Saturday, May 29, 2010


One glance at the facilities at Foreigners’ Regional Registration Office on Infantry Road and the women are ready to raise a stink ...

The folks at Mercers Worldwide Quality of Living Survey obviously didn’t visit the Foreigners’ Regional Registration Office (FRRO). Had they, it’s unlikely they would have voted Bangalore the best Indian city for expats. Situated in the police commissioner’s office compound on Infantry Road, FRRO has no toilets, no drinking water facilities or even decent seating arrangements. Over 250 to 300 foreign nationals visit FRRO every day for registration and other formalities.
On Friday Lilan Beta, a student from Uganda, was in the queue from 9 am. By noon she was only half way through. “I looked for the toilet to freshen up. But I couldn’t find it. After looking around, I saw an alley where there were two doors. One toilet for men and the other for women. The irony is that they were locked and I am glad they were locked as the stench was too much. I wonder how the sight would be if it was open.”
Lack of a proper loo is not the only problem at FRRO. It doesn’t have a reception counter either.
Foreign nationals have to queue up for hours just to get a token when the counter opens at 9.15 am. Some start queing up at dawn. There are simply no charts explaining how to renew a visa, convert a visa etc. They must ask their way around or take tips from those who have experienced the agony.
Me Charlotte Noa, a 46-yearold from Cameroon, was in the queue at FRRO on Friday. A lawyer by profession she was appalled by the fact that she had to sit on the pavement for four hours before her number for registration came up. “I thought this happens only in Africa. I came here at 8.30 am and it’s already 12.30 pm now. I have been coming here daily for three days and it is frustrating,” she said.
Even though there are a few seats at the office, it is not enough for the number of people who come here daily. Frank, a teacher from Canada, was livid. “I am busy with my PSP. This is my second visit to get a token and I haven’t got it yet. We all have jobs to do. This is a sheer waste of time and I don’t see a point in this formality,” he fumed.
Axel Brou, a student from Ivory Coast, concurred. “We have decent jobs in our country, we pay money to come and see this country and they treat us like beggars here. We have to sit on the pavement and wait for long hours. This is just not right,” she said.
Inside the office, a four-member panel looks at the forms and guides the applicant to the right counter. There are five counters which are designated for various purposes like registration of foreign nationals, extension of stay, renewal of passport and reissue of passport.
Gerda and her two kids from The Netherlands are in the queue. But they know waht to expect. “We have done this last year too when we came here. We knew how to deal with this,” Gerda explained. “We just walk across the street and use the toilet in the hotel opposite the office and come back. We leave behind one person here just in case our token number is called out,” she added.
The cops wash off their hands from the whole mess. “We have given this place to the Government of India. We have nothing to do with the way they function. The FRRO must give the foreigners proper facilities,” said Nisar Ahmed, Additional Commissioner of Police (Administration).

How about 5 Lalbaghs for city?

How about 5 Lalbaghs for city?

Prahlad Rao

A promise is a promise, said Ratan Tata when he unveiled the Nano car to the masses. Just how many politicians are there around us that can deliver on the promises they make? Despite the string of broken promises, we consume quite a bit of what they say and believe in them.
Perhaps it's high time the politicians believe in what they say, too.
As the BJP government completes two years in office in Karnataka, we take stock of its promises and delivery in the green agenda. Bangalore is struggling to retain the tag of garden city and every single citizen needs to pitch in to hold on to the 'cool' label. But if things need to move beyond the label, a lot of effort is needed on the ground, literally.
When chief minister BS Yeddyurappa took office, he had promised five more Lalbaghs in Bangalore. We wish to see them become a reality.
Though land has become very expensive in Bangalore, we are sure the government can find space and will work to make the five Lalbaghs happen. In fact, the government land which has been encroached by land sharks can be put to some good use if the greenery comes up.
It would be a good idea to support the campaign of Hasiru Santhe which was started by Malleswaram legislator Ashwathnarayan. The campaign was later adopted by the BBMP. It is a good concept which can be made into a huge success with budgetary incentives. The government should involve the community in such endeavours so that nurturing becomes a habit in all of us.
The chief minister has initiated the project of lakes' rejuvenation. The lake shores should first have greenery. They must then be developed into amusement centers.
Looking at the fast pace at which the trees are disappearing, the government should bring in a green legislation. Cutting of trees without a valid reason or without permission should be punished with hefty fine. The legislation should also discourage wood industry. The scientific community should be told to help us reduce our dependence on wood. The ruling party should make its members eco warriors and it will pay dividends in the next election.
Devanahalli is going to be the future of Bangalore. The government should have separate CDP (comprehensive development plan) for Devanahalli. At least 40% of the future city should be reserved for greenery.
To show that the government is serious about the green agenda, the administration should make Bellary Road a green avenue. As the road has been fully developed, the BBMP should plant saplings all along it. In the next two years, we should see a green Bellary Road. The government should adopt transplantation to save trees and green the road.

Greens, historians say no to Lalbagh’s facelift

Greens, historians say no to Lalbagh’s facelift
Bangalore, May 28:

The proposed make-over of Lalbagh has invited criticism from different sections of society.

Environmentalists, historians have come forward to express their strong opposition to any development in the park which affects life of flora and fauna in the park
Environmentalist and retired secretary of Forest Department A N Yellappa Reddy said Lalbagh is not a place meant for fun. Let those want to have fun go to pubs or clubs in the city. No human being has right to disturb serenity in the park. “The department has to put excess lights during laser shows. Butterflies will be attracted to light and lose life.

Why do you disturb their life?” he questioned.

For many plants evening is the best time for pollination. If the government conducts laser show or musical fountain during that time, plant life is affected. Temperature and light have direct impact on blossoming of a flower and its fragrance. Any projects altering light and temperature of the area will not generate hormones necessary for biological activities. Lalbagh is a place of nocturnal birds, which go for hunt in the night. How could they go for hunting in an area filled with noise of laser show and musical fountain, he questioned.

Reddy said Lalbagh is meant for life. The people who lack eco-centric approach in their administration are spending money to kill life in the gardens. “It is the serene place left for Bangaloreans. The government should safeguard it for generations to come”, he said.

Dr Choodamani Nandagopal, Historian and UNESCO Fellow has said that Lalbagh is not just a garden to make it an amusement place. The concerns of the officials from GSI on Lalbagh is genuine.

She said that Lalbagh has the potential of getting recognised as World Environmental Heritage Site by Unesco because of the rocks and its heritage of 250 years. If we make this a commercial venture we will loose the grace of applying for this status. Lalbagh can be only one such world heritage garden. Instead of spoiling let us work towards getting recognition from Unesco. Once it comes under the UNESCO itenary the status of Bangalore and India elevates to greatest height.

Another interesting project could be the world class publication on Lalbagh with the botanical paintings professionally created by an artist Cheluviah Raju almost 100 years ago. The 700 paintings are very well preserved, thanks to the Horticultural Department and Library, Choodamani said.

She further point out that about 100 paintings of Cheluviah Raju were sent to Kew Garden, London by the then British Officer Cameron who commissioned the artist for documenting the various species of plants brought to Lalbagh from different countries.

These paintings were sent to London for publication. But due to lack of resources to publish they have been returned and preserved safely in Lalbagh. Since then several attempts were made to publish but have not seen the light till today. If these paintings were in Kew Garden instead of sending to Bangalore they would have seen the light long back. The dream of the artist Cheluviah Raju, Cameron, Dr Mari Gowda and the team who worked for last four years (including me) is unfulfilled.

S Sridhar, publisher of Newsletter for Birdwatchers, termed the proposed move as disastrous. Natural condition is ideal for birds and animals to be active and breed. If serenity of Lalbagh is disturbed many species lose life. The park is a place for many rare birds. It is one place where one can spend time watching trees and birds. There are many places in the outskirts of the city for fun or amusement. The administration should be looking at providing quality education for the needy rather than entertaining the urban populace, he said.

What citizens say...

Retain lung space

Lalbagh should remain a lung space forever. Being a Bangalorean by birth, I have observed how Bangalore has turned from a green valley to a concrete and plastic zone.

Let the authorities not take work which is harmful to the environment.

Ramesh, Rajajinagar

Money at any cost

If Singapore has Sentosa, Bangalore has Lalbagh and Cubbon Park. I don't see why we have to turn everything we have into something that imitates Singapore or the West.

Why cant we keep what we have well maintained and be proud of it? It looks that the government wants to make money at any cost, be it through amusement park fees, laser show fees or food court rents.

R Prabha, Malleswaram

Don’t abuse

I recently visited Lalbagh and was glad to see that it is still green and has not been turned into a commercial venture. Like many Bangaloreans, I too prefer it to be maintained as a clean good green gardens. Please do not abuse it by trying to convert it into anything else.

Shashidhar, National Chemical Laboratory, Pune

Vested interest

Please do not permit any amusement activities, which will be an extravagant nonsense. It will do no good. Find out who is proposing this monstrosity?

Smita Shah

Don’t ape Singapore

Turning Lalbagh into an amusement park is nothing but a senseless plan. It will lose its charm, beauty, song of birds, biodiversity, peace and also historical importance. It is still a lung space despite not being maintained satisfactorily.

If the government wants to ape Singapore, let it provide good infrastructure, check throwing garbage, urinating and spitting on the roads.

Brinda N Rao

No brains

Lalbagh does not need any civil work and felling trees is nothing short of sacrilege. The focus should be on ecology and green, not architecture.

The geometrical monstrosity near the west gate that was constructed a few years ago is a case in point. The decision-makers do not seem to use their brains. Rather than promoting a food court, eatables should be banned in the gardens. What is needed is just clean drinking water and banning of vehicles entry.

Sridhar Deshmukh,

No fun

We don’t want an amusement park. Let Lalbagh remain as is.

Anil Kumar

No parking

I am against providing a parking space in Lalbagh by destroying flora and fauna.This is just a gimmick playing by the government to swallow the money.

Amaresh N

Protect environment

The state government should protect its forests and environment first before they come up with grandiose plans to imitate what Singapore does.

If the government wants to have a rock garden, let it acquire the quarries next to Hulimavu lake and create another park there.


No Beautification

I strongly oppose the ‘development’ plans of the horticulture department. Lalbagh being a botanical gardens, meant to conserve plant species. If any amusement is added then too many people visit causing huge parking problem. Birds and insects will be disturbed.

There is no shortage of amusement centres in the City. There are many malls. Then why turn Lalbagh into an amusement centre?

Sujay Acharya

Better sense

Many of us have watched sadly and helplessly the destruction of Bangalore’s environment in the name of progress. We need to get citizens closer to nature and amusement parks are not the way to do it. Can we hope that better sense will prevail?

Bharathi Prabhu

Stop it

Lalbagh is a treasure. The rocks there are a million years old. The trees are hundred years old. Why do humans want to destroy this and create something that will at best be used for a few years? This is irresponsible and must stop.

Meena R

It’s perfect

Lalbagh gorgeous, natural space with plants and trees from many corners of the globe.

How can anyone expect to 'beautify' something that is already perfect? What can we do as citizens to make the government drop the intended projects? How can we give our support to the GSI to help them combat the 'uglification' of Lalbagh?

B S Domergue

Retain beauty

It will be a sad day for Bangloreans to see the Lalbagh getting converted into an amusement park. It will destroy the natural beauty which is supposed to be one of the fines one in the world. Commercialisation in any form with whatever motive will make the gardens lose its charm. Let the government have a musical fountain outside the City.
Every citizen in Bangalore should oppose the plan.

Ravindranathan P V

Let it stay
I do oppose the conversion of Lalbagh into an amusement park. Please let it stay the way it has been for the last few decades.

What a shame!
Bangaloreans must hang their heads in shame for voting a Government that is arrogant enough to neglect its voters demands, be it the Tagore Underpass, the Military War Memorial, Metro through MG road or changing Lalbagh into an amusement park. The government should focus on providing shelter to the flood ravaged victims of North Karnataka, providing good educational and medical facilities in the under-developed areas.

Sharadamba Nagar

Maintain status quo

Lalbagh should remain as a lung space with rich flora and fauna. It is beautiful as it is. Let the government think of maintaining the rich heritage of botanical gardens in the Lalbagh.

Jayarathna G K

I record my dissent regarding development of this beautiful botanical gardens into an amusement park

Dr Vallath Nandini

Leave it pollution free

Lalbagh should be retained as it is at any cost to be pollution free. On flower show days itself it is cumbersome even to enter Lalbagh. Adding amusement events will attract much more crowd.

The Sentosa island’s geography is entirely different from that of Lalbagh. Even at Sentosa the crowd is too much and difficult to maintain cleanliness inspite of Singapore being credited for it.

Venkatesh K R

HC reserves judgment on war memorial

HC reserves judgment on war memorial
Bangalore, May 28, DHNS:

The High Court has reserved its judgment in connection to the construction of a war memorial in the City.

During the hearing of a petition on the construction of the war memorial at Indira Gandhi Park in the City, the counsel for the petitioner B C Thiruvengadam pointed out that the ongoing construction in the garden violates the High Court order.

The State Government, however, submitted that there was no violation of the Court order as there had been no felling of trees, as directed by the Court. When the petitioners submitted that there was no underground construction during the tender notification, the Court refused to buy the argument. The division bench comprising Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice Mohanshantana Gowdar has reserved the matter for judgment.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Don’t widen roads here, say residents

Don’t widen roads here, say residents
Yellow And Black Boards Put Up In Front Of Houses Protesting The Proposed Demolition

If you are travelling on the 2-km stretch of Banashankari Ring Road, you will not miss the yellow and white board put up in front of most houses. “Ring Road widening is illegal. We oppose this. Development is not widening a few welldeveloped roads,” reads one of the boards hung in front of a house; 6.3 metres of the residence, marked in red letters, will be demolished.
Both sides of a 14.5-metre stretch on Ring Road are earmarked for widening, against which residents have been up in arms for years. “Two months ago, we installed 20 kinds of boards in front of houses and commercial enterprises which are going to be affected. The boards are in Kannada and English. Our aim is to inform one and all that it is illegal to demolish properties in the name of road widening. This is a well-developed BDA layout,” said B N Venkateshmurthy, core committee member of Banashankari Ring Road Property Owners’ Association.
Naturally, residents rejected the transferable development rights (TDR) offered by BBMP as compensation to the space acquired, as TDR have no value and are not equal to market prices. “Who buys TDR?” asks an angry resident.
“I fought in the Supreme court for years to get this site. Only in 1995 I won the case against BDA and got my site. Now, for this illogical road widening, I will lose a major portion of my property. BDA conducted auction for sites in this layout even in 2006. Why don’t the town planners foresee future challenges when they plan layouts? The solution to reduce traffic congestion is to create alternative roads,” Venkateshmurthy maintained.
“This is a proper BDA layout and the roads are 100-foot wide. In fact, it is a four-lane road and four buses can commute at a time. Why should it be widened again? What value is there for TDRs proposed by the government? BBMP officials are so callous that they threw one TDR application in front of my house,” says Jayanthi Dwarakanath, a property owner on 100-Feet Ring Road.
If losing part of the property is not enough, the bigger challenge for residents is to relay water and sewerage pipelines. “Generally every household will have a water sump in front. With road widening, our sumps and sewerage pits will also be demolished. Has the BBMP ever thought of these issues? It is not in one or two houses, but all residents will have to face this,” is the common complaint.
BBMP knocked at the doors of Banaswadi residents two years ago when markings were made on houses to be acquired for road widening. But the process was stopped due to the civic election. With polls over, work has gained momentum now. “Markings were made on my compound wall two years ago. Soon after the BBMP election, engineers came again reminding us about the road widening. When we protested, they said no matter what we do, 3.5 metre of land will be acquired. Why don’t they discuss these issues with residents before taking a decision to demolish,” asked a resident of Banaswadi who didn’t want to be named.
BBMP doesn’t have the details of how many trees will be chopped off for the mammoth road-widening project. “Only those in the core city area will be affected, but not in the outer zonal areas,” is what officials say.
But green activists and environmentalists are disappointed. “The detailed project report of 12 signal-free corridors does not encompass environment impact assessment. The Palike’s technical approval committee, which approved this project, hasn’t bothered about social cost benefit analysis. Earlier in 2005, when 91 roads were proposed for widening, we had assessed that not less than 20,000 trees would be affected. But now when BBMP wants to widen 216 roads, 40,000 trees across the city will be felled. Is this the way to development?” asks Vinay Sreenivasa, coordinator of Hasiru-Usiru, a green NGO.
According to BBMP, 1,679 trees were cut for infrastructure development during 2008-09, and 792 in 2009-10. “To compensate for the loss, BBMP planted 13,000 trees in 2006-07, 1,58,900 trees in 2007-08, 2 lakh in 2008-09 and another 2 lakh in 2009-10. This year, we have plans to plant 5 lakh trees,” said Puttaswamy, deputy conservator of forests, BBMP.

Civic bodies mum, shop owners fume

Civic bodies mum, shop owners fume

Fear has gripped residents and shop owners of BTM
Layout and Bannerghatta Road. “We do not know when they are going to demolish the buildings. A notice was thrown into shops and houses here. It was not addressed to any particular person. The notice only mentioned that property owners have to apply for TDR. It doesn’t even specify when will it be done,” said Srinivas Murthy, a resident of BTM Layout.
“Most of the residents here are retired bank employees. BDA had allotted this land to us. The first notice was issued only last month. Where do we go if houses and shops are demolished? They are not even talking about compensation,” he added.
Shaju, who runs a bakery on BTM Layout, is not aware of the road-widening project. The notice might have been served on the shop owner. “However, we haven’t got any intimation even from the owner. We do not know what is happening,” he said.
Inayat, another shop owner, said property owners have formed an association against the roadwidening project. “The association has made representations to the chief minister and local MLA. We have been in this area for the past 35 years,” said Varnamala, a resident.
What has irked residents is the lack of communication from BBMP and BDA.”I did not go to vote this time. No one is giving a clear picture on what the plan is. Sometimes, officials say the plan to widen the road is scrapped. There is no one to communicate to us about this properly.” The delay has also led to depreciation of property value. “The value has come down by 50 per cent. We are not able to rent out the house as there are no takers. People are confused whether to construct any buildings on this stretch,” he said.


700-Km Stretch Of Roads In City Will Come Under The Project; Vast Green Cover Under Threat
Senthalir S & Sunita Rao R | TNN

Bangalore: The BBMP is gearing once again to widen city roads and knock off any structure that comes in its way. This time it is not just one or two roads but 700-km stretch of road in the city is to be widened.
Road widening work that was halted during the BBMP elections is being taken up again in areas like Banasawadi, BTM Layout, Bannnerghatta Road and other areas.
In all, 700 km of roads will be widened, which includes the signal-free corridor and also on the newly-added five zones. “Part of 37,000 properties, including residential and commercial units as well as vacant sites will be affected. The property owners whose space will be acquired for road widening, will be given transferable development rights (TDR),” T N Chikkarayappa, chief engineer of BBMP, told TOI.
If a property is situated in the way of a larger civic infrastructure development project, the executing agency or government can acquire the property by compensating with transferable development rights (TDR). TDR is issued in lieu of property surrendered for development of public amenities. It legally allows the builder to add more floors to the building or develop property elsewhere in the city. TDR can also be sold.
It is marketed well and accepted in cities like Mumbai and Delhi, but in Bangalore, there has been some resistance. Cash-strapped BBMP is offering TDR instead of giving hefty compensation. If property owners do not want to accept TDR, there is provision in law where the property owner can give a legal notice to BBMP, stating that TDR has been rejected.

Road widening project was basically to decongest city’s traffic. The government is rethinking about the project. Widening of 700-km stretch will cause loss to property and greenery. A study is being conducted to analyze the impact of this project on the roadside trees. We will also look into public protest against accepting TDRs. Giving compensation will not be easy. We are trying to come up with an alternative plan.
—R Ashoka | Bangalore
in-charge minister

BBMP plan will cheat kids of playing area

BBMP plan will cheat kids of playing area
Residents, NGOs Livid At Idea Of Parking Lots Under Playgrounds

Bangalore: Ten playgrounds in the city might soon be dug up to construct underground parking lots for vehicles, if the BBMP has its way. Needless to say, children will have to look elsewhere to play. Civic authorities who have hit upon this rather debatable idea will put forward this proposal before the council meeting on Friday. The move has attracted vehement criticism from residents,opposition parties and NGOs.
An angry opposition leader in the BBMP Council, M Nagaraj, told TOI: “The ruling party plans to pass a resolution to transfer mega projects like multi-level parking to BDA in the absence of standing committees. Legal opinion must be taken. Otherwise, it amounts to violation of the KMC Act. No resolution can be passed in the absence of standing committees. We will not let the council pass such an order. Public consent is a must. How can they destroy parks and playgrounds?”
Sports minister Goolihatti Shekar said he would oppose the move to have a parking lot in the Kanteerava stadium. “It was with great difficulty that we got our land back from Mallya hospital, which was using it for parking years ago. The land belongs to the Department of Youth Services and Sports and we have our own plans.’’
A similar proposal by the BBMP in 2007 was shelved due to public pressure even before the places could be identified.
Several voluntary bodies have raised objections. Convenor of Save Bangalore committee V N Rajasekhar said: “The multi-storied parking complexes on JC Road, Kempegowda Road have failed in serving the purpose. It is nothing but a builders’ lobby working.”
Former mayor M Ramachandrappa will stage a protest against the move on Friday in front of the BBMP headquarters. K Shivakumar, corporator from Shantala Nagar and a football player himself, staunchly opposes the plan.
“Akkithimmanahalli playground in Shanthi Nagar and Ashok Nagar playground in my ward are identified for the purpose. The playground will be lost if the construction begins there,” he says.
1. Ashok Nagar playground next to Garuda Mall 2. Akkithimmanahalli playground adjacent to Hockey stadium, Shanthi Nagar 3. Playground in front of Mallya Hospital 4. Hombegowda playground, Hosur Road
5. Telephone exchange
playground, Jayanagar 5th block
6. Malleswaram
playground 7. Gandhi Bazar market 8. Brigade Road 9. Russell Market 10. Vacant site next to Freedom park


What do you do when autodrivers abuse you roundly when you refuse to pay one-and-a-half? We get expert suggestions

Acouple of days back, one of our reporters was at the receiving end of the infamous rude behaviour of a Bengaluru autodriver. She was verbally abused and physically manhandled because she refused to pay him the exorbitant excess fare he was demanding. Our otherwise brave reporter was shaken a bit though she stood her ground.
This is not an uncommon scene in the city. A dip-stick survey threw up the following, common instances of bad behaviour by autodrivers, as experienced by the passengers.
Demanding excess fare.
Hurling profanities on being refused to pay the excess fare.
When you tell them you will report them to the cops, they retort saying, they are not afraid and continue abusing the passenger.
Tampering with the meter and refusing to accept that the meter has been tampered with.
Charging a passenger extra only because he/she happens to be a non-Kannadiga.
Abusing the passenger for being a non-Kannadiga.
Making indecent overtures and gestures at women passengers.
Refusing to ferry the passenger to the destination of his choice.
Sometimes, the passengers are so shell-shocked by an autodriver’s uncouth manners that they don’t react immediately. How does one deal with this menace? What does one do with errant auto drivers?
Bangalore Mirror asked around for suggestions and here’re some of the answers we got:
Shrinivas Murthy, president, Autorickshaw Drivers’ Union, said: “When you board an auto, see if the driver’s got the display card. If you don’t see it, don’t take that auto. Next, if you find that his meter is wrong or he is talking rudely or harassing you, simply note down the serial number on the display card and report him.
And what does one do when the autorickshaw driver refuses to go where you want to go? “Don’t wait for them to agree to go where you want to. Instead, board the auto, take down the DL number and tell him where you want to go. He will quietly go where you want to, Murthy said.”
Girish, Assistant Sub Inspector of Police, said: Call the control room number in front of the autodriver. All you need to do is give us your name and the auto registration number. We will immediately file a complaint and take action. Not only will he be fined, we will also recover the excess amount he has charged from you.” (See box)
Frank J ‘Wolf’, Krav Maga practitioner: “First, don’t get scared. If you are, don’t show it because that would only encourage the harasser to get more aggressive. The idea is to get out of the spat without hassles. Have numbers of friends and family on speed dial.
“Also make sure that you have something in your hand like a pen or even a magazine, so that you can hit the autodriver if he tries to attack you. HELPLINES
Central Traffic Control Room: 2294 3663.They register complaints for Vidhana Soudha, Cubbon Park, Vyalikaval, High Grounds areas
Traffic Control Room West: 22943030.
Traffic Control Room East: 2294 3131.They register complaints for Madivala, Indiranagar, Koramangala, M G Road areas.
Easy Auto: 9844112233. Save this number
right away. Call to register complaints and also to ask for an auto between 7 am to 10 pm. You need to give them the auto registration number, driver's name and your name and number.

Memorial row goes global

Memorial row goes global
Netizens from across the globe are signing an e-petition against the proposed memorial

The protest against the proposed National Military Memorial at the Indira Gandhi Memorial Park is finding supporters across the globe. The website m/1/preserve-public-parks-inbangalore, which is running an online campaign against the commercial encroachment of parks, is seeing posts from the Indian diaspora and foreign nationals.
People from countries like Belgium, The Netherlands and Estonia have signed the petition against the project. Suggestions about an alternative site have also been coming in. Frances Sims of Pennsylvania writes, “Please find another place for the war memorial; somewhere that’s already developed, yet run down enough that you could fix it up to look stunning. It would really help the memorial shine!”
Shyla Lakshminayaran, a Bangalorean living in London for the last four years, laments the change she sees every time she comes back to the city and says, “The defence land in the city has always been the greenest in the city. How logical is it to encroach upon a park to remember them? It is an oxymoron!”
M P Rajeev Chandrashekar’s pet project snowballed into a major controversy and Bangaloreans from across the city began questioning the wisdom of a war memorial in a designated park.
The issue took a political turn when Governor H R Bhardwaj expressed his displeasure over the project.
Despite the matter being in the courts, the BDA began work on the project, only to stop it midway owing to public pressure.
Another website, Bengaluru Patriots Society, has begun an online petition in support of the war memorial project.
The introduction claims that the project will be a “... green, lush, forested park, a solemn, sombre inspirational space in the heart of Bangalore” which will “...let the untold stories of valour and patriotism of our martyrs be told.”

Online petition is still alive and kicking

Online petition is still alive and kicking

While on the ground, there is little movement, cyberspace has woken to the Tagore Circle controversy. The public outcry has taken a form of an online petition written by Syed Tanveeruddin on behalf of Basvanagudi residents.
The petition has been addressed to the Supreme Court, the president of India, prime minister, ministry of urban development, governor, chief minister, BBMP, ABIDe and BDA. The petitioner has put various press reports on the underpass.
The public protests being held by the residents have fallen on deaf ears giving impetus to the online petition titled 'Say no to Tagore Circle underpass in Bangalore.'
BK Chandrashekhar, former chairman of the legislative council, has not signed the petition but supports the campaign. "I myself appealed but a lot of important people believe it to be unimportant. Political leaders want the underpass to be built and the corporation commissioner is a hostage. People should have appealed to the CM much earlier," he says.
Mathew Thomas, general secretary of the Citizens' Action Forum, blames the faulty decision making process. A long consultative process is required on issues such as this, he says.

People's unity moves round in circles

People's unity moves round in circles

Residents' voice lost at Tagore Circle underpass but there's still hope

Bosky Khanna

Trees standing near the Tagore Circle underpass kept looking up all day lifting their leafy arms in prayer. But the civic contractor had a deadline to meet and started cutting them.
This fresh onslaught has left the local residents shocked and angry. Tree cutting in the guise of pruning branches began on Wednesday. Residents, who oppose the concept, are yet to regroup and seem to be unable to stop the project. Even the area corporator appears to be unaware of this slaughter.
At the ground level, there now seems to be conflict among the residents. Some are planning to file public interest litigation (PIL) to stall the work. Others are silently opposing the project.
Venkatesh, secretary of Basawangudi Traders Associations, says protests are going on but the project work continues. "Only a few people are interested in protesting. The rest seem to be pre-occupied with their personal problems. They have given up the fight as the government does not care. However, we are planning to file a PIL next weak," he says.
To undertake an underpass construction, the roads or intersections in Basavanagudi should see at least 11,000 passenger car units movement (PCU) per hour. But according to surveys, the area records only 4,000 PCU, he says.
Venkatesh Madhusadhan, a resident of Basavanagudi and frequent user of KR Road, says: "Trees are being axed and the government has gone ahead with the project without proper data. Based on the data we've collected, it seems all traffic may converge at Gandhi Bazaar and get choked once the underpass becomes operational. The government has not thought of this. Residents are not united. Only a handful of them are protesting. We need all of them to come together and prevent the massacre of trees."
Traffic expert Prof MN Sreehari says there is no need for an underpass at the circle when the traffic density does not even warrant a signal.
"Stupid consultants and BBMP prepared a report showing that there was traffic of over 11,750 PCU and floated the idea of constructing the underpass. But currently, KR Road sees only 4,750 PCU at Tagore Circle. There is no need even for a signal. Then why is the government constructing an underpass when it is not needed," asks traffic expert Sreehari.
The Rs26-crore project work started three months ago.
BJP MLA Ravi Subramanya, who was earlier a strong critic of the project, later backed off as he wanted to avoid a political battle. Even before the underpass work started, he had warned the officials not to start work without consulting the local people and formulating a detailed and transparent report.
"In the first meeting, I had opposed the idea. Nothing can be done now. If the work is stalled, the contractor will have to be paid a hefty amount which the government does not want now," says he.
"There is a huge timber mafia behind this. A holistic approach is needed to tackle the situation, rather than the present fragmented approach. The government should have made the road one way. I'm sure Bangaloreans will not mind travelling an extra 200 metres to save the 73-odd mature trees from being axed," says TV Ramachandra of Energy and Wetlands Research Group Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science.
Vinay Sreenivasa from Hasiru Usiru says at least 90 trees will be cut. Since no PIL has been filed, the only way to stall the work is through protests. The 6-km road has a large number of big trees which are facing the axe "There is a timber mafia working behind this," he says.
Arun P, a resident, says according to an earlier BBMP report, 50 trees were to be cut. But now, at least 73 will be lost for the underpass.
Basavanagudi corporator Katte Satyanarayana seems to be unaware of Wednesday's episode. "I've been told by officials that only the branches are being cut and not the trees. I've not seen or heard of any report in the media of the issue as I'm busy with the council meetings. Once it is over, I will look into the matter," says he.
He has promised to visit the site. "I will visit the project area on Friday and inspect the work. The work cannot be stopped as it started months ago," he says.

Cubbon Park enters stone age

Cubbon Park enters stone age

It will have stone benches without backrests to discourage people from relaxing

Shilpa CB. Bangalore

Under the tag of development, the horticulture department is all set to make seating in the Cubbon Park a tad uncomfortable.
Acting on the orders of horticulture minister Umesh Katti, the department will get rid of broken and damaged concrete seats with back rest and replace them with stone benches. "We will replace the old benches with granite stone benches that will not have a back rest. This is to discourage people from sleeping in the park," said KG Jayadeva, deputy director, horticulture department, Cubbon Park.
Department officials said that the minister wanted to discourage people from relaxing on comfortable benches, which is contrary to the entire concept of a park that is meant for relaxation.
But wouldn't people then sleep on the new lawns being laid at the park? "Not really, as many fear that snakes and insects may crawl on them. Benches are more inviting," Jayadeva said.
It all happened during a recent visit by the minister to the park when he announced a host of projects like pathways, desilting of the lotus pond, lawns, shady gardens and so on. He had then received several complaints of petty thefts in Cubbon Park and stated that comfortable seats lured visitors to sit in the park for a longer time, which led to such nuisance.
He had then ordered the replacement of the old benches with normal stone benches minus the backrests.
While a senior employee of the department said that people did not really need a backrest to sleep, and that "a simple stone slab is enough to lie down comfortably", Jayadeva justified the use of stone benches stating that they were "long-lasting, when compared to the concrete ones that miscreants had broken and taken away the iron rods inside them".

Govt suffers amnesia on past proposal

Govt suffers amnesia on past proposal
Sandeep Moudgal, Bangalore, May 27, DHNS:

Even as the Government proposes an underground parking bay below the B S Chandrashekar playground, the State has been sitting on a two-year-old proposal to build a multi-level car parking bay in Jayanagar IV Block.

The proposal was made in 2008 for the project at an estimated cost of Rs 99 crore. This commercial complex was proposed to host as many as 750 cars for people who frequent the hub of commercial activities in South Bangalore, half a kilometer from the proposed underground parking system. On the other side near the Jayanagar bus stand, even the Traffic and Transit Management Centre (TTMC) has a parking bay for 150 cars which seems to have been left in the deluge after its construction.

Angry residents

Residents in the area are fuming with anger after news of the new proposal came out on Thursday morning. They even approached the local corporator for an explanation on the said proposal which was to construct a two to three multi-parking bay below the ground. It is learnt that opposition to the proposal has even been voiced by the City president from the BJP, MLA B N Vijaykumar.

According to residents Vijaykumar has also directed his constituency corporators not to support the proposal for the parking area below the playground in Jayanagar. Half way across the city, in Malleshwaram hectic activity was reported by residents over the past few days with sand being dumped on the playground for trying to soften the ground for digging. The underground parking proposal has also been suggested by the government below Malleshwaram playground.

Wait and watch

However, in this vicinity, residents have embarked upon a wait and watch approach. Locals state that the proposal was quite an old one which was opposed way back in 2007-08. Even during those days, the residents had voiced their objection over the proposal. But then, people still await a final look at the plan before agitating on the issue.

So where lies the verdict? In the past 48-hours, the opposition against the alleged “ad-hoc” method utilised by the State Government in deciding the 10 proposed underground parking bays in playgrounds and vacant lands in the City has come in for lot of criticism from the political echelons and the residents of the Bangalore. So much so the issue may become the focal point of discussion at the BBMP Council sitting on Friday.

No land in Bangalore, govt tells investors

No land in Bangalore, govt tells investors
P M Raghunandan, Bangalore, May 27, DHNS:

Planning investments in Karnataka? Not anywhere in and around Bangalore. Or, at least, this is what the State government has of late been telling investors, especially those in the manufacturing sector. Reason? The high land price.

Except for a few acres that is acquired or identified for acquisition long ago, the government does not have land in Bangalore Urban and Bangalore Rural districts to offer it to investors. And it also has no plans to acquire any either in the coming days.

As a result, the government has reserved the two districts for only high-end IT and aerospace sectors. “The land prices in the two districts are too high for acquisition. Moreover, there is hardly any land available here. So, we have decided to allow only for two sectors — high-end IT and aerospace,” V P Baligar, Principal Secretary, Industries and Commerce said.

Illustrating his statement, he said the government was paying a whopping Rs 70 lakh an acre as compensation in Devanahalli for the proposed Devanahalli Industrial Park, the highest ever compensation given for land acquisition by the government.

Currently, the government has just 2,321 acres in Bangalore Urban, while in Bangalore Rural, it has 3,011 acres, mostly in Devanahalli. The government, therefore, is hard-selling Tier-II cities and small towns close to Bangalore — Tumkur and Ramanagara for fresh investments.

That is also the reason for the Department of Industries and Commerce’s land acquisition spree in these cities and towns. The Karnataka Industrial Area Development Board (KIADB) has acquired 12,205 acres in Ramanagara alone, the highest among districts, for creating a land bank. It is followed by Belgaum with 10,842 acres, Bijapur 9,926, Dharwad 9,347, Tumkur 8,363 and Bellary 6,151 acres.

Baligar said investors keen on land close to the State capital were being persuaded to opt for nearest towns like Sira, Kunigal in Tumkur district, Bangarpet, Malur, Srinivasapur in Kolar district and Ramanagara, where land is cheaper. “With good road and railway connectivity, these towns are as good as Bangalore for investors,” he explained.

The government aims at having a total of 1,00,861 acres in the land bank exclusively for industries. Of that lot, 87,005.06 acres is private land and 13,856.09 acres belongs to the government. The KIADB has so far acquired 12,379.14 acres, issued preliminary notification for acquiring 46,734.03. It is yet to initiate the process to acquire41,747.38 acre across almost all districts.

It is in Ramanagara the government has acquired largest extent of private farm land (12,250 acre) for the land bank. The government is bound to hardsell Karnataka at the proposed Global Investors Meet next month. But if prospective investors are looking for land in and around the Capital to put up their projects, then they are in for disappointment.

Knee-jerk reaction to Govt proposal

Knee-jerk reaction to Govt proposal
Bangalore, May 27:

‘Appalling...’, ‘Ridiculous...’, ‘Has the horticulture department lost its senses?...’, ‘Why is the government hellbent on spoiling Lalbagh?...’, ‘It is a money making scheme...’.

These and more are the reactions of Bangaloreans to the government proposal to have a musical fountain and conduct a laser show in Lalbagh botanical gardens.
Responding to the invitation to express their views on the issue ‘Lalbagh or Fun Park’, readers flooded the Deccan Herald email inbox. Here are some excerpts.

City’s pride

Lalbagh should remain the way it is. It is Bangalore's pride and nothing should be done to ruin it. The government must first clean the garbage lying around in

Surabhi Mishra

Appalling plan

The plan is unilateral, uninformed and sinister. Over the decades, we are a witness to erosion of Lalbagh and Cubbon Park. It is outrageous that the Chief Minister can, in one visit decide how Lalbagh should be spruced up.

Smita Bellur

Useless project

It is appalling to read the Horticulture Department plans for ‘beautification’ of Lalbagh. It is nothing short of preposterous. To make a rock garden for people to sit and watch a laser show is a sacrilege.

Leela Krishnamohan

Clean Lalbagh

The government must just clean Lalbagh and not construct buildings. Let the government not hand over the gardens to private companies.

Arasappa Shetty Thyagaraj

Have fountain elsewhere A portion of Lalbagh is already being taken for the Metro. The Government can think of creating a musical fountain at General Cariappa Park.

C R Seshadri

A farce

Dr Mari Gowda, the officer who developed Lalbagh, must be turning in his grave. Citizens should strongly oppose any change in Lalbagh.

L Narayana

Developers’ plan

There are innumerable instances where ‘developers’ collude with politicians and bureaucrats to mindlessly destroy ambience of the City. The Lalbagh project is just an another case.

S N Balasubrahmanyam

Let Sasya Kashi be

It will surely be a big commercial racket, caring two hoots to ‘Sasya Kashi’ as Kuvempu described it.



Estimate of Rs 29 crores for Lalbagh is ridiculous. Allocation of Rs. 50,000 for each dust bin clearly show who pockets such money!

U N Bhat

Thanks, GSI!

I'm 15. Thanks to Geological Survey of India which is against disturbing the rocks in Lalbagh. People come to Lalbagh to walk, jog, exercise, etc., and not to sit and enjoy. Laser shows will disturb birds. I strongly protest against the plans to meddle with the beauty of the gardens.

Rajiv Krishna

Don’t cut trees!

Bangalore does not need an amusement park. We must keep the lung space and keep Bangalore green. No more tree cutting.

Prof Sheila Prasad


The Rs 29-crore plan is an opportunity to swindle the tax payers' money. It is for officials’ ‘facelift' and not for the botanical gardens. Let Lalbagh remain Lalbagh.

T Vardhese

Smell a rat!

I am shocked! Despite people’s protest, if the government still want to proceed with its plan, I smell a rat. Someone's pocket is going to filled at the cost of the hapless trees.

Dr Anand

Funds for amusement?

Some months ago, the government wanted to increase the entry fee to Lalbagh on the grounds that it had no funds for development. Where is it getting funds to provide amusement?

R S Khemka

Save it

As someone who's lived in Bangalore most of her life, I request that Lalbagh not be turned into a rock garden.


Plant more trees
Lalbagh as it is so beautiful. Why people are thinking only to spoil it? Let them plant more and more species of trees. Why do we require all these musical fountains, amusement park inside lalbagh?


Floral temple
Poet Kuvempu has rightly said that this is a floral temple and God rests in the form of flowers. If one has an inner eye, he can experience divinity here. Any additions or alterations here definetly spoil the natural ambiance groomed systematically by the founders and subsequent british and indian directors of this garden.

Suresh Moona

Dumb Idea
Horticulture Director N Jayaram's idea of converting Lalbagh in to a amusement park, is dumb and stupid. Please leave this park alone. Let people walk in this park in peace.

K R Venkataramaiah

Force change
Ordinary methods of opposing will not work here. Organisers of this campaign must not only rope in not only local residents in vast numbers but also take the help of several celebrities for the cause. The official machinery of the Government can be compared to the maoists of Dantewada. The opposing group must strive persistently and permanently shut the mouth of the concerned authorities in one go!

BG Subhash

‘Lalbagh for tree walks not for laser show’

‘Lalbagh for tree walks not for laser show’
Bangalore, May 27, DHNS:

Citizens are crying foul over the Government’s plans to ‘beautify’ Lalbagh. So also ornithologists and biodiversity experts.

The subject experts absolutely see no merit in meddling with the natural beauty of Lalbagh as they think the Government has the least concern for the rich flora and fauna of the gardens.

Zafar Futehally, well-known ornithologist and biodiversity expert, has taken serious exception for the new plans of the Horticulture Department. He is 90 and not keeping well. Despite his condition, he took pains to express his views so that the botanical garden will not be ‘upgraded’ the way it is planned now.

He said, “The proposed plans of the Government will affect vegetation, animals and the climate too. Lalbagh is meant for all living creatures, not just for human beings.” Biodiversity expert Harish Bhat termed the Government’s idea as ‘nonsense’. Lalbagh is a place for 130 bird species, most of which are nocturnal - active during night. It is a house of four varieties of owls - collared scops owl, barn owl, mottled owl and spotted owlets.

They go for hunt during night. “A laser show or a musical fountain in the evenings will disturb the life style of these birds”, he said. “Nowhere in Europe or the US, elements of fun are allowed in botanical gardens. Forget laser show, even vehicles should not be allowed inside the park. It should be treated as a sanctum sanctorum of bio-diversity.

Why not we cultivate habit of watching trees and birds? Many foreigners visit the park only to study the trees in the park. We should encourage tree walks in the garden to know trees better,” he said. Lalbagh should be a place for botanical tours, not laser shows, he added.

Are playgrounds, the last resort for construction of parking bays?

Are playgrounds, the last resort for construction of parking bays?
Bangalore, May 27, DHNS:

In a City that is plagued by traffic congestion seven days a week and 365 days a year, creating parking facilities seem to be the need of hour. But at what cost?

The State government’s proposal to build underground parking facilities below 10 playgrounds and vacant lands has seen stiff opposition from both the local politicians and residents. The price for development just seems to have gone up a notch.

As per the proposal, mud upto one metre height would be laid on top of the complex and is said to keep the playground intact. The same theory will be applied to all the five playgrounds where the proposed parking bays are to come up. Meanwhile, on the busy Brigade Road a tunnelled parking bay has been proposed by the government.

The government has cited that the citizens and motorists are facing severe problems as parking facilities are not available in and around the 10 areas identified for parking purposes at present. According to their estimates, thousands of people visit these 10 areas for shopping and other purposes. They are facing hardships as they have no facility to park their vehicles. Hence, the Palike has decided to construct parking complexes in these areas, said sources in the BBMP.

Move justified

The largest parking bay being proposed is at Freedom Park, where it plans to construct the parking facility on a five acre expanse. Palike officials justified the move by stating that the complexes will come up below playgrounds without affecting the grounds.

However, the government seems to have overlooked a small procedural aspect. According to Karnataka Municipal Corporation (KMC) Act, standing committees should carry out a detailed discussion on projects of vital importance.

Later, the project should be proposed for discussion during general body meeting. There should be a public debate on such important and serious issues. The BJP has dared to violate these norms as it is ruling party, allege many corporators.

This apart, the proposed project has not gone well with several corporators. They criticised the Palike’s intention saying the budget is yet to be presented, blue print for the project is not ready, standing committees are yet to be constituted and moreover, no one knows the cost involved in the project. They want a public debate on the issue.


The Supreme Court has clearly stated that gardens and playgrounds should not be utilised for different purposes. The proposed project is a clear violation of the Supreme Court verdict. My party sternly opposes the proposed plan. We will make all out efforts to retain the playgrounds in their present condition.

M Nagaraj, leader of Opposition, BBMP

The BBMP budget for 2010-11 has not yet been presented and the standing committees are yet be constituted. Hence, proposing to discuss such an important issue in the general body meeting becomes irrelevant. A proper action plan has not been finalised for the project. The playground at Netkallappa Circle is too small. It is a foolish idea to construct a parking complex beneath the ground.

K Chandrashekhar, Basavanagudi ward member.

I am opposed to the idea of constructing parking complexes below playgrounds. Once the complexes come up below, the playgrounds will be utilised for commercial purposes. The authorities will give permission to hold exhibitions, sales and conventions.

Sathyanarayan, Karnataka Athletic Association Secretary.

No playground or stadium in the country has a parking complex under it. A few foreign countries including France have this facility where ultra modern technology has been used to construct parking complexes below the stadiums. Such a thing cannot be experimented in India. New projects worth Rs 2.50 crore have been taken up in the stadium. Hence, it will not be feasible to construct the parking complex here.

PSB Naidu, Indian Wrestling Association Secretary

List of proposed parking bays

* Russell Market (south side) playground

* Brigade Road

* Jayanagar 5th block, opposite Telephone Exchange

* The vacant land opposite Garuda Mall

* Gandhi Bazar

* Ground meant for archers opposite Mallya Hospital

* Freedom Park

* Malleshwarm playground

* Netkallappa Circle

* Akki Thimmanhalli Hockey Ground, Langford Town

Thursday, May 27, 2010

73 more trees to go

73 more trees to go
The BBMP had assured that 10 trees would be cut for the construction of Tagore circle underpass. Turns out the number will now be an amazing 73!

Basavangudi is set to lose yet another shaded canopy as the BBMP gears up to do what it does best – cut down trees.
At least 73 trees will be axed for the ongoing construction of the Tagore circle underpass. And if that isn’t bad enough, the project will also eat into the famed M N Krishna Rao Park for a bus bay!
These are the startling new moves of the BBMP as work continued on the much-debated and opposed underpass.
When work on the project began, the BBMP was quick to assure that just 10 trees would be cut for the project. The Detail Project Report (DPR) that came out in 2006 marked 52 trees to be axed. But on Wednesday morning, residents living close to the area woke up to the shrill sound of an electric saw as a huge raintree close to Dwarkanath Bhavan was felled.
Even as a crowd gathered to protest, the contractor, Mohammed Y, who has been awarded the tender to fell the trees at a measly Rs 2.5 lakh, furnished a letter from the Forest Department giving him permission to chop down 73 trees. “If you have a problem, sign a petition and give it to me. I will take it to the corporation and get my money back. I don’t want a problem,” he said.
The question on every resident’s mind is why should the trees be cut down beyond the Basavangudi Police Station where the underpass ends. “The trees are being cut beyond the Basavangudi Post Office towards the National College flyover on either side till the end of Krishna Rao Park. Why do you need to do this when the underpass ends at the police station gate?,” asked Geetha Rao, a resident.
The BBMP, however, says that these trees need to go to make way for the service road. The assistant executive engineer of the project, Shivanna, who was quick to defend the project, said, “Though the length of the box is 80 metres, the total length of the project is 578.39 metres including the service road. We have 100 meters of battery limit to accommodate the 34 metre-wide service road on both sides of the box.”
When Deputy Forest Officer (South) Puttaswamy was contacted about the permission letter, he confirmed that 73 trees have been permitted to be chopped. “I cannot deny permission to cut down trees for development work. The engineering department gave us a requisition letter and we gave permission,” he said. Asked about the responsibility of a tree officer to check the viability of the request, he had no answers.
Not happy with cutting down trees, the BBMP is also planning to eat into the famed Krishna Rao Park to erect a bus bay. About 2.3 meters of the park area has been marked in the project sketch for the facility, where hundreds of walkers throng daily. The BBMP officials refused to comment on this but were quick to assure that no tree would be cut within the park premises. Can we believe them?



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Public outrage, PILs and expert advice have failed to deter Bengaluru's civic authorities from chopping down more trees. On Wednesday, another old tree was axed to make way for an underpass at Tagore Circle which will claim 73 more trees. While residents of the area are uspet as BBMP is going ahead with the project without taking their opposition into account, the civic body says they are helpless as work on the underpass was started in March 2010, reports Shilpa P. The underpass is being built in violation of the high court order that there must be a public consultation before any infrastructure project is launched in the city. This is also required under the Karnataka Town and Country Planning Act.

VINAY SRINIVASA OF HASIRU USIRU We held a meeting with the people of the area recently.
But as the project has already started, it cannot be stopped. We can only hope that it will be completed on time.

KATTE SATHYA, Area corporator The project will change the face of Basavanagudi and Gandhi Bazaar, which represent old Bengaluru. All we needed here was a traffic signal and not an underpass. As the road is now set to become signal-free people will no longer be able to walk to Gandhi Bazaar to buy vegetables or for other reasons.

SUMATHI NAGENDRA, Resident of Basavangudi

People may be cry ing themselves hoarse in protest and a traffic expert may have good reason to argue against it, but the authorities seem determined to go ahead with building yet another underpass and destroying more of the city's green cover. On Wednesday, it was the turn of a 50-yearold tree, Pelto Forum, to be brought down to make way for the Tagore Circle underpass in Basavangudi, which will claim 73 trees in all, while it is being built. A rain tree and several others that have provided the people shade here for years, are in line to be cut for the underpass, which no one wants.
But BBMP says the protests have come a little too late. "We started the project two months ago and the people began to object to it only after the work began.
We will cut all the trees in the next four months," says deputy conservator of forests, BBMP, Puttaswamy M.

The underpass which is set to change the face of Basavanagudi and Gandhi Bazaar, is proving very unpopular with the locals as they don't see any need for it. Rather than making their lives easier, it will only inconvenience those accustomed to taking their evening and morning walks under the shade of the trees, they say.

Traffic advisor to the government M.N Srihari, who has come out with a report against building the underpass, says it makes sense to build one only in areas where the traffic volume is 10,000 passenger car units per hour.
"When the traffic on this road is less than 5,000 passenger car units (pcus) per hour, why should an underpass be built here at all," he asks. In his view even a traffic signal is not called for at the spot. "A traffic light is required on roads where the traffic volume is 8,000 pcus per hour.
But as the traffic here is not this heavy, you don't need a signal here and certainly not an underpass," he argues.

The protestors and experts feel like they are beating against a brick wall, which refuses to give way as BBMP shows no signs of giving up its plans of building the underpass under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) at a cost of Rs 20 crore. The project which began in March 2010 has an 18 months deadline.

Sumathi Nagendra, who lives in Basavangudi, says the locals have approached BBMP, the government and even Union urban development minister Jaipal Reddy to register their protest against the underpass, but no one seems to be listening.
"If this underpass is built we will lose a part of Tagore Park and Krishna Rao Park," she laments. "The authorities are helping no one by building an underpass at this junction. Instead it will inconvenience a lot of our senior citizens and schools and college students, who use the road," says Vinay Sreenivasa, a member of Hasiru Usiru. Area corporator, Katte Sathya, says its too late to stop the project.
"All we can hope for is that it will be completed on time," he adds.

Corporators oppose BBMP’s parking project

Corporators oppose BBMP’s parking project
Bangalore, May 26, DHNS:

The Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagar Palike (BBMP) has once again run into a controversy. The Palike’s proposed multi-storey parking complexes in 10 different areas in City including in five playgrounds is likely to create a furore as several corportors have expressed stern opposition to the proposed project.

The five playgrounds where these complexes will come up include Akki Thimmanahalli ground in Langford Town, play ground in front of telephone exchange office in Jayanagar fifth block, Malleswaram play ground, Kantheerava stadium (opposite Mallya Hospital) and a play ground at Nettakallappa Circle. Interes tingly, the complexes will come up below these play grounds, said sources in the Palike.

Plans are also on anvil to have similar facility at Russel Market (south side), below Brigade Road, BBMP space near Garuda Mall, Gandhi Bazaar Market and Freedom Park. The palike has decided to implement the project as per the Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa’s directives.

The CM had ordered to identify places and hand over the land to Bangalore Development Authority for the construction of the complexes. Hence, efforts are on to hand over the land to the BDA, added the sources.

The Palike is making efforts to get approval at its meeting to be held on May 28. The complexes will come up below playgrounds without affecting the grounds, justified a few Palike officers.

A tunnel will be constructed below Brigade Road for the purpose, they said. A proposal has been submitted after identifying the places. Action plan would be prepared if the proposal is approved, said BBMP (BSUP) Chief Engineer M C Prakash.

However, the proposed project has not gone well with several corporaters. They criticised the Palike’s intention saying the budget is yet to be presented, blue print for the project is not ready, standing committees are yet to be constituted and moreover no one knows the cost involved in the project, they added. They demanded a public debate on the issue.

Citizens show thumbs down to govt’s Lalbagh ‘facelift’ plan

Citizens show thumbs down to govt’s Lalbagh ‘facelift’ plan
Bangalore, May 26:

Bangaloreans are proud of Lalbagh. And, they seem to be in no mood to allow any intervention by the government either to beautify it or sell hard to tourists by installing a musical fountain or conducting a laser show.

In response to Deccan Herald’s invitation to express their views whether Lalbagh should remain as it is or should be developed as an amusement park, a good number of Bangaloreans have sent their mails vehemently opposing the horticulture department’s proposed plans.

While a reader said he distributed sweets after reading the news that Geological Survey of India is opposing any work on the rock garden, a member of the Mysore Grahakara Parishat has submitted a petition to the governor, chief minister and head of the Horticulture Department opposing the project proposals to develop Lalbagh into a fun park. Here are excerpts from the mails DH has received:

Don’t disturb nature

Lalbagh and Cubbon Park are the only two remaining lung spaces in the heart of Bangalore. Why does the Government want to turn every open space into an amusement park?

Lalbagh is beautiful as it is, so please let it be as it is. Let it not become a Santosa. Nature is beautiful as it is, just preserve it.

Prema Kakade

No junking
The Garden City (Bangalore) has already lost much of its greenery. There is no dearth of amusement centres in the City. It is absolutely absurd to develop Lalbagh as an amusement centre. It shows lack of direction at policy makers’ level.

If Lalbagh becomes an amusement park ignoring the sentiments of the people, the entire area will become a garbage yard as eateries are bound to come up. The need of the hour is to ban plastic, movement of vehicles, desilt lake and prohibit further construction in Lalbagh. Let us not lose even a single tree in the name of development.

Rajiv N Magal,
Bannerghatta Road

A great lung space

Lalbagh should remain what it has been for the past 250 years, a beautiful garden and a great lung space.


Need maintenance

It is good to see Deccan Herald taking up the cause of saving Lalbagh. It is distressing to read that the botanical gardens will be ‘beautified’ in inappropriate way. Lalbagh and Cubbon Park that are beautiful by themselves need maintenance. I wonder what official version of beauty is.

Lalbagh should be cherished, preserved as heritage and not marred by nonsensical ‘facelifts.’ It is heartening to know that GSI is opposing the project. Hope good sense will prevail upon officers to stop the project.

Srikrishna Aiyar

Preserve for posterity

As a school teacher, I feel that construction of an amusement park is a colossal waste and burden on Bangaloreans. It aggravates pollution. Already many old trees have been chopped under the pretext of widening roads, construction of metro rails, fly-overs, etc.
We should not disturb nature. Lalbagh should be preserved for posterity.

Kala, Yeshwanthpur

Why don’t they learn?

Let the government do not do anything to the natural beauty of the rock and old trees of Lalbagh.

Why not decision makers learn from their foreign trips to leave nature and maintain the gardens as they are? Should we do everything to attract tourists? We certainly do not want Santosa. Keeping the gardens clean is sufficient.

Ahalya Kumar

Tagore Circle underpass to claim 73 trees

Tagore Circle underpass to claim 73 trees
Bangalore, May 26, DHNS:

It is official. The Tagore circle underpass would claim 73 trees and the process of chopping them has already begun.

Sending a shock wave among the residents of Basavanagudi, the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) started cutting down tree branches near the Basavanagudi Club just a few yards away from the Tagore Circle Underpass, on Wednesday morning.

The morning walkers of Basavanagudi were in for a rude shock when they noticed the BBMP team chopping off the branches of a Gulmohar tree that had adorned the road. The news of the cutting spread across the area and a good number of people reached the spot.
The agitated crowd lodged a protest with the BBMP officials and tried to prevent the contractor who got the assignment to cut the trees.

Later, the contractor by name Mohammed showed them the authorisation letter to chop the trees to the local residents and asked them to let him do his work. Angered over the tree-felling, a local resident Sumathi said, the BBMP hid all the facts from the local residents and never revealed that 73 trees would go. Another resident Chandrashekhar said initially people were told that only 12 trees would be chopped, but now it is clear that six times more than the declared number of trees would be felled.

“This is not only lying to the people but cheating the residents too. We strongly oppose it,” said Chandrashekhar. It was learnt that the BBMP gave the contract of cutting trees to Mohammed for Rs 2.5 lakh. He has been asked to fell the trees in one month’s time.

However, a BBMP official said there are no plans right away to cut the trees but only the branches of trees have been cut near the Basavanagudi Club to prevent any accidents during monsooon.

Park will turn parking lot, scream B’loreans

Park will turn parking lot, scream B’loreans
P M Raghunandan, Bangalore, May 26, DHNS:

Musical fountain, food court for Lalbagh draws strong opposition

Already congested roads around Lalbagh is likely to get chocked if the Horticulture Department’s musical dancing fountain and the laser show plans are implemented inside the botanical gardens.

Consider this: Lalbagh presently has about four acre area (near east gate) reserved for parking, and it can accommodate a maximum of 600 four-wheelers and 1,000 two-wheelers at a time. Nearly 400 four-wheelers and an equal number of two-wheelers are parked on normal days. It is expected that the proposed laser show, musical fountain and rock garden would attract additional 5,000 visitors and tourists per day, which may require space for additional 1,000 four-wheelers. Then, there will hardly be any space for vehicle parking in the garden, official sources said.

Result: Most of the vehicles will have to be parked outside Lalbagh, as it happens during the annual flower shows. KH Road, Siddapura Road, Marigowda Road, Krumbigal Road and Lalbagh Road are already choking. Traffic police will have tough time ensuring traffic flow here.


On an average 10,000 people visit Lalbagh on a normal day, including walkers and joggers. On holidays, the number goes up to 15,000. During flower shows, nearly one lakh people visit the garden. “The existing parking space is sufficient for a normal day. It is a big problem on holidays and during flower shows,” officials said.

Food court too

The Horticulture Department used to throw open 2.5 acre land near Siddapura gate (south gate) for parking whenever necessary, especially during the flower shows. Now, it has planned to develop an evergreen museum and a food court as part of Rs 84 crore Lalbagh development project, which was approved by the State cabinet recently.

Officials also said more visitors means more damage to the botanical garden. For instance, lawns, ornamental shrubs and flowers plants in the 240 acre garden gets trampled on holidays. Flower shows causes extensive damages. Besides, cleanliness becomes an issue. These will become an everyday problem once musical fountain and laser show are introduced, officials explained.

Horticulture Director N Jayaram, however, insisted that steps will be taken to regulate the vehicle entry and parking to protect the interest of the garden. But he did not elaborate the plan for vehicle parking.

Bangalore ‘best Indian city for expats’

Bangalore ‘best Indian city for expats’
New Delhi, May 26, (PTI):

Bangalore once again emerged as the best Indian city when it comes to the quality of living for expatriates, even as New Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata improved their rankings on the global list of cities compiled by HR consultancy Mercer for 2010.

According to the Worldwide Quality of Living survey 2010 for 221 cities globally, Bengaluru remains the best placed among Indian cities in the global list at 140th rank this year, an improvement from its 142nd rank in last year’s list.

“This year, unlike the last, we have seen an upswing in the ranking of Indian cities, largely on account of a relatively stable political environment and the easing of foreign trade,” Mercer Information Product Solutions (India business leader) Gangapriya Chakraverti said.

The country’s national capital, New Delhi, climbed to 143 rank in this year’s list from 145th slot last year and financial hub Mumbai moved up four places to 144th rank. However, Indian cities do not fare well compared to their global peers, as the list is topped by Vienna (Austria).

Palike asphalts road, water board digs it up to lay pipes

Palike asphalts road, water board digs it up to lay pipes
Bangalore, May 26, DHNS:

Ramanjaneya Road at Hanumanthnagar on Tuesday was like a cloth being darned from one side and torn from the other.

The Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) had asphalted a stretch of Ramanjaneya Road and had just about begun work on the part towards Srinagar Circle on Tuesday, when the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) dug up the freshly tarred part.
The reason the water board officials gave was that sewage lines had begun to leak in the area and some pipes had to be replaced.

For the local residents, the road laying had come as a relief from hours of tortuous traffic. The pot-holed road would turn a bottleneck during peak hours, and motoring and walking on it was almost dangerous. However, their relief was shortlived, when on Tuesday morning they found the water board workers digging up the newly laid road. The BWSSB work later stalled the second phase of road laying.

When contacted by Deccan Herald, BWSSB sources said sewage lines were being relaid, as local MLA Ravi Subramanya had received complaints of pipe leakages from the residents. “On insistence of the MLA, we had taken up the work. In fact, our local engineers and the MLA have asked the contractor not to finish the asphalting exercise till this work is completed,” said a BWSSB source. However, when BBMP (South) Chief Engineer Ananthswamy was asked about the BWSSB work, he denied any knowledge of it.

The mess-up comes after a recent meeting between the BBMP and the BWSSB officials over the digging up of roads by BWSSB without prior permission. In the meeting, directions were given to the engineers of the Sewerage Board to inform BBMP officials before they undertake any digging of road for laying or replacing pipes.

However, the directions seem to have fallen on deaf ears. “We are tired of telling them over and over again. We have asked them time and again to inform us before they dig up the streets in Bangalore,” a Palike official said.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Flush with funds, city goes back to the drawing board

Flush with funds, city goes back to the drawing board

More money spent and more works in endless progress. That, in a nutshell, the status of civic and infrastructure works in Bangalore over the past two years.
A whopping Rs 18,872 crore has been set aside in the government’s latest budget for Namma Bengaluru to be spent over the next three years. According to government sources, Rs 6,200 crore of the total amount will be spent this fiscal.
Despite the big money on paper, the long wait for completion of a few projects is rather worrying for experts and the common man. This, when there are also talks of additional projects like the High Speed Rail Link (HSRL) and the Monorail.
It’s not the money now, but a proper audit of works in progress alongside better co-ordination among agencies and transparency of the accounts that’s most needed for Bangalore development.

• On the civic front, the biggest success has been the BBMP polls leading to the formation of new council after a long wait of over three years. But, it’s still incomplete without the standing committees. Even the two main promises in the party manifesto during the assembly elections in 2008 — direct election of mayor with a three-year term is yet to fructify. There’s also been very little or no progress on recommendations of the Kasturirangan Committee Report on 74th amendment of the Constitution.

• The government task force Agenda for Bengaluru Infrastructure Development (ABIDe) has also not been very successful in implementing many of its dream projects. Many proposals remain on paper and as proposals on its website.
Promise in the manifesto

• Direct election of the mayor with three-year term — Not achieved

• Akrama-Sakrama policy — Not achieved

• Thrust on Infrastructure, multilevel parking, Metro Rail, pedestrian infrastructure, seamless traffic — In progress

• Property tax under a revised Self Assessment Scheme — Achieved
Promises made by minister

• Akrama Sakrama

• Revised property tax

• BBMP elections

• Development of markets
Extent of over/under achievement

• Have those projects taken off ? What stages are they in? Last two years: Completed

• Property tax collection under revised SAS scheme

• Total 1038.35 km of roads across city asphalted and 237.58 km of road were made concrete

• 11 underpasses by BBMP at the cost of Rs 23 crore

• Development work in 15 packages for storm water drain taken up at the cost of Rs 490 crore

• Converting 12 high density corridors as signal free corridors (estimate: Rs 2,500 crore)

• 600 km of road to be widened across the five new BBMP zones (estimate: Rs 2,350 crore

• Construction of six flyovers (estimate: Rs 2,350 crore)

• Railway under/over bridges at 40 points (estimate: Rs 355 crore)

• Construction of five new grade separators (estimate: Rs 85 crore)
Expert comment on overall performance
Disappointing, when compared to the high expectations. Speed of project execution has been slow — whether it is roads, grade separators or Metro Rail. The ener gy deficit and regular load shedding are worrisome. Water shortages plague many areas. One worries about flooding in the monsoon since drain work is incomplete and there are so many ongoing projects. HSRL is a pointless project. Pedestrians are neglected in infrastructure planning. Solid landfills yet to be implemented fully.
The positives? The Big 10 bus initiative is working well. Electronic City expressway is completed and there’s an intent to fix Bangalore infrastructure.
— V Ravichandar | civic expert MINISTERSPEAK There’s been fantastic work on civic and infrastructure in Bangalore. Our peak areas of development in the past two years has been the roads, flyovers, lake deve l o p m e n t and Phase-1 of Metro Rail. Apart from Rs 3,000 crore in our firstyear budget, we have also now proposed to spend another Rs 22,000 crore in the next three years only on the city and its infrastructure. A concrete decision on Akrama-Sakrama will also be taken in the next assembly session.
—R Ashoka | Bangalore in-charge minister
It’s a long list of works in progress. Very few of them have been completed. Phase-1 of the 42-km Metro Rail has progressed from a 1% growth to almost 20% growth in two years. The first coaches are expected in December 2010. Grand plans for Phase 2 apart, talks of the HSRL and Monorail as feeder services to it are also on. This apart, a total 1,187 civic works worth Rs 311.48 crore is currently in progress across all 16 assembly constituencies that come under BBMP limits. This also includes projects taken up under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JN-NURM). WATER & POWER CITIZENS ARE THIRSTY AND POWERLESS TIMES NEWS NETWORK
Promises made in the manifesto and by the minister

• The state government had increased the budget provision for irrigation projects to Rs 4,714 crore. It had promised special efforts for a comprehensive survey and rejuvenation of all water bodies and tanks.

• To improve drinking water supply to Bangalore, Rs 600 crore was allotted and Rs 100 crore for recycling underground drainage water leading to tanks.

• Around Rs 500 crore was allocated for Upper Bandra Project, 63,000 hectares land was promised for irrigation facilities and Rs 2193 for implementation of Chimmalagi Lift Irrigation project in Bijapur.
Many water projects were announced in the 2008-09 and 2009-10 budgets. This includes allocation for Cauvery IV Stage II Phase. With the initial delay in the project, work has slowly picked up pace. The Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) expects to complete the project by 2012 and supply water to the newly added BBMP areas.
The state government had increased the budget provision for irrigation projects to Rs 4714 crore. They had promised for special efforts for comprehensive survey and rejuvenation of all water bodies and tanks. Though there has been a delay in starting the Cauvery IV Stage II Phase project, the BWSSB has promised to complete it by December 2011.
Promises have been made to improve the underground drainage system and provide better drinking water supply, but the problems still seem to persist. Experts feel that announcements are aplenty but the delay in implementation of projects is affecting the supply.
Though projects are announced, they are delayed and there is no comprehensive planning to augment water supply. There is no effort towards institutional and capacity building. They are simply not equipped to deal with water crises. This institution should have the right skill to tackle them. It should transform itself into an urban water management institution and get on board a hydrogeologist, ecologists, hydrologists and start to integrate water sources into a water plan for Bangalore. The government has zero plan to cope with climate change.
— S Vishwanath | Rainwater Harvesting Club
BWSSB is working very hard and doing its best to enhance the performance. We have initiated many projects to tackle the water crisis. Besides, the Cauvery IV Stage II Phase, there are many plans to enrich ground water through rain water harvesting. Earlier, there were only two lakh connections, which has now been increased to six lakh. The supply has been the same but the demand is increasing on a daily basis.
—Katta Subramanya Naidu | BWSSB minister
The budget allocation for power for 2009-10 was enhanced to Rs 6107 crore. The government had promised infrastructure for establishment of new power plant with generation capacity of 1015 MW at Udupi. New power plants were promised at Hidkal and Gulbarga. They increased the share capital by Rs 500 crore in Karnataka Power Corporation Limited. They promised to extend Nirantara Jyothi scheme in a phased manner. Also, promises were made to provide electricity to all hutments and thandas of the state and to spend Rs 100 crore under the Ganga Kalyan scheme for electrification of 10,000 irrigation pumpsets for families below poverty line.
Summary of performance
After a lull in the energy sector since the J H Patil regime, the BJP government started new projects to generate power. The long gap had led to the increase in demand.
Karnataka government signed memoranda of understanding (MoUs) in 2009, with National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) and Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) to set up new thermal and wind energy projects in the state with a cumulative capacity of 6,900 MW in the next four years. NTPC will invest Rs 22,500 crore to set up a 4,000 MW thermal power station at Kudigi in Bijapur district and 500 MW wind power plant at six different locations in north Karnataka. Power Corporation of Karnataka Limited (PCKL) signed the MoU with NTPC for the project. The projects will use both domestic and imported coal to run the plants. Another 2,400 MW thermal power station is being set up through a joint venture between Karnataka Power Corporation Limited (KPCL), Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) and a private player. IDFC has shown interest to be the third partner in the joint venture.
However, the eighth unit of Raichur Thermal Power Station (RTPS) and second unit of Bellary Thermal Power Station are likely to be commissioned this year. However, it would take another three years to get the other projects commissioned.
This government has inherited an extremely poor power situation. For many years, there was no new investment and generation capacity. There was no attempt to build public opinion when environmentalists were attacking new projects. When BJP government came in, it signed an agreement with the Chhattisgarh government for new generation. They have also initiated new projects. But none of this will deliver power at least by 2013. The energy department of Karnataka has a major short-term and medium-term challenges with the growing demand.
— S L Rao | Chairman, Institute of Social and Economic Change
The Yeddyurappa-led BJP government completes two years in power on May 30. It’s time then to see which ministers are discharging their responsibilities, who must gear up, who are plain inactive and who else should be included in the team.

• Who has been performing well?

• Which minister must pull up his socks?

• Who should be out of the ministry?

• Who else should be included and why?

• Rate these ministers on a scale of 1 to 10, ten being the highest

Rain water harvesting? Hmmm...err...

Rain water harvesting? Hmmm...err...
BWSSB set May 27 as deadline to set up RWH units, but even the mayor’s house does not have them

Nine months ago, Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) set a May 27 deadline for private residences to make arrangements to rain water harvesting (RWH). The deadline is just around the corner, but the lack of will to execute the project has meant that even the mayor is yet to comply! What’s more, none of the home-owners in his lane have bothered either!
Mayor S K Nataraj lives on Sarakki 12th Cross. It is a narrow lane choc a bloc with residences, street dogs snoozing at the corners and overflowing garbage. The city’s ‘First Citizen’ lives in house number 144, which is a sprawling two-storey building on a site measuring 80X40 sq ft. Not difficult to spot due to a number of people milling around.
A huge overhead tank is visible. Possibly necessary, considering the number of people who throng his residence. We spoke to neighbours about the water situation in the area.
Roopa Ram, a garment shop-owner who lives across the street, says, “Just like the rest of the city, we get water every alternate day. We normally don’t face problems because all of us have overhead tanks.”
In case of emergencies, like the breach in Thippagondanhalli reservoir, residents depend on the borewell in a government school neaby to meet their requirements.
“Another option is the borewell in the mayor’s house. In a crisis, he allows us to take water,” says DySP (retd) R Narayanappa.
We then entered the mayor’s house, but Nataraj was not at home. His wife graciously welcomed us and chatted about the various problems in the city. “The biggest problem is water, for which there does not seem to be any solution!” she says.
Ask her about rain water harvesting, she says, “It just hasn’t happened.” When we asked her if other residents in the lane have taken the lead in getting rain harvesting units, the answer is negative.
We spotted a new multi-storey coming up nearby, but no sign of RWH in that building either.
Finally, we spoke to the mayor himself. Why hadn’t a single resident in his lane made arrangements for rain water harvesting even nine months after the BWSSB’s diktat?
Like a true politician, Nataraj is vague. “We were busy with election work. But, we will conduct an awareness programme for the residents. We will begin soon,” he says.
But, what about his own residence? “That also will be done soon,” is all he had to say.
How ‘soon’ will that be is anybody’s guess. But, we have learnt that the BWSSB has extended the deadline till July 27.


Major study confirms that borewells and other sources of potable water in Bangalore are contaminated with Radon, a radioactive substance that can cause cancer

Most of Bangalore’s ground water resources is radioactive. Yes, radioactive! This is no Cassandra call by some foreignfunded eco-warriors subsidised to spread alarm.
Exhaustive research conducted by the Department of Environmental Studies, Bangalore University, in collaboration with Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), Mumbai, Government College, Mandya, and Central Ground Water Board, Bangalore, have established the presence of high levels of Radon in the the city’s ground water.
Radon is a carcinogenic substance. Experts say drinking water which has traces of this substance can directly lead to stomach and lung cancers. The permissible level of Radon is 11.83 Bq/litre. Levels of Radon in Bangalore’s ground water is estimated between 56 Bq/l and 1000 Bq/l.
“The presence of Radon is due to the presence of Uranium in the geological profile. Random samples collected across the city indicate Radon’s presence in the ground water is beyond permissible limits,” said BU’s Prof R K Somashekar. He and Dr K Shivanna, from the ISOTOPE Application Division (BARC), are the main researchers of ground water contamination in the city. THIS WATER CAN CAUSE CANCER! Study confirms that water sources in city are contaminated with Radon, a radioactive substance
Radon is produced as a result of the decay of the radioactive substance Radium. Radon enters ground water reserves like borewells. Bangalore’s rich granite source is one possible reason for the production of Radon. Rampant drilling of borewells allows Radon to seep into the water. Those dependent on borewells for their drinking water are at high risk. It’s alarming that 30 to 35 per cent of city residents consume borewell water.
“Ground water contaminated by Radon if ingested can lead to stomach cancers,” Prof Somashekar said. “Reverse osmosis and other filtration methods will not eliminate Radon,” he added.
Dr Bindu, Resource person, Cancer Studies, Kidwai Memorial Institute Of Oncology, said, "Radon is a radio active substance. It cannot be found every where. But then, there are chances of Cancer spreading if people are exposed to it for a long time. There are other factors to be analysed like the percentage of pollutants and the levels of exposure to people in water."
While Radon is one cause of Cancer, there are other pollutants which can mix with under ground water too leading to Lung and Stomach Cancer. "Usually, chemical pollutants are the culprits. When they penetrate into the water tables, their alkalinity mixes with the water causing ground water pollution. But, this happens in the outskirts as landfills are usually made in the out skirts of the city," she said.
Chief Radiologist and Oncologist, Bharath Cancer Hospital, Dr Vishweshwara, said, "This cannot happen overnight. If the person is exposed to Radon over a long period of time, a chance of malignancy can be high. The fact that ground water contamination can cause Cancer cannot be ruled out. These cases happen where land fills and dumping of chemical wastes are high."

State okays Metro Rail extensions

State okays Metro Rail extensions

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The state govern ment has approved the extension of the Metro Rail corridors to increase its occupancy and keep more traffic off city roads. The High Powered Committee (HPC) has given the go ahead for extending the East-West and North-South corridors and the new route between IIM-B and Nagavara which will cost about Rs 11,600 crore to build.
While phase 1 of the Metro Rail stretches over 42 km and will cost Rs 11,500 crore, the extensions and new route will stretch over about 52 km in phase 2.

The approval for the stretch between IIM-B and Nagavara will be an advantage for passengers from Shivajinagar and Bannerghatta Road as they will now have train connectivity to various destinations. A detailed project report (DPR) is being prepared for another stretch of the Metro Rail between RV Road and Electronic City for submission to the HPC, according to sources in the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (BMRCL), who were optimistic that this route too

will be approved as it will serve to ferry techies to their workplaces.
The state government recently approved the extension of the Metro Rail between Peenya and Bengaluru International Exhibition Centre and Byappanahalli and ITPL in the NorthSouth corridor and from Puttenahalli to Anjanapura Layout and between Mysore Road and Kengeri Satellite Town in the EastWest corridor.

The BMRCL is expected to now prepare a DPR on the extensions and new routes for the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC).

Reach 1 of the project between Byappanahalli and Chinnaswamy Stadium is slated for completion by December 2010, and work may begin soon on the MG Road boulevard, say sources.

Bellandur junction turns chaotic

Bellandur junction turns chaotic

Shilpa CB. Bangalore

It's going to be a tough commute through the Bellandur Outer Ring Road for the next few months. Fresh barricades put up for the construction of the Bellandur flyover near Ecospace Business Park covers almost half the main carriageway, creating a bottleneck.
The absence of proper boards alerting diversion of light vehicles into the service road is already impeding movement here.
On Tuesday morning, it took Girish Kurudi, an employee of a company in Ecospace, double the usual 45-minute travel to office. Kurudi was aware of the changes in traffic movement but did not expect the shoddy work by contractors to delay him so much, he says.
More than a lakh vehicles ply on this road every day. Even minor jams tend to affect traffic flow at places as far as Sarjapur Road, Marathahalli and Old Airport Road.
This is why projects that are likely to hamper vehicular movement have to be planned well, says Viswanath Seetharam, general secretary, Outer Ring Road Companies' Association (ORRCA).
The ORRCA gave the clearance for the work only after contractors promised to fill potholes, put up sign boards and assigned home guards. "But when I arrived this morning, confusion was reigning supreme," says Viswanath, adding that the contractor was playing truant.
Prabhuswamy C, the contractor enlisted to construct the flyover, defends himself stating that "home guards are not my responsibility".
He says the sign boards are ready; but, they are few and far between, and cannot be read in the night.
While the contractor is confident of expediting work, Seetharam and BDA's site engineer insist that the traffic police will not allow him to proceed unless they are satisfied with measures taken to facilitate traffic movement.
"We have given strict instructions that unless all steps are taken, construction work should not begin," says Venkatesh T, traffic police inspector attached to the Madiwala police station.
As engineers, traffic policemen, and guards mull over what next, the commuter is already up against a barricade that is here to stay for the next 18 months or more — the estimated time required for completion.