Friday, April 30, 2010

GREEN SIGNAL to traffic free Bengaluru

GREEN SIGNAL to traffic free Bengaluru

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Bengalureans grappling with traffic snarls in the central business district may be able zip through with the authorities planning to set up 12 signal free corridors around the area. While the corridors could be a help when completed, they could cause more chaos when built. But in the hurry to make the city match global standards, the pedestrian has been completely shortchanged, reports Amit S. Upadhye 80 bridges and underpasses will be built over the next 10 years to provide uninterrupted passage to commuters on all 12 corridors

: The city will soon go the Mumbai and Delhi way where not all traffic heads to central areas to reach destinations in different directions. Aware that the city centre in Bengaluru is crowded most days because a lot of commuters travelling anywhere need to touch it at some point or the other, the government has now come up with the idea of establishing 12 signal-free corridors (SFCs) to carry traffic circumventing it.
As many as 80 bridges and underpasses will be built over the next 10 years to provide uninterrupted passage to commuters on all 12 corridors. Traffic experts welcome the idea as they have been long pointing out that it is only in Bengaluru that 80 per

cent of commuters are forced to enter the city's Central Business District wherever they may be heading. In Delhi and Mumbai most traffic is diverted as soon as it nears the central areas through a designated ring road or a larger connecting round and routed to various destinations, they say. "Every large city in India and abroad has a distinct radial road and core ring road which allows commuters to reach the areas of their choice without entering the city centre. This might make the journey more circuitous, but it helps save fuel and travel time," says additional commissioner of police (traffic) Praveen Sood, who agrees that Bengaluru is badly in need of such a system.
While the corridors could be a help when completed, the worry is that they could cause more chaos on the roads while they are being built. "Construction of bridges and underpasses will take a long time as it will involve land acquisition, road expansion, tree felling and a comprehensive traffic plan,” warns an expert. For instance, constructing a 22 km SFC from Mekhri Circle to Hope Farm via Jayamahal Extension and another from the City Centre to Kengeri via Mysore Road will almost certainly require heavy construction and road alterations, which in turn will make traffic even worse on these already very crowded stretches. Such fears are compounded by the fact that the authorities don’t care to make alternative arrangements for traffic when work on the projects gets underway. “Diversions are introduced without illumination or signboards which can help commuters,” says an expert. We do need signal free corridors as they will make it unnecessary for large volumes of traffic to come to the city centre when heading in different directions. The ring roads will divert the traffic suitably. Pedestrians usually get a raw deal in any infrastructure project. Signal free corridors will block pedestrian crossings, while other facilities that have been provided for them are hardly user friendly. There is no study to say why the city needs signal free corridors when mass transport systems are being planned for it. The projects will require heavy construction, which could make life miserable for commuters.

Minister to crack the whip on errant auto drivers

Minister to crack the whip on errant auto drivers

Bangalore: The state transport department has chalked out a slew of measures to check the menace of autorickshaws across the state.
“We will initiate steps to remove two-stroke autorickshaws which haven’t switched to LPG,’’ transport minister R Ashoka said on Thursday. 85,000 licenced autorickshaws ply in and around Bangalore, of which 60% are two-stroke ones. Details of the operation are yet to be worked out in the wake of court directions to seize non-LPG autos, the minister said.
With increasing complaints of tampering of mechanical fare meters and cheating by auto drivers, Ashoka said the department may make digital fare meters compulsory in all three-wheelers plying in Bangalore limits.
“As a first step, we have decided to make digital meters mandatory in newly registered autos. This will be implemented within a fortnight,’’ he said.
To encourage auto owners and drivers to go in for digital meters, the department will provide a subsidy of Rs 1,000 for each vehicle.

The name Bangalore forgot

The name Bangalore forgot

How many of us know that German botanist Gustav Hermann Krumbiegel played a huge role in defining Bangalore's garden city image? Art historian Suresh Jayaram talks to Nidhi Bhushan about this forgotten hero of the city

Nidhi Bhushan

Avisit to the garden city, be it for a day or for weeks, is considered incomplete without a trip to its beautiful Lalbagh Botanical Gardens. Considered to be one of the most diverse botanical gardens in South Asia, Lalbagh is home to many sub-tropical trees, herbs and many colourful flowerbeds.
Yet, hardly anyone is aware that Gustave Hermann Krumbiegel, a German botanist and garden designer, was one of the chief architects of Lalbagh and was responsible for planning Bangalore's beautiful and famous tree-lined avenues, says art historian Suresh Jayaram who has curated a multimedia exhibition celebrating Krumbiegel's life and work that winds up today.
Jayaram first became acquainted with Krumbiegel's name when he was a school boy. "I used to pass Krumbiegel Road on my way to school daily. I used to think the road was named after some distinguished person from north Karnataka," he recalls. Krumbiegel Road, a small road near Lalbagh, is the only recognition that the government of Karnataka has given to Krumbiegel's contribution to Bangalore.
While Jayaram was working on a project called Bangalore Mapping a few years ago, he decided to spend a year researching this German botanist's life, who sleeps peacefully in the city's Shanti Nagar cemetery today. "I wanted to know more about the changing landscape of the city since I was born and brought up here. I started to dig deeper into Bangalore's landscape and the people behind it. I found that GH Krumbiegel forms a very significant part of Bangalore's history," he says.
Jayaram spent more than a year looking for references to Krumbiegel in one form or another. He knocked on people's doors, went to the horticulture department at Lalbagh, tried contacting Krumbiegel's daughter and much more to get to know the real Krumbiegel. "I went to Baroda, Mysore and Ooty too, looking for information on the great man," says Jayaram.
"Krumbiegel had come to India in the year 1893, when he took up a position with the princely state of Baroda as curator of the botanical gardens there. Krishnaraja Wodeyar, the then ruler of Mysore, was so impressed with the German's work that he sent for him in 1908," Jayaram explains.
JH Krumbiegel was born in Lohmen near Dresden in Germany and completed his early studies were in Wilsdruff and Dresden, after which he trained in horticulture. In 1888, he moved to England, designing flower beds at Hyde Park and at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Kew. "Krumbiegel succeeded John Cameron, the first British director of horticulture who helped in setting up many parts of Lalbagh," informs Jayaram.
The most significant contribution of Krumbiegel to the city was his concept of 'serial blossoming'. "He introduced several exotic trees to Bangalore from different parts of the world and curated the planting of species that flowered serially," says Jayaram, who believes Krumbiegel's horticultural concepts incorporate valuable solutions that can be used even today to preserve Bangalore's green cover. "The best way to honour Krumbiegel's work is by implementing and updating his strategic and intelligent planning. He had taken the Maharaja's vision of the garden city forward, it's high time we learnt from it," he says.
Jayaram also feels that knowing a place's history plays an integral role in making one bond with its soil and its surroundings. "It's very important to know the history of a place before you decide to stay there. One can connect better with this knowledge and look at things differently," he says.
Having completed his research into Krumbiegel's life, Jayaram does not plan to rest. While he is writing and editing a book on JH Krumbiegel along with his fellow researchers, he also looks forward to the day when Krumbiegel will be acknowledged as one of Bangalore's architects in much the same way as La Corbusier's contribution to Chandigarh is celebrated.

Is Garden City’s green cover under threat?

Is Garden City’s green cover under threat?
Amendment To Karnataka Preservation of Trees Act Could Result In Rampant Tree Felling

Bangalore: At a time when the city’s green cover is depleting, the government is thinking of amending the Karnataka Preservation of Trees Act.
If the amendment comes through, anyone and everyone will have the licence to fell trees like mango, neem, guava, sapota, arecanut, jackfruit, without the forest department’s permission.
As per present provisions of the Act, only casuarinas, coconut, erythima, gylerecida, silver oak and subabul can be cut down without permission. But in the amendment proposed by the forest department, 35 other varities have been included. What’s further worrying is that some of these trees are of high biodiversity value. Pongemia, prosopis, rubber, tamarind, burma bamboo, varieties of acacia are also included in the new list.
“The proposal, in its present form, is a threat to the green cover. I understand that the department wants to amend the law because of demands from plantation owners and farmers. But that has to be specified in law. A blanket exemption will only provide licence to chop trees indiscriminately. The move could be a boon to the t i m b e r lobby, but will destroy the greenery of Bangalore,” said Vinay Sreenivasa of Hasiru Usiru.
According to N L Shantkumar, conservator of forests at BBMP: “It’s only at a proposal stage. The government is yet to take a decision. The proposal was put forward to ensure that farmers and plantation owners don’t need to seek permission from the forest department every time they cut down trees. But we don’t know the likely repercussions. Obviously, utmost care should be taken to prevent treefelling in public places,” he said.
According to forest department sources, the government has sought clarification on some of the clauses in the proposed amendment.

BBMP's subways not for commercial use

BBMP's subways not for commercial use

Express News ServiceFirst Published : 30 Apr 2010 04:52:00 AM ISTLast Updated : 30 Apr 2010 09:31:39 AM IST
BANGALORE: Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) on Thursday submitted in the High Court that it will not rent out the subways near Sangam Theatre and City Railway station for showcasing commercial products.
Based on the BBMP undertaking, Justice Manjula Chellur dismissed the writ petition filed by Venkatesh, challenging the termination of agreement regarding renting out two subways in Majestic for showcasing commercial products.
During the hearing, BBMP counsel KN Puttegowda submitted that the two subways had been encroached by shop owners and it would be difficult for pedestrians to use the subways.
The counsel also submitted a photograph of the encroachment of the subways in Majestic.

Low on income, big on borrowings

Low on income, big on borrowings

Sharan PoovannaFirst Published : 30 Apr 2010 05:11:00 AM ISTLast Updated : 30 Apr 2010 08:58:38 AM IST
BANGALORE: The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has raised loans of more than Rs 4,000 crore and the quarterly interest on them itself runs up to Rs 511 crore. It has to pay more than Rs 1,250 crore to contractors. Compare its expenses with its income: Rs 800-1200 crore that come from property tax.
“There is no rationale behind the Palike raising these loans,” said M Nagaraju, councillor and Leader of Opposition.
He told Express that as there was no council for more than three years, officials had manipulated and misused the funds.
He alleged that Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa and his cabinet had forced the officials to raise money for vested interests. The opposition leader said only a detailed enquiry could bring out the truth.
He added that the government had promised Rs 600 crore to the BBMP for various works but had not re leased even a single rupee thus far. He said there were instances when more than Rs 100 crore was given to wards for developmental purposes. He said such huge amounts were unheard of till few years ago adding that the BBMP’s pending bills to contractors ran up to Rs 1,250 crore.
“Who will pay the interest, salaries and the contractors if the Palike is so irresponsible,” he asked.
Bharat Lal Meena, BBMP commissioner, said there could be no development without (spending) money.
The amount spent was the price paid for development of the city, Meend said and added that proposals to raise funds would be introduced in the council in coming days.
He said Akrama-Sakrama scheme, when implemented, would generate a handsome amount. He said many more properties coming under the tax net would provide funds adding that revenue would be generated by imposing fine on the buildings that had violated laws.
“We can waive off the loans in five-seven years if all what is planned materialises,” Meena said.

A stoic stands on bridge of woes

A stoic stands on bridge of woes

Civic leader vows to solve issues related to water, sewage and garbage

Kavitha Nambiar and Sandhya KS

Clad in white shirt and cream trousers, K Chandrashekar comes out smiling to undertake a yatra with DNA in Jeevanbhima Nagar ward. For a civic leader just voted in, he maintains a stoic's poise to a stream of complaints.
"I want to see the lesser privileged in my ward get basic facilities including good education during my term," he declares his vision as he gets into the car.
Along, people who see him raise their hands in salute and he responds. The first stop is at an unnamed park recently built on HAL IIIrd Stage 16th Main. In the park, residents' representatives receive him. As proposed by the corporator, they have set the stage for an interaction with him.
The meeting begins. Those present say in one voice they will stand by him in solving the ward's 'bruhat' problems: water, sewage, and garbage. Other issues like parks and playgrounds will come next. "We assure you all support, sir," says KP Ramakrishna, an engineer.
Talks invariably veer round to water scarcity. It is a pan-Bangalore problem, everybody agrees. But that will hardly console the parched throats.
"We must do rainwater harvesting this monsoon," says a participant. "Cauvery water will have to be brought to all areas at the earliest," another voice says.
"I've arranged more water tankers for the time being and deeper bore wells will come up," Chandrashekar tells them.
Garbage, he says, needs immediate attention. For a start, he has asked for more manpower and frequency in garbage collection. Defective street lights will be replaced and stray dogs will be sterilised.
Sandhanam, a home maker, is worried about the utter lack of playfields for children. "I don't know what to do. Where will the kids play?" she asks the corporator.
She says she'd love to have a good park and playfield in her ward first. "Okay, we now have a park, but will you make an effort to get us a commodious ground so that children won't have to run up to the road to play," she asks him. "Sure," Chandrashekar assures her. "But," he is quick to point out, "all available spaces have been occupied by buildings. Finding space is going to be a hellish problem."
Residents want to know who gave away all the land to builders. That query remains unanswered.
From the park, the corporator goes to Ambedkar slum in Kodihalli. He says most parts of his wards such as HAL I, II, III, and Jeevanbhima Nagar have no insurmountable problem. Once water scarcity and garbage issues are solved, what one should do in these parts is life-enhancing works such as more shopping facility, entertainment facility, playfields, and parks.
The slums are a different story. He does not hide the fact that these are the very people who religiously go out and vote and are promptly forgotten. "I, for one, wouldn't do that," he pledges.
The slum-dwellers unload a ton of complaints which are too familiar to all and sundry. He tells them about his commitment to make thing better for them. He then goes to Domlur flyover where he says his next biggest challenge awaits. Under the bridge flows a vast sheet of squalid water that is a mix of storm water and sewage which during the monsoon takes a horrible shape and enters nearby homes. "It's too fearsome to recall," is how he dubs it. "Part of 18th Main HAL IInd Stage is always severely hit," the civic leader says.
Absence of proper storm water drains is the major reason for flooding during monsoon. "About 500 houses in Kodihalli are directly affected due to the bad drainage, which leads the dirty water into the houses and raises health issues," says Narasimhan, a resident of IInd Stage. An 11-ft protective wall built earlier had proved effective. The corporator plans to extent it so that maximum number of homes could be protected.

CM on green mission leaves city choking

CM on green mission leaves city choking

Express News ServiceFirst Published : 29 Apr 2010 04:54:00 AM IST
BANGALORE: Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa’s keenness to oversee work being carried out to restore Bangalore’s reputation as a green city, left the citizens gasping for breath on Wednesday.
As he toured various areas of the city where lake development work was in progress, a trail of smoke and traffic snarls followed his cavalcade.
While he repeated his assurances on developing greenery, 25-30 cars of the officers and leaders accompanying him followed the bus in which they were travelling, adding to the pollution and causing traffic jams through his three-hour trip during peak hours.
The newly elected Mayor, Deputy Mayor, MLAs, BDA and BBMP officials were with the CM in the bus, while their cars followed.
While the CM’s convoy was given clearance at every signal, the ordinary Bangalorean was left stranded at the same signals for over 20 minutes. Traffic was clogged at many junctions including Shivanada Circle, Magadi Road, Vijayanagar and Mysore Road.
At many of the junctions, people had assembled and were delighted to see their CM waving at them while traffic police closed all the roads that the CM’s convoy used, to ensure that he had a smooth passage.

City properties to get unique IDs

City properties to get unique IDs

Sharan PoovannaFirst Published : 30 Apr 2010 05:00:00 AM IST
BANGALORE: Properties in Bangalore will very soon be identified by its latitude and longitude values.
Previous property identification numbers had to be phased out because 98 new wards have been added to the new and expanded Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike.
The effort will be to provide unique identifications so that they remain intact, irrespective of any such changes in the future.
The Palike will use geographical information systems and latitude and longitude values (Lat-Long) to number and identify property within its limits.
“We began working on this project from scratch about a year and a half ago and now we have completed 90 per cent of the project,” said Sheshadri, information technology advisor to the BBMP.
He said 14.6 lakh properties have been identified using this technology so far.
This technology would help identify the location of a property based on online geographical maps that have been developed, he said.
The map will be based on Google maps and other online maps, he said.
“The core area has no problem as most of them have been assessed and identified,” said Sheshadri. It is the newly-included wards where there was no systematic mechanism to store information and share it with the Palike.

Monorail: State to appoint consultant

Monorail: State to appoint consultant

Express News ServiceFirst Published : 30 Apr 2010 05:02:00 AM IST
BANGALORE: The state cabinet on Thursday decided to appoint a consultant to prepare a detailed project report for the proposed monorail project in the city, Home Minister V S Acharya said.
Acharya said the monorail will connect the North-South and East-West corridors, besides running along the Outer Ring Road.
“No timeframe has been fixed to appoint the consultant and prepare the DPR.
But we want it at the earliest, preferably before the Global Investors Meet,” he said.
The chief minister had said the project would be placed at the investors’ meet for consideration of the world players.

Big 10 roads will be made bigger and better in a jiffy

Big 10 roads will be made bigger and better in a jiffy

Bosky Khanna. Bangalore

The ball has been set in motion on turning 10 major roads of Bangalore into the axes of the city's development.
A survey will begin on Friday on these thoroughfares — Bannerghatta Road, Bellary Road, Tumkur Road, Magadi Road, Sarjapura Road, Old Madras Road, Mysore Road, Kanakapura Road, HAL Airport Road and Hosur Road —for improving traffic connectivity in the city.
ABIDe has proposed improvement factors like seamless connectivity, road widening, proper footpaths, dedicated bus lanes and bus bays.
This decision was taken at a meeting of ABIDe members and officials from various civic agencies at the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) office on Thursday. It was chaired by the chief minister's advisor on urban affairs, A Ravindra.
The agencies were told in no uncertain terms that the work should not drag beyond 18 months at any cost.
ABIDe also told the agencies to deploy advanced technologies and see if the project could be implemented in three months. It was also decided to have bus priority lanes on the left side during dedicated hours in the morning and evening.

Let a million trees take root this monsoon

Let a million trees take root this monsoon

There are 30 varieties of trees you could plant; get seeds at Re1 from BCIL

Manisha Yadav. Bangalore

As the monsoon approaches, here is your chance to do something about the city's thinning green cover. It is that time of year when seeds fallen from trees begin to germinate of their own; the best time to go about planting seeds or saplings. And it needs little expense or effort. All you need is the patience to go about, and get your hands dirty.
The Biodiversity Conservation India (Pvt) Limited (BCIL) is close at hand, ready to lend you a hand as you go about the greening business. The 'million seedball' campaign was started by the people who also promote the concept of zero-energy design (ZED) in the city, urging that building design be such that the dependence on artificial lighting or temperature regulation is kept minimal. As its name suggests, the campaign aims at planting at least a million seedballs over the next six months.
The 'seedball' is a mixture of clay and compost, which contains a seed within. Different varieties of seeds are available. Nearly 30 different types of trees could come to be part of the city's green canopy if this effort takes off. The aim is also to green the city's outskirts, so that all parts on the periphery of the city have a thick canopy, which, over time, could contribute to cooling the city's environs.
Chandrashekar Hariharan, the CEO, BCIL, said, "We urge citizens to take up this drive to green the city. We want to transform the city from the garbage city back to a green one. Anyone and everyone can contribute; all you need to do is plant a seed."
Leo Saldanha, member of the Environment Support Group, however, was skeptical. Seedlings need to be nurtured, he said, and even if they actually take root, the BBMP will do its job and bring the trees down, he felt. The BCIL, however, works with the assumption that it is better to light a lamp than curse the darkness.
If you wish to be part of this effort to go about disseminating seeds, join the 'million seedballs' campaign. You could write to Jayaprakash at for details. Each seedball costs Re1, and there are 30 different trees that you could choose from, including neem and honge.

Forget power, it's time for water cuts

Forget power, it's time for water cuts

BWSSB's No Water Day plan leaves south Bangalore dry

Shwetha S. Bangalore

On Wednesday, when south and southeast Bangalore went without water for six hours, residents thought it was a problem. But what they didn't know was that it was an official problem. The Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) has decided to cut water supply for an entire day to south and southeast Bangalore once every 15 days.
The move, the BWSSB says, will help the parched west and north Bangalore, which is struggling due to the dipping water levels at the Tippagondanahalli (TG Halli) reservoir. Now, the water level there is just 15 feet. "By diverting the Cauvery waters—the main water source for south and southeast Bangalore—to other parts of the city will help solve the supply problem," said BWSSB chief engineer T Venkataraju.
So, from now on there will 'no water day' for south and southeast Bangalore.
Residents, interestingly, have no idea of the BWSSB plan. The water board just decided to go ahead with the plan from April 28. It will cut water supply every alternate Wednesdays to south and southeast Bangalore between 12 noon and 6pm. Nitin SK, a resident of Jayanagar, said he and other residents had no clue about the cut. But BWSSB says there is no backing out. "It's implemented and will continue," said a BWSSB official. The water supply to north and west Bangalore from TG Halli reservoir is normally 30 million litres per day (mld). But as the water level dipped, more than 20,000 houses in north and west Bangalore are facing problems. BWSSB officials say south and southeast Bangalore consume 200 mld of water. "Only good rains in the catchments near Nandi Hills and Chikkaballapur will improve the situation," the official said. ìmore power to state

Pockets of squalor next to posh locality

Pockets of squalor next to posh locality
Kaushik Chakravarthy ,Bangalore, April 29, DHNS

Freshly laid, well marked roads laden with thick tree canopies dot the idyllic, predominantly upper middle class ward of J P Nagar. But behind this almost picture perfect residential haven of the privileged, lie pockets of squalor and neglect.

The locality, first envisioned and developed during the time of former Chief Minister Ramakrishna Hegde is home to a host of celebrities and politicians and has more than its fair share of bungalows and mansions. The ward includes J P Nagar 2nd, 3rd and 4th phases, Marenahalli and Dollar’s Colony.

In complete contrast to the posh neighbourhoods of J P Nagar with their lush parks, desilted and free flowing ‘dodda mori’ and pot-hole free raods, are the stark realities of garbage strewn shanties in Marenahalli and KSRTC Layout. Incidentally, Marenahalli is home to the newly elected councillor of the J P Nagar ward Chandrashekar Raju of the BJP.

It comes as no surprise when this contradiction is reflected in the views of residents. While on the one hand, residents of the ‘posh’ J P Nagar had nothing in particular to complain about, the dwellers in the slums of J P Nagar had a familiar story to tell.

About 1500 dwellers at KSRTC Layout in J P Nagar 2nd Phase are facing the prospect of temporarily vacating their dwellings to make way for the government to build pucca houses. Despite assurances from the councillor that the project will be complete in a year’s time, dwellers expressed their doubts about the promise. Recently, Chief Minister Yeddyurappa even laid the foundation stone for the project.

Anthony, a dweller said, “There are 1500 households here and most of us are settled. Our children go to schools around here. If we vacate, there is no guarantee that the government will complete building the houses in one year.”

However, he did have words of appreciation for the newly elected mayor Nataraj, who represents the neighbouring Sarakki ward. “We have a lot of respect for Nataraj because he has helped us. But we are not sure about how long it will take to build this colony of pucca houses,” he said.

Meanwhile, dwellers in the other poor and lower middle class pocket in Marenahalli have the familiar story of disparity and discrimination to tell.

Name: Chandrashekar Raju
Party: (BJP)
Education: PUC
Family: Wife Latha and son Arya

What are your plans to address the garbage issue?

I assure all residents of the ward about resolving the issues related to garbage within the next two years.

Dwellers at the KSRTC Layout have expressed doubts about the government’s plans to build pucca houses for them...

We will build 1,500 pucca houses. Work has already progressed till the foundation level and our CM himself laid the foundation stone for the project. Within one year 50 per cent of them will receive houses.

What efforts have been taken to clear up drains?

The drains have been thoroughly desilted. In fact, they have been maintained so well that a family can sit and have a meal there.

Cabinet nod to prepare HSRL report

Cabinet nod to prepare HSRL report
Bangalore, April 29, DHNS

The State Cabinet on Thursday gave its approval to prepare a detailed project report for the proposed Metro phase II, high speed rail link (HSRL) to BIA and a mono rail systems in Bangalore.

Chief Minister Yeddyurappa recently took the decision to take up these mass rapid transportation systems to ease the traffic congestion in the State capital. The Infrastructure Development department has been entrusted with the responsibility to prepare the DPR, Home Minister V S Acharya told reporters.

Besides, the cabinet showed the green signal to the BBMP to borrow Rs 1,000 crore from the nationalised banks to upgrade civic amenities in its newly-added areas. The State Government will give the guarantee to avail the loan, he said.

Ashok defends Vayu Vajra fare revision

Ashok defends Vayu Vajra fare revision
Bangalore, April 29, DHNS

For Transport Minister R Ashok the revision of Vayu Vajra (volvo) bus fare is mere ‘rationalisation’ of ticket prices. Defending the revision of price the minister said, ''The BMTC has not hiked the fare. It has only brought about uniform tariff chart across the City.''

Speaking to media persons on Thursday he said the revision would not burden the passengers. The ticket fare in Vayu Vajra buses plying in the eastern part of the City i.e the IT sector, was higher when compared to bus prices in other areas. Now, the BMTC has rationalised the fares across the City on par with fares prevailing in the IT sector.

The BMTC increased Vayu Vajra bus fares with effect from Tuesday. Fare of daily pass for these buses has been increased from Rs 75 to Rs 80. Fare of tickets has also gone up from Rs 5 to Rs 10 per stage.

Green autos

The State government will soon issue a notification making digital meter and LPG kit compulsory in new autorickshaws. The Transport Department will issue notification in the next 15 days.

Transport Minister said the owners would get a subsidy of Rs 1,500 to install digital meters. A meeting will be convened with the autorickshaw owners and drivers’ associations to make digital meters and LPG kit compulsory for old autos as well.

Free bus service

The BMTC has proposed to run mini bus service between Railway station and BMTC bus stand (Kempe Gowda bus stand in Majestic) to help the train passengers.

The service will be free of cost. Transport minister R Ashok said the measure will help tackle the autorickshaw menace in the railway station.

The minister, on Thursday, informed the media that BMTC officials had held preliminary talks with the Divisional Railway Manager to launch the bus service. The Railway Department has to clear the proposal.

Techies give BMTC a thumbs up

Techies give BMTC a thumbs up
By: Chetan R Date: 2010-04-30 Place: Bangalore

Ninety per cent respondents from city IT companies in recent survey say they prefer public transport to commute to work

Call it the Bus Day effect. A survey conducted by Outer Ring Road Companies Association (ORRCA), a body that represents several IT companies, conducted a random survey among 6,000 IT employees from companies like AOL, Accenture, Intel, NT, ABM, Cisco, Patni and Genpact, that revealed that an overwhelming 90 per cent of professionals surveyed prefer BBMP services to commute to work.

"The questionnaire was designed to gauge the impact of traffic initiatives like Bus Day on professionals," said S Vishwanath, general secretary, ORRCA.

"The results indicate a positive change. Though there are ten per cent, who prefer either private or other modes of transport, 90 per cent of surveyed professionals said they preferred BMTC. This is what we were looking for."

Actress Tara travels in a BMTC bus on occasion of Bus Day.

IT companies, which have been carrying several traffic initiatives including Safe Wheels, Traffic Month, Common Bus System and Bus Day aim to popularise public transport, reduce vehicular traffic and lower pollution and accident rates in the IT corridor.

ORRCA will pass on a detailed report findings of the survey to the BMTC soon. The BMTC is expected in turn to augment its services in the IT corridor in the light of the findings.

Incidentally, the BMTC is not only planning to increase the number of buses from June onwards to service employees of IT companies better, it is also taking non-IT employees into account.

"The response is overwhelming. Measures to create awareness among citizens are fetching positive results," said Sampangi Ramgowda, Divisional Traffic Officer, BMTC.

"We have been interacting with several companies. Once the talks come to an end, we will add extra services to serve their needs better."

Take your corporator for a ride

Take your corporator for a ride
By: Chetan R Date: 2010-04-30 Place: Bangalore

Transport Minister asks all BJP corporators to take BBMP buses with other citizens during the fourth edition of Bus Day on May 4

Don't be surprised to see your newly-elected corporator in a BMTC bus this Bus Day.

Transport Minister R Ashok, who is also the minister-in-charge of Bangalore, wants corporators of the first ever BJP-ruled BBMP to travel by bus on May 4 in order to inspire citizens to use public transport.

The fourth edition of Bus Day is powered by the MiD DAY and Radio One teams who will provide Bangaloreans the latest updates on the initiative.

"Yes, I will be asking all corporators from my party to take BMTC buses on the next Bus Day," R Ashok told MiD DAY. "They should be the ones to take the lead. I will ask them to give up their vehicles so others are inspired by their example."

BJP corporators say they are excited about participating in the Bus Day initiative.

"We welcome the Bus Day initiative. It will help make people aware of the importance of using public transport," said H Ravindra, BJP corporator and former ruling party leader.

"It will also helps us understand problems our voters face when we commute with them in BMTC buses."

The news that corporators are joining in the Bus Day effort, which has the support of civic officials, employees of IT companies, and members of residential associations, is expected to add to the number of people who use buses on the day.

BBMP officials are meanwhile busy making arrangements to ensure Bus Day, which is expected to reduce pollution and ease traffic, passes without incident.

"It's a very positive thing that public representatives are coming forward this time," said Sampangi Ramgowda, Divisional Transport Officer, BMTC.

"The response for last three editions was encouraging. We have streamlined our services further.

There are over a hundred extra buses running across the city on Bus Day. We will continue some of the services introduced on the day to other days as well."

The number of BJP corporators in the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP)

Total number of elected corporators in the BBMP

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Private security guard for every lane

Private security guard for every lane
A hat-trick. This is the third consecutive win for Padmanabhareddy, the JD(S) corporator. Interestingly, good roads fetched him victories. He has a new scheme up his sleeve — 24/7 private guard in every lane. Also in focus will be the twin problems — irregular water supply and erratic power cuts After Ensuring Good Roads, I Will Focus On Water, Power, Security, Says Reddy
Aarthi R | TNN

Bangalore: Once an underdeveloped village, Kacharakanahalli is today a happening place. After many years, road works seen almost everywhere. Most of these roads survived the heavy traffic for eight years. “These good roads ensured people’s support for me,’’ said Padmanabhareddy (JDS), the proud new corporator, who has won here for the third consecutive time.
The area is already witnessing some positive changes. Garbage collectors who were hardly spotted before, are now seen knocking on the doors and collecting garbage.
Here is a sure-fire winner. There are plans to set up a private security arrangement on an experimental basis for the III block in HRBR Layout, based on people’s request. The frequent incidents of late evening chain snatching incidents and burglaries have prompted the corporator to go in for this scheme. “We are trying it out. But this needs people’s cooperation,’’ he said. As per the plan, there will be a private guard on every lane 24x7 with people paying a monthly fee.
“We have given a few suggestions. Some of them already implemented. Main issue — garbage. 20% change seen already. Dumping has reduced. He has promised to take up road tarring in a month’s time. Citizens should cooperate too.
“It’s only been a few days now. It’s a five-year term and we must watch. There has been road works in some areas. The most serious problem is the traffic on the CMR Main Road and in Ramaiah Layout. We need a skywalk. The last three years have seen an accident every 15 days.
Some residents from Kalyan Nagar and surrounding areas of this ward are airing their woes on the web too. Here are some web woes
“Most places after 6 pm,footpath vendors occupy three-fourth of these footpaths. It’s very difficult walk on the footpath along with family and children. We are forced to walk on the road.This,also leading to some accidents.One presently happened near the sansar collection showroom on Kammanahalli main road.’’
“The garbage collection at the park in front of Nagadevi Industries is very ill-maintained, home to bandicoots, rats and breeding ground for mosquitoes & dozens of stray dogs mainly due to un-hygenic conditions.’’
“Though 3rd Block in HBR Layout is a popular block having BDA complex and other shopping arcades. This block lacks proper roads.I guess the authorities will look into in the issue and act asap.’’
“The lake is part of HBR ward 24 and people who are effected are part of ward 29 so there is no initiative by HBR BBMP authorities to maintain the lake as the population of II Block HBR are not impacted. Can we please have a better way of managing the lake? The lake has become a sewage collection point and especially during summer the stench is unbearable. The residents of LN Reddy Gardens which is part of Kacharakanahalli are effected. Health of children and aged persons are impacted with such unhygienic conditions.”
Irregular water, erratic power cuts, improper solid waste management, dust and noise pollution, chain snatching and traffic in residential areas.
Padmanabhareddy is 47 years old. He hails from this ward. Generations of his family have lived here. “There was nothing in my ward,’’ he said. Now, his main target: Maintenance and beautification. PEOPLE HAVE TRUSTED
What are your main observations about your ward?
I have been three and a half years out of power. There was no water problem then. Now, I will focus mainly on water, power and security.
What change can the residents expect from you?
I have already voiced these concerns at the first meeting on April 23. Both these issues are twin troubles. My suggestion: Get a generator for Rs 4-5 lakh for every pumping station. People have trusted me third time. I cannot repeat the excuses the authorities give. Shortly, there should be a change. If not water, at least the government must look at providing additional power or alternative arrangements for uninterrupted water supply.
What’s your main action plan and how do you plan to go about it?
Waiting for the budget. Meanwhile, repair the bruised roads, complete the unfinished library at II block, bring in more Hopcoms.
Vision for Kacharakanahalli
In 2006, it was declared the model ward in Bangalore. Will continue the efforts to keep up this vision even now.

Major Thrust To Revive Lakes In The City

Major Thrust To Revive Lakes In The City

Bangalore: Those who reside in new BDA layouts will have the good fortune of access to clean lakes. Unlike BBMP lakes which are contaminated and clogged with sewage water, the water in these new lakes will not be contaminated and there’s scope to improve biodiversity and aquatic life.
Chief minister B S Yeddyurappa on Wednesday inspected five such lakes being developed by the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA). The BDA is developing 12 lakes and the Lake Development Authority is working on 25 others which will be transferred to BDA for rejuvenation and upkeep. The CM said four mini Lalbaghs would be developed in four corners of the city and four high-tech hospitals and parks have been planned. “About 136 kms of drains have been desilted completely and Rs 105 crore set aside in the state budget for lake rejuvenation,” he said.
A long convoy of cars and buses followed the CM on his inspection of Ullala, Mallathahally, Konasandra, Sompura and Hosakere lakes. Commissioners of BDA, BWSSB, BBMP, mayor and deputy mayor also accompanied him and this triggered bottlenecks at some junctions. Environmentalist and head of lake development advisory committee of BDA A N Yellappa Reddy briefed the CM on ongoing work.
At Ullala, residents of Visveswaraya Layout complained the layout was formed in 2003 but residents didn’t have water supply, streetlights, sanitation or garbage collection. They were eagerly awaiting completion of the lake so that the groundwater table would be recharged.
The Hosakere lake has recently been handed over to the BBMP. A large area was illegally encroached by residents but is gradually being recovered. “We have surveyed the area. After the detailed project report, we’ll hand over work to private agencies. The revenue department is currently tackling encroachments and 50 acres have been recovered,” said BBMP commissioner Bharat Lal Meena.
Bangalore Urban DC M K Ayyappa said about 600 small houses have to be removed from encroached areas. Hosakere lake is covered with weeds and there’s garbage all around and it’s a breeding ground for mosquitoes. “Residents would wash clothes here around two years ago. Now, it’s covered with weeds and the water is contaminated. It needs to be cleaned immediately,” said resident Manjunath B A.
BDA commissioner H Siddaiah said almost every BDA layout would have a water body. Eight lakes, where the project has started, will be completed by end-May, three by end-July and the others next year. “In these lakes, there is no sewage problem unlike lakes in the city which get discharge from drains. They need sewage treatment plants. We won’t lease them out to private parties,” he said.
The BDA consulted Central Ground Water Board experts on underground aquifers and they identified recharge points at every lake. These are fractures in hard rock from where water can seep in. “We have made adequate recharge structures with pebbles. etc,” Yellappa Reddy told TOI.
Every lake will also have activated carbon columns. When water passes through its pores, they trap all the heavy metals which contaminate the water.Wetlands have been created for bio-filtering at several spots. There will be alum columns to help reduce water turbidity. “These simple technologies are practised worldwide. Appropriate vegetation will be laid for rejuvenation of catchment areas,” he added. There’s a provisions for jetties, watchman’s room and parks and most lakes are being desilted.
The CM suggested the mayor’s office holds lake inspections on Sundays and talk to communities around them. The mayor said lakes which need rejuvenation have been identified. “While lakes like Yediyur and Ulsoor are being developed, many like Sarakki and Puttenahalli are yet to be developed. These need attention,” said Nataraj.

Get on that bus

Get on that bus
Companies on Outer Ring Road approach BMTC for an exclusive fleet of buses to ferry their staff

If all goes well, tech employees working in the Outer Ring Road-Marathahalli-Sarjapur Road belt will travel to their workplaces through a Common Bus System (CBS) in a couple of months.
Eager to reduce traffic congestion and to cut down on the use of private transport, members of the Outer Ring Road Companies Association (ORRCA) have approached the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) for initiating CBS for their employees. This means that instead of taking cabs or their own vehicles, employees from different companies will travel in common buses.
Though talks are in the initial stages, both companies and BMTC are positive that the system will help at many levels — traffic management, reducing environment pollution and bringing down transport costs. A series of meetings have been held between BMTC senior officials and facility managers of companies — which are from IT, banking and other sectors — to discuss this issue.
“This will be like a semichartered service to tech hubs. The target is to get at least 6,000 employees from our 200 member companies to travel in the common bus system. Companies such as AOL, Accenture, Intel, Northern Trust, CISCO, Patni Computers and Genpact have expressed interest in using the system. If everything falls in place, we should start using such a system by June,” said Vishwanath Seetharam, General Secretary, ORRCA.
The Association has roped in a tech company, RCNTech to collate data from employees of member companies, to find out how many people are willing to travel by public transport. Of the 825 people who have logged in to RCNTech’s website in the last two weeks to provide information, as many as 90 per cent have said that they prefer to travel by BMTC Volvo and Marco Polo buses.
“The idea is to provide passes to employees through member companies in advance at Rs.1,300 per employee for a period of three months. We are looking at having these buses on around 30 routes, but these details are still being worked out,” Vishwanath said.
It is a win-win situation for companies and BMTC, feels Ganesh K, Asset manager, RMZ Corp and security in-charge for Ecospace Tech Park on ORR. “There are 16,000 employees in Ecospace alone. Even if 20 per cent decide to take public transport, it makes a big number,” he says.
Syed Zameer Pasha, managing director, BMTC, is positive about this initiative. “Yes, some tech companies have approached us to provide a common bus system and we are working out the details. We are happy they want to use public transport and we will provide all the assistance needed. They have told us that initially around 6,000 employees will use this service and details about passes and routes are being worked out,” he told Bangalore Mirror.

Lalbagh is wilting, but the government plays Nero

Lalbagh is wilting, but the government plays Nero

A rock garden and laser show will come up in the midst of a water crisis

Odeal D'Souza. Bangalore

The horticulture department is chalking out huge plans for Lalbagh Botanical Garden. A laser show depicting the growth of Bangalore from a non-descript Bendakaluru to tomorrow's Bengaluru and a rock garden are on the cards. But the department has remained indifferent to conserving the primary wealth of the park: its rich flora.
The department officially puts up a contented face. "There is no water problem in Lalbagh. There is enough supply from the sewage tanks which provide recycled water. Our requirement is about 1.5 million litres per day (MLD) and it is being met," N Jayaram, director, horticulture department, said.
But the horticulture department staff has a different story to tell. Last month's water scarcity at Lalbagh was unprecedented, the staff claimed.
A garden supervisor told DNA on the condition of anonymity that in March, hundreds of saplings wilted as there was just not enough water available to meet their needs.
He said there were at least 800 species of plants that needed daily watering and the water from sewage water treatment plants was just not enough.
However, the department higher-ups are oblivious to the parched reality on the ground. The rock garden, set to be built at a cost of Rs40 crore, will feature a musical fountain and employ coloured water.
"Water features are an ideal focal point in any rock garden. They enhance the naturalistic feel and add another element of interest. Rock garden plants can be tucked along water's edge as well as along the slopes and niches created in the construction of the water features," horticulture department officials said.
The laser show and the rock garden had been proposed to provide entertainment to children and elders, besides adding to the tourist potential of the park, the officials said.

Forget Cauvery, lakes will quench thirst

Forget Cauvery, lakes will quench thirst

In five months, city will get water for domestic purposes from lakes that are being rejuvenated, says CM

Bosky Khanna. Bangalore

The state government is thinking of tapping into lakes to cut down the dependence on Cauvery for drinking water in the city. Water from the lakes may, in fact, flow into city households in five months.
The Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB), Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) and Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) are rejuvenating five lakes in the city to recharge groundwater and ensure water in borewells, thus reducing the demand for Cauvery water, officials said.
"The idea behind rejuvenating lakes is to make their water available for various domestic purposes," chief minister BS Yeddyurappa said on Wednesday. He admitted that the city was facing a major water crisis.
"Cauvery water is overly exploited. We want some of the demand for water to be met from the city's resources itself," Yeddyurappa told DNA during his visit to five lakes that are being rejuvenated in the city.
Ullal, Malathahalli, Sompura and Konasandra lakes are being restored by the BDA. The BBMP will develop the fifth, Gandhinagar Hosakere. The BDA has been given the task of developing 12 lakes in the city in all. It will be given 25 more lakes (see box).
"A meeting will soon be held to discuss the feasibility of making lake water available for drinking," Yeddyurappa said. "For other needs, the supply of lake water is likely to start in five months."
To use lake water for potable and non-potable purposes there needed to be proper inflow to the lakes, BWSSB chairman PB Ramamurthy said. "To ensure inflow, sewerage and drainage lines are being connected to the lakes," he said. Sewage treatment plants were being set up to treat water entering the lakes, he said.
Once lakes were rejuvenated and groundwater level increased, people would use borewell more since they would realise that Cauvery water was expensive, officials said.

This area is a victim of encroachments

This area is a victim of encroachments
Nandini Chandrashekar , Bangalore, April 28, DHNS

Jayanagar with its wide roads and tree lined avenues has long been a favourite address for Bangaloreans. But even this area is fast becoming a victim of encroachments, open drains and unwieldy traffic. This ward comprises Jayanagar 8th Block, Jayanagar 5th Block, TMC Layout, J P Nagar 1st Phase and Shakambari Nagar.

It is with a sense of desperation that citizens attempt to walk on these roads. Take 9th main in Jayanagar 5th Block, one of the main arterial roads for instance. The footpaths on this road is filled with sand and debris, shelters, temples, transformers and garbage. If you manage to evade them all, then you can find vehicles parked on the pavement, leaving people no place to walk at all.

In fact, the ward has around 25 Bescom electricity transformer units strategically placed on pavements at junctions forcing people to get on the road at the busy intersections. T S Ramakrishna of Jayanagar 5th block says that despite repeated pleas to shift these transformers, neither BBMP nor Bescom has shown any enthusiasm for doing so.

“We have been requesting them to remove the transformer in front of Raghavendra Mutt for the longest time. In 2001, they said that the expenditure was Rs 2 lakh. Now they say they have to spend Rs 30 lakh to move it,” he says.

The Sarakki Main Road which is the connecting road to 100 feet Ring Road to Inner Ring Road from BTM Layout is another story. There are no footpaths at all and commercial establishments are practically perched on the road. This area incidentally is where the present Mayor S K Nataraj resides and constitutes a considerable vote bank. So violations are not taken seriously.

Secretary of the JP Nagar 1st Phase Residents Welfare Association, B R Udupa says that one needs to look at the building belonging to a former BBMP Assistant Law Officer and another government official, who have built houses on a road (in picture), to understand the scale of violations. This house in TMC Yard has blocked the road connecting the Sarakki Main road. Though a complaint has been lodged, no action has been taken on this matter.

Open storm water drains is another problem facing the area. While it is not covered in many areas, the uncovered stretches are filled with filth and mud. Surprisingly, unlike other areas, no silt removal exercise before the monsoon sets in, has begun here.

Now citizens have formed a Shakamabari Citizens’ Forum to address BBMP related issues plaguing the area. They intend to monitor BBMP works and pitch proposals on what works should take priority in the area.

Bangaloreans begin to bond with the sleek Swedish behemoths

Bangaloreans begin to bond with the sleek Swedish behemoths
Sharmada Shastry Bangalore, April 28, DHNS

The gleaming red Volvo buses are now a common sight on the roads of Bangalore. With the Bangalore Metropolitan Transportation Corporation (BMTC) adding more and more Volvo buses to the existing fleet of 200, commuting has become much more easier for Bangaloreans.

Sajith, who travels everyday from Whitefield to Mysore Road says: “The Volvo fares are fairly affordable, the service is good, the conductors are polite and the LED boards are bilingual. The English display is very helpful for someone like me who cannot read Kannada.
Also the monthly pass priced at an affordable rate of Rs 1,250 makes it all the more economical”.

For Anuradha, who works in a bank near Corporation Circle, comfort is the main attraction; the added advantage is that a seat is available even during peak hours. She also claims that travelling in an ordinary, non-AC bus in peak hours is an ordeal and that she would anyday prefer a Volvo, even if there is a hike in the fares. Although the buses do not stick to their timings, their frequency makes up for it, she says.

With the incessant traffic congestion and numerous one-ways, thanks to the Namma Metro project, Anand, an employee of Verman Aviation, cannot imagine commuting to work in his own vehicle. He prefers the factory van and when he misses it, it is the volvo for him. The intolerable summer heat has to an extent impelled even the common man to go for the Volvo. The fares may be higher, but few seem to be complaining.

BDA to develop 25 more lakes

BDA to develop 25 more lakes
Bangalore: April 28, DH News Service

The Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) will be entrusted with developing 25 more lakes in the City.

Addressing reporters after inspecting works on developing Ullal, Konasandra, Somapura, Hoskere and Mallathahalli lakes on Tuesday, Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa said the Government aimed to rejuvenate over hundred lakes during his tenure. He said development of 12 lakes at a cost of Rs 104 crore has been undertaken already and 25 more lakes, which were being maintained by the Lake Development Authority (LDA), will be handed over to BDA for rejuvenation at a cost of Rs 200 crore . He said all the lakes would have a jogging track and trees.

Reiterating the commitment to revive the past glory of the City, Yeddyurappa said, “At one time we had 260 lakes in and around the City. Nearly 130 have vanished due to demand for land and increasing population. We are making an attempt to save the existing water bodies,” he said.

The Chief Minister said four mini-Lalbaghs will be set up in each corner of the City soon.
On preparations to face monsoon, he said 136 kms of storm water drains which feed water to the lakes and overflow in the monsoon, have been desilted.

He also said with MLAs concerned, Mayor and Deputy Mayor, he will visit some of the areas and interact with the public every Sunday to address their grievances. Work on four hi-tech hospitals will also begin soon, he added.


Earlier in the morning, Yeddyurappa inspected the works at Ullal, Konasandra, Somapura, Hoskere and Mallathahalli lakes. He sought details of the work and directed the officials to complete it at the earliest.

A group of residents at Visvesvaraya Layout submitted a memorandum to the Chief Minister about irregular water supply, poor sanitation and bad road.

He was visibly upset when one of the residents charged that despite collecting the betterment charges, they were deprived of basic facilities. They even sought refund of the money. Yeddyurappa, promised to look into their problems soon.

On noticing the lake at Gandhinagar near Kengeri filled with weeds, he directed the authorities to clear the encroachment and desilt the lake.

He also visited a fair price shop at Gandhinagar and inspected the food grains distribution. Some of the women customers at the shop complained that just four kilos of rice per head for a month was not adequate. Yeddyurappa promised to look into the issue.

He was accompanied by Yeshwanthpur MLA Shobha Karandlaje and Rajarajeshwari Nagar MLA M Srinivas, BDA Commissioner Siddaiah, BBMP Commissioner Bharatlal Meena, BWSSB Chairman B B Ramamurthy and Lake Development Authority official Dr Yelappa Reddy.

Yelappa Reddy said each lake should be developed only after studying their morphological aspects.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Rail projects on collision course?

Rail projects on collision course?

Article Rank

Besides the Metro Rail project, the city will now have a high speed rail link, local trains for the suburbs and a Mono Rail, which is back on the cards, although it was rejected in the past With the state government planning to build several mass transit systems parallely, Bengaluru will have no respite from construction activity for at least the next 10 to 15 years. Is the city ready for this, ask Chandrashekar G. and Amit S. Upadhye

: Ben -galuru, which is already dug up and dusty in many areas, is about to get four more mega infrastructure projects. Announced by Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa on Tuesday, they will cost not less than Rs 5,000 crore each. While they sound good on paper, the question is how much development can Bengaluru really take? Besides the Metro Rail project, the city will now have a high speed rail link, local trains for the suburbs and a Mono Rail, which is back on the cards, although it was rejected by various government agencies in the past.
Urban planners fear that with so many projects in the pipeline Bengaluru will have no respite from construction activity for the next 10 to 15 years, leaving its roads crowded and its environment filthy. They want to know why the government is planning a Mono Rail when the Metro Rail is not even half complete.

“There is a huge lobby working for these projects,” alleges an official, pointing out that the Mono Rail was shelved some time ago as its alignment was clashing with the Metro Rail at three

points. “But a few departments are keen on the Mono Rail and high speed rail link to Devanahalli for reasons of their own,” he contends, demanding to know why the government is bent upon saving a few minutes of travel for 30,000 passengers when over 10 lakh people have no connectivity in the Majestic area. A.S. Kodandapani, an urban planner and consultant, feels that not enough thought has gone into planning the city's infrastructure. "Even after the city gets a Metro Rail 20 lakh odd people in the vicinity of Bellary Road will have no access to it," he points out.
"It is important how these projects are managed. Otherwise, people will have to live with construction all around them, and gain very little in the process over the next decade," warns an urban planner. Fear of overlap Urban planners warn the proposed Mono Rail corridors from St John's Hospital to Cantonment and Majestic to Wilson Garden may overlap with the Metro Rail route in the city. The same goes for the mono rail corridor between Majestic and Basaveshwara Circle, they say.
Contending that the Metro Rail has come a little too late for the city, they feel that careful thought must now go into linking the various modes of transport planned for Bengaluru to avoid confusion. We need a coordinating agency to decide which project is feasible and which is not.
Each agency claims its project has been approved, while they could be overlapping.
Public debate is necessary before they are implemented.

-ASHWIN MAHESH, ABIDe member Coming up with a number of projects is not the solution.

Integrating them is a must for best results.

The Mono Rail has been planned in such a way that it integrates with the Metro Rail at several points like JP Nagar, Mysore Road and Tumkur Road. BMLTA will also ensure that it is integrated with bus services too.
-N. SIVASAILAM, BMRC managing director

Isolated planning of city projects worries experts

Isolated planning of city projects worries experts

Bangalore: The much-debated monorail and High Speed Rail Link (HSRL) to the airport is back in the news. The cabinet plans to take up the projects at its next meeting for approval. But will the government follow ABIDe’s advice on these major infrastructure projects?
The monorail blueprint is as good as ready, with the first phase linking Hebbal to JP Nagar — a 34-km stretch. The corridors and routes for the 60-km monorail costing Rs 8,400 crore has also been marked out. As for the HSRL, CM B S Yeddyurappa has announced that work will begin by February 2011.
Feasibility and cost factors apart, another issue worrying many city experts is, why are all these major projects being planned in isolation? This, they feel, will only cause more and more confusion.
A classic example: The proposed monorail route from Hebbal to Central Silk Board (CSB) junction is clashing with a proposal from the BMTC for a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) along the same route.
Further, the monorail routes are not even those proposed by Scomi-Geodesic, the company that was shortlisted for the project. What they proposed was three flower-like loops within the city to act as a feeder for the Metro. But, the list looks like independent routes, say experts.
According to ABIDe members, the same concern was raised six months ago at one of their meetings. “In my view, Bangalore Metro should build connectivity to airport. There’s no need for a separate HSRL,” observed Ashwin Mahesh, an ABIDe member.
Yet another issue is the viability of these huge projects. Most of these are taken up by private parties on viability gap funding. And they want it in the form of land. However, ABIDe had also advised the government not to opt for such projects.

Bad repair work irks new corporator

Bad repair work irks new corporator
Instructs Road Coating Should Be 3-4 Inches Thick

Bangalore: A 100-feet concrete stretch on 7th Main, 7th Cross, Subbayyan Palya, has grabbed many eyeballs. When repair work began on Monday, not many seemed impressed. And definitely not the new BJP corporator for Banaswadi, A Kodanda Reddy.
At 10 am on Tuesday, Reddy was spotted admonishing workers on the spot: “There’s nothing right about this work,” he said.
Overnight on Monday, almost 90% of this road was covered with fresh coat of concrete. As per set standards, the coating must be 3-4 inches thick. However, measurement in this case revealed the coating was just about an inch thick.
With the supervising engineer unavailable on the spot, work almost came to a halt for sometime. The matter was finally settled by Tuesday afternoon.
The remaining 10% of the road was covered with 4-inchthick concrete. “The engineer should set this right. We will monitor this till the road is completely fixed,” the miffed corporator said.
However, what came in as a surprise was Reddy was oblivious of this work till Tuesday morning.

Yours Greenly at work at HAL III Stage

Yours Greenly at work at HAL III Stage

Posters of deities, letters to authorities to save this neighbourhood park

Shilpa CB. Bangalore

What might have been a green space, abuzz with the games children play, is instead a garbage dump and toilet. The space at the 4th Main, 8th Cross, HAL III Stage, is like many other parks gone to seed in the city; however, Supriya Sehgal and Lakshmi Vijaykumar, youngsters and residents of the area, won't rest till they have got the park back. They work under the name Yours Greenly.
To keep 'nuisance' creators at bay, the two have put up posters of deities. "We collected about Rs750. We got 15 posters printed, with 'Do not throw garbage or urinate here' written at the bottom," Sehgal says. However, those urinating here or dumping garbage have not been deterred by the posters.
"I once grabbed hold of the collar of a teenager who was urinating here. But how many people can we go catching?" Sehgal asks. And then there is the fear that they might provoke nasty elements. "A resident of the house opposite the park once shouted at a man urinating. That night, the window panes of the house were broken," she recalls.
Sehgal and Vijaykumar have sought the help of the local MLA, who lives nearby. They have attempted to reach the newly-elected corporator in the area. They have called the BBMP helpline several times. The two have started a Facebook page for the purpose; they have been speaking to Trees for Free, for help to green the area. They will leave no stone unturned.
KJR Panicker, a resident of the BDA layout created here in 1975, can recall a time when the space was really a park. BT Jagannath, a resident, recalls, "There was a time when the park was a favourite spot for children and the elderly. There used to be a resident called Muniraj, who locked the park each day and kept it open for certain designated hours. He was a sort of caretaker. Ever since Muniraj moved out, the park has gone to seed." But it will be restored, yet, if Sehgal and Vijaykumar can find a way.

It's a pain, paying property tax through BangaloreOne

It's a pain, paying property tax through BangaloreOne

Supritha Sanjay. Bangalore

The BangaloreOne centres are advertised as being the 'One Stop Non Stop Service' centres. The 55 BangaloreOne centres across the city are accepting property tax payments for 2010- 2011, due to the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), till the end of the month; they also offer tax payers a 5% discount.
Forms for paying property tax can be purchased for Rs5 at the centers, or downloaded from the Internet. According to the BangaloreOne website, all you need is a receipt of property tax paid the last time. Does this make it sound like paying property tax is a breeze? Not quite, say those who have been queuing up.
At the BangaloreOne centre at Koramangala, even ward numbers have been confusing. "They have replaced the old ward numbers with new ones. There are now 198 wards in Bangalore, but our system shows 904 ward numbers! That makes things confusing," says Rekha G, central manager of the Koramangala branch.
The e-governance department has made announcements to the effect that those paying the tax at BangaloreOne centers ought to have receipts for the previous year. "I have paid my taxes for the last two years, and I have receipts to prove that. However, the BBMP records have not been updated, and my payment of the tax has not been recorded. So no one here seems to be able to help me," says Lt Col GR Prasad, who hoped to pay the tax at the Shantinagar BangaloreOne centre.
There are many like Lt Col Prasad who say that the manual receipts they have received earlier from BBMP serve no purpose, as the BBMP records have not been updated. "It is not clear which my Property Identification Number (PID) is. That number is necessary, as it is used to identify the property," says Lt Col Prasad. Narayana Swamy, manager of the Indiranagar office says, "The BBMP has given manual receipts. These have not been updated on the software, and so we are unable to take the application forms."
Not everyone is complaining, though. Anita Narayan, an officer in the high court said, "I have not faced problems paying my property tax. I downloaded the application from the Internet. However, the only thing I would like different is that the process at the BangaloreOne centre should be faster."

There is balm for Sampige Rd woes

There is balm for Sampige Rd woes

Traffic advisor and consultant to state govt has a 14-point proposal that awaits Chief Minister's nod

Bosky Khanna. Bangalore

There is some hope for Sampige Road, the lifeline of Malleswaram and areas beyond in the western parts of the city, that chokes with bumper-to-bumper crawl of motor vehicles round the clock.
A traffic expert has come up with a 14-point proposal to remove all the bottlenecks on the road and ensure a smooth flow of traffic. Traffic advisor and consultant to the state government, MN Sreehari, has forwarded his report, titled Traffic Related Issues and Intervention, to the chief minister for approval.
The proposal has been provided after taking inputs from the traffic police, Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike, Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation, Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited and other related agencies.
Sampige Road has been choc-a-bloc with motor vehicles, necessitating one-way flow of traffic decades back. After Mantri Mall, Asia's biggest mall, came up on the road recently, the situation aggravated and the spinoffs began to be felt in all roads leading to the area.
Sreehari told DNA that the proposed changes include shifting of the Rajiv Gandhi bus stand, creating a pedestrian subway, construction of a subway and creating a new alignment with four-lane traffic.
Work on the four-lane traffic will start soon and the new alignment will pass behind the mall and the Swastik Metro station. This road will cater to all vehicles headed to the mall as well as those heading to and from the metro station. Sreehari said that this would be a permanent solution to the current problem of unending traffic snarls.
He also pointed out that once the six multiplexes at the mall open, the theatres in the neighbourhood might serve little purpose. It might be possible to demolish the theatres and use the land to construct a multi-level parking lot, he added.
Sreehari said that landscaping with provisions for rock garden and water cascading at the Rajeev Gandhi statue would not only enhance the aesthetics of the area but also resolve the existing unwieldy geometry of the intersection.
But the biggest hope for Sampige Road lies with the Namma Metro. According to studies conducted by Rites and BMRCL, once the metro rolls on, over 30% of the road traffic would be reduced.

BMTC restructures fares for its premium services

BMTC restructures fares for its premium services

Raghavendra RFirst Published : 28 Apr 2010 04:44:00 AM ISTLast Updated : 28 Apr 2010 08:48:44 AM IST
BANGALORE: Not able to further withstand the revenue loss being incurred in its premium services due to diesel price hike, the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) on Tuesday revised the fares of its premium services.
With the state government not giving approval to hike the fares of BMTC buses, the fares have been hiked by rationalising the fares of Vajra, Vayu Vajra and A/C Suvarna services with effect from April 28.
New Vajra fares
All the three existing fares for IT, Non-IT & Mixed fare routes have been merged.
Also, the promotional fare in the non-IT corridors has been withdrawn. Minimum fare in Vajra buses will now be Rs 10 on all sectors. Earlier the minimum fare for non-IT sectors was Rs 8.
Vajra Gold Daily Pass will now cost Rs 80, up from Rs 75. The pass allows commuters to travel on all BMTC buses except the Vayu Vajra service to the BIA. Suvarna A/C fare have also been marginally restructured.
Fares rationalised
The concession given to commuters to travel in Vayu Vajra bus from the city to BIA has been withdrawn.
The fare has been hiked by Rs 10. Now, one way ticket in the Majestic-BIA route will cost Rs 150 from both ends.
Earlier, the Majestic-BIA fare was Rs 125, and BIAMajestic ticket cost Rs 140.
BMTC Board Secretary and Divisional Controller (Volvo buses) K M Aurdkar said that all the concessional and promotional fares being given by the corporation have been withdrawn.
“There would be no discrimination in the fares of Vajra and Vayu Vajra bus services as commuters were offered the same quality of services and buses in both,” he added. Aurdkar said fewer people were using Vajra bus services in Non-IT sectors and Vayu Vajra service from the city to BIA than vice versa.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Meagre investment and lack of planning in production forced Karnataka to buy power and stay out of the dark
Rishikesh Bahadur Desai | TNN

Hubli: What ails the power sector? What are the possible solutions? These questions have been hotly debated for years by activists and those in power, without any side coming up with clear answers. However, both sides seem to agree on some things — that there are some serious issues with power production and supply, and that they can be fixed.
The main issue is that there is a huge mismatch between supply and demand. While the average demand is around 135 million units per day, the state can produce only 120 million units. Delayed rains push up demand and reduce hydel power production capacity significantly. Thus, scarcity ranges from 15-30%.
Lack of future planning for increased generation and unprecedented economic growth that spurred power usage in the state, led to the mismatch. While six of the thermal power units were started in the first 11 years of founding the Raichur Thermal Power Station, erecting two others of equal capacity is taking more than 15 years.
Critics say the government’s reaction to power scarcity has been indifferent and slow at times, and knee-jerk at other times. “Successive governments have failed to support the state-owned power production company, Karnataka Power Corporation, with investment. If KPC had the money to invest in hydel and thermal projects in the past 10-15 years, we would not have faced power scarcity at all,’’ labour leader G N Nagaraj said.
Nagaraj was among the earliest petitioners to KERC, seeking directions to the government to increase investment in power production. “With timely investment, the government can produce hydel power at 55 paise per unit, but it continues to buy power from private producers at Rs 7-8 per unit. This is gross injustice,’’ he said.
Transmission and distribution losses are very high, compared to international standards. T and D losses of electricity supply companies continue to remain between 14 and 26%, while the accepted level is 4%. Officials say the biggest cause of T and D losses is power theft. “Owing to theft in some areas, we supply power valued at Rs 100 but collect only Rs 15,’’ a senior Gescom official said.
Gajanan Sharma, energy expert and author of the book ‘Hundred Years of Electricity in Karnataka’ feels increased generation, avoiding wasteful use of energy and use of alternative energy sources like solar water heaters at homes and apartment complexes, are possible solutions to the power crisis. He feels thermal power is the most viable way of producing energy in the near future. “Hydel power is cheaper than thermal power. But it will become increasingly difficult to build huge dams and produce power in the coming days,’’ he said. According to him, mini hydel projects could be built at smaller dams that cater to areas surrounding the dams. With 38 new irrigation projects coming up in the state, one can look forward to an increase in the number of mini-hydel projects.
The state government is putting up two major projects in Chhattisgarh and Bijapur. Two smaller projects are coming up too. These four are expected to add up to 8500 MW of power over the next 10 years.
Use of renewable energy tools, like solar heaters and battery chargers at home, is a far more practical idea than using renewable energy sources on a mass scale. Such steps reduce demand considerably, apart from making the user feel satisfied about using ecofriendly measures.
Nearly 130 years after it was invented, hydel power processing remains the cheapest way to make electricity. The cost of producing power from water turbines varies between 55 paise and Rs 2 per unit, depending on how much it takes to build a dam, and what technology is used in the powerhouse.
Next is thermal power, that costs Rs 3-5 per unit. The cost of producing energy from various renewable sources is slightly higher, at Rs 4-8 per unit.
Each unit of energy coming from diesel generators is around Rs 12 per unit.
Nuclear energy is the costliest, at Rs 15.
In Karnataka, the average cost of power has been calculated at Rs 2.72 per unit.
Users complain that power companies keep increasing rates, but companies say they supply power at rates that are unscientifically low. In Karnataka, various groups of users pay varying tariffs. Farmers are supposed to pay 40 paise per unit, while industrial units pay Rs 4.5. For two years now, the state government has been footing the bill for power supplied to rural IP sets.
India among the least producers of power in the world: produces 1.5 lakh megawatt compared to 8 lakh mw in China and 11 lakh mw in USA
Karnataka produces around 9,600 MW of power — compare this to South Korea, that has half of Karnataka’s population but produces 64,000 mw!
Karnataka has an installed capacity of 9,646 MW — of that, 42% is produced by thermal power stations, 36% is from hydel units, 20% is from renewable sources and 2% is nuclear energy


Barely after beginning concretisation, a portion of Vittal Mallya road in UB City is being dug up to lay power cables and construct drains

It seems digging up freshly laid roads has become a part of Bangalore’s culture. Sample this: With potholes robbing the sheen of upscale UB City, it was decided to concretise the Vittal Mallya Road. But, less than a month after the work started, digging has already started on the newly concretised stretch.
Recently, the residents of Vittal Mallya Road, Lavelle Road and Walton Road were surprised to find that a portion of the concrete road near Sunny’s restaurant was blocked to facilitate laying of some underground pipes. As a result, commuters coming from St Mark’s Road towards Kasturba Road junction (near Cafe Coffee Day Square) faced a bottleneck near the entrance to UB City Shopping Mall.
“The problem was sorted out only a few days ago, but now they have dug up the entrance,” a resident of the area told Bangalore Mirror, adding that when he tried to enquire why the road was dug up, the answer he got was: “Because some power supply lines have to be laid and the drain has to be constructed.”
“In that case, why the road was concretised before putting the civic utilities in
place?” ask the residents.
Monisha, a student of St Josephs College of Arts and Science and resident of the area, said, “Concretising the dug up portion of the road has to be completed before the rainy season starts. Otherwise, it will cause inconvenience to both vehicle users as well as the pedestrians.”
The construction company which concretised the road denied having had any role in digging up the road. A site engineer said, “After the construction of the road, we have not dug it up for laying cables or for any other reason. We have built a drain to facilitate smooth flow of rain water and now it’s only the desilting work that is in progress. We have also made provision for ducts on both sides of the stretch to carry power and telecom cables.”
Promoters of the project maintained that concretisation of the road will be extended up to the end of Vittal Mallya Road towards St Marks Road.

Monorail, HSRL to go on stream soon

Monorail, HSRL to go on stream soon
Global Tender For Two-Phase Monorail In The Offing; High Speed Rail Work To Begin In Feb 2011

Bangalore: After many ayes and nays, the monorail is turning into a reality. The Karnataka government will soon invite global tenders and also award contracts for some key transport infrastructure projects in Bangalore, including the monorail and High Speed Rail Link (HSRL) to the international airport.
The global tender for the detailed project report (DPR) for the monorail in Bangalore will be floated soon, which in the first phase will connect the north and south of the city — Hebbal to JP Nagar — totalling 34 km. It will act as a feeder service to the Metro, and will be executed through the Swiss Challenge method.
Chief minister B S Yeddyurappa told reporters on Monday that the monorail project would be taken up for approval in the next cabinet meeting. It would be implemented in two phases, with an estimated length of 60 km. The cost is estimated at Rs 140 crore per km, taking the total project cost to around Rs 8,400 crore. The state government would be coming up with a DPR as well as various concessions for the project soon.
On the HSRL project, which will serve as a rail link from the centre of the city to the international airport, the state government is expecting work to begin in February 2011. The chief minister said the concessions agreement, DPR and requirements have been to sent to five short-listed bidders and they are expected to get back to the government in the next 15 days.
The land acquisition process for HSRL project is expected to begin very soon, and it is likely that the government would enter an agreement with the winning bidder by August this year. “Actual work will start from February 2011,’’ Yeddyurappa said. HSRL is expected to have a travel time of 25 minutes to the airport and plans are to have 20 trains running daily.
However, the delay in awarding the HSRL project has seen a cost escalation, with estimated investments touching Rs 6,990 crore from the earlier figure of Rs 5,770 crore. Yeddyurappa said they are expecting a grant of Rs 1,040 crore from the Centre, and the state government will take up 26% equity in HSRL.
The contract will be awarded to one of the five consortia — Reliance Infrastructure Limited and CSR Nanjing Puzhen Rolling Stock Co Ltd, L&T Transco Limited, ITD-ITD Cem Joint Venture, Pioneer Infratech Pvt Ltd and Siemens Project Ventures and Lanco Infratech Ltd and OHL Concessionaire — by May-end to execute the project.
On the ongoing Metro project, the government has decided on expanding Phase II, totalling around 45 km, connecting centres like IIM-B, Nagawara, Byappanahalli, ITPL, Mysore Road, Kengeri and Hesarghatta. This expansion would require an investment of around Rs 14,000 crore.
Metro rail tracks to get Austrian touch
Bangalore: A ballastless track with 1,435-mm gauge width is being welded. Very soon, it will be fitted with imported rails and fittings from Austria. This is Bangalore’s first Metro rail track on Reach-1.
According to BMRC sources, track work along the entire MG Road stretch will be completed by July 2010. “It’s been a month now since tracklaying work started on this stretch. Of the 1.7-km stretch from Trinity Circle to Anil Kumble Junction, 66 metres of track is complete now,” they said.
At present, two spans of the total 51 on MG Road stretch have the tracks fitted on. Preparatory work has also started on some stretches. Four other locations have been identified along Reach-1 for the next track. This includes the stretch starting from the opposite direction at Anil Kumble Circle that is expected to begin in another 10-15 days.
By mid-May, track work will begin at Old Madras Road and Indiranagar. The entire Reach-1 is expected to be covered by September. Preparatory work for the next step on Reach-1 — traction and electrical signalling — has also started.
Hebbal to JP Nagar - 34km Peripheral Ring Road (PRR) to Toll Gate along Magadi Road - 9km Kathriguppe Road to National College - 5km Hosur Road to Bannerghatta Road - 15km
Ganapati temple in JP Nagar with Metro Phase II Banashankari with Metro Phase II Katriguppe with Metro Phase II Mysore Road with Metro Phase II Magadi Road with Metro Phase I Tumkur Road with Metro Phase I Hebbal with High Speed Rail
Chord Road junction (Phase I) Beggar’s Colony junction (Phase I)
Majestic - Hudson Circle - Wilson Garden - Dairy Circle - Agaram Lake — 14.2km Wilson Garden - Banashankari - Mysore Road - Majestic — 15.3km Majestic - Rajajinagar - Basaveshwaranagar - Mahalaskshmi Layout - Yeshwanthpur - Malleswaram - Sadashivanagar - High Grounds — 15 km
Cantonment - Indiranagar - Domlur - Ejipura - Koramangala — 14.6 km
Proposal from M/s Scomi Geodesic Proposal submitted to BBMP earlier Presented at BMLTA meeting Sub-committee formed to review and recommend Recommendation would be brought before ABIDe for approval
Requires minimum space both horizontally and vertically Smaller footprint Feel of open space Grade-separated Emergency walkways
Not compatible with rail Turnout with high speed difficult
Madavara to Hesarghatta - 4.02 km Puttenahalli to Anjanapura - 6.79 km Mysore Road to Kengeri - 7.70 km Byappanahalli to ITPL - 11.60 km

Wind and sunshine keep this park green & aglow

Wind and sunshine keep this park green & aglow

A windmill, a solar panel generate enough power to illuminate it

Sunitha Rao R. Bangalore

Bavikatte park on 36th Main Road, Jayanagar, has no power supply, but it still burns bright in night, thanks to the efforts of an NGO, Kadamba, and the philanthropy of Sadananda Maiya, proprietor of Maiya Hotel.
With Maiya's Rs4 lakh funding, Kadamba introduced a hybrid project on renewable energy using a 1.2kw, 70-kg windmill and a 500-watt solar panel to produce electricity to illuminate the park at night.
"During the energy audit at the park, we found that 30kw of power was consumed every day. This was costing the BBMP Rs75,000 a year. With the Palike's support, we kickstarted the project on May 23. LEDs and CFLs replaced the metal halide lamps, after which the park's power consumption has come down to 1.6 units per day against the nearly 30 units earlier," said Prasad Doreswamy who planned the project. He added that the lighting facility was automated with timers. Lights go on between 4 am and 6 am, and 6pm and 8 pm everyday.
"By replacing the metal halide lamps and avoiding conventional energy completely, we have been able to prevent a daily carbon-dioxide emission of 40 pounds," said Doreswamy.
"If the windmill turbine rotates for one hour, it is enough to produce the required power for the park. Usually, wind turbines generate power only when the wind blows at six metres per second. But I've devised a different technique here where power can be generated even when wind speed is three metres per second," said Shanthraj MU, project head.
Speaking to DNA, Jayanagar MLA BN Vijay Kumar said that the experiment at the park was the first step towards a green energy initiative in the constituency. "At present, renewable energy is used only for lights. It can be extended to the sprinkler and fountain too. There are about 34 parks in Jayangar, and we plan to implement this initiative in at least 10 parks in one year. Gradually, it can be replicated in all the parks in the city, and help save a lot of money for the BBMP," Vijay Kumar said. A similar initiative has been introduced in Pu Ti Narasimhachar Park in Jayanagar 5th Block.

Zip to Devanahalli in 25 minutes flat

Zip to Devanahalli in 25 minutes flat

High Speed Rail Link to Bengaluru international airport put on fast track, will be ready by 2013

Srikanth Hunasavadi. Bangalore

No traffic snarls. No endless waiting at signals. Zip all the way to the Bengaluru International Airport (BIA) in 25 minutes flat.
Well, this is no stuff straight out of some futuristic fiction. Chief minister BS Yeddyurappa has resolved to turn this into a reality by implementing the High Speed Rail Link (HSRL) to BIA in three years.
Yeddyurappa met officials of the infrastructure department on Monday and decided that the HSRL project would be put on fast track to complete it by 2013. Five companies were shortlisted to execute it and a final decision in this regard would be taken in the next cabinet meeting. Details of the earmarked land to be acquired has also been sent to the Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Board for approval.
"In view of the upcoming Global Investors' Meet, we are speeding up infrastructure projects like Metro, Monorail and HSRL. We will issue a Request for Proposal by next month, and the agreement will be finalised by August," Yeddyurappa said.
"The state will contribute Rs533 crore for the 34-km, Rs6,900-crore HSRL project. The private partner will bring in the remaining amount," said V Madhu, secretary, infrastructure.
He said that Reliance Infrastructure Ltd and CSR Nanjing Puzhen Rolling Stock Co Ltd; L&T Transco Ltd; ITD-ITD CEM Joint Venture (Italian-Thai Development Public Co Ltd and ITD Cementation India Ltd); Pioneer Infratech Pvt Ltd and Siemens Project Ventures Gmbh, Lanco Infratech Ltd and OHL Concesiones SL were shortlisted for the commercial bidding. "We have given them a detailed project report, draft agreement and specifications. The agreement will be finalised by August, and ground work will begin three to six months after that. The project will take off by February 2011, and will be completed in 33 months," Madhu said.
On the introduction of suburban rail services, for which the state had earmarked Rs500 crore, Yeddyurappa said that he would meet railway minister Mamata Banerjee next month and convince her to implement the project at the earliest.

5 cos shortlisted for high-speed rail link to Bangalore airport

5 cos shortlisted for high-speed rail link to Bangalore airport
Our Bureau

Bangalore, April 26

Expediting the process for selecting the executing agency for building a direct rail link to the Bangalore International Airport, the Karnataka Government on Monday shortlisted five private consortia, which include the Reliance Infrastructure- CSR Nanjing Rolling Stock Company Ltd for developing the 34 km high speed rail link from the central business district to the airport at Devanahalli.

The competitive bids for the Rs 6,900-crore project will be opened on August 12 and the letter of award would be issued on September 17.

The concession agreement would be signed within 30 days of awarding the final bid.

The project is expected to be completed in 33 months after the work starts in February.

The other consortia who are shortlisted for the project are Pioneer Infratech Pvt Ltd-Siemens Project Ventures, Lanco Infratech Pvt Ltd- OHL Concessions S.L., L&T Transco Ltd and ITD-ITD Cem-Soma Enterprises Joint Ventures.

Announcing this here after chairing a high-level meeting on Monday, the Chief Minister, Mr B.S. Yeddyurappa, said of the total project cost, the State Government would contribute Rs. 532 crore while the Centre is expected to release Rs 1,040 crore.

The Government would take steps for the acquisition of 65.95 acres required for the project.

The high-speed train, which will charge Rs 200 from the starting point at M.G. Road, will have facilities befitting international standards, an official said.

The 34-km journey to the airport from M.G. Road would take only 25 minutes

‘Rejuvenation efforts turn fatal for lakes in the City’

‘Rejuvenation efforts turn fatal for lakes in the City’
Subhash Chandra N S Bangalore, April 26, DHNS

Need for conserving the existing water bodies is felt like never before as the City has been reeling under acute water crisis. But methods followed by the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) in conserving the lakes have not gone down well with the scientific community.

Researchers from the Department of Environment Sciences (DES), Bangalore University (BU), stated that mere water preservation is not healthy; instead, the urban lakes should be declared biodiversity hot spots.

BBMP has plans to rejuvenate over 30 lakes; but, the researchers observed that the rejuvenation process will actually reduce the lakes to water bowls which eventually lose their significance.

The researchers pointed out that using heavy machinery to expedite the rejuvenation works is crude and unscientific and it would endanger both the aquatic and wildlife depending on the lakes.

M Sunil Kumar, a City-based environmentalist, said, "They are basically trying to convert lakes into swimming pools."

He said, Herohalli lake on Magadi Road was buzzing with rich bird diversity and water after the rains. The lake was drained when the desilting works began and also has been shrinked in size as a jogging track is being constructed by filling up a portion of the lake, he added.

A survey conducted as part of their research by the DES revealed that the plight of other water bodies was no different after the rejuvenation works.

According to Aboud Jumba, a researcher studying City lakes under Dr S Nandini, Chairman and Head of the Department, DES, most of the practices adopted in the rejuvenation focus mostly on how to maximize rain water harvesting.

He said, these wetlands are not just water bowls. They comprise a complete aquatic ecology which is in a balanced rhythm with the surrounding environment.

Database on wetland

"There is a need to create a database on the wetland types, morphological, hydrological and biodiversity data, surrounding land use, hydro geology, surface water quality, and socio-economic dependence," he said.

The rejuvenation work taken up without considering these aspects will be harmful to natural bio-remediation and will adversely affect water conservation in the long run.
Dr S Nandini said, "The rejenuvation of the lakes should be done on a case-to-case basis. All lakes are not alike. It is wrong to treat them through one lens of engineering techniques. An Environment Impact Assessment should be done by studying them properly."

Biodiversity Act

Emphasising role of the public in rejuvenation efforts, the study advocates a buffer zone be established between the wetlands borderline and a development zone.
"Even the channels that link up lakes should be protected and shielded from daily discharge of untreated sewage," said Dr Nandini.

Their study recommended that all the wetlands should be brought under the Biodiversity Act which lays stringent guidelines to protect the lakes.

The study also observed disilting may be necessary for removing contaminated sediments of lake's floor. But this should be limited to only those lakes which are gravely contaminated or ecologically speaking-dead lakes.

"Desiltation contains a grave risk of exacerbating hydrological imbalances between the surface water basin and the ground water table. Sediments on lake's floor play an important part as a hydrological filter and valve that manages the local surface and sub-surface water cycle,” the study stated.

I will improve garbage collection system in the City, says Mayor

I will improve garbage collection system in the City, says Mayor
Sandeep Moudgal Bangalore, April 26, DHNS

Barely 72 hours after taking charge as the Mayor of Bangalore City, S K Nataraj has before him the massive task of meeting people’s expectations.

Being a seasoned politician - three-time corporator from Sarakki - Nataraj has set himself a few short-term goals with a long-term perspective. Nataraj shared his views with Deccan Herald on some of the important issues that he has to tackle.

What is the biggest challenge before you after assuming the office?

There are a lot of non-functional officials in the BBMP. My main concern is to get these officials into the business. Most of them are on deputation from other departments. If they do not perform we will have to repatriate them to their departments.

Streamlining departments is essential for good governance of the City.

Are you satisfied with the functioning of the BBMP over the past three-and-half-years under the Administrator?

There are quite a few lacunas in the BBMP which have not been rectified under the administrator’s rule.

The laxity among the officials and unscientific approach towards infrastructure projects is evident enough to show that there is no work culture in the Corporation.

Under the Administrator, there have been quite a few instances of lack of co-ordination among the civic agencies in the City. What is your opinion?

A few individuals tried to centralise the entire power with regard to civic amenities. Today, the authorities in the AC rooms of the BBMP give a free hand to all agencies leading to problems. We now intend to decentralise the power and give authority to the Executive Engineers who work at the ward level.

What is your take on the newly-elected corporators?

The newly-elected corporators lack basic knowledge of how to conduct themselves in a public forum. There will be a workshop for them to sensitise about their responsibilities. For example, a few corporators are not aware of what a work order means.

Besides, they do not know what it means to sign an agreement with the contractors who will be undertaking a particular project in their ward.

Your comments on garbage problem in the City?

There definitely seems to be a mafia in garbage collection. Increase in number of tipper trucks and cut on manpower has meant that there is irregular clearance of garbage. I want to ensure that more men and women are employed to clear the garbage and reduce the dependency on these tipper trucks.

There has been a huge difference in the estimated collection of property tax in the yearly budget vis-a-vis the actual tax collected. How do you intend to address this issue?

The property tax collection has been drastically cut down due to lack of efficiency among the BBMP officials. The authorities have forgotten that there are 110 villages which come under their jurisdiction and that they also need to pay the taxes.

This apart, we will try and utilise the available technology including the GIS system to point out the properties that have evaded paying taxes.