Saturday, November 28, 2009

Who will BEL this cat?

Who will BEL this cat?
There are four signals in a 3.4 km stretch from BEL circle to Sadashivnagar police station, which makes everyone, VIPs included, travelling here even during non-peak hours curse this road

If you are driving down 80 Feet Road towards Ramaiah College and don’t want to be caught up in endless traffic jams, then you have to be adept at one thing: You have to have the capacity to get your car or bike past each of the four signals dotting this stretch in less than 15 seconds.
Ordinary mortals, of course, have no option in this regard, so they settle for the painful stopgo-stop grind that makes BEL road such a miserable place even during non-peak hours. In fact, it takes 10 minutes to cover a distance of 500 metres. The fact there is no free left or right turn here worsens the situation.
BEL road is considered one of the most upmarket places in North Bangalore, with posh areas like Dollars colony, RMV layout and Sadashiv Nagar adjoining it. Bangalore Mirror did a test drive to observe first-hand the problems on BEL road.
We deliberately started our test drive during a non-peak hour, to know the conditions of commuters traveling during that time. We started from BEL circle at 3.07 pm and our destination was Sadashivnagar police station circle. There were four circles (signals) along the way.
After travelling for about 300 metres from BEL circle, we had to negotiate a curvy graveled road, with our bike speed falling below 15 km/hr. It’s a short ride but at night it becomes especially dangerous as there is neither streetlights nor embankment along this road. We reached the RMV 2nd Stage Layout Circle and stopped for about a minute. No problem. We cruised through and reached ISRO circle and again stopped for a minute. No problem, but remember it was not peak hour.
Next, we had to slow down near a big manhole repaired recently and that had barricades around it. We reached the notorious Ramaiah Circle and here we were held up for a minute and 14 seconds. As we crossed the circle, we couln’t help noticing the pathetic state of waiting drivers coming from 80 ft road.
After crossing the signal, we saw the road tapering off. Reason - the earth dug up on the sides had been put on the road and footpaths, forcing pedestrians to walk on the road. We reached Sadashiv Nagar police station circle at 3.21 pm. COMMUTER WOES Some reactions of commuters who use BEL road everyday:

It took 14 minutes to commute a distance of 3.6 Km. Fourteen minutes is not very long time, but it underlines the fact that commuters need to brace themselves up even for nonpeak hour of city’s traffic.

Everyday I start from home praying not to meet with an accident on BEL road.What is worse is that ambulances coming to Ramaiah hospital get stuck in the traffic. Samyutha Balasubramaniam,
student of MBBS in Ramaiah

I consider it as the road of equality. Excluding the CM, everybody has to deal with the horrible traffic. Naveen Kumar, a manager of a IT company

BEL road hosts many IT companies. The area is surrounded by big institutions like IISc and Ramaiah college. Many VIPS stay nearby. But still everybody has to face the same consequences. Vishwas Revankar, a student of Ramaiah college

Lack of parking space forces us to walk a long way to go to a shop or food joint. Nandita, student of Ramaiah college

Bangalore’s traffic is more horrible than Pune. Compared to Pune, even the road conditions worse here. Manju Tirumale, a tourist

A haven of peace and quiet

A haven of peace and quiet

HRBR Layout is fast-developing into one of the most
sought-after addresses in town

Vaishalli Chandra

Situated close to the Outer Ring Road, HRBR Layout represents a preferred address both for well-established Bangaloreans drawn to its wide roads and spacious, well-etched blocks and for young couples and students who can't get enough of its cosmopolitan culture. HRBR Layout has a much-valued countryside quietness about it that cuts out the blare of constant city traffic. At the same time, its close proximity to the international airport makes it easy for high-flying executives to slip in and out of the city.
Good green cover, well-maintained roads and pavements and a fast developing retail ambiance are pluses every resident of this area rattles off with pride. It is as close to a model ward one can have in the city, some say.
Youngsters from the area can shop at their favourite stores on 4th Main Road, also known as Kamanahalli Main Road. This arterial road buzzes with energy and its connectivity to Jal Vayu Vihar and Sena Vihar gives it an added advantage as cafes, restaurants and internet parlours ensure youngsters have dedicated spaces to hang out. Most young people living here feel there's no need to head for MG Road and Brigade Road.
"The place is peaceful and everything is available here – from supermarkets to music and bookstores," says Sushma Satyanarayan, a training manger in a call centre and a resident of HRBR Layout. It is even close to her work place. "In fact, the houses are spacious and priced to suit young working executives," she says.
The office-going crowd, especially those working in MNCs and BPOs, find the area just a hop, skip and jump away from the offices of companies such as Philips and IBM located nearby, including at the Manyata Tech Park, which is just a few kilometers away.
The only negative aspect of this area? A lowered sense of security after nightfall as the broad roads, though well-lit, feel a little eerie and make one feel less than confident about venturing out alone. While there are a few good parks in the area, residents feel that aren't nearly enough. The safety of children is yet another concern, as the lack of playing areas means many children are forced to play on the roads.

Residents say jai ho, Jayanagar

Residents say jai ho, Jayanagar

PK Surendran

Jayanagar may be known for many things, but one of its claims to fame has to be the fact that no less than three co-founders of Infosys call it home, among them Infosys chief mentor NR Narayana Murthy.
India's top IT Trinity taking up residence in this part of town is perhaps the biggest endorsement of Jayanagar as one of the three most coveted residential areas in the city. Little wonder then that a square foot of land here sells for Rs15,000 – Rs 17,000 (here's a little trivia: the original plots of land here were sold at the now bizarre-sounding rates of 50 paise per sq ft). "Owning a house in Jayanagar is like owning property in New York," says S S Nayak, a property dealer.
"Murthy loved this place; he used to drive around and have dosa at one of the local eating joints," recalls Dr RS Surendra, a physician who has lived in Jayanagar for 40 years and who knows the Murthy family closely. But it is not Murthy alone who loves the area. "We once made a liberal estimate and found that at least 10 percent of Karnataka's celebrities and an equal number of corporate honchos have property here or live here," says Ashok Maheshwari, chairman, Intellect Outsource Pvt Ltd. Anil Kumble, cinestar Vishnuvardhan, Golden Star Ganesh are just a few. The number of corporate head honchos living here is no less considerable.
Located in south Bangalore, Jayanagar is bounded by Mico-BTM Layout to its east, Lalbagh Lake to the north, Banashankari to the west and JP Nagar to the south. Dating back to late 50s, it is one of the 17 planned residential areas in India after Independence and is believed to be the largest planned residential area in Asia. Lakshman Rao, the then-administrator, and some British urban planners are said to have contributed to making Jayanagar what it is today.
What makes Jayanagar great?
It is one of Bangalore's best laid out residential areas with wide (widest, say residents) roads with a liberal sprinkling of parks and green spaces. The locality also borders Lalbagh, Bangalore's green heart. Suresh Bhatt, one-time secretary of Bangalore South Residents' Association, uses only superlatives for Jayanagar.
Nine blocks and 15 lakh people, each block with a welfare association, eight parks, wide roads, two malls (one opening soon), 31 schools and colleges, five premium hotels, several restaurants and shopping complexes, two cinema halls, super bazaars, hospitals and even a pub! The Jayanagar Shopping Complex in IV Block is a thriving commercial centre. The 4th Main Road, also known as Nanda Road, is a beautiful boulevard running north to south from Southend Circle to 44th Cross in 5th block for almost 2 km and is characterised by well-maintained parks on either side. It is the only such road in Bangalore.
Jayanagar I Block is primarily a residential locality. It is a very quiet place and quite a contrast to the rest of the city. Jayanagar IV Block is well-known for being a hub of shops, restaurants and fast food centres. Residents say Jayanagar is self-contained, with good schools, colleges, hospitals and retail outlets in the area. "Roads and connectivity are excellent here," says R Kumar, a physiotherapist who moved here three years ago.



Indiranagar stands out among Bangalore localities for its peculiar mix of quiet neighbourhood
and vibrant commercial hub

Senthalir S

Indiranagar started life, almost 40 years ago, as a quiet, leafy Bangalore neighbourhood peopled mostly by retired defence personnel and PSU officers. Today, it is one of the city's most important and vibrant commercial and social hubs. Yet, in spite of the row of swanky showrooms that dot its main artery, 100ft Road, Indiranagar continues to command a premium for being one of the most sought-after residential addresses in town.
According to most residents, it is here that Bangalore still retains its 'garden city' character. A quiet neighbourhood, a dynamic and cosmopolitan culture, well-kept parks and good schools, hospitals and retail outlets within easy distance puts the locality on the top of the charts, say the residents.
Teresa Bhattacharya, former chief secretary, government of India, chose to live in Indiranagar 30 years ago when it was not as thriving a locality as it is today. "I like to live here because of the beautiful mix of people and the self-sufficient nature of the neighbourhood. Even after commercialisation, most of the residential areas remain largely untouched," says Bhattacharya, who was the only woman to hold the post of commissioner, Bangalore Mahanagara Palike between 1981 and 82, during the long administrative period of the BMP.
According to Bhattacharya, Indiranagar is mainly home to highly educated professionals. "Thirty years ago, when we came here, most employees of the public sector industries chose to stay here. Earlier there were not too many educational institutions around. But now, it has the best educational institutions and two good hospitals – Chinmaya Mission Hospital and Manipal Hospital," she says.
Speaking about the pros and cons of living in Indiranagar, Xerxes Desai, president of the Defence Colony Residents Association (DECORA) underlines that Indiranagar has a large number of smaller neighbourhoods each with their own resident welfare associations, no less than 18 in number.
"The USP of this area are the walk-up apartments, three to four storey buildings, parks and shopping complexes. Property values have gone up in this area. A lot of young people like this area for its upwardly mobile aura. A great thing about Indiranagar is you need never go anywhere else for all your shopping needs," says Desai, who was the managing director of Titan Industries from 1986 to 2002. He was rated as India's fifth best CEO in a 1997 survey carried out by Business World. He was also a member of the national commission on urbanisation.
Uncomfortable with the rapid commercialisation of the area, Desai fears that unchecked commercial growth and the increasing number of apartments, shopping establishments and restaurants have altered it. "When I came into Indiranagar 15 years ago, it was quiet with lots of greenery and 10 acres of park area. Most areas in Indiranagar were clean and well-maintained. But with the growth of Bangalore, even Indiranagar has changed. Now, there is a huge working and visitor population, vehicles and parking demands are growing by the day," says Desai.
However, Pramila Nesargi, senior advocate and former chairperson of the State Women's Commission, says that commercialisation and infrastructure growth will help in the area's development in the future. "Though residents have been facing inconvenience due to the Metro project, we hope it will help ease congestion and lead to better infrastructure for the area in the future. Indiranagar has a rich cultural heritage; many literary functions and music festivals are held here. This makes the locality more beautiful. It is a self-contained little world," feels Nesargi. Bhattacharya endorses her views.

Indiranagar tops DNA's best localities

Indiranagar tops DNA's best localities

The definitive ranking of Bangalore's localities, based on the livability index, is out

Vinay Kamat. Bangalore

Just damn statistics. Look for the brand quotient, which indicates PEDIGREE (how classic?), POSHNESS (hip and hep?), PROMISE (future value?), PIGGYBAGGAGE (IT rub-off?), and PROXIMITY (airport nearby?).
These 5Ps were, then, the deciding factors in the first DNA-IMRS survey of Bangalore's Best Localities (the L-list). The topper is no surprise: Indiranagar, a social hub that has been reengineered by business and entertainment. Even in its bleakest moments—the locality has surrendered its calm interior to the daily grating and bullying of a W-I-P Metro—Indiranagar is a big residential draw. In essence, Indiranagar = neighbourhoods + culture + 100 Ft Rd.

Hebbal Lake blues

Hebbal Lake blues

Hyacinth growing all over Hebbal Lake.

Y Maheswara ReddyFirst Published : 28 Nov 2009 01:09:50 AM ISTLast Updated : 28 Nov 2009 10:50:13 AM IST
BANGALORE: At first sight, Hebbal Lake, one of the largest man-made lakes in Bangalore city, comes across as a visual delight. Built in the 16th century to meet water requirements of surrounding areas, the lake was handed over to East India Hotels (EIH) Ltd for maintainence purposes in 2006.
EIH had bagged the contract from the Lake Development Authority (LDA) to develop the lake under a public-private partnership. It was expected to spend Rs 16.50 crore for integrated development of Hebbal Lake and the development work commenced on February 1, 2007. The EIH has developed a garden, the entry fee for which was fixed as Rs 20 per head.
The lake also had boating facility.
However, all the development activities came to a stand still with High Court’s interim order against privatisation of lakes in Bangalore on November 4, 2008. Now, there is no boating facility. On week-ends, the park and garden are the favourite destinations for many families residing in surrounding areas. However, there are no canteens in the area. “It will be great if the management also starts a canteen,’’ says Abeebullah who had come to the park.
However, an official from EIH Ltd makes it clear that the company has no plans to start a canteen. “It will pollute the park. Our intention is to keep the park free from pollution or garbage,’’ says the EIH official under the condition of anonymity.
The view of the lake and pelicans at two bird nests located in the lake are visual treats for visitors. “We stopped boating since it disturbs the birds,’’ he said.
Garbage here and there However, the lake is not immune to the spread of hyacinth and garbage.
Though the lake has a fence, there is still garbage at some parts of the lake. The mounds of garbage at Kalyani, an immersion tank, is an example.
“We have spent Rs 70 lakh on fencing of the lake but people still throw garbage into it,’’ complains one of the employees of EIH Ltd.
Elaborating on the development work, the EIH Ltd representative said that the company had spent Rs 4.50 crore on sewage treatment plant. “We want to use this facility to treat the sewage water and release the treated water into the lake during summer when the water-level decreases,’’ he said.
He said that the company has taken up the development of the lake not for commercial gain but to protect and preserve the lake. “We are paying Rs 6.30 lakh per month to the Lake Development Authority but earns only Rs 1.50 lakh by way of entry fee,’’ he said.
On garbage at the Kalyani and hyacinth in the lake, he said that efforts are being made to clear hyacinth.
“We expect it to cost us Rs 2 lakh. The Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike authorities have promised to clear the lake. If they fail to do it, we will clear it on on our own,’’ says the official.
The lake is not immune to the spread of hyacinth and dumping of garbage.
EIH is planning to clear the lake of this. The BBMP has promised to clear the garbage heaped at Kalyani, an immersion tank

Tiffins and more

Tiffins and more

Kavitha SrinivasaFirst Published : 28 Nov 2009 01:15:10 AM ISTLast Updated : 28 Nov 2009 08:19:00 AM IST
BANGALORE: MTR or Mavalli Tiffin Rooms is more than a city landmark. It’s the first port of call for lovers of vegetarian South Indian food.
What makes MTR click is its tendency to generously use ghee to make South Indian tiffin items like idli, vada and kara bhat.
So what was considered a nondescript staple dish was morphed into comfort food, with generous amounts of ghee and cashewnuts added in. As a result, MTR food has come to be known for its rich food, that even weight watchers find it hard to resist.
The place attracts all sorts of people, many of whom are second and third generation customers. “I have been coming here since 20 years and I meet my friends over a cup of filter coffee. It has become a habit,” said 52-year-old Premnath, a businessman.
MTR may not exactly fit into the yuppie image of a coffee joint, but the peppy frothy beverage is something to die for.
The ambience hasn’t changed since 1924, when it was started by two brothers, Yajnanarayana Maiya and Ganappayya Maiya who hail from Parampalli, near Udupi. Their recipes remain culinary treasures, while giving the foodie a sumptuous treat. Over the decades, it changed hands, but it remains a family run business, with a few cosmetic changes. For instance, the entrance was from the side — the restaurateurs wanted their patrons to pass through the kitchen. While they still score on the cleanliness count, the entrance has shifted. Nevertheless, one can still get glimpses of Brahmin cooks cooking furiously in cauldrons.
MTR lives in its own time warp with its laminated tabletops and large whirring fans and a somewhat weathered look. Yet its charm lies in the people who run it. P Janardhan Maiya has been its manager for over 40 years and he connects with diners.
The senior citizen has served past and present political leaders. Strangely, they take it sportingly when they are spotted at the eatery.
Over time, MTR has grown into a sort of place where fluffy idlis and filter coffee are flavoured with nostalgia. Customers still get a glimpse of the kitchen. The place is noisy, waiters carry trays of goodies and jostle for space. After a morning walk at Lalbagh, people drop by and succumb to the temptations of a crisp, golden brown dosa laden with ghee at MTR. Families come for leisurely luncheons, which began around ten years ago. With a rotating menu, there’s an elaborate sit down meal, with cooked rice items, sweets and ice cream, washed down with beeda. “Though we pioneered the rava idli, masala dosas and chandrahara, sweet dishes have been our winning formula,” said Hemamalini Maiya, its managing partner and third generation descendent. She runs the place with her siblings Vikram and Arvind.
Ever since she took over the reins in October 1999, she expanded the bakery, besides setting up a sandwich bakery. Today, its multiple counters have monumental displays of food. The bakery measures up to the modern image of a confectionery, with its eggless brownies and cakes, along with Indian mithais.
The bakery continues to evolve, and innovations have helped the place grow. During World War II, due to rice shortage, it was difficult to make idlis. The restaurant experimented with semolina instead of rice and that led to rava idli. All this and more attracts celebrities, film stars and food lovers. Don’t be surprised if you find film-maker Yash Chopra or political bigwig Farooq Abdullah or the late Dr Rajkumar’s family enjoying a meal at the place.
Guess there’s a need for some things to stay timeless and MTR is no exception.
The restaurant however has a presence in other parts of the city, in the form of small food outlets.

BBMP's plan approval system to go digital

BBMP's plan approval system to go digital

Express News ServiceFirst Published : 28 Nov 2009 04:38:12 AM ISTLast Updated : 28 Nov 2009 08:31:54 AM IST
BANGALORE: The tedious process of building plan approval with manual verification will be a thing of the past when BBMP puts a new software in place to ensure plan approval in just 10 days.
To expedite the building plan approval process, BBMP is adopting a new software to digitise planning approval. The software ensures scrutiny of building plans in short time and the approval process will take just 10 days, against the 30 days that it took earlier.
“In the present system, the town planning department functions from all eight zonal offices in the manual verification method. With the implementation of the software, we can cut on the delays and inaccuracies. The system is already adopted in Pune and few other cities. The Confederation of Real Estate Developers Association of India (CREDAI) has agreed to fund the project initially,” said BBMP commissioner Bharatlal Meena, in an interaction programme at the Express office on Friday.
“The process is expected to start functioning in the next 15 days. Public can get the building plan in a digital format and once that is loaded in the system, it will immediately give the details of boundaries and outer boundaries and calculate the floor area ratio (FAR), check setback details, he explained.
“We are in the stage of procuring the software as per our requirement. The staff will be trained in using the software.
Also, BBMP is planning to take the process online in the later stage wherein people can at least submit the plan from their home,” said an official from BBMP's town planning department.
“However, BBMP officials would also go to the construction sites to cross-check the facts after the submission of the plan,” the official added.
● Engineers who check the details on their computers, do not really have to go through all the designs and drawings because the software checks different aspects of the building plan while applying the rules.
● Anything wrong in the planning can be identified and rectified on the spot.
● Helps reducing corruption and increasing transparency of the scrutiny process.
● The plan approval system through e-governance initiatives will help to check different aspects of the building plan, scrutinise applications and give info about violations, if any.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Civic agencies to coordinate on city projects

Civic agencies to coordinate on city projects
First Of Such Exercise Will Be On Bannerghatta Road
Aarthi R | TNN

Bangalore: There’s some hope for Bangaloreans. For long, we’ve cursed the lack of coordination between civic agencies as they went about their work. Often, one agency wouldn’t know what the other was up to and this resulted in chaos — right on the roads.
From now on, no public work can commence without all agencies involved signing on a ‘public works coordination agreement’. The traffic police will sign it last in case of BBMP work and BBMP will sign it last in all other cases.
‘Roads closed-traffic diverted’ boards are a common sight across the city. And we waited in vain for works to be completed. The Maharani College underpass and the drain works at the Brigade Road-Residency Road junction are classic examples of uncoordinated projects.
The new rule will apply for all works in the city — from regular maintenance works of Bescom, BBMP, BWSSB and BSNL to big, long infrastructure projects like the Bangalore Metro. For all projects, traffic diversions will be put in place and work will start only after the document is prepared and signed by all agencies concerned.
The first project under this guidelines will be Bannerghatta Road. The work to strengthen the old and weak culvert here might render the entire stretch out of bounds for traffic for almost a month. The other project is the CMH Road works which mainly involves BMRC and BWSSB. BMRC is ready to lay the road if BWSSB completes drain works. Traffic police will initiate diversions only after the document is signed and preliminary works are completed.
“The main objective is to bring about a sense of ownership and accountability among civic agencies so that onsite confusion is reduced. It also hopes to reduce the inconvenience to people most affected by these works and the traffic diversions,’’ explains Ashwin Mahesh, urban research strategist and adviser to CM on urban affairs.
The traffic police will perhaps benefit a lot from this initiative. “We have always assured agencies that no work will wait for traffic clearance. However, there are cases when agencies dig up the road without preparatory work, not even arranging for raw material. It’s left us with no proper time to plan diversions. Further, some works have no clear upper limit to when they need the road closed. Perhaps this document will change it all,’’ said additional commissioner of police (traffic) Praveen Sood.
Two works which came up last week were not allowed to proceed as there was no proper preparation work.
Details on description and exact location of works Start and end dates Commitment from agencies concerned that the road will be restored to original state (if not better) after the works
Agency doing the work will prepare the document, sign it and also get signatures of all related agencies and submit to the traffic department and BBMP for clearance
First document the work and raw materials Finish secondary works Traffic diversion or roads closed just before work begins

Footpaths and pavements adjoining major roads are shrinking

Footpaths and pavements adjoining major roads are shrinking by the day, making Bangalore among the most pedestrian-unfriendly cities anywhere

Bangalore sends one pedestrian to the grave every day. Shocking, but true. All because, for our city planners, pedestrians hardly matter. With pavements literally non-existent or shrinking drastically, Bangalore is all set to top the list of pedestrian-unfriendly cities. Of the 800-plus deaths that occur on the roads of Bangalore every year, about 450-500 fatalities are of pedestrians. The number is likely to increase in the future, because of the indifference of the powers-that-are.
Though Bangalore has a road network of around 5,600 km, there is no official record on the total length of footpaths or pavements dotting the city. While pavements in the central parts of the city are getting extinct because of road-widening projects, they have not even been conceived for the new roads being constructed on the city’s periphery. The average width of a footpath in the city is anywhere between 0.5 to 1 metre; thus jeopardising the pedestrians’ right of way.
This is how it should be:
The Indian Code for the Pedestrian Facilities — IRC 103-1988, recommends that: There be a footpath on both sides of the road Minimum width of 1.5 m on both sides. LOS (Level of Service) concept dictates the maximum width Dead width of 0.5m and 1m to be added to sidewalk along houses and commercial areas Footpath width to be increased in cases of bus stops and recreational areas Height of footpath to be above the carriageway supported by an un-mountable kerb
This is what we have:
There are no footpaths on several roads.Wherever there are, a majority of those are less than one metre. Gardens are grown by houseowners on footpaths Vehicles owners use footpaths for parking bikes and cars All kinds of public utilities like bus stops and electric poles are located on footpaths While shopkeepers block the way for pedestrians by placing display boards, hundreds of darshinis (fast food joints) place tables on the pavements. Public toilets are constructed on pavements There are no guard rails on most of the pavements. In some areas, pavements and roads are at the same level Pavements are used to store construction material like sand, bricks and steel. DANGER ZONE
About 550 pedestrians are killed and more than 10,000 are injured every year in Bangalore city.The number of those suffering minor injuries is around 40,000 to 50,000 Six per cent of fatal and 15 per cent of non-fatal pedestrian injuries occurred in children below 15 years 51 per cent of those killed and 58 per cent of injured were young men in the age group of 16-45 years. Women were involved more in extremes of age groups 17 per cent of pedestrian deaths and 10 per cent of non-fatal injuries were among the elderly Majority of the pedestrians killed were those with lesser education and moderate income levels While 24 per cent of pedestrian deaths occurred at the crash site, 21 per cent of them died on the way to hospital Pedestrian deaths is higher in the outer areas of the city while injuries were more in the central parts. ALL SO HAPHAZARD
As a result, pedestrians are either forced to walk on the roads or walk on their edges, often having to navigate or get around minigardens, streetlights, transformers, hawkers and bus shelters. Complicating matters for the pedestrian is the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike’s (BBMP) lack of consistency in footpath design. From granite slabs to cobblestones to concrete blocks to marble stones —- pavements keep morphing twice in 15 months, thanks, of course, to the pavement lobby that is making crores of rupees on the pretext of beautifying the city. There is no application of science while constructing a footpath; instead everything depends on what the contractorpolitician-bureaucrat nexus decides. Moreover, there is no mechanism to repair damaged pavements.
The traffic police too add to the woes of the pedestrian by not banning footpath parking in the city. This apart, guard rails are non-existent in Bangalore: A majority of the pavements, including those on busy roads like M G Road and Kempe Gowda Road, do not have guard rails to prevent pedestrians from jaywalking on the main road. Lack of guard rails facilitates vehicular parking on footpaths.

Get global feel by driving on Vittal Mallya Road

Get global feel by driving on Vittal Mallya Road

Although the two-way work is yet to completed, the flood-proof, disabled-friendly stretch will become motorists' favourite once it is formally opened

Sunitha Rao R. Bangalore

A new-look Vittal Mallya Road has been informally reopened for commuters three days back after nine weeks of repair works. Although some works remain to be done, it already looks better than any other road done by a private agency in the city.
The 430-metre stretch meeting international standards was redone at a cost of about Rs4 crores. The construction work was undertaken by TJ Naik construction company. Its design and construction management was done by Invicus headed by Vivek Menon.
Speaking to DNA, Menon said that the 11-metre wide road has got spare ducts for telecommunication and manholes on either side. There are also 2-metre wide concrete footpaths on either side.
"The storm water drain and the sewage lines, which were running together till now, have been separated to prevent flooding," he said.
A total of 15% of the road space will be used for making mini gardens. "Green patches are required on the sides of the road to beautify the street," said an engineer supervising the road works.
"The road has manholes and drainage covers at every 15 metres. The cleaning of the drains can thus be done easily," he said.
"We have separated all the sewage lines connected to storm water drains which were causing flooding during rainy season. The sewage waste gets into the storm water drain in Lavelle Road and it reaches up to Vittal Mallya Road. We have now placed filters in the middle of the drain," he said.
"This road will remain pothole-free for at least 20 years. It is a complete RCC road. There are iron rods fixed beneath the plain road," said the engineer.
Speaking to DNA, Pandu Ranga Rao, a professional who works near Vittal Mallya Road, said the beautification of the road with gardens was welcome news.
"I would love to walk or drive by the side of flowers, grass and fountains. I am happy that the road is getting ready for commuters," he said.
Nirmala Anand, a resident of the area, said officials of the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike did nothing much to the road when they complained about flooding during rains.
"We are happy that at least through a private agency, the road is getting a top class look,"she said.
"We had asked the engineers to put a cross drain near Kasturba Road Circle where the Vittal Mallya Road begins. With the cross drain connecting directly to Rajakaluve, flooding can be completely prevented in this area," another resident said.
"The road is getting underground drainage system and it will definitely be helpful. But this work was pending for many years and people suffered a lot during rainy seasons. The present project will finally bring them relief," said Rashmi D'Souza whose family owns Orgaum House Apartments.
To complete all the works including developing the garden, it will take one-and-a-half months more. The road will be made a two-way within a few days.

State govt comes to the rescue of advocate general in BMIC project

State govt comes to the rescue of advocate general in BMIC project

The state made it clear whatever the advocate general had submitted to the court was the government's decision. It said charges made by Deve Gowda were baseless and requested SC not to entertain the contempt case. Sreekanth Hunasavadi reports

Sreekanth Hunasavadi

The state government on Thursday filed an affidavit before the Supreme Court and defended advocate general Ashok Harnahalli's submissions saying the allegations made by HD Deve Gowda, former prime minister, in the contempt case was totally false.
The state government also reaffirmed before the apex court that the Bangalore-Mysore Infrastructure Corridor (BMIC) project would be implemented in accordance with the frame work agreement and the outline development plan dated February 12 2004.
By filing the affidavit, the state government came to the rescue of advocate general Harnahalli. The state made it clear that whatever the advocate general had submitted to the court was the decision of the government. It also said allegations made by former Devegowda were baseless and requested the court not to entertain the contempt case.
On behalf of the state government, principal secretary of the public works department, RB Agawane, filed the affidavit with regard to the contempt case (Dakshinamurthy and BK Das and others case) saying the state has already taken steps for implementation of the project. As such, there was no justification to continue with the contempt proceedings and the proceedings should be dropped in the interest of justice, the affidavit said.
It also explained the constitution of a high-level committee under the chairmanship of the chief minister and also the proceedings of the committee meeting which was held on November 19 2009.
The proceedings of the committee are as follows:
Allotment & possession of land
Till the end of October 2009, 7,124 acres of land has been handed over and the remaining 13,609 acres of land is yet to be handed over. The project company has already completed the toll road coming under section 'a' of the project and the toll road completion notice has been given to the state government. Traffic is allowed on this road and toll is being collected.
However, certain missing parcels of lands have to be handed over by the departments concerned. It has decided to hand over these missing link lands with clear titles to the project company on or before December 30 2009.
Corporate town near Bidadi
The Karnataka Industrial Area Development Board (KIADB) was directed to hand over 1,916 acres of land excluding the land covered under stay orders by the court, on or before June 30 2010. When the KIADB raised the issue of fixing the price of land, NICEL agreed to accept the land price fixed by the board according to the rule. In the event of farmers approaching court for higher compensation, NICEL agreed to pay the compensation decided by the courts.
Possession & handing over of land
The deputy commissioner, Bangalore Urban, mentioned that the government lands identified way back in 1998 are to be handed over to the project company. Of 158 acres of land that are to be handed over, nearly 130 acres of land are coming under lakes. It was also decided to constitute a committee to decide on the issues of lakes, land grants, encroachments, exemption form stamp duty, registration fee etc.
Execution of the sale deed
KIADB in the department of commerce and industries shall take action for execution of sale deed for the lands already handed over the project company by February 2010 provided NICEL submits indemnity bonds as agreed upon by both the agencies.

Young trees, not saplings can replenish green cover

Young trees, not saplings can replenish green cover

Bio diversity parks will ensure that citizens become more environment-friendly

Sunitha Rao R. Bangalore

Bangaloreans call the city 'Green Paradise'. But KC Sharma, former director of horticulture at New Delhi Municipality, said the city would loose its green heritage if steps were not taken.
Speaking to DNA during his visit to the city for a seminar organised by the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Plaike (BBMP), Sharma said, "No one has bothered to prune the trees in Bangalore. Tree surgery must be conducted regularly to rid them of excess burden of dead weight that they carry."
He explained that since the city's road levels have risen and are now reaching the neck of the tree, "the root system starts dying and there are chances of the tree drooping".
Interestingly, Sharma said that no agricultural university in India teaches tree surgery methods. "Tree surgery is not a nuclear science. It can be learnt out of interest. It only requires passion," said Sharma.
Sharma also seemed against planting of lakhs of saplings on the grounds that, "due to traffic conditions and negligence saplings die. What is required is planting trees that are three or four years old. This will ensure that they have 100% growth rate." He said that just 10,000 such trees would serve the purpose in Bangalore.
Sharma suggested that BBMP develop lakes in the city by promoting bamboo gardens, wood lands and jogging trails there. "There should be bio-diversity parks, colony parks, district parks which will attract people towards them and make them environmental friendly," said Sharma.

Shabby BIA not international, says state panel

Shabby BIA not international, says state panel

Hemanth Kumar. Bangalore

The state legislature committee has given a thumbs down to the Bengaluru International Airport (BIA), dismissing it as 'shabby.'
The committee headed by BJP MLA D Hemachandra Sagar is said to have come down heavily on BIA, calling it unfit for an international status. It has recommended construction of a new terminal with international standards. The committee is expected to submit the report during the next legislative session, which begins on December 14.
The committee was constituted to examine whether BIA conformed to international standards in construction, passenger services and aesthetics, after several legislators, including Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee working president DK Shivakumar, alleged gross irregularities in implementing the BIA project.

Stop demolition drive, orders HC

Stop demolition drive, orders HC
Bangalore,Nov 26,Deccan Herald News Service:

Karnataka High Court on Thursday ordered status quo and a halt to the ongoing demolition drive taken up by to clear encroachments and constructions over storm water drains in the City.

Hearing a PIL by P R Ramesh, former mayor, challenging the Section 228 D of KMC Act, which makes a provision to remove encroachments without notice, the division bench comprising Chief Justice P D Dinakaran and Justice Anand Byra Reddy ordered notice to BBMP and stopped the demolition drive in BBMP limits. The petitioner, in his submission, has said that the people had constructed the houses after obtaining required sanctions from the BBMP. The petitioner further said that the residents have invested their hard earned money and have raised loans. The BBMP had ordered immediate demolition violating Article 21 of the Constitution.

Challenging the Section 228 D which provides powers to the BBMP Commissioner to demolish illegal structures without notice, the petitioner sought to quash the Act saying that it is against the natural justice. The petitioner had sought to restrain BBMP from demolishing at Ittamadu Layout and other places over the storm water drains. The bench, which heard the matter has ordered status quo.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

HC: find alternative route for new project

HC: find alternative route for new project
Already Hit By Metro Work, Petitioner Asserts Okalipuram-Yeshwantpur Road Can Be Delayed

Bangalore: The high court on Wednesday issued a notice to BBMP on a PIL relating to the proposed Okalipuram-Yeshwantpur signal-free corridor project.
A division Bench headed by Justice V Gopala Gowda asked the petitioners to produce a topog r ap h i c a l sketch of the area. Then the Bench told the g ove r n m e n t advocate to find an alternative route for smooth traffic in Rajajinagar.
NGO Samarpana filed the PIL, claiming that if the project with six underpasses is undertaken, residents of Rajajinagar will face more hardships, who are already affected by the Metro Project work on Chord Road.
“On July 30, BBMP issued a public notice about taking up the project. On October 26, we sent a letter to the additional commissioner (traffic) about the problems we would face if the corridor project is undertaken... BMRC has already placed barricades on West of Chord Road and Navarang Road, causing traffic jam. If the corridor project is undertaken simultaneously, it will cause us a lot of inconvenience,” the petitioner said.


Thousands of protesters march on Anand Rao Circle flyover, causing a massive traffic pile-up on Seshadri Road and in and around Majestic; commuters fume, but police just throw up their hands

When the Freedom Park in the central part of Bangalore was opened 10 months ago, it was expected to liberate Bangaloreans from traffic jams caused by protests and rallies. But on Wednesday, thousands of Bangaloreans fumed again as they were caught in a nearly 3-km traffic pile-up. With nearly 10,000 people marching under the banner of Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) from Majestic to the Freedom Park protesting against the Food Security Bill, the six-lane Seshadri Road was jammed for over two hours. So much so that even the flyover above Anand Rao Circle was closed for traffic as it was chock-a-block with protesters.
The effect of the jam on Seshadri Road could be seen on roads that link other parts of the city. What raised motorists’ temper was not the gridlock, but the lack of prior warning from the traffic police.
The mayhem started around 10 am when protesters marched from Chikkalalbagh near the City Railway Station to Freedom Park, venue of the public meeting presided by Left party bigwig Prakash Karat. The motorists, who were caught unawares, used expletives at the traffic police for not streamlining traffic flow. What pushed up their frustration levels was the scorching heat and the
pollution caused by emission from vehicles.
Two-wheeler rider Anantha Rai, a businessman and a resident of Malleswaram, yelled, “Why can’t this situation be managed better. It looks like the cops have no idea what they are doing. Isn’t it stupid on their part to allow the rally on a flyover? It is not legal for pedestrians to walk on the flyover and the police are breaking rules by stopping vehicular movement on the flyover.”
Though the police maintained they cannot stop people from attending public rallies, motorists were in no mood to listen. “How can you give them permission to stomp the streets during the peak hour?” they asked. COPS CLUELESS Praveen Sood, Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic and Security),“We agree there was a jam and it was confined to the Majestic area. But unfortunately, the jam that took place due to the protest affected areas like Seshadri Road, Majestic and Shantala Junction, from where traffic cannot be diverted. But we did not have an inkling that so many people would turn up for the protest. If a small group had come, then their movements would have been restricted to the side of the roads. But this protest had many volunteers and that is why things went slightly out of control. Unfortunately, this particular strike took place on the roads on which people cannot be stopped from going.Tomorrow, there is another protest, but this time we will be better prepared.” The police claimed helplessness. A police official from Upparpet said, “The traffic has been uncontrollable since 10 am. People are rushing in from the railway station and the Kempe Gowda bus station. For the last one hour, we are struggling to manage the motorists. Most of them have taken other routes to reach their destinations. When they reverse the cars, another jam is created. This is frustrating for us.” Since it was peak hour, many were late to office. After some time, the stretch from Majestic to KR Circle was covered with party w o r k e r s ,
most of whom didn’t even know their purpose of visit. Two-wheeler rider Pai Venkat, a techie who was racing against time to reach MG Road, said, “What the hell are these people doing? It has taken me one hour to reach Anand Rao Circle from Platform Road. The traffic management is ridiculous.”
Venkat maintained he could
have either changed his
travel schedule or the
route had he been alerted about the rally. Some motorists like Gopal Krishna Rao slammed the traffic cops for lack of common sense. “Is this the way to manage traffic? They should have left the rally workers walk below the flyover and let the vehicles move over it. Instead, they have allowed the rally workers over and under the flyover.”
For some, the crawling traffic gave some heart-pounding moments. Vijay, a techie with Reliance Systems, said, “I am not sure if I will be able to swipe in on time at my office.”
While the motorists blamed the police, the latter pointed an accusing finger at the organisers of the rally. “We did not expect thousands of people to take part in it, which is why everything went out of control,” a cop explained sheepishly.
But the bottomline is the rally had wasted two hours of thousands of motorists. This was one of the worst traffic jams in recent months.



Heard of a traffic jam? Well, something of this kind happened at the Kempe Gowda bus station in Majestic on Wednesday morning when nearly 800 buses came to a grinding halt. Reason: These buses could not move out of the station as there was no way out! With members of the Left parties taking out a protest from Shantala Junction to Freedom Park through the Railway Station Road and Seshadri Road, the massive traffic jam in Majestic area
froze the movement of buses.
A Bangalore Metropolitan Transportation Corporation (BMTC) official said, “Heavy traffic kept coming in from Khoday Circle to Maharani’s College underpass junction. Buses could not come out of the Majestic bus stand. Adding to the confusion, a private vehicle broke down on Railway Station road, blocking other vehicles. Later, police rushed to the spot and moved the vehicle off the road, giving a
breather to the following vehicles.” BMTC operates more than 5,500 buses and a vast chunk of these ply on Seshadri Road to different destinations.
Speaking to Bangalore Mirror, A S Vishwanath, Chief Traffic Manager (Operations) admitted the services of BMTC were disrupted for some time. He added, “We are not sure about the cancellation of services as depots give reports at the end of the day.”
As the BMTC bus station records peak hour entry traffic of 598 buses per hour, the financial loss caused by the traffic jam runs into thousands of rupees as the bus schedules went haywire. A BMTC official said, “As it is we lose about Rs 2.5 lakh to Rs 3 lakh per day because of traffic jams across the city. A jam near the nerve centre (Majestic) takes a heavy toll.” Thousands of BMTC passengers, especially those heading towards the eastern and southern parts of the city, were stranded in the buses. The traffic jam also affected the movement of KSRTC and APSRTC buses.


Thousands of protesters march on Anand Rao Circle flyover, causing a massive traffic pile-up on Seshadri Road and in and around Majestic; commuters fume, but police just throw up their hands

When the Freedom Park in the central part of Bangalore was opened 10 months ago, it was expected to liberate Bangaloreans from traffic jams caused by protests and rallies. But on Wednesday, thousands of Bangaloreans fumed again as they were caught in a nearly 3-km traffic pile-up. With nearly 10,000 people marching under the banner of Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) from Majestic to the Freedom Park protesting against the Food Security Bill, the six-lane Seshadri Road was jammed for over two hours. So much so that even the flyover above Anand Rao Circle was closed for traffic as it was chock-a-block with protesters.
The effect of the jam on Seshadri Road could be seen on roads that link other parts of the city. What raised motorists’ temper was not the gridlock, but the lack of prior warning from the traffic police.
The mayhem started around 10 am when protesters marched from Chikkalalbagh near the City Railway Station to Freedom Park, venue of the public meeting presided by Left party bigwig Prakash Karat. The motorists, who were caught unawares, used expletives at the traffic police for not streamlining traffic flow. What pushed up their frustration levels was the scorching heat and the
pollution caused by emission from vehicles.
Two-wheeler rider Anantha Rai, a businessman and a resident of Malleswaram, yelled, “Why can’t this situation be managed better. It looks like the cops have no idea what they are doing. Isn’t it stupid on their part to allow the rally on a flyover? It is not legal for pedestrians to walk on the flyover and the police are breaking rules by stopping vehicular movement on the flyover.”
Though the police maintained they cannot stop people from attending public rallies, motorists were in no mood to listen. “How can you give them permission to stomp the streets during the peak hour?” they asked. COPS CLUELESS Praveen Sood, Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic and Security),“We agree there was a jam and it was confined to the Majestic area. But unfortunately, the jam that took place due to the protest affected areas like Seshadri Road, Majestic and Shantala Junction, from where traffic cannot be diverted. But we did not have an inkling that so many people would turn up for the protest. If a small group had come, then their movements would have been restricted to the side of the roads. But this protest had many volunteers and that is why things went slightly out of control. Unfortunately, this particular strike took place on the roads on which people cannot be stopped from going.Tomorrow, there is another protest, but this time we will be better prepared.” The police claimed helplessness. A police official from Upparpet said, “The traffic has been uncontrollable since 10 am. People are rushing in from the railway station and the Kempe Gowda bus station. For the last one hour, we are struggling to manage the motorists. Most of them have taken other routes to reach their destinations. When they reverse the cars, another jam is created. This is frustrating for us.” Since it was peak hour, many were late to office. After some time, the stretch from Majestic to KR Circle was covered with party w o r k e r s ,
most of whom didn’t even know their purpose of visit. Two-wheeler rider Pai Venkat, a techie who was racing against time to reach MG Road, said, “What the hell are these people doing? It has taken me one hour to reach Anand Rao Circle from Platform Road. The traffic management is ridiculous.”
Venkat maintained he could
have either changed his
travel schedule or the
route had he been alerted about the rally. Some motorists like Gopal Krishna Rao slammed the traffic cops for lack of common sense. “Is this the way to manage traffic? They should have left the rally workers walk below the flyover and let the vehicles move over it. Instead, they have allowed the rally workers over and under the flyover.”
For some, the crawling traffic gave some heart-pounding moments. Vijay, a techie with Reliance Systems, said, “I am not sure if I will be able to swipe in on time at my office.”
While the motorists blamed the police, the latter pointed an accusing finger at the organisers of the rally. “We did not expect thousands of people to take part in it, which is why everything went out of control,” a cop explained sheepishly.
But the bottomline is the rally had wasted two hours of thousands of motorists. This was one of the worst traffic jams in recent months.

'After midnight, eat at bus stands or railway stations'

'After midnight, eat at bus stands or railway stations'
By: Imran Gowhar Date: 2009-11-25 Place: Bangalore

Police commissioner says in-house company canteens can remain open beyond deadline, but other places better get permission

Though the Karnataka High Court has ruled in favour of the police strictly enforcing the midnight deadline for eateries in the city, it has also said establishments may remain open if the police grant them permission.

The police say they are ready to be lenient in extending the deadline for a particular restaurant if it offers a genuine reason while seeking permission.

Reiterating that the city police will strictly enforce the deadline, Police Commissioner S M Bidari said the rule helped maintain law and order, especially during the night.

Excerpts from an interview with MiD-DAY.

Has this deadline issue become an ego issue between the police and restaurateurs?
Of course not. The rule is being enforced keeping in mind the requirements of maintaining law and order, and for the good of the general public.

What about policemen, journalists, BPO workers who need food at night?
There is no bar on in-house company canteens, where the general public is not admitted. For the benefit of others who feel hungry at night, we have given permission to hotels and restaurants to operate at bus stands, railway stations and airports.

Why is it that no other city feels such a rule is necessary?
Every metro has got this rule. In fact, Bangalore is the only city which enforced the rule late. I have copies of the order from other cities. The rule also says that any eateries or restaurant that wants to get an extension for even one hour has to pay a hefty amount in licence fee, besides providing a genuine reason for the extension.

Are the city police less competent in handling law and order during night?
The city police are competent enough. Otherwise you would not see people sleeping peacefully as you do now.

Is it not the duty of the police to make humane rules rather than deprive people of food?
We are making human rules. Earlier it (deadline) was 11 pm; we have extended it to midnight. Besides, very few would like to have their dinner late in the night.

The background
The Karnataka High Court on Monday disposed of an appeal filed by the management of Empire Hotels challenging a single bench order of July 3 that had upheld a notification stipulating midnight as the deadline for restaurants. The court held that restaurants must take permission from the police commissioner if they wanted to operate after 12 am.

As the midnight closure order was issued as per Section 31 of the Karnataka Police Act, 1963, to maintain peace, and law and order, and the court said it found no grounds for interference. On August 27, the police commissioner had rejected an application filed by the management of Empire Hotels seeking permission to operate six establishments from up to 3 am. On May 19, the police had directed all hotels and restaurants mentioned under the Public Entertainment Order issued in August 2007 to comply with the midnight closure deadline and conduct their business from 6 am to midnight.

Sorry Bangalore, but you got a bad road ahead

Sorry Bangalore, but you got a bad road ahead

Union highways minister Kamal Nath says IT capital lacks basic road infrastructure

Sobia Khan. Bangalore

Namma Bengaluru came in for some scathing criticism from Union road transport and highways minister Kamal Nath, who said the IT capital had nothing in terms of road infrastructure.
"The biggest deficiency in infrastructure will be in the road sector and it is right here to see in Bangalore," Nath said addressing the Construction Equipment and Construction Technology trade fair on Wednesday.
Infrastructure is the biggest shortcoming in India's growth story today and the challenge is not just to develop but also to manage the network, particularly the rowdy element on the roads, the minister observed. "You all must be aware of how rowdy Karnataka is," he added in a lighter vein evoking peals of laughter from the gathering.
The country needs to bridge the deficit by creating more infrastructure to meet the increasing demand, he said.
Towards this, India has sought a $2.96 billion loan from the World Bank for two-laning of over 1,7,000-km of national highways in the country. The World Bank president Robert Zoellick is visiting India on December 2 to discuss the issue. "We are in the process of preparing the proposal," he said.
The minister also called for India-specific R&D and skill development to drive growth for the Indian earthmoving and construction equipment industry.
There is need for capacity-building across the spectrum of the infrastructure industry if the government is to achieve the target of building 7000 kilometres of roadways per annum, he added. The ministry is also in the process of setting up the Expressways Authority of India, a function that is currently being carried out as a division of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI). The division was created 15 days back and would be constituted into a separate authority.
The Indian government is looking to set up 1,7,000-km of green field express ways.

‘Bangalore should fight to retain Garden City tag’

‘Bangalore should fight to retain Garden City tag’

Staff Reporter
Urban trees need careful nurturing to survive, says expert
Trees cannot grow on their own

BBMP to improve 183 lakes

BANGALORE: Providing a bio-aesthetic look for Bangalore with retention of green cover appears to be on the agenda of the town planners.

At a seminar on Beautification and Environment Development of Bangalore City, organised by the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Lalbagh here on Wednesday, K.C. Sharma, former Director of Horticulture at New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC), who delivered the keynote address, said: “Three cities in India — Bangalore, New Delhi and Chandigarh — have a garden city character, but they are losing it with shrinking parks and disappearing trees.”

Trees need care
“In urban areas, trees cannot be left to grow on their own. Branches need to be cut periodically to ensure their growth in a symmetrical way.”

Among other measures, he said: “Trees need to be washed, tree guards removed after a certain period and they should be ridden of parasites. Proper aeration should be provided to them.”

Breathing space
Trees in Bangalore were planted too close to each other, which restricts breathing space.

All these, he pointed out, were “small but very important steps” that could increase their lifespan.

Mr. Sharma said: “Some 90 per cent of the saplings die within a year of plantation. Trees need to be at least four to five feet tall to survive. Instead of planting lakhs of trees, plant 10,000 right and see the difference.”

BBMP Commissioner Bharatlal Meena said that there was a need to attach more value to Bangalore’s sobriquet of Garden City.

Reiterating BBMP’s makeover plans for the city, he said a survey was being undertaken to improve 183 lakes, and fencing work had already started.

He outlined BBMP’s interest in building theme parks in open spaces.

Souvenir released
Earlier, releasing a souvenir on developed parks, traffic islands and other horticultural activities of BBMP, Transport Minister R. Ashok said that funding was not a problem, but public support and awareness were needed to carry on such projects.

Chickpet MLA Hemachandra Sagar released BBMP’s brochure on parks.

Night safari at Bannerghatta

Night safari at Bannerghatta

Special Correspondent
Bangalore: The State Government has proposed to commence night safari at the Bannerghatta National Park in the city. The investment for the project is estimated around Rs. 180 crore. Minister for Tourism G. Janardhan Reddy told presspersons here that the proposal would be placed before Cabinet for the approval. The Tourism Department is keen on the project and the safari would be on the lines of the night safari at the Singapore Zoological Gardens, he said.

About the tourism potential in the City, Mr Reddy said Bangalore City would be developed as one of India’s tourist destinations.

Sculptures to raise city’s profile

Sculptures to raise city’s profile

Staff Reporter
BANGALORE: After murals on walls, sculptures may be installed on traffic islands to beautify Bangalore. BBMP Commissioner Bharatlal Meena expressed his interest on the suggestion of K.C. Sharma, former Horticulture Director of NDMC.

Mr. Sharma suggested mass planting of ornamental trees for a “bold effect” and spoke on how an area around storm water drain could be turned into a beautiful landscape.

Flyover nearing completion

Flyover nearing completion

Staff Reporter
BANGALORE: The Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) will complete and throw open the flyover at the intersection of outer ring road (ORR) and Magadi Road at Sumanahalli by next month.

This was revealed by BDA Commissioner Siddaiah to Chief Secretary S.V. Ranganath while the latter was inspecting work along the ORRs. The Commissioner said the junction improvement works being undertaken by the BDA.

‘Save lakes and beautify Bangalore’

‘Save lakes and beautify Bangalore’

Express News ServiceFirst Published : 26 Nov 2009 03:54:00 AM ISTLast Updated : 26 Nov 2009 10:19:46 AM IST
BANGALORE: Bangalore is getting beautified. But according to Minister R Ashok, a new vision and fresh ideas can make the work on the environment and beautification of the city a whole lot better.
He said that instead of focusing on green lawns, parks in the cities should get more trees and plants.
After inaugurating a daylong seminar on ‘Beautification and Environment development of Bangalore city’ on Wednesday, he said that the lawns could add beauty to the parks but a more pertinent requirement is planting of trees.
“While we make efforts to develop new lakes, we can also at least make an effort to save them. The government is making effort to save the remaining lakes of the city,” he said.
“There is no dearth of funds and we have released enough money for the development of the lakes but we can do a better job only when such campaigns are supported by the public and environment organisations,” he said.
“People are not aware about environment issues and therefore the initiatives taken up by the government are not been put to use accordingly,” he added. He also suggested a reduction in the use of plastic.
BBMP Administrator KM Shivkumar also urged people to help the Palike clear encroachments.

And the most polluted lake is...

And the most polluted lake is...

Nagesh polali

Y Maheswara ReddyFirst Published : 26 Nov 2009 04:05:00 AM ISTLast Updated : 26 Nov 2009 09:35:35 AM IST
BANGALORE: Perhaps, it will not be an exaggeration to say that the 82-acre Kaggadasapura Lake is the only lake in Bangalore South to have the distinction of being the most polluted lake.
Near Kaggadasapura Lake, though there is no dearth for residential apartments, neither a builder nor an association has come forward to develop it.
Instead of lending a helping hand to authorities concerned to keep the lake clean, many apartments use it as sewage pit by letting sewage water into it.
The Karnataka Pollution Control Board and Lake Development Authority has issued several notices to a number of apartment owners for allowing waste water into the lake. “More than a hundred apartment complexes have mushroomed in GM Palya, Malleshpalya.
The BBMP generously issues occupancy certificates to builders without bothering to find out whether these builders made arrangements to dispose waste water,’’ says an official from Karnataka Pollution Control Board under the condition of anonymity. A few years ago, a Joint Legislature Committee directed the KSPCB, to give a report to the government on not only land encroachments but also on pollution caused by waste water.
Encroachment too is happening from all sides of the lake. A temple has come up and a house with a compound was built near the lake bund adjacent to Malleshpalya.
The encroachers are very powerful. They can do anything and get away because of their money and muscle power,’’ says Muniraju of Malleshpalya.
This is how the encroachment happens: People who own a piece of land near the lake dump debris on the lake bund. After a few days, they level the ground and dump debris again on the tank bund thus slowly extending their land adjacent to the lake.
However, S Raghu, MLA from CV Raman Nagar has accepted that there was an encroachment of the lake by a few people. “As of now, my focus on the development of Malleshpalya Main Road. I will take measures to clear the encroachments.
I am planning to spend funds under MLA’s quota,’’ says Raghu.

Think beyond grass, Ashok tells park developers

Think beyond grass, Ashok tells park developers
Bangalore: Nov 25, DHNS:

Aggrieved by the degrading environment in and around the City and the silence adopted by Bangaloreans, Transport Minister R Ashok said that the planners should know that lawns with tuft of grass and a few playthings does not amount to parks. They should look at traditional fruit-bearing trees, as well.

Inaugurating a seminar on ‘Environment development and beautification,’ at Horticulture Information Centre, Lalbagh on Wednesday, he said, “A number of articles have been appearing on environment. Though we show our concern and are aware of the pivotal role played by the environment in our lives, we tend to forget it once we return to our mechanised lives.”

Taking strong exception at the way the BBMP was going ahead with its park development programme, the minister said that there should be prior planning about developing parks, kinds of trees to be grown etc. “Parks do not mean growing grass and ignoring trees. There is no different park development model before us. From North to South Bangalore we have a similar model. Can’t we think differently?” the minister questioned. He added that fruit trees like mango, guava and jamun ensured the stay of various birds and other fauna. But our park developers seem to have forgotten this.

Sapling for Rs 5,000!
The Minister said he is aware of that a sapling was bought at Rs 5,000 when the saplings of the trees were available for just Rs 10 to Rs 12.

“There is no dearth of funds for developing parks but it should be spent judiciously in the public interest. Pavements around Lalbagh are being constructed with one-inch thick slab. I wonder its fate after a couple of months,” said Ashok. Tanks are among the most abused natural resources in the City. They either fall prey to land sharks or are converted into dumpyards. The BBMP needs to initiate steps to curb such practices, he added.
Also, speaking on the occasion, BBMP administrator Shivakumar said people are unable to differentiate between growth and crass development. Our focus should be sustainable development.

BBMP Commissioner Bharat Lal Meena, MLAs Hemachandra Sagar and M Krishnappa were also present.

Travel light on Namma Metro

Travel light on Namma Metro
P M Raghunandan, nov 25, Bangalore:

The Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation has decided to follow the footsteps of the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation as far as passengers’ luggage is concerned.

Namma Metro will not allow people to carry heavy luggage -- not more than 15 kg per individual. “Namma Metro is designed on the lines of Delhi metro. We too will not allow heavy luggage as people are likely to misuse it as luggage van. There are also security concerns in allowing heavy luggage inside the metro,” BMRC Special DC N R Nagaraju said.
He further said that as there will be a heavy rush of people for metro it will not be possible to allow people to carry heavy luggage in the coaches. Though CCTVs will be installed in all metro stations to keep a watch on people, it is difficult to scan all luggage like it is done in the airport. Hence, heavy luggage cannot be allowed in the interest of security, the Special DC said.

This is sure to disappoint many local businessmen and especially, international air travellers as they generally carry more luggage. Such people have to depend on either BMTC bus or taxi services to reach BRV Grounds off M G Road, to board the proposed high speed rail to the airport. The proposed high speed rail has no restrictions as it is mainly meant for air travellers. Every economy class air traveller is allowed to carry maximum of 20 kg, while a person travelling in business class can carry 30 kg of luggage.
When contacted, DMRC Public Relations Officer Anju Dayal said: “Delhi Metro allows only light hand baggage which is less than 15 kg into the train. Our priority is to accommodate as many people.”

He, however, said plans are on the cards to reserve one or two coaches for air travellers.

No entry
* No entry into Namma Metro for people with more than
15 kg luggage
* BMRC cites security and misuse as reasons for the
* BMRC to follow the footsteps of DMRC in this regard

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Rains hamper BBMP's efforts to fill potholes

Rains hamper BBMP's efforts to fill potholes

While civic engineers blame it on the bad weather and movement of heavy duty vehicles, commissioner plans to fine errant officials and order an inquiry

Senthalir S and Bosky Khanna. Bangalore

With city receiving rains for the last few days, many potholes have resurfaced all over the city hampering the civic authorities' efforts to fill them.
The Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike had started the drive on October 14 to make the city pothole-free. The number of potholes that have been identified for filling in all the zones of the city has been put at 7,258. However, the recent rains have added up BBMP's work of filling the potholes.
While the engineers of each ward blame rain and heavy duty vehicular movement along the roads for the havoc, BBMP commissioner has decided to take stern action against officials for poor quality work.
Speaking to DNA, BBMP commissioner Bharat Lal Meena said that only Mahadevapura zone officials had adhered to the drive.
"I will review each ward and take stern action against officials for the poor quality work. Rainfall cannot be the cause for potholes to reopen again and a cover for officials not to complete the task. A fine of Rs500 to Rs1,000 will be imposed on the errant ward engineers followed by a departmental inquiry,'" Meena said.
This is the second time such a drive has been initiated by the BBMP in the recent past and a fine system introduced. It was earlier introduced by former BBMP commissioner K Jairaj, but was not successful.
Citizens, however, are not confident whether the instructions will be strictly implemented, errant engineers fined, and mistakes rectified.
"All this is an eye wash and the situation of city roads will not improve. People pay hefty amounts as road tax but the roads are in the worst condition. There are many instances where people have fallen or met with accidents due to big potholes dotting the roads. All complaints seem to have fallen on deaf ears as no action has been taken," said S Anandahari, a commuter and senior citizen.
A budget of Rs25 lakh was allocated to each ward for filling the potholes and the task was to be carried out during the day in residential and minor roads and at night on major roads.
When DNA contacted various engineers from each zone, they had various reasons for the resurfacing of potholes. According to them, they were due to the downpour or contractors performing sub-standard task. Some said it was because the new tar laid on the roads failed to stick well to the old stretch due to continuous movement of heavy vehicles. Others blamed it on diesel leaking from vehicles which resulting in cracks and potholes opening up.
But citizens can help out the BBMP. If you find a pothole in your area which has not been attended to
or which has reopened, you can call up the BBMP commissioner at 22221286 or 22237455.

BDA creates database on property

BDA creates database on property

November 25th, 2009
By Our Correspondent
Tags: BDA, Total Station Survey

Nov. 24: Clearly having had its fill of encroachments and litigations, the Bengaluru Development Authority (BDA) has hit upon the idea of building a database of all its properties by commissioning a survey to unravel what it is up against.
The Total Station Survey (TSS), as it is called, will aid the Master Plan 2015 drawn up to guide the growth of the BDA region over the next six years. To cull out properties lost to encroachments, BDA layout plans will be juxtaposed with the maps drawn under the survey to see what remains with it and what has been taken over by others. The survey will also help it assess the hurdles created by litigation and perhaps chalk out a way to overcome them, according to official sources.
“A lot of this information will help the BDA evict encroachers and reclaim its lost property,” they added. Currently, the required software is being developed for the survey, which will be conducted by a suitable agency selected through tenders. Having let a few loose ends hang when its jurisdiction was expanded for more holistic development of the city, the BDA is now relying on the survey to help it tidy its desk. It is particularly looking at the revenue department, which had transferred some to its land to the BDA at the time, without registering it in the records, to make the necessary entries and clear things up for good.
“Some of the BDA developed layouts, which were transferred to BBMP for maintenance, will also be covered by the survey,” explained a senior BDA official.
Approved and private layouts, besides villages under BDA’s jurisdiction are also up for careful scrutiny.
Besides acquainting the BDA with the ground situation where its properties are concerned, the survey will also categorise land as commercial, residential, government, civic amenity, or mixed use, sources added.

Eateries put on pollution watch

Eateries put on pollution watch

But the decision has not gone down well with the units, which feel they are a green industry

Bosky Khanna. Bangalore

Every day, Bangalore generates about 3,500 metric tonnes of garbage, a large quantity of which comes from hotels and restaurants.
To control the generation of waste in the city and to protect the environment, the government has now decided to bring even the small hotels and restaurants under the purview of stringent environment norms.
For the first time, the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB), under the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), has issued a notification dated November 4, 2009 making it mandatory even for small hotels to treat waste products before they are disposed of and effluent treatment norms have to be followed too. Presently, hotels dump waste in sewerage lines or hand it over to the corporation.
The MoEF amended the Environment (Protection) Rules, 1986, to include small hotels — with at least 20 bedrooms, banquet halls with minimum floor area of 100 square metres and restaurants with minimum seating capacity of 36 — under its purview, to maintain the effluent standards. The notification stated that the rules of maintenance come into force from the date of publication in the official Gazette of India, dated November 4, 2009.
The KSPCB has decided to give some time to these units to adapt. Speaking to DNA, KSPCB chairman, AS Sadashivaiah, said that it was important to get the smaller hotels to comply with the environmental norms as well.
"It is for the first time that these sectors have been included. We will issue a circular to all establishments in this sector and give them time to prepare for the pollution check so that the air and water quality can be maintained. If they fail to maintain the standards even after that, action will be taken against them. KSPCB officials will survey such units to find out the amount and type of waste being disposed. We will support them to increase their chimney height; items like oil and grease must be neutralised before being released into underground drains," he added.
However the decision of the authorities has not gone down well with the units. According to the president of the Bruhat Bangalore Hotels Association, KN Vasudeva Adiga, small hotels and restaurants are like an extension of homes and are listed under the green category. This means that they are not a polluting industry and thus should be excluded, Adiga said. The number of 40-seater restaurants in Bangalore is around 1,000 and of 20-bedroom hotels is around 500.
"So far we have not received any intimation. Once it comes, we will request the central and state governments to exclude these hotels as the waste generated by them is organic in nature and the quantity is also less," he added.
Managing director of Ebony Hotels, Rajesh Rajaram, said that restaurant waste is similar to household waste. Since restaurants are small units, treating waste before disposal is difficult. However, he said that when all houses start treating wastes, restaurants would also follow suit.

Lake despair: Filth over troubled waters

Lake despair: Filth over troubled waters

Y Maheswara ReddyFirst Published : 24 Nov 2009 04:05:00 AM ISTLast Updated : 24 Nov 2009 10:18:08 AM IST
BANGALORE: A few years ago, Bangalore’s green activists got a faint ray of hope when the Bangalore Development Authority decided to rejuvenate the Benniganahalli Lake. The ray of hope has been obliterated by the inefficient follow-up by the authorities concerned.
There was a time when the Benniganahalli Lake water was used to irrigate paddy fields in the surroundings of Old Madras Road.
When the agricultural lands became residential layouts, the lake became a place for dumping garbage and for other activities. That was when the BDA stepped in. When the BDA undertook the construction of a flyover that connects the Outer Ring Road with the Old Madras Road more than a decade ago, it also spent about Rs 2 crore to develop the lake.
Residents of this area, especially the joggers, were satisfied with this development. The BDA had planted a number of saplings and made seating arrangements on the lake bund for people who want to spend time in its serene surroundings.
This pleasure was short-lived.
The BDA wrote two letters (2007- 08/352 on March 17, 2008 and 759:2008-09 on December 22, 2008) advising the Lake Development Authority to take over the maintenance of the lake. These letters did no good.
At present sewage water from surrounding areas such as Benniganahalli, Kasturinagar, Vijayapura, Chinnasandra flows into the lake.
“The bad odour from the lake water is unbearable. The lake is a breeding ground for mosquitoes,” says M Narayana (45) of Benniganahalli.
The lake also serves as garbage dumping place for people around the vicinity. They bring the garbage in plastic bags and throw it into the lake from atop of the flyover. The lorries that bring sheep from neighbouring states also contribute their bit. “No one has removed the rotten carcass of a sheep that was thrown into it,” says Narayana Gowda.
Apart from an overgrowth of parthenium weeds in the lake, the caterpillars abounding in the area are proving to be a problem. Krishnarajapuram MLA, claims that he is doing his best to develop the lake.
“I deputed some workers to trim the bushes. I am planning to divert the sewer lines that bring sewage water to the lake. I am also planning to put up a fence to prevent any encroachments,” he says.
The other drawback of the lake, that could have very well become the Sankey Tank of the area, is that there are no lights on the lake bund, especially on the walking track.
“There are incidents of drunkards harassing people who use the walking track on the lake bund after 7 pm. There have been complaints of robberies too. Some people even use the tank bund as a public toilet,” a senior citizen claimed.

Green autos

ss FeaturesFirst Published : 25 Nov 2009 04:59:00 AM ISTLast Updated : 25 Nov 2009 07:52:09 AM IST
BANGALORE: We have been hearing of the green autos for a long time now. And finally they are ready to hit the roads. In a thumbs up for green punch in Bangalore, green autorickshaws were finally unvieled on the city roads on Tuesday.
These four-stroke vehicles relies on LPG for fuel and also has tamper-proof digital fare metres.
At the formal launch in front of Vidhana Soudha, Transport Minister R Ashok said that the drivers of these autorickshaws have been trained to attend to passengers with courtsey and maintain certain - driver-customer etiquettes.
With the introduction of green autos the countdown for the eventual phase out of original noise makers and smoke emitters on Bangalore’s roads begun. What is more, the autos coming into the market hence will be of the specified new make only, the minister has said.

Grabbing a piece of the lake

Grabbing a piece of the lake

The dotted line shows the wall built around the lake. This land is prone to encroachments/Nagesh Polali.

Y Maheswara ReddyFirst Published : 25 Nov 2009 04:56:00 AM ISTLast Updated : 25 Nov 2009 07:51:53 AM IST
BANGALORE: Around Kaggadasapura and Doddanekkundi, the groundwater table is fast depleting. And the only source that could help keep it alive, the Doddanekkundi Lake, is slowly becoming history due to the negligence of the authorities.
This lake has always been subject to encroachment by all people, including politicians and landlords who are ever ready to increase their property purchases. “There is no dearth for encroachers here. They are trying their best to encroach the lake bund,” says a senior citizen.
Recently, the forest department officials cleared one encroachment by removing the foundation wall on the 40x50 feet site. “Yes. Some encroachments are already present and people are on the lookout to encroach the lake land. Our staff keep a vigil on encroachment. We are trying to prevent encroachment with the available means and resources.
We have already filed cases against the encroachers. We expect to clear those encroachments shortly,” says a forest official.
The drawback, however, is that the lake does not have either a boundary wall or a fence. A few months ago, the forest department planted a few saplings on one side of the lake bund. The other problem of the lake is the sewage water that flows from a temporary slum at Abbaiah Reddy Layout and from a few apartments.
When you go there the first time, you could find it hard to even spot the lake amidst all the hyacinth growing in it. The quantum of weeds and hyacinth prove the apathy of officials concerned. “One or two cows that entered the lake recently had to pay with their lives. The lake has become a breeding place for mosquitoes. It is very tough for us to cope with mosquitoes in the night,” says Ramanna of Kaggadasapura.
When contacted, Lake Development Authority officials made it clear that their responsibility was reduced to only giving suggestions and attending meetings of the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike whenever it decides to discuss about lakes in Bangalore.
Many people in this area suspect political support behind the encroachers.
However, local political leaders deny such allegations.
NS Nandish Reddy, MLA from Krishnarajapuram constituency, said that he had asked the authorities concerned to survey the lake and fix boundaries. “I am very interested in protecting the lake. I want to develop the lake but lack of funds makes it difficult. I will take up the development of this lake shortly,” says Nandish Reddy.
On encroachments by politicians or influential people, Reddy said that no fresh encroachments have taken place recently. “I have not encroached a single inch of land. If any one proves my involvement in encroachment of the lake, I will retire from politics permanently. I come from a decent family. Regarding the defunct brick factory near the lake, the land belongs to my family.
I am yet to remove the remains of the factory. I am waiting for the right time to start a new venture at that place,” adds Reddy.

Partial demolition?

Partial demolition?

The ‘controversial’ Terrace Garden Apartment/Aniruddha Chowdhury.

Express News Service/Sharan PoovannaFirst Published : 25 Nov 2009 04:54:00 AM ISTLast Updated : 25 Nov 2009 07:51:46 AM IST
BANGALORE: The BBMP seems to be hell bent on driving away all encroachers.
The anti-encroachment drive by the BBMP started in the Mahalakshmi Layout on Tuesday.
The BBMP started razing down illegal structures at the Vijayanandanagar slum of Mahalakshmi layout.
The area was flooded during the recent rains and the CM BS Yeddyurappa and BBMP officials who inspected the slum after the incident had directed the officials for the clearance of encroached properties in the area which had caused flooding in and around the locality.
“With the directions from the Chief Minister, the BBMP conducted a survey and had identified about 12 houses that were constructed encroaching upon the storm water drain,” said a senior BBMP official.
The drive which started on Tuesday morning continued till late evening and the encroached properties were partially demolishedd.
“While a few houses and a 3-km-long wall constructed on the drain was completely demolished, other properties were partially razed,” said the official.
“There are other houses that are encroaching upon the drain but before we take action, we have to check the records. The drive will continue for the next few days,” he said.
Chandrashekar had thought that his home dreams were realised when he got an approval to build a house in 2002. Three years later, his three-storeyed house was built at Idematu, and he moved in with his family. However, on Saturday, his house came under the BBMP JCBs.
His wife and two children have moved into a rented house in the same area after this incident.
Chandrashekar says that he has paid betterment tax and other property taxes after his property was surveyed many times over the years. He claims that he was not once given any notice or intimation that his property was encroaching on the drain by either the visiting inspectors or any other official from the housing authorities.
The people of the locality sought the help of ministers and other officials to get the exact plans of demolition but it was all in vain, they said. “We even voluntarily offered to demolish part of our homes to make way for the drain but the BBMP engineer dismissed our pleas,”said one of the residents. He added that more than 300 police personnel were brought to this locality and people were threatened with lathi charge by the engineer. “And when the demolition began, we requested the authorities to give us an hour to clear our things but to no avail,” he adds. “They did not allow our children to finish their food even. They sent their men to start demolishing while we, with the help of the other residents, threw home appliances and furntiture from higher floors,” he says.
Preferential treatment
Residents of Idematu also claim that the BBMP was giving preferntial treatment to the residents of Terrace Garden, an apartment complex in the locality, as that building still stands. When the locals asked the authorities about this partiality the officers warned the residents to mind their business and added that they did not have the equipment to break down part of the apartment.
The drain breaks many houses on the way, a government school and even a temple that is allegedly on BBMP land. The residents are wondering why their homes were approved when the officials could have informed them about the encroachments. Bharath Lal Meena said that the builders and other officials from the corporation who have approved them will be brought to task after the investigations.

Commuters spared tampered meters

Commuters spared tampered meters
Digital Ones Mandatory In Autos Within A Year

Bangalore: Green autos, the ambitious project of the transport department, are showing the way ahead. These autos, some already on the roads, were officially flagged off by transport minister R Ashoka in front of the Vidhana Soudha on Tuesday.
Ashoka told reporters later: “The four-stroke autos are LPG fitted and they are environmentally friendly. They’re
also fitted with digital meters, which will spare commuters the hassle of dealing with tampered meters. We’ve also instructed manufacturers to henceforth produce only fourstroke autorickshaws.”
He said within a year, twostroke autos in the state will phased out and digital meters will be mandatory for all autos within a year. “Autos which don’t comply will not pass the fitness test next year,’’ he said.
To assist this process, the minister announced the government’s subsidy schemes, wherein auto drivers will get Rs 10,000 subsidy for converting from two-stroke to fourstroke, Rs 1,000 for converting to digital meters and Rs 3,000 for fitting LPG kits. Of the 80,000-odd autos in the city, nearly 50,000 are two-stroke vehicles.
Ashoka claimed that Karnataka is the only state to have taken such eco- and commuter-friendly measures. The minister said initially only Bangalore will have green autos, but gradually other cities will have them as well.
Ashoka said that within two or three days, the BBMP ward reservation list will be released. He added that the second round of title deeds will be distributed under the Nemmadi Narayana project and the report regarding Akrama-Sakrama has been submitted to the chief minister.
“We’re not taking development activities only with an eye on the polls,” he said.

No longer a walk in the park

No longer a walk in the park
Soon, Walkers And Joggers Who Want To Enter Lalbagh Must Carry An ID Card

Bangalore: The horticulture department at Lalbagh will begin issue of applications for identity cards for morning and evening walkers and joggers in 7 to 10 days. The ID cards for Lalbagh will have to be produced by walkers and joggers between 6 am to 9 am as well as 5 pm to 7 pm. Entry will not be permitted in those hours without ID card.
The implementation of the timings at Cubbon Park will be taken up only after gates, fencing and grills are fixed around the park. An initial set of 10,000 applications will be issued and depending on the response more will be issued. These will be handed out at the horticultural office inside Lalbagh initially, officials told TOI.
Walkers and joggers will have to bring three to four photographs and ID proof like voter ID card, ration card or passport that will also be proof of residential address. They’ll have to fill in their age and as well as whether they are morning or evening walkers and joggers or both to enable better regulation.
While the application forms will be issued in 10 days, the issue of ID card after processing will take about a month. The fee for the ID card has not yet been fixed and discussions are on as to how much is appropriate.
Visitors can enter Lalbagh between 9 am and 5 pm and need not produce ID cards in this period. They have to pay Rs 10 as entry fee. General visitors will not, as of now, be permitted along with morning and evening walkers and joggers if they don’t have ID cards.
“The decision to have ID cards for walkers and joggers is primarily because of safety. The police asked us to ensure people are safe in the garden through the day and especially during morning and evening hours. For that, we need to know who is coming in and going out. Regulation and ID cards will enable us to have proper identification and a head count of people entering Lalbagh,” senior officials said.
“The issue of safety has come up due to two factors — the bomb attack at Lumbini Gardens in Hyderabad and a recent murder in Lalbagh. We also have to ensure the safety of foreigners who visit the garden,” officials added.
Horticulture officials said no decision had been taken on ID cards for tourists who may want to visit Lalbagh in the morning and evening during the fixed hours. “We’ll discuss the issue and work out a proper system. As of now, they can visit the park between 9 am and 5 pm,” they said.
Lalbagh, which falls under Siddapura police station limits, has a police outpost attached to it. It is manned by an ASI and four more personnel. Even Cubbon Park falls under Cubbon Park police station limits. Beat constables are frequently sent to check these parks
The government will enforce timings for Cubbon Park only after iron grills, fencing and gates are constructed all around the park. “This may take at least a couple of months. Only after fencing is completed will we begin implementation of timings. Until then, the situation will be as it is now,” horticulture department officials said ‘Why pay to breathe fresh air?’
The entire issue seems simple yet strange. We’ve been unable to take a clear stand on it due to the mixed response — some say paying Rs 200 is no big deal while others say why pay to breathe fresh air. This is a futile exercise as it serves no purpose. Having an ID card on you is always good. It helps in easy identification in emergencies. However, don’t think it will generate enough revenue to beef up security. Maintaining public parks needs much more funding. More than that, it needs regular screening and implementation.
During our walkers’ meeting, we agreed in principle on ID cards — we only differed on entry fee. Theoretically, ID card sounds good and necessary. However, the reason cited for the card is security. But, I feel, an ID card cannot be the answer, considering even passports are not always genuine.
Further, there are practical problems: i) If I don’t have the card with me one day, will they prevent me from entering? If they do, it’s not right as the park is a public space and as a member of the public, I have the right to be there.
If a family member or visitor wants to come with me and has no ID card, what’s the way out? The freedom of entry to the park should not be curtailed or restricted by the ID card.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The first batch of volunteers of Bangalore Traffic Squad

The first batch of volunteers of Bangalore Traffic Squad, a
Bangalore Mirror
initiative, gets a hands-on experience of the state-of the-art Traffic Management Centre, which monitors traffic infractions in the city 24/7. Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Praveen Sood puts them through the paces

All the habitual traffic offenders take note. You are watched every minute of the day and you can’t escape all the 167 surveillance cameras in the city always. The first interactive session between the volunteers of Bangalore Traffic Squad and Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic and Security) Praveen Sood was an eye opener of sorts for all concerned. For the first time, these volunteers got a sneak peek of Traffic Management Centre at Ashok Nagar police station. The centre is a one-stop-shop that controls everything from the street lights to the cameras at the signals to spotting traffic offenders. It houses the best technology to keep our roads as safe as possible.
There were many in the first batch of the volunteers of Bangalore Traffic Squad who had no clue just how technologically advanced the cops really were. One message that really hit hard was just how much the people sitting in the control room could see. The eye in the sky was in fact very close to earth. The group watched as the camera at a traffic signal, that had seemed like a distant UFO, zoomed in on registration plates of people breaking rules. You got on the footpath and your number was noted; you had your helmet hanging on the handle bar, your number was noted, you picked your nose that just got recorded!
“If you think that the government does nothing in their offices, this is the right place for you to come,” said Sood as he took them through all the technical razzmataz. So impressed were the volunteers that they swore off any attempt to break rules- ever. “I think the best deterrent factor is get people here and have them take a look at how closely they are observed. We are on our best behaviour only when we know that people are watching,” said Mandeep Bhuthalia, one volunteer.
“It looks like a scene straight out of a James Bond movie, with multiple screens spread across the wall that tells you exactly what happens all over the city at the click of a mouse,” said Angika Sudarshan. While Sood explained how the centre functioned, the volunteers also pitched in with suggestions and questions about the roads. “What happens to the fines that we pay, how many people have been identified for driving on the footpath, how do we deal with auto drivers, why so we allow a U-turn on Airport Road... “ the questions were endless.
The volunteers will be working closely with the Traffic department to help keep problems in check in problematic junctions like Dairy Circle, Bannerghatta Road, Sarjapur Junction, Madivala Checkpost among others.
Nine LCD screens, 20 cops and 167 surveillance cameras: A synchronisation of these is what is behind the challan that you get for committing a traffic violation on the roads. The synchronisation happens at the Traffic Management Centre in Ashoknagar. Resultant effect: Over 1000traffic violators are caught on camera every day.
At the centre, there are several LCD screens that are mounted on the wall and they are connected to computers. These screens show a grid of nine small screens that air traffic movements captured through cameras that are installed at several junctions across the city. These are cameras that you get see at the traffic junctions —- all you have to do is to look up the signal lights to spot it. The cameras are of two types: Surveillance cameras and enforcement cameras.
All the cameras are connected to the centre through cables installed by BSNL. The cameras can zoom in and capture the number plates of the vehicles. The number is transmitted to the automation computer, which has a database of all vehicles. Subsequently, the address of the violator is ferreted and a challan is sent to him. The violator can pay the penalty at any of the Bangalore One centres.