Monday, August 31, 2009


While BBMP claims there is no pay-and-park system in the city, a gang is fleecing people in Koramangala saying it has the corporation’s permission to charge parking fees

Officially, the pay and park system does not exist in the city except on Brigade Road and Commercial Street. But unofficially, a parking mafia is thriving right under the nose of the BBMP in Koramangala Industrial Layout.
Our reporters joined techie and Bangalore Mirror reader Punith Minocha to witness this parking scam under the high tension tower in Koramangala Industrial Layout. (Punith has had frequent fights with the parking attendants there.)
With Punith at the wheel and our reporters in the backseat, this is what unfolded: As soon as we entered the parking area, a parking attendant swooped down on our vehicle and demanded parking fee.
When we asked why they were collecting parking fee, the tout said his employer had secured a contract from the BBMP. As a testimony to his words, he gave us a printed slip. However, the slip did not have the contractor’s name. When we asked for a copy of the contract, he replied, “It will be shown tomorrow as we do not have right now.” We paid him Rs 10, got the slip and left the place.
Right at the entrance, the contractor has put up a board saying the parking zone is a BBMP parking lot. A group of four to five people stand at various locations of the area and swoop down on vehicles entering the parking area. They forcibly collect parking fee by pointing at the board. They charge Rs 10 per hour from four-wheelers and Rs 5 per hour from two-wheelers. If you park your vehicle for nearly 12 hours in a day, then you need to shell out Rs 120.
When Bangalore Mirror questioned the BBMP about this parking scam, the officials clarified that no contract was given in any part of the city, except on Brigade Road and Commercial street where automated parking is in vogue. BBMP South Zone Additional Commissioner K R Ramakrishna said, “Recently I took charge of South Zone and so far I have not given any permission to collect parking fees. I will look into the matter and the guilty persons will be booked for criminal offence.”
Reacting to the incident, Bangalore Metropolitan Task Force IGP Narayan Nadumani said, “If anyone is found collecting parking fees illegally from vehicle owners it is a criminal offence. People should come forward and lodge a complaint and a strict action will be taken against the offenders.”
Koramangala is easy pickings for parking contractors wanting to make a fast buck as it lacks parking spaces. The mafia operating in Koramangala Industrial Estate is exploiting the loopholes in BBMP’s parking monitoring system and looting several techies, corporate executives daily.
Here’s what Punith experienced in one of his earlier encounters with the parking attendants before he took part in the sting: “I was shocked when the parking attendant shouted at me to pay the amount for parking. As far as I know, there is no pay-and-park system in the city. Finally the argument led to a brawl between us. Later they stopped collecting fees from me. I am not the only victim. There are several who fight regularly with them.”
An upset Punith wrote to the BBMP commissioner about the parking scam to no avail.

Speed up infrastructure projects: Moily

Speed up infrastructure projects: Moily

Plans are afoot to extend the 10-lane
carriageway from Hosur to Electronic City

M Raghuram. Mangalore

Union law minister Veerappa Moily is keen on completing all infrastructure projects pending in the state on a fast track to help Karnataka to go up in the ranks of the national development index.
"As the recession is coming to an end, the state needs to hurry up with infrastructure projects to go up in the ranks of the national development index," said Moily, who is also a member in the national infrastructure committee.
The Union government is examining a few infrastructure projects in the state which need to be completed immediately.
They include the elevated National Highway project on NH 7 between Silk Board and Electronic City and the 38 kilometer stretch between Mukka and BC Road in Mangalore City.
"The committee headed by the prime minister has recently viewed the infrastructure needs of different states on a priority basis.
The state needs to complete all its infrastructure projects, especially the projects taken up by National Highway Authority (NAHI) of India and Railways," he added.
According to NAHI sources, the ground-level traffic on the carriageway on either sides of the elevated National Highway project between the Silk Board and Electronic City has touched 1,12,000 passenger car units in peak hours.
When the elevated highway is operational, traffic, on the ground-level carriageway will be cut by 40%, reducing the travel time in this stretch to 10 minutes from the present 30-45 minutes.
The government also plans to extend the 10-lane Hosur-ElectronicCity carriageway. Once completed, the highway will allow peak hour vehicles to travel at 45 km per hour.

Metro work spells doom for business in mall

Metro work spells doom for business in mall

Project near Lido makes conditions unfavourable for shopping, commercial activities

Arunima Rajan. Bangalore

The fortunes of shops in Lido mall, one of the popular shopping destinations in the city, have nose-dived. Blame it on the metro work more than recession.
Ever since the metro work started in January, many shops have closed. The mall on Swami Vivekananda Road, which had many exclusive brands like Body Shop, 109 F, Lee Wise, Marks and Spencer and Accessorize under one roof, had 20 shops earlier; the latest count is only 14.
The construction work on the mass transit railway project has diminished the appeal of the locality. It is difficult to find parking space in the mall, the area is chock-a-block with traffic, and the road in front of the mall is covered with mud. The stretch has been converted into a one-way to facilitate the metro work.
The accumulation of debris on the stretch also causes dust storms. Shoppers, therefore, prefer to skip the mall. As a result, many stores are reporting a drop in sales. Some store owners claimed that sales were down by as much as 40%.
Shopkeepers said a lack of coordination between the different wings of BMRCL (Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited), the agency undertaking the construction, was responsible for the sorry state of affairs at the site.
The metro work had consumed almost 75% of the road space and the sluggish pace of construction had added to the traffic woes of many commuters and increased commuting time, the shopkeepers said.
The prevailing conditions acted as a deterrent for commercial activities in the area, they said.
"We were promised that the work would be completed soon," BV Nageshwara Sharma, operations executive of Body Shop, said. "But it is taking a lot of time," he said.
Recession had already hit sales. Now, the metro work had compounded the woes of the stores, he said. The construction was as much to be blamed as recession for the closure of many stores, he said.
"The road is in a pretty bad condition. There is no walking space for pedestrians. Our sales have dropped after the metro work started."
Farah Khan, manager of Accessorize, told DNA that there was a 30% drop in sales. "The regular customers are still coming to our shop. But many customers prefer going to our store in Garuda mall."
Many shopaholics who frequent the place said they were also frustrated by inconveniences caused by the metro construction.

Wasted BDA site makes residents see red

Wasted BDA site makes residents see red
S Lalitha, Bangalore, Aug 31, DHNS:

Since 1992 the residents of 7th ‘B’ Main in the third block of Koramangala have been stuggling to protect a 600 ft x 150 ft land meant for a park which has been lying vacant and wasted. Snakes, weeds and garbage are found on this plot.

The struggle began in 1992 when the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) tried to auction it off as a site. This was, despite the property papers given to owners by the City Improvement Trust Board (later changed to BDA) in 1976 clearly specifying a park. The masterplan made by the BDA in 1982 also made a mention of the park in the area.

Syed Altaf, whose house borders the plot, filed a case in the High Court insisting that the area be developed only as a park. “This ensured a stay on the auction of this particular plot,” he said.

The court had passed a verdict six months ago in favour of the residents, insisting that the site be developed into a park in the interest of the public. Residents charge that neither the BDA or the BBMP has made efforts in this direction. “The residents are even willing to develop and maintain it into a park if BBMP or BDA permits us to do so,” Altaf added.

Social activist, Doris Raj, pointed out that this thickly populated residential area was in dire need of a park. “Police have a tough time evicting hawkers and keeping the place free from anti-social elements.”

Dr Samuel Paul, founder of the Public Affairs Centre and a resident here, informed that a former BDA chairman had allotted this particular site to his family member. “BDA played a commendable proactive role, filed a case and got the land back,” he said.

Residents charge that repeated requests to the BDA to hand it over to the BBMP for conversion as a park have gone unheeded. BDA Commissioner Siddiah asserted that the land was the property of BDA. “We are yet to take a decision whether to hand it over to BBMP to develop it into a park.”

Joint Director of Horticulture, BBMP, A Narayanaswamy, said residents have sent representations to the BBMP Commissioner to develop it into a park. “I think the process of handing over the land to the BBMP is in progress. If we are handed over the plot, we will ensure a park is in place here.”

Moral policing or public nuisance?

Moral policing or public nuisance?
Bangalore, Aug 31, DHNS:

Following the violent incident at the lounge bar The Beach at Doopanahalli on Saturday, residents alleged that the management of the lounge bar on Indiranagar 100 feet road was trying to paint it as an instance of ‘moral policing,’ while in reality it has been a long standing dispute.

Members of residents’ associations said that the real reason was the nuisance created by the club visitors. However, the management of the club had alleged that residents had barged into the club and went on a rampage on Saturday afternoon.

Ram, a resident said that the club has been a nuisance in the neighbourhood from the time it was set up about four years ago. “We have had an issue with club visitors blocking these narrow private lanes for parking,” he added.

Residents of the Rock Residency, an apartment complex, which shares a common wall with the club said that the residents have been forced to vacate due to the nuisance. “The noise and the smoke from their kitchen directly enters our living rooms and bed rooms,” a resident corroborated.

One resident said that repeated complaints to the police provided only temporary relief.
“ When a Hoysala vehicle turns up in the neighbourhood the volume level goes down for ten minutes and soon after it leaves the noise increases.”

While another resident alleged that club visitors when drunk have even beaten up the security guards at the apartment. Meanwhile, members of the Rock Residency Residents Association and the Domlur Residents Welfare Association alleged that the entire vicinity has become a hub of anti-social activities and was becoming increasingly intolerable for the families residing in the vicinity.

The association also alleged that the building violated all by-laws, and that the BBMP has chosen to turn a blind eye to these recent developments.

BBMP to review licence
The BBMP has decided to review the licence given to the lounge bar The Beach. Top sources in the BBMP said many residential sites are now housing commercial establishments. Many such commercial buildings have bars and restaurants in the residential areas which the residents oppose. The sources said that they would look into the files related to the lounge bar The Beach and verify the permission granted to it.

Management speaks
The management of the lounge bar The Beach claimed that this is the first instance of trouble at the club since its opening. According to the management, trouble erupted after visitors to a birthday party at the club on Saturday afternoon had parked their vehicles on the narrow private lane adjoining the club.

Club Manager Vipul Khurana said, “Residents were taking out a Ganesha idol on procession for immersion. As the visitors’ vehicles were parked on the narrow private lane, they started banging on our doors and even before we could act they barged into the club and created trouble.”

He also claimed that there were members of Ram Sene among those who created trouble. Khurana added that the management had taken pains to ensure that the neighbourhood was not disturbed. “We have valet parking at the club and the cars are taken to a dedicated parking space nearby. In addition, our interiors and our roof are sound proof,” he said. He further added that he was a resident of the neighbourhood too and had never faced any issues before.

Police arrest five
The Indiranagar police have arrested five persons, including three employees in connection with the trouble that erupted at the club. The accused have been identified as Ravi and Krishnamurthy, residents of Doopanahalli. Guru, a worker at the restaurant and two other workers have also been taken into custody.

The police have registered a complaint and counter complaint against the two parties. However, the police said that the club had begun to function as usual from Sunday. The police also indicated that they were likely to make a few more arrests in the coming week.

Transit centre ready

Transit centre ready

August 31st, 2009
By Our Correspondent

Bengaluru, Aug. 30: Traffic woes in Jayanagar are likely to end soon with the Traffic Transit Management Centre (TTMC) at the commercially busy 4th Block to open on Monday.
The TTMC will facilitate easy commuting for public transport users and office goers too can park their vehicles and take a bus from the centre for their offices.
The new traffic centre, opposite the Jayanagar Shopping Complex, will be thrown open to public on August 31. The place is equipped with a ‘Park and Ride’ facility. “People can park their vehicles at the TTMC and go for shopping in the nearby areas. The roads will be free of parked vehicles and the space will facilitate smooth flow of traffic. People going to work can also park their vehicle and take a bus from here. This will lessen the use of personal vehicles further decongesting the roads,” said chairman, Traffic Experts and Safety Trainers (TEST) M.N. Sreehari.
This will also put an end to buses being parked haphazardly on the roads blocking the movement of vehicles in the residential localities of Jayanagar. Moreover, people going to the airport will not have to rely on bus stations at JP Nagar 6th phase and Shantinagar to board a bus.
“The TTMC will have room for all BMTC services starting from normal buses (Suvarna) to airport buses (Vayu Vajras),” added Mr Sreehari.
With Jayanagar 4th Block turning into a highly commercial locality, there was an urgent need for a proper bus station equipped with passengers amenities there, he said.
“Residents of Jayanagar 9th block, 5th block, 3rd block and adjoining localities will use this TTMC. The TTMC is equipped to accommodate 2,000 to 3,000 people at a time,” Mr Sreehari added.
Work on nine more TTMCs at Shanthi Nagar, Domlur, Yeshwanthpur, Bannerghatta, Kengeri, Koramangala, Vijaynagar, Banashankari and ITPL will be completed by July 2010. The TTMC at Peenya is expected to be ready soon.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Small is still BEAUTIFUL

Small is still BEAUTIFUL
Large chains with glitzy stores don’t hold a bookmark to cosy bookshops with their reader-friendly discounts and personal touch
Prajwal Hegde | TNN

Memories are made of these: warm smiles, a firm nod and sizable discounts. As the older generation of Bangalore’s book lovers recount the good ol’ days, the younger ones can only listen in wonder. Some five months after T S Shanbhag brought down the shutters on Bangalore’s favourite bookshop, Premier, the septuagenarian still wakes up to calls from customers, urging him to reopen the outlet. In the tug-of-power between one-off bookshops and bigbuck, multi-city bookstore chains, the reader reigns. And, she seems to be swaying in the direction of the smaller units.
The trend is a reverse sweep of the Hollywood blockbuster of the late ’90s, You’ve Got M@il. Unlike in the Tom Hanks-Meg Ryan starrer, standalone & smaller bookshops in Bangalore, especially those that’ve pitched tent around the MG Road area —- Gangarams, Blossom, Bookworm and the Magazine shop —- are thriving. Breakthrough business practices have won them exclusive clientele, giving bigger stores like Crossword, Landmark, Strand, Odyssey and Oxford, some with corporate backing, food for thought.
What works for the smaller outlets, despite their cramped and dingy interiors, is the pricing and the camaraderie the reader enjoys with the store manager or owner. However, nothing quite compares to a 90% discount. So much so that a place like Blossom, that introduced to Bangalore the unexplored world of second-hand books, is selling something like 22,000 books a month, and Gangarams, with a clientele that’s a striking blend of the young and the seasoned, regularly tops 30,000 books a month.
The success of the smaller bookshops is the story of their origin, which has little to do with business sense and everything to do with an innate understanding of what a reader wants.
Mayi Gowda is an amiable 30-something, an electrical engineer and a book lover. When he passed out of UVCE almost a decade ago, he struggled on the job front. Much to the disappointment of his family, which hails from Mysore, Mayi took a chance with the 1,500 books he owned, setting up the Blossom Book House in Brigade Towers in January 2001. Fittingly, his business blossomed. He has since moved to a 4,000 sqft outlet on Church Street.
About the time Mayi was giving the city’s bibliophiles newer, cheaper options, Krishna, a pavement bookseller, waded into the second-hand book market. Krishna, who graduated in Commerce from an evening college in the city, promptly set up Bookworm, 1,600 sqft in area, split between shops on MG Road and Brigade Road. The USP that Krishna brought to the competition was giving his romance novel section a circulating library twist. He lends out books for an unlimited period for as little as Rs 7.50. Students and young professionals, mostly of the fairer sex, make a beeline to Bookworm over the weekends, and the rush has only increased in these recessionary times. Ravi Menezes, who opened Goobe four months ago, is using the outlet both as a bookshop and a library. For just Rs 250 a month, a member can read to her heart’s content.
In the world of the written word, magazines provide the glitz. The Saits, originally from Richmond Town, were quick on the buzzer. Expanding on an idea triggered by his father Mohammed Hussain Sait in the ‘60s, Yahya launched Bangalore’s much talked-about Magazine store. What started as a news stall in a 200 sqft, virtually on a footpath near K C Das, is now a 2,000 sqft outlet which shelves back issues of the glitziest magazines from around the world.
“When we started, people said that with the advent of TV and the internet, the book business itself would suffer. So, where would there be a market for back issues of magazines?” Yahya said. “With this store, we’ve shown that there’s more than just an interest, there’s a passion for reading in Bangalore. There’s always space for more bookshops, because the range is that great, you can never really cover it end to end.”
Prakash Gangaram, owner of what’s now the oldest of the standalone stores on MG Road, said, “It’s all about having the right book at the right time — be it educational or general books. It’s not about how much area you dedicate to children’s books or any other specialized area, it’s what the reader wants at that moment. Do you or don’t you have it? That’s our brand of business, we know our readers.”
The giant chains, also known as lifestyle stores, simply for the range on their shelves, have made an art of organization and professional presentation, making the exercise of book buying an experience in luxury. Not only are the books laid out nicely across an impressive physical area some of them have adjoining coffeeshops, much like the Barnes & Noble and Starbucks experience in the United States, leaving you with a sweet taste in the mouth and mind space for clarity of thought. They also deal with stationery, CDs and DVDs, giving the customer a complete experience under one roof.
However, long before the Tata’s backed Landmark, that has everything from kitchen accessories to cutting-edge technology and books under one roof, and Crossword, now in 12 cities with over 50 outlets, came into the picture, Higginbothams kickstarted the idea of bookstore chains in India some 160 years ago. With several stores in South India, they were pioneers in giving greater shelf space to children’s books.
Strand Book Stall, the standard for good rates and great range, is the bridge between the two fronts of the book business. Fuelled by the passion of the smaller outlets and the vision of the big chains, Mumbai’s favourite book shop arrived in India’s Silicon Valley in the mid-’90s and literally grew with the Bangalore reader. As an idea, Strand, with its bi-annual book festivals and fabulous discounts, works in a culture where the frills are often relegated to the margins.
“The aim was to expose the city to the Strand brand of reading,” said Vidya Veerkar, who authored Strand’s Bangalore outlet. “When we started, there was the old Bangalore reader, the one who enjoyed reading classics, and also a young floating population that came to the city with the IT boom, keen to explore the world of books. In Bangalore, we’ve grown with the reader.”
Bangalore’s big-city status and growing commercial clout is best likened to a glitzy cover. The cover, however, is no way to judge a book. Turn the cover and you’ll find a city that puts its money where the best deal is.
In and around the MG Road area is still the most sought-after destination for Bangaloreans and tourists, especially on weekends. For office-goers in the area, it’s particularly convenient. So, despite the Metro construction, which has eaten into both parking space and convenience, and the lure of the mall environment, books are flying off the shelves like hot cakes in the city centre.
Movies are the best advertisement for books. New releases like Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Da Vinci Code and, more recently, Angels & Demons and even Confessions of a Shopaholic has made more people across all ages, take to books.

It’s a living hell

It’s a living hell
Residents of Vittal Mallya Road, Walton Road and Lavelle Road take to the streets, having had enough of the indifference by the BBMP and BWSSB

Enough! This was the unanimous cry among the residents of Vittal Mallya Road, Walton Road and Lavelle Road who took to the streets on Saturday to protest against the endless civic problems plaguing these roads that are designated as part of the Central Business District.
“You name the problem and we have it. One literally has to look for the roads under the deep gashes left behind by the various service providers who dig them up to lay cables but forget to close them. Walton Street has not been re-tarred in close to two decades. Bangalore has one heavy shower, and you need a boat to navigate the streets. This level of indifference is unacceptable when we are among the highest tax payers in the city,” said Purushottam Jain, a resident of Lavelle Road.
His sentiments were echoed by Dilip D’Souza, another resident. “The last time it rained, the basement of our building had eight feet of water and cars got submerged. Besides making our mechanics very happy, we also paid Rs 14,750 to the fire department for pumping out the water. I think I spent close to Rs 2 lakh to repair my cars and get the electricity meter and generator fixed. We also have to deal with the problem of mosquitos in the area because of the water stagnation. The situation was not this bad before,” he said.
The residents allege the problem of flooding arises every year like clock work because of the inefficient storm water drain and the encroachment of the ‘Raja Kaluve’ that runs into Kanteerava stadium. “We are a low lying area and the water, be it sewage or rain water, flows down from Upper Vittal Mallya Road, Lavelle Road and Walton Road to flood the street starting from Sunny’s Restaurant. Despite repeated requests to the BBMP, they have yet to rectify the situation with the storm water drain and the Raja Kaluve that has been built upon by private coffee shops,” R K Sawhney, a resident of P G D’Souza Layout, says, but concedes that after the BWSSB changed the sewage pipes a few months ago, the dirty water keeps off the road.
What is ironic about the situation is that names like Ramesh Ramanathan, founder of Janagrahaa, and Capt Gopinath, who recently took over as the chairman of the Infrastructure Committee set up by the Chief Minister, live in the area. “The BBMP told us that the contractor abandoned the project of laying the roads midway. But the real problem is that there are too many departments that handle civic issues. We need one authority,” said Gopinath.
The rest of the residents say that BBMP is still hiding behind the Lokayukta case against it about the road encroachment by UB City. “How long can they do it?” asked Hema B, another resident.
But what is most frightening to residents is the threat of more commercial establishments coming up in the locality. Lavelle Road holds the distinction of having no footpath at all and none of the coffee houses have parking space for their customers. “As smokers are not allowed to smoke inside the coffee houses, they congregate on the roads. How can the authorities allow more establishments to come up when there is no parking place for the existing places?” asked Bernarda D’silva, a 65-year-old woman.
Meanwhile, BBMP chief engineer (major works) Chikkarayappa said the tender notification for relaying Lavelle and Walton roads have been done. “The tender process is on and work will start at the earliest. The MoU between theprivate contractor and BBMP is also through for maintenance of the Vittal Mallya Road.”
Atul Kumar, Chief Operating Officer, City Properties Maintenance Company Limited, who is responsible for the upkeep of UB City, also confirmed that the MoU between the BBMP and UB Group and Prestige Group is through. “The approval for the MoU from the BBMP came through last month and in the next three months, we will have a world-class road,” he said.

Residents attack posh restaurant

Residents attack posh restaurant

Bangalore: Simmering anger over parking by guests of The Beach, an upmarket restaurant in Indiranagar, led to 75-80 residents of the area barging into the place on Saturday. All the guests, including those in two birthday parties, fled the place.
The police arrived after the troublemakers had left and vowed to look into all aspects of the problem. Residents complained that the restaurant had not heeded to their complaints, including alleged obscene behaviour by the guests.

The kirana gharana

The kirana gharana

Seena Menon & Y Maheswara ReddyFirst Published : 29 Aug 2009 10:41:02 AM ISTLast Updated : 30 Aug 2009 09:18:42 AM IST
BANGALORE: AT 27th Cross, Jayanagar, there are Pizza Huts and chaat wallahs, and many other such inventions of modernity, there is one little corner shop that stands out. Condiments of all sorts are stacked to an extent that the entire place looks like a colourful jigsaw puzzle that has just been cracked.
People pour in at all times of the day, oblivious to the phenomenon called supermarkets; because you can find all you want and more at the Shree Gayathri Stores.
Manned by a single person, the shop is still remarkable with its service. All you need is available, and then there are some more things to choose from. Sweets, chutney powders and fancy powders to make your varieties of baaths, snacks -- manufactured by neighbourhood collectives — share space with branded products.
People who have grown up in Jayanagar remember the store start out as a humble outlet for badaam milk and other knick - knacks. Even today, the store has retained its momand- pop shop feel due to the fact that it is run by a family and its regular customers are as good a family for the shop.
Right next to the Shree Gayathri stores is the Shenoy sweets shop.
Together, these shops have made a special corner in the hearts of the Jayanagar residents.
Shree Gayathri stores belongs to the brother of one of the legends of Kannada film industry — Kashinath. Kashinath, who visits the store, once in a while, has many a tale to tell about his store. “The store was started in 1965, making it one of the oldest in the area,” he says. During that time people of all ages, and even college students had only Gayathri stores as a hang-out place. “Many of my old customers are now in foreign countries.
But every time they visit Bangalore, they make it a point to come here. They even pack up stuff to take to their new homes abroad,” he says. The store becomes a nostalgic spot when old customers return.
They talk about the time they used to come here for badaam milk.
For Kashinath, the invasion of new and/or junk food and other hangout places are no threats. “I cannot change the way the new generation is. But I cannot change the way I am too,” says Kashinath. It is their decision to not change with the times and to cherish their old customers. And the old customers stick on for this very quality, as they need a place, even a corner, where time has stood still.

St Mary’s Basilica Feast holds traffic hostage

St Mary’s Basilica Feast holds traffic hostage

Traffic held up near Cunningham Road due to the rush for St Mary's Basilica Feast, in Bangalore on Saturday.
Express News Service First Published : 30 Aug 2009 04:27:00 AM ISTLast Updated : 30 Aug 2009 08:58:56 AM IST
BANGALORE: The areas surrounding Shivajinagar were chock-a-block with vehicles on Saturday evening as hundreds of devotees gathered to celebrate the feast at the Saint Mary's Basilica Church in Russel Market.
The buses plying towards the Shivajinagar bus station were diverted to different regions, leaving commuters confused. Traffic was stuck for hours till late night. The feast will continue till September 8, but Saturday being the first day of celebration, the vehicular confusion was severe, said the police.
The traffic was affected on the connecting streets like Cunningham Road, Infantry Road, M G Road, Cubbon Road, Commercial Street.
The buses heading towards Halasuru, K R Puram and HAL were directed towards Cubbon Road. Buses on their way to Jayanagar, J P NAgar, Lal Bagh, Neelsandra, Madiwala and Electronic City were directed towards BRV Cubbon Road. Buses heading to Majestic, Vijaynagar, Kengeri, Rajajinagar, Yeshwanthpur, K R Market were directed to Balekundri Circle near ParsiTemple and buses bound for J C Nagar, Nagavara and Banaswadi were directed to Wockhardt Hospital on Cunningham Road.
These new routes will continue for a week till September 8, and parking arrangements have been made at BRV Parade ground, Hafeez School on Cockburn Road and BMTC bus stops.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Carpooling, a short message away

Carpooling, a short message away

CommuteEasy, which boasts of the largest network of carpoolers in the country, plans to offer SMS facility to members for easier access to its services. Those advocating the concept of sharing vehicles feel this will save time. Shwetha S reports

Shwetha S

Carpooling is about to get a lot easier. All you have to do is just send an SMS to find about cars available in your area.
CommuteEasy, which claims to have India's largest carpooling network, is planning to launch an SMS service with the aim of becoming more user-friendly for carpoolers. It is planning to become more tech savvy, encouraged by the response to the service. It claims to have 15,000 registrations within eight months of its launch.
"Considering the overwhelming response from commuters, we are planning to make our services more user-friendly by introducing the concept of carpooling through an SMS," Vipul Kasere, founder of CommuteEasy, said. "We are planning to introduce the SMS service to help working professionals. With each passing day, more and more corporates are joining the CommuteEasy carpooling service for the benefit of their employees," he said.
Kasere said the company had tied up with HP and Wipro. "Over 550 people from each company have registered with us," he said. "We plans to tie up with more corporates, like Axa. Since the membership is swelling, we believe our SMS service will help us reach members more easily and at short notice."
Currently, members have to look for available cars on the CommuteEasy website. This needs a computer and an internet connection. "The SMS service will make the process of finding a car more swift and easy than doing it through the website," Kasere said. "Any commuter who is registered with us has to just send an SMS to a given number, furnishing details of where he or she is and the destination. For instance, if some one in Banashankari wants to use the service, all the person has to do is send a message to the helpline number. A message with mobile numbers of people starting from the vicinity in a car will be sent to the person, who can then call up any of the phone numbers and co-ordinate the travel."
But the SMS service will take some time. "We are still in the process of formulating the plan. We will implement it very soon — may be in a couple of months," Kasere said.
He said the company also plans to offer the service to schools and colleges. "Soon after the festival season gets over, we plan to tie up with schools and colleges. Most educational institutions are now shut for various reasons," he said.
"If they introduce the SMS system for carpooling, it will be quite helpful for us," Venkatesh Prasad, a Wipro employee, a carpooler, said. "We will no longer have to depend on a computer and internet connection for to look for carpoolers."
"The biggest advantage of the SMS system would be that it will help us save a lot of time," Ragunandhan K, who works with Sasken Communication, said.
"This system sounds really workable. We will get to know about other carpoolers within minutes and we can co-ordinate with them over the phone immediately. I hope they implement this plan as early as possible," K Vinay, a student of Christ College, said.

Longer-term vision for city's land use

Longer-term vision for city's land use

BMRDA's revised plan will act as a guideline to all city master plans and optimise land usage

Senthalir S. Bangalore

The Bangalore Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (BMRDA) is in the process of planning revision of the Structural Plan for Bangalore Metropolitan Region 2031. This plan will act as a guideline to all master plans.
"All projects estimated at above Rs50 crore will be cleared by the BMRDA. The revised structural plan will act as a guideline to master plans. Master plans are made only to control land use. The process is not complete with the master plan alone, as there is need for continuation of schemes or renewal of plans. The structural plan will provide broad guidelines and offer a longer-term vision which will aid the implementation process," said Shantappa B Honnur, additional director of Town Planning, BMRDA.
In a presentation of the draft revised structure plan, 2031, on Friday, Honnur stated that the city would comprise eight zones, including an urbanised zone, an industrial zone, a conservation zone and an agricultural zone. The BDA will have to seek BMRDA's permission for any further conurbation. Once land is identified under one of the eight zones, it cannot be utilised for any other purpose.
The guidelines focus on the development of economic clusters based on land capacity. "The vision is to establish a streamlined plan and governance system that addresses the need for decentralisation," Honnur said.
VM Hegde, chief executive officer, Centre for Symbiosis of Technology, Environment and Management, in his presentation on land management, said that local bodies should prepare their own master plans. Hegde also said that the multiplicity of agencies will have to be reduced, so that there is better coordination and more effective implementation of policies.

Excitement mounts over new Mangalore-Bangalore day-train

Excitement mounts over new Mangalore-Bangalore day-train

Govind D. Belgaumkar and Anil Kumar Sastry
The train will be flagged off by Minister of State for Railways K.H. Muniyappa today

Mangalore/ Bangalore: The Railways has finally met the long-pending demand of the Coastal Karnataka region for a day-train between the coastal city of Mangalore and the State capital.

The tri-weekly Yeshwanthpur – Mangalore train (6515/6516) will be flagged off at Mangalore Central Railway Station by Minister of State for Railways K.H. Muniyappa on Saturday at 8.40 a.m. even as the regular services will commence from Yeshwanthpur (Bangalore) from Monday.

On Friday, many people made inquiries about reservation, train fare and other details about the new train at the Mangalore Central Railway Station.

Many were eager to buy tickets on Friday itself but had to return disappointed as the train was yet to be included in the online passenger reservation system.

Eager response
The scene was similar at Yeshwanthpur Station in Bangalore with many flocking to the inquiry and reservation counters with their queries.

Septuagenarian Shridhar Shetty of Mangalore, a retired Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) official, was one among the many at the railway station to make inquiries. He met the Chief Reservation Supervisor Srikumar to see whether he could get reservation for the train, only to be disappointed.

“We [he and his wife] wanted to take the first train, enjoy nature’s beauty as the train passes through the Western Ghats and then reach Bangalore,” he said.

Coach composition
The train will have one 3-tier AC coach, nine reserved chair cars and two unreserved chair cars.

While the fare in 3-AC between the two cities is Rs. 531, it is Rs. 116 for chair cars. Sources in the Railways said booking had begun and a few people had made reservations from Bangalore.

Though day trains comprise AC chair cars, the Railways has attached a 3-tier AC coach for want of AC chair cars, sources in the Railways said. A single rake is being used to offer the service for want of adequate coaches, and this could be the reason to operate the services tri-weekly.

The train departs from Yeshwanthpur on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 7.30 a.m. to reach Mangalore at 5.55 p.m. It leaves Mangalore at 8.40 a.m. on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays to reach Yeshwanthpur at 7 p.m. Officials at the Mangalore station were busy preparing for the Saturday’s function.

Meanwhile, the Mangalore city Secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) Sunil Kumar Bajal has demanded that the train should run daily as announced. It has to be speeded up to cover the distance in nine hours instead of 11 hours, he added.

In Bangalore, several Coastal Karnataka associations, including Dakshina Kannadigara Sangha and Tuluverenklu Bangalore have welcomed the new service and said the move would ease commuting problems. Besides urging the Railways to offer daily services, FKCCI Member Prakash Mandoth demanded that the train be extended till Karwar, or at least Bhatkal.

While the journey on the already-running night-train between Yeshwanthpur and Mangalore via Mysore (509 km) takes nearly 12 hours, journey by the day-train via Arsikere (451 km) takes a little over 10 hours. The day-train will throw open the scenic beauty of the Western Ghats to nature buffs between Sakleshpur and Subramanya Road.

Prohibitory orders in parts of City

Prohibitory orders in parts of City
Bangalore, DH News Service:

Frazer Town, KG Halli, DJ Halli, Banaswadi, Hennur, Nagawara, Tannery Road and Sampigehalli looked like a police barrack as 5,000 armed menhad been deployed in the area.

Tension gripp-ed the communally sensitive Frazer Town and KG Halli here, following a murder and stone throwing incidents on Thursday night.

The City police were forced to promulgate prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code on Friday in East Bangalore.

Police arranged the bandobast fearing further communal flare up on Friday.
Trouble started in KG Halli on Thursday evening at about 6.30 pm when the participants of a Ganesha procession approached near a religious place of a minority community shouting slogans. At that time, the members of the minority community were offering prayers after breaking their Ramzan fast.

The sloganeering irked them and they reportedly asked those in the procession to stop shouting. When they did not oblige, stones were allegedly pelted at the procession, triggering violence in the area.

KG Halli inspector T Rangappa rushed to the spot and tried to calm the situation. In the meantime, additional forces were also dispatched to the spot. The flare-up continued till Thursday midnight.

A quiet wedding for IT czar’s daughter

A quiet wedding for IT czar’s daughter
Bangalore, Aug 29, DH News Service:

It is going to be a quiet wedding in the IT Industry’s first family on Saturday. Akshata Murthy, daughter of Infosys co-founder NR Narayana Murthy and Infosys Foundation Chairperson Sudha Murty, will enter into wedlock with Rishi Sunak, her Indian classmate from Stanford Business School.

Chamaraja Kalyana Mandira, South End Circle, Jayanagar, the venue of the wedding has been decked for the big occasion. The marriage will be followed by a high profile reception at the Leela Palace Hotel on Old Airport Road on Sunday.

A big posse of plainclothed policemen has been stationed at the wedding venue, considering the Narayana Murthy’s high-profile public standing and perceived security threats. The armed policemen would move around the hall in a discreet manner, and take suspicious elements into custody and question them in a polite manner. The policemen have reportedly been strictly told not to cause any embarrassment to either the hosts or their guests.

While around 1,000 guests are understood to have been invited for Sunday’s reception, the wedding would be a simple and largely a family affair. The City’s famous Adiga’s chain will be the caterers at the wedding.

The 29-year-old Akshata is a venture capitalist in cleantech space in California. A senior associate at Siderian Ventures, whose mission is to build entrepreneurial cleantech-enabling businesses with global perspective, Akshata is currently employed as marketing director with Tendris, a Dutch cleantech Incubator fund.

Like her sibling Rohan—who is a Microsoft fellow doing a doctoral programme in computer science at Harvard University—Akshata had schooled in Bangalore. She received her undergraduate degree from Claremont McKenna in California and did her MBA from Standford.

Akshata is one of Infosys' largest individual shareholders with 1.4 per cent stake. Her networth is currently around Rs 1,600 crore.


S Kushala | TNN

INFRASTRUCTURE ANALYSIS: Karnataka’s railway, road and energy sectors way behind neighbouring states
Where does
stand? Spread over 1.92 lakh sqkm with a population of 52.85 million, Karnataka stands among the top five industrial states. The state has 2,033 IT firms, 688 multinationals, 87 global Fortune 500 companies, 4 functional airports, 3,500 km of railway line, 2 ports and a steady GDP growth rate.
Bangalore: Karnataka has always boasted of a good rail network. But a recent analysis of infrastructure indices disagrees. The state is way behind neighbouring Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra and the railway sector needs to pump in not less than Rs 18,000 crore to hit the standard targets!
Among other sectors such as road, energy and transport, which are lagging, only airports have fared well. Of the 28 districts, four already have airports and seven are constructing them, apart from 11 airstrips being built.
The analysis was done by the infrastructure development department (IDD) to know the position of the state’s growth drivers and draw up projects. The exercise is a prelude to the Global Investors Meet (GIM) scheduled for January 2010, through which the government plans to sell projects to international firms for public-private partnership (PPP) ventures.
According to IDD principal secretary V Madhu, a masterplan is being prepared for all potential sectors that can attract private investments. “Nearly 150 detailed project reports are readied for the GIM.”
Investment requirement
The analysis looked into investment required to upgrade the overall economy. Calculated at 2006 prices, Rs 92,462 crore is needed in the 11th Five Year Plan (FYP), which is currently in action; Rs 1,86,275 crore in 12th FYP and Rs 3,15,657 crore in the 13th FYP. Every year, the required investment runs up to Rs 3,30,000 crore.
Why PPP?
According to officials involved in investment matters, no state can fund itself with such a huge requirement as Karnataka. Therefore, PPP is the preferred option in most developing countries. Officials revealed that embarking on PPP venture needs discipline and a non-interfering administration. The government’s part involves land acquisition, compensation, fixing land value, replacement value of building, resettlement and rehabilitation, clearances, dislocation allowance, etc.
Airport projects: Hassan, Bellary, Bijapur, Shimoga, Gulbarga High-speed rail link to Bengaluru International Airport 10,000 km of road projects by KRDCL Port at Tadri Devanahalli convention centre, logistics park, business park Mono Rail, food parks, tourism projects, Industrial Infrastructure: VADA at Bellary

Karnataka’s index is 16, which means the state has 16 km of railway line for every 1,000 sqkm as against the target index of 32. Tamil Nadu’s railway index is 32, Gujarat 38 and Maharastra 34. To upgrade railway infrastructure to the target index or reach Tamil Nadu’s standards, Karnataka needs to plough in Rs 18,000 crore immediately.

The current state road index is 107 km per sqkm and the target is 150 km, while Rs 1,25,000 crore is the required investment to reach the target level.

Karnataka’s annual per capita energy consumption is 700 units while the target is 1,400 units. Funds required to close the gap is Rs 80,000 crore.

Big land deals on MG Road

Big land deals on MG Road
Anshul Dhamija | TNN

Bangalore: In one of the biggest land deals in Bangalore in recent times, around 6 acres of land spread across the heart of the city have been bought by the Silverline Group, a leading city realtor, together with some high networth individuals.
The deals happened over the past few months.
It includes five land parcels, all on long leases to corporate entities that include Vijaya Bank, The Taj Residency, The Park Hotel, Canara Bank (all near Trinity Circle), and Barton Centre on MG Road.
For some properties, the lease expires after 30 years, for others, 60 years.
Property dealers say that since all land holdings are long lease, the value of the deal may not be much.
5 acres near Trinity Circle — Silverline Group and two HNIs own one-third each 1 acre Barton Centre — Silverline Group and another HNI own 50% each Prime land belonged to old Bangaloreans
Bangalore: The 6 acres of land spread across the heart of the city that is being snapped up by a realtor and HNIs belonged to some of the older moneyed families of Bangalore, and were being passed on from one generation to the next. These include the Angadi family and Thambu Chetty family which are now hiving off portions of their valuable holdings in the city centre. The Angadi family, whose business interests are in mining, owned the 5-acre tract of land near Trinity Circle that hosts Vijaya Bank, Canara Bank, The Park Hotel and The Taj Residency. Now, Silverline and two other HNIs own one-third of the land each.
The 1-acre Barton Centre property, once owned by the Thambu Chetty family (part of the Puttana Chetty legacy), is now owned by Silverline (50%) and the remainder by a citybased HNI. Silverline promoter Farook Mahmood confirmed the land buys but declined to provide the deal size.
However, property analysts say that since all land holdings are on long lease, the value of the total deal may not be as much as indicated by the current land values on MG Road. Land values on MG Road are now around the Rs 15,000 to Rs 20,000 per sq ft levels.
“The actual value and worth of the properties will only be seen once the lease periods terminate. Till then, the land parcels will give almost negligible returns as their lease rents are at historical rates,” said one analyst

Friday, August 28, 2009

BBMP chief to cough up fine

BBMP chief to cough up fine
Consumer Court Pulls Up Urban Body For Poor Service

Bangalore: K Lakshman’s site in Girinagar measures 1,350 sqft. But when he applied for a khata extract of his property, the document given to him had actually shrunk the site by 150 sqft!
The BBMP’s khata extract was erroneous — it cited the site dimension as 1,200 sqft. Lakshman informed the revenue officer that the dimension mentioned in the extract was wrong and wanted it rectified. But the revenue official wouldn’t listen — he was probably expecting “something’’ to rectify his own mistake. Lakshman, who was not ready to shell out a bribe, applied again for a khata extract, and paid the fee. This time, the document gave the right measurement — 1,350 sqft.
Lakshman did not leave it at this. He approached the consumer court which pulled up the BBMP, and directed its commissioner to pay a fine of Rs 8,500 and subsequently recover it from the salary of the revenue officer concerned.
“The complainant has stated that he approached the officials for rectification of the measurement in the khata extract, which they did not oblige. The officer behaved arrogantly and even demanded a bribe, which prompted Lakshman to apply for the khata extract a second time, by paying a separate fee. We, therefore, find that the BBMP has caused deficiency in their service and their act has caused financial loss and mental agony which needs to be redressed,’’ the court observed.
The court’s move to penalize BBMP is to “keep this type of callousness of the public authorities and corporation under check’’.
Bangalore IV additional district consumer disputes redressal forum, on August 19 has ordered: “The BBMP commissioner is directed to pay Rs 3,500 to the complainant as total damages for hardship, financial loss and mental agony he underwent. It should be paid within 60 days from the date of this order, failing which an interest at the rate of 10% on the amount will have to be paid. The commissioner shall also remit Rs 5,000 as punitive damages to the legal aid account of this forum within 60 days. After paying the above amounts, the commissioner shall fix the liability on the official concerned in issuing such erroneous khata extract and recover the same from his salary.’’


BBMP Clears UB Group’s Proposal To Develop Vittal Mallya Road | Cost May Run Into A Few Crores
Asha Rai | TNN

Bangalore: Vittal Mallya Road, which had become a high-profile symbol for the poor state of Bangalore roads with its open drains, broken pavements, potholes and uneven surface, will finally get a makeover. Vijay Mallya’s UB Group, which maintains the road, finally got the green signal from the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) for its plan to beautify and rejuvenate the city’s high street in the central business district. BBMP will supervise the work. It has also given design specifications for the road and will charge UB a fee for it.
UB Group sources said the clearance came in late July. Subsequently, UB Group spent a month shortlisting and negotiating with contractors before awarding the work a few days ago. Work has already commenced and expected to be completed in three months.
How the road will look
For starters, the road will be a concrete one with dedicated drainage along the entire length on both sides. A duct will also be laid on both sides to carry power and telecom cables, which means there won’t be any need to dig the road every time new electricity or phone connection have to be given.
The road will also have horizontal hume pipes beneath for crossdrainage. The cost of redoing the road is expected to run into a few crores. The road will boast of street furniture (benches) and bollard lighting (lamps on short posts). Pavements on both sides will have granite paving. A UB Group source familiar with the project said, “The aim is to make this a model road in Bangalore with beautiful landscaping.”
In the past
In mid-May, UB Group along with Prestige Group — the joint-venture partners in UB City — had written to BBMP that they would redo the road, which was an absolute eyesore. It was even more jarring as the road is home to some of the city’s most prominent people and to UB City, which houses global brands such as Louis Vuitton, Tag Heuer, Tiffanys, Ferragamo, among others.
The road was in limbo for the past couple of years with UB’s proposals to redo the road not getting the required approvals, and with BBMP not doing anything.
Name-change angle
Earlier this year, BBMP wrote to UB Group stating that unless the latter fixed the road, BBMP would cancel the name of the road as the original agreement required UB Group to maintain it. This, in lieu for changing the name from Grant Road to Vittal Mallya Road. The name change was effected over 15 years ago.

Fix flaws in traffic management

Fix flaws in traffic management

Although the traffic police are satisfied with the speedy changes the BTRAC is bringing about in traffic management, experts say there are glaring glitches which need to be addressed. Soumya Menon reports

Soumya Menon

THE Bangalore City traffic police have an automated system in place to receive, process and disseminate traffic information round the clock and formulate plans for smooth flow of vehicles.
But ask motorists and commuters about how these technological changes have impacted them. Most will say they can't decide which road to take or to avoid and the best time to travel to get to their destinations easier, faster and safer.
Experts say there are some glitches to be tackled even as the traffic police are in full swing to meet the deadlines of the Bangalore Traffic Improvement Project (BTRAC).
The traffic police chief claims there has been improvement in traffic management in the city in the last 15 months after the BTRAC project began. "The major components of the project like surveillance cameras, enforcement cameras, signals, street furniture will be done by the end of this year," said Praveen Sood, additional commissioner of police (traffic).
"The project, which was to start in 2006-07, was delayed by a year. It is a five-year project which will cost Rs350 crore. The funds for next year are yet to be released," he said.
"We've completed 60% to 70% of work related to painting median markers and other street furniture. All the cameras and signals will be connected to the traffic management centre by next month."
The area where work has slowed down is the variable message sign boards which are to be installed in 20 locations across the city.
"The pilot project carried out on Devanahalli Road towards the Bangalore International Airport did not work out as the software was of low quality. The recession too affected this work as the software had to be imported," he said.
Asked if the project had brought about major changes in traffic management, providing smooth flow of traffic, the additional commissioner said the impact was less due to the ongoing work which includes Namma Metro and other infrastructure projects on prime roads across the city.
"Once they are completed, the changes will be visible. Areas like the Old Airport Road, Hosur Road, Sarjapur Road, Koramangala, Devanahalli, and ring roads have seen the changes," Sood said. "The central area of Bangalore like MG Road, which connects the city from one end to the other, is still in a shambles as major work is going on there," he said. "At least 75% of the road is not available for traffic movement. Roads like Palace Road, Race Course Road, and Jayamahal Road witness smooth traffic movement without many signals," he said.
Traffic expert and adviser MN Sreehari says there is overlapping of sign boards at various places. "Five boards exist at one place which causes confusion for road users. It has to be placed in proper scientific locations," he said.
Many surveillance and enforcement cameras go blind at night.
"Most violations like over-speeding and accidents occur at night. These cameras don't record anything," he said. "The shelf life of data recorded during day time is less and should be extended to at least a month," Sreehari said.
Vehicle-actuated signals, which have been installed in some places, are not working properly. "The signal poles in the city are of various colours. They have to be yellow according to Indian Road Congress," he said.
"The traffic police should also include electronic bill boards as part of the BTRAC project integrated with Global Positioning System (GPS)," he said.
He also suggested that more traffic personnel should be recruited and trained. The department should also include education and awareness programmes for road users in BTRAC.

BBMP is all set to make environmentalists happy

BBMP is all set to make environmentalists happy

Greens heave a sigh of relief as the new methodology would help replenish groundwater levels

Senthalir S. Bangalore

It seems that the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has finally woken to the cry of environmentalists on the concretisation of city footpaths. A recent directive from the BBMP to the engineering department says that engineers in all the zones should not use concrete plastering on footpaths. According to the order, if the work on concreting footpaths is underway, it has to be stopped immediately and the new initiative has to be adopted.
"The use of concrete on footpaths reduces the moisture at the ground level and water does not percolate into the ground. Scientifically and ecologically, concreting footpaths has to be stopped and new directions have to be followed," said BBMP Commissioner Bharat Lal Meena.
Henceforth, no concrete should be used for constructing footpaths. Instead, slabs or any other material that would help retain the moisture should be used.
While constructing shoulder drains on the roads, instructions have been given to engineers to develop percolation holes at the centre and at the end of the drain. Making percolation holes at the end of every 50 metres on road ends has also been made mandatory now.
It has been ordered that by the method of machine cutting, perforated concrete slabs should be placed after every five metres on the granite stone slabs used on footpaths.
Environmentalists feel that it is important for rainwater to percolate into the soil. In order to enrich the groundwater level, the system has to be strictly implemented, they plead. However, Leo F Saldanha, coordinator of Environment Support Group (ESG) said that this is a form of corruption. Earlier it was only BBMP that concretised the roads and footpaths but now they want to dismantle and start a new initiative. It is commonsense that trees should not be suffocated, he said.
Naveen KS, another environmentalist said that it is important they start the work at least now. "About 90 % of rainwater goes joins the sewage water due to concrete or tar road. Such an initiative would help in enriching groundwater level," he said.

State government likely to revive monorail projec

State government likely to revive monorail project
P M Raghunandan, Bangalore, DH News Service:

Bangalore will soon see at least two mono rail projects chugging off, if the State Government has its way.

A Malaysia-based company, Scomic-Geodesic, has come forward to build a 58-km mono rail for Bangalore. The company has made the offer to the State Government under the Swiss Challenge method, official sources said.

The company, which has secured permission to implement a mono rail project in Mumbai, proposes to run the mono rail in three corridors. The alignment has been proposed within 5 to 7 km radius of Vidhana Soudha.

It is proposed to have 55 stations, including inter-change stations near Sujatha theatre, Rajajinagar, near Hudson circle and St John’s Hospital, and three depots. The company has proposed to ensure a system integrated with other modes of transport, including the Bangalore Metro.

The project proposal will be placed for clearance before the next-high level committee meeting headed by the Chief Minister. In fact, this is the first project offer the Government has received under the Swiss Challenge, after it was adopted in 2007. Though Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra too have adopted this method of implementing mega infrastructure projects under the PPP model, none has, so far, got any mega proposal.

Under the Swiss challenge, if the proposal is cleared by the high level committee, the Government will call a global tender based on the technical and financial parameters proposed by the Malaysian firm. Then, any company can challenge any component of the original proposal.

Subsequently, the State Government will set up an expert committee to evaluate the proposal along with those challenging it. The Government will finally select a proposal, or a mix of proposals as a project, and give its nod for implementation, officials explained.
When contacted, Principal Secretary to the Infrastructure Development department confirmed that a Malaysian company has proposed the project, but refused to give any details.

Mono rail plan

The State Government has also decided to revive its own mono rail plan, which was dumped by the then H D Kumaraswamy Government. The project proposes 30 kms of mono rail in four corridors.

It will now be placed before Agenda for Bengaluru Infrastructure and Development Task Force (ABIDe) for approval.

New BMTC volvo service

New BMTC volvo service
Bangalore, August 28, DHNS:

The BMTC has announced the introduction of a new Volvo (Vajra) bus route. It will begin from August 29.

With route no V375A, six Volvo buses with a frequency of half an hour each will ply from Kengeri Satellite Town Shirke Apartment to Infosys in Electronic City via Uttarahalli, Banashankari, Jayanagar 9th Block, BTM Layout and Bommanahalli. Meanwhile, the BMTC has identified the route along the outer ring road (ORR) near Sarjapur and HSR Layout, 14th Main Road junction has a high fare route due to the circuitous road taken by its buses, following BDA flyover opening at Agara junction from July 20.

Dedicated bicycle lane soon

Dedicated bicycle lane soon
Bangalore, DHNS:

The City will soon have a dedicated bicycle lane at Jayanagar and Basavanagudi and an exclusive cycling zone in Electronic City, if a proposal of the Directorate of Urban Land Transport (DULT) is implemented.

Disclosing this at a workshop on ‘Bangalore Mobility Indicators 2009 - Pedestrian Policy and Parking Policy for Bangalore Metropolitan Region’ recently, Mohammed Mohsin, Director of Urban Land Transport said a detailed project report has been sought to examine its feasibility. “An exclusive cycle zone for the Electronic City will take off shortly, as a pilot project of the DULT, in partnership with the Electronic City Industries’ Association and Ride a Cycle Foundation,” Mohsin said.

DULT officials said, the project worth Rs 41 lakh at Electronic City will be taken up on a public-private-partnership basis with the government providing land for parking and the private player providing cycles.

Kathyayini Chamraj of CIVIC, an NGO said the draft policy has left out the disabled in its report and also called for footpaths to have a standard and regulated height as opposed to the irregular and uneven footpaths in different parts of the City. Another participant said while preparing the final report, the government may take up initiatives such as converting Brigade Road and Commercial Street in the Central Business District (CBD) as ‘Pedestrian Only’ zones, charging more parking fee for vehicle parking and construction of multi-level parking complexes in identified areas.

Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) MD N Sivasailam said the final policy will provide last mile connectivity to pedestrians and will take Bangalore Metro and BMTC buses as bench marks for making public transport a priority.

Officials from the DULT said a proposal to charge vacant and empty seats in private vehicles plying on the road could be considered in future to discourage the increasing number of cars.

BMRCL awaits HC decision

BMRCL awaits HC decision
S Praveen Dhaneshkar, Bangalore, August 28, DH News Service:

Eager to speed up construction work in time for the December 2010 deadline of ‘Namma Metro’ project, the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) now awaits the decision of the High Court, for possession of land for MG Road station, on which the erstwhile Plaza theatre stood.

Even as the announcement by Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa on the Independence Day that the Reach-1 of Metro will be operational in December 2010, the land on which the theatre once stood is however crucial for the project to be completed in time, say sources in BMRCL. Will this come in the way of the timely completion of Namma Metro? No, says BMRCL. It’s Managing Director, N Sivasailam is confident of completing construction of all six elevated stations on Reach-1 (Byappanahalli to Chinnaswamy Cricket stadium) in time.

“All stations on this Reach will be completed on schedule. Works at Byappanahalli station have been completed to the tune of 15 per cent. The Halasoor station is also progressing well. Piling works are on here and the remaining four stations where the construction is progressing between 5 to 15 per cent. The metro stations, being open structures, 50 per cent of works are actually taken up in the finishing stages. Barring one station, where part possession of land is yet to be taken, the construction work at all five stations are on track,” he said.

Sivasailam further said that the first set of trains (rolling stock) will arrive on schedule in October 2010 from Korea, as completely built units and put on trial runs.

The BMRCL engineers say the completion stage of all stations is the key in final integration of the project as signalling, train control, telecommunications, traction, testing of tracks, trial run and finally commissioning of the project will take place.

‘No delay’

Added B L Yashavanth Chavan, Deputy Chief Engineer and PRO of BMRCL, “There is no question of any delay in completion of the stations. While our priority is Reach 1, we are also on schedule on other three Reaches. By end of September, groundwork on the underground stations will actually commence. It is a huge process involving earth excavation to construct tunnels. To facilitate pre-construction work, road diversions have to be first done, properties acquired and demolished. This process has already begun two months ago on Dr B R Ambedkar Veedhi, near Vidhana Soudha.” Once complete, the 42 km phase 1 of Bangalore Metro aims to provide point-to-point connectivity across East West and North South Corridor.

Barks and bites dog Bangalore again

Barks and bites dog Bangalore again

Bangalore Bureau
Street canines mauling toddler once more brings to the fore a perennial problem
ABC only controls proliferation of dogs, not their aggression

‘We can identify a dog that is a chaser and biter, only if people help us’

Bangalore: Stray dogs mauling 18-month-old Rehana and seriously injuring her on Wednesday has brought to fore once again the stray dog menace.

With many Bangaloreans questioning the efficacy of Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike’s (BBMP) Animal Birth Control programme, there is a need for a long lasting solution to end the problem.

According to the 2007 census, there were more than 1.83 lakh stray dogs in the city. Residents of many areas complain that despite complaints, the civic authority had not addressed the problem.

Viji Ramamurthy, who lives in Indiranagar, said her neighbourhood was forced to live with the nuisance of street dogs’ incessant barking, especially at night.

“We are sometimes afraid to step out of our homes. Parents and guardians are forced to accompany their children out at all times when they go out. All our complaints have fallen on deaf ears,” she said.

The ambitious ABC programme was nothing but waste of public funds, alleged B.S. Srinivas, general secretary, Konankunke Kshemabhivruddhi Sanghagala Okkoota. He said that sterilisation or vaccination did not prevent a dog from attacking or biting. “The argument that it will prevent dog bites is foolish. In my opinion, culling is the only solution,” he said. G. Ramamurthy from the Coordinating Committee of Resident Welfare Associations of Indiranagar, alleged that the ABC programme was not being executed properly.

“Neither is there any transparency nor accountability on the part of the civic authority and non-governmental organisations implementing the programme,” he said.

The problem was aggravated when the contracts of the NGOs expired. The BBMP called for fresh tenders but was unable to finalise them as the NGOs demanded Rs. 600 for every sterilisation.

Only one van
To make matter worse, sources in the BBMP told The Hindu that it has only one dog catching van at its disposal. There were six people in the dog squad, all on the verge of retirement. Sources said that the civic authority’s control rooms received at least 10 complaints about dog menace from residents across the eight zones.

Meanwhile, the NGOs claim that new work orders to administer the Animal Birth Control (ABC) programme, which would be given to them on August 31, would decide the course of programme for the next few months.

A.N. Subbaiah, vice-president of Karuna, one of the NGOs commissioned by the BBMP to carry out the ABC programme, said that in a meeting between the palike and NGOs held over a week ago, the new rates were fixed at Rs. 500 to sterilise a male dog and Rs. 520 for a female.

Sanobar Barucha from Compassion Unlimited Plus Action (CUPA) said the problem of street dogs was a three-way effort, which involved NGOs, BBMP and the public.

“We have to be able to identify the particular dog that is a chaser or a biter, and that can only be done if people in the locality help us,” she said.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Namma Metro on strong foundation

Namma Metro on strong foundation
BMRCL has completed foundation work for the Metro Rail project on Reach 1, from Chinnaswamy Stadium to Byappanahalli

The Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited has finished pile work on Reach 1 - from Chinnaswamy Stadium to Byappanahalli. Pile work includes foundation work for the metro rail project. Reach 1 has 223 pile caps and work on them will be completed by September end.
Piers and pier caps will be constructed over pile caps. Work on pier and pier caps is expected to be completed by October end according to BMRCL.
BMRCL wants to start launching of girders by November at all places on Reach 1. The casting of girder segments is already underway on MG Road. A total of 710 segments have been cast out of the 1,929 segments on Reach 1. Reach 1 is expected to be completed by December 2010 and commercialisation of the metro train will start from January 2011.
Bharat Earth Movers Ltd (BEML) is designing the coaches. “The exterior of the coach will be finalised by next week,” informed Yeshavanth Chavan, the chief public relations officer of BMRCL.

BMRDA revives township plan

BMRDA revives township plan

Chief minister gives go-ahead for again inviting global tenders for Bidadi project shelved in 2007; state plans to speed up land acquisition by increasing compensation and providing alternative jobs for affected farmers. Bosky Khanna reports

Bosky Khanna

THE Bangalore Metropolitan Region Development Authority (BMRDA) is planning to revive the shelved Bidadi township project, which is aimed at reducing congestion in the city. It proposes to again invite global tenders for the township.
The project was shelved after the company that was awarded the bid for the township in 2007 pulled out citing delays in land acquisition by the government.
The proposal to re-tender the project has got the green signal from Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa, sources in the BMRDA said. But the cabinet is yet to approve the proposal, they said.
The government is also planning to increase the compensation for farmers who will lose land for the project and also to provide them alternative means of livelihood. This will help the government overcome hurdles in land acquisition, the sources said.
Farmers from whom land was already acquired and who were assured employment and home were often inquiring about the status of the township and the benefits promised to them, the sources said.
Some of them were also demanding more money as realty prices had increased since the land acquisition, they said.
The BMRDA has planned the Bidadi township on 9,178.29 acres of land, spread across 10 villages — Byramangala, Bannigiri, Hosur, KG Gollarapalya, Kanchugaranahalli, Aralasandra, Kempaiyyanapalya, Kanchugarahalli Kaval, Mandlahalli and Vedarahalli. The BMRDA had earlier awarded the project to realty major DLF in October 2007, after a two-stage global bidding process. There were 24 applicants in the first stage, but DLF was the only bidder in the second stage. DLF had made a commercial offer of Rs57.50 lakh per acre. While awarding the bid, the government had claimed that the company had also agreed to meet the cost on land acquisition and also on the rehabilitation and resettlement of those affected by the project.
However, the Delhi-based firm later backed out of the project due to alleged delays in land acquisition by the government. The government had later returned Rs400 crore to the company.
BMRDA sources said the chief minister had also given his nod for the Solur township in the Magadi taluk. The BMRDA had identified 12,525 acres of land, spread across 20 villages — Lakkenahalli, Beeravara, Koramangala, Parvathanapalya, Kannasandra, Hosahalli, Marikuppe, Gudemaranahalli, Kudulur, Chikkasolur, Solur, Thubarapalya, Kalyanapura, Somadevanahalli, Thattekere, Goruru, Lingenahalli, Ramonahalli, Uddandahalli and Byadaranahalli — for the township, they said. Tenders for the township are yet to be invited.
In 2007, when it was decided to develop the Bidadi township, the government had announced different compensation packages for agricultural land depending on proximity to highways, gramathana, village roads and access roads.

Residents chart a new layout for themselves

Residents chart a new layout for themselves

Arunima Raja. Bangalore

Residents of Jagadish Nagar, New Thippasandra, have set an example for other Residents' Welfare Associations (RWAs) with their initiative and help from their local MLA, KS Nandeesh Reddy, to fix their problems.
Pot hole-ridden roads and overflowing sewage were just the tip of the iceberg of problems these residents faced for long time.
But then, the RWAs here decided to take the road less travelled.
Jagadish Nagar was first under the management of the HAL Sanitary Board, an urban management body, for a long time. Later, it went under the aegis of the City Municipal Council (CMC). But none of these bodies were able to provide a systematic plan for the layout. There was more than one house with the same house number too.
To set all these issues right on their own accord, members of the RWA, under the leadership of LN Hegde, an architect and president of the RWA, prepared a detailed estimate for all development works required.
They researched for three weeks and prepared a detailed plan. This included giving new numbers to houses and asphalting the roads.
The next step was presenting the plan to the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP).
"We had collected information and submitted our plans to various civic agencies. We made several trips to the BBMP office to present our plan. Nine out of ten times it was a failure. But finally, the BBMP adopted our numbering system," said Jayaramachandran CM, secretary of this RWA.
Once the plan was approved, the residents pooled in funds for the works. About Rs15,000 was spent on setting up sign boards alone.
When these inexpensive boards started falling apart, the BBMP soon came forward and installed proper signboards. And now, the RWA of Jagadish Nagar makes it a point that the civic authority paints these boards and numbers them accurately.
Harish, assistant executive engineer, BBMP, said, "The area has developed over the last few years. The RWA had done a good job. Even connectivity has improved."
The happy residents wholeheartedly thank Nandeesh for his support and enthusiasm in their project that has helped them go a long way in changing the face of their layout.
The RWA still has a long way to go in fixing problems like obtaining Cauvery water supply. "As of now, residents purchase water for about Rs1,500 each month," said PP Sethumadhavan, a resident.
The RWA is also trying to construct a park in the area. It is trying to resolve a decade-old conflict between the revenue department and the civic agencies over a piece of land, and utilise that lung space for the park.

International arrivals peak at BIA in July this year

International arrivals peak at BIA in July this year

The swine flu scare has not deterred vacationers from visiting Bangalore

MK Madhusoodan. Bangalore

Swine flu and recession don't seem to have an effect on the number of international passengers arriving and departing at the Bengaluru International Airport.
As per the records of the immigration officials at BIA, the volume of international passengers has increased by 20,000 in July, compared to the same period in 2008.
"We have registered nearly 1.48 lakh in July 2008, and July 2009 records passenger traffic at 1.68 lakh. This shows that there was no reduction in the passenger movement to the city and out," an officer told DNA.
The estimates stated that earlier there were a lot of passengers who had come to India due to recession and job losses in foreign countries.
"But this number is less compared to the numbers of other normal passengers and those who come to India for a vacation. This is a record passenger traffic ever witnessed by the BIA," an official said.
The BIA recorded 1.40 lakh passengers in January this year and the figures came down to 1.25 lakh in February. In March, the number of passengers was 1.23 lakh but it rose to 1.33 lakh in April. In May again, the record was set at 1.51 lakh, while it went down to 1.47 lakh in June, according to the numbers available with the immigration office at the BIA.
These figures include both Indians and foreigners who departed and arrived at BIA

Tumkur Road to be closed

Tumkur Road to be closed

Move to facilitate speedy execution of elevated expressway work

Soumya Menon. Bangalore

Those commuting on Tumkur Road should brace up for an eight-month-long nightmare, as the Yeshwantpur-Hesarghatta Cross stretch of National Highway No 4 will be closed for traffic in both directions from next week.
However, vehicles, with the exception of lorries and trucks, will be allowed to take the service roads on either side of the national highway.
The Tumkur Road stretch, a major lifeline of Karnataka's surface transport, linking the capital city and northern areas of the state and the country, is being closed to facilitate early completion of work on the elevated expressway being constructed by the National Highways Authority of India.
The Bangalore City Traffic Police said that the road, including the service lanes, will be completely closed for lorries. Only light motor vehicles and public transport like BMTC and KSRTC buses will be allowed to ply on these lanes.
Heavy transport vehicles like trucks and lorries will be diverted to reach their destination without touching the city roads or ring roads.
Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Praveen Sood said that the pillars have been erected, while girders will be installed from next week. "We need to enable the speedy execution of work on the expressway which is to be inaugurated by early next year. The department came up with the solution that all vehicles will be made to use the well developed service roads. There are certain diversions for public transport vehicles and the public will soon be notified in this regard," he said.
Sood said the expressway work had reached a crucial stage and plying of vehicles on the highway would not only inconvenience the execution but also pose a threat to the public with increased risk of accidents and congestion.
"In fact, the heavy vehicles that would be diverted do not cater to the city. Usually, these heavy vehicles only clog the ring roads and cause chaos on city roads,'' he said.

High Court permits canteen construction in Cubbon Park

High Court permits canteen construction in Cubbon Park
Bangalore, August 24, DH News Service:

The High Court on Monday gave permission for the construction of a canteen on the Cubbon Park premises.

The Advocates Association had filed an Interlocutory Application for the High Court to give permission for the construction of a canteen and the Court had asked Chairman of the High Court Building Committee, Justice V Gopala Gowda, President of Advocates’ Association K N Puttegowda, Registrar General R B Budihal, Advocate General Ashok Harnahalli and senior counsel Nanjunda Reddy to inspect the place and submit a report.

The report was filed in the court on Monday, which stated that a permanent structure would cost Rs 60-70 lakh.

The division bench consisting of Chief Justice P D Dinakaran and Justice V S Sabhahit said that the report had been accepted by the State government and the government had proposed to put up a permanent full-fledged modern canteen at a minimum cost of Rs 75 lakh for the benefit of members of the Court, litigant public, staff and the press.

Appreciating this, the Chief Justice said, “In view of the matter, we do not see any impediment in granting permission for the proposed canteenm which shall be started and completed within the time schedule.”

He also said that a technical expert had to oversee the construction to avoid cutting of trees as much as possible and to maintain an eco-friendly atmosphere.

Skeletons tumble from Bangalore’s closet

Skeletons tumble from Bangalore’s closet
Bangalore, August 25, DH News Service:

Who is Campa Gond? According to a report on Medical Topography and Statistics published in 1844, Campa Gond was the ‘Romulus of Bangaloor’.

Yes, it is none other than the founder of Bangalore, Kempe Gowda. Bangalore is termed as ‘Bangaloor’ or ‘Bangalooria’ and according to the report, that was the term used by the ‘natives’.

These are some of the interesting records, along with old photographs, on display at the Exhibition of Archival Images of pre colonial and colonial Bangalore, at the Indian Council of Historical Research.

The exhibition has collections of water colour impressions by James Hunter of Tipu’s palace (1792), pictures of Gavi Gangadhareshwara Temple, Bull Temple, St Marks Church, Cubbon Park, GPO, Mayo Hall, Attara Kacheri and Commercial Street.

A write up by an Anglo-Indian Chaplain, which appeared in the Chamber’s Journal in 1882, states, “I wrote a letter and carried it to the post office, where I inquire the price of postage to Bangalore. The official looked at me dumbfounded, and speedily reduced me to a similar condition when he made the Scotch reply: ‘Bangalore, Where is it? Is it in the West Indies or the East?’ I had not been many months in the country when I found that this post-office official wasn’t the only one who had a hazy idea as to the whereabouts of Bangalore.”

Later in the article, the Chaplain rues, “And yet so strangely perverse is human nature, there are to be found not a few of these intelligent Hindus who sigh for the ‘good old times’ and do not hesitate to say to us: ‘All very well, Sahib, but oh, give us back our old Raj!’ It is difficult to make the Hindus grateful to us, and it is almost an impossibility to make them love us.”

Inaugurating the event on Saturday, Jnanpith awardee U R Ananthmurthy spoke about the existence of old, modern and ultra modern consciousness in a single household, and this being a defining feature of most families. Appreciating the collection of photographs, he said that research on the City would yield so many different experiences.

Professor at Bangalore University, Surendra Rao expanded on the Cantonments in Bangalore, and how they led to unconscious demarcation of the rulers and ruled, by creating areas for the rulers, which were cleaner, organised and fashionable area with all civic amenities. The subtle demarcation continues even today as these areas are still sought after by people and are considered the ideal place for living, he explained.
The exhibition is on till August 30.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Dangerous underpasses worry drivers

Dangerous underpasses worry drivers

Bangalore: While vehicles have gobbled up every inch of road space and commute time, pedestrians have been given their strips of safety in the form of underpasses. But most often than not, underpasses form the dark underbellies of the projects overhead. Dimly lit and sometimes locked, they are a major worry for citizens.
Good lighting was one of the suggestions that came up during a workshop on ‘Mobility indicator, parking policy and pedestrian policy’ held in the city on Saturday. BMRCL MD Shiv Sailam interacted with the public, and heard their concerns and views.
“Any signal-free road project should also have suitable plans for pedestrians,” said Divya, in her 20s. She brought to notice the deplorable condition of Sheshadri Road underpass, which has no proper lighting, and is unsafe for children and women. She also suggested that skywalks might be a good solution, but are not suitable at market places.
Raising questions over the use of public transport, an elderly person who introduced himself as ‘pedestrian’, said, “People use their private vehicles for some reason. I suggest that BMTC officials use public transport themselves so they can understand the problems faced by the public.”
Rakesh showed concern over the cutting down of trees for widening roads and even sidewalks. “Pedestrians need shade. Cutting down trees will add to their inconvenience.”
The Parking and Pedestrian Policy was the main attraction of the workshop. Gopi Prasad of Ides Consulting made the presentation and gave an insight into the problems and solutions. He cited the growing number of vehicles as the major area of concern and also suggested ‘regulation of old vehicles’ to decrease parking load.
Metro pile work on Reach 1 ready: The Metro Rail project has completed a major chunk of work. All pile work on via duct are completed at Reach 1, according to Metro officials. This means Reach 1 is going as planned.
Metro officials also confirmed that pile caps will be completed by September-end and pier caps by October-end this year.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Saving precious water costs as little as Rs 400

Saving precious water costs as little as Rs 400
Bangalorean Creates Rainwater Harvesting System
Jayashree Nandi | TNN

Bangalore: What does it take to save thousands of litres of rainwater? A meagre Rs 400.
A Bangalorean has debunked politicians’ theory that one needs to go to other states to study implementation of the rainwater harvesting. M Rajamurthi, an LIC agent, has created his own unique rainwater harvesting system at his house. And his guide was the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board(BWSSB).
After two to three trials, Rajamurthi was successful in making a model that saved him over 10,000 litres of rainwater this monsoon.
Rajamurthi and his family were using a borewell and Cauvery water for their water needs before he was struck with the idea of creating a rainwater system for himself. “I was shocked that ministers were going abroad to learn this technique. It is not a complicated one. All I spent on the pipes and filters was Rs 400 and that has saved me so much of water,” he said.
What Rajamurthi did was to pick up an anniversary book of BWSSB that had several models of rainwater systems. He read the guidelines in detail and tried implementing them. But the first model did not work. On a second trial, he got it right.
“I used two kinds of filters — a 150 micron screen tea filter and a bucket tea filter. The water slopes from the terrace into a pipe and comes down to the filter. The solid residue settles at the bottom of the filter and water gushes up into the bucket where it filters again. The filtered water then comes down through a pipe and is collected in the underground sump,” explained Rajamurthi.
For drinking purposes, 25 members residing in the threestoreyed house are still using Cauvery water, but Rajamurthi says that rainwater has been purified enough to be used for drinking as well. The terrace area is 30 by 40 feet, which fulfils the description specified by BWSSB to come under mandatory rainwater systems.
BWSSB chairman P B Ramamurthy will visit Rajamurthi’s house soon to see the model. On his part, Rajamurthi plans to start an NGO by employing around 10 plumbers who would be trained in making the system. Then he would fix it at other houses for Rs 100. “I have already fixed the system at four other houses and some houses at Bidadi and Ramanagaram,’’ he said.
It usually costs between Rs 2,000 and Rs 5,000 to make rainwater harvesting system on roofs
The Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage (Amendment) Bill 2009 makes rainwater harvesting measures mandatory in buildings. Both new and old buildings, houses or apartments need to have the system in place within nine months

BMIC project: pollution control board withdraws CFE granted to NICE

BMIC project: pollution control board withdraws CFE granted to NICE

Staff Reporter
Bangalore: The Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) has withdrawn the Consent for Establishment (CFE) granted to carry out the Bangalore-Mysore Infrastructure Corridor (BMIC) project citing violations in the plan for which environment clearance was given in 2000.

In its recent order, the board also found that opening of sections of the peripheral ring road (PRR), constructed as part of the project, for movement of vehicles was also a clear violation of the conditions imposed while granting CFE.

The Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprises (NICE), which is executing the BMIC project, has been collecting toll from users of the PRR since about a year, and now the board found that the roads had been put to use without obtaining a separate consent for operation of the road as per the condition.

This latest order of the KSPCB has now put the brakes on works related to the BMIC project, which is already facing charges of irregularities like acquisition of excess land and illegal change in road alignment, among others.

Meanwhile, the board found that NICE had changed the alignment of PRR at many locations, violating the plan for which the environmental clearances were given by the board and the Union Ministry of Environment, Ecology and Forests.

The board first withdrew the CFE in September 2006 and NICE challenged it before the Karnataka State Appellate Authority (under Air and Water Act), which remitted the matter back to the KSPCB to pass a fresh order after hearing the views of NICE. The board, after hearing NICE, in March 2007 reconfirmed the order.

The Karnataka High Court on July 3, 2009, asked the board to dispose of the issue on withdrawal of CFE within four weeks while directing the NICE to adhere to its undertaking given to the court that it would not go ahead with work in disputed areas.

Several places witness traffic jams

Several places witness traffic jams

Staff Reporter
BANGALORE: All roads leading to Majestic bus terminal and railway station were clogged as hordes of people made their way out of the city to their native places to celebrate the festivals during the weekend. The stretch of Kempe Gowda Road between Mysore Bank Circle and the bus terminal was jammed with traffic moving at snail’s pace.

Ananda Rao Circle and areas around K.R. Circle were also heavily clogged, and police found it difficult to control the traffic across the city on Friday night.

Mysore Road also witnessed heavy traffic with buses, autorickshaws and private vehicles caught in a long traffic jam, forcing people to alight from vehicles and walk to the bus station.

Cops to book cheat builders

Cops to book cheat builders

August 22nd, 2009
By Our Correspondent

Bengaluru, Aug. 21: Considering the steep raise in land related disputes in Bengaluru, city police commissioner Shankar M. Bidari, has directed his officials to book conmen out to cheat investors under the Karnataka Land Revenue Act 1954, to make sure that they invite stringent punishment.
“Under the Karnataka Land Revenue Act such conmen will invite a simple imprisonment of three years with a fine of Rs 10,000,” he says, warning that the police will act stringently against those who convert agricultural land into commercial without obtaining proper consent from the authorities concerned.
“Even mere advertising the sale of agricultural land which has not been converted for commercial use can put the accused behind bars,” he says.
“Despite repeated warnings people continue to fall prey to conmen who cheat them while selling them sites. We request the public to scan the papers carefully before investing with land developers,” Mr Bidari stresses, pointing out that the police can take up suo moto action only where cognisable offences are concerned. “We come to know about such cheating cases involving land only when a victim files a complaint,” he explains.
Senior police officials advise depositors investing in sites on the outskirts of the city to be extremely careful.
“Many builders develop layouts and townships on the outskirts of the city. But depositors should approach the local bodies, including the sub-registrar’s office for document verification before investing with them,” they say.
According to them sometimes land developers con depositors by saying that the agricultural land is under the process of conversion.
“In such cases, depositors must take an undertaking about the status of the land from the developers,” they emphasise.

Yediyur Lake gets ready for Ganesh

Yediyur Lake gets ready for Ganesh

Express News Service First Published : 22 Aug 2009 05:03:22 AM ISTLast Updated : 22 Aug 2009 08:45:10 AM IST
BANGALORE: Special arrangements for Ganesh Chaturthi have been made across the city to ensure safe immersion of idols at all the identified lakes and tanks, Minister R Ashok said on Friday. Ashok, who visited the Yediyur Lake to check on the arrangements made for the festival after inspecting the work happening at the lake said, “The number of mobile immersion tanks have been increased across the station.” These mobile stations will be put across various locations and apart from these mobile tanks, the Ganesha idols can be immersed at the three identified kalyanis and 21 lakes.
He said that the Palike has created special cement tanks in the Ulsoor and Yediyur lake for the immersion of the Ganesha idols.
Huge Ganapati idols can be immersed using a crane at the Ulsoor lake, Ashok said. To avoid any untoward incidents during the festival time and during immersion, there will be tight police security at all these places.
A meeting will be held with all senior officials from the BBMP, BDA, BESCOM and the Police department to discuss on these issues, said Ashok.The Minister was accompanied by BBMP.

CMH Road repair works to be expedited

CMH Road repair works to be expedited
Bangalore, aug 21, DH News Service:

The Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) on Friday said the Karnataka Land Army Corporation (KLAC) has been instructed to expedite the road repair work being carried out on CMH Road in Indiranagar.

In a release issued here, the BMRCL stated that, despite the KLAC carrying out road repair works near Swami Vivekananda Road, Halasoor to ease traffic flow, leakage of water from a pipe below is damaging the road.

“The Chief Engineer, BWSSB has been contacted. He has promised to set it right within a week, so that we could re-lay the road. There is some urgency in the matter since more parts of the newly-laid road is getting spoilt. KLAC has been asked to relay the road immediately after stopping the water leakage,” said Yashavanth Chavan B L, the BMRCL PRO.

The release added that BWSSB has completed the drainage work up to Shanthi Sagar Hotel, that were pending on CMH Road.