Tuesday, August 31, 2010

No room for parking at Jayanagar Metro stations

No room for parking at Jayanagar Metro stations

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While Jayanagar seems set for better connectivity with two Metro Rail stations coming up in the area, the people here are not entirely happy with the way the stations on R.V.
Road and 30th cross, Jayanagar 4th block, are shaping up . They are upset that there is no parking space at either station for commuters arriving to board the trains.

A member of the Citizens

Action Forum, N. Mukund points out that the two stations will be used by people from several parts of Jayanagar, who will find it difficult to park their vehicles if their grounds are out of bounds to them. “The Metro plan says there will be no room for parking inside these stations. This is going to be tough on the people who will have to hunt for parking space outside,” he says.
People fear the result could be a noisy battle for parking in residential areas

or along the small service road near the 30th cross in Jayanagar 4th block. “This may only ruin the peace of our locality. The authorities must do something about it before it’s too late,” says a local resident, Kumar Naik.
Also, while there are plans to have bus bays around the two stations there is little parking space for the buses here either.“All in all the Metro project seems out to cause us trouble,” Mr. Naik laments.A Metro Rail official when contacted, confirmed the people's fears.

“The Jayanagar stations will have a generator room at one end, but there will be no vendors, no shops, and no parking at any of the stations here,” he said, adding that there will be no bus stations either, only three bus bays on either side of the road at each station. “This will not hamper traffic on the main road, nor will the service roads be blocked in any way,” he maintained.

Figures won't do, give us trees, better parks and pavements, say women

Figures won't do, give us trees, better parks and pavements, say women

Sumaa Tekur

The BBMP budget is out. But there is much scepticism among the homemakers. "How will this address my immediate concerns," is the question on almost every homemaker's lips. When asked to list their problems on priority, they unleash a barrage of woes.
"The BBMP should take up road asphalting seriously. But then what is the use? They asphalt the road and the next day someone else arrives to dig it up. The cycle goes on," says Anitha Srinivas, mother of two and resident of HBR Layout, taking a break from having lunch to shares her problems with DNA.
"They should also stop cutting trees. We should live our lives around the trees. Also, there are too many stray dogs. I just cannot take my two-wheeler out on the streets," says she.
But she is relieved when informed of the BBMP's plan to set up five swimming pools. "I hope one of them is near my home so I don't have to take my kids all the way to the Basavanagudi pool," she says.
Veena Seshadri, a resident of Shankarapuram, is miffed with the lack of civic sense among the citizens. "Any little space on the pavement next to a tree is turned into a garbage bin. Why is the BBMP not imposing a hefty fine on such people," she asks.
Pavements are dug up unnecessarily and traffic system is in a mess, she says. "LED lights are fine for the city. But how about thinking in terms of alternative sources like solar lights," asks Veena.
What makes Parizaad Berlin, a resident of Diamond District on Old Airport Road, furious is the Palike's unplanned tree planting campaigns. "Such drives are good for the city. But saplings are planted anywhere, and later they have to be removed because they come in the way of wires, or the road," she says.
There is no monitoring of the laying of pavements. "One day you find the path okay but the next day, there is a gaping hole. Workers may have removed the slabs to lay cables but such a dangerous spot should be cordoned off," she says.
There are not many parks or places where Preetha D'Souza can go for her evening walk near Hutchins Road, and this bothers her. "Open spaces and a bit of green can do so much to transform an area," she says.
Resident of Whitefield, Sabah Arakkal, has a similar problem in her area. "There is space for a park, but no benches, no planned area for those who want to exercise. I cannot take the pram inside the park," she says.
The school buses that ply in the residential area drive rashly. "They almost ran me over twice. There must be some monitoring of these buses," says Sabah.

50 new flyovers and underpasses will be built

50 new flyovers and underpasses will be built

The total outlay of the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike budget, at Rs8,488 crore, has doubled, when compared to last year. Nearly 62% of that outlay is provided for civic infrastructure development. Chairman of the Palike's standing committee on finance and taxation, PN Sadashiva, who presented the budget, spoke to Shwetha S.
Road widening has been a controversial matter in the city. Does the budget make any allocation for it?
The committee has not taken any decision on road widening. We will wait and watch, to see how matters improve with the construction of the proposed flyovers and underpasses.
What plans do you have for easing traffic flow in the city?
We plan to construct about 50 new flyovers and underpasses in different parts of the city. A few sites for such construction have already been identified, Jayanagar, for instance, and Chamarajpet South End Circle. We expect that these will ease traffic flow.
Although the budget allocation this year is double what it was last year, the BBMP still faces a cash crunch. How will you manage to tide over that?
I think we should be able to manage. We get about Rs500 crore through the State Finance Commission; once Akrama Sakrama is streamlined, we expect an amount of Rs750 crore. The state government's contribution to the BBMP budget is Rs1,500 crore.
How about revenue mobilisation through property tax, or from advertisements?
There has been gradual increase of income from property tax collection during the last five years. After adopting Unit Area Value (UAV) system as the basis for assessment of property tax, the yield has been good. Efforts are also being made to bring the missing properties into the tax net by using the GIS system. As for revenue from advertising, we have detected and removed unauthorised hoardings. We are working towards a policy of auctioning advertisement rights. We are expected to collect about Rs100 crore through advertisement tax during 2010-11.
Do you have any additional means of revenue mobilisation planned?
Special developmental charges on high-value properties will be levied. Tax on heavy commercial carriages, which use public roads for loading and unloading, will be levied. Heavy charges will be imposed on those who erect towers for commercial purposes, and install dish antennae for commercial uses. Annual fees will be levied on private electrical transformers installed on BBMP properties. These are some of the means of additional revenue mobilisation this year.

SC okays the military memorial

SC okays the military memorial

Many of those who earlier vehemently opposed the project have since resigned to the construction activity within the park

Bosky Khanna

The legal battle to protect an important and centrally-located park in the city from 'development' came to an end on Monday, as the Supreme Court dismissed the plea against the memorial filed by petitioner Dr Sudhir Pai, secretary of Krishna Apartments Association.
The apex court upheld the decision of the Karnataka high court, which on June 4, had said that the construction of the National Military Memorial within the Indira Gandhi Musical Fountain Park would be in the interest of the general public, and a matter of pride for the city. The high court had also observed that the park would only lose about four eucalyptus trees.
The petitioner had sought the intervention of the apex court against the June 4 ruling of the high court. The Supreme Court bench, comprising justices GS Singhvi and AK Ganguly dismissed the case on Monday. On July 26, the two judges had adjourned hearing of the case by four weeks as the respondents had said that they did not receive the court notice that sought details of the site map.
Responding to the ruling of the Supreme Court, Dr Pai said, "If the court thinks that this is not a violation of the law, then what more can we do? We can do nothing but look on as the construction continues. We hope this won't set a precedent. After this, many other parks in the city could have construction approved for various issues, including emotional ones."
Representing just the opposite viewpoint while reacting to the hearing, Major General MC Nanjappa, sub-committee member for the Rashtriya Sainik Smaraka, said that the ruling brought much joy. This is a national project, and this is one expression of gratitude to the martyrs, he said. "The cause of the construction of the Smaraka was not just an ex-servicemen's battle. It is also a victory for the state government. As ex-servicemen, we have a sentimental attachment to the project. We now hope that all, including the ones who went to court against the project, will now join hands in offering suggestions and seeing to the completion of the project," Major General Nanjappa said.
With regard to the deadline set earlier for the completion of the project, Major General Nanjappa said, "We hope that the major symbolic portion of the proposed project would be completed by Vijay Diwas, December 16. We hope that the Veeragalu and flag post will be ready by then. Minor works like the motivation hall and landscaping could take more time."
Subhashini Vasanth, founder-trustee of Vasantharatna Foundation for Art, also the wife of deceased Col Vasanth Venugopal, who died in 2007 fighting terrorists in Kashmir, said, "I am very happy for this judgment. It was beyond the power of any one person to do this, and there were certain delays, but I am hopeful that the construction of at least the basic structure would be done by Vijay Diwas. Else, it is likely that the project would be completed by Republic Day."
Environmentalists, however, who had earlier opposed construction activity within the park, are now looking forward to the greening of the entire area. Dr AN Yellappa Reddy, a noted environmentalist, said, "Though in principle I was opposed to the construction, now I am resigned to it. I hope the whole area will be made a green space."
What is heartening is that even those who earlier opposed the idea are now pitching in with suggestions. Yellappa said, "I was invited to visit the place a fortnight ago to offer suggestions on greening the area. I suggested that the six acres earmarked for the construction should be developed into a patriotic, spiritual garden."
Chief minister BS Yeddyurappa, on July 1, faced with opposition to the project, had declared that construction of the memorial would be dropped; a fortnight later, in a volte-face, he had announced that construction would go ahead. The total cost of the project is estimated at Rs15 crore.

SC dismisses plea against war memorial

SC dismisses plea against war memorial

Staff Reporter
BANGALORE: The Supreme Court on Monday paved the way for the construction of the National War Memorial at the Indira Gandhi Musical Fountain Park in Bangalore.

The court dismissed a Special Leave Petition (SLP) by the Krishna Apartment Owners Association questioning the construction of the memorial in a park at Vasanthnagar.

The association and its secretary, Dr. Sudheer Pai, had approached the Supreme Court after the Karnataka High Court dismissed their public interest litigation against the construction of the memorial.

Questioning the High Court order, the petitioners said in the Supreme Court that a Division Bench comprising Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice Mohan Shantagoudar on June 4, 2010 held that the proposed war memorial was in public interest and that it was a matter of pride for the residents of the city.

The petitioners alleged that the State Government had violated the Karnataka Government Parks (Preservation) Act, 1975. Moreover, Section 4(2) of the Act prohibits the Government from alienating land in parks.

Threat to parks

They said the State and its agencies had a duty to maintain parks and not to fell any trees.

However, the project would lead to felling of trees in the park. It said no construction measuring 1,000 sq m. or more can be built in the park.

Advocate-General Ashok Harnahalli appeared for the State, while former Advocate-General Uday Holla appeared for the National Military Memorial Committee.

Rajya Sabha member Rajeev Chandrasekhar is the Chairman of the National Military Memorial Committee, which is implementing the project.

The memorial will be built at a cost of Rs. 12 crore and it comprises a museum, underground meditation hall, pathway, amphitheatre and display areas for the armed forces.

Flyovers, parking lots in BBMP budget

Flyovers, parking lots in BBMP budget

Express News Service First Published : 30 Aug 2010 03:35:19 AM ISTLast Updated : 30 Aug 2010 10:25:28 AM IST
BANGALORE: After many delays and postponements, the city corporation's budget is going to be presented on Monday, August 30.
Reportedly, the budget is going to be worth `7,500 crore. According to sources, new wards are likely to get 1.5 times more grants than old wards for developmental works. Every ward will get around `36 crore. Sources claimed there would be no increase in taxes.
The budget is likely to sanction 50 flyovers and underbridges along with tree parks. Chairman of the BBMP's Finance and Taxation committee, P N Sadashiva, said the city would get hightech hospitals. He added that 20 multistoried parking lots would be built in congested areas such as Gandhi Bazaar and Freedom Park.
He said the budget would allocate funds to raise the standard of BBMP schools. Free bicycles for girls studying in BBMP schools and sweaters for all children may be issued.
Sadashiva said a portion of `115 crore, required to convert Okalipuram Khoday's Circle into an eightlane road, would be released in this budget. He said five dhobi ghats and hightech laundries, on the lines of the one in Malleswaram, would be built. He said funds had been allocated to develop lakes. A new cell would be set up to preserve heritage places in the city.
The BBMP's budget has to deal with the loans to the tune of `3,000 crore. Sadashiva had on an earlier occasion made clear his focus on revenue generation. Sadashiva said his main aim would be to bring homes into the tax net and increase the earnings by property tax.
The budget is likely to announce welfare measures for senior citizens too.

45 high-end bus stands for Bangalore

45 high-end bus stands for Bangalore

Express News Service First Published : 30 Aug 2010 03:34:46 AM ISTLast Updated : 30 Aug 2010 10:23:48 AM IST
BANGALORE: Transport Minister R Ashok on Sunday said Bangalore would get 45 high-end bus stands, to be built on the lines of Traffic and Transit Management Centres (TTMCs).
He was speaking after inaugurating the TTMC at Bannerghatta Road.
He said the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) had already prepared a project for a highend bus stand at Hebbal.
He said that tenders for the project were ready and that Indiranagar too would get one such bus stand.
"Bangalore is an ITBT city and its residents in every nook and corner should have easy access to public transport," Ashok said.
The TTMC at Bannerghatta has been built at a cost of `5.5 crore.
It has been built under the Centre's JNNURM. Centre has paid for 35 per cent of the project cost. Karnataka government has paid 15 per cent and the BMTC has paid the remaining 50 per cent cost.
At the inaugural function, the transport minister gave free bus passes to the families of martyred soldiers. Ashok, who also holds the portfolio of food and civil supplies, inaugurated the rice mela at the TTMC.
Rice will be sold at `13 a kg here and wheat will cost `9 a kg. People can buy the grocery by producing any identity card such as BPL card, voterid card or ration card.
Altogether, Bangalore will have 10 TTMCs.
Three of them - at Jayanagar, Kengeri and Bannerghatta - have already became functional.
The TTMCs will have space for people to park their vehicles, food courts, ATMs, bus terminals and bus maintenance depots.

Rs.8400 crore budget for city infrastructure

Rs.8400 crore budget for city infrastructure

IANS First Published : 30 Aug 2010 09:33:14 PM IST
BANGALORE: Seven multi-level parking slots, white topping (cement coat) for main avenues, tree parks, fencing of major open drainages are among the plans to improve the tech hub envisaged in the Rs.8,488 crore 2010-11 budget of the Bangalore civic body.
The budget makes it mandatory for all Information Technology firms to set E-waste disposal facility.
In the first budget presented by the Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagar Palike (Greater Bangalore City Corporation), no tax has been levied on the Bangaloreans.
This is also the first budget of the BBMP, formed after incorporating several areas into the city. Earlier the civic body was known as Bangalore City Corporation.
Among the populist measures are free distribution of 20,000 cycles to the poor self-employed and labourers, P. N. Sadahiva, chairman of BBMP's tax and expenditure committee, said presenting the budget to the 198-member civic body.
The budget promises building of several modern shopping complexes in the city.
Elections to BBMP were held for the first time in March this year and BJP won 112 seats, with Congress getting 64 and Janata Dal-Secular managing just 15 seats. The rest were won by Independents.
BJP captured Bangalore, nearly two years after it came to power for the first time in Karnataka in May 2008.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Metro rail’s date with Bangalore in December

Metro rail’s date with Bangalore in December
Mahesh Kulkarni / Bangalore August 29, 2010, 18:20 IST
Come December, Bangalore will become the third Indian city after Kolkata and Delhi to start operating metro rails.

Under the first phase of Namma Metro ("my metro" in Kannada), a 7.5-km stretch between Baiyappanahalli and M G Road on the eastern line is set to be finished in three years and eight months, thus becoming the fastest metro rail project the country has seen so far. Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (BMRCL) had started civil work for this stretch in April 2007.

This will eclipse the astonishing success of Delhi Metro, which took four years and three months to start the first 8.3-km stretch between Shahdara and Tis Hazari in December 2002. Kolkata Metro, which is run by the railway ministry, started its commercial run in 1984.
"We would have completed the 7.5-km Reach-1 in three years flat, but got delayed by eight months due to protests by traders and shopkeepers on the busy CMH Road in Indiranagar," said a senior BMRCL official.

On the technology front, too, BMRCL is ahead of Delhi. It would be the second (after Kolkata Metro) to make use of the third rail system to draw power to run the train, which is considered environment-friendly. DMRCL uses overhead cables to supply electricity.

The first phase of Bangalore Metro will become functional in the following stages: The eastern line by December 2010, the northern line by third quarter of 2011, and the western and southern lines by the third quarter of 2012. It comprises two corridors - East-West Corridor from Baiyappanahalli to Mysore Road covering 18.1 km and the North-South corridor from Hessaraghatta to Puttenahalli covering 23.7 km.

Once completed, Bangalore Metro will have 40 stations - 33 elevated and seven underground. The only interchange station common to both the corridors would be located underground at Majestic. When fully commissioned, the metro rail will serve 1.9 million passengers per day.

However, Bangalore Metro costs more than Delhi. The cost of construction per km is estimated at Rs 276.40 crore (total cost is fixed at Rs 11,609 crore for Phase-I) as compared to the average cost of Rs 162.63 crore per km for the first phase of Delhi Metro, with a 13.01-km underground corridor and a 52.1-km elevated track.

"Our costs are higher compared to Delhi because of the soil conditions in Bangalore. We had to face the problem of rocky terrain under the earth. It takes more time to blast rocky patches when compared to alluvial soil in Delhi, which is smooth and takes less time to dig. The risk insurance rates are also high, adding to the rise in cost as well as increase in the costs of land acquisition," said U A Vasanth Rao, general manager (finance), BMRCL.

He said that another reason for the rise in costs was because the machineries to cut rock for underground stretches were imported from Japan at Rs 250 crore each. Work on the 8.8-km underground stretch is likely to start soon.

In another first to its credit, the first phase of Bangalore Metro will run on standard gauge tracks as compared to Delhi Metro, which started its inaugural run on broad gauge tracks. Also, BMRCL is yet to acquire more than 1,000 private and public properties and land, unlike in Delhi, which was contributed by the government.

According to BMRCL, civil work for Reach 1 is expected to be completed by September, while work at the repair workshop is expected to be over by November.

A total of 100 candidates have been recruited for training as station controllers and locopilots. Of them, 83 have cleared the final selection. Once they return from training at DMRCL, the trial run will start early November.

BEML Ltd, which has bagged the contract to supply coaches, will be importing the first five train sets from its partner in Korea, Hyundai Rotem. It has already put on display a mock train at Anil Kumble Circle for public viewing.

State prunes plan, but to go ahead all the same

State prunes plan, but to go ahead all the same

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Despite the opposition to its plans for Lalbagh, the government appears set on going ahead with them, only agreeing to prune them a little in tune with public sentiments.
Horticulture minister Umesh Katti says everything will be done to make the garden more beautiful without the cutting of trees or destruction of the natural rocks in its grounds.

According to him environmentalists and local residents are only really against the musical fountain and laser beam show planned for the garden.

“We are in talks with these groups. They are okay with a rock garden without a fountain and the laser beam show and support the idea of creating an artificial waterfall in the park as it will help clean the water used for gardening in its grounds,” says the minister.

Responding to the opposition to cutting of rocks in

the process of upgrading the park, the horticulture department claims no natural rocks will be destroyed, and instead plants will be grown around them to make them more attractive.
“The soil on the rocks will make it easy to grow plants and will make the garden look more beautiful than ever,” says its officials, who

also assure that the natural habitat of birds and other species in the garden will not be disturbed while the amusement park is being built.
“The construction work will be carried out with as little disturbance as possible,” they say, making a promise that will certainly be difficult to keep.

Lalbagh facelift: City not amused

Lalbagh facelift: City not amused

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Chief Minister's idea of giving Lalbagh a "facelift" by introducing a musical fountain, boating, a food court and an amusement park, has not gone down well with environmentalists and citizens who fear it may destroy a green oasis in the concrete jungle that Bengaluru is fast becoming, report Chandrashekar G.
and Shashiprasad M. The Lalbagh Walk- ers’ Association is particularly appre- hensive about the proposal to intro- duce a rock garden on 28 acres of land in the garden as it fears this could threaten the natur- al rock formation which is already a part of it. There is only opposition to our plans that involve the use of technology like a musical fountain and a laser beam show for Lalbagh.

Umesh Katti, horticulture minister The proposal for creating an amusement park in Lalbagh on the lines of the Sentosa Island in Singapore is entirely unscientific, as Bengaluru has not been planned like Singapore.

Prof. Shankar Rao We have sent the proposal to develop Lalbagh to the urban development department as promised by Chief Minister B.S.
Yeddyurappa. The project will be executed by either BBMP or the BDA.

N. Jayaram, horticulture director

The government seems to be getting carried away in its enthusiasm to develop the city. Building a Metro Rail, flyovers and subways may be a good thing, but is “developing” what is left of the city’s lung spaces really necessary? Chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa’s recent announcement that Lalbagh will be given a “facelift” with the addition of a musical fountain, boating, a food court and an amusement park, has not amused environmentalists or those accustomed to taking their morning walks in the park’s calm, green surroundings, cocooned against the noise of a growing city.
The plan for a so-called “new and improved” Lalbagh is causing great concern among members of the Lalbagh Walkers’ Association, who rightly feel that introducing commercial activities such as boating and an amusement park in the park will destroy a green oasis in the concrete jungle that the city is becoming.

“The Lalbagh botanical garden is one of the most diverse gardens of its kind in South Asia and has a rich history, having been established during Tipu Sultan’s

regime," points out association president and member of the Lalbagh Garden Trust P. Sadashiva, who regrets that when the government should be working on increasing the green cover of the park and adding to its botanical value by planting more medicinal plants, it is coming up with more money making schemes that are bound to prove destructive in the long run. The association is particularly apprehensive about the proposal to introduce a rock garden on 28 acres of land in the garden as it fears this could threaten the natural rock formation which is already a part of it. "We will not tolerate any move that may harm the garden's natural rock formation," warns Mr Sadashiva, adding that the noise and people around a musical fountain and amusement park will only discourage birds from visiting Lalbagh.
"We would rather have it developed into an urban forest," says the concerned nature lover, suggesting that the government should show its concern for Lalbagh by making sure it is properly maintained.” “Senior officials admit they have only 50 gardeners as against the 200 required for its upkeep,” he says, also deploring the fact that no effort is made to keep stray dogs out of the botanical garden.

Former judge of the Karnataka High Court M.F. Saldanha couldn’t agree more and accuses the horticulture department of first destroying the greenery in Cubbon Park and now trying to do same in Lalbagh.

“An expert committee with citizens of Bengaluru as members should be formed to manage its parks and the horticulture department should be told to concentrate on other matters in the state,” he says.

Just what do you want from BBMP's budget?

Just what do you want from BBMP's budget?

DNA brings you an experts' perspective on what the city needs

Hemanth Kumar Bangalore

Today's maiden budget of the BJP-ruled Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) is expected to have all the ingredients to make you happy, mayor SK Nataraj has assured while dropping clear hints that top priority would be given to solving parking problems and improving civic amenities without an additional tax burden.
Sources in BBMP said the estimated Rs8,000 crore budget would focus on providing drinking water, improving underground drainage, constructing multi-storey parking complexes and laying tree parks instead of lawn parks to increase the city's air quality.
Chairman of standing committee on taxation and finance PN Sadashiva will present the first budget of a democratically elected civic council after a gap of nearly four years today amid a severe resource crunch.
The budget would usher in stringent measures to mobilise additional resources through a comprehensive advertisement policy for BBMP and an efficient property tax collection system. The Rs1 crore per ward as ward development fund is expected to be raised to Rs3 crore.

Old Airport Road commuters do not fancy regular Volvo rides

Old Airport Road commuters do not fancy regular Volvo rides

K.C. Deepika
Ordinary citizens cannot afford it, though the IT crowd welcomes it
Of the 430 Volvo buses, 100 operate on the ITPL route

‘Volvo bus services have brought down traffic density'

— FILE Photo: V. Sreenivasa Murthy

COMFORTABLE RIDE:BMTC Volvo services have brought class to the mode of mass transport
BANGALORE: The Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) has been credited with bringing class to the mode of mass transport by introducing air-conditioned and luxurious Volvo bus services. This is especially true on routes leading to Information Technology (IT) hubs of the city such as ITPL.

Recently, the comfort factor was taken one notch higher with the introduction of Mercedes-Benz buses on this route.

While the new introductions have been applauded by the IT crowd, ordinary citizens who cannot afford to spend on air-conditioned rides everyday have had to grin and bear it as the number of Volvos is steadily increasing.

In fact, of the 430 Volvos operating within the city, nearly 100 buses have been allotted to ITPL from Kempegowda Bus Stand, Shivajinagar and Chandra Layout, among other areas.

Wait or pay extra

Commuters with shoe-string conveyance budgets or those with monthly passes for ordinary buses have been left with just two options: wait for an ordinary bus or simply hop onto a Volvo and pay extra.

Regular bus-users in areas along Kadugodi, Marathahalli and Old Airport Road are not amused.

Office-goers are the most disgruntled.

“The basis of the bus routes seems to be the comfort of those working in IT companies. I have a monthly pass which excludes Volvo rides. That costs me some extra time spent in waiting for an ordinary bus,” said Sarita Senapati who goes to work on Millers Road from Domlur. She added that the frequency of buses to Shivajinagar had also come down while those to Majestic had increased considerably.

Even some heading towards ITPL are not enthusiastic about the idea of having to spend so much on public transport. “I started taking buses because it is difficult to ride in the dense traffic. I also assumed that it would save me money that would otherwise be spent on fuel. Every day, I need a minimum of Rs. 100 for a two-way journey. I might as well just use my two-wheeler,” said Rithu H.S, who travels from Old Airport Road to ITPL.

Ordinary buses to stay

On the other hand, a BMTC official explained that there was a need to popularise public transport in such industrial areas to bring down the number of private vehicles. “We introduced Volvos to ITPL and Electronics City on the basis of demand. But there is no way they are going to overtake the number of ordinary buses, let alone replace them,” he said.

Drive against auto drivers

Drive against auto drivers
Bangalore, August 29, DHNS:

Taking serious note of citizens’ complaints about tampered meters of autorickshaws and drivers demanding excess fare, the Transport Department conducted an enforcement drive against errant drivers/owners on Sunday.

It was carried jointly with the Department of Weights and Measures, with the use of portable testing equipment on the road for checking such vehicles. Drivers found guilty of the above offences will have to face the music as the department will book. Cases were booked under Section 177 of the Vehicle Act, 1988 against defaulting drivers. Cases of cheating, fraud under Sections 420, 465, and 471 (all non-bailable offences) of the Indian Penal Code were booked against them.

It’s money down the storm water drain

It’s money down the storm water drain
Satish Shile, August 29, Bangalore, DHNS:

Revamping of the 842-km stretch of storm water drains criss-crossing Bangalore City is one of the major programmes taken up under the multi-crore Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission.

Just 17 months are left to complete the remodelling which began in 2007. The work is limping while the money has been going down the drain.

The work on cleaning and strengthening of storm water drains (SWDs) under the Centrally-sponsored programme JnNURM is among several mega projects of the City which are languishing owing to poor planning and tardy execution.

The Centre has approved the cost of remodelling of primary and secondary drains leading to the four major valleys - Hebbal, Vrushabhavati, Koramangala and Challaghatta - at a total cost of Rs 643.06 crore. The money spent, according the records of the nodal agency, Karnataka Urban Infrastructure Development and Finance Corporation (Kuidfc) is Rs 372.24 crore.

The implementing agency, Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), has spent Rs 372 crore till the end of July 30. This paper accessed the information under the Right to Information Act from the Kuidfc. The records says desilting, laying chain link fencing and construction of retaining wall of the drains have been completed in stretches where there is room to take up the work.

The Palike officials, furnishing details under the RTI to this paper, stated that 14,19,033.34 cubic metres of silt had been removed spending Rs 129.84 crore.

The funds are meant for desilting, remodelling, erecting metal chain link fence along the drains and constructing retaining walls. Name any of these works and nothing has been done satisfactorily to justify the expenditure of crores of rupees.

Deccan Herald found during visits to the valleys that the drains have not been declogged as huge masses of silt deposits continue and of course, stench continues to emanate. In many places the fence is broken, facilitating easy dumping of municipal waste and debris in the drain. Encroachment of areas adjoining the drains and dumping of waste along the drains are a common sight.

The surface of water flowing in Vrushabhavathi valley, passing through Bapuji Nagar on Mysore Road, is covered with municipal waste. Similar is the scene at the Koramangala-Challaghatta valley passing through Shanti Nagar. The stench wherever the the drains pass through is unbearable because, the SWDs carry both rain water and sewerage. In many drains, the sewerage pipes are embedded in the SWDs.

Bangaloreans’ apathy too is to blame for the clogged SWDs. Unmindful of the consequences, people dump waste and debris in the drains. The people residing near the drains, in the absence of sewerage pipes, are letting out sewage directly into the rain water drains.

The worst culprits are solid waste management contractors. They have been found using the vacant space available along and close to the drains as dumping yards. During the rains, the wastes turn into silt and obstruct the flow of water.

Drains, during the rainy season, often overflow because of the encroachment of the drains itself. The encroachers include both the greedy urban rich and the roofless poor.

While the rich are found putting up commercial establishments right on top of the drain or on the sides adjoining the drains, the poor have constructed their pigeon-hole dwellings adjacent to the retaining walls of the drains.

A huge commercial complex, located on Lal Bagh road, is constructed on pillars that go deep into the drain. The complex houses a lodge, an apparel shop and offices of private firms. The building owner has escaped the axe of the BBMP despite the head office of the Palike being a stone’s-throw away from the complex.

900 Illegal buildings

It is not that the BBMP is unaware of such illegal buildings. It has already identified buildings that have come up on the drains. Devaraj, Chief Engineer (SWD) of the Palike said about 900 buildings on the drains have been identified for demolition. Surprisingly, even after commencing the revamping of the drains three years ago, the Palike is still at the planning stage when it comes to bulldozing the illegal structures, some of which are obstacles to the free flow of water in the drains.

Asked about the measures taken by the Palike to avoid over-flow of drains in the rainy season, Devaraj said the works on the SWD has been stopped temporarily as the revised details project report (DPR) was being prepared.

“There is no fresh allocation of funds. The works will begin after the allocation of funds from the council,” the Chief Engineer said.

Lack of planning

More than the funds, it is the planning which is lacking. The Palike had prepared a plan for remodelling the SWDs even before JnNURM came into existence. When the government learnt about the availability of funds under the JnNURM, the plan it had on hand was poised for funding. In many places, let alone rebuild the drains, there is no place even to move excavators to remove the silt.

Designing of SWDs should be in such a way that it should be wider at the place where it lets out water to a valley than at the place of origin because as the drain progresses more and more water gets collected. But it is not so in case of the existing SWDs. Even if the Palike decides to widen the drains, it is very difficult because the land along the drains have structures. As per the norm, at least 50 mts from the drains should have no structures.

Unless elected representatives show strong will power to remove encroachments, remodelling of the SWDs, in toto, will remain in files, officials in the Kuidfc, who did not like to be named, said.

The Bangalore Water Supply and Sewarage Board has approved a multi-crore sewerage pipe replacement plan. But with no land available to lay pipes, the Board may find it tough to implement its plan. If only rain water flows in SWDs, then the water could be collected for reuse.

Deaths in drains

Storm water drains serve many purposes except for what they are meant - free flow of rain water. It is not unusual to see people slipping into the drains and dying.

Following is a list of deaths caused due to over-flowing drains since 2007, the year in which the drains remodelling began.

* April 21, 2007: Subbalakshmi (45) drowned in Ulsoor
* May 31, 2009: Abhishek (6) drowned Lingarajapuram
* Sept 16, 2009: 18 months old Vijay Kumar drowned near Madivala lake
* May 15, 2010: Ramakrishna (48) washed away in a drain in Hosakerehalli

No review so far

The BBMP’s way of functioning is something unbelievable. It proposed an old plan for remodelling the SWDs to JnNURM in 2007 and got it approved. Later, it continued to deviate from the plan as it added new works. Karnataka Urban Infrastructure Development & Finance Corporation (Kuidfc), the nodal agency of JnNURM works in the State, has directed the Palike to prepare a revised DPR.

On top of it, the remodelling work has not been reviewed in the last three years, by the Independent Review and Monitoring Agency (IMRA), set up under the JnNURM. The revised DPR should include changes to be made till September 2010 and later it would be submitted to IMRA.


Valley Approved cost So far spent*

Hebbal valley - Rs 184.74 crore Rs 105.47 crore
Vrushabhavati Rs 228.26 crore Rs 165.25 crore
Koramangala Rs 111.49 crore Rs 59.50 crore
Challghatta Rs 118.57 crore Rs 42.02 crore

Total funds approved under JnNURM – Rs 643.06 crore
Funds spent so far – Rs 372.24 crore
* As on July 31, 2010

(This article is written under a Fellowship of CSE, New Delhi)

Ulsoor drain is cesspool of danger

Ulsoor drain is cesspool of danger
Chethan Kumar, Bangalore, Aug 29, DH News Service :

Months after two boys lost their lives when they fell into open drains, the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagare Palike (BBMP) does not appear to have woken up to the dangers of open sewages that people continue to be exposed to.

A retaining wall for the open drain near the Adarsha Theatre on Old Madras Road at Ulsoor has collapsed, posing a clear and present danger to the lives of pedestrians who daily tread that congested path. The vagaries of nature caused normal wear and tear in the wall which crumbled over a month ago.

In September 2009, one-and-a-half-year old Vijay lost his life to an open drain off Bannerghatta Road. Two months earlier, six-year-old Abhishek fell into an open sewage but his body could not be found. And now, in the case of the open drain at Ulsoor, the old structure that separated the sewer line from the pavement which people cannot avoid using because of the Metro rail work and traffic flow.

But the BBMP, which is not aware of the wall collapse, does not quite seem to appreciate the danger the drain poses to residents, shopkeepers and even children. Speaking to Deccan Herald, BBMP East Zone Chief Engineer Somashekar said the civic body was not aware of the development and that he would, along with Chief Storm Water Drain Engineer Munikrishna, inspect the area and take “necessary action”.

The volume of rain in the past two weeks has made the situation worse because the drain is now close to overflowing, along with the City’s wastewater, human waste, food scraps, plastic and other effluent.

Stanley Selvakumar, a pest-controller and a local resident, said: “The Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation has a bus stop near Adarsha theatre and those get off from buses there have to walk past the drain.

With heavy rains in the past few days and a poor pavement surface, there is always the danger of someone accidentally slipping into the drain.” Selvakumar’s main concern is for children who use that stretch of the road as there are a couple of schools nearby.
The traffic policmen, who are eyewitness to the situation since they manage vehicular movement at the CMH Road-Old Madras Road intersection, expressed concern and disappointment with the BBMP’s apathetic attitude.

Inspector Kavitha M C, while questioning the utilisation of taxpayers’ money, said: “I am very disappointed with the manner in which the corporation prioritises its projects. I recently read that they were clearing projects in a matter of seconds without proper discussion but they cannot make this a priority even after losing two children no more than a year ago.”

While BBMP Commissioner Siddaiah could not be contacted despite several attempts, corporation sources said that a clear picture on how the engineering department would approach the problem posed by open drains across the City would emerge only after the budget is present on Monday.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

A dog-free city in 3-4 years: Siddaiah

A dog-free city in 3-4 years: Siddaiah

Council approves projects worth Rs55.12 crore; errant engineers to be blacklisted

Shwetha S

The BBMP has become a comfort zone for many bureaucrats and their days are numbered. These were the warnings issued by mayor SK Nataraj during the BBMP council meeting on Saturday.
Nataraj said: "For deficiency in quality of works, we will blacklist engineers who're currently on deputation from other departments. We'll review projects given to them and examine its progress. Engineers who have worked for more than three years in the BBMP will be sent back to their parent departments. After serving in the BBMP, the engineer should not come back on deputation for at least five years. New projects will not be given to them henceforth if the funds are being misused." Acting on his word, Nataraj blacklisted Karnataka Land Army Corporation Ltd officials for doing a shoddy job of filling potholes.
Addressing the menace posed by rise in the number of stray dogs, BBMP commissioner Siddaiah said the BBMP plans to make the city free of stray dogs in three years. Earlier, the councillors sought reports of the Animal Birth Control (ABC) programme's implementation from BBMP health officers.
Siddaiah said: "We have been conducting the ABC programme on a regular basis. According to a 2007 census, there are more than 2lakh stray dogs in the city. Of these, 1.7 lakh have been sterilised. We emphasise on sterilising dogs and we have increased the number of NGOs conducting this programme. CCTV cameras will be installed to monitor the programme. I assure that in another three to four years, we will make Bangalore a dog-free city."
The BBMP council meeting also passed resolutions and plans of action to improve long-pending civic amenities. Corporators raised issues such as broken sewage lines and inefficient garbage disposal. The corporators also formed a committee to follow up on projects to keep track of the approval from the offices of the chief minister and governor.
BBMP commissioner Siddaiah said: "The BBMP has identified 2,561 potholes in the city. Of these, we have filled 2,361 potholes," said the commissioner. The delay is due to rain, but the work would be completed in one month, he added.

Mercedes bus trial run over next month

Mercedes bus trial run over next month
Bangalore, August 28, DHNS:

The Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) on Saturday introduced two Mercedes Benz buses on trial basis to check the quality of the bus and the acceptance by the public before deciding on purchase.

Addressing reporters Transport Minister R Ashok said the fares for the trial trips will be on par with Volvo bus fares and added: “We’ve however decided to ply the buses for Rs 5 (start point to final destination) for the first three days.”


On Saturday, the first day, bus one (335-E) travelled between Majestic and Kadugodi while bus two (356-C) plied between Majestic and Electronic City.

On day two, bus one (500-K) will ply between Vijayanagar and ITPL, and bus two (365) will go between Majestic and Bannerghatta National Park. On day three, bus one (2) will travel between Majestic and J P Nagar 6th Phase and bus two (195) will ply between Chandra Layout and Shivajinagar.

For the next 12 days –– August 31 to September 11 –– bus one (335-E) will travel between Majestic and Kadugodi, while bus two (356-C) will ply between Majestic to Electronic City.

In the second phase of the trial run from September 12 to September 26, bus one (9) will travel between Majestic and Bengaluru International Airport with fares on par with the Vayu Vajra buses. And bus two (500-K) will go between Vijayanagar and ITPL with fares on par with the Vajra buses.

The trial run is in line with the Corporation’s tradition of conducting a viability operation through such runs before the purchase of any new vehicle.

10 more buses

Following the good response Benz buses garnered during the long route trial runs between Bangalore and Mysore, the KSRTC has decided to purchase about 10 Benz buses by September 15.

Moreover, about 40 multi-axle, eight-wheeler Volvo buses are to be purchased by the end of October.

While stating that Traffic Transit Management Centre (TTMC) at Bannerghatta and a bus depot at Chikkanagamangala will be thrown open to the public on Sunday, Ashok said a Rs 30 crore bus stand has been completed in Hassan district and will be inaugurated in the next 10-12 days.

He remarked that the department’s objective was to develop bus stations and depots of the same quality as in Bangalore at other centres in the State.


The BMTC and KSRTC has decided to donate Rs 50 lakh to the Institute of Nephro Urology at Victoria hospital for purchase of 10 dialysis units and also provide for an ambulance, Ashok said.

Of this, BMTC donated Rs 25 lakh to the institute on Saturday, and said there will be a separate block named after the Corporation at the institute. Employees of BMTC and KSRTC will get free treatment here, Ashok said.

Nod for projects worth Rs 45.73 cr

Nod for projects worth Rs 45.73 cr
Bangalore, August 28, DHNS:

The General Body meeting of the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike Council held here on Saturday gave financial approval to several projects totalling to Rs 45.73 crore.

The Palike will share the expense of road construction at Export Promotion Industrial Park (EPIP) at White Field. The estimated cost of the project is Rs 45 crore and the BBMP will contribute Rs 20.5 crore. The project entails improvements, strengthening and asphalting of internal roads (four-lane and two-lane) of EPIP zone and construction of bi-directional underpass at Graphite India Junction. The two other agencies involved in the project are Assistance to States for Developing Export Infrastructure and Allied Activities and White Field Export Promotion Park Industrial Association.

The meeting gave its nod for the Rs 14.74-cr project to widen the Old Madras Road-Kuvempu Circle stretch on Bangalore-Varthur road. A Rs 4.93-cr project to construct swimming pool at Yelahanka Air Force Station and development of the stretch from DLF Southern Homes Township to Thayappa Garden at a cost of Rs 4.01 cr were also approved.

It was resolved to spend Rs two crore this year for construction of indoor stadium at RBI Layout in JP Nagar. The total cost of the project is Rs 10.98 crore. The Council gave its consent to name the Subramanya Nagar Main Road as C M Nagaraj Road and Banashankari second phase, third stage as Hoysala Nagar. It was decided to hand over 51 acres of land at Bugganadoddi in Anekal taluk to the Karnataka Compost Development Corporation Limited for garbage disposal. The Council also gave nod to fill the posts of 12 reporters and one recording officer in the Recording section.


* Share in EPIP project - Rs 20.05 cr
* Rs 14.74 cr for widening of Varthur road
* Swimming pool at Yelahanaka Air Force Station - Rs 4.93 cr
* Rs 2 cr for indoor stadium at RBI Layout

Take the Bus !

Take the Bus !
Bangalore, August 28, DHNS:

Despite initiatives such as the ''Bus Day,'' Bangaloreans aren’t getting onto the public transport buses in big numbers. Here’s a comprehensive look at the issue.

Everybody loves a free road, decongested and wonderfully motorist-friendly. But to realise that dream, could you flood every inch of the City’s grossly inadequate roads with private vehicles of every hue. “No,” screams the traffic strategists, and predictably propose a vastly improved public transport system. Yet, one look at the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC), the autos and taxis and you know, they aren’t really up to the challenge.

The Centre’s urban transport strategy is clearly based on restraining the unregulated growth of private vehicles. But how do you implement it, if BMTC’s initiatives such as the “Bus Day” are still only symbolic, and about a thousand vehicles are added to the City’s roads every day.

If BMTC’s services are dubbed “unreliable” by most private vehicle owners, and the City’s auto drivers are notoriously unruly, is there a real chance for a smooth and efficient public transport system to take shape?

Last Mile Connectivity

Perhaps, if the critical aspect of “Last Mile Connectivity” is looked into. Experts are clear that Bangalore’s bane is the lack of a multiple, integrated system of public transport, unlike in cities such as Kolkata, Chennai or Mumbai. In these cities, local trains or trams support the buses or vice-versa, hugely complementing the autorickshaws.

Often, Bangaloreans are forced to use private transport since there are no bus stations in many residential areas, and short trips in autos don’t come cheap. A telling instance is that of N Padmashree of Ulsoor, who commutes to Basaveshwarnagar everyday. “I have to walk almost a kilometre to get to the bus stand to board a bus to Shivajinagar. Again, I’ve got to walk a fair bit from the bus stand to Basaveshwarnagar,” says Padmashree, ruling out the autos as an option.

High BMTC fares

High fares levied by public modes of transport including the BMTC is cited as another reason why people prefer personal transport. But BMTC disagrees, contending that the fares are reasonable and only reflects the hike in petroleum prices.

Whatever the contention, the problem of mounting private vehicles is there for all to see. Here are some startling statistics: For a population of about 9 million, Bangalore has about 41 lakh private vehicles and only 90,000 public vehicles including 6,046 BMTC buses, around 80,000 autos and 3,000 odd taxis. Only about 42 per cent of the population use public transport, with BMTC catering to 42 lakh commuters daily. Experts opine that for the traffic situation to be healthy, at least 75 per cent to 80 per cent of the population must use public transport.

MN Sreehari, advisor to the State Government on infrastructure, traffic and transport, feels such high levels of private vehicles in any city will directly result in traffic congestion. “This is particularly so in Bangalore, which lacks planning too.” The congestion has definitely caught the traffic police and the transport department in a bind. It couldn’t be otherwise, when the transport department itself informs that about 41.30 lakh of the 90 lakh vehicles in the State are in Bangalore.

BMTC measures

The transport department has been toying with different strategies to drive the public towards public transport. Introduction of different types of buses to cater to different classes of people is one such initiative, as BMTC MD Syed Zameer Pasha informs. The once-a-month “Bus Day” is another move, although its results are found wanting.

The Transport Corporation is also developing several Traffic Transit Management Centres (TTMCs) with parking facility, to encourage people to park private vehicles and use buses. This is claimed as one solution to address the lack of last mile connectivity. But the existing TTMCs are yet to record any noticeable success, the poor response to the parking facility at Jayanagar being a case in point. Perhaps, the perceived success of the AC Volvo buses could show the way.

Bus Day

Despite the publicity, the “Bus Day” initiative has largely remained a brand-building exercise. Transport Minister R Ashok admits it, but he reminds that the initiative is still in its nascent stage. “People will understand the importance of using public transport,” he says.

While many don’t share the minister’s optimism, there are experts who feel the Namma Metro might provide a breather. But they warn that its success too will depend on how well BMTC can play the role of a feeder. This crucial factor is echoed by Transport Commissioner Bhaskar Rao as well. “It is vital that the BMTC corresponds the metro and plies buses to various metro stations for people to take the metro.”

Chethan Kumar

No end to traffic chaos

Mounting vehicular population on the City roads has triggered a litany of problems, too acute for the City traffic police to handle. Besides severely straining the road infrastructure, this explosive growth has triggered a traffic situation of unmanageable proportions, in the process affecting the physical, mental and psychological health of the policemen.

Ever on the rise, cases of traffic violation, traffic jams, slow-moving vehicles, fatal and non fatal accidents and episodes of dramatic road rages have all put the police in a clueless fix. The police obviously puts the blame for all these on the sheer number of vehicles.

“The City’s public transport system has drastically failed to meet the requirements of the travelling public, resulting in an ocean of private and personal vehicles. The public prefer personal and private vehicles because they are comfortable and quick,” reasons a traffic constable, exasperated by his daily struggle.

Unscientific infrastructure

Faced with a volley of traffic woes, the police often rely on solutions that commuters find unscientific. The infrastructure too aren’t exactly world class. Unscientific road designs, improper traffic patterns, lack of practical wisdom while choosing places for construction of flyovers, underpasses and sub-ways have resulted in introduction of more one-ways.

Urban planner and architect, George K Kuruvilla notes that Bangalore’s is a ‘confused traffic planning’. “There is confusion everywhere, thanks to engineers who finalise traffic planning for the City instead of traffic planners. Ideally, we should have a group of trained traffic planners to plan for one-ways, places to construct flyovers, bridges, introduction of alternative public mode of transportation other than buses like mono rails, sky trains and sky buses,” he stresses.

A lack of understanding of traffic patterns by engineers, and unscientific decisions on major issues concerning road infrastructure have resulted in consumption of more time and energy and improper connectivity. These have naturally forced people to depend on personal vehicles, contends Kuruvilla.

Free Parking

The free parking system is another critical factor, reminds Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic & Security) Praveen Sood. “Why we see more private and personal vehicles on the roads is due to the free parking system. Nowhere in the world is parking of vehicles free,” he says.

The parked vehicles consume more space on roads forcing authorities to convert such roads into one-ways. Sood suggests that the one-ways can be abolished ensuring more space on roads if the parked vehicles are shifted to parking lots. “The abolition of one-ways will ensure proper connectivity, which will encourage people to use the public transport system,” that’s his recipe.

Jagadish Angadi

Solutions aplenty

There has never been a dearth of solutions offered for the taxing traffic congestion of Bangalore roads. It is in the implementation of various plans that the City has faltered. The spiralling growth of vehicles has only made adopting plans even more tougher. Yet, there is a need to revisit the solutions suggested by traffic experts, long time road users and think tanks.


Sharing a private car by people heading to the same destination was an idea proposed by a team of techies a few years ago. It was a simple yet practical way to reduce the number of cars on the road. When the traffic police backed it and did a formal launch in November 2008, car-pooling looked big.

Yet, despite the police claims that the response has been “very good,” it hasn’t picked up pace beyond the IT/BT sector employees. It definitely calls for a more aggressive push.

Bus-route re-rationalisation

“Re-rationalisation”of the bus routes will be a starting point for the government to attract citizens to use public transport, feels traffic expert and founder of Gubbi Labs, a private research enterprise, Sudhira. “Any person travelling from Banashankari to Malleshwaram need to change over at K R Market. Instead, they can ply direct buses in large numbers to ensure that such transit points are not a hindrance to people,” he explains.

Relook at fares

Since public transport also implies economical commuting, experts feel that ticket fares should be moderately priced. This goes for BMTC buses, autorickshaws and taxis. Pocket-friendly daily passes could be another option. While the Namma Metro is being cited as an alternative public transport, many feel the pricing should be moderate and integrated with other modes of transport. Many world cities have adopted the practice of a single daily ticket that will help the commuter travel by bus, metro or tram.

Deterring taxes

High decongestion taxes have vastly deterred car owners from entering the heart of the city in many countries. The tax might appear draconian to some, but has been a success worldwide. London and Singapore are cases in point. Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic), Praveen Sood is in favour of such as system for Bangalore.


Rs 5-ride on Mercedes Benz buses for 3 days

Rs 5-ride on Mercedes Benz buses for 3 days

Express News Service First Published : 29 Aug 2010 01:51:51 AM ISTLast Updated : 29 Aug 2010 09:50:42 AM IST
BANGALORE: In an attempt to woo the city crowd to opt for public transport system, Transport Minister R Ashok flagged off the Mercedes Benz buses at Shantinagar bus station on Saturday.
"Public transport system should gain momentum in the city and more people should opt for public mode of transport. With such initiatives, we are offering commuters international standards of transport," he said.
The minister said the minimum fare for the first three days (trial run) would be Rs 5. He said after that, fares similar to Vayu Vajra and Vajra would be applicable.
Besides this, the minister said he wanted to extend such services to other districts of north Karnataka.
"Districts such as Bellary, Koppal, Raichur, Gangavati and other north Karnataka districts will also have hitech city buses. We are in discussion with the state (government) and the final decision will be taken soon," he said.
The minister also said that the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC), which undertook the trial run of the Benz buses on BangaloreMysore route, would get its first fleet of 10 buses by mid September and another 40 multi-axle Benz buses by October end.
He also revealed that the Volvo bus service was making profit in the city, as they had already crossed their set target for the month of May. "We have achieved the financial target for the month of May and we can say that the Volvo buses are making profit. In fact, they are doing much better than their counterparts in Mumbai or Chennai," he said.
The Benz buses' trial run will conclude on September 26, following which, the transport department will assess the success of the run, based on the overall performance.
Each Benz bus has cost the department Rs 65 lakh. Presently, the BMTC has 432 Volvo buses, which according to sources, has caused the transport department a loss in crores of rupees. But the minister has claimed otherwise.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Namma Metro work should not hit Cubbon Park, says CJ

Namma Metro work should not hit Cubbon Park, says CJ

But the work on the station at Vidhana Soudha could go on, the Karnataka high court observed

Odeal D'Souza

The proposed Metro station work at Vidhana Soudha should go on. But it is also important that nothing should happen to the Cubbon Park.
These were the words expressed by chief justice JS Khehar on Friday while hearing the case challenging the proposed metro station work at Vidhana Soudha.
The issue of the proposed station has been in much debate over a few months since it falls under the purview of one of Bangalore's best lung spaces, Cubbon Park.
Stressing on the seriousness of the case, the bench headed by chief justice JS Khehar and justice Manjula Chellur observed, "Cubbon Park is very precious to the city. Its importance is known only to the people who have come from outside Bangalore. What we want is the work should go on smoothly but nothing should be done to destroy the previous environs of the park."
The division bench appointed senior counsel DLN Rao to assist the court in this matter. The court also said that the details of the project and all the records should be handed over to the counsel.
Advocate general Ashok Haranahalli submitted that alternative roads will be used to divert traffic before starting the Metro work.
The petitioner's advocate MG Kumar had earlier argued that the underground station near the high court could be dangerous for the heritage building. He also said that a station at the Minsk Square and at KR Circle is enough which could be 1km in distance. Passengers can walk up to these stations while there is absolutely no requirement for the station opposite the Vidhana Soudha.
In the petition filed by the horticulture department, it has stated that the BMRCL requires 11,160.86 sq mt area temporarily and 2,126.71 sq m area permanently for Vidhana Soudha Underground station and ancillary buildings.
The department also sought permission for felling 116 trees, 22 for traffic diversions through alternative roads, 65 for stations and 29 for ancillary buildings.
The Cubbon park area is 260 acres. The actual area required (permanently) for the 800-metre alignment in front of high court and KGID building is 0.5 acres or 0.2% of the entire Cubbon Park area as the rest of the greenery will be restored. The horticulture department stated this in its petition based on the letter written by BMRCL on August 26, 2009 seeking its permission.

You are drinking pollution, not water

You are drinking pollution, not water

Reports indicate that over 62% of underground water in the city is contaminated by industrial effluents, leading to a potentially alarming healthcare situation

Srikanth Hunasavadi Bangalore

Your corporators want at least 10 new borewells dug in each of the 198 wards in Bangalore – 1,980, if their wishes are granted. But consider this: a shocking 62% of the city's underground water is contaminated by industrial effluents and pollutants, posing a health risk as it is unfit for drinking. This water replenishes the borewells even as corporators want more of these dug.
Environment minister J Krishna Palemar announced this on Friday while citing the latest survey report of the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) after a meeting with officials of KSPCB, Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) and Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP).
According to a 2008 KSPCB survey report, 58% of underground water in Bangalore was contaminated. Disturbingly, two years later, the water contamination levels are found to have gone up to 62%, and it has been attributed to a large number of industries discharging waste waters into open drains and lakes, throwing environment concerns to the winds. The minister said that despite repeated directions to set up effluent treatment plants, several industries had not bothered to do that; instead they were letting the wastes run into the water bodies of the city.
On surveillance, 46 defaulting industries in Bangalore, mainly making dyes, were issued closure orders and 18 criminal cases were filed against them.Three criminal cases against BWSSB and 10 cases against CMC and TMCs were filed for discharging untreated sewage into water bodies. The board has also restricted industrial projects in the Tippagondanahalli catchment, he said.

Mysore Road widening going on at a slow pace

Mysore Road widening going on at a slow pace

Staff Reporter
Road users, pedestrians are put to severe hardship
— Photo: K. Murali Kumar

Instant fix:A policeman helps to fill up potholes with bricks and building debris near the BMTC satellite bus terminal to ensure smooth flow of traffic
BANGALORE: With the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) going slow on the widening of Mysore Road, the woes of road users have multiplied with the civic authority leaving behind long stretches of pot-hole ridden roads for the motorists to endure.

The stretch between Muslim Burial Ground (just after the down ramp of Sirsi Circle Flyover) and Hosaguddadahalli has been the worst affected. Fed up with the lackadaisical attitude of the civic authority, residents of the surrounding area filled the potholes and craters with debris recently. However, their temporary measure soon created cesspools on the road, worsening the situation.

‘Why delay?'

Once the vehicles move towards Sirsi Circle cross Hosaguddadahalli, they start crawling as the traffic moves at a snail's pace till they reach the Muslim Burial Ground. Altaf Ahmed, a resident of Hosaguddadahalli, wondered why the palike has not speeded up the widening work. “They chop one tree this week, another after a fortnight and one more after a month. Later, they pull down some structures. Weeks thereafter, they take up work on the shoulder drains that goes on endlessly,” he lamented. Manjunath R., a resident of the Azad Nagar, said it was more than six months since the road widening work started. “However, except chopping several huge trees and demolishing some buildings, the work does not appear to have progressed much,” he said. The worst affected are the pedestrians who have no way to walk from the Toll Gate to the Muslim Burial Ground, Mr. Manjunath pointed out. Added to the potholes, sewage flows in makeshift open drains magnifying the problems, he noted.


Rajanna, a BMTC bus driver, said that it requires at least 20 minutes to negotiate the 500-metre stretch between Toll Gate and the Muslim Burial Ground. The two-lane road has now become single lane thanks to the widening process and is completely pothole-ridden, he rued. With this, not only has the commuting time increased, but the crew also are forced miss at least two trips every day due to traffic snarls, he said.

Rain-washed, city crawls on Thursday

Rain-washed, city crawls on Thursday

Express News Service First Published : 27 Aug 2010 02:21:34 AM ISTLast Updated : 27 Aug 2010 08:50:38 AM IST
BANGALORE: Once again, rain brought Bangalore traffic to a halt and uprooted trees in several parts of the city.
Though no damage to life and property was reported, power supply at several places in the city was affected due to the line failures.
Power supply was disrupted at Lingarajpuram, Banaswadi, Kalyanagar and HBR Layout due to 20mm rain received by the city.
According to BESCOM officials, this happens whenever the city receives continuous rains and said a team was deputed to set everything right.
Uprooting of trees was reported from RT Nagar, Kammanahalli and Dinnur Main Road. The BBMP control room said four trees were uprooted.
The worst-hit were the commuters who faced traffic jams all over the city due to waterlogging.
The worst-hit were Jayamahal, JC Nagar, Mekhri circle, Mysore Road, Peenya and Yeshwanthpur.
Traffic near Chinnaswamy stadium and Cubbon Park, going towards Raj Bhavan, was also severely affected.
At the NIMHANS stretch near Diary Circle a marriage procession added to the problems. An ambulance had to seek the help of the traffic control room to reach BTM Layout.
Hosur Road was also in complete chaos.
The other affected areas were Palace Road, Hebbal, Nagavara main road, KR Puram, Old Airport Road, Thippasandra, besides Jayanagar, BTM II stage, Adugodi and Johnson Market.

City to have multi-level basement parking soon

City to have multi-level basement parking soon
Bangalore, Aug 27, DHNS:

The parking problem in the City will finally see a permanent solution if the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) considers the non-invasive basement creation technique to create multi-level basement parking system.

Speaking on the advantages of this technique, H Raja Simha, Technical Advisor to Commissioner, BBMP, explained that this technique is cost-effective, makes optimum usage of open land and most importantly does not disturb the activities on the surface above.

“One-third of the road is utilised for parking vehicles. By providing multi-level basement parking more space can be created to make room for the growing vehicular population,” added Raja Simha, who invented this technique along with Prof B R Sreenivasa Murthy, Professor Emeritus, IISc.

In this technique, a land space is created of any desired depths under an open surface like roads, vacant land, parks without disturbing the movement of vehicles and people above. To create basement parking space, bullet beam jacking technique is adopted in which beams are inserted underground.

Following this mild steel plates are inserted between the flanges to create a platform for parking. In the same manner, this process can be extended in the longitudinal direction to create multiple levels.

On a public private partnership model, the BBMP is considering the construction of multi-level parking system in areas which have high density of vehicular movement. “We have identified a few areas in the City which requires additional parking space. Within a span of two to three months BBMP will commence the construction of the pilot project which will cost Rs 2,300 per square feet,” said K R Niranjan, BBMP Special Commissioner (project).

Apart from the basement parking system, the BBMP is also planning to construct skywalks with elevator facility at road junctions for safer pedestrian crossing. The BBMP has identified 365 roads specially around hospitals and schools across which skywalks will be constructed at a cost of Rs 1.5 crore each.

As night descends, auto-crats rule

As night descends, auto-crats rule
Ruman Qamar, Bangalore, Aug 27, DHNS:

Pre-paid auto stands, opened by the City police with much fanfare, seem to have failed to achieve their objective - of addressing the problem of autorickshaw drivers charging passenger excess fare, refusing to come to certain location and impolite behaviour.

The autorickshaw drivers have mastered the art of getting around even this system by targeting commuters during late evenings.

The pre-paid auto stand on MG Road is a telling case in point. Passengers take as many 400 autos during the weekdays and an extra 200 during weekends from the auto stand.

A traffic sub-inspector along with two or three constables are deployed at the stand to issue tickets indicating the fares. The queue of commuters waiting for the autos at the stand is seen till 11 pm to midnight.

But, soon after nightfall there would be no sign of these diligent traffic police personnel to monitor the auto stand. Instead, a gang of visibly arrogant auto drivers takes over, demanding exorbitant fares from the commuters, who have no choice but to cough up the extra bucks.

“I had to travel from MG Road to Old Airport Road at 10 pm. To my surprise I saw auto drivers asking the price instead of the traffic police. I silently agreed to pay Rs 150 as there was no other option,” said Meet Singh, an advertisement executive.

Traffic police personnel are supposed to be at the auto stands from 9.30 am to 9.30 pm after which the autorickshaw drivers start fleecing the passengers.

Some of the passengers wanted the police to man these pre-paid centres till late night as the police do to curb drunk driving in the night.

When his reaction was sought for this, DCP Traffic (East) B A Muthanna said: “We will look into the wrong doings taking places at the pre-paid stand. We will make necessary arrangements and try to deploy at least one constable at the spot till 11 am.”

Autorickshaw drivers in the City have a reputation of being rude and cheating the passengers by blatantly charging more than the meter fare and in many cases, doctoring the meters. Most commuters complain that the drivers often refuse to go to certain destinations and on many occasions, don’t return the change.

While unions have been claiming that they are trying to educate their members values such as polite behaviour, not overcharging the passenger, such claims do not pass muster on the ground. The autocracy continues.

From bad to worse

From bad to worse
G Manjusainath, Bangalore, Aug 27, DHNS:

Looks like the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike’s drive against illegal road humps has done more harm than good, for now there are uneven surfaces in place of road humps.

Following complaints about illegal and unscientific road humps that were leading to accidents and damaging vehicles, the BBMP launched a drive to remove them.

BBMP Commissioner Siddaiah instructed that road humps be constructed in a scientific way and only where there was a need like proximity to schools, hospitals, major shopping junctions and government offices. He directed the officials to construct high-rise pedestrian crossings, paint them with luminescence paints and put cat-eye reflectors to alert motorists.

However, the task was executed so shabbily that dangerous grooves and uneven surfaces have emerged on roads across Bangalaore. Repairing of roads were also not undertaken and the recent spell of rains washed away the tar leaving behind grooves that assumed the shape of craters, posing an even bigger threat to commuters.

An example

The road from Konankunte Cross to Kengeri had many illegal road humps. But now, after their removal uneven roads have emerged. While the contractors who tarred the roads have no qualms as these uneven surfaces are doing the same job as that of the road humps, residents’ welfare associations are angry about the substandard works carried out by the BBMP.

Wing Commander M R Shirazi of Langford Town Residents’ Welfare Association complained that in his area the road humps were not levelled properly after removal and the BBMP filled the roads with mud.

Same is the case at J P Nagar 7th Phase near Brigade Millennium. An annoyed Ananthapadmanabha of J P Nagar Residents’ Welfare Association (RWA) complained that the status of the road remained the same even after a month.

Hamsa Govind Raj of Domlur RWA holds the “nexus” between contractors and BBMP engineer responsible for the poor shape of roads. She remarked that the damage to the roads were done intentionally so that repair works could be carried out every now and then. When Commissioner Siddaiah was contacted in this regard, he said he would look into the matter.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Ad agencies prune trees

Ad agencies prune trees

Article Rank

The city continues to lose its green cover with advertisement agencies pruning tree branches crudely just because they have been preventing commuters from getting a clear view of the hoarding erected by them.
The BBMP has already done enough damage to the city’s greenery by axing trees for infrastructure projects with Namma Metro lending a helping hand by felling hundreds of trees on the rail route.

On Thursday morning, green lovers were in for a rude shock when advertisement company workers arrived on Thursday morning to chop tree branches on Richmond Road near Sacred Heart Church.

The apparent reason for chopping the tree branches: They were preventing a

frontal view of the advertisement hoarding. “On Wednesday I was shocked to find some tree branches being cut. The ad company workers lied saying they had taken the permission of the BBMP, when they actually had not,” said a security guard at the Church.
Shantalanagar corporator K. Shivakumar has lodged a complaint with the mayor and the BBMP’s forest cell.

Mr Shivakumar said the tree branches were being cut illegally without obtaining permission. Traffic flow came to a grinding halt for nearly an hour in this busy locality because of the pruning, he said.

The BBMP’s forest department has lodged complaint against Rainbow advertisement company for illegal tree cutting. “No permission was sought from BBMP for tree cutting,” said BBMP range officer (East) E.R. Ravindra.

It is a difficult choice for planners

It is a difficult choice for planners

Being an important link road, widening Chandni Chowk Road will certainly help commuters. But it will also uproot the lives of common people who have homes and shops located along the stretch. Where will they go if their property is acquired for road widening? BBMP will have to take a tough decision

Shilpa CB

Bangalore has its own Chandni Chowk, and it is in dire need of emergency care. Chandni Chowk Road or CC Road deserves a better deal, residents say. But they are not sure if widening is the solution. Adding width to the stretch will benefit only those passing through this important link road, they say. Those with properties on both sides of the road will be left with little and they will have to continue living in poor conditions. "Our life will be shattered," bemoans a small trader.
The road is congested, true. It should be made a double road, says Siddique Hussain, a resident. He argues that it will benefit those living in the many tiny streets going inside. "The houses and shops will be easily accessible," he says.
But, while the residents benefit, those with properties on the roadside will be hit hard. Businessmen like Aftab Misri who owns a 98-year-old book shop will have to give up their land.
"We don't want the widening to happen if it means that people will be left without a means to earn their livelihood," says K Mohammed Sardar, president of Stephen's Square Merchant Association that has about 1,200 members.
The association is not clear on what the alternatives are; neither does it dismiss the proposed widening. Any measure will affect the market that dates back to the British period.
"Wheels of horse carts are made and repaired here. Now, one can find all kinds of old parts of two-wheelers and four-wheelers here. Nowhere in the city do you find these items all in one place. The market is also known for tarpaulin," says Khajanawaz Mohammed who has a stake in the thriving scrap business here.
"Clear the scrap market and everything will be fine. No need to widen the stretch," says Mohammed Younus who has been living here since 1947.
But his neighbour Munir Ahmed is open to the idea of their beloved CC Road being widened. Of course, the tenant has nothing to lose. He will pay lower rent for a small space, he says.
Two mosques also stand by the roadside. Hussain assures that those who own the land will not object to widening as it is long overdue.
Those living around the market and those from Frazer Town, Coles Road using this road to get to Vidhana Soudha, High Court and GPO blame the market for the congestion during peak hours.
"Bureaucrats, councillors, advocates, and those working in Vidhana Soudha and Visveswarayya Tower pass this way. They have been demanding that the road be widened," says Hussain.
Move that market and things should be fine, says Premila P, a resident. Families like hers have lived here for generations and have also renovated their houses at a huge cost. Moving from here is out of the question, they say.
"We've managed to build a house after years of toil and deprivation. Now, the government wants to evict us for the benefit of those who have three or four cars parked in their bungalows. Is this fair? We don't even own a cycle. All we have is this house. We will not leave," she says.
Ragini C is angry that the area has been neglected, the living conditions are bad, there is none to listen to their grievances.
"We get by with rent that we earn from four shops. There are about four families living in this building which is about 10 years old. We've just managed to pay off the loan we took to build it. Now they want to take it away," she says.
"The ancestral property affords us shelter inside the city, we can't let it go," she adds.
Residents repeatedly complain that the drains, footpaths, garbage problem need fixing.

Helipad crowns city's tallest building

Helipad crowns city's tallest building

Staff Reporter
Thirty-storey World Trade Center, Bangalore, to house both businesses and residences

TOP OF THE TOWN:Those who can afford it can skim over the city's notorious traffic jams.
Bangalore: With a helipad as its crowning glory, India's second World Trade Center (WTC) located within the Brigade Gateway, the 40-acre mixed use project at the Rajajinagar-Malleswaram junction here, will be operational by the first quarter of 2011.


“The Brigade Group has obtained the licence from the World Trade Centers Association (WTCA) to classify and manage its one million sq ft office tower, as the World Trade Center, Bangalore,” said M.R. Jaishankar, Chairman & MD, Brigade Group, at a press conference in the city.

Symbol of trade

“The World Trade Center certification is awarded after rigorous assessment and scrutiny by WTCA whose primary objective is to promote ‘prosperity through trade,” said Robert J. Frueh, Director of Member Services, WTCA.

“WTC Bangalore will soon be a symbol of international trade for the Greater Bangalore Region,” he said “The establishment links this great city with around 311 World Trade Centers in nearly 100 countries.”

International trade providing services as trade information, global networking with WTC clubs, teleconferencing, exhibit facilities, consulting and office services and trade policy research, amongst others, will be available at the WTC Bangalore.


WTC Bangalore is 128 metres high (437 feet) with a glass façade, is built to LEED standards by HOK, New York, has world-class architectural features. Twenty-one high-speed elevators take visitors up 30 floors while 90,000 sq ft have been set aside for the nine-level car park.

The 29 {+t} {+h} floor, the Observation Deck, will have a 360-degree view of the city's skyline. Capping it is the 10,000 sq ft helipad.

The 1,260 residential units inside the integrated enclave will overlook an artificial lake. They will co-exist with a large retail space facing the road, a Sheraton Hotel with interconnected bridge for easy movement, PVR multiplex, Columbia Asia Hospital, club and sports services, and a Brigade Foundation School.

“This will be the first-of its kind privately run WTC in the world, unlike the Council of Management running the show at the WTC in Mumbai,” said Mr. Jaishankar.

BBMP's ambitious Vana Mahotsav a failure?

BBMP's ambitious Vana Mahotsav a failure?

Staff Reporter
Instead of 1 lakh saplings, only 10,000 were planted on Tuesday
BBMP plans to plant five lakh saplings this year across the city

Forest and Horticulture departments jointly implementing the programme

CONCRETE JUNGLE:Bangalore could do with some serious greening efforts.
Bangalore: The Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike's (BBMP) ambitious plan to green the city by planting five lakh saplings is in danger of wilting.

The Vana Mahotsav programme was launched with Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa planting a sapling at the proposed Tree Park in Domlur on Tuesday amid proclamations that the BBMP would plant one lakh saplings that day.

However, it now emerges that only 10,000 saplings were planted, including the 350 at the Tree Park.

Passing the buck

A civic authority source said the Forest Department has been entrusted with the greening task, with the BBMP's Horticulture Department assisting planting saplings in parks.

“The Horticulture Department has limited purview. Almost 90 per cent of the plan has to be implemented by the Forest Department,” sources said.

Moreover, the source said, the department had failed to involve the 198 councillors. The BBMP could have met the one lakh target on a single day if 500 saplings had been planted in each ward. “This was possible had all the councillors been involved,” the source said.

Shanthakumar, Conservator of Forests, BBMP, told The Hindu the department had shortlisted 10 tree species to be planted across the city, including mahogany, jackfruit, neem, jamoon, honge and flowering varieties such as nagasampige.

Conceding that only 10,000 saplings had been planted so far, he claimed that from June till now, around 2.5 lakh saplings had been planted. “We will complete planting the one lakh saplings in about 15 days. We will plant canopy trees in open spaces and hardy species such as ficus along the roads,” he said.

‘Too slow'

In a frank admission, Mayor S.K. Nataraj agreed the Vana Mahotsav programme was going slow. It was postponed as the Chief Minister was not available to launch it earlier. The officials should have strategised it better, he said, adding he would ask them to expedite the programme.

Continuous rainfall hits traffic in city

Continuous rainfall hits traffic in city

Staff Reporter
City records 21.8 mm rainfall

Rain and thundershowers expected today

BANGALORE: Bangaloreans woke up on Thursday morning to nippy weather and a cloudy sky which turned into intermittent rainfall by early evening.

The rain, which began at around 3 p.m., continued till late in the night with some parts of the city witnessing nearly continuous downpour. The city recorded 21.8 mm rainfall and a minimum temperature of around 19.8 degrees Celsius. The Meteorological Department has forecast cloudy sky and spells of rain and thundershowers on Friday. Predictably, arterial roads were choked with traffic. Vehicles moved at snails' pace on M.G. Road, Cubbon Road, K.G. Road, J.C. Road and Sheshadripuram Road, to name a few. Office-goers returning home found that their drive home took a good half-hour longer than usual.

While three tree-falls were reported in Bangalore South BBMP zone, one each in Srinagar, Banashankari and Tilaknagar, one tree fall was reported in Ramaiah Layout in Kamanahalli, Banaswadi. BBMP officials said the trees had been cleared. Other reports of branches having fallen on byroads were also dealt with, the official added.

Rain takes its toll on City roads

Rain takes its toll on City roads
Bangalore, Aug 26, DHNS:

Incessant rains on Thursday spoilt the evening plans of most Bangaloreans.

But what was more worrisome for them was how the showers peeled away the tar from the newly-asphalted roads in many areas. Motorists, who braved the rains, found huge potholes emerging on the roads. It only got worse in the night on poorly-lit streets.

With the roads virtually breaking apart under the onslaught of the rains, it was getting increasingly clear that the asphalting was only an annual ritual. Motorists were forced to negotiate even big ditches. Two-wheeler riders found it too risky to venture close to these ditches.

Picture this: Hardly a year back, the road near Hosmat Hospital was tarred. But even the below normal rainfall in August has left a trail of ditches, some big enough even to overturn vehicles. After Thursday’s downpour water got stagnated there.

Several commuters, caught in a choc-o-block rush hour traffic, in the evening were left with no other option but to wade through the pools of water that had filled the pot-holes. Trinity Circle, in the very heart of the city was water-logged due to the rough patch of road, a clear symbol of tar being washed away.

The Old Madras Road and other roads leading to Indiranagar from Ulsoor were also in bad shape, although the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) had carried out some repair work on those stretches.

For almost two months, the situation is similar and no initiatives have been taken to repair the area. Residents from across the City called this office, complaining the poor shape of roads after the rains.

Mercury dips further

Thursday evening showers saw the city’s temperature dip further by another two degrees. The City recorded 17.4 mm rainfall. The maximum temperature recorded was 25.1 degrees and the minimum was 19.8 degrees celsius.

Meteorological department officials said that due to low pressure in the Bay of Bengal and depression in the East Central Arabian Sea, the western coastal areas from Maharasthra to Kerala will experience heavy rains and Bangalore will face only cloudy weather.

"Although the south-west monsoon has been very active in the coastal areas, Bangalore will continue to receive only drizzles accompanied with cold cloudy weather," he added. In the month of August alone, Bangalore has so far received 103.8 mm of rainfall.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Autorickshaw meters still show old fares

Autorickshaw meters still show old fares
Auto drivers, looking to exploit passengers, are reluctant to recalibrate meters
Suchith.Kidiyoor @timesgroup.com

Over a month ago, auto drivers in the city stormed heaven and the government to have fares increased and succeeded, but a huge majority are reluctant to recalibrate their meters.
Bowing to demands from auto drivers and auto unions, the government had revised fares, increasing the minimum payable to Rs 17 from Rs 14 and Rs 9 per kilometre thereafter from the earlier Rs 7.
The revision in fares had come into effect at the start of this month, but drivers were given two months by the Regional Transport Authority (RTA) to recalibrate meters.
With almost a month gone, only about 18 per cent of autos in the city run on recalibrated meters, while the others are making hay while the sun shines. RTA authorities believe auto drivers are waiting until the deadline nears as they can exploit passengers by demanding excess fares in the interim.
M Gopalappa, assistant controller of legal metrology department, said, “The last time fares were hiked, we had recalibrated meters for 63,000 autos. With the latest revision, only about 14,000 drivers have come forward to recalibrate meters. The majority of them have not done so yet. We expect long queues as the deadline approaches.”
Auto drivers have to recalibrate their autos at authorised meter technicians and the process costs Rs 225. There are over 60 authorised meter technicians in the city, each capable of recalibrating between 100-150 autos a day. Once recalibration is complete, government metrology officials seal the meter so that it cannot be tampered with by drivers. About 1,500 meters can be sealed every day.
More than 20 lakh people use autos every day in the city and most of them have had to deal with either rude drivers, ones demanding excess fares or others refusing to ply.
Leaders of auto unions have planned a crackdown on these errant drivers. “We have decided not to ask for the deadline to be extended,” said M Manjunath, president of Adarsh Auto and Taxi Drivers’ Union.
“We think passengers will end up paying more if meters are not recalibrated. Moreover most of the drivers run tampered meters and do not carry a tariff chart with them. To teach them a lesson, we will urge the department concerned to take stringent action if they fail to recalibrate within the deadline.”
In a test drive, transport department officials have taken action against more than 250 auto drivers in the city. RTO officials have acted based on the complaints received from passengers through emails.

No one’s parking at Jayanagar TTMC

No one’s parking at Jayanagar TTMC
That’s because parking lots are on top of the building and commuters don’t like huffing and puffing up and down since the lifts are not yet operational
Suchith.Kidiyoor @timesgroup.com

The Rs 12.9-crore Traffic and Transit Management Centre (TTMC) at Jayangar 4th Block has not made life any easier for commuters. The idea of the TTMC, which was inaugurated by Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa last August, was to get people to park their vehicles here and travel around the city by public transport. But parking here is easier said than done.
For one, the parking lot – which can accommodate 60 cars and 150 twowheelers – is located on the roof of the building and people are reluctant to use it because Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) which owns TTMC has not provided lifts yet. When this reporter visited the TTMC, only four vehicles were parked.
S Keerthi, a business developmental manager with an MNC, said, “Using parking lots in the building is tiresome when people have to use the stairs to go up and down. Adding to the problem, parking attendants are collecting more than the rates fixed.
“The Corporation has spent crores on the TTMC. If this is the state of the city’s first TTMC, what about the others being constructed,” Keerthi asked.
A corporation official said, “Initially, we received good response from the public. But as the lifts are not operational, people hesitate to use the parking lots. But the two lifts will start operating in two months.”
It’s not just the parking lot that is empty. Space on the first and second floor that the BMTC had planned to rent out is vacant even after a year. For instance, the transport department had planned to shift its RTO office from Jayanagar complex to the second floor but that has not yet happened.
The official said that a restaurant would come up on the first floor shortly and there was also a proposal to rent out space for a health centre, Bangalore One Centre, cyber cafe, banks, ATMs, air-ticket booking, departmental and book stores and the Corporation was working on it.

The cost of parking at the Jayanagar TTMC is Rs 8 for a minimum of two hours for two-wheelers and Rs 10 for four-wheelers

8 underpasses on Hosur Road

8 underpasses on Hosur Road

Express News Service First Published : 25 Aug 2010 03:21:21 AM ISTLast Updated : 25 Aug 2010 09:24:23 AM IST
BANGALORE: Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa said on Tuesday that eight underpasses would be constructed to make Hosur Road - between Vellara Junction and Silk Board Junction - signal-free.
He was speaking after inaugurating the newly-constructed underpass near Aiyappa Temple in Madivala.
"In order to make Hosur Road signal-free eight underpasses will be constructed at the cost of Rs 58 crore. The government is determined to ease traffic congestion in the city and in another three years, 11 roads will be made signal-free," he said.
Yeddyurappa also said the white topping technology - used to lay road at the newly-constructed underpasses - would last for 25 to 30 years. "This technology costs just 20 per cent more than asphalting. Therefore, I have instructed officials to adopt this technology while laying roads in the future."
"Blueprint for projects worth Rs18,000 crore is ready and they will be completed within three years. The government is also closely monitoring works on the Mono Rail and circular train projects. The city will have world-class facilities within three years," he said.
The newly inaugurated underpass was constructed within 58 working days at the cost of Rs 8 crore. Yeddyurappa also inaugurated a pedestrian subway, constructed at the cost of Rs 2.3 crore, near Town Hall and inaugurated a Vanamahotsava programme, below Domlur flyover.