Tuesday, June 30, 2009

City could be divided thus if there are no changes

City could be divided thus if there are no changes



Bangalore: The following are the list of the wards of the BBMP according to the draft delimitation:

Yelahanka (Ward No. 1), Puttenahalli (2), Attur (3), Yelahanka Satellite Town (4), Jakkur (5), Dasarahalli (6), Amruthalli (7), Kodigehalli (8), GKVK (9), Dodda Bommasandra(10), Kuvempunagar (11), Shettihalli (12), Kalyannagar (13), Bagalakunte(14), T. Dasarahalli (15), Jalahalli (16), J.P.Park (17), RMV II Stage, (18), Sanjayanagar (19), Ganganagar (20), Hebbal (21), Kanakanagar (22), Nagavara (23), HBR Layout (24), Horamavu (25), Kalkere (26), Banaswadi (27), Ramaswamy Palya (28), St. Thomas Town (29), Venkateshpura (30), Kadugondanahalli (31), Kaval Byrasandra (32), Manorayanapalya (33), Gangenahalli (34), Aramane Nagara (35), Mathikere (36), Yeshvanthpur (37), HMT (38), Nagasandra (39), Dodda Bidarakallu (40), Peenya Ind Area (41), Goraguntepalya (42), Nandini Layout (43), Marappana Palya (44), Subedarpalya (45), Jayachamarajendra Nagara (46), D.J. Halli (47), Muneshwaranagara (48), Lingarajapura (49), Benniganahalli (50), Vijnanapura (51), Krishnarajapura (52), Basavanapura (53), Aiyyappa Nagar (54), Devasandra (55), A. Narayanapura (56), C.V. Raman Nagar (57), New Thippasandra (58), Maruthisevanagar (59), Sagaayapuram (60), S.K. Garden (61), Ramaswamypalya (62), Jayamahal (63), Rajmahal Guttahalli (64), Malleswaram (65), Subramanya- nagara (66), Nagapura (67), Mahalakshmipuram (68), Laggere (69), Doddanna Ind Estate (70), Hegganahalli (71), Herohalli (72), Kottegepalya (73), Shakthi Ganapathi Nagar, (74), Shankar Math (75), Gayathri Nagar (76), Dattatreya Temple (77), Pulakeshinagar (78), Sarvajnanagar (79), Hoyasala Nagar (80), Mahadevapura (81), Garudacharpalya (82), Kadugodi (83), Hagadur (84), Kundalahalli (85), Marathahalli (86), HAL Airport (87), Jeevan Bheemanagar (88), Jogupalya (89), Ulsoor (90), Bharathi Nagar (91), Shivajinagar (92), Vasanthnagar (93), Gandhinagar (94), Subashnagar (95), Okalipuram (96), Dayananada Nagar (97), Prakashnagar (98), Rajajinagar (99), Basaveshwarnagar (100), Kamashipalya (101), Vrushabha- vathinagar (102) Pattegarpalya (103), Govindarajanagar (104), Agrahara Dasarahalli (105), Rajajinagar Ind Town (106), Shivanagara (107), Sri Ramamandira (108), Chikpet (109), Sampangiram Nagar (110), Shantala Nagara (111), Domlur (112), Murugeshpalya (113), Agaram (114), Vannarpet (115), Neelasandra (116), Richmond Town (117), Sudhamanagar (118), Kalasipalya (119), Cottonpet (120), Binnypet (121), Kempapura Agrahara (122), Vijayanagara (123), Hosahalli (124), Marenahalli (125), GKW Layout (126), Moodala Palya (127), Chandra Layout (128), Bangalore University (129), Ullalu (130), Nayandahalli (131), Attiguppe (132), Hampinagar (133), Bapujinagar (134), Padarayanapura (135), Jagajeevanram Nagar (136), Rayapuram (137), Cheluvadipalya (138), K.R. Market (139), Chamarajpet (140), Azad Nagar (141), Kempe Gowda Nagar (142), V.V. Puram (143), Siddapura (144), Hombe Gowda Nagar (145), Lakkasandra (146), Adugodi (147), Ejipura (148), Varthur (149), Belandur (150), Koramangala (151), Sudguntepalya (152), Jayanagar (153), Basavanagudi (154), Gavipuram (155), Srinagar (156), Gali Anjaneya Temple (157), Deepanjalinagar (158), Kengeri (159), Rajarajeshwarainagar (160), Hosakerehalli (161), Girinagar (162), Kathriguppe (163), Ashoknagar (164), Ganesh Mandir (165), Karisandra (166), Yediyur (167), Pattabhiramnagar (168), Byrasandra (169), Jayanagar 9th Block, (170), Gurappanapalya (171), Madivala (172), Jakkasandra (173), HSR Layout (174), Bommanahalli (175), BTM Layout (176), J.P. Nagar (177), Sarakki (178), Jayanagar 5th Block (179), Banashankari (180), K.S. Layout (181), Padmanabhanagar (182), Chikkalsandra (183), Uttarahalli (184), Yelachenahalli (185), Jaraganahali (186), Puttenahalli (187), Bilekhalli (188), Hongasandra (189), Bandepalya (190), Singasandra (191), Begur (192), Arakere (193), Gottigere (194), Kothanur (195), Anjanapura (196), Vasanthapura (197), Hemmigepura (198).

Ban on new permits welcomed

Ban on new permits welcomed
Nandini Chandrashekar, Bangalore, DH News Service:

Contrary to expectations, it is mostly a sigh of relief among the autorickshaw drivers at the State government’s decision to not issue any more permits for autos in the city.


The crowding of autorickshaws in the City, apart from leading to increased air pollution had hit the autodrivers hard.

As one auto driver Lingegowda put it, “There are just too many autos. Each ride has four autos competing for it. We can hardly make a living. Our earnings have come down drastically.” It is a valid complaint since there are 78,200 autos plying on the roads, with another 1,800 applications pending with the Regional Transport Authority.

One of the biggest problems plaguing the auto industry is the sale of auto permits.

Though the initial intention was that of providing an auto for the underprivileged, to enable them to make a living, the scenario took a convoluted turn with many people playing a part in obtaining a permit.

Each autorickshaw inevitably has a person who has a permit to ply an autorickshaw: An owner, a financier and the driver. A permit sells anywhere from Rs 15,000 to Rs 25,000 and in the case of Lingegowda, it was Rs 45,000 including all the bribe that he had to pay.

Coupled with all the money that has to be paid, the drivers often pledge their licences with the owners just in case they don’t make requisite payments to the vehicle owners, who in turn have to pay the financiers. In Bangalore, there are about 50-60 agents, who deal with the buying and selling of permits, as an exclusive business.

While most of the drivers have expressed happiness about the State’s decision to stop issuing of permits, a fear lingers that they might be eventually phased out of the city. Umesh, another auto driver suspects that an attempt will be made to restrict autos to specific areas outside the city or even to other smaller cities. “They won’t leave us alone.
They will come up with something else to trouble us. Moreover, the business is already bad, with us hardly making any money,” he complained.

Smart cards

Newly introduced smart cards for driving licences and vehicle registration are also expected to address the problem of too many people having a stake in an auto. Vehicle registration papers are never given to the driver of an auto, but with the new rule, it will have to be carried in the vehicle.

An inquiry had been instituted a couple of years ago by the Transport Department, based on complaints about the misuse of the permits, but nothing finally came out of it.

For their part, they have killed two birds with a single stone. Firstly, to cut down on the slow moving vehicle and encourage public transport and secondly, to deal with the complaints about permit transfers by doing away with the system entirely.

PAISA VASOOL, NAH!

PAISA VASOOL, NAH!
The BSEA which has been running the automated parking system on Brigade Road for the past five years is not interested in raking in the moolah. They are ready to offer free service to prevent a corrupt parking system
ATUL CHATURVEDI


We are not interested in profits. Please siphon off the entire profit and leave the automated parking system to us. We have been running it succesfully for five years and will continue to do so. If a profit minded individual takes over the running of the system meant to decongest Brigade Road, it will defeat the very purpose for which it was started... This is what Brigade Road Shops & Establishment Association (BSEA) plans to tell the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Commissioner, Bharat Lal Meena.
IT’S 50:50
BSEA takes the credit for introducing the country’s first automated parking system on Brigade Road. This system has contributed a revenue of over one crore to the exchequer during the last five years. BSEA and BBMP have been sharing revenue on a 50:50 basis during this period. While the BBMP has been using the revenue for the city’s infrastructure development, BSEA has been utilising it to procure automation units and in the employment of 25 guards to man the system and traffic on the road. This apart from BSEA taking up Brigade Road’s beautification.
A FULL STOP
BSEA stopped running the system from June 21 after its fiveyear contract to run the system under Build, Operate, Own and Transfer (BOOT) came to an end. BBMP refused to renew the contract and decided to invite fresh tenders to operationalise the system once again.
In the back drop of this decision by the BBMP, BSEA has decided to offer its services to run the system without any profit. “Why call for tenders and select the highest bidder? We will run the system without any profit. The entire revenue generated will be remmited to BBMP. Just give us the wherewithal to run the system. If a profit minded individual wins the bid to run the system, his or her only aim will be to make money and not to maintain traffic,” Suhail Yusuff, secretary of BSEA told Bangalore Mirror.
BUT FREE, YAAKE?
When asked what is BSEA’s interest in offering to run the service free of cost, Suhail Yusuff said, “It’s the first on street automated parking system in the country introduced by us. The security guards employed by us to maintain the system also helped in regulating traffic on the road. Prior to this, the situation on the road used to be chaotic. Apart from this, it helped in preventing thefts and other crimes on the road. The guards ensured neat and orderly parking. After the automated parking was introduced, our regular customers who had shifted to malls due to non-availability of parking space on the road began to come back to us and this increased our business. The chances of people getting parking slots increased after the introduction of the system which encouraged a ceiling on the number of hours one could park their vehicle on the road. We did not allow anybody to park their vehicle beyond two hours on the road. We also banned shop keepers from parking their vehicles on the road. All these factors led to increased business, maintanance of traffic and good infrastructure on the road. So we want it back.” “If a private party takes over the syetem developed by us with a lot of pain, he or she may not concentrate on the traffic situation and the other people friendly initiatives we started. He or she may be interested in making money and it will once again lead to a decrease in the business. To avoid this, we are willling to run this syetem without any profit,” Suhail added.
“No other road in the country has contributed one crore plus revenue to the exchequer for a stretch of 200 meters. There is not a single complaint against us. We ran it on the basis of no profit and no loss. Out of the Rs 1 crore, we earned during the past five years, we have spent more than Rs 40 lakh on automated machines. Year after year, we have maintained the system. We have paid salaries to 25 guards on a monthly basis. We beautified the pavement and railings on the road. We have also spent Rs 45,000 every month to buy paper rolls required to print parking tickets. Still, we have to recover the cost of machinery. The BSEA members have borne the cost of the machinery. When we have done so many good things, why should we loose this system to somebody. So, we have decided to meet the BBMP chief and give him our proposal. There cannot be a better bid than this,” said Suhail adding, “It’s a colorful proposal and we hope BBMP will respond to it. The ball is now in the BBMP commissioner’s court.”
MEENA’S
INVITATION
Meanwhile, Commissioner Meena said “The contract has come to an end. We have to float fresh tenders. If BSEA wants to run the system without any profit, let them come to us with their proposal and we will examine it.

No resort land for BMIC: HC

No resort land for BMIC: HC

Staff Reporter
BANGALORE: The Karnataka High Court on Tuesday, in an interim order, directed the authorities not to dispossess a resort of its land at Gottigere for the contentious Bangalore-Mysore Infrastructure Corridor Project (BMICP).

Justice Mohan Shantangouder passed the order on a petition by Sunny Holiday Village and Convention Centre.

The centre had moved the court against what it claimed was an arbitrary and illegal exercise of power by the Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Board (KIADB) in seeking to acquire 4.08 acres of land at Gottigere for the BMICP project taken up by Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprise (NICE). It said the alignment was deliberately changed and the land on which the resort was situated was now sought to be acquired. Justice Shantangouder stayed dispossession of the land and adjourned hearing of the case.

A week later, there is no end to the chaos on Brigade Road

A week later, there is no end to the chaos on Brigade Road

PK Surendran. Bangalore

On June 26, DNA blew the whistle on the parking chaos on Brigade Road (It's fee-for-all parking at Brigade Road) and Commercial Street. A week later, nothing has changed. Chaos reigns supreme. There is disorder of the worst sort on Brigade Road after the well-run pay and park system was shut down following bureaucratic wranglings at the BBMP.
The pay and park system, country's first endeavour to bring order on shopping streets, began in 2004 at the initiative of the Brigade Road Shops & Establishments Association (BSEA). Its secretary Suhail Yusuf claims the credit for the system, which he says has been working perfectly well in many European metros. The system has many advantages. It helps business; it ensures smooth traffic and discourages loafing because it has a time limit, which, again, has the benefit of allowing more shoppers to come and shop. "1,600 four-wheelers used to be parked in 85 parking bases," says Yusuf.
The system was replicated in Hyderabad and Goa. Many dignitaries from overseas also praised the system. "It was a Build, Operate, and Transfer (BOT) system with 60:40 revenue sharing between BSEA and BBMP. We bought the machines, maintained and operated which cost us a lot of money. True, our business improved, but nobody should grudge that," says Yusuf, his voice giving away a tone of sadness.
"We heard that former additional commissioner, S Puttaswamy complained we had not applied for license renewal after two years. It's false. I have the record which states we applied. But, even after the five-year license period was over, the BBMP sat tight, I don't know why. The result is for everybody to see," he says, throwing his hands in a sweeping motion at the vehicles parked pell-mell.
City's Traffic police officers agree the system worked well. And, former Bangalore police commissioner, HT Sangliana says when Yusuf brought the proposal, he had lauded it and recommended it. "It brought order on roads which are all that police ask for. It's unwise to discontinue."
DNA's effort to draw out Palike was only partially successful. BBMP's commissioner Bharat Lal Meena's answer was wishy-washy.
"Well, we are examining it. We'll do something about it. We may tender it."The question why the system was allowed to conk off and why citizens are put to misery are yet to be answered.

Metro raps contractor for delay

Metro raps contractor for delay

DNA Correspondent. Bangalore



To enforce strictly the time schedule of the Namma Metro project, the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation (BMRCL) has decided to come down firmly on its contractors.
The Reach-3 contractor, IDEB-SUCG (Shanghai Urban Construction Group) has, despite being issued about 12 notices, delayed work on the Yeshwanthpur to Swastik stretch. This might cost the contractor the job.
"Work on construction of Reach 3 viaduct, a distance of 5.1km (excluding stations), was awarded to IDEB-SUCG. There has been a time lag of about four months— 500 piles should have been completed by now, but only 40 piles have been laid. The contractors should also have laid 39 piers and 84 pile caps by now, but that has not been done. Even segment casting has not started yet," said a senior BMRCL official, adding that only 8% of the targeted piles have been completed; the entire work, costing Rs209.57 crore might be off-loaded from the present contractor and fresh tenders called, the official said.
He said advances were made by BMRCL to the contractor towards mobilisation of equipment and material. In addition, financial assistance was also provided for engaging a sub-contractor, vendors, and suppliers. Despite all this, the contractor has fallen behind schedule. After more than 10 notices were issued, the BMRCL is now contemplating stringent action, to keep pace with the schedule that has been charted for the project's implementation.

Chaos rules roads in Kalasipalyam

Chaos rules roads in Kalasipalyam

Shwetha S



Kalasipalyam's bus stand and main market, lying close by, present a picture of chaos to any visitor. No wonder, pedestrians and motorists find it difficult to move about through this area.
For any bus that leaves the Kalasipalyam stand, it takes at least 20 to 25 minutes to move past the city market and reach the Mysore Road.
Although buses from across the state and other states arrive here in large numbers, there are no designated bus shelters for them. KSRTC and BMTC buses that arrive here halt in any place leaving the passengers confused. Many of these drivers halt their vehicles in the middle of the road blocking the movement of other buses. This leads to verbal exchanges among bus staff.
"I travel on this route every day. Drivers have an obsession. They never halt their vehicles at the designated stops. But whenever a passenger waves hand from any other point on the road side, they immediately stop the vehicle. During peak hours, such unscheduled stops lead to prolonged traffic snarls. It's frustrating as people may be heading for offices or their homes," says Nagesh Rao, a commuter.
As the bus station and the market are situated near by, pedestrian movement is heavy. But commuters do not have any pavements to walk on as they are all occupied by hawkers. They are hence forced to thread their way through a maze of vehicles, push carts, and vendors.
"To cross the road is indeed risky. But people don't have space on footpaths to walk safely. A month ago, as I was walking along the main road, a two-wheeler hit me. I suffered a sprain in my leg," says Meenakshamma, a flower seller.
"Every day, I come here at 7am. If I'm slightly late, I'll be trapped somewhere in the traffic jams. Many a time, we'd requested the police to drive away the hawkers from these pavements," a pedestrian said.
Autorickshaw drivers add to the chaos in Kalasipalyam as they occupy whatever space is left on the main road.
"We've very little space in front of our shops. As hawkers and autos obstruct movement, pedestrians and shoppers ignore us. Although business is dull, heated arguments with these hawkers and auto divers keep us busy every day. Twice, we complained to the traffic police and they chased them away. But as hawkers and auto drivers keep returning to their spot, police have lost interest and they remain passive now," K Lingaraju, a shopkeeper, said.
"It is a herculean task to permanently remove these hawkers and autos standing in front of the shops. We've warned them quite often. They vacate the area but return to the point after a few hours. We're fed up now," said a policeman.
"I'm aware of the problems here. We've built pavements on the sides of the roads but hawkers have occupied it. I've also informed the traffic police to clear them of hawkers. But soon after they are driven away, they come back. The problem will be resolved soon," said Y B Narayan, assistant executive engineer of the area. — Shwetha S

100-day EPIC drive begins today

100-day EPIC drive begins today

The Election Commission announced the location of seven voter facilitation centres in Bangalore Urban district. Although identity cards have been issued to 13,39,406 voters, 34.86% of the electorate are yet to get these cards



As has already been announced by the Election Commission, Electoral Voters' Identity Cards will be distributed in a special drive beginning from July 1. The drive will last 100 days, and end on October 10. In addition to the list of centres from where voters can avail their cards, the Election Commission on Tuesday announced the centres from where voters can get EPICs in the remaining seven assembly constituencies that fall in the Bangalore Urban District.
"The EPIC maximisation programme has been initiated to provide voters' identity cards to a larger number of people. People can approach the VFCs from today for their cards. There will be one counter at these centres to handle queries, and another to issue EPIC cards. The process will thus be smooth," said Bangalore Urban Deputy Commissioner GN Nayak.
He added that the VFCs and Designated Photo Locations (DPLs) will work even on Sundays, but remain closed on Mondays. The VFCs will function from 9am to 7pm with a lunch break from 1.30pm to 2.30pm.
"Of the 20,808,263 voters, identity cards have been given to at least 13,39,406 in the Bangalore Urban District. We are yet to distribute EPIC cards to 34.86% of the voters — 7,48,857 people," said Nayak.
Nayak said that EPIC cards would be given immediately to those whose names are already on the list; correction of name and age or address will be done once the requisite forms are provided, and the necessary documents.

Ward notification likely on July 10

Ward notification likely on July 10

DNA Correspondent. Bangalore

The Urban Development Department (UDD) has received 1,184 applications for the draft notification called for the newly carved wards in the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) jurisdiction. The final notification is likely to be issued by July 10. The BBMP had set June 30 as the deadline for the public to file its objections and suggestions regarding the new wards. Out of the total received applications, 603 were submitted to the Palike in a written format and 581 applications were filed online.
These applications include both objections and suggestions of the public regarding the new wards that have been proposed.
"Of the 581 applications received through the website, at least 135 applications suggested inclusion of areas into a particular ward and 102 suggested deletion of names from a given ward. We have received 126 suggestions for changing the names of wards," said the Urban DC, GN Nayak.
Nayak added that these observations would be sent to the government within four to five days. "The final notification will tentatively be issued by July 10," he said.
The state government on June 17, 2009, issued a draft notification increasing the number of wards of the BBMP to 198 from 147. An amendment to section 7(1)(a) of the Karnataka Municipal Corporations Act 1976 allows the BBMP to delimit wards to a maximum number of 200. Each reconstituted ward has an approximate population of 25,000 to 30,000.

What's in a name?

What's in a name?
By: B V Shiva Shankar Date: 2009-06-30 Place:Bangalore


A lot...say residents of Whitefield, who don't want their ward to be named after a small hamlet

Residents of Whitefield are upset that the government has named their municipal ward after a small hamlet.

The authorities want to call the ward Hagaduru, but residents say the name Whitefield has global recall.

"Hagaduru is a small hamlet with a population of just 500, " said S Muniswamy, a local Congress leader. "The population of Whitefield is around 4,000. Moreover, Whitefield is the hub of IT, and the ward can catch global attention if it's called Whitefield."


Global Recall: The name Whitefield has a greater brand appeal across the world than Hagaduru file pic

Apart from Whitefield, the ward encompasses areas like Brookefield, Gandhipura, Vijayanagara, where the IT giants including SAP, Dell, TCS, IBM have set up their branches. The International Tech Park Bangalore (ITPB), Silicon Valley's brand equity, is also a part of the Whitefield area. "The name reflects the tech-industry aspect of the place. So we must call it by its brand name" said K Ganesh, a BPO entrepreneur.

Many techies, residing in the area, endorse Muniswamy's view.

"Whitefield is synonymous with IT," said Vidhu Mehta, an employee in IBM. "It's not right to call the 'temple of technology' by any other name."

Muniswamy said the residents had already written to the BBMP commissioner and the department of urban development in this regard. "If they don't respond in a week's time, we will picket the BBMP office," he said.

Even residents of Hagaduru want the ward to be named Whitefield. "We are happy that the ward is named after our village, but Whitefield would be even better," said Marappa, village panchayat member of Hagaduru.

However, some believe the name is not all that important.

"What's more important is how we develop the ward to match to the needs of the people," said Congress leader B Shivanna.

When contacted, BBMP commissioner Bharatlal Meena, said, " The BBMP has nothing to do with this. It is the urban development department that has to take a call. However, people are free to file objections and I hope their voice will be heard."

Techies hope chief minister B S Yeddyurappa, who also holds the urban development (Bangalore city) portfolio, will buy their argument.

How Whitefield got its name
More than 50 years ago, the godman Satya Sai Baba had started his ashram in the area.
The ashram was frequented by foreigners more than the Indians.
The local villagers then referred to the area as 'billiyera maidana' which literally translates to 'whites field'. From there, the place came to be commonly known as Whitefield.

Brace up for longer power cuts And pay more for it too

Brace up for longer power cuts And pay more for it too

Hemanth Kumar. Bangalore



If you thought the city is facing its worst power crisis right now, here's something even worse. The state government is now working on a scheduled power cut plan, which could be twice a day and of longer durations.
Think that's enough? Here's more. There's a power tariff hike coming up soon. The five electricity supply companies in the state have sought the Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission's (KERC) clearance on Tuesday to hike the power tariff by 51 paise per unit across all categories of consumers. "If KERC clears it, the revised tariff is likely to be effected by January 2010," K Jairaj, principal secretary, energy department, told DNA. Here's why you should be worried:

What is the situation at present?
The state is going through one of the worst power crises and life has been thrown out of gear in Bangalore. This is being blamed on the poor rain in the state. The residents may not like it but the state government, it seems, is now proposing to impose a tariff hike of 51 paise per unit for all categories of consumers.
How will the present power situation affect the Bangalorean?
The city is already experiencing daily unscheduled power cuts of over two hours. Rural areas are facing over six hours of power cuts. The duration of power-cuts will go up if generation in hydel power stations does not improve.
"A decision on whether to announce a scheduled load-shedding will be taken in the next two days if rains continue to elude the state," energy minister, KS Eshwarappa said after a meeting with his department officials.
The only silver lining is that though the scheduled power cuts might be longer in duration than at present, the citizen will be able to better organise his life daily as he/she would know precisely when and for how long the power cut would occur.

Why is the power crisis happening?
It is mainly because of lack of rains, due to a weak monsoon. The water levels in the reservoirs are down and that is inadequate to generate enough power at the hydel power stations in the state to meet the demand. The present storage in the reservoirs could last for just another nine days unless state receives copious rains. State has a present demand of about 93 million units per day and the supply is around 83mu.
Of this, Bangalore alone requires a lion's share of about 35-40 mu per day. It is basically because the demand has far exceeded the supply that the state is now facing a power crisis.

Liquor Consumption In Bangalore Has Gone Down

Liquor Consumption In Bangalore Has Gone Down

Fear Of Losing Permit Forces Wine Shop Owners To Pay Renewal Fee

Anil Kumar M | TNN


Pub City losing its fizz
Bangalore: Citing a boost in liquor sales across the state, the government hiked the licence renewal fee for wine shops. But consumption in Bangalore has come down by as much as 20%.
With the fresh excise year starting on Wednesday, the department has recorded FY 2008-09 as having witnessed one of the least amounts of liquor consumption within the city. The target during the year was 1.01 crore boxes of Indian Made Liquor (IML) in Bangalore, but only 84 lakh boxes were sold. “Liquor consumption has come down by 20% here. But consumption has gone up in other parts of the state,” a department official said.
The trend could very well be due to the economic slowdown. Bars, including those in star hotels, have recorded less sales ever since recession set in. There are fewer big parties, and the number of people seeking occasional liquor permits have also gone down.
Consumption level had exceeded the target the previous two years. While the target was to sell 85 lakh boxes of IML in 2007-08, the achievement was more than 86 lakh.
A box of IML costs Rs 1,110. With the government unable to sell nearly 17 lakh boxes, the revenue deficit from Bangalore is estimated at around Rs 187 crore. This loss is, however, compensated by overwhelming sales in other areas. The target set for other regions was 2.64 crore boxes.
This is the reason why the government last week hiked licence-renewal fee for wine shops and bar-andrestaurants in town municipal and town panchayat areas. Now, the annual licence fee in these regions is Rs 3 lakh for wine shops (CL-2s) and Rs 3.2 lakh (CL-9s) for bar-and-restaurants.
“While other revenue-earning departments like motor vehicles tax, commercial tax and stamps and registration duty have shown decline in collection, excise is the only department which has shown 20% more than the targeted revenue this year,” sources said. The target was Rs 5,626 crore, but achievement at the year-end stood at Rs 5,792.58 crore.
Licences renewed,
but deadlock
continues TIMES NEWS NETWORK
Bangalore: The stalemate between wine merchants and the government, over reducing licence fee, continues. But the fear of losing their permit has forced many wine shop owners to pay the renewal fee.
With Tuesday being the last date to pay, more than 90% of licences have been renewed for 2009-10. As the government had given an informal assurance of reducing the fee, only 120 of the 2,400 liquor shop owners had come for renewal on Monday.
The Federation of Wine Merchants’ Association on Tuesday met chief minister B S Yeddyurappa and urged him to reduce the fee and increase profit margin for the traders. However, no concrete decision was taken. Anticipating last-minute rush, the Karnataka State Beverages Corporation had made arrangements for the licensees to remit fee through electronic fund transfer.
As only a handful of shops came forward on Monday, the government had already geared up for a situation of renewal rate falling below 50%. Excise commissioner Yogendra Tripati
had asked his deputy commissioners to prepare for a contingency plan, like the government itself having to sell liquor through agencies or mobile units to meet the budget target.
According to Karnataka Excise (Sale of Indian Made Foreign Liquor) Rules, 1968, renewal of permits should be done at least a month before expiry, failing which wine shops and bars will be forced to shut.
After meeting Yeddyurappa, association general secretary B Govindraj Hegde said they will continue to fight as revenue for wine merchants has dropped drastically.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Now Volvo fares at bus shelters

Now Volvo fares at bus shelters
BMTC has decided to display the fares and routes of its Volvo buses at all bus stops
SUCHITH KIDIYOOR


Tired of running behind the driver or conductor of a red Volvo to find out if the bus reaches your destination? Or feeling too shy to ask for the bus fare? Then, hang on! The Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) has come up with a solution - displaying fare charts of Volvo buses as well as route maps in all bus shelters.
Realising that many commuters were not stepping into the Volvos presuming that the fares in these swanky air-conditioned buses are quite high, the BMTC has decided to change the commuters’ perception. Chief traffic manger (operations) K S Vishwanath said, “Many people have the notion that fares in Volvo buses are very expensive. But in reality, we charge only one rupee more than the Suvarna buses. To clear the doubts, we have decided to display bus fares along with the arrival-departure timings at the bus shelters.”
In Bangalore, there are 2,387 bus stops. The move, BMTC officials say, will increase the number of commuters patronising Volvos. Though BMTC operates more than 300 Volvo buses in the city, it has done little to increase the occupancy rate. Its latest promotional bid was a few months ago, when the BMTC allowed people to travel in Volvo buses for one rupee.
Another BMTC official said displaying the fares in the bus shelters will help the commuters make up their minds before the bus arrives.
Already, BMTC has commenced the exercise of putting the bus route maps at 160 bus shelters across the city. This apart, BMTC is all set to re-launch its website www.bmtcinfo.com with updates on the new routes, bus fares and the arrival and departure timings of Volvo buses.

GOVT’S RACE COURSE ORDER COURTS TROUBLE

GOVT’S RACE COURSE ORDER COURTS TROUBLE
The Yeddyurappa government finds itself on a sticky wicket after allotting land around Chikkajala for a new race course. It seems to have willfully ignored a Karnataka High Court directive that explicitly prohibits commercial use of a notified lakebed area
BANGALORE MIRROR BUREAU


The move by the Karnataka government to have the Bangalore Turf Club (BTC) shifted from Race Course Road might backfire, thanks to a legal hitch. The land identified by the Yeddyurappa government for the BTC, in and around Chikkajala and measuring a total of 152.02 acres with a tank bed area of 56.01 acres, is not meant to be sold or gifted.
According to a Karnataka High Court ruling, land belonging to tank bed areas in Bangalore Metropolitan Areas is not to be granted for any purpose, or to any person or organisation. The state government has filed an interim application before the high court for modification of the act and the matter is likely to he heard shortly.
SOME RESPITE
In what could be a breather to the complacent BTC authorities and the thousands of workers whose livelihood depend on the race course, Green advocate Sunil Dutt Yadav said, “It is difficult to get the law amended. If you look at past cases (filed against the Oberoi group and others), the court had made it pretty clear that tank bed areas cannot be granted to any private entity.”
MYSORE NOT PRACTICAL
Desperate times call for desperate measures and the Karnataka Race Horse Owners Association (KRHOA) is doing everything possible to keep racing alive in the city. A statement by KRHOA highlighted the adverse effects of shifting racing from Bangalore to Mysore. The statement said the suggestion was only possible on paper.
The statement read: “MRC is yet to come to terms with providing stables for the 450 horses based at Mysore. The race track at Mysore cannot handle 1500 race horses. There is no equine hospital to cater to the need of about 1500 race horses and even facilities like a swimming pool for the horses is not available. The chances of the entire labour, support staff, professionals like trainers and jockeys shifting base to Mysore is very unlikely as all of them have been based in Bangalore for several years and have their families in Bangalore with their children either studying or employed in the city.” The statement added that the owners along with Karnataka Trainers Association (KTA) and Workers Union were planning to take the matter to court.
LIVELIHOOD AFFECTED
The owners are the backbone of the sport. They have invested around 250 crore on around 1000 horses based in Bangalore and the government decision will hurt them badly. The government decision has also left over 16,000 employees in the lurch. “The livelihood of 16,000 workers for whom racing is the only source of livelihood, the support staff and employees including about 500 women, about 150 handicapped persons and about 50 blind persons, will be left high and dry.” Also to suffer will be the breeding industry, the producers and suppliers of oats, bran and grass.

SUBRAMANYA’S GREEN REVOLUTION

SUBRAMANYA’S GREEN REVOLUTION
Yelahanka, where former BBMP commissioner Subramanya stays, has the highest number of parks in the entire city
ATUL CHATURVEDI & SRIDHAR VIVAN


Yelahanka, the gateway to Bengaluru International Airport, is now a green paradise. No guesses for the hard work as former BBMP commissioner S Subramanya resides in the locality
Former Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) commissioner S Subramanya’s contribution to the IT city is debatable. While a few feel his tenure has witnessed the highest number of infrastructure projects, a few h o w e v e r dismiss the opinion.
N e v e r - t h e l e s s , Yelahanka and adjoining areas have received more than they could during the tenure of Subramanya. With its close proximity to the international airport, the locality - that has largely been occupied by defence establishments and public sector enterprises - is now a green paradise.
Barely a few years after its inclusion into the administrative jurisdiction of Bangalore Mahanagara Palike, the area has been developed with more parks and gardens wherever possible. As a result, you will see nothing but sprawling parks in the entire area, making Yelahanka an area with the maximum number of parks in the city.
108 PARKS
Sources said 108 parks, including big and small ones, have been developed across the area. While 50 have already been commissioned and opened, the remaining are being developed on war-footing.
On the other hand, the east zone has eight parks and the west zone 10. Among the erstwhile CMCs, Rajarajeshwari Nagar has one park, Bommanahalli three and Dasarahalli six, all developed by the BBMP. Surprisingly, not a single park has been developed either in the South or in Mahadevapura zone in recent times.
Speaking to Bangalore Mirror, a senior BBMP official said, “We have spent nearly Rs 400 crore for the development of parks in both Yelahanka and Yelahanka New Town. The idea of developing the parks was to recover encroached land from private builders and retain them as fully developed parks.”
NO SPECIAL TREATMENT
Clarifying that no special treatment was accorded to Yelahanka, he said the BBMP could not find much of encroached land in other parts of the city for developing parks.
Unlike the parks located either close to the main roads or some corner, the newly-developed parks in Yelahanka are unique. Irrespective of the size of the land, every inch of available space has been developed into a park. It has been designed in such a way that the back door of every house in the locality opens to a sprawling park interspersed with ornamental plants, aromatic plants and verdant lawns. Speciallydesigned joggers’ tracks have been laid out along the periphery of the parks. “While maximum effort has been made to raise new plants, some decadeold like mango and neem have been retained,” said a gardener at one of the parks.
JOGGERS’ TRACKS
Though all parks in general have been fenced using iron railings, those in Yelahanka do not have much iron except for the gates as the entire park is covered by sequentially-built houses.
While a few parks have just walkers and joggers’ tracks, a few others have shelters in the form of ancient ‘kuteers’ and children’s play areas. One or two parks have basketball courts with floodlights.
A senior BBMP official, on condition of anonymity, admitted Subramanya took keen interest in the development of 65 parks across Yelahanka and they were developed in a record span of eight months. However, the former commissioner said, “Then chief minister H D Kumaraswamy recognised my work. I was made the BBMP commissioner and sufficient revenue raised for development activities.”
PROMOTING GREENERY
B Chandrappa, one of the contestants in the 2008 Yelahanka Assembly election, said, “If Subramanya has developed parks, then it is good for citizens as parks cannot be used for personal reasons.
“Parks not only promote greenery but also increase the oxygen content. Though Subramanya has developed the parks, he should have given preference to other zones too.”
Chetan Deshpande, a techie with a leading MNC, who resides in Vidyaranyapura said, “I feel residents are lucky if their neighbours are either Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa or the BBMP commissioner.”

frequent and arbitrary power cuts drive Bangaloreans mad,

frequent and arbitrary power cuts drive Bangaloreans mad, a clueless government and Bescom conveniently cite non-existent ‘maintenance’ work
NIRANJAN KAGGERE & DEEPTHI M R


Bangalore is facing an emergency. In the past 96 hours, the entire city has witnessed a power shutdown for 60 hours! While Bangalore North was plunged into darkness for 56 hours since last Thursday, when the power crisis worsened, Bangalore South was without power for nearly 65 hours. On Sunday alone, 193 localities in the central, southern and eastern parts of the city went without power for more than eight hours. On Monday morning too, citizens in several parts of the city either woke up to power cuts or had to alter their daily schedule as power supply was disrupted later in the morning. What has increased the frustration of ordinary Bangaloreans is that nobody knows when there will be power or when it will conk off. From school students to homemakers to corporate honchos, erratic power supply is taking a heavy toll on everybody’s patience.
DEEPENING CRISIS
However, the authorities have a different take on the issue. While Bescom officials cite ‘maintenance drive’, the state government and the power generating companies point to the elements. Power minister K S Eshwarappa, who has been maintaining that there is no scheduled load-shedding, admits that hydel resources in the state have been depleting because of lack of rains. The situation is likely to worsen in the future, he warned. But he did not
mention the measures being taken to handle the power crisis. The state, which consumes on an average more than 1,300 million units per year, is currently running short of more than 300 million units of power, according to sources in the power department.
CITIZEN ANGER MOUNTS
Though the magnitude of citizens’ anger across the city is yet to reach the level of Delhiites who have taken to the streets, frustration is mounting. IN LAST 96 HOURS
The Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (Bescom), which handles the power needs of the city, has been seeing telephone lines in its control room ringing incessantly.
“No authority informs us about power cuts. On Friday, when there was no power for more than two hours in the evening, we tried calling up engineers from Bescom. However, they keep passing the buck saying our area does not come under their jurisdiction. We don’t know what exactly is happening. If there is a shortage of power in the state, the authorities should notify the timing of power cuts,” rued Mahima B, a resident of J P Nagar III Phase.
The problem is acute in areas on the outskirts of the city. “As power is being cut according to the whims and fancies of Bescom officials, our daily life has become hell. We are not sure when to switch on the grinder in the kitchen or the iron-box, it makes tempers fly in the house,” said Rajnitha Shravankumar, a housewife and resident of Karthiknagar in Marathhalli.
The state faced the same situation before the recent Lok Sabha polls. Yet, it managed to ensure steady supply by sourcing power from private generators. Now with the ruling BJP government recording a thumping victory at the hustings, the government’s contention is that it has no option but to face the crisis. REALITY CHECK
WHY ARE THERE FREQUENT POWER CUTS?
Power minister and his officials contend that it is to enable maintenance work. “It is due to maintenance work undertaken by the Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation Limited. Further, there has been a shortage in generation of power itself at the major generation stations. All these factors have led to the power failures,” explained Tushar Girinath, Bescom Managing Director
HOW LONG WILL THE MAINTENANCE WORKS LAST?
“These are taken up in a phased manner and accomplished in less than 24 hours. As of now, around 60 per cent of the maintenance work has been completed and the remaining areas that are located on the outskirts of the city including K R Puram, HSR Layout, Sarjapur Road and areas off the ring road near Hennur Cross will also be taken up at the earliest and during such works it is common to cut power,” explained a senior engineer from KPTCL.
MORE DEMAND, LESS SUPPLY
Bangalore needs 32 million units of power everyday, but the availability of power is only 29 million units. The demand for power increases by 25 per cent every year in the city on account of an increase in the number of people seeking new connections. While demand is on the rise, the government has done little to increase supply, forcing people to suffer. The central parts of Bangalore itself face power cuts up to three hours everyday. To tide over the impending crisis, Bescom authorities are contemplating increasing power cuts in the rural areas and divert the same to the city.
LET’S PRAY: MINISTER
As a major portion of the state’s power requirements are met by hydel reservoirs, inadequate rainfall this monsoon has forced the state government to plead with the rain gods. “There is no water in the reservoirs and the skies have failed to open up. In such a situation, we can only pray for heavy rains,” said Eshwarappa. He simply refused to acknowledge the fact that Bangalore is witnessing frequent powercuts.
HOME REMEDIES

• Store enough candles

• As temperature is low in Bangalore during night, buy mosquito
coils or battery-operated swatters.

• Charge your mobile phone in
your car

• Charge laptop at office before you
leave (Offices usually have generators or uninterrupted power supply systems)

• Check your overhead tanks in the
house (Switch on the water pump
whenever there is power)

• Grind masalas whenever there is
power and store them.

• Press your clothes when there is
power or know where the nearest
coal-based laundry is.


Is maintenance work a convenient excuse for frequent power cuts?
Maintenance works are routine events taken up by the department. “In a year, as many as three times we undertake maintenance works. Pre-monsoon, postmonsoon and winter are generally the times during which we undertake these works. The maintenance includes clearing of jumbled up and dangling cables, cleaning of transformers and pruning of trees spreading over the transmission cables,” explained a senior technical officer with Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation Limited

‘BBMP not involved in Lalbagh demolition’

‘BBMP not involved in Lalbagh demolition’

BANGALORE: The State Government on Monday submitted to the Karnataka High Court that the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike had not demolished part of a compound wall of Lalbagh in Bangalore. In an affidavit filed before the court, Secretary to the Agriculture Department, S. Subramanya, said the compound wall of Lalbagh belonged to the Horticulture Department and it had demolished it.

It said several trees on roads adjoining Lalbagh were not cut byBMRCL but following a request by Basavanagudi police.

Amenities remain a distant dream

Amenities remain a distant dream
Poornima Nataraj, Bangalore, DH News Service:

Living with adversities has become a daily affair for these residents. Even basic facilities such as water, roads and drains have become a distant dream.


The areas they live in are located only eight kilometres away from Vidhana Soudha: Bhadrappa Layout, Maruthinagar, Devinagar and Balaji Layout.

As Bytarayanapura Joint Commissioner Virupaksha Mysore puts it, "These areas were under CMC earlier and were later included under the BBMP limits. Only Rs six crore has been sanctioned for each ward, where there is a need of Rs 1500 crore to undertake developmental work of the entire constituency".

These areas were in news during the rain-triggered floods in 2005. People had to be rescued by boats. Now with the onset of the monsoons, the situation remains the same, and the flood threat is even more formidable.

For water, people survive on borewells. Underground drains (UGD) have never being laid, and so there is no question of manholes. Many roads here have never been asphalted.

One of the residents, Retd Defence Officer K P Subbaiah regrets to have constructed a house in this locality. He says, "In spite of paying all kinds of taxes and charges, we are given step-motherly treatment. We still have to struggle for our basic needs".

Water connections

Here’s what the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) officials had to say on the water problem: More than 2,000 residents need Cauvery water connections.

Of them, only 60 residents here have paid Rs 8,500 for the pipelines in 2004 and Rs 3,600 for the water metres last year.

BWSSB Chief Engineer T Venkataraju said, "Only a handful of them have paid the water connection charges. I am ready to provide water, if at least residents of one road pay up the connection charges.”

Rajakaluve maintenance

Following the 2005 floods, an 18 kilometre stretch of the main drain (rajakaluve) was built at a cost of Rs 39 crore last year. But maintenance work has not been undertaken, weeds have overgrown here, leading to water stagnation that has in turn resulted in mosquito breeding.

Raghavan, a senior citizen residing here, said, "During summer, evenings were hell due to mosquito menace. There is no one to listen to our request for a medicinal spray or fogging”.

Confronted with these problems, BBMP Chief Engineer (Storm Water Drain) Siddagangappa said, "As this Layout is located below the SWD level, incidents of water entering does happen when it rains heavily. We have taken up de-silting work near Bhadrappa Layout bridge recently, shortly cleaning of weeds will also be carried out”. As there are no UGD lines, residents here make a huge pit to let out their drains. A few residents even let out their drains on to the gutters located on either sides of the roads.

What is more shocking is that sewage water flows dangerously close to the borewell taps making it vulnerable for contamination. An active resident of Balaji Layout G S Kumar said, "Water contamination always exists here. We nearly spend Rs 3,000 to Rs 4,000 for buying drinking water in a month. People who drink the borewell water here have been suffering silently".

BWSSB official informed, "UGD work is a Rs 800 crore work for which tenders have been called. But no one has come forward to take up the job".

BBMP to kickstart new EPIC drive tomorrow

BBMP to kickstart new EPIC drive tomorrow
Bangalore, DH News Service:

The BBMP will launch the Election Photo Identity Card (EPIC) drive afresh from July 1, with an aim to cover 90 per cent of the eligible voters in the city.


The drive will be held for 100 days in 21 Assembly constituencies in the City.

Joint Commissioner (Administration) Srirama Reddy told mediapersons, here on Monday, that the drive will be launched at KR Puram, Rajarajeshwari Nagar, Mahalakshmi Layout, Malleswaram, Hebbal, Pulakeshinagar, Sarvagna Nagar, C V Raman Nagar, Shivajinagar, Shanthi Nagar, Gandhi Nagar, Rajajinagar, Govindaraj Nagar, Vijayanagar, Chamarajpet, Chickpet, Basavanagudi, Padmanabhanagar, BTM Layout, Jayanagar and Bommanahalli.

Voter facilitation centres will help voters get EPIC and will function from 8.30 am to 12.30 pm. After a two-hour lunch break they will resume work from 2.30 pm and conclude the day’s work at 7 pm.

People should use Form 6 for registration of new voters, Form 7 for cancellation, Form 8 for correction and Form 8A in case of change the names of voters from one part of the constituency to another within the Assembly segment, the officer added.

He said the Election Commission of India wants 95 per cent of EPIC coverage but due to certain practical problems the Palike had fixed a target of 85 to 90 per cent. The drive will be held from July 1 to October 10.

Reddy said the entire city was divided into three districts namely North, South and Central election districts, with each district covering seven Assembly segments. The Palike also proposed to provide mobile Designated Photo Location (DPL) centres. In this regard the Palike is sending notices to people to enroll themselves and get EPIC.

Too frequent, too long

Too frequent, too long. Rain-starved Bangalore is facing unscheduled power cuts which are taking a toll on everyday life

Jayashree Nandi | TNN



Frequent and long power cuts have made life miserable for residents, but they seem to realize that less rainfall is to be blamed. Their only complaints: why didn’t the government anticipate the situation, and why are the power cuts unscheduled?
Most localities in the city are shrouded by dark streets for hours on end. What’s worse is that water supply has also been affected by this.
The situation in Basaveshwaranagar is grim. “There is power cut almost every other hour. Most localities don’t have power for 8 to 16 hours a day. We understand they could be doing this in anticipation of monsoon failure, but the energy minister says there are technical problems. The Met department says monsoon has been delayed this year. We can manage with scheduled power cuts, but what’s happening is unreasonable,” said M Venugopal, member of Basaveshwaranagar Residents’ Association.
Roads in nearby Rajajinagar and Malleswaram are eerily dark after sunset and residents are stuck indoors. “There are intermittent power cuts even after 8 pm. People are scared to go out because street lights are off. We haven’t complained to Bescom yet because this is not just happening in our area. If this continues, carrying on with the daily routine is going to become very difficult,” said T N Lakshman Rao, member of the Rajajinagar RWA.
In some areas, the cuts are on alternate days and seeing the trend, residents are preparing accordingly. “In our area, there are 5-hour power cuts almost every day. It’s not that bad. We are not against the government but it will be good if we are alerted. Some children have exams. Also, water supply is affected,” said S Ramasubramanium, a resident of BTM Layout.
Jayanagar seems unaffected so far. H Keshawakumar, a resident of 4th Block, said there haven’t been frequent power cuts in the past few days. But they are worried as KPTC reports suggest severe shortage. Parts of Koramanagala have been severely hit. “We have power cuts at least three times a day. Commercial establishments can get generators but we can’t afford them. Drawing water is a problem and we are worried the situation will get worse,” said B S Anantharam, resident of Koramanagala ST Bed Layout.

‘Parking rates highest in Bangalore’

‘Parking rates highest in Bangalore’

SURVEY TRACKS RATES IN 140 DOWNTOWN PARKING DISTRICTS WORLD-OVER

TIMES NEWS NETWORK


Mumbai: Among four Indian cities covered in a global survey, car parking rates in the central business districts of Bangalore and New Delhi were the highest in the country with median monthly-unreserved parking rate of approximately $32.10 each. In terms of daily parking rates Bangalore ($1.50) took the lead followed by New Delhi ($1.28) and Mumbai ($1.07).
The survey conducted by Colliers International, a global real estate firm, has ranked Mumbai lowest among world’s major financial cities in terms of car parking rates. The survey tracked rates in 140 downtown parking districts (central business districts) from around the world.
The most expensive city is London, which retains its top spot in the world — London City’s monthly unreserved median rate at $1,020.29 (roughly Rs 49,400) leads the way and West End taking the second place at $955.51 (Rs 45,840). Interestingly, London’s parking charges were 13% lesser in 2009 compared to last year.
Mumbai, on the other hand, is barely $25.68 (around Rs 1,232) a month and just over a dollar a day on an average. Chennai’s daily charge is slightly under a dollar.
“Whether to park for a day or to have access to parking anytime during the month, the world’s top financial centres are among the most expensive in the world. No one region dominates with a smattering of cities from North America, Europe and Asia Pacific all represented in the top ten,’’ said the report.
According to the survey, Hong Kong retains its top ranking in Asia Pacific and is ranked the fourth most expensive worldwide in 2009. Its median monthly parking rate was $748, registering merely 1% increase from last year. Except Hong Kong and Perth, the other three locations in the top five recorded negative changes from the previous year, with that of Sydney falling the most by 24%.
Interestingly, parking charges in Amsterdam increased by 90% from last year—in 2008 it was $423 a month while in 2009 it shot up to $805. In the United States, despite a loss of six million jobs and a significantly more challenging business environment, few markets in that country have seen a meaningful pullback in parking rates. Daily and monthly parking rates in the US diverged over the past 12 months (ending June), with daily rates up 1.2% ($0.18) and monthly rates sliding slightly by 0.9% ($1.47). The monthly median parking rate now averages $154.23 in the U.S.
Even though the economy is expected to remain sluggish, and the labor market lackluster, drivers should not expect this weakness to manifest itself in lower parking rates. While higher fuel prices across North America have reduced the total number of miles driven, demand for parking seems to be more recession-proof, and this affords garage owners and operators the opportunity to hold prices close to yearago levels. Moreover, when the economy rebounds, the markedly rising parking rates of years past are expected to return, according to Colliers Boston.
In Canada, parking costs have increased nationwide for a sixth consecutive year as owners and operators of parking lots resist the economic downturn. The average daily parking rate in Canada rose 9.89 per cent over last year to CAD17.78 daily, with an average monthly parking rate of CAD 222.75, up 9.94 per cent from 2008.
Ian MacCulloch, Vice President of Research, Canada for Colliers International said the Canadian results were indicative of the stability of the Canadian economy when compared to the US. The survey results from the US show a decrease in daily and monthly averages which is probably a good indication of some of the challenges their property markets face today.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

MAROONED IN THE MIDDLE OF THE CITY

MAROONED IN THE MIDDLE OF THE CITY
People living near JP Nagar Sixth Phase are facing a myriad of problems with the work on Puttenahalli underpass moving at snail’s pace
MANASI PARESH KUMAR


When you walk into H N Ramesh’s house at JP Nagar 6th phase, you’ll either mistake him to be a very rich man or his house to be a parking lot! At any point of time his drive way will have at least five sedans parked. But wait...Ramesh is only helping out his neighbours, as access to their compounds has been cut off by the ongoing construction work of the underpass at the Puttenahalli Junction.
Once a preferred residential area for the affluent families, the locality has turned into a nightmare of slush and impending danger. This JNNURM project began in May 2008 and was to be completed in February, 2009. But the Rs 23-crore project has already exceeded its deadline by four months and only 42 per cent of the project has been completed. The 100-feet ring road is the major connecting road between Bannerghatta and Outer Ring Road and this underpass is expected to reduce traffic congestion in roads connecting JP Nagar, Sarakki and Bannerghatta Road.
FAMILIES VACATE AREA
But the delay has made life difficult for the people living at the stretch. Ramesh said, “My neighbours can’t get their cars into their premises because the road has been dug up till their compound walls. About six or eight families have vacated their homes after accessibility to the houses was totally cut off.”
But that is only the tip of the iceberg. The 20 odd homes along the construction site have been facing a barrage of civic problems including drinking water crisis, electricity shortage and disrupted telephone lines. “We pay our taxes regularly to the BBMP and we don’t even have a road to get into our homes. Why should we give any money to the Corporation?” asks 70-year-old Narasingh Rao.
Rao, a retired Executive Engineer with the CPWD department, had a stroke a year ago and needs a walker to navigate even the flattest of surfaces. So moving through the dug up area leading to his gate is a nightmare. He said, “I have been an engineer with the government and know how these projects work. If you have just 20 people working where you need at least a hundred, when do you think it will be completed? I don’t think this project will be finished for the next three or four years at the current pace.”
NO WATER SUPPLY
Manjunath C, a chartered accountant, has had no Cauvery water supply to his residence for the last six months. He has complained to every official in the BBMP who visits the site for inspection and all he gets are promises. “I carry water from my neighbours’ homes when we run out of canned water. Even my LPG dealer refuses to deliver the cylinder at home.”
But the worst hit are the students. Amitash R, an 18-year-old boy who passed out of second PU this year from Sri Kumaran’s College just 3 km away, said daily he had to leave an hour and a half early. “I had to take a detour through Banashankari, which is another 3 kms, to get to college. I also had tuitions, so a good night’s sleep has been a luxury last year,” he said.
It is a harrowing experience for the parents as well. Manjunath who has an 8-year-old daughter has to return from work around 4.30 in the evening to take her home safely through the dug up area. “My wife and I both work, so one of us has to take time off to get the children home safely. We have seen many people fall into the pits so often. The rains are only making the matters worse. How can we expect small children to make their way?” he asks.
BBMP WARNING
BBMP commissioner Bharat Lal Meena, who recently visited the spot, has issued a warning to the officials and asked them to speed up the project. The official reason for the delay is that the main Cauvery pipe line that goes through right in the middle of the project. Though the EPIL has paid Rs 44 lakh (just a month ago) as deposit for shifting of the pipe, it has not been done yet.
The EPIL officials at the site refused to comment on the delay in the project. Deputy general manager S Manoharan said he could not give an official reason for the delay and refused to meet Bangalore Mirror. Project manager M P Jadav, too, did the same.
BLAME ON RAINS!
But, other officials from EPIL say that this project has been delayed the most. “Yes we have had problems with the water pipe not being shifted and the slush created by the pouring rain is causing problems in placing the concrete boxes. But those problems cannot extend the deadline by a year. Though we have asked for an extension of another 4 months, it is unlikely that the work will finish in another six months,” said an engineer who wished to remain anonymous.
Chief engineer of the project A K Gopalaswamy said the project will be completed latest by October. “They have been given an extension and we should be out of the place by October at most,” he said.
The residents of this road just hope that it will not be a stretch beyond that, but
they know
better.


WE TRAVEL FROM ELECTRONICS CITY AND THE BUS DRIVERS ARE HESITANT TO DROP US OFF AT THE RV DENTAL COLLEGE. FORGET THE COMPANY BUSES, EVEN THE BMTC ONES VERY RARELY COME THIS WAY. WE DON’T HAVEAWAY TO COME HOME
— Chandana Herur, IT professional



THE WORKERS AT THE SITE HAVE BROKEN THE CAUVERY PIPES TO TAKE DRINKING WATER. THIS IS MAKING THE SEWAGE WATER CONTAMINATE THE DRINKING WATER. WITH THE MONSOONS IN PLACE, THIS WILL CAUSE A HEALTH DISASTER. WATER-BORNE DISEASES WILL BECOME SUCH A PROBLEM
— Ramesh H N, Industrialist



I NEED ABOUT 45 MINUTES TO CYCLE TO MY SCHOOL THAT IS JUST HALF A KILOMETRE AWAY. MANY TIMES MY CYCLE HAS SKIDDED AND I HAVE FALLEN INTO THE PIT. THANKFULLY, I HAVE NOT BEEN HURT BADLY
— Surya S, Student, AV School



THERE HAVE BEEN INSTANCES WHEN THE LABOURERS AND CONTRACTORS HAVE THREATENED US WITH DIRE CONSEQUENCES IF WE CONTINUED TO COMPLAIN ABOUT THE PROBLEMS. WE RECENTLY HAD TO FILE A POLICE COMPLAINT WHEN ONE OF THEM ENTERED THE HOUSE AND ROUGHED UP ONE OF OUR DRIVERS. THE OFFICIALS TURN A DEAF EAR TO ALL THIS.
— Manjunath C,
Chartered Accountant

Veteran warriors

Veteran warriors

Young trees take several years before they can offset pollution, writes Marianne de Nazareth batting for Bangalore’s hoary green cover
Photo: Murali Kumar K.

Leafy lane Mother nature’s air conditioner
If you take a trip up to Ooty or Coonoor even today, the air-conditioned climate in the cities is what strikes you immediately. That was Bangalore way back in the Seventies when tree cover was optimum and homes were sprawling, old, colonial bungalows . Trees grew in abundance and were of a massive girth with canopies that spread across roads and buildings. The city was famed for its ‘air-conditioned’ ambience. Today we use fans even in January and the city has warmed up to a level that makes air-conditioners essential.

In a recent Climate Change meeting of the UNFCCC in Bonn, an organization called the Global Canopy Programme (GCP) from the UK explained that “old trees go beyond carbon sequestration and storage, and act as giant utilities providing vital ecosystems services to the city. They generate rainfall, buffer the climate, maintain biodiversity and also stabilize the soil. Although we all benefit from these services, nobody pays for them.Therefore keeping them safe, keeps us safe.”

Dr J.K. Vasantkumar, the former director of horticulture, Lalbagh says, “A new tree takes 25 years to grow, whereas an old tree already has a huge canopy which not only gives shelter, but also prevents evaporation of water and soil erosion. Old trees absorb the carbon in the atmosphere and give out oxygen helping to reduce pollution in the city. A sapling is like a child, it has several years to grow before it can contribute to off-setting pollution.”

Trees act as air-conditioners, cooling the atmosphere near the ground through evapo-transpiration. According to the GCP, “one square metre of the oceans surface evaporates one square metre litre of water, old trees release eight to 19 times more moisture into the atmosphere. The Amazon forest’s trees release 20 billion tonnes of water into the atmosphere each day. The energy used by this process is equivalent to 80,000 power stations.”

The Associate Director of Research, UAS, Dr. Nutan says, “the value of a tree over 60 years old is more in terms of oxygen and micro-climate effects. This tree absorbs 3,000 kg of carbon dioxide and gives us back 2,000 kg of oxygen everyday besides regulating moisture in the atmosphere. There is also an economic value dimension of an old tree in terms of produce and seeds for propagation.”

The complex chemistry released by tropical old trees according to the GCP helps generate rainfall that stabilizes local weather patterns. And the tree root mat of an old tree is large and spreading. This plays a crucial role in holding together the substrate upon which they grow. This prevents soil erosion and loss of valuable top soil.

“A few years ago, old or mature trees were regarded as carbon-neutral. As such, they were considered irrelevant as carbon sinks and, consequently, of no importance to the climate change regime. Their relevance was solely recognised from the biodiversity viewpoint. How fortunate we are that today’s science dispelled this notion,” reveals Sergio Serra, Ambassador for Climate Change, Ministry of External Relations, Brazil

“Old trees definitely support the environment,” says Mr. Hubert, Deputy Conservator of Forest, BBMP, “But during the recent rains the fall of old trees is higher than the new trees. In Bangalore, Rain trees and Gulmohur have grown old and with the rains, huge branches fall causing massive destruction of property. Therefore trimming of avenue trees is definitely needed. After the rains people should call the BBMP control room on 2221188 and inform us about weak trees and branches. I do not disagree with the need for old trees, but this is the practical problem we face with avenue trees.”


Old trees have a huge canopy, which not only gives shelter, but also prevents evaporation of water and soil erosion.

They absorb the carbon and give out oxygen helping to reduce pollution in the city

A tree over 60 years old absorbs 3,000 kg of carbon dioxide and gives back 2,000 kg of oxygen everyday besides regulating moisture in the atmosphere.

There is also an economic value in terms of produce and seeds for propagation.

Mysore Road: Highway of woes

Mysore Road: Highway of woes
CHANDRASHEKHAR G.
DC | BENGALURU


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INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS IN RAJARAJESHWARINAGAR ZONE REMAIN UNFINISHED re Road: Highway of woes The longstanding plan to extend the Sirsi Circle flyover to the congested Mysore Road right up to Bangalore University has not gotten off the ground yet.

Round-the-clock traffic snarls, clogged sewers and overflowing drains, and uncollected garbage — the residents of Rajarajeshwarinagar zone have got no respite from these although it is now under the BBMP. Many infrastructure projects earmarked for the zone have remained on paper
For one, the longstanding plan to extend the Sirsi Circle flyover to the heavily congested Mysore Road right up to Bangalore University has not gotten off the ground yet, leaving residents of Nayandahalli, Jnanabharati and other areas in the lurch even as traffic density on the road has grown by orders of magnitude in the last few years
Not surprisingly, whether during peak hours or nonpeak hours, you will almost always encounter a traffic jam on Mysore Road that extends right upto Kengeri. The Outer Ring Road, too, is congested as all the available lanes are taken up by the heavy vehicles. On one project, though, the BBMP has spent crores of rupees — remodeling the Vrishabhavathi, once a serene river, now a polluted, black stream. But all that money seems to have gone down the drain, too. Year after year, the areas along either side of Mysore Road get flooded during the monsoon season
In fact, it turns out that a majority of the works on drains, such as providing retaining walls, clearing debris and silt have been left half-done. Rampant encroachment and unauthorized construction over the drains add to the problem, with the result that the BBMP is unable to control flooding during rains
When such is the state of affairs in the areas that have been in the BBMP zone for a long time, can Rajarajeshwarinagar, the newest addition to it, expect to get anything better from the civic authorities. The new area is yet to get its share of proper roads, drains and public toilets, let alone a clean, rejuvenated lake. On something as basic as water, residents are still waiting for a Cauvery water connection, although they have paid for it. They are still making do with a miniwater scheme that was started by the erstwhile Rajarajeshwarinagar City Municipal Corporation (CMC). As in most other areas under the BBMP, the civic authority does a very poor job of garbage collec tion even in Rajarajeswarinagar — one can find garbage strewn across the street in one place, or dumped on the roadside and set on fire in another — either way, residents are exposed to pollution and health hazards
Repeated complaints to BBMP officials have fallen on deaf ears, allege residents of the area. ‘Implement existing plans’ IT DOES not matter whether the government merges our area with the BBMP or some other administrative body. What it must ensure is that we get better roads, drains, power and water. Right now, people are being fooled into thinking that since the Rajarajeshwarinagar zone has been merged with the BBMP, all problems have been solved automatically
First of all, let BBMP and other authorities implement what has already been planned to build motorable roads, streamline traffic and prevent flooding during rains. Supply of drinking water has been poor, people have been left dependent on tankers, and we have to shell out hefty money for it
Desilt drains and save peo ple from the trauma of flooding every year during rains. Political representatives and officials can’t get away with making false promises during elections
They must now act to keep those promises

The Isro Centre Will Revive Two Lakes On The Campus To Augment Supply

The Isro Centre Will Revive Two Lakes On The Campus To Augment Supply
Prashanth G N | TNN

Byalalu: Isro’s Byalalu Indian Deep Space Network (IDSN) centre, off Mysore Road, does not face a water crisis, but has plans to augment its reserves and stay comfortable in future. With no Cauvery connection, the IDSN centre has requested BWSSB to explore options of supplying water to the centre from Manchinabele dam, located just a few kilometres from the campus.
Isro’s senior civil engineer Vijayendra Itagi told The Times of India that a request has been made for receiving 75,000 litres of water per day from the dam.
THREE BOREWELLS OPERATE NOW
Currently, the campus manages with 1 lakh litre of water per day, which it generates from three borewells. “While we are not facing a water crisis, we will certainly be more comfortable if we get an additional 75,000 litre per day from the dam. This will enable us to store extra. Air cooling systems need a good amount of water. With more storage we can rest easy. As of now, we are managing with what we have,” Itagi explained.
Civil engineers had built eight borewells across the campus, but only three generated water. There are no plans to get a Cauvery connection.
Instead, Itagi said it will take time for BWSSB to work out the logistics of supplying water from Manchinabele. “They have to lay pipes from the dam to the campus. The routing and topography have to be examined to ensure easy flow. We know it’ll take time.”
SUSTAINABLE PLAN, FINALLY
As an additional measure, two lakes on the campus will be revived to augment supply until a connection to the dam is designed and installed. “We plan to go for rainwater harvesting, and for this, we’ve started work on water storage facilities in two small natural lakes within campus,” Itagi explained.
Engineers have already built a small barrage and a stone wall across one lake. They will build another barrage and stone wall across the second lake. “Isro plans to link local and natural solutions with modern ones within a single setting,” Itagi added.
The revival of the lakes also signals coexistence of local technologies with hi-tech ones.
THE SOLUTION
IDSN centre requested BWSSB to explore options of supplying water to the centre from Manchinabele dam
BWSSB will take some time to work out the plan The water board has to lay pipes from the dam to the campus. The routing and topography have to be examined to ensure easy flow
WATER FOR
ISRO BYALALU
CAMPUS
Has three borewells Borewells generate 1 lakh litre water per day Request for additional 75,000 litre BWSSB asked to explore options from Manchinabele dam Isro working for revival and linking of two lakes on its campus Focus on rainwater harvesting

Parking chaos on Bangalore’s Brigade Road

Parking chaos on Bangalore’s Brigade Road

Chitra V. Ramani and Raghava M.
Notice on the automated parking meters on the road says they are not working ‘today’ as they are being upgraded
The BBMP and the BSEA shared revenue during the five-year contract which ended on June 21

‘The civic authority will call for tenders to operate parking, BSEA is free to participate in it’

Bangalore: Parking on Brigade Road has now become free with the expiry of the contract between the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) and the Brigade’s Shops and Establishments’ Association (BSEA).

This has also given freedom to the shoppers to park their cars for hours on end without any restriction unlike before when they could park for just a few hours at a stretch. Though this has affected the movement of vehicles, neither the City Traffic Police nor the BBMP is ready to prohibit parking here.

Meanwhile, all the parking meters on the road, which were imported and functional until recently, now carry a notice (dated June 22) put up by the association that reads: “Parking meters will not be working today due to upgradation work. Inconvenience is regretted.”

Suhail Yusuf, president of BSEA, claimed that the association had written to the BBMP on June 19 but had not got any reply till date. “We created an automated parking model for the first time in the country. Our contract with the civic authority was for a period of five years and the revenue generated was shared equally.”

He said that in five years the BBMP had earned revenue of over a crore. “The association used its share to maintain the footpath, lighting on the road and employed security to man the imported parking machines.”

Mr. Yusuf ruled out the possibility of the association encouraging shoppers to park in Garuda Mall, which has a dedicated parking space. “Garuda Mall does not have enough parking for its own visitors. There will be no parking space available for the Brigade Road shoppers,” he said.

S. Puttaswamy, BBMP’s Additional Commissioner (East), maintained that the civic authority would call for tender to operate parking on Brigade Road in which the BSEA can also participate along with the others.

“The agreement with regard to metered parking with the BSEA was initially for a period of two years that could be extended to five years. The agreement ended in 2007 and had not been renewed,” he said.

Praveen Sood, Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic and Security), told The Hindu that there were no proposals to ban parking on the busy Brigade Road.

“There is no multi-level parking facility or a dedicated parking space nearby. If such an alternative was available, parking could have been banned on the stretch,” he added.

Ride free: no more side stops to check papers

Ride free: no more side stops to check papers
A T Subramanya | TNN

Bangalore: You could be in a hurry to keep an appointment and, besides the red signals and traffic jams, there is one other stop to contend with: men in white and khaki flagging down motorists to check vehicle documents. Well, having zeroed in on this traffic blockage of its own creation, the department has put a stop to such stops.
Additional commissioner of police (traffic) Praveen Sood has given written directions to traffic personnel against unnecessary checking of documents — to keep both road and motorist hassle-free. But this does not mean that the public should stop carrying vehicle papers.
Those who violate traffic rules will be stopped, their documents checked and duly penalized. Sood told TOI: “All officers have been instructed not to stop motorists merely for checking documents. Only when the motorist has committed some visible traffic violation will he/she be stopped. The police will ask for all documents and the motorist will be penalized for non-possession, if documents are not in order.’’
Sood clearly stated that the focus is on good road use behaviour rather than documents. “We are mainly concentrating on traffic violations and to maintain smooth vehicle flow,’’ he said. But commuters who have violated rules like jumping signals, drunken driving, entering one-ways, riding on pavements or riding without helmet will be stopped. Transport vehicles like buses, taxis and autorickshaws should carry permit and fitness certificate. These should be produced for inspection if asked for by a police officer.
Sood explained: “There is a provision of a master card from RTO, which is proof that the driver has all valid documents. If one is carrying the master card, he/she need not carry any other documents.’’
But it is mandatory to carry an emission certificate. However, police have been instructed not to stop motorists merely to check the emission certificate. “In case of emission certificate, traffic police don’t have the provision to fine erring motorists. The department will have to send a notice regarding it to court. The fine amount is at the discretion of the court,’’ Sood added.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Pay your property tax by Tuesday

Pay your property tax by Tuesday

If you pay the levy before June 30, you can avail of 5 per cent rebate; otherwise, arrears would carry 2 per cent penal interest per month

Basavaraj Itnaal and Senthalir S. Bangalore

Only two days are left to pay the first installment of property tax without penalty.
If paid before June 30, people can enjoy a rebate of 5%, otherwise, arrears would carry a penal interest of 2% per month.
To help people pay their taxes before June 30, BBMP has decided to open help centres today. "As the deadline is nearing, the help centres would be open on Sunday from 9.30am to 2pm. People can drop in and pay their taxes. We have so far collected more than Rs700 crore," said UA Vasanth Rao, deputy commissioner (resources), BBMP.
BBMP has started collecting property tax after a gap of one year under the self-assessment scheme (SAS).
Though a capital value system CVS) was mooted, the government bowed to public pressure and retained SAS. The only modification to SAS being the penal rate of interest. This was 5% per year; it has now been increased to 2% per month. BBMP revenue officials say the tax can be paid at all citizen service centres and citizen help centres.

Metro woes for commuters

Metro woes for commuters
CHANDRASHEKAR G.
DC | BENGALURU







Article Rank










[Click To Enlarge]

qBMRCL EXPLORES DIVERSIONS AT MINSK SQUARE, VIDHANA SOUDHA
With work on underground stations for Metro Rail at Minsk Square and near Vidhan Soudha expected to begin July-end or early August, Bengaluru Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (BMRCL) is exploring options for diverting traffic in the area
The underground Metro project, which is estimated to cost over Rs 3,000 crore, will require railway stations, air-conditioning and electricity
Once the earth is excavated for the stations, work will begin on building the required tunnels and diaphragm walls. The pro ject is expected to take around two-and-a-half years to complete
Raj Bhavan Road will be cordoned off for traffic from Minsk Square to the General Post Office once the work on the underground Metro The underground Metro rail will run from Minsk square to Majestic via Vidhan Soudha and Central College on this stretch. The stations enroute have been finalised and the traffic police have been requested to make the necessary diversions to ensure that neither the project nor the people are inconvenienced, BMRCL chief engineer B.L
Yeshawanth Chavan told Deccan Chronicle. rail begins there. However, traffic will not be stalled completely on Ambedkar Veedhi. Instead the narrow roads in front of Vidhan Soudha and around the high court will be used to divert it
Light motor vehicles and two-wheelers may be allowed to use the road in front of Press Club
Mr Chavan said a survey on the final coordinates is being carried out to ascertain the width of the road and other factors to allow traffic diversion. The volume of traffic is also being studied
“Traffic will flow normally on other roads around the area,” official sources said.

City heads into watery jam

City heads into watery jam

Bangalore has exceeded its share of Cauvery water allocated by the dispute tribunal

Basavaraj Itnaal. Bangalore

The receding storage level at the KRS reservoir is only half the tragedy facing Bangalore as far as its drinking water woes are concerned.
The other half of the story is that the city has already exceeded its share of Cauvery waters allocated by the final award of the Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal (CWDT), while the Central Ground Water Board has already banned exploitation of ground water way back in 2005. This means that Bangalore can neither draw anymore water from Cauvery basin, whether the KRS has water or not, nor can it use ground water.
Former PWD secretary Capt Raja Rao, who also headed various high-level committees, has submitted a report to the government last week suggesting remedial measures.
Rao told Sunday DNA that the government was not doing enough to augment the water resources while it was spending huge amounts on distribution networks and pumping systems.
"What is more, the government formed Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) without considering the consequences on water demand. The BWSSB too does not have any plan to create additional resources," he said.
No more Cauvery for city
The CWDT order apportions 8.75 thousand million cubic (TMC) feet of water for drinking purposes not just for Bangalore but for the entire population of Cauvery basin.
Capt Rao said in his report that BWSSB has already exceeded this limit. Further, the highly water intensive crop of sugarcane is being grown in Cauvery basin in an area of about 1,20,000 acres, which is much above the CWDT cap of 40,000 acres.
"We will land in serious trouble if the Tamil Nadu raises objection to this. On one hand we cannot ask farmers to grow a less profitable crop to save water and then divert more water to Bangalore. It is a grim situation," he said.
According to sources in the BWSSB, the city is already drawing 12 TMC feet of water from the Cauvery river.
No tubewells
The Karnataka Mines and Geology department along with Central Ground Water Board had in 2005 reported that entire Bangalore Urban and Bangalore Rural districts had over exploited ground water.
This means that no more tube wells can be allowed.
In fact, the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board has made it mandatory for developers to depend only on BWSSB water and not ground water. The BWSSB on its part is assuring the developers that water would be supplied only if it is available.

Multi-storeyed complex to come up on railway land

Multi-storeyed complex to come up on railway land
S Lalitha, Bangalore, DH News Service:

For the first time in the City, unutilised land belonging to the Railways will be put into use for commercial purposes.


The stretch of railway land on Platform Road, near the City railway station where a commercial complex is proposed to come up. dh photo The land in question is a sprawling stretch on Platform Road, near the City railway station. It encountered a technical problem with Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL), which has been resolved now.

The Bangalore Division of the Railways recommended this portion of the land, measuring over one hectare (1.112 hectares), to the Railway Board for commercial development as it did not foresee its utilisation for operational purposes in the near future. The Board has handed over the land to the Rail Land Development Authority (RLTA), a statutory body constituted under the Railway Ministry nearly three years ago. RLTA aims at generating additional revenue for the Indian Railways by exploiting surplus railway land.

The land, located adjacent to a petrol bunk, has been segregated into two plots as one portion lies at an elevated plane, informed Divisional Railway Manager (DRM) Akhil Agrawal. “One portion has an area of 0.662 hectare while the other measures 0.450 hectare,” he said. “It will be the first such instance in the City when a commercial structure will come up on railway land ever since the RLTA was constituted,” the DRM added. Tenders will be called for in this connection shortly.

Tests underway

As the Metro Rail would pass under this stretch of land, there were apprehensions related to safety of passengers in case the soil loosens under the weight of the proposed mammoth structure. “We are now conducting fissure testing on the spot to strengthen the soil,” said a representative of BMRCL. “Things are proceeding smoothly and we do not foresee any problems if a building comes up,” he added. The RLTA would pass over the revenue generated to the Indian Railways. At present, there are 43,000 hectares of railway land unutilised all over the country and the RLTA is in the process of transforming these vacant spaces into revenue grossers.

RLTA is already constructing a multi-storeyed complex near Bandra railway station at Mumbai and similar constructions are in the offing in few parts of the country.

No new permits for autorickshaws in city

No new permits for autorickshaws in city

Special Correspondent

BANGALORE: A decision has been taken not to grant any more permits for autorickshaws in the city. The reason behind the decision was to check congestion and pollution.

Speaking to presspersons, Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa, who chaired a meeting of Ministers and officers on Saturday, said the Government had taken into account the views of experts and citizens in this regard. A 3,000-acre plot would be earmarked on the outskirts of the city to dispose of solid waste. He said 40 plots in the city had been identified for parking vehicles, and the BBMP would develop the sites for the purpose. The racecourse in the city would be shifted to the outskirts at the earliest.

A mini-Lalbagh, a hospital and a bus stand would be built at the Central Relief Committee (Beggars’ Colony) on Magadi Road after shifting it to a place on the outskirts of the city. The meeting discussed the possibility of developing the Devika Rani Roerich Estate (Tataguni Estate) on Kanakapura Road. He said a case connected to the estate was before the Supreme Court, and a decision would be arrived at based on the directions of the court.
Swajaladhara

Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Minister Shobha Karandlaje said that she was leaving for the U.S. to meet World Bank officials seeking extension of the Swajaladhara scheme beyond December this year. She said the State Government was seeking an assistance of Rs.1,500 crore for the project.

Herculean tasks ahead

Herculean tasks ahead
On Day 2 of Manthana, BBMP unveils ambitious plans to take up mammoth projects that will require a whopping Rs 14,500 crore
TIMES NEWS NETWORK

Bangalore: The numbers are mind-boggling: 200 markets, 1,000 parks and 40 parking lots. All these to be built by the BBMP.
There’s more — two 50-kmlong elevated corridors connecting east and west, and north and south, to decongest traffic in the city. Again, all these have been planned by the corporation.
A plethora of ideas emerged at Manthana-2 on Saturday to make the city a better place to live in. The BBMP and BDA gave a presentation, which included details about plans to develop 40 road-over-bridges (RoB) and road-under-bridges (RuB).
On lake and drain development, both agencies promised to desilt 160 km of storm water drains with citizens’ participation. All lakes will be fenced on a war footing, besides encouraging adoption of drains. An environment cell will also be set up.
To address public complaints, BBMP will set up 200 help centres. Extensive use of information technology is expected, and GIS will be used to track complaints. Also, delegation of power with accountability has been planned to make work transparent.
However, the suggestions were not without financial implications. For building signalfree roads, elevated corridors, development of lakes, parks and markets, BBMP has estimated Rs 14,500 crore.
HOW TO GET FUNDS?
It has also presented how the resource could be mobilized. Accordingly, BBMP will raise Rs 2,500 crore; government will provide Rs 2,000 crore; the Centre through Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission will give Rs 2,000 crore; bonds and loans will add Rs 5,000 crore; BDA will contribute Rs 2,000 crore, and Rs 1,000 crore will come from private parties.
The BBMP asked the government to shift infrastructure cess to the Palike. Then it asked the revenue department to allot 3,000 acres for waste disposal at 10 areas in the city.
No more new
autorickshaws
Chief minister B S Yeddyurappa said the government won’t issue permits to autorickshaws anymore. There were more promises: there will be more signal-free roads in the city; Beggars’ Colony on Magadi Road will be shifted, and a park and hospital will be built on the land.
The government will also develop Devika Rani Reorich Estate within the limits of the Supreme Court’s direction. Yeddyurappa made it clear that his government won’t extend the lease period of Bangalore Race Course beyond December 31. “Hoarding fee will also be hiked to bring in more revenue. This is a priority,” he added. TNN

BBMP delimitation: Suggetions pour in

BBMP delimitation: Suggetions pour in
Bangalore, DH News Service:

Amidst indications of possible delay in conducting elections to the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike, suggestions and objections to the draft notification on delimitation of wards are pouring in.


Nearly 500 objections have been received by the Bangalore Urban Deputy Commissioner, till date.

“Most suggestions are related to changing the name of the ward where the citizen resides. The demands are currently being processed and have been forwarded to a committee that looks into the merit of the suggestion. But for now, we are awaiting the final Gazette notification on the election,” said Deputy Commissioner, Bangalore Urban , G N Naik.

Inclusion sought

The ex-councillor from Koramangala, B Mohan, who was the chairman of the Taxation Committee in the last Palike council, has suggested that the Kormangala village and the Harijan Colony should be included in the Kormanagala ward. Mohan has claimed that the village and the Harijan Colony in Kormangala have a history of 700 years and also houses the grave of Kempegowda’s daughter Lakshmi Devi. Mohan suggested that both them should be deleted from the current ward no 147 of Adugodi and be included in Kormanagala, to be renamed as Lakhsmi Devi Ward.

No parking, no shopping Sales Dip On Chaotic Saturday At Brigade Road

No parking, no shopping Sales Dip On Chaotic Saturday At Brigade Road
Bangalore: It was the first weekend without the metered pay-and-park system on Brigade Road. And as expected, there was chaos all around, with motorists having to wait too long to find a parking slot.
Traffic volume increased as the day progressed. Relentless honking by frustrated drivers, waiting to go past cars looking for a slot, was to no avail. Many complained of not finding parking space for hours. Without any efficient control, there was confusion galore. Anticipating this, some people opted to take a bus or auto to get here.
“Many people now prefer to drive down to Garuda Mall or Bangalore Central to shop. Our store saw an extremely low footfall for a Saturday. Few of our regulars turned up, but they were complaining about not finding parking space and having to walk a long distance to our shop. The guards deployed by BSEA maintained some order but it’s a shame that the pay-and-park system has ended abruptly,” said Mohammad Ajmal, a salesman.
Another shopkeeper echoed this sentiment: “The pay-and-park system forced people to park for a fixed time. Only those shopping on Brigade Road would park. Now, since this area is a free parking zone, even those who don’t shop on Brigade Road park for the entire day, making slots unavailable for our customers. Naturally, they go elsewhere.”
WAY OUT IN 15 DAYS: BBMP
BBMP additional commissioner (East) S Puttaswamy said the Palike will float tenders for the parking contract in a day or two. “The new system should be in place within 15 days. On Commercial Street, the request for renewal submitted by the association is already under consideration,” he said.

Brace yourself for parking cess

Brace yourself for parking cess
TIMES NEWS NETWORK

Bangalore: You’re already paying several cesses, with little or no direct benefits. Now, if the government greenlights a bureaucrat’s proposal, you could pay a parking cess when registering a new vehicle and an impact cess if you stay in high-rises.
All these proposals were tossed around at Manthana-2, the second edition of the closed-door brainstorming session between BJP ministers and bureaucrats. They also included an electronic tax register system in business establishments.
But, there was some reprieve for the common man. On the anvil is a token system in police stations in which people receive reference numbers when they file complaints and cite them during follow-ups.
M R Srinivasmurthy, finance principal secretary, is said to have mooted the parking and impact fees which were widely welcomed. State Planning Board deputy chairman D H Shankaramurthy apparently opposed the parking fee.
Emphasizing revenue resources, Srinivasmurthy reportedly justified both the fees. The parking fee will be levied during vehicle registration on the lines of the lifetime tax.
The impact fee on high-rises is built on the assumption that their residents use many government services but pay less tax. This tax could be utilized to provide better facilities. Commercial tax commissioner B A Harish Gowda too is said to have presented ideas on tax reforms.
To enable the common man register his complaint with the police, DGP Ajaikumar Singh reportedly mooted the token system. Complainants needn’t be put to hardship or be at the mercy of station officers. A person can walk into a police station, leave his complaint at the desk, take a token which records the time of his visit and other details. Using this token, the complaint can followed up. In most police stations, the complainant is turned away for various reasons, including the one that the officer concerned is out for investigation.
A bureaucrat reportedly suggested that there’s scope for an education cess after a person gets a job. Once an individual starts earning, he’d be happy to repay the state through a small contribution. Currently, only the central government follows this system, but state governments do not levy educational cess.
Electronic tax register system: This is apparently on the lines of the Kenyan system. Srinivasmurthy explained this would help crack down on sales tax evasion by traders. “If Indians elsewhere can make an impact, why can’t we do it here?’’ Srinivasurthy reportedly said. Energy principal secretary K Jairaj emphasized reducing energy theft and bringing in reforms in power production. The 13-hour session concluded on Saturday and ‘An Inconvenient Truth’, a film on global warming by Al Gore, was screened on Friday night.
CMSPEAK
I’m satisfied with the Manthana. Such a meeting will be held once in three months to give new direction to the administration. We’ll boost non-tax revenues to enlarge the resource base in the backdrop of the global economic slowdown without burdening the common man.
B S Yeddyurappa |
CHIEF MINISTER