Saturday, July 31, 2010

War memorial is shaping up steadily

War memorial is shaping up steadily

Bangalore: The Indira Gandhi musical fountain park premises on Raj Bhavan Road is abuzz. If all goes well as promised by the government, the National Military Memorial (NMM) should be ready in a year’s time.
BDA commissioner Bharat Lal Meena said work resumed on the site soon after CM B S Yeddyurappa’s announcement in the legislative council on July 16. Meena hoped this longstanding project would be completed by December 12 this year — a day which also marks Vijay Divas.
“We are following the same work plan as decided earlier. However, keeping in mind environmental concerns, we’ll be focussing on minimum construction work. There’ll be no unnecessary tree-cutting exercise,” Meena said.
Had the agency received any written communication from the government to continue work? “No. But the chief minister has made his decision very clear in the announcement. So, we have no reasons to halt work, considering there’s no change in plan.”
Krishna Apartment Association members are determined to fight on against building the memorial at this park. “Work continues but we’ll continue with our protest too. We aren’t against the NMM but the park must not be destroyed,” said Abhay Jain, a member.
“The case was scheduled to come up for hearing in the Supreme Court on July 26. But it has been put off for another month as notices have to be issued to two more parties in the case — state chief secretary and BDA commissioner,” Sudhir Pai, association secretary told TOI.


Regional Transport Authority Can’t Get BMTC To Remove Ads on Its Buses
Vinay Madhav | TNN

Bangalore: Regional Transport Authority (RTA) officials never had it so tough. While they have managed to stop all private and government vehicles from displaying advertisements, they’ve found the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) a tough nut to crack.
They’re armed with an Act of law, a high court ruling and a Road Safety Authority (RSA) decision which prohibits display of ads on vehicles as these could distract other drivers. However BMTC buses, especially the Volvos, continue to display huge ads.
What’s worse, government ads with huge photographs of chief minister B S Yeddyurappa and transport minister R Ashoka are on almost all buses plying towards IT corridor areas like Whitefield and Electronic City. Interestingly, BMTC managing director Syed Zameer Pasha says he’s unaware of this blatant flouting of rules.
Rule 127(1) of the Karnataka Motor Vehicle Act prohibits display of ads on private or public transport vehicles without permission from the Regional Transport Authority.
In 2005-06, RSA prohibited advertisements, stating they distracted other drivers and leading to accidents. The decision was challenged in the high court but the court upheld the RSA decision.
The RTOs began enforcing the decision on private vehicles, including those purchased by companies to transport their own products. Even autorickshaws and other goods carriers belonging to pickle, detergent and other products were forced to remove ads after RTOs started levying fines.
The RTA allowed corporate ads on Volvo buses, subject to certain conditions and collected an annual fee of Rs 10,000. When private companies objected in 2009, RTA cancelled the conditional permits.
This didn’t deter BMTC and repeated reminders by RTOs didn’t have any effect. Though RTOs were asked to book BMTC buses, they dared not since they had photos of the transport minister and chief minister! The RTOs decided not to give fitness certificates to Volvo buses with ads. That’s when BMTC officials got creative. They used removable ad material without using glue. “Once they get the fitness certificate, they fix the ad back. What can we do about it?’’ asked an RTO.

Corporator? Do we’ve one, wonder residents

Corporator? Do we’ve one, wonder residents
It’s A Problem Of Plenty, Literally. Innumerable Potholes, Manholes Only Make Life Difficult
Once a CMC, this ward has now been added to the BBMP. But the tale of woes is the same — unending civic problems and missing corporator
Aarthi R | TNN

Bangalore: The roads look broad, drains wide and poles at regular distance for streetlights. But take a closer look and you will find the roads are full of huge potholes, streetlights are missing and drains overflow during rain.
The widened HBR main road was tarred just before the BBMP elections. Today, it already has many potholes. Manholes on this stretch compound the woes. Some of them get waterlogged during rain, and it’s difficult to spot them. The entire road has no proper streetlights which makes it almost impossible to navigate when dusk falls.
But these are just a few of the many problems here.
R Lazarus, a resident of HBR Layout I Stage, has been waiting for two years to get the fused streetlight outside his house repaired. He narrates his frustrating experience while following up the issue. Recent robberies in his area are also making him anxious.
“My earlier attempts at contacting the BBMP office went in vain. My call bounced from one official to another. Finally, one day, a van came here with some staff, but it was futile as they did not fix GE lights. Though we said even a tubelight was fine, they did not have stock. I then complained online. I got four messages from BBMP, giving my complaint number and other details. I also got a call from the regional officer saying the GE light will be fixed in 30 minutes. Now, it’s three days and nobody has come,’’ he says.
Did he try contacting the corporator? “Oh! I didn’t know about that. Nobody has visited us till date,’’ he says
In another part of the same ward, N Mohammed Khan has a complaint. The vacant site right opposite his building is used as a dumpyard. Locals and BBMP tippers add to the stinking heap regularly. His constant complaints to staff and even putting up boards with messages have not helped. In fact, the boards have even been stolen overnight! “I have been complaining. It’s of no use. It has remained this way for two to three years. Locals too don’t cooperate,’’ complains this resident who has been living here for 10 years. Again, he is also unaware about the ward having a corporator.
Sanjeevi V who stays in I Stage, 5th Block, says he is hopeful of some action. “The corporator visited us soon after taking over. He heard our complaints and promised action once he got funds. We haven’t heard from him again but hope he will keep his promise. Roads are a problem here,’’ he says.
Drinking water Irregular garbage collection Streetlights Manholes on main roads Sanitation Increasing commercialization Stray dog menace
What are the problem areas in your ward?
Being a newly added area, roads, water, sanitation and garbage collection are still an issue. Further, this area is a mix of BDA and revenue pockets. We also have many slums. So, it needs serious planning.
Have you started on any planning yet?
Yes. Most pending works are complete. I am waiting for the budget to start on new projects. It will take at least six months for me to show any change.
Bigger projects can wait, but what about streetlights and regular maintenance? Even garbage tippers dump their loads everywhere.
There is no problem with regular maintenance. This area was recently shifted from Byatarayanapura to BBMP’s East zone. We haven’t had adequate staff to monitor these works. Even the health department here had no officer for months. It will be sorted soon.
Almost all residents say you never visit the ward?
I don’t know. I have to look into this.
We don’t know if there is a corporator. If there is one, he is unfit to be heading the ward. Just visit 9th Main and check its condition. It’s remained like this for almost four years now.
— R Lazarus, | RESIDENT
What is the corporator’s name? We don’t know. Nobody has ever visited this area. We continue to make repeated calls to the BBMP office. Nothing has changed.
— N Mohammed Khan, | A RESIDENT
Are you a resident of HBR Layout? Do you face the same problems or other issues in your area? Better still, have a solution to these problems discussed?
Is the corporator of your ward yet to get down to brass tacks? Is he yet to contact Resident Welfare Associations and get grievances redressed? After featuring some proactive corporators in these columns, we will now look for those corporators who haven’t done any visible work. If civic work is piling up in your surroundings, let us know.

Here red mark claims green cover

Here red mark claims green cover

Sharan Poovanna First Published : 31 Jul 2010 06:25:04 AM ISTLast Updated : 31 Jul 2010 11:44:38 AM IST
BANGALORE: In most of the places, residential and commercial properties are the main victims of the city corporation’s road widening projects, but on Old Airport Road, it is the green cover that will be the prime casualty.
Old Airport Road is one of the longest roads to be widened.
The stretch from Trinity Circle on M G Road to HAL’s Helicopter division will be made 30-metre wide.
The residents, however, do not see any rationale behind widening the road. Karthick Raman, a BPO executive, said the road was wide enough to handle the traffic and did not need to be widened further. He conceded that it is a main road that sees traffic jams during peak hours, but added that the jams got cleared quickly as the road was well connected and wide enough.
“There are many trees that are on Defence land on this road and all of them are under threat just because the BBMP thinks that widening the road is the only solution to all the problems of the city,” said Shantanu, an IT professional who uses the road frequently.
He added that the road had handled traffic comfortably even when there was a rush of the vehicles to the old airport.
“Road widening is not required as the problem lies elsewhere,” said Vinay Srinivasa of Hasiru Usiru. He said the BBMP was pursuing the project even though public and environmentalists were against it.

Palike gears up for rain trouble

Palike gears up for rain trouble

Express News Service First Published : 31 Jul 2010 06:39:51 AM ISTLast Updated : 31 Jul 2010 11:32:42 AM IST
BANGALORE: To increase its monsoon preparedness, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike will deploy more manpower to handle flooding and rain-related mishaps.
BBMP Commissioner Siddaiah had directed officials to identify the low-lying areas in the city where flooding was imminent to take precautionary measures.
“All the officials and zonal offices and Prahari teams are informed and equipped to clean up places to avoid any problems during heavy rains,” Siddaiah said.
He said de-silting of drains was underway and nearly 75 per cent of the work was complete.
The commissioner had directed the officials to complete the de-silting by July 31.
“All the encroachments on storm water drains would be removed,” he said.
He said raincoats and essential equipment would be kept in all zones to ensure that any situation can be attended to at the earliest.
He said other civic agencies were being roped in to ensure coordination.
“We have informed the Forest Department for clearing uprooted trees,” he said.
He also said the number of control room personnel would be increased to attend and circulate information regarding such cases.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Are citizens fighting shy of shared autos?

Are citizens fighting shy of shared autos?
Though Unions Have Initiated A Feasibility Study, They Feel More And More Bangloreans Will Take To This System Only If Major Areas Adopt It
Prashanth G N | TNN

Bangalore: If commuters in Hyderabad and Kolkata can share an autorickshaw, why not those in Bangalore? After the steep fare revision, which comes into effect from August 1, some auto unions have themselves mooted the idea and even initiated a feasibility study for moderate to long commutes.
In such autos, three to five commuters share the fare over a particular distance. For example, if the rate from Vijayanagar to M G Road is Rs 60, three commuters pay just Rs 20 each when they travel together, a saving of Rs 40 for each. For regular commuters, this could result in substantial monthly saving.
Adarsha Auto Union and Taxi Drivers president M Manjunath said the union, along with a couple of others, has initiated a study on where and how this system can be introduced in the city. “We’re looking at separate stands for these autos which will have different boards too. Initially, they could ply to particular locations from a single point and those destinations could have a common alighting point. We’re checking if they could ply between 8 am and 11 am as well as 4 pm and 7 pm.”
Destinations could be office areas or from where other autos and buses are easily available. For example, there could be shared auto from Jayanagar Shopping Complex to Shivajinagar/ M G Road, Majestic, Indiranagar, HAL airport; from Shivajinagar to HAL airport to Whitefield; from Silk Board to Electronic City and from one residential area to another over moderate to long distances. Even short distances can have shared autos wherein three commuters can pay just Rs 6 to reach a destination just 2km away.
Shared autos currently ply between Vijayanagar and Moodalpalya on Nagarbhavi Main Road, inner areas of Goripalya/ JJ Nagar, between Shivajinagar and Tannery Road where commuters pay between Rs 5 and Rs 10 for short distances.
Auto unions say Bangaloreans may take to this system once it’s launched in major areas. “We need demarcated boarding and alighting points. Passengers can divide the amount and pay their share regardless of whether they get down at the final destination or somewhere in-between. We don’t know whether stage-bystage charges would be profitable for us.”
All 80,000 to 1 lakh autos won’t be part of this system; only 10 to 20 autos in each area will be earmarked for it. The unions will decide the number of autos for this system.
Transport department officials say if all autos have to switch over to the sharing system, an amendment would have to be brought to existing regulations along with cabinet approval. The nature of permits for autos would have to be changed from contract carriage permit to stage carriage. This means that auto charges have to be fixed for every stage, like in buses. The Rs 30 fare from M G Road to Majestic would be divided as per stages with each stage having a fixed amount.
“Having a dedicated batch of 25 or 30 autos from one point to another would require an amendment of regulations. It is a policy decision and the nature of permit changes. I sought such a proposal but no one has come forward with it,” transport commissioner Bhaskar Rao said.

Displacement fear gets a 'new' face

Displacement fear gets a 'new' face

Locals on Old Airport Rd feel they are being edged out to make room for newcomers

Shilpa CB

The average Bangalorean has been feeling short-changed. The 'outsider' is being preferred to the local. The 'original' settlers of the city are being displaced to make room for the moneyed new-comers, alleges a resident requesting anonymity.
One can see this play out clearly on Old Airport Road where shop-keepers and residents have been living and working for more than half a century. Now they are being asked to make way for a bigger road to enhance connectivity to the clusters of IT companies and newly-formed layouts.
Thanks to this deep mistrust locals have against civic authorities, they are wary of handing over land to the BBMP for any project.
"Will they make use of all the land for civic amenities? I don't think so. They will acquire twice the amount they may need for roads, use part of it and sell the rest to outsiders. That's what is happening with the NICE Road and that is likely to happen all over the city," says Ramu S, a landlord.
There's no other explanation why Palike is proceeding with the project despite the public outcry. Traffic density has dropped drastically since the closure of the HAL airport. Vehicles move smoothly at the flyover. The flow is disrupted only when VIPs are driven in to hotels here after road closure. Such disruptions will be a regular feature. So adding more width to the already broad stretch will not make much of a difference, traders say.
However, if the authorities still want to go ahead with this project, they can do it without demolishing established businesses. "There is so much government land lying right in front. It remains unused. Why not convert it into a road," he asks.
Revenue-generating units can be saved by utilising the government land in a better way. Owners and shopkeepers with small establishments along the road agree.
"About 28 members rely on this space for their livelihood. They will lose a lot," says Nagaraj KC, owner of a bar and restaurant.
Local traders showed Google Earth images of the stretch to city planners to make them realise how the project would wipe out the commercial area. Though they got assurance from planners, the fear of losing businesses has not left them.
"They can take all of that (government) land. Instead, they plan to take 50% from this side and 50% from that side of the road," says Chandulal S, owner of a pharmacy.
The pharmacy functions in a building that was built recently. It is the only one that has plenty of space in front. Now it stands to lose the parking space. The GR Complex further down the road is not so fortunate. Although built recently with one-and-half metre setback, it could lose a few feet to the road project.
Lakshmipathi Babu Rao, owner of the complex, says: "We are filing an objection as the compensation they are offering is meager. TDR will be of no use. There is no demand for space in commercial complexes, so there's no point in building them."
The concept of transfer of development rights is a joke in a city where one can get any plans approved for a petty bribe. Who will agree to pay for a development rights certificate or transfer of development rights, businessmen ask.
Traffic problem is not a major issue, especially after the airport was shifted. But some attention to details can make travelling on this stretch more comfortable.
"There is no U-turn here. The board is placed much before the actual turn. If one misses it, he has to go all the way to Command Hospital point to take a turn. Anyone who wants to turn here will have to take a left turn, then a U-turn before entering this road. Those familiar with the road are aware of such intricacies. But anyone new will make a mistake and fall into the trap of the waiting policeman," says an employee at a shop.
These small violations continue to occur much to the benefit of policemen, who, instead of guiding traffic to follow rules, wait for violations to occur and then penalise drivers.
Making the road signal-free will kill all business activity on this road, traders fear. Instead, it will be sensible to wait for the Metro and then proceed with modifications to roads.
"We are sure that the Metro will slash the vehicle population drastically. Commuters will get off the train at Indiranagar station and use small roads to reach home," says Ramu. The Domlur bus stand being turned into a satellite bus stand could change the traffic pattern.
"People might stop taking autos and taxis to go all the way to Majestic to travel out of the city. Instead, they will catch buses right here. That will give a boost to our businesses as well," says Nagaraj.
There is plenty to wait and watch. Measures can be designed as changes occur. Road widening can wait or be shelved permanently.

No middle path: Road wins over trees

No middle path: Road wins over trees

Article Rank

Even before the controversy over the road connect ing Bellary Road to Yelahanka through the Gandhi Krishi Vignan Kendra is laid to rest, BBMP has decid ed to construct a road through the biodiversity hub unmindful of protests by facul ty and students.

Experts have cried foul saying that this will cause irreparable damage to a prominent green cover in the city, reports Amit S.


Bengaluru, July 29: Green activists of the city, who have already lost the battle against the war memorial in the Indira Gandhi Musical Fountain park, woke up to yet another threat Thursday morning as BBMP officials arrived at the Gandhi Krishi Vignana Kendra (GKVK) campus of the University of Agricultural Sciences i (UAS) on Bellary Road to build a road through its lush greenery even as controversy still rages over , a 9-km-long road that was to cut through it to provide easier access for commuters from Yeshwanthpur and Yelahanka to the Bellary Road and the new international airport at Devanahalli.
When BBMP first began construction of the road, f several environmentalists and former vice-chancellors of UAS filed a petition in . the high court opposing it saying it would damage the fragile ecology of the campus with its many botanical plants and large number of trees.
l BBMP, however, contended the project was not new and the UAS Board had okayed it when first proposed. The high court then directed a lower court to review the project in detail.
, But even while the UAS . and environmentalists were waiting for the lower court to give its verdict on the dispute, a single judge bench passed an order on a public interest litigation recently allowing construction of a road through the campus from the Judicial Layout to Bellary Road. Enraged faculty and board members of the UAS approached Governor H.R. Bhardwaj imploring him to help them protect the university campus, a declared biodiversity heritage site.

But there is a feeling of despondency on the campus as many now feel that they are fighting a losing battle.
"Which judicial authority can we approach in the state when the high court itself has allowed the construction of the road although the matter is pending before a lower court," ask angry faculty and students.

"We have no hope from the Karnataka judiciary and see no option now but to approach the Supreme Court to save our campus, " says Siddarth Prabhakar, president of the Agriculture Students' Association, Some of them claim they are in the process of collecting documents to show that the former UAS vice chancellor was forced to sign the documents allowing BBMP to build a road through the campus.

"None of the lawyers want to take up this case as it involves the Judicial Layout where the judges stay," claims a senior professor.

Wider roads here will mean water scarcity

Wider roads here will mean water scarcity
If TDR targets an apartment on Doddaballapur main road, the sewerage treatment tank will go and residents won’t be able to recycle 2,00,000 litres of water a day

BBMP’s road-widening exercise is now raising the hackles of residents at Prestige Monte Carlo on Doddaballapur Main Road who say they will lose their Sewerage Treatment Plant (STP) and water tanks.
A resident, Major (retired) Amit Chatterjee, told Bangalore Mirror: “The BBMP issued a notice on June 10, saying they will widen the road to the right of Prestige Monte Carlo leading to Ananthapura Village. The government’s Revised Master Plan 2015 seeks to widen it to 40 feet, but BBMP’s notices say they are planning to widen it to 60 feet to reduce heavy traffic.”
Residents think the reason is a preposterous one as there’s hardly any traffic here.
If BBMP has its way, water will become a big problem for residents in the 440 flats. “BBMP intends to acquire 15 feet of Prestige Monte Carlo along its 1,500 feet stretch but this is where the complex’s entire domestic water storage, filtration and distribution system is located. This is also where the underground static water storage tanks for firefighting, fire engine pumps, and a driveway to allow free movement of fire tenders and other emergency services like ambulances are,” said Chatterjee.
Residents fear they will also lose their STP and water tanks. “Three huge tanks, 100ft by 20ft each, lie beneath the setback area, storing 7,00,000 litres of water both for drinking and firefighting,” said Anand.
Also, the complex had a STP set up in 2004, in keeping with the recommendations of Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB), BWSSB and BBMP. “Our STP has a capacity of 250 KLD for tertiary treatment of waste water which is then recycled for landscape irrigation, basement and driveway washing, car-washing etc,” said M P Singh, another resident.
Residents say, the cost of relocating the plant and water tanks will be a whopping Rs 4 crore and it will take a year for it to happen. “What will we do till then?” asked Singh.
Residents have also sent a letter to the Joint Commissioner, BBMP, Yelahanka, and chairmen of KSPCB and BWSSB.
“We clearly mentioned that by surrendering a part of the property, the complex would be unable to conserve water to the tune of 2,00,000 litres per day by recycling. It would lead to over-exploitation of groundwater and water scarcity in the locality which cannot be in public interest,” said Chatterjee.
An official from the BBMP joint commissioner’s office, Yelahanka zone, said, “The road widening project has been taken up for the benefit of Ananthapura, Veeranagar, Kempanahalli, Ramagonahalli and neighbouring villages. If the apartment residents have good approach roads, others should enjoy the same convenience. There is a possibility of BBMP taking the compound wall, but there is no question of taking the tank and STP.”

Rainfall, winds leave their mark

Rainfall, winds leave their mark

Karnataka Bureau
Schools, colleges in Kodagu close

‘Rainfall deficit in the State has been bridged'

Bangalore: Almost every part of the State — coastal and interior — saw a heavy downpour on Thursday, causing tree falls, building collapses and flooded roads, and forcing several schools to close.

In Udupi, 12 students of a Zilla Panchayat Higher Primary School at Manipur village suffered injuries when a Mayflower tree fell on the building following rain and strong winds. The injured children were rushed to the District Government Hospital in Udupi. A Government Junior College at Bada village was also damaged when a tree fell on it. As many as 19 houses were damaged in the district. There were reports of sea erosion at Tenka Yermal village. The total damage caused to property in the district has been estimated at Rs. 3,67,600.

Following incessant rainfall in Kodagu district, and the steadily rising levels of the river Cauvery, the administration has declared holidays for schools and PU colleges on Friday and Saturday.

It has been three days since the Bhagamandala-Madikeri and Bhagamandala-Aiyyangeri have been under water. A number of minor landslips have occurred on the newly-laid Madikeri-Sunticoppa road, and efforts are on to remove the debris to make way for traffic. The raging winds also caused branches to fall. However no loss of life or destruction of property has so far been reported.

Parts of Chikmagalur, Udupi, Uttara Kannada and Dakshina Kannada received “very heavy” rainfall measuring between 15 to 17 cm. Parts of Shimoga, Kodagu and Belgaum saw heavy downpour too. The rainfall has, however, brought about a much-anticipated inflow into State's major dams — Krishnaraja Sagar, Kabini and Harangi.

The rainfall was owing to the low pressure system and upper air circulation — one each in the Bay of Bengal and in the Arabian Sea, said B. Puttanna, Director of the Meteorological Centre. “It is only when these systems cross into the land that the rainfall will abate,” he added. With these torrents, the rainfall deficit in the State has been bridged, said Mr. Puttanna.

After virtually a daylong downpour, Bangalore recorded 39.4 mm rainfall on Thursday.

The State can expect more rain and thundershowers in the next two days, says the Meteorological Centre forecast.

BIA expansion for more space

BIA expansion for more space
Bangalore:July 29, DHNS:

The Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL) announced on Thursday that it plans to invest an additional Rs 977.90 crore for the expansion of the Bengaluru International Airport at Devanahalli in two phases.

The move comes in the backdrop of the Joint Legislature Committee pointing out several inadequacies in the airport.

In its report, the committee made serveral scathing observations, underlining that the space available for commercial purposes at the airport was more than that of the space available for public/travellers . It had also made negative observations regarding the number of boarding gates, aero bridges, toilet facilities and the VIP lounge space available.

The management has decided to add new facilities that would address the issues, while also expanding the airport as planned earlier. According to the proposed expansion plan, Terminal One at the airport which is about 71,000 square metres will be expanded by another 50,000 square metres, to accommodate about 17 million passengers a year against 9-12 million passengers currently.

It is learnt that the BIAL Board of Directors has proposed it to the government, and once approved by the latter, will take the proposal to the Civil Aviation ministry.
The management is also planning to build a Terminal Two in the long-run with the provision to expand it to 36 million passengers a year in due course, the proposal of which is with the State Government.

Airside infrastructure would also be strengthened simultaneously to cater to the increased passenger volumes as part of the expansion programme.
The airport premises will be spruced up, with a revamped landscaping improving the visual experience from the Interchange on the National Highway 7 right up to the Terminal building.

Briefing reporters, Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa said: “I am happy that the GVK Group, which has recently acquired 29 per cent equity in BIAL is actively pursuing the expansion of the airport. I am told that an investment of nearly Rs 977.90 crore is planned in two phases.”

Congratulating G V Krishna Reddy and G V Sanjay Reddy for becoming the Vice-Chairman and Managing Director, respectively, Yeddyurappa said the government hopes the expansion will be completed in 18 months as expected.
He also thanked the new management for giving due consideration to the sentiments expressed by the Legislature Committee and taking steps to add new facilities besides providing more space for the travellers including the VIPs.
DH News Service

Wide plans for the short stretch

Wide plans for the short stretch

Sharan Poovanna First Published : 29 Jul 2010 05:27:35 AM ISTLast Updated : 29 Jul 2010 09:14:06 AM IST
BANGALORE: First came the metro plan on nearby M G Road. Then the traffic followed with the road diversions.
Dickenson Road, which connects M G Road with Ulsoor Road, will now face the horrors of road widening.
The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) plans to widen the 300-metre stretch of the road between M G Road and Ulsoor Road.
The stretch, which is approximately 18 metres now (including pavement), will be widened to 22 metres.
Property on both sides will have to give about 2 metres of land for this project. This will include commercial establishments, the Manipal Centre, Bescom and a church.
But people using that road disapprove of the widening plan.
“You can make the roads as wide as you want but that will not solve the problem,” said Arun, a cab driver.
He said it takes twice the time to get past the small stretch as there is traffic pouring in from at least four major roads, including one highway (the Old Madras Road).
Prakash Gowda, an employee with a private firm in Manipal Centre, said the beautiful road had lost its charm due to the heavy traffic and incessant digging by the water board.
“I am not sure that this road can take any more traffic,” he said.
According to him, there was a good balance before all this chaos started.
“Cubbon Road eased traffic on M G Road,” he said. “But the alternate has become the main route now.”
Arun said the only solution he saw was that people should start using company vehicles to get to work as much as possible.
As many as 216 roads in the city will come under the BBMP’s bulldozer for widening.

BBMP parks bag 106 prizes

BBMP parks bag 106 prizes

Y Maheswara Reddy First Published : 29 Jul 2010 05:21:15 AM ISTLast Updated : 29 Jul 2010 09:12:46 AM IST
BANGALORE: The Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has a reason to be proud. As many as 106 parks in the east zone have bagged first prizes in the park category as part of the forthcoming Lal Bagh Flower Show.
A six-member expert team visited these parks on Tuesday and certified them as qualified for first prizes. “We have prepared 106 parks this year for competition as against 104 last year. We are very happy to get first prizes for all the parks that were prepared for the competition,” said M Anjanappa, superintendent, horticulture (east), BBMP.
Anjanappa said that the BBMP plans to develop six more parks this year. “We have identified four parks at Ward No.
50 represented by Deputy Mayor Sadanand.
Two more parks have been identified in Indiranagar,” he said. The BBMP plans to spend Rs 1.47 crore to develop the six parks. “We are spending Rs 1.35 crore for four parks at Benniganahalli and Rs 12 lakh for the two at Indiranagar. We will take up development of other parks next year,” he said.
As many as 155 parks from Bangalore South have participated in the competition. “We are waiting for the results,” said Dodda Kende Gowda, superintendent, horticulture (south), BBMP.
A Narayanaswamy, joint director, horticulture department, has said that arrangements are being made to organise the flower show at Lal Bagh. “Last year, 322 participants took part in the flower show. As of now, 242 participants have confirmed their participation this year. We expect around 400 participants during this year,” said Narayanaswamy.
He said that around four lakh people visited the flower show at Lal Bagh last year. “We expect more people to visit the flower show this year,” he said.

Palike approves nine projects without debate

Palike approves nine projects without debate
Bangalore, July 29, DHNS:

Amidst chaos the BJP-led Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Council on Thursday approved nine more infrastructure related projects, worth Rs 28.34 crore, without any discussion.

For the third time in as many months at the Council sessions, the BJP appeared to have taken “advantage” of the opposition storming the well demanding the suspension of the ruling party corporator over a statement offending the controversial corporator from Yeshwanthpur, Munirathna.

The opposition leaders termed it as a “stage managed” session by the BJP and blamed the BBMP Mayor S K Nataraj for playing partisan politics. “They have been time and again using the opportunity to approve the agenda without any discussion when the House has not been in order,” alleged opposition leader M Nagaraju.

The agenda tabled at the Council was not shown to any of the opposition members nor their own partymen, including the Chairman of the Standing Committee for Taxation and Finance, P N Sadashiva.

Speaking to the media, Sadashiva stated that while the members of the Standing Committee were not aware of the agenda to be approved, he had given the green signal to table the nine items in the agenda orally to the Mayor. “He (Mayor) termed them as emergency matter and hence I gave the approval,” said Sadashiva.

Opposition leader and corporator from Hanumanthnagar, K Chandrashekar claimed that as per the Karnataka Municipal Corporation (KMC) Supplementary Act, if there is no prior notice, of seven days, to the Council on the agenda to be discussed then the Mayor had the provision to call upon only one agenda and not nine of them.

While the House was still grappling with the approval of the agenda without any discussion, Mayor S K Nataraj made a quiet exit to attend a function elsewhere in the City. The Congress Party corporators who after the adjournment of the House met the Commissioner appealed to him not to implement the projects approved.

But there was no seemingly positive reaction from the Commissioner, Siddaiah. Speaking to the media he said: “There are a certain set of precedents and rules which have to be followed. As a Commissioner my job is to implement those plans which have been approved by the BBMP Council.”

List of projects

* Rejuvenation of the Byatrayanapura Lake 2nd phase: Rs 14.48 crore

* Road widening, asphalting and building of the pedestrian crossing on Muthuraj Road and Hoskerehalli road joining Outer Ring Road with Bank Colony: Rs 3.17 crore

* Construction of a Railway Over Bridge between Whitefield and KR Puram: Rs 3.19 crore.

* First installment for the construction of the Railway Overbridge between KR Puram and Byappanhalli: Rs 3.11 crore

* Construction of another Railway Over Bridge between KR Puram and Byappanhalli: Rs 3.10 crore

* Construction of the Okalipuram underpass as part of signal free Dr Rajkumar Road corridor: Rs 1.28cr

* Payment towards Civil Aid for their expertise on the expansion of the joint at the Sirsi Circle flyover: Rs 4.79 lakh.

* Approval given for the Comprehensive Development Plan (CDP) in the year 2009.

* Tender for the entire City recalled for the implementation of energy saving along with operation and of maintenance street light and issual of fresh tenders as a package for one or two wards.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Widening is a losing game, why try?

Widening is a losing game, why try?

Residents feel BBMP's plan on St John's Church Rd will cause more pain than gain

Shilpa CB

Can a road ever be broad enough or perfect enough that it would meet all expectations? Those working and living on St John's Church Road do not think so.
The stretch from Coles Park to Sepping's Road junction was broadened just five years ago. And, today, it is back to square one. Cars line up during rush hour on this spacious stretch. All the chaos just dies down a couple of hours after the children in the various schools around are safely inside and all the office-goers have reached their workplaces.
Add a couple of lanes more to this stretch, the chaos will still be a regular feature twice a day during peak hours, residents and businessmen say. Red marks left behind by the BBMP and the notices they distributed recently have left the residents and shop owners confused.
Information is hard to come by. BBMP engineers are not clear about what they intend to do and when. "Whatever is done should be done for the benefit of the public also. It is important to add the word 'also' because it is not clear why this project is being implemented," says Khaleel Ahmed, a businessman who has been running a repair shop here for 30 years.
It is no surprise that those who stand to lose their livelihood and ties with this place are confused. "The BBMP engineers did not say when this would be done. It may take a year, it may take two years, according to them," says G Babu, an employee at a car sales office.
"Nobody has got the exact measurement. I have spoken to the AEE but have got no answers," says Mohammed Javeed, an entrepreneur. Javeed, who settled down here in the 1980s and owns a house here, is being asked to give up part of his parking space and shops he rents out in exchange for transfer of development rights. But he does not want "a paper that can be read like a newspaper and thrown out".
What is the point of having TDR when people construct as many floors as they want, flouting rules and permissions? In a land where law is not implemented, such options are of little value, he says. "Beggars cannot be choosers in a city where citizens are being reduced to beggars," he adds.
TDR could benefit those who have the land or sturdy building to build further, says M Suleman Sharief, Congress president of Shivajinagar Block. Sharief, who owns a wedding hall, part of which could be acquired by BBMP for its project, dismisses TDR as an option for the many small-land holders.
"But that's not the point we should be debating over," he says. "We need flyovers or overbridges to allow traffic to pass the junction. Broadening the road, demolishing houses, and uprooting people is not the way to do anything," he says.
Restaurateur Rana Sikander too suggests that an underpass at the Haine's Road and St John's Church Road junction and a flyover connecting to Cantonment Station will give much relief to commuters.
Venkatesh VS, proprietor of a shop here, is open to an elevated road being built here although his business may suffer during the construction. "In the long run, that's the only permanent solution. Traffic can move on both roads. Exit roads can be provided every couple of kilometres. Businessmen at the ground level can continue as usual," he says.
Venkatesh has strong reasons for backing this solution which he says has already been proposed by the government. "This is one of the major link roads that connect north and west of the city to the south and the east. In fact, it is called the Inner Core Ring Road. The other roads are Palace Road and Ring Road. Both are far away," he says.
Traffic density has grown here after the international airport opened. It takes a lot of load. Ambulances that rush to the many hospitals around often bear the brunt of congestion. Also the numerous schools in the area attract vehicles of all sizes. Regulating this and changing the one-way system suitably could help. While Sepping's Road is not used properly, Haine's Road is overburdened. This inequity can be rectified by making the passage smooth at the end of Sepping's Road.
"Adequate parking facilities for the market area near Commercial Street will clear the roads and encourage people to use them more," says Khaleel Ahmed.
If these alternatives do not solve the problem, widening can be considered. But spare the right side that has the shops, restaurants and houses. Instead, acquire land from the park, the school, the church, the army on the left, suggests Sharief.
Pushed to a corner into believing that protests against the "government" are futile, citizens do not see the point in voicing their opinion. "What happened on CMH road? The shop owners had to give in. If the government is bent on doing this, what can we say? All we can ask is that they give us TDR as well as compensation, " says Mohammed Liyaquath, the owner of a 3,800 sq ft furniture shop.
He hopes that the road widening exercise will improve his business and benefit road users.

All smooth, claim traffic cops; commuters go grumbling

All smooth, claim traffic cops; commuters go grumbling

There was chaos on the roads that David Cameron took in the city, heavy showers only compounded the motorists' woes

Team DNA

It was a security drill that city police rarely perform. On Wednesday, as the prime minister of the UK, David Cameron, visited the city with a 90-strong delegation, the motorcade passed went to the Raj Bhavan, the Infosys campus in Electronics City, and HAL. Many roads were closed off temporarily to ensure smooth passage to the visiting dignitaries.
Some regular commuters complained. "I had to be at office by 9.30 am, and it's already past 10. I'll lose attendance today, meaning a cut of Rs500. Who'll pay for that?" asked Samarth Alumelu, as he waited for traffic to clear before getting to his office on Residency Road.
In the city's central business district (CBD), traffic was thrown out-of-gear for about an hour. The motorcade had to take a detour through Ulsoor Road to reach Raj Bhavan through Cubbon Road, to avoid stretches of MG Road hampered by the work on the metro.
"The British prime minister is a dignitary, an international guest. Security arrangements were all tip-top, and we removed all obstructions, including vehicles parked on the sides of the roads for the entire route that the guests were traveling on," said a police officer.
But there were some things even the police could not control. There were spells of heavy rain, and many policemen had to stand bravely at their posts. There was no way they could be seen ducking for cover from the rain when such an important person was visiting. "The constables have been supplied raincoats, but many forgot to bring them, so we were dripping wet at the end of it," said a policeman.

We can do it bin BBMP

We can do it bin BBMP

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This is the kind of This is the kind of garbage management that is worth emulating. Tired of waiting for BBMP to do its job and clean their locality, people of Basavanagudi have decided to install dustbins themselves on their roads to keep them free of garbage.
While most people in the city complain about BBMP allowing mounds of garbage to accumulate on street corners in the absence of bins, residents of Shankarmutt Road and adjoining localities are doing something about it. They are ins

talling special bins on the roadsides to stop the littering by the many shopkeep ers and street hawkers on Shankarmutt Road and in other localities who dirty pavements with discarded fruits and vegetables.
“NAAVU, a welfare organisation run by a few residents, has begun this scheme to make our area litter free,” says Krishna Kumar N., a local resident.

Already three litter bins have been installed in the area and the organisation is hoping to do more if people come forward to help it, both in terms of funds and their time.

The bins can hold 52 litres of garbage, says the association, setting a clean example for the city.

Bus Weeks, Bus Months ahead

Bus Weeks, Bus Months ahead
By: Chetan R Date: 2010-07-28 Place: Bangalore

Expect more changes this Bus Day. For one, Transport Minister R Ashok plans to take 100 visually challenged students on a ride this Bus Day.

What's more, IT employees who have heartily supported the Bus Day initiative, are keen on graduating to Bus Week and Bus Month.

The BBMT and IT companies supporting the initiative expect to reduce traffic congestion as well as pollution levels by encouraging citizens to give up personal transport and use BMTC buses instead.

Transport Minister R Ashok on Bus Day, which is observed on the fourth of every month.

"The Bus Day initiative has been a success so far.

We want to take it further," explained Vishwanath S, general secretary, Outer Ring Road Companies Association (ORRCA), a representative body of over 20 IT companies supporting the initiative.

"We want to extend the Bus Day initiative to Bus Weeks and even Bus Months." The BMTC, which began its Bus Day initiative in February, is in its sixth month.

"We have witnessed a considerable fall in private vehicles plying in city IT corridors on every Bus Day," said Vishwanath. "We expect a Bus Week or Bus Month to be as popular.

We believe that getting more people to use public transport should not merely be a one-day affair."

"That's a good proposal," said R Ashok, transport minister. "We will consider it after studying the feasibility of the proposal."

Stick to plan, HC tells NICE

Stick to plan, HC tells NICE

Express News Service Express News ServiceFirst Published : 28 Jul 2010 03:04:14 AM ISTLast Updated : 28 Jul 2010 11:52:35 AM IST
BANGALORE: The Karnataka High Court has directed Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprises (NICE) not to change the alignment of the peripheral road at Gottigere and to adhere to the outer development plan (ODP).
While hearing a petition by J P Suhel, Sheela and others, Justice Rammohan Reddy directed the state government not to demolish the property of the petitioner on survey number 101/6 and 3 at Gottigere as it was not needed for the project. The NICE should not change the alignment of the road. However, the court allowed NICE to continue the project as per ODP.
In another petition, the court observed that any development at Gottigere, Basavanapura and Pillaganahalli was subject to the final outcome of the writ petition.
The petitioner has challenged the acquisition notice of Karnataka Industrial Area Development Board (KIADB). The petitioner has stated that the government has acquired additional land, which is not required at all for the project.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Hello, hello: No reply from the corporator

Hello, hello: No reply from the corporator
If Things Remain The Same Way Here, The Results Could Prove Dire
Sunitha Rao R | TNN

Bangalore: There are no roads let alone a drainage system. Rampant theft makes it unsafe too. To make things worse, the harried residents of Ramamurthynagar say they are unable to contact their corporator -- the man who is supposed to resolve their issues.
“Bad roads are a major problem. Politicians of all parties campaigned on these very roads during BBMP elections and showed their concern then. But that hasn’t been translated into action. We haven’t been able to reach our corporator,” complain residents of Akshaynagar.
This layout never had a proper drainage system. Residents themselves took initiatives to construct drains in front of their houses after which water flow was smoother. But this work was disrupted by contractors who started reconstruction of the drainage system.
“But the construction undertaken was unscientific and shabby. A resident brought this issue to the BBMP commissioner’s notice in May 2009. The contractor was annoyed with the complaint and abruptly stopped the work. Since then we have no drain and the road has been in bad shape. Neither the commissioner nor the contractor has come to our rescue. We have been apprising local BBMP engineers of our problems but they plead helplessness. But we are the sufferers,” says Thyagaraju P, a resident.
The clogged drain has also led to mosquito menace. “We are concerned over sporadic spread of dengue in other parts of the ward. Fogging must be done here to make the surroundings hygienic,” says Sai Ram, another harried resident of the area.
Meenakshi Ramesh, homemaker, says her locality is not safe. “Just a week ago, there was a theft. There is no police patrolling. Whom should we complain to?”
Residents in your ward say they are unaware a corporator exists. It is true that I have not visited this area of the ward. The fact that they are openly saying that they are unaware of a corporator only shows they have not voted. How can they be so ignorant? Anyway, will now look into this road issue.
How often do you visit your ward areas?
Should check on my schedule and make visits. I don’t have any regular schedule for ward visits.
What are the main problems you have found so far?
Water and sanitary lines. These are long-term issues.
What’s your action plan to tackle these problem areas?
For two years, there were no corporators. Borewells are also filled with silt. I have spoken to the BWSSB. Pending works have been completed. But, with the new budget yet to be announced, how can I begin on any new project? WHERE’S MY CORPORATOR
Ramamurthynagar has no roads or a drainage system. Residents are fed up and spend sleepless nights because of thefts and mosquitoes. Diseases lurk on the corner as water stagnates. The corporator admits to these problems, but never responds
Mud road in bad shape, full of potholes Drain clogged Stray dog menace Parthenium weeds grow in vacant sites Mosquito menace, no fogging done No police patrolling
Civic agencies shouldn’t touch amenities that are in good shape. Our roads and drains are the best example to show how an agency can go haywire when it takes unscientific measures to upgrade them — B M Basavraj Naik | RESIDENT We do not have a resident welfare association. This could be one reason why the corporator shuns us. Why can’t the BBMP get hold of the contractor concerned and get the road work done? Does it take one-and-a-half years to upgrade a stretch of the road that is less than a furlong? Why do we have such contractors who have no accountability? — Kavitha Ramesh | HOMEMAKER We have made attempts to reach the corporator on his mobile number published on the BBMP website. But he hasn’t been accessible. So far, he has not visited our area. A few other roads in Akshayanagar are in good shape while our lane is not. — David S M | RESIDENT LET US KNOW
Is the corporator of your ward yet to get down to brass tacks? Is he yet to contact Residents Welfare Associations and get grievances redressed? After featuring some proactive corporators in these columns, we will now look for those corporators who haven’t done any visible work. If civic work is piling up in your surroundings, let us know.
Are you a resident of Ramamurthynagar? Do you face the same problems or other issues in your area? Better still, have a solution to these problems discussed?
M Revanna, corporator

Hebbal TTMC work next year

Hebbal TTMC work next year

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The Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) is in the process of selecting a private partner to help it build the Traffic Transit Management Centre (TTMC) in Hebbal, expected to improve the city's connectivity to the Bengaluru International Airport (BIA), under a public private partnership model.
The project is likely to take off next year.
Speaking to Deccan Chronicle, BMTC director, projects, P.K. Garg said once the private firm was selected and the work got underway, the project would take two-and-a-half years to complete .

With the Metro Rail and High Speed Rail link to the airport also on the cards, the Hebbal TTMC, located at the intersection of national highway 7 (Bellary Road) and the outer ring road, will serve as a traffic hub, allowing commuters to interchange between different modes of transportation easily and efficiently under a `park and ride" concept.

"We plan to develop the project on a Design, Build, Finance, Operate and Transfer (DBFOT) basis.
The private participant will be selected through competitive bidding on the upfront premium and fixed annual concession fee to be paid to the BMTC. The concession period of 30 years may be extended by another 30 years," Mr Garg added.
Currently, of the 7.95 acres allotted for the TTMC, around 4.27 acres are occupied by a BMTC bus depot housing a maintenance workshop, washing area, fueling station, stores and administrative building.
Around 210 buses, including about 90 Volvo buses, operate from here already.

Curb the cabbies: Overspeeding drivers put citizens' lives at risk

Curb the cabbies: Overspeeding drivers put citizens' lives at risk

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Overworked, sleep deprived cab drivers are violating traffic norms with reckless driving and putting lives at risk. The traffic department booked 5,000 cases against such drivers in the city in just two weeks, reports Amit S. Upadhye. Companies which run cabs must train their drivers in defen- sive driving. We note- down the registration numbers of cabs which violate the law and collect fines from their companies. We intend to continue the drive against them. We must scale up the levels of enforce- ment and the police must ensure that the signboards are of international stan- dards. We plan to upgrade junctions in accordance with international stan- dards of road safety. Given the volume of traffic and indisci- pline on the roads, the police has a tough time dealing with it every day.

Training and aware- ness is the key to making cab drivers more disciplined on the roads.

Even before you can locate the median lane on a busy road in Bengaluru, a swarm of yellow board vehicles passes your car from all directions. Speeding cabs have become almost as much a nuisance on city roads as rashly driven autorickshaws.
The city traffic police has booked as many as 5,000 cabs from over 200 companies running taxi services in Bengaluru for violations like signal jumping and reckless driving over the last fortnight. Frustrated at the brazen violation of speeding limits by the cabs, and their disdain for noparking zones, the police hopes the special monthlong drive against them will make a difference to the way they operate.

Currently, nothing they do seems to make the cab drivers toe the line. Also, if the law men are to be believed, commuting in cabs is not always safe late at night and you could be inviting trouble by hitching rides on BPO and airport going taxis when its dark and lonely on the roads. There’s a possibility that you could be robbed, they say.

The problem lies with companies hiring drivers for their taxi services without proper verification, say traf

fic experts. Three out of five cab drivers who arrive in Bengaluru looking for jobs are from smaller towns and cities, according to them. "A number of these men are from the districts and even neighbouring states. They come to Bengaluru in search of jobs and usually approach the travel agencies with their own cars or join them as drivers. As a lot of them have been issued licenses in smaller towns and cities, they find driving on the much more crowded Bengaluru roads difficult," they add.
Additional commissioner of police (traffic) Pravin Sood says managements of travel companies are being tackled to make sure their drivers don't violate rules on city roads. "What we need today is something called defensive driving which is entirely lacking among 90 per cent of drivers in the public sector in the city. Defensive driving gives the driver better control over his vehicle, even if the other commuters show little respect for traffic rules," he explains.Mr Sood suggests companies which use cabs to bring their employees to work and back should put their drivers through a training programme to make sure they are safe in their hands.

Queen's Road will take care of itself

Queen's Road will take care of itself

When one can comfortably drive through this tree-lined stretch, better leave it alone

Shilpa CB

A prominent connecting road, Queen's Road is not congested. One can comfortably drive through this stretch. So why ruin it in the name of road widening, ask businessmen and the few residents who love the trees around and the broad footpaths.
"Adding 3ft on either side won't make a difference. So why remove the big trees that give the road a pretty look. If they (BBMP) touch them, the stretch will lose its charm," says Pushparaj Bhaskar, proprietor of a sports shop.
Business has been down since the road was made a one-way. Now, tweaking a few things here and there can improve things around here, he says.
"Vehicles from Lingarajapuram, Cantonment, Fraser Town, Cox Town, Jayamahal, Mehkri Circle... they all come here. And because the road is broad and can bear the load, the signal duration is longer. What's the point in increasing its width when the other roads will still be of the same size? The junction is the main culprit," he says.
Pedestrians are much harassed at the junction, say teachers and students of St Mary's Public School. Ever since Queen's Road was made a one-way, crossing has become a nightmare for them. It was only after a lady was crushed under the wheels of a BMTC bus, a temporary divider was placed here.
"Three roads converge on Queen's Road. Vehicles are always speeding here much to the discomfort of pedestrians. Only if traffic is stopped at the signal on all the three roads can one cross the road," says Rekha Arun Kumar, principal of the school.
Widening the road will reduce the size of the footpath and bring the stretch closer to the school's entrance. "We have about 1,000 students and we are concerned about their safety. Parents drop their children and are forced to park vehicles on the footpath. In the evenings, kids play around here while waiting for their parents. We will miss that space," she says.
Queen's Road is an example of how smooth traffic flow can be when all hurdles are removed. "There are no issues at all here, no irresponsible parking, no humps, and no buildings drawing too many cars and creating bottlenecks. There are huge buildings here with ample parking space. All it requires is better planning at the junction," businessmen say.
Small changes can make a big difference. One of the establishments, Bangalore Silk Collection, has lost out because an access road has been blocked due to work on a sanitary line. Business bas been down ever since the work began.
"When we opened the shop, we hoped tourists would drop in. But since the access road is in disrepair, our clients are finding it hard to travel all the way here. They have to cross two traffic signals. So we are planning to move out," says Mohammed Afsal, an employee at the shop.
The road-widening plan is threatening to swallow the small space in front of their shop and that would mean the establishment has to be moved out as parking space is essential for business.
For those who own houses here, BBMP's plans don't make any sense. "This road is so broad that almost three buses can move together. It is already a one-way," says Shubha Kripa, a housewife.
She is emotionally attached to the house that she has lived in all her life. "I studied in Kamala Bai School that is opposite our house. Later, I went to Mount Carmel College that is also close by. I cannot think of leaving this neighbourhood," she says.
Faced with the threat of losing their property, the family is angry and disappointed at the civic authority's attitude towards people's hard-earned property. "Is it a government house that they can just come and seize," asks Sambandhan WE, an 83-year-old resident.
Sambandhan's father, an advocate, chose this location for their home due to its proximity to the high court and Mayo Hall. Now, this ancestral property bears the red markings left by the BBMP.
"Is it fair to just take away people's houses without giving compensation? Even if they give some money, where can they go, especially in these days when owning land inside the city is impossible," he asks.
A civic authority that cannot control traffic and resorts to destroying people's homes deserves severe criticism. "Look at the flyovers. The road underneath them is a waste. They should have been made in such a way that both surfaces could be used. Even underground roads would have been more useful. After road widening, they will not achieve anything," says Sambandhan. The need of the hour is to regularise traffic and instil discipline in drivers, he says. Bank employee Saravanan K agrees. "I feel sorry for the public. Earlier, they took 10 minutes to cross the road, now they take 20 minutes," says he, empathising with them.
His solution: Stop giving out car loans and vehicle loans.
Marketing professional Tanuj Kumar says that expediting Metro work will give some relief. "Small shuttle buses have to be provided from the stations to areas that are not connected by Metro," he says.

NICE gets the go-ahead for road near Gottigere

NICE gets the go-ahead for road near Gottigere

Staff Reporter
The Advocate-General says the alignment is as per the plan

Electronics City-Tumkur Road link may soon be completed

BANGALORE: The Karnataka High Court on Tuesday permitted Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprise (NICE) to go ahead with the road project near Gottigere on the outskirts of Bangalore.

Justice Rammohan Reddy passed the order on petitions by some landowners of Gottigere who had challenged the acquisition of their lands by NICE for the contentious Bangalore-Mysore expressway.

The expressway, called Bangalore-Mysore Infrastructure Corridor Enterprise or Project (BMICP), had run into rough weather following complaints of excess acquisition of land. In this case too, the petitioners had alleged that although their lands were not required for the project, NICE wanted the lands for putting up projects other than the roadwork.

Advocate-General Ashok Harnahalli submitted that the alignment was as per the Outer Development Plan (ODP). He said even the Supreme Court had sometime ago approved the project as per the ODP.

Justice Rammohan Reddy vacated the stay order and permitted NICE to go ahead with the roadwork. He continued the stay on acquisition of lands in and around Gottigere for projects other than roadwork.

He adjourned further hearing of the case.

Basavanagudi homes threatened by road project

Basavanagudi homes threatened by road project

Sharan Poovanna Express News ServiceFirst Published : 26 Jul 2010 09:24:58 AM ISTLast Updated : 26 Jul 2010 10:30:27 AM IST
BANGALORE: Basavanagudi, one of the oldest neighbourhoods of Bangalore, will go under the bulldozer if the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has its way.
The Palike has proposed widening the stretch from BMS College of Engineering towards the Ring Road for lack of a more feasible and functional alternative.
The move seems unreasonable and uncalled for to the residents and the devotees of Bull Temple.
“I can understand that more commercial roads need widening, but this is a residential area,” said Rajeev, a lawyer, expressing his disapproval of the project.
He said the project in residential areas would amount to many homes being demolished.
He said to make way for traffic, the BBMP could easily divert the traffic to the main roads or bigger roads that lead to the same road.
“The government is focusing on all the wrong places,” said Murugesh, an auto driver.
He said congestion would reduce drastically if the repair works undertaken by the public works department were completed.
He said many heavy vehicles use the road to avoid traffic on the Ring Road and other adjoining roads.
“We have asked the authorities to wait till the Metro is ready to see the change in traffic before implementing the project in this area,” said Katte Satyanarayana, Basavangudi councillor and ruling party leader of the BBMP council.
He said more than 285 houses could be demolished for the project.
“We have asked for alternate sites to be provided if this is the case as Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) is an option that not many would agree to,” he said, adding that he had held meetings with the residents to assure that all options would be explored.

Widening Avenue Road at the cost of its heritage

Widening Avenue Road at the cost of its heritage

Sharan Poovanna First Published : 27 Jul 2010 05:13:37 AM ISTLast Updated : 27 Jul 2010 10:53:24 AM IST
BANGALORE: Avenue Road has a long-standing reputation of being the ultimate location where one may find books that are not available anywhere else. However, the old identity of the road is under threat. Blame it on the proposed road widening project of the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP).
As the BBMP’s bulldozer will demolish the many bookshops on the road for the project, it will also be ripping the road of its identity. Students will be deprived of the convenience they have thus far enjoyed.
The road is mainly known for large number of shops that sell second-hand books. Once these shops are gone, especially students from humble backgrounds, who cannot afford new books, will be in trouble.
Also, the Palike has recently upped the ante on shopkeepers selling from pavements. A large number of vendors on Avenue Road sell books from pavements. They are apprehensive of losing their livelihood once the BBMP executes the road widening project.
“I have been here for many years and I don’t know any other profession,” Manjunath, a street vendor, told Express. He said he was “very upset” with the government’s decision to widen the road.
Manjunath said there was no grave problem of traffic jams on Avenue Road. He said the government was unnecessarily troubling them for a project that could not be justified.
Other vendors said the authorities were sleeping all this while and had suddenly sprung into action to portray to public that they were duty conscious. “Will they take care of our family and feed our children,” asked Prasanna, a vendor.
He alleged that the authorities’ so-called developmental projects were taking shape at the cost of poor people, as they could be suppressed easily. Prasanna said influential people in the city with vested interests were pushing this project.
Truth of the allegations notwithstanding, the fate of the famed Avenue Road is written on the wall: BBMP’s markings in red, which say demolition is imminent.

From August 1, city auto rides will be costly

From August 1, city auto rides will be costly

Express News Service First Published : 27 Jul 2010 05:08:47 AM ISTLast Updated : 27 Jul 2010 11:34:05 AM IST
BANGALORE: Bangalore auto rides will now be the costliest.
The auto unions that met Transport Minister R Ashok on Monday have agreed for a Rs 17 minimum fare.
The fare per km has been increased by 50 paise to Rs 9 from Rs 8.50, which was announced by the government on Friday.
The auto unions that were threatening to go on an indefinite strike softened their stand after a meeting with the transport minister. The unions were demanding a minimum fare of Rs 20 with Rs 10 for every subsequent kilometre.
The auto unions, which till Sunday were adamant, were thankful to the fare decided by the transport minister on Monday.
“The minister convinced us that Rs 20 as minimum fare would be too much for the people,” said M Manjunath, president of Adarsh Auto drivers and Taxi drivers Union. “Since he has increased the fare per km to Rs 9, we are ready to go it.”
Another reason for the unions to have accepted the fare proposed made by the government was the decision to do away with the order on changing the three-part windshield to single glass.
“The minister said that he will do away with the order. Only new autos will be required to have the single glass windshield,” HG Srinivasamurthy, vice-president of Auto Drivers Union-CITU said.
The transport minister also said the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation will add 4,000 buses to its existing fleet of 6,000 buses to improve the transport scenario in the city.
Digital meters made mandatory
“This fare, of Rs 17 and Rs 9 for each km thereafter, have been arrived at after a detailed exercise of the economics of both the vehicles (autorickshaws) as well as the prices of petroleum products,” said R Ashok, the transport minister.
The new fares will be effective from August 1.
“I accept that the cost of living is going up every day and it is difficult to make both ends meet,” he said. “But we have to be fair to the common man also while fixing the fares.”
Ashok said digital meters have been made mandatory but no deadline has been fixed for it.
In a student-friendly move, the transport minister also announced that students will be allowed to use bus passes even on Sundays and public holidays.
ABVP clashes with BMTC
Members of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) clashed with the officials of the BMTC on Monday, demanding a reduction in the price of the bus passes issued to students.
The situation got out of hand when K S Vishwanath, city traffic manager, BMTC, tried to interfere. Vishwanath was pushed around by protesters, following which the police held four members who were later released.

From August 1, city auto rides will be costly

From August 1, city auto rides will be costly

Express News Service First Published : 27 Jul 2010 05:08:47 AM ISTLast Updated : 27 Jul 2010 11:34:05 AM IST
BANGALORE: Bangalore auto rides will now be the costliest.
The auto unions that met Transport Minister R Ashok on Monday have agreed for a Rs 17 minimum fare.
The fare per km has been increased by 50 paise to Rs 9 from Rs 8.50, which was announced by the government on Friday.
The auto unions that were threatening to go on an indefinite strike softened their stand after a meeting with the transport minister. The unions were demanding a minimum fare of Rs 20 with Rs 10 for every subsequent kilometre.
The auto unions, which till Sunday were adamant, were thankful to the fare decided by the transport minister on Monday.
“The minister convinced us that Rs 20 as minimum fare would be too much for the people,” said M Manjunath, president of Adarsh Auto drivers and Taxi drivers Union. “Since he has increased the fare per km to Rs 9, we are ready to go it.”
Another reason for the unions to have accepted the fare proposed made by the government was the decision to do away with the order on changing the three-part windshield to single glass.
“The minister said that he will do away with the order. Only new autos will be required to have the single glass windshield,” HG Srinivasamurthy, vice-president of Auto Drivers Union-CITU said.
The transport minister also said the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation will add 4,000 buses to its existing fleet of 6,000 buses to improve the transport scenario in the city.
Digital meters made mandatory
“This fare, of Rs 17 and Rs 9 for each km thereafter, have been arrived at after a detailed exercise of the economics of both the vehicles (autorickshaws) as well as the prices of petroleum products,” said R Ashok, the transport minister.
The new fares will be effective from August 1.
“I accept that the cost of living is going up every day and it is difficult to make both ends meet,” he said. “But we have to be fair to the common man also while fixing the fares.”
Ashok said digital meters have been made mandatory but no deadline has been fixed for it.
In a student-friendly move, the transport minister also announced that students will be allowed to use bus passes even on Sundays and public holidays.
ABVP clashes with BMTC
Members of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) clashed with the officials of the BMTC on Monday, demanding a reduction in the price of the bus passes issued to students.
The situation got out of hand when K S Vishwanath, city traffic manager, BMTC, tried to interfere. Vishwanath was pushed around by protesters, following which the police held four members who were later released.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Is there an end to their demands?

Is there an end to their demands?
Ask Harried Commuters, Who Are Often Left High And Dry By Auto Drivers
Aarthi R | TNN

Bangalore: Auto drivers are in no mood to give up. They are determined that the government give in to their demand of a minimum fare of Rs 20. But will they stop at this? Most importantly, who will monitor their collection of correct fare?
The frustrating experiences of many commuters are telling examples of how drivers rule the roost in more ways than one. Rules of the Karnataka Motor Vehicles Act clearly stipulate that refusal to ply any customer is an offence. So is demanding oneand-a-half fare before 10 pm or after 6 am.
But the rules remain on paper only; the reality is just the opposite.
Janani S narrates her frequent frustrating experiences with auto drivers while trying to return home from M G Road. The normal meter fare to HRBR Layout, that’s roughly 8 km away, varies between Rs 60 and Rs 65. But there are times when drivers demand Rs 125 at 2 pm or even a whopping Rs 300 at 9 pm.
“Once, I was abandoned mid-way late at night when I refused to pay more than what was agreed upon at the prepaid counter. The driver first agreed but soon after, started to complain, and even abused me. He was drunk. Luckily, he stopped near Fraser Town police station where I had a relative,” she said.
This 19-year-old student, doing his MS abroad, was back home after a year. Two days ago, he and his friend almost got into a tiff with a driver who demanded one-and-a-half fare from Jal Vayu Vihar to Cox Town. The normal meter rate is Rs 30. “It was only 7.30 pm. The reason he gave was he will not get customers. What can I do about it? Why must the public suffer,” Karthik asked.
According to many commuters, hike in fuel price is just the latest excuse for auto drivers to demand more fare. There are times when minimum fares have been arbitrarily changed on the spot, citing metro rail work, traffic diversions, bad roads, rains and even short distance.
For instance, the regular fare from M G Road to Garuda Mall is bare minimum. But, most drivers who agree to ferry, demand a fixed Rs 30. Commuters to prominent destinations within the city’s central business district also suffer. The bad condition of Ibrahim Saheb Road, parallel to Comm e rc i a l Street, has no drivers coming in. The few who agree, have their own fares fixed for you.
Transport Commissioner Bhaskar Rao admitted that there have been increasing cases of such arbitrary demands. “True, it’s becoming rampant. There are plenty of such cases. Unfortunately, this is happening despite clear rules that state otherwise. There are 2-2.5 lakh autos plying in the city and we have just 56 inspectors. We are also trying out new ways to curtail this menace,” he said.
Bangalore is already ahead of many cities and states when it comes to minimum fare for autos. In Kerala, it’s still only Rs 10. Even in cosmopolitan Mumbai, that has alternate modes of public transport, has a minimum fare of Rs 14.
Monday’s meeting between auto driver unions and transport minister R Ashoka could be crucial in deciding the final fare for minimum distance.
The minister on Sunday admitted that citizens are unhappy with the proposal to hike minimum fare to Rs 17. “Increasing it any further will be a problem. No one will opt for autos then. A final decision will be taken on Monday.’’


Praveen Sood

Most car drivers’ persistent concern on our roads is lack of lane discipline among commuters. Ask a two-wheeler rider, autorickshaw or a bus driver, he is most likely to retort as what lane! Ironically, elite commuters have no option but to share road space with autorickshaw or two-wheeler drivers because unlike water, security and electricity, roads can’t be tailor-made exclusively for them.
In a way, our roads and traffic etiquettes have ensured equality that even the Constitution has failed to provide! Both Benz and Bajaj compete with each other for space, priority and attention. Having travelled all over the world, most of us wonder why we can’t have lane discipline as in the West. Will our drivers ever follow it?
We can’t have lane discipline without having lanes in the first place. Imaginary lanes can’t bring in discipline among commuters, whose one-point objective is to reach his/her destination ASAP, even if it means driving over footpaths, leave apart cutting lanes. Absence of wellmarked lanes, overhead information boards, poor infrastructure and the fact that most roads don’t have more than two lanes that cater to multiple modes of transport — lorries, buses, scooters, cars, autos and pedestrians — make such discipline look like a herculean task.
Driving in lanes can be based on turning direction, vehicle type or speed of travel. In most cities in the West, threefourth of vehicles on the road comprise cars and buses for which the lane is 3.5m wide. In India, where 75% vehicles consist of two-wheelers, the concept of 3.5m- wide lanes defy logic. Can we ever expect two-wheelers to stand one behind the other in 3.5m-wide lane? Or conversely, can we ever expect a two-wheeler rider not to squeeze into 1m-wide empty space on the road? Moreover, cars, being the predominant component of traffic in the West, drive at more or less uniform speed. That’s why honking is unheard of and synchronization of signals is possible.
Should vehicles, therefore, move in lanes as per their turning direction? That is — left lane for traffic turning left, and right lane for traffic turning right. In the Indian scenario, this will lead to mix of autos, cars and buses in a lane, thereby forcing a car to follow an auto as both have to turn in the same direction. Hence, cars that are underutilized even at 100kmph as well as autos that can’t move faster than 20 kmph, will be expected to share the same lane. Such paradox will make a mockery of the concept of lanes.
What if we segregate vehicles as per speed — i.e. cars in one lane, auto in other and buses in another? It would have worked well in the absence of frequent right turns. Otherwise, it can lead to total chaos as vehicles approach junctions which are usually in close proximity. In the West, one rarely turns right except at signals which are located much farther. If one has to turn right, one goes above or below by turning left. A totally different situation exists in Bangalore where closing a right turn is more difficult than plucking stars from the sky. A right turn every km is the hallmark of Bangalore roads. That is why concepts like dedicated lanes fail to take off.
While we debate to find a customized solution to lane indiscipline, there cannot be two opinions about the need to stand in respective lanes as per turning movements on the junctions. Traffic police will continue to focus on irrational driving behaviours like cutting lanes abruptly, honking and driving over footpaths through awareness campaigns and strict enforcement.

Preserve homes and lanes filled with memories of many generations

Preserve homes and lanes filled with memories of many generations

Shilpa CB Bangalore

The average Malleswaram resident nurtures a deep connection with the street he or she lives in. But now a road-redraw plan threatens to deface this much-loved neighbourhood for no good reason, they say. It will only severe the umbilical chords between them and the streets preserved for no one knows how long.
Talking about roads in Malleswaram invariably leads to an emotion-laden discussion about losses and who stands to gain from it all.
"My father built this house. This is where my parents lived. I am attached to this property. Someone, who's just been elected, can't come and destroy it," says an anguished Lalitha Holla, resident of Malleswaram who shares a building with two other families.
Holla can't consider giving up the house she grew up in even though it is old and needs some work. "We continue to live here because we love this place. We love Malleswaram. We want to live here and nowhere else. Can these people, who are threatening to take away our house, give us land in Malleswaram," she asks.
Her brother Suryanarayan Karanth chips in when the discussion focuses on the sentimental value of the house. "We're attached to every brick of this house. We don't want to let it go," he says.
"It's ajji mane for all cousins who gather here during holidays. There are many memories associated with our house," says Madhura S about the house she spent her childhood in.
Nobody in Malleswaram wants an alternative plot, much less the piece of paper called TDR. One such resident is 92-year-old Annapurnamma V, who has spent 70 years here and doesn't want to be displaced. "We're accustomed to Malleswaram. Don't break our houses," she says.
Many senior citizens live in Malleswaram. Some have children who live abroad. They all want to spend the rest of their years in peace.
People quarrel about the type of development civic agencies and government do that invariably kill the beautiful, age-old trees. "It's a tragedy," says Ramesh S, a teacher who can't stomach the development that destroys environment.
Sentiment is not merely attached to homes. It is perceivable about every establishment, streets, shops, trees, even landmarks.
"As a kid, my favourite pastime was watching parakeets fly past from one giant tree to another lining up the streets. A walk there would instantly refresh you. But now you would be more stressed if you attempted to walk on these roads," says another resident of Malleswaram who runs a gas agency.
For him, the loss of grand trees is hard to get over. "Why don't they replace the trees they've removed? Now, they're just plants. Some are flowering shrubs. Where are the mango trees, tamarind trees, jackfruit trees, banyan trees and the many indigenous varieties we have grown up under," he asks. The future generations will never know the joys of watching birds or trees, he says.
It's not a misplaced sentimentality without reasoning. Residents are not opposed to improving city roads. They are only against the approach it is planned. "There should be proper planning to manage traffic, not mindless destruction," Holla says.

BBMP, lend your ears to their problems

BBMP, lend your ears to their problems

By giving Malleswaram's commuters a bus bay, half the minor traffic issues can be solved

Shilpa CB Bangalore

After years of inconvenience caused due to the construction of an underpass, residents of Malleswaram had a brief respite. Then more pain was heaped on them by a new mall that drew traffic from all parts of the city. Now they fear that the plan to widen Link Road may rip them apart.
Traffic congestion is not at all a complaint on Link Road. "A jam here is rare like when a bus breaks down during downpour," says a resident.
But there is an ill-placed bus stop that needs to be shifted. "We need a bus bay. When a bus halts at this stop to download passengers, other vehicles following them have to wait behind. This can be solved by building a bus bay," says Avinash S, a student of engineering who has grown up in this neighbourhood.
The existing bus stop can be shifted to a small piece of vacant land that the BBMP never bothered to make use of so far. Architect Madhu VN, who runs a firm in a rented space that abuts the road, agrees. "Instead of breaking many houses, they can make use of the space at this spot. They can make use of the land on either side of the stretch for vehicles to halt. This way, even when buses halt, other vehicles can move ahead smoothly," he says.
"The existing bus stop is the major culprit. It should have been set up between 2nd and 3rd cross. That would have made a big difference," says Suryanarayan Karanth, a resident.
Lalitha Holla, a house owner, is willing to give up some land for a footpath. But she would not let go even an inch for a bigger road. She too agrees that the creation of a bus bay on the vacant government land along the stretch can make travelling safer and smoother for commuters.
A drain passing along the road should be properly covered to give more space for pedestrians. "The road is narrow where the drain passes. The footpaths are too narrow in some places and too wide in other places. Why not correct this," Holla asks.
"Civic workers open one road, close another, dig here and dig there. If they were experts, this won't have happened. The underpass is grossly under-utilised. Couldn't they have made it wider? There is so much space right in the middle that is not being used. Such things strike the layman. Why does it not strike civic engineers and planners," residents wonder. The underpass should either be properly used or destroyed, they say.
Thanks to the mall, the traffic density has trebled with most streets occupied by vehicles of mall visitors in the evenings and during weekends. The tiny streets that turn sharply into the main road are not conducive for such usage.
"Vehicles need more space to turn into the main road as the angle is sharp at some places. Even a small car can obstruct traffic movement while turning at these spots," says Karanth.
The mall's bad design — lack of proper frontage and buffer zone — is to blame for the bottleneck near it, says architect Avinash Shekhar. Instead of rectifying that, plans are being 'hatched' to clear the majestic trees of Sampige Road to create road space, he says.
Other solutions can be tried. "Expedite work on a road that is being planned from Platform Road to 8th Main. "This will divert traffic going to Rajajinagar. If it is made a double road, it will reduce traffic very much," says Karanth.
"The main road on which the underpass was built can be made a straight road to connect to Bellary Road which is just a kilometre away. All they have to do is remove the illegal constructions that are in the way and rehabilitate its occupants. Metro has moved out residential complexes. Why can't BBMP do the same," asks a businessman requesting anonymity.
Now, it is just a small lane that connects Malleswaram with Guttahalli. A wide and straight road will give quick access to Vidhana Soudha and Bellary Road.
He says civic authorities are destroying the business community with this "uncalculated, unscientific, unethical" project. "Instead of just acquiring 5 metres or 10 metres of land, they can acquire twice as much and give the second half to us. We can establish our shops again a few feet behind our present location," he says.
This way, there will be two-way traffic everywhere which can shorten travelling distance, save diesel and time, he adds.
For all this to happen, the Palike needs expertise and skill. Its track record proves that it does not have it to improve people's living conditions here, say residents.
"Let them bring overseas experts to help us out with alternative solutions. There is no shame in that. Why experiment on us with our money," asks Amarnath, an industrialist who has lived on Link Road for 70 years.
His advice to civic authorities is to follow the schedule for Metro work and complete it. Traffic congestion will be reduced automatically, he says.

Auto unions may settle for Rs18 as the minimum fare

Auto unions may settle for Rs18 as the minimum fare

Unhappy with new rates, they plan to meet transport minister today to demand further hike in the minimum fare

Aparajita Ray. Bangalore

Some autorickshaw drivers seem to be satisfied with the hike in fare announced by the transport department on Friday. But a majority of the members of the six auto drivers' unions in the city want more. The unions plan to meet transport minister R Ashoka on Monday to demand that the base fare be hiked further.
The department hiked the minimum fare from Rs14 to Rs17, and from Rs7 to Rs8.50 for every kilometre after the first 2 km. But most autorickshaw drivers have been demanding that the minimum fare be hiked to Rs20.
But, now, there are indications that the six unions are ready to accept Rs18 as the base fare. "We had demanded that the fare be hiked to Rs20 for 2 km, but the transport department has set it as Rs17," Manjunath, president of Adarsha Auto Drivers' Sangha, said on Sunday. "We are ready for a compromise if the department revises the fare to Rs18. We are asking for a fare hike because of the fuel hike."
On Saturday, about 300 drivers had staged a protest on MG Road, unhappy with the new rates. "However, some auto drivers from the various unions seem to be satisfied with Rs 17 as the base fare for the first two km," AS Mushtak, president of the Karnataka Rajiv Gandhi Auto Drivers Vedike, said. "They feel that the new rates are not only fair but also commuter-friendly," he said.

Wake up, Bangalore, it's time to act. People's power can work wonders

Wake up, Bangalore, it's time to act. People's power can work wonders

Sudhir Pai, secretary, Krishna Apartment Owners' Welfare Association, and a petitioner in the case to stop the National Military Memorial from coming up at the Indira Gandhi Musical Fountain, is this week's Super Citizen. Pai tells Bosky Khanna how you and I can take on more active roles in making this city a better place to live in

Bosky Khanna

Citizen as a catalyst for change
Yes, it's possible. What it takes is to understand a few ground rules before taking the plunge. The government has armed the citizen with powerful tools such as the RTI (right to information) Act and PIL (public interest litigation). The citizen must use them at the right time and in the right manner to highlight causes that affect the citizens.
In this, it helps to know what the law says. If there is a law in place related to the cause you are fighting for, the government is obliged to listen to you. Where a law is very clear, a legal battle may not be needed. As a last resort, the citizen can knock on the doors of judiciary. In such a situation, one must take it up bravely and fight till the issue is resolved.

Many drops make an ocean
It's all about people power at the end of the day. There's nothing like collective support; getting people together to fight for a common cause not just gives your cause more power, it also gives you the strength to carry on. Try to enlist the support of your local corporator, too.
The people who support you must come together knowing well how crucial the cause is. It is easier to bring people together when they see a face — one person who is taking up the issue on your behalf. There will be sympathisers, too, but there must be someone who has to lead the path.
Influentials are important and help to some extent in keeping the pressure on the authorities to deliver. They lend a voice to important issues. But if there are no influentials who have taken up the cause, one must still have the faith to go ahead. One must know what is right and then people will follow.
The best example where collective strength has the power to work is in the case of the government's road widening plan. If people get together and protest against the plan, the government will have no choice but to relent. But one should keep in mind that protests should not inconvenience commoners. It eventually bounces back, because then you have to bear the brunt of the curses of hundreds of people.

Be in it for the long haul, be ready
If you are right and you know the law is with you, there is no need to get intimidated. The concept of 'please adjust' is over — that was in the 1970s and 1980s. Now it is high time Bangalore wakes up and fights for its rights.
When the fight is long and tedious, and in cases where family and children are involved, it can get daunting. But do not succumb. If you are threatened at any point, you should collectively act and take help. There is no harm in taking a step back, but never give up.
How not to be a fence sitter
Play the role of an activist. Get a momentum going and bring people together. Residents' welfare associations can help here and corporators, too, have to be pulled up and held accountable for anything that goes wrong in the neighbourhood.
It helps to have a support system in place. First, be convinced yourself. Sincerity is important along with the right information. As a base plan, know your rights and be prepared to lend some time for the cause. There may be one person dedicated to work on the issue, but people must support him/her as and when the need arises. Take help from the media, a good support system and a voice for your cause

Replica of Namma Metro a crowd puller

Replica of Namma Metro a crowd puller

Article Rank

“We did not want to miss the opportunity of getting a feel of the actual coach.

We are really happy that BMRCL officials have displayed it.”

`Route Number 0006 MG Road’ has turned into a picnic spot.

Sunday saw a huge rush of visitors at Anil Kumble Circle on MG Road where the mock-up train of Namma Metro has been displayed with vendors making the best of it to do roaring business through the day.

It is a week since the Metro coach display began and the flow of visitors has not stopped. “We have been waiting for the Metro project to fructify for a long time and wanted to see how a coach would look like. It’s really exciting especially for children who wanted to stay in the mockup train for hours together,” said a visitor, Sania Rizwi.

College goers and working professionals who are likely to benefit the most when Namma Metro is launched, also thronged the Circle. Peanut and popcorn sellers accompanied them, giving an idea how the train would be like once it is launched.
The replica painted in steel grey with pink borders, is complete with a coach/passenger saloon, a driver's cabin, dummy electrical propulsion equipment below the coach, seats and stainless steel railing.

"We did not want to miss the opportunity of getting a feel of the actual coach. We are really happy that BMRCL officials have displayed it. It provides a glimpse of how public transport in the city will look in future," said software employee Rajesh Menon.

BBMP's road plan is going nowhere

BBMP's road plan is going nowhere

Go for elevated roads
Rather than widening the road, which is a solution for mere six months, it makes sense to go for junction-free corridors as elevated roads. The 12 major roads, being widened by the BDA and BBMP with a budget of around Rs600-700 crore, should be created as high-capacity elevated expressways. Hosur Road, for instance, should be made junction-free with ramps. Make these roads on public-private partnership and then toll them. There is a need for proper urban planning to meet the requirement for a planned long term growth.

Road-widening is bad
I am fundamentally opposed to road widening as it is not a permanent solution. It causes pain and disruption. It's come as an ad hoc solution to the bad planning and lack of foresight of the state government. It's a band-aid solution. This has led to a push-back from the citizens, which according to me, is legitimate. This solution will last you for another year in the same bandwidth and infrastructure, but will not create a permanent traffic solution. It's temporary and disruptive. It does not solve the problem of growth in traffic, it does not address the issue of parking. It will cause traffic jams instead of preventing it. At the most, you will get one more lane, but only for six months.

Follow the London model
The only city which Bangalore can be compared with is London. That city has a historic centre and narrow roads, houses 9-10 million people, and has urban-poor challenges. But London has been planned well with a three-tier solution -- an underground metro, buses plying overhead and the parking. London discourages using private vehicles and encourages use of public transport. The parking problem has been taken care of based on the road capacity. Cars on roads have plenty of parking capacity. But in Bangalore, there is no incentive to use public transport. It has become a city of complaints, but when it comes to obeying laws, nobody wants to.