secretary C J Roy told TOI this move will hit the realty sector which is showing signs of recovering from economic slowdown. “The impact will be harsh and the developers will be forced to pass on the additional burden to the customers,’’ he said.
For change of land use and layout approvals: Residential: 15% of the guidance value of total land
Commercial: 18%
Industrial: 17%
Others: 8%
Nod for
Akrama Sakrama
The much-awaited second amendment Bill to regularize unauthorized sites and layouts (Akrama-Sakrama) was passed in the assembly on Tuesday. This amendment will enable regularization of all illegal sites and layouts developed prior to December 31, 2008 as a onetime comprehensive scheme.

Lalbagh Garden in fine shape

Lalbagh Garden in fine shape

As the place, a noted tourist spot in South Asia, is preparing for another flower show next month, Odeal D'Souza does a reality check on how it is maintained and the facilities available there for visitors

Odeal D'Souza

A critic's roving camera will begin the tour of Lalbagh Botanical Garden with a close up on plastic bags and cups lying on the ground amid many empty dustbins. It reveals the utter lack of civic sense of the visitors to the garden which is, however, well-maintained by the horticulture department. Every morning, they get the place cleaned up by a 30-member team.
A tractor, tempo, and two-wheeler collect the bio-waste. While plastic bags, bottles, and cups are transported to the dump yards located in the city's outskirts, bio-waste is put into the compound pit. The sorting station located at the garden's south gate segregates glass and plastic sachets.
Saahas, an NGO, helps in keeping the garden clean.
There are 85 gardeners for the upkeep of the garden. They are regular workers and get about Rs7,000 to Rs8,000 according to government norms.
The authorities are aware of several acts of indiscipline happening in the garden and are taking steps to make the visitors behave.
"For this, we have brought in at least 60 personnel as security guards. They will move around the park and warn the errant visitors. Boards will also be put up to guide them on the dos and don'ts while using the park. This is a process of educating them that will go on for a month" said M Jagadeesh, deputy director for horticulture.
"If visitors still keep violating the garden rules, security guards will slap a fine of Rs100 to Rs500. And if visitors misuse the garden by indulging in obscene activities, they will be booked under the Immoral Trafficking Act," he said.
Welcome changes have happened after the new director of horticulture N Jayaram took charge.
One such was the removal of many pestering hawkers. "This was done with the help of police officials. Now joggers and visitors like the park as it is free of these elements," he said.
About 32 new stone benches have been built for the convenience of visitors. To keep the park litter-free, 80 more dustbins have been fixed in various points.
One hundred daily walkers have been selected as tree wardens. They will keep a watch on the trees and report to the authorities if anything goes amiss.
Responding to repeated complaints from the visitors, the authorities are planning to construct additional toilets. Now the garden has only three such facility. Considering the number of visitors, they are too few.
For visitors who are thirsty, more facilities are being planned for the supply of safe drinking water.
A 4-km track will be built for joggers from Siddhapura to the main gate. Landscaping will be done around the glass house.
"We want to set up CCTV cameras and metal detectors along with traffic detectors at all the three entrances to monitor the visitors. Some of them enter the garden without even buying tickets. The cameras will help us in catching them. We are also planning a proper food court for the visitors," said Jagdeesh.
Despite the existing facilities, visitors are not satisfied. They want more.
"I wish the authorities open a salad bar," said a frequent visitor who did not want to be identified.
"There should be activities for children in the garden. In this green setting, they should get an opportunity to learn about environment and expand their creativity by indulging in vegetable carving or making flower arrangements," said Vikrath M, another frequent visitor.
"But this is a botanical garden and not an activity centre. So we cannot have activities for children," said N Jayaram, director for horticulture.
"There should be maps at the entrances to the garden so that we will not get lost," said Lobtsang G, a tourist from Burma.
Every day, about 6,000 to 8,000 people visit the garden. On weekends or festival days, their number will be about 10,000 to 15,000. During flower shows, about 75,000 people come here every day.
But there is no book for visitors to register their impressions about the place. Children above 12 years of age have to buy tickets for entry. But entry is free for joggers and visiting officials.

BTC may get longer run at race course

BTC may get longer run at race course

July 29th, 2009
By Our Correspondent

Bengaluru, July 28: With barely five months to go before the lease on the Bangalore Turf Club expires, is the B.S. Yeddyurappa government reassessing its stance that the BTC must vacate the premises — one of the few lung spaces in the heart of the city — before the December 31 deadline?
Insiders indicated that 85 acres of land Chikkajala is to be handed over to the BTC in a couple of days and that there is a possibility that BTC will be allowed to stay on at its current tony address during the three years it will take to build a new racecourse.
However when asked for a comment, Chief Minister Yeddyurappa, who had told Deccan Chronicle that he would like to build the country’s tallest tower where the race course stands, said: “If there is anything like that, I will have to tell the Assembly first, not the media.”
BTC sources reiterated that if all else fails, they will move the courts, even as the turf club relocation claimed its first casualty with 202 of 248 members of the BTC voting to remove chairman P.V. Shetty from office in an emergency annual general meeting (AGM) Monday evening over not handling the relocation satisfactorily.
As members do not have the right to remove a chairman, a second AGM has been called on Wednesday where the executive committee could pick Harinder Shetty or Harimohan Naidu as chairman.
Back in the 80s, the BTC members had voted out then chairman Venugopal Naidu and replaced him with P.G. Belliappa.

All for our green cover

All for our green cover

Aniruddha ChowdhuryFirst Published : 29 Jul 2009 05:18:00 AM IST
IT can be quite demoralising when one’s best efforts in restoring our city’s green cover are stalled by a mechanical failure, as if it wasn’t bad enough dealing with the constant felling of trees, the apathy of the authorities and the perfunctory involvement of the public. Ask Janet of treesforfree.
org and you will know how it feels.
On a crusade since 2005 to restore the fast disappearing greenery of our city, she worked hard towards planting saplings across the city, all with her humble Maruti Zen which she had customised in her own way for the purpose, and which served her well enough so far before falling apart due to all that travelling. She used to ferry her saplings all over the place along with her volunteers and convince people to let them plant saplings on their property, houses and offices. The initiative worked out pretty well in gated communities.
“My car stalled a lot earlier than other cars do because of all the pressure on it. When there are a larger number of saplings we hire tempos, but it is a waste to hire tempos for a small number of saplings. What we need is a pick-up to take our initiative forward, and it costs around Rs 4 lakh. Even if 4,000 concerned people could contribute Rs 100 each, we could get the funds,” she says.
It was over four years back that she started this initiative in memory of her husband, RS Yegneswaran.
Before she embarked on her green drive, she was into landscaping, and planting saplings had seemed like quite a natural thing to do for her. It didn’t start off with a bang, with only 250 saplings being planted in the first year of the organisation’s inception and approximately the same number in the second year. But when the much respected Salumaradha Thimakka came into the scene, it picked up in a big way.
Their second anniversary had them notching up a figure of 500 saplings in that one day alone! Since then the figure has swelled to over 13,200 saplings, with some weekends yielding over 200.
Janet plants trees for free. Just spot a site and let her know and she will help you plant a tree there. Also, she encourages you to fight against global warming and spread the word about her organisation as well as about simple things you can do to fight global warming. has planted a lot of saplings at schools, colleges, hospitals, offices and banks.
They do events also. In their second year, they had formed a human chain on MG Road, which had seen got a lot of participation.
The authorities also have been cooperative. BBMP has provided tree guards in south Bangalore, but the north has been a problem.
“We are a volunteer based organisation, and it is nice to see so many youngsters pitching in to save the environment. We have no fixed targets for the future, because we can never have enough trees planted, but we definitely want to continue this as long as possible with the help of the people around,” Janet says.

BBMP sets up cells for garbage disposal

BBMP sets up cells for garbage disposal

Express News ServiceFirst Published : 29 Jul 2009 04:42:00 AM ISTLast Updated : 29 Jul 2009 09:57:34 AM IST
BANGALORE: The BBMP has set up environment cells which will look into solid waste management. These cells will ensure scientific disposal of garbage. The task was earlier managed by the BBMP health officials and later, it was given to the ward engineers. But now, these separate cells will be headed by environment engineers. Medical officers and ward engineers will form part of the teams, till recruitments are done for the posts of environment engineers, through the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board. BBMP, at present, has around eight to ten environment engineers and the shortage has to be overcome.
Till then, services of medical health officers and ward engineers will be availed.

Land for NICE township with farmers’ consent

Land for NICE township with farmers’ consent
Bangalore,DH News Service:

The State government has said the State will purchase land in Bangalore South taluk for NICE township project with the consent of farmers.

It denied the Opposition parties’ allegation that the Government was purchasing the land from farmers, paying a paltry amount.

Congress member Motamma raised the issue in the Zero Hour in the Legislative Council. She alleged that the farmers were being paid only between Rs 88,000 and Rs 2 lakh per acre for land, notified for the project.

Industries Minister Murugesh Nirani said that the State had not fixed price for land.
The primary notification for land acquisition was issued in 1998. The final notification was issued in March this year, when the State was under the Governor’s rule. A meeting of farmers convened by the deputy commissioner concerned failed to arrive at a consensus. At present, the matter was before the Supreme Court. The Government would obey the court’s order.

Leader of the Opposition Ugrappa and JD(S) member Y S V Datta alleged that the minister was misleading the House by giving wrong information. The matter was not before the court. Ugrappa said, the township was not part of the framework agreement of the BMIC. He demanded that the Government drop the project and backtrack from acquiring the land.

Bangalore to have smaller, compact wards; bill passed

Bangalore to have smaller, compact wards; bill passed
Bangalore, PTI:

Karnataka Legislative Assembly on Wednesday passed an amendment bill facilitating constitution of smaller and compact wards with an average population of 30,000 in city corporation--Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) area to have smooth administration.

The Karnataka Municipal Corporations (Amendment) Bill, 2009, enables enhancement of maximum number of wards for a corporation to 200.

It provides for nomination of members equal to ten per cent of the total number of members in the council, instead of ten members, from among the city residents to BBMP, Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister S Suresh Kumar said.

The House passed the Karnataka Municipalities and Certain Other Law (Amendment) Bill, 2009, to facilitate the State Election Commission to use electronic voting machines in the elections to the urban local bodies.

Suresh Kumar said the EVMs would be manufactured by the Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL),adding,the Legislative measure would entail an approximate expenditure of Rs 11 crore.

The Karnataka Stamp (Second Amendment) Bill, 2009 facilitating reduction of the stamp duty on sale transactions of all kinds of immovable properties including agricultural land from 7.5 per cent to six per cent, was passed by the Assembly.

Another bill that received the nod in the Legislature is the Karnataka Essential Services Maintenance Bill, 2009, which prohibits refusal to work in certain essential services connected with production, generation, storage, transmission, supply or distribution of water or electricity, and transport service for the carriage of passengers or goods.

Bangalore airport invites bids for apron expansion

Bangalore airport invites bids for apron expansion
Anjana Chandramouly

Bangalore, July 28 Bangalore International Airport Ltd (BIAL) has invited expressions of interest for apron expansion.

The tender has been called for designing and building an extension of the apron and includes civil, structural and electrical works. The major scope of work consists of about 2.3 lakh sq.m. The project is estimated to cost about Rs 120 crore.

The last date for submission of expressions of interest is August 7. The project is expected to start in January 2010 and end in December 2011.

“The next immediate expansion of the Bengaluru International Airport will include extending the apron from the current 42 aircraft parking stands to 62,” a BIAL spokesperson told Business Line.

Stating that even with the slowdown the traffic figures in this region are set to grow at a steady pace, she said, “Reacting to this growth, we will continue to realise our master plan and expand to accommodate increased traffic in terms of aircraft movements and passengers.”

Mr Marcel Hungerbuehler, Chief Executive Officer, BIAL, had recently said they will start planning for a second terminal and runway next year, after a due diligence of plans.

The BIAL spokesperson said the specifications depend on a wide range of factors including traffic forecasts, the type of aircraft that the airport will be handling, and the requirements of airlines operating a few years from now.

“These details are dynamic and will constantly be changed to align with the need of the hour,” she added.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


A group of residents at Sun City near the Sarjapur-Outer Ring Road junction refuse to grease official palms to obtain khata, pay property tax and the like.They used RTI to find out the status of their applications, forcing the officials to act. It’s a model for the rest of Bangalore

In our society, where not many seem averse to corruption and think more about comfort than virtue, the decision of a group of young Bangalore residents to go against the grain is heartening.
Under the aegis of the Suncity Apartment Owners Association (SAOA), 250 residents of Suncity Apartments on the Sarjapur-Outer Ring Road junction have paid their property tax for last year, and about 100 of them are in the process of getting the khata of their apartment registered shortly, all without paying a single paisa in bribe, either to the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike, the Bangalore Development Authority or the revenue officials.
Not that it has been a hurdle-free journey. “At every step, we encountered corrupt officials - from the beginning while taking the application to the last stage of making the actual payment by demand draft - who wanted their share. But we did not relent. This meant several trips to government offices and long waits. But despite that, we are getting our work done honestly,” says Ashok Dubey, one of the senior-most members in the association, who has made innumerable trips to all the government offices for khata registration. “I have been a government officer all my life and have never taken bribe from anyone; so why should I resort to corruption now,” adds Dubey, who also initiated a senior citizens club at Suncity which does a lot of welfare activities. This success story has been put up on the website of the president of the association, Hariprakash Agarwal ( and has got an overwhelming response from residents from all over Bangalore, wanting to follow in their footsteps.
It all started one and a half years ago, when a group of new occupants of the complex were faced with the problem of getting their khata registered. They were faced with a situation of having to shell out at least Rs 25,000-30,000 just for getting the khata. That’s when Suncityites Vidyasagar, Harshad, Sanjeev Suman, Renjith Chitharanajan and Dayanand, who had been running from pillar to post to get the khata and had hit a wall, filed an RTI application and asked the BBMP Commissioner to furnish details about the nature of their khata application. After struggling for almost five months, they finally got their khatas registered, without paying anything more than the prescribed amount.
“That is when we decided that we should help other residents and make our community free of corruption. Our aim was to put across the message that we should not pay a hefty amount to get something that is rightfully ours,” says Vidyasagar Magdum, treasurer of SAOA.
SAOA also organised a camp in their premises for khata registration with the help of local MLA Satish Reddy, who has been a supporter of their cause. Of course, they were faced with corrupt officials even at the camp, apart from resistance from residents who wanted to take the easy way out, but they stood their ground. “The result is that we are in the process of getting at least 150 khata applications cleared in the first phase and will start the process for more shortly,” says Dubey. The same approach has been taken for getting electricity bills transferred and paying property tax.
The group has now joined hands with other resident associations in the area and are in the process of forming the Bellandur-Iblur Residents Association, which will have a sub-committee specifically for bribe-free khata registration. “Till now, we had accepted malpractices as a way of life; it’s time to change that,” says Dubey.

Underworld lurks under dim city lights

Underworld lurks under dim city lights Vinay Madhav | TNN
Bangalore: IT City is not just about software, malls, brat packs and bright city lights. In the dimmer galis and congested market areas, lives another world, armed, dangerous but silent. It has always been there, in those narrow lanes, where battles are fought for supremacy over turf.
As the city sped on to the fast lane, the character of the underworld changed too. Gangsters still brandish swords and longs at each other, and fiercely guard their business of ‘real estate’. Many have graduated to firearms, though fortunately, the gun culture is not prevalent. Neither do they trouble ordinary people. In their world, momentary glory and inevitable death are hard realities. But what’s missing is a don who controls all of Bangalore.
These ganglords live by the sword and suspicion — there are bloody wars, hot chases by the police, they are in and out of jails, and their job is to plot and make money. But once they are sucked into the system, it is tough to get out. Individuals may come and go, but the system lives on.
Monday’s gang battle at the gym had all these elements, and more. Sandalwood movies have been made on this world, some fictitious and some based on real stories.
Gangsters no longer survive on hafta from wine shops, bars, brothels and live band joints. Their money-spinners are real estate and disputed properties. Today, there are over 1,800 rowdy-sheeters in the city, but only 150-200 are really active.
Known ganglands
Traditionally, Bangalore West Zone leads the number of rowdy-sheeters, followed by South Zone. There are also some Muslim dons. Each of them guards his tract, and they don’t mingle or cross swords with each other.
Rowdy-infested areas run like a chain: including Mahalakshmi Layout, Basaweshwaranagar, Kamakshipalya, Vijayanagar, Girinagar, Hanumanthnagar, Subrahmanyapura, J P Nagar, Madiwala. Most rowdy-related murders and kidnappings take place in these areas.
Unlike earlier, where rowdies had only machetes and swords, these people have country-made firearms and sophisticated sten guns.
What’s the history?
Bangalore’s underworld dates back to the late 1960s, when Ko d i g e h a l l i Mune Gowda became the first u n d e r wo rl d don. He controlled all of Bangalore, and his basic revenue source was hafta from brothels and arrack shops. In the ‘70s, Kotwal Ramachandra and Jairaj entered the field. Wine and other shops were added to the list. They had political affiliations, but gang wars were not common.
The scene changed in the 1980s and ‘90s, when young turks entered the field: Muthappa Rai, Sridhar, Boot House Kumar, Bekkina Kannu Rajendra, Srirampura Kitty, Jedarahalli Krishnappa, Pushpa, Kala Pathar and Ele Naga emerged.
At the same time, the Muslim underworld became active, with Abu Shair, Koli Fayaz, Tanvir, Ishtiyak, Sajjad, Nazir, Tarakari Khaleel, Chappal Hamid and others taking control of areas like Shivajinagar, Tannery Road, JJ Nagar, Ilyasnagar and other Muslim-dominated areas. Bangalore was virtually a battleground, as these operators stretched their businesses to all possible revenue earning sectors, including live bands and oil adulteration.
Return to peace
While most got eliminated in the process, some survived and began leading peaceful lives, like Muthappa Rai, Agni Sridhar, Jedarahalli Krishnappa, Pushpa, Kalapathar. They also gained social acceptance. Muthappa Rai and Agni Sridhar, staunch rivals, are now activists of sorts and also editors of tabloids.
Gun culture
The advent of gun culture in the Bangalore underworld is rather late. Guns were first used in 1989, when Jairaj was eliminated. Since then, there have been sporadic incidents.
Of late, everyone in the underworld has procured guns — from country-made katta, revolvers, pistols and even sten guns. Supplies came from Purulia, West Bengal, through the Muslim underworld. Haveri Aslam, from Jharkhand, came into contact with Reebok Naseem of JJ Nagar in jail. When Naseem realised that Aslam had contacts with arms dealers in Purulia, they decided to get some to Bangalore.
Huge consignments of weapons came to Bangalore, and the underworld lapped them up. One consignment was seized at the city railway station, after which they decided to stop procuring guns through the train route.

Convention centre near BIA planned

Convention centre near BIA planned
Bangalore, dhns:

On the role played by entrepreneurs in improving tourism facilities, the Principal Secretary said 1,600 acres of land have been given by 123 people from different parts of the State to the tourism department.

A huge ‘Bangalore Convention Centre’ and a ‘Mini Karnataka’ project will come up near the Bangaluru International Airport soon.

Taking part in a programme organised on Monday to announce a joint venture between Jet Airways and the ‘Golden Chariot’ of Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation (KSTDC), the Principal Secretary of Tourism Department, N Jothiramalingam said, “A Convention Centre that will cost Rs 1,100 crores, will be set up on 35 acres of land.” Soma Consortium has been awarded the contract to complete the job within a 30-month deadline.
Tourism and Infrastructure Minister Janardhan Reddy said, a ‘Mini Karnataka’ would be created on a seven-acre land near the airport to showcase the tourist spots in the State.

“Miniature models of important tourist spots and maps will be displayed here,” he said.
Elaborating on other initiatives by the Tourism Department, Jothiramalingam said that seven acres of land at Agechur near Belur had been leased to Mahindra Holidays for development purposes. They are expected to pay Rs Four lakh each month to KSTDC after a period of 30 years.

On the role played by entrepreneurs in improving tourism facilities, the Principal Secretary said 1,600 acres of land have been given by 123 people from different parts of the State to the tourism department. “To develop structures on these spots, 93 investors have come forward,” he added.

Monday, July 27, 2009


The ambitious project, which comprises elevated highway as well as a six-lane road, will be completed only in March 2010 against its deadline of November this year

The Tumkur Road project is the latest addition to the list of unmet deadlines in Bangalore. The project, which was to have been completed by November-end, will not be complete before March 2010. A test drive conducted by Bangalore Mirror revealed only 73 per cent of the work has been completed so far.
As this road links two-thirds of Karnataka and is a gateway to western India, it is one of the densest highways, with 1.2 lakh passenger car units traversing it every day. Out of the 19.5-km stretch, 4.3 km will be a four-lane elevated highway and the rest a six-lane highway, besides twolane service roads on either side.
Upon completion of the project, motorists can drive between Nelamangala and Goraguntepalya (Ring Road junction) in 15 minutes as against over an hour now.
Out of the 119 piers, 112 have been completed. The work on spans has been completed between Kennametal and Shell petrol bunk. Though service roads have been almost completed, small stretches near Arasinakunte and Binnamangala have yet to be completed. The project also includes a flyover at the Nelamangala-Kunigal road junction and six grade separators - Chikkabidarakal, Madavara, Adakimaranahalli, Dasanapura, Arasinakunte and Sondekoppa Road.
The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) officials said these works will be completed before December and the elevated highways by March next year.
With the elevated highway work approaching Hesaraghatta Cross, a portion of the old highway will be barricaded and motorists have to use only service roads.
The police now expect traffic jams on a narrower stretch between Hesaraghatta Cross and Jalahalli Cross. An NHAI official said, “We have requested traffic police to ban movement of heavy trucks on this road till elevated highway is completed. We have suggested that trucks moving towards Hosur Road use NICE Road and those heading towards Hyderabad road can move towards Dobbespet.
“Top police officials inspected the area last week and said alternative arrangements will be in place before August,” he said.
The elevated highways may offer smooth transport of vehicles to the city but they are expected to hit a bottleneck at the Ring Road junctions. As traffic jams will be encountered at the Silk Board junction, Goraguntepalya junction will be a bigger bottleneck for the Tumkur Road project. The NHAI project concludes just before the Ring Road junction. As passing vehicles have toencounter two traffic signals there, it may turn out to be a nightmare.
PROJECT STATUS Date of agreement: May 9, 2007 Construction period: 24 months Commencement date: Nov 2, 2007 Scheduled to be completed on: Nov 2, 2009 Revised date for completion: March 2010 Estimated project cost: Rs 718.59 crore Project length: 19.50 km No of pedestrian underpasses: 14 Number of vehicle overpasses: 6 No of toll plazas: 6 Elevated highway length: 4.5 km No of piers: 120

Moral cops check-in at BIAL

Moral cops check-in at BIAL
Three moral cops warn a girl sitting on a guy’s lap in BIAL and threaten to summon Sri Rama Sene, in the wee hours of Sunday. They threaten to create a scene if the techies do not leave in 30 minutes

How close is Bangalore from witnessing an attack by moral cops like the Mangalore pub attack that shook the nation. “Anytime it could happen,” would be the answer from a group of five techies who had a close brush with moral cops in the wee hours of Sunday.
The techies - including three males and two females - went through horror in the Coffee Day restaurant located in the premises of Bangalore International Airport (BIAL). (One of the females in the group was accompanied by her brother.) They were threatened by three men who claimed to know Sri Rama Sene activists for allegedly indulging in PDA. So much for the BIAL being a high security zone.
One of the techies said, “The gang included three men who looked well-educated and claimed to be IITians. They took objection to spending time with girls after midnight. They threatened to call Ram Sene in a minute, gather a huge crowd and beat us up.”
The techies had come to Coffee Day in BIAL after partying to enjoy the beautiful view of sun rise from the restaurant. At about 4 am, as they were chatting, they heard three men screaming at the staff of Coffee Day that the place was not clean. At this point, one of the girls in the group was sitting on the lap of her brother. Later, one of three men came to techies and started lecturing them it is not Indian culture for a girl to sit on a guy’s lap. He also went on to say that PDA is against India culture. That’s when the guy clarified that he was her brother. This started an argument.
“We got angry and told on their face that it’s none of their business to lecture us. They warned us not to under estimate them,” a victim recollected.
The gang spoke in Bhojpuri and Bihari accent and initially claimed they are Sri Rama Sene activists. One of the moral cops wore a kurta, another red T-shirt and third one was well built. They gave 30-minute deadline for the techies to leave the restaurant or else face the consequences.
There was no help around and no trace of policemen. Fearing an attack, the techies left the place and headed towards the city.
“We do not want to take chances as we are techies. One thing is sure, if these elements are left unchecked Bangalore will go to dogs,” one of the techies said. “In the end they told us that they are not actual Sri Rama Sene activists but they know that Rama Sene was in the vicinity,” he added.
When contacted BIAL outpost police said that they had not received any complaints in this regard and would intensify patrolling in BIAL premises after midnight.

Green efforts break down

Green efforts break down
Relentless campaign of treesforfree to keep Bangalore green and beautiful is under threat because of a car

This could mean fewer trees near your home. And fewer trees means more pollution and less rain. For the last four years, treesforfree, a voluntary organisation, has helped Bangalore city retain its tree cover by planting saplings all over the city. Until now, the volunteers of the organisation have planted more than 13,000 trees in different parts of the city and outskirts, all for free.
But now, the tree planting crusade started by Janet Yegneswaran, president of treesforfree, may come to a halt. All because of a car. The nine-year-old Maruti Zen car that Janet uses for all her tree planting expeditions has broken down.
“All these days, Janet and her volunteers would go all around town in the car planting saplings. As the car cannot be used now, the tree planting has stopped. But tree cutting continues in city. I hope people come forward to help the cause of treesforfree,” says Vinod Lal, who works in an advertising agency and volunteers for treesforfree.
Janet formed the Rajanet Yegneswaran Charitable Trust and launched her campaign through in November 2005 in memory of her husband R S Yegneswaran. An exemplary man, Yegneswaran got his degree studying under streetlights and went on to enter the Limca Book of Records for the highest number of University degrees — in all he had 30 masters degrees, three bachelors degrees and fourteen diplomas in subjects as varied as Archaeology to Defence Studies.
For Janet, planting trees has been her way of giving back to nature. “I used to carry 25-30 saplings for planting all over the city in my car with three to four volunteers. In a day, we would cover at least four to five areas. The overload has taken its toll on my car and now it’s broken down. This has put a spoke in the wheel for our efforts. We have appealed to volunteers to help and I have received a positive response from some of them,” says Janet.
If you want treesforfree continue its tree planting efforts, call 9845449703 or check out the website

BMTC passes off concessions to Volvo users

BMTC passes off concessions to Volvo users

July 27th, 2009
By Our Correspondent

Bengaluru, July 26: Only two weeks ago, the state-run BMTC had hiked the fares and bus pass fares for ordinary buses citing a rise in the prices of diesel.
But it has now come out with huge concessions for Volvo bus passengers. Prices of bus passes will be slashed by 14 to 25 per cent in various segments and new two and three month validity passes will be introduced exclusively for Volvo commuters.
According to the new fare chart, the Volvo gold monthly bus pass will now cost Rs 1,500 from the previous Rs 1,750 a slash by 14.28 per cent.
The new passes with two and three months validity will cost Rs 2,800 and 3,900 respectively. According to BMTC officials, the new passes are offered at a concession of up to 20 and 25.71 per cent respectively.
“Concessions are only seasonal. New fare offer closes on August 15,” a senior officer said. The official said: “The corporation has no plans to reduce the daily pass fare.”
BMTC traffic consultant Prof. M.N Shrihari said: “As the Corporation is finding it tough to increase the occupancy rate of Volvo buses, we have come out with this new fare chart. We are offering two and three month validity bus passes exclusively for Volvo commuters at competitive prices to encourage them to use these buses.”
But commuters are not happy with the move. Sharath Gowda, member of BMTC commuter’s forum, said “BMTC officials are promoting the loss making Volvo buses at the cost of ordinary buses. It is disgusting. The government should come out with a clear policy on the issue.”

Reissuing Ulsoor Road going to pot again

Reissuing Ulsoor Road going to pot again

Staff Reporter
BANGALORE: Those who travel through Ulsoor Road frequently say that they are yet to see any change despite all the work that civic agencies claim to be doing on the issue of potholes. This road, parallel to MG Road, which is a connecting road between Dickenson Road has two-way traffic that slows down every now and then because of its potholes.

Not just potholes, both the sides of Ulsoor Road are water-logged even when it is not raining. “If a pipe has busted, then it should be looked into immediately,” says a commuter. “It seems that there are always people on the road trying to repair it, but the condition is the same in a few days’ time,” she says.

Even a light spell of rain seems to unleash a number of problems on the road. While the slowing down of traffic is not something that someone can repair, a case of burst or damaged pipes can certainly be remedied permanently by the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewage Board (BWSSB). Officials from the board said that they would “look into the situation immediately.”

‘It’s a bigger issue than Nandigram’

‘It’s a bigger issue than Nandigram’

Bangalore: The Bangalore-Mysore Infrastructure Corridor (BMIC) project is set to face another roadblock. Joining its opposition ally JD(S), the Congress plans to make it a much larger issue than that of Nandigram in West Bengal, when the legislature session resumes on Monday.
“We are convinced that the project will lead to agitations, much larger in scale than
Nandigram. So we have decided the raise the issue in the House,” Congress leaders Siddaramaiah and V S Ugrappa said on Sunday.
Ugrappa visited Gonipura and K Golhalli villages off Bangalore, where the project is facing stiff resistance from farmers, on Sunday evening.
“Nandigram is the story of farmers of only one village being forcibly asked to hand over land. In this case, farmers of 19 villages will be affected. They have already started agitating against the move and the Congress will oppose it tooth and nail,” Ugrappa said soon after his visit.
He alleged that the Rs 2,250-crore project promoted by Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprise is not feasible as it entails uprooting of several acres of farmers’ land. Ugrappa also claimed that the project will not lead to development of the state, as touted by the government. “It will rather lead to destruction,” he added.
Substantiating his argument, he said in the primary notification issued in 1999, there was no sign of a township. But on March 21 this year, the final notification issued includes 2,000 acres of land for a township project.
“This was done after land rate shot up from Rs 80,000 to Rs 1.5 to 2 crore,” he alleged.
NICE officials maintained the company has the mandate to deviate from the original alignment decided after the framework agreement, as per the original agreement with the government.

Sunday, July 26, 2009


Mini bus bays will be built at Metro stations | Hop off from KSRTC, BMTC buses and catch the train
Vinay Madhav | TNN

Bangalore: Road transport in the city will be integrated smoothly with another mode of transport — Bangalore Metro. Compact BMTC bus bays will be built at Metro stations and commuters can use services of KSRTC, BMTC and Metro Rail with a single-ticket system.
“This is not a new thing but it’ll be a unique experiment in India. In London, a person can travel by road, sea and Metro with a single ticket. We’re trying to bring in a similar integrated system in Bangalore too,” transport secretary M K Shankarlinge Gowda said.
As a first step, the transport department has started integrating the KSRTC and BMTC ticket system. This was introduced in Bangalore Rural and BMTC as a pilot project. In short, a passenger who boards a KSRTC bus in Anekal, Chennapatna and Ramanagaram can use the ticket on BMTC buses in Bangalore.
“There was a problem of revenue sharing between the two organizations. But we went ahead and introduced it, which is working fine now. We were able to reduce ticket malpractice. We are planning to extend the system to other parts of the state,” Gowda explained.
Using new system on METRO
The system needs to be fine-tuned for Metro Rail. “Currently, BMTC bus bays are far from Metro stations. So we’re trying to build small bus bays attached to the stations. A person alighting the train can use the same ticket and board a bus,” Gowda said. “The passenger can use the same ticket for onward journey too.”
According to him, the system will be integrated to KSRTC as well (see box: One-ticket wonder).
Technological LEAP
The department plans to introduce ‘location system’ on BMTC buses. “Buses will have an electronic screen, where the vehicle’s location will be displayed. The system will show traffic updates. If any road is blocked, it will guide the driver to take an alternative route. The same system will
be displayed at
bus bays too so
that passengers know the traffic situation,” Gowda said.
Information through SMS
Another technological addition being planned is an ‘arrival information system’ through SMS. “If a person bought tickets or pass in advance and registered his or her mobile number with the system, it will send an SMS to the person five minutes before arrival of the bus,” Gowda explained.
“This SMS system will help passengers decide when to leave their house or office without coming too early or too late,” he added.
Swedish team COMING
A team from Sweden will come to Bangalore to study the Volvo bus service. “This service is running on loss now, although it’s making profits on long journeys. We want to improve revenue in the short-journey segment. The team from Sweden will study this situation and recommend corrective measures,” Gowda said.
ONE-TICKET WONDER 1. A person can board KSRTC bus from anywhere in the state and catch the Metro train 2. Get down at the first Metro station 3. Head to Bangalore 4. Alight from the train 5. Catch BMTC bus 6. When it’s time to return home, catch a BMTC bus to a Metro station 7. Head to satellite town bus stop 8. From there, catch a KSRTC bus back home Currently, BMTC bus bays are far from Metro stations. So we’re trying to build small bus bays attached to the stations. A person alighting from the train can use the same ticket and board a bus
- M K Shankarlinge Gowda |


Quit cribbing and see what difference you, as a thinking citizen, can make to the city. Help the administration serve you better

Bangalore: No more passing the buck. Bad roads, clogged drains and other woes will now be resolved by citizens’ initiative. Lead Together, an initiative launched by the Times Foundation on Saturday, will focus on greater people participation in administration, right from the ward level.
Delegates at the launch pointed out that the movement can kickstart by developing a
model ward that will be holistically built with equal efforts from both citizens and the administration.
You are accountable
The essence of the campaign, like Lead India, is to make citizens accountable for the city and to stop pointing fingers at the government for every problem. “Corruption and the political system have become synonymous today. But while the blame game is on, where is city patriotism? Lead Together is a much-welcome step to change this mindset. The unholy alliance between contractors, bureaucrats and elected representatives can be made holy if we not only work together but stay together as well,” urban development minister Suresh Kumar said in his opening remarks.
Start in a small way
Adviser to the chief minister on urban affairs, A Ravindra, gave a number of suggestions to make the campaign implementable. “It should start in a small way and weave in anticipatory planning. It can be as basic as solid waste management by segregation at source. Segregating waste before giving it to BBMP contractors can make things simpler. That is where people should start,” he said.
Change your mindset
BBMP commissioner Bharat Lal Meena dwelt upon changing the mindset of citizens as a first step to development. He said no amount of funds can change a mindset. “In some parts of Bangalore educated civilians throw bags of garbage from their buildings without sparing a thought. But in places like the National Games Village where I used to live, people collect garbage and dispose it of their own. Civic sense is vital to make any city better and beautiful,” he added.
“Mobilizing citizen participation is a difficult process. We need to have area sabhas in our city, just like gram sabhas in villages. There are hopes that the new Bangalore governance will define the roles better,” said Janaagraha founder Ramesh Ramanathan.
Additional commissioner of police (traffic and security) Praveen Sood pointed that the city is currently going through ‘labour pangs’. “Many projects are in progress but citizens have not changed their ways. In the first two months of the road to BIA, there were so many accidents. People were driving at 140 to 150 km per hour. Most of them were drunk. Even if we have best infrastructure, these issues need to be addressed,” he said.
H S Balram, Resident Editor of The Times of India, Bangalore, in his introductory remarks, said: “Together we can, and together we will. It is easy to point fingers at the implementing authorities. But remember that the thumb is always pointed at you. That is where citizen participation counts. At TOI, we go beyond our work and partner agencies to make Bangalore better.”

POOLING IN THEIR IDEAS: Bharat Lal Meena, BBMP commissioner; A Ravindra, adviser, urban affairs, government of Karnataka; Suresh Kumar, urban development minister; Ramesh Ramanathan, founderchairman, Janaagraha; Praveen Sood, additional commissioner of police (traffic and security); and H S Balram, Resident Editor, TOI, Bangalore, at the launch of Lead Together initiative on Saturday

OUR PLATFORM: Citizens were all ears at the Lead Together launch


The campaign needs to start in a small way. We can develop a model ward first and then move on to others. As part of public-private partnerships, one area can be taken up for development. For instance, Commercial Street can be made more pedestrian friendly

The administration should be willing to admit something is wrong. They should be willing to partner with people and do things as citizens themselves... Mobilizing people is like gathering sand through a sieve. The main problem is that nobody has the power to voice opinion as a common citizen. People react only as pressure cookers. This must change
Ramesh Ramanathan | FOUNDER, JANAAGRAHA

To make such an initiative successful, representatives and people must not only lead together, but stay together despite differences. Through Lead Together, we will come together to work for long-standing development that concerns people, who matter most... A politician is a person who shakes your hand before elections and shakes your confidence after elections Suresh Kumar | LAW AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT MINISTER

Almost all people have suggestions. But what’s needed to implement them is one voice. There are so many suggestions that contradict each other. For starters, we must identify the common problems people have with one-ways and speed bumps on various roads in the city

Bangalore needs a change in mindset. This campaign and its title is apt because enough talking has been done. Now we need to move on.. No amount of money can bring about a change in mindset. If mindset is changed, then development becomes automatic Bharat Lal Meena | BBMP COMMISSIONER

Encroachment increased water pollution’

Encroachment increased water pollution’
Bangalore, DHNS:

Lakshman Rao Committee on Lakes had recorded 150 water bodies in and around the City. But their encroachment has resulted in an increase in water pollution, Karnataka High Court Judge, Justice K L Manjunath said here on Saturday.

He emphasised the need to protect the environment by creating awareness among youngsters on the eco-hazards, while distributing certificates to 26 prize winners of the third series of ‘Bhuviyonde Bhavishyaonde’ programme broadcasted by Akashavani at a function organised by the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB). On ground water contamination he said, “Out of 1,200 borewells, water samples were tested by the KSPCB near four major valleys. All the water samples were found to be contaminated,” Justice Manjunath informed.

Bengaluru Airport spurs realty

Bengaluru Airport spurs realty
Real-estate developers have announced dozens of projects, and the Garden City’s boundaries now extend beyond Hebbal into Yelahanka, Doddaballapur and Devanahalli.

— K. Murali Kumar

As the areas around the airport develop, it will decongest the city.
Anjana Chandramouly

Whenever a major piece of infrastructure has been put up, it has invariably set off real-estate activity in its vicinity. Bangalore saw this in the 1990s when the Electronics City and International Tech Park Bangalore in Whitefield were set up.

More recently, the Bengaluru International Airport has also triggered similar developments. The once-sleepy village of Devanahalli and the North Bangalore region, which had not garnered any attention from real-estate developers and property buyers alike, are now hubs of activity.

While real-estate developers have announced dozens of projects in localities such as Yelahanka and Devanahalli, property buyers too see sense in investing here. Bangalore’s boundaries have now extended beyond Hebbal into Yelahanka, Doddaballapur and Devanahalli.

And when the aerotropolis or airport city planned by the Bangalore International Airport Ltd (BIAL), operators of the Bengaluru International Airport, gets executed, it would provide much impetus to the residential developments announced in the region. As a part of the overall master plan, BIAL has earmarked 215 acres within the 4,000-acre airport project site for the first phase of commercial real-estate development.

“BIAL’s vision is to develop this prime property called ‘airport city’ as a destination in itself and create a premier business, retail and entertainment hub. This area will be a well-balanced mix of office parks, retail and entertainment and hospitality,” says the airport’s Web site.

development master plan
The master plan talks of a 39-acre downtown area, which will be closest to the terminal building. This will be positioned as an urban entertainment hub centre replete with malls and retail outlets, entertainment facilities, offices and hospitality facilities.

An ‘Airport Visitor Centre’ is planned opposite the downtown area. Here, visitors will have the opportunity to observe the airport operations and combine this experience with travel, entertainment and business or simply as an independent visit.

The pivot of the plan will be a 46-acre SEZ or business park for aerospace industry, research units and even some units manufacturing high-end components as also MRO facilities (maintenance, repair and overhaul). This will have retail space, a three-star and a four-star hotel.

Besides these, there would a five-star airport hotel being developed by L&T and the Oberoi Group.

“The development of ‘Airport City’ around the international airport will facilitate commercial real-estate developments such as office parks, retail, entertainment and hospitality. In addition to this, land is also reserved for a rail link to the city. Such a planned development will attract businesses to move operations closer to the airport. The planned infrastructure and proximity to the airport will bring in a lot of economic activity to this region. As this happens, people will look to move to closer to where they work, which will spur demand in residential properties,” says Prakash Gurbaxani, Managing Director and CEO, QVC Realty.

This company has an upcoming 26-acre luxury residences project near Nandi Hills in North Bangalore, which is expected to be completed by end-2011.

residential projects
QVC Hills is one of the many projects coming up in the North Bangalore area. Others include Sobha Developers’ Sobha Lifestyle and Prestige Group’s Prestige Golfshire. “Residential projects such as QVC Hills will stand to gain by increased demand. For investors too, who are looking at a three-five-year horizon, this provides an opportunity to enter in now and gain from the appreciation when the airport city gets off the ground. Such appreciation in property values has been seen in areas like Whitefield and Electronics City over the last decade,” says Mr Gurbaxani.

“What is also driving demand from the high net worth professional segment is the practical comfort of having a transit home to suit a gruelling travel schedule. People or the companies who have invested in this area are very well aware of the future potential of this geographical spread,” says Mr Keshav Pandey, Director - Sales and Marketing, Sobha Developers.

Infrastructural impetus
Some of the upcoming developments in Devanahalli include: a 200-acre university campus being set up by Manipal Education; 309-acre commercial development around the airport proposed by Karnataka State Industrial Investment and Development Corporation; 35-acre convention centre project, which would also have two five-star hotels; the aerospace SEZ, which is part of the airport project; hi-speed airport rail; widening of national highway seven-eight lanes from the existing six lanes; major road widening and improvement activities undertaken by the Government of Karnataka in all major district roads from the city and neighbouring areas to the airport; the development of Peripheral Ring Road, Intermediate Ring Road and Satellite Towns Ring Road, which will significantly improve connectivity to different parts of the Bangalore Metropolitan region and the airport.

Besides, another significant project is Shapoorji Pallonji’s 1,450-acre IT hardware park at Devanahalli. The IT hardware park will see the development of 425 acres each in Phase I and II, and the rest in Phase III.

While the main hardware park will be spread over 1,109.25 acres, the rest of the facility will include an IT park, residential area (80.53 lakh sq.ft) with roads, a star-rated hotel (2.5 lakh sq.ft), an effluent treatment plant (2.25 lakh sq.ft) and a power plant.

The Karnataka Government is also planning to set up a nano park in Bangalore North, and has identified a 15-acre plot for the project. Announcements of other technology parks in the region have also been made.

Says Mr Gurbaxani, the airport city can act as a central node for the rest of the development in the region. It can provide infrastructure support for businesses to operate and people to live.

“When such pieces of infrastructure are in place, people and businesses will find it easy to relocate their operations. As North Bangalore around the airport emerges as a new satellite destination, it will decongest the city and facilitate smooth growth,” he adds

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Use the cellphone, hop on to bus

Use the cellphone, hop on to bus
GIANT LEAP: Book KSRTC Tickets With Your Mobile Handset
Deepa Bhasthi | TNN

Bangalore: If using the internet for all utilities seemed like the last frontier of modern convenience, the tech option took a giant leap with the mobile phone — from booking to surfing the web to chatting. Interestingly, public utilities have also kept pace in this race.
The Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) will soon introduce ticket booking via cell phones for the state. This will enable over booking for 2,000 routes.
Officials told TOI that talks with vendors are in an advanced stage. Passengers will only need to register with the providers and can book tickets and make online payments. The details of the system are now being worked out, said officials.
The tickets can be paid for through a secure payment mode. The passenger needs to create an account with the system. Officials said that it will be the vendor’s responsibility to ensure the system of generating tickets works well. One likely method for this is the generation of a code once the transaction is completed.
This code will later be converted into a ticket, though the method would depend on the vendor.
There have been similar experiments in other areas where movie tickets can be booked and railway PNR status can be checked over mobiles. With mobile booking, KSRTC hopes to enhance the reach of this public transport system and make it more popular.
The KSRTC already has counter bookings through agents in and around the state. There are 243 online reservation agents in Karnataka and 40 in neighbouring states.
Bangaloreans can also book tickets at the 16 BangaloreOne centres as well as 133 counters of the state transport unit. The corporation introduced e-booking about a year ago. Officials said that tie-ups with travel portals was also being considered as well as IVRS and SMS options for booking tickets, sources said.
Booking on mobiles will depend on vendors. In most cases, the system works like this: the customer can download an application form or send an SMS to be taken through a series of steps where the number of tickets, destination and starting point will be keyed in.
The payment may be made by entering the credit card number. After the transaction is complete, a code is generated which the customer can use to get tickets at the point of boarding the bus or pick it up earlier.
The system will be available all over the state as well as outside the state, across all handsets and all mobile network service providers.
Will enable booking for 2,000 routes Passengers will only need to register with the providers and can book tickets, make online payments Tickets can be paid for through a secure payment mode Passenger needs to create an account with the system Booking on mobiles will depend on vendors Once transaction is complete, a code is generated, which customer can use to get tickets at the point of boarding or pick it up earlier