Monday, April 20, 2009

DNA: Bangalore: Subway work back on track at KR Market

DNA: Bangalore: Subway work back on track at KR Market
Work on the KR Market subway, aimed to provide safe and easy passage to pedestrians, is back on track after getting stuck over a sewage pipe running below.

Hoping to complete the project before the coming monsoon, the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) is going ahead without disturbing the sewage line. BBMP and Bangalore Water Supply and Sewage Board were playing a blame game when asked about the delay in the work which was started two years ago.

Initially, the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) officials had blamed the contractors for the delay in the project which is a joint venture of Maruti Construction and Malaysia Green Construction. Then they began pointing their fingers at the underground sewage pipe running below the subway.

"The project was delayed because of the sewage pipe. It was the responsibility of the BWSSB to shift it," said AK Gopalaswamy, engineer-in-chief of BBMP.

BWSSB officials had a different version to tell.

"We asked the BBMP to depositRs1.25 crore for shifting the sewage line. Palike officials did not do it. They say they will do the work themselves," said a BWSSB official.

He said the water board had already given permission to the BBMP to carry out the work on their own.

"On inspection, we found that the BBMP has built a concrete shield above the drainage system. This means they are carrying out the work without disturbing the line," he said.

The delay in subway work is adding to the woes of pedestrians. Savithri R, a teacher, said: "We are finding it difficult to move towards Avenue Road from City Market Circle."

But BBMP officials are confident that the subway will be completed before the coming monsoon.

"We have completed 40% of the work.We will be able to finish it by June or July," said an official.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Metro rail, realty attracting maximum investment: Assocham

The Hindu News Update Service
Metro rail, sewerage and real estate are the top areas attracting maximum investment in the infrastructure sector in metros across the country in the last six months, industry body Assocham said.

In the last six months metro rail attracted investment worth Rs 34,038 crore followed by sewerage (Rs 21,434 crore), real estates (Rs 15,170 crore), hospitality (Rs 13,010 crore), SEZs (Rs 10, 500 crore), transport (Rs 6,283 crore ), roadways (Rs 5,819 crore) and water supply (Rs 5,757 crore), it said.

Construction of metro rail is being carried on three cities including Bangalore (Rs 6,395 crore), Delhi (Rs 8,118 crore) and Mumbai (Rs 19,525 crore), it said.

Mumbai has attracted the highest amount of investment of Rs 16,694.67 crore in the sewerage segment followed by Chennai (Rs 1,588 crore) and Bangalore (Rs 1,354 crore), the chamber said.

Assocham President Sajjan Jindal said the Indian metros continue to be the favourite destination for real estate development.

Bangalore is the frontrunner in terms of real estate projects planned for the metros with the investment estimated at Rs 7,990 crore, it said, adding that Hyderabad with projects worth Rs 4,050 in the realty space in the second spot

Mangalore: CPI(M) election manifesto sets economic goals

Mangalorean.Com- Serving Mangaloreans Around The World!
Driven by the belief that economic backwardness has contributed to the rise of fundamentalism in the district, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has proposed a slew of economic measures in its district manifesto for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

Prime among the assurances made by CPI(M) candidate B. Madhava is that if he is voted to power, rail connectivity between Bangalore and Mangalore will get a boost. He has promised not only a day train between the two cities but also a cut in the running time, which presently is over 12 hours.

In addition, he has also promised an increase in the number of trains connecting Mangalore and important centres across the country, through the State capital. Given the large number of people in the region who go abroad in search of work, the party has promised to set up a passport office in Mangalore.

The dilapidated condition of roads in the district too will be addressed, the manifesto promises, and flyovers built at important junctions in the city.

Marine activity has also found special mention while promises include development and dredging of the old port, ship connectivity to Lakshadweep and permanent measures to check erosion.

The party will also strive to include Tulu in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution as well as review the Self-Assessment Scheme recently introduced by the Mangalore City Corporation.

The decision to privatise water supply in the city will also be revoked.

Localising the national manifesto released by the party, the district manifesto also promises a special development package that will help cashew, marine products, beedi, tile-making and garment industries of the constituency tide over the present economic crisis.

Further organising and strengthening of the unorganised workforce employed in the beedi, tile and construction industries, along with a raise in the minimum wages, has also been promised, in addition to a national policy on unorganised workers, which is part of the national manifesto.

An entire section titled Souharda Matthu Subhdra Karavali is devoted to the fight against the twin threats of communalism and terrorism.

Comprehensive law

While speaking of his partys plan to introduce a comprehensive law to combat communal violence, Mr. Madhava said he would work towards reversing the communalisation of the district by providing exemplary punishment to groups and individuals who foment such passions. This action will be taken retrospectively, he said. The party has also decided to work towards greener industries in the region if voted to power. Green, labour-intensive and public sector industries will be given priority, Mr. Madhava said.

He added that the party would change the national land acquisition policy for Special Economic Zones if voted to power. We will also thwart attempts by the Mangalore Special Economic Zone to acquire land from farmers through coercion, he added.

Real estate investments picking up in metros: ASSOCHAM stories,Leader speak,company news,sector news,Market talk,lifestyle,budget,market today,global indicators
ASSOCHAM President Sajjan Jindal said that the Indian metro cities continue to be the favorite destination for real estate development

Even though real estate has been the worst victim of high cost economy, especially after the meltdown set in, yet it’s share in total private sector infrastructure investments in the metros in last six months works out to be 12%, followed by 10.26% in hospitality, says an assessment of the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM).

However, metro rail projects accounted for maximum of 27% share in total money injected in metro cities for infrastructure development under central, state, local government including corporates. Sewerage and solid waste management investment in the Tier I cities constitute the major chunk of investments, specifically via government mode. Mumbai (Rs166.94bn), Chennai (Rs15.88bn) and Bangalore (Rs13.54bn) are the major recipients of sewerage related investment. In percentage terms, it works out to be 16.90% of total infrastructure investment.

In a statement, ASSOCHAM President Sajjan Jindal said that the Indian metro cities continue to be the favorite destination for real estate development. The real estate projects constituting residential as well as commercial projects, have pocketed investment worth Rs157.10bn. The southern twin cities of Bangalore and Hyderabad have enjoyed maximum attention of the real estate developers.

The Karnataka capital, Bangalore is the frontrunner in terms of real estate projects planned for the metros with the investment estimated to be Rs79.90bn. Hyderabad at second place among all the cities, has bagged projects worth Rs4050 in realty space. With India being placed as versatile tourist destination across the world and steep rise in tourists arrival in India in past few years, hospitality has been considered as a crucial part of a well-developed infrastructure for the metro cities.

Chennai has come into front run in terms of funds directed towards construction and renovation of hotels. Investment of Rs40bn is being planned to infuse in constructing a five star hotel by ITC Industries in Chennai. Jindal said that as the Tier I cities in India are working out hard to offset the huge pressure on their existing infrastructure, it is the metro rail projects which have been the key driver of the infrastructure investment in these cities with metro projects costing Rs340bn.

The Study is based on the ongoing projects of central and state governments and those announced by private sector in last Six months. Six metro cities taken in the study included Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad and Bangalore. The key challenges faced in the metros include transportation and water supply.

In transportation sector, other than metro rail, Rs62.83bn are being pooled in, accounting for 5% share. Roadway projects in the Tier I cities which include bridges, ROBs, highways and expressways, have been allocated Rs58.19bn. Water Supply projects, primarily being undertaken by the central government under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission, have absorbed Rs57.57bn investment with 4.54% share.

BWSSB: Cess-shirker since 1976

BWSSB: Cess-shirker since 1976
Somebody is getting away with big-time non-payment of bills here. The Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) has not paid water cess to the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) since 1976.

According to the provisions of the Cess Act 1976, the KSPCB is supposed to collect a cess for water that is used for different purposes in the state. The cess is fixed at 3 paise per litre for the water that is used for domestic purposes, 10 paise per litre for the water that is used for boilers and cooling purposes in the industries, 20 paise per litre for the water that gets polluted and is biodegradable and 30 paise per litre for the water that gets polluted and is not bio-degradable.

The KSPCB regional offices collect the cess from the users in their respective areas. All the 51 private companies that come under the KSPCB Bangalore West regional office have paid cess as per the norms but the different government agencies have not paid the cess and their dues have accumulated to crores of rupees. The BWSSB has not paid cess since the cess act came into force in 1976.

The BWSSB has to pay Rs 19.76 crore to KSPCB Bangalore West regional office alone. Out of the 19.76 crore that the BWSSB owes to KSPCB, only 8.5 crore is the cess and the remaining 11.26 crore is the accumulated interest and fines imposed by the KSPCB for not paying cess in time.

KSPCB Member Secretary M S Gouder said, “The BWSSB Chairman is also a member of KSPCB.

He has said that they will pay the cess as soon as possible. It is a government agency, they will pay it sooner or later.” BWSSB Chairman P B Ramamurthy said, “We are willing to pay the cess and we recently paid Rs 80 lakh as cess. The KSPCB is asking us to pay exorbitant interest and fines. We don’t want to pay that. We are contending against the KSPCB on this issue. We will go by the court’s decision on this issue.” Apart from the BWSSB, Chennapattana CMC has to pay Rs 17.78 lakh and Ramnagara TMC has to pay Rs 8.57 lakh as cess to the KSPCB.

'Dry Monday' in Bangalore? - Bangalore - Cities - The Times of India

'Dry Monday' in Bangalore? - Bangalore - Cities - The Times of India
This Monday could be a `dry Monday' across the entire city. For those who have no water reserve, hiring tankers could be
the only option.

There are two reasons for this situation: there was an unscheduled power shutdown in TK Halli and work on the Metro Project hit water supply in several parts of the city for another day.

The sudden power shutdown in TK Halli happened on Sunday from 4.45 pm to 6 pm. This was the time when water was supplied to many areas by BWSSB. But it was hardly supplied on Sunday to many areas due to the power shutdown.

BWSSB officials say the effect is likely to linger on till Monday evening. "It's rare to encounter such a shutdown here. An hour-long shutdown takes us anywhere from 8 hours to 10 hours to regain pressure to lift water and distribute it across the city," a BWSSB official told `The Times Of India'.

The power cut was due to some work on the central grid near Somanahalli, from where power is supplied to three main water reservoirs for Bangalore. They are at TK Halli, Harohalli and Tataguni.

Water is pumped to ground level reservoirs, stored and then distributed. Due to Sunday's power cut, water supply from Harohalli and Tataguni is also likely to be affected.

Metro Project may hit water supply too

Water supply in East and South Bangalore is likely to suffer due to shifting of pipelines for the Metro Project at Trinity Circle on Monday.

The areas likely to be hit include Domlur, Kodihalli, Airport Road, HAL 2nd and 3rd Stages, Indiranagar, Ulsoor, New Thippasandra and surrounding areas.

"We started work 10 days ago. The pipes are being shifted eight foot away from the metro line. Much of the work is complete and we are now linking the pipes," a BWSSB spokesperson said. "Once they are linked properly, supply will resume."

Water supply may be restored by late Monday evening or Tuesday.


Residents may call 22945115 if water supply in their area is not restored after Monday

Funding elections is part of biz Deccan Herald

Deccan Herald - Funding elections is part of biz
The forthcoming general elections is very important since it comes in the wake of progress and positive developments on one hand and recent problems in the stock market and real estate, lower corporate profits, layoffs and scams, terrorism and extremism, on the other hand.

The forthcoming general elections is very important since it comes in the wake of progress and positive developments and on the other hand, recent problems in stock markets and real estate, lower corporate profits, layoffs and scams, terrorism and extremism. New regional political parties have come up, existing coalition partners are reconsidering their alignments, and the only certainty is that we will get another coalition government. Pre-election posturing by various political parties has started, raking up issues of caste, religion, Indian culture, language, terrorism, reservations, and subsidies for farmers, the poor, for the corporate sector and so on. These are the issues that are in the public domain, and dominate media coverage.

But there are deeper currents that one needs to take stock of. A silent realignment of tectonic plates takes place six miles below the ocean surface, and manifests as a tsunami thousands of miles away. Such ocean floor events go unnoticed, but the consequences of not taking corrective action are usually disastrous. In the political arena, such movements take years and even decades to come to a head. When there is a big crisis, there is usually a longer history behind it of silent forces realigning themselves, before everything spills out into the public domain.

Game of money power

Is there such a realignment going on today? The first signs surface during various elections. The amount of money spent on elections is increasing every year, handsomely beating inflation. This is particularly true since the 1990s. The Chief Election Commissioner of India has gone on record saying “If a candidate is willing to spend ten times more than the prescribed ceiling, it is not out of philanthropy, but in the secure knowledge that he can earn ten times what he spends once he gets to the seat of power.” This spending is not in the form of legitimate campaign expenses alone, but direct money and gifts given to voters.

This is illegal and not allowed by existing legislation. However, it is very difficult for the Election Commission to curb it. There are reports that campaign workers slip Rs 1000 notes under the door of voters at night. Coupons are distributed to voters who can go and cash them or buy goods from designated shops and stores. In a recent by poll in Tamil Nadu, voters surrounded a vehicle seized by the police saying “the money in this vehicle belongs to us, how can you take it away?” Candidates want to buy votes, and voters want money. In the 2008 Karnataka Assembly elections, about Rs 45 crores were seized. But the estimate is that more than 10 times that amount went into voters’ pockets.
Is this really a problem? One argument says that voters take money and gifts from everyone, and then vote for whom they like. This is perhaps true. However, as the CEC points out, whoever wins focuses on recouping his investments. This directly leads to bad governance. The quality of roads, electricity and water supply, government schools, and health facilities suffers. Government projects are badly implemented as political oversight is weak or even intrusive in a negative way. There is a strong tendency to recoup election expenses from public funds.
One of the current Chief Ministers of a major State told a Citizen Election Watch team “if you want to improve governance, then do something about election expenses.” Data from recent elections shows that between 2004 and 2008 in Karnataka, the total declared assets of MLAs grew from Rs 228 crores to Rs 1271 crores, or by nearly 460 per cent. The question arises, where does this sudden increase in wealth come from? Not all of it can be explained by the then existing real estate boom.

Backing from business

Who are the people funding such elections? There is a shift, perhaps a tectonic shift taking place. Earlier it was local mafia with interests in mining, liquor, forest produce, land grabbing and so on. Today, the scale of this has gone up significantly, but more mainstream business houses are also getting involved, including multinational corporations (recall Enron spending crores on public education). The real estate lobby is another powerful new entrant to elections. The recent scams in Satyam Computers in Andhra Pradesh show that the Rs 7,000 crores that disappeared from one company was perhaps the tip of the iceberg. Contracts worth about Rs 38,000 crores were given to this company’s affiliates in a short period of four years.

The recent cash for votes scam during the trust vote for the nuclear deal showed possible links between politics and business — where was the cash coming from otherwise? At a recent conference in Mumbai on Electoral and Political Reforms, many speakers, including one of the Election Commissioners said that the influence of big money on politics was perhaps the single biggest danger to democracy. This is in spite of the fact that the current Parliament has 125 MPs facing criminal charges in a court of law. Money can buy muscle men.

There is also a strong move towards public private partnerships (PPP) in several domains. The most significant are large infrastructure projects — highways, airports, ports, bridges, flyovers, metro rail systems, privatization of water and electricity supply, and so on.

The total investments in all these projects put together are in hundreds of thousands of crores. This is perhaps the most silent but most important tectonic shift taking place. It does not hit the headlines, the citizens do not know the terms and conditions under which these projects take off, and all sorts of rumours are constantly flying around. While there will be ideological debates about whether such large projects under PPP are desirable or not, the fact remains that we do not have adequate regulations, laws and safeguards in place.
How does this affect elections, governance and ordinary citizens? The flow of big money is very likely to go up significantly in the coming general elections. That takes both forms - people with big money directly contesting elections, and also by indirectly funding parties and candidates. In return, they will look for favours for their business interests after the elections.

New dynamics

More and more celebrities from films and sports are joining politics. There is nothing wrong in business having good relations with the Government, but there are clear cut boundaries and we need to ensure that they are not crossed. A Member of the Planning Commission says “Earlier big money was chasing those in power. Now power is chasing big money.”

The issue goes beyond elections. There have been a slew of favours given out to big business interests in recent years — tax rebates, special economic zones, big contracts, changes in laws governing urban land ceiling, lesser regulation, large tracts of rural land for setting up factories, and so on.
Some of this is justified, but not everything that is given away. Other countries including the US have faced these problems and have come up with a string of new legislations to regulate campaign funding, conflict of interest between a politician’s business interests and legislative or other work, transparency requirements in Government contracts, and of course harsher penalties for wrong doing . Severely compromised politics and politicians leads to corruption in the bureaucracy, police and judiciary, deteriorating law and order, and inability to handle extremism and terrorist attacks. In short, it leads to bad governance.

Disclose all donations

Where and when do we start changing things? The coming elections are a good a time. Corporate houses need to make their donations to political parties public. Voters need to think about the link between big election spending and bad governance. The Election Commission, citizen groups and the media all need to pitch in and carry out voter awareness campaigns.

Why focus on elections? It is perhaps the root of the problem of bad governance as the Chief Minister said to the citizen election watch group. Big money buys candidates and political parties, who in turn buy votes. This keeps many who want to do public service away from politics. They cannot raise the funds required for winning elections in an honest way. Without good politicians, we get bad governance. We also need a whole set of new laws, but that will take time.

The advance warnings of silent tectonic shifts are there. If we act now we can avoid a lot of trouble in the years to come and avoid repeating the mistakes that other so called developed countries made.

The writer is Professor and Dean, IIM Bangalore, and Founder Member, Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR). Email: trilochans@IIMB.ERNET.IN

P C Mohan remains faithful to script

P C Mohan remains faithful to script
After offering prayers at the Anjaneya temple at Sarvagnya, P C Mohan, the BJP candidate for the Bangalore Central Lok Sabha constituency started his election campaign along with the cine actor Mukhyamantri Chandru, M C Srinivas, BJP Constituent President of Sarvagnya Constituency.

.The entourage then took off from Sarvagnya to Subban Palya to Kamanahalli Bullappa Circle to Ramaswamy Palya and then ended at Janaki Rama Layout.

While leading the convoy, Mohan met voters of this constituency and started wooing them by saying that only BJP can curb the menace of terrorism. However, the voters pestered him, by asking, how he is going to solve their water problems. Mohan when talking to Mahalakshmi and Kavitha, two residents, said that, he was asked how he is going to solve the drainage problem and especially the drinking water. He assured them that once he is elected, he will replace the old pipes and that itself will improve the 30 per cent of water supply. Later when canvassing, he stopped the convoy to answer few questions.

Speaking to The New Indian Express, PC Mohan said, `` Iam very confident of winning this seat, since, I have been popular with the Urban Voters’’. And he said, "Bangalore Central being cosmopolitan he will have a fair chance’’.

He said, "there are three things that he wants to focus on, if being elected- infrastructure, civic amenities and environment’’. When asked to compare his chances of winning, against Congress candidate HT Sangliana, "He has betrayed the party (BJP) and joined Congress. The workers of the BJP don’t like him and the Congress workers are not accepting him”.

After having answered questions, he alighted his van and in scorching heat started canvassing again.

Work-in-progress disturbs citizens in Vijayanagar

Work-in-progress disturbs citizens in Vijayanagar
BANGALORE: One of the oldest residential localities in Bangalore, Vijayanagar used to be a pensioners’ paradise. Its fame as the greener part of Bangalore is slowly on the decline with its trees getting axed for road-widening and Metro Rail work.

A densely-populated Vijaynagar is dotted with development work that is unevenly distributed.

The constituency lacks good footpaths. With market and bus stand situated on the main road, Vijayanagar bustles with commercial activities.

Though residents in the constituency feel they are fortunate enough to have basic civic amenities, the slow progress of infrastructure work like pedestrian sub-way at Vijayanagar bus stand and road over drain from RPC Layout to Bapujinagar connecting Mysore Road has put residents to hardships.

Bad roads, encroached footpaths, lack of public toilets and choked drains welcome you at Avalahalli, Byatarayanapura, Timber Yard Layout, Cholurpalya and Kempapura Agrahara.

Vijayanagar houses a first-ofits- kind digital public library, which is one of the largest in Karnataka. Vijayanagar has many well-recognised educational institutions and large number of temples. There are enough parks and a club for recreational activities.

Stray dogs

RPC Layout Residents’ Forum Secretary M S Allama Prabhu said that the big menace is the presence of stray dogs in the locality.

“Of late, playgrounds have been converted into parks thereby forcing children to play on the roads, which is unsafe for them,” he added.

Prabhu said that the political party that comes to power should create more job opportunities rather than just giving false assurances in their manifesto.

Vijayanagar Citizens’ Forum Joint Secretary T Ramu said that the area lacks proper solid waste management and drainage system.

“To avoid encroachments on footpaths and roads, a hawkers’ zone should be created,” he said.

Ramu said that separate market for petty vendors by BBMP has been lying vacant for a decade.

“It had spent several lakhs of rupees for that and vendors refused to shift. Now it’s become a shelter for stray animals and beggars,” he lamented.

The residents complain about the pathetic condition of the Vijayanagar bus stand and the unruly BMTC buses.

Though there is no major problem for drinking water, a few residents in the constituency complain of irregular water supply.

Open storm water drain is a matter of concern for the slum dwellers, which gets choked and inundates homes.

Life gets a toon twist

Adding a new feather to the existing healthcare facility in
Indian Cartoon Gallery is currently exhibiting a series of cartoons by freelance cartoonist GS Naganath. Titled ‘Fine Toons’, the art work take you on a satirical trip of the present day life. Naganath has creatively presented the current issues affecting common man using humour as a tool.

His work ponder on plethora of issues such as pollution, power failure, lack of water supply, depletion of greenery, void election promises and so on. Most of the illustrations give a comparative sketch in three frames.

There is one cartoon showing the past, present and the future of Bangalore.

The different frames representing different sobriquets the city has earned and a prospective one — the good old ‘Garden City’, the current pride ‘Silicon City’ and the futuristic ‘Concrete City’.

Another attention grabbing work graphs how the advertisements have changed their selling strategies just for the sake of it. The ad is about a hair product. The first frame highlights the need of good hair to become an actress, in the second, to become a sportswoman and the third shows lustrous hair as the key to become a cricketer.

A cartoon that will bring a smile on your face (even though the issue hits us everyday), is a funny take on the confusing road signs in the city.

Except for one or two cartoons, something that you might miss is the caricatures’ favourite subject -- politicians.

He has used the general ‘neta’ to portray the political milieu instead of directly picking on a single person.

The sketches are defined and vivid and bold colours add to the finesse.

The exhibition is on till April 13.

Meet the mineral water baba: The miracle healer - Columns -

Meet the mineral water baba: The miracle healer - Columns -
Last week, a large number of local residents of Ballabhgarh block of Faridabad district in Haryana were spotted thronging to the local railway station where one Mineral Water Baba was reported to be camping for the day.
The Baba—whose real name is Bhupendra Motalia—is a young man in his early 20s and hails from the Mautala Khurd village in Rewari district of Haryana. His claim to fame is said to be his miraculous ability to treat any kind of ailment with a sealed bottle of mineral water, which he enriches by whispering a few holy mantras.
The Baba is currently touring Haryana and Rajasthan. He sets up a temporary camp with his followers in villages where he has acquired a huge following in a short time. News of the Baba’s imminent arrival spreads through word of mouth and the sick and needy throng to his camps. They are followed by a number of mineral water sellers with their push carts; all the vendors report brisk sales.
Also Read Mrinal Pande’s earlier columns
Kamala, one such female vendor told a Hindustan correspondent that as soon as she heard of the Baba’s arrival at Ballabhgarh, she ordered extra mineral water and by the evening she had sold nearly 150 bottles. She said that the rush of patients was so heavy that the kiosk inside the railway station ran out of bottled water within hours of the Baba’s arrival.
According to the Baba, bottled mineral water is holier than all types of free running water and alone fit for empowerment by holy mantras. The genesis of his magical chants is interesting and markedly multi-faith. The Baba claims that his guru, one Ishfaq Ali of Javasar village in Jhunjhnu district of Rajasthan, first introduced him to several magical ayats (verses) from the Quran and some mantras from the Gita. By chanting these in a particular sequence, he can impart curative properties to ordinary bottled water.
Money is also obviously flowing in and the Baba has set up a permanent office in Dharuheda village by the name of Om Sai Ram Astha Samiti. His followers claim that the Baba’s fame is spreading across the seas now and he is getting requests from the US for telephonic cure through the magical mantras.
When the Baba’s clinic gets going , devotee after devotee comes in holding the mandatory sealed bottle of mineral water. The Baba first breaks the seal, sprinkles some water over the patient’s face and whispers the magical mantras into the remaining water in the bottle. The potion is then fit for drinking as a medicine. Vinita, a young woman from Bharatpur in Rajasthan, who has been following the Baba ever since he first administered the sanctified water to her in Rewari, says he made her feel better immediately.
The story of the Baba’s success is somewhere also the story of the failure of both India’s public health care and water management systems, particularly in arid states such as Haryana and Rajasthan. Most ailments in these places, especially in the rural areas, are traceable to poor quality drinking water.
According to health workers, nearly 40% of chronic ailments in India can be cured if only the state could ensure supply of safe drinking water. Given the lack of government health care facilities in the neighbourhood, sick villagers have no choice but to go to local quacks or seek out Babas and witch doctors.
Poor health statistics may be certainly connected with poverty, but they are also impacted by the abysmal state of local dispensaries and primary health care centres, and a near total lack of basic information about health care practices and personal hygiene.
As for safe drinking water, it is a commodity fast disappearing not only from small districts and block headquarters, but also posh colonies in metros such as Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Bangalore. Ironically, as the choice for expensive and fancy plumbing equipment widens for the rich, there are complaints that actual supply of water in well-equipped bathrooms and modular kitchens is almost down to a trickle everywhere.
According to a report of the Planninng Commission’s expert group on groundwater management and ownership, overexploitation of groundwater by farmers and builders, who are using borewells to siphon out the limited resource, has resulted in 54% of the blocks in six northern states, including Haryana and Rajasthan, becoming increasingly arid. Such aridity is also closely associated with worsening water quality, reflected in the rising levels of fluoride, arsenic and iron in local water.
Both Haryana and Rajasthan are comparatively rich states, but like affluent Delhi and Mumbai, they are also periodically facing outbreaks of diseases such as hepatitis and colitis, caused by contaminated water. Since water supply is the responsibility of the states, we also need to take a close look at most regulatory departments. Most of them are almost dysfunctional. And community-based localized water management systems that could prod the local officials into repairing faulty pipelines, nabbing owners of unauthorized borewells and supplying water in tankers have not yet taken shape.
The water mafia, on the other hand, has seized control of the meagre water resources and is selling water at a premium during the summer months.
The maverick Mineral Water Baba blowing into bottles of mineral water is actually a terrifying symbol. He spells the tip of the iceberg of a looming groundwater crisis in the entire northern region.
“How he cures, I do not know,” says one patient of the Baba. “We have all just come here to be cured. Because our elders say when there is no dava (medicine), dua (prayers) alone may work.”
Mrinal Pande likes to take readers behind the reported news in her fortnightly column. She is chief editor of Hindustan. Your comments are welcome at

The city’s moment?

The city’s moment?
For the first time in history, the urban Indian voter has become a significant, relevant factor in Indian politics, and this may be a defining moment.

With the delimitation of parliamentary constituencies based on population numbers, urban voters will elect nearly a quarter of the 543 representatives of the people. The hypothesis, as yet untested, is that developmental issues rather than caste and communal issues will be the focus of the urban election campaign.

A demography-based political shift is already under way in India’s mega cities. In Bangalore, for instance, assembly constituencies have risen from 16 to 28 and parliamentary constituencies from two to four. Of course, as with everything else connected with India’s elections, there are many imponderables. For instance, the quality of voter rolls in urban areas will make a big difference. A study — in fact the only such study — by Bangalore-based Janaagraha, a not-for-profit working in the areas of citizenship and democracy, revealed 60 per cent-plus error rates in the voter rolls of the one urban Bangalore assembly constituency that was researched. In rural areas, electoral roll error rates are estimated to be around 10 per cent. Janaagraha’s founder, the urban affairs expert Ramesh Ramanathan explains it like this: rural voter rolls are static but urban voter rolls have two types of glaring errors. Errors of commission, or names to be deleted (people move neighbourhoods, cities, etc) and errors of omission, which are names to be added.” Voter rolls in urban areas are very dynamic, and there is a big market for these incorrect names — as every political party knows,” according to Ramanathan. A lot happens in that last hour of voting in urban polling booths, he adds. The reason voter roll errors make a difference is that the margin of victory is very narrow and voter turnout is abysmally low (45 per cent or thereabouts) in Indian cities.

People’s patience ‘drained’ out here

People’s patience ‘drained’ out here
Lack of proper drainage facilities, solid waste management, traffic jams and roads are some of the problems that plagues the BTM (Byrasandra, Tavarekere and Madivala) Layout constituency.

The BTM Layout constituency that was carved out after the delimitation has a large chunk of upper-middle and middle-class population.

Three drains from different directions converge at the National Games Village.

The water from these drains inundate the area making life difficult for the residents of the area during rainy season. J Robert, Koramangala ward committee member said that if the drainage water problem is solved the National Games Village would have no major issues. The drain water also inundates Adugodi causing traffic jams during rainy seasons.

There are no storm water drains in Rajendra Nagar, Someshwara Nagar, Nanjappa Layout and parts of Indira Gandhi Slum in Ejipura. There are frequent power cuts in these areas.

Parking is a major problem on the Madivala main road. The footpaths on the road have been dug up. The roads in the residential areas of New Madivala, Old Madivala and Maruthinagara have been dug up for laying telephone cables leaving trenches on the roads.

The Maruthinagar main road has been closed for traffic for the past four months as the BBMP is constructing a bridge across a drain in the main road.

According to the residents, the contractor had promised to complete the bridge within two months but more than four months have elapsed and the construction is still going on.

Solid waste has been dumped around Madivala lake and the BBMP has not done anything to clear the waste around the lake. There are no public toilets in the area. The drinking water supply in Nanjappa layout is irregular and the residents go to the neighbouring areas to fetch drinking water.

Politicians have been promising title deeds to the residents of Someshwaranagara and Nanjappa Layout during every election. So far they haven’t got title deeds for houses they live in.

Get set for a greener Arkavati basin DNA: Bangalore

DNA: Bangalore: Get set for a greener Arkavati basin
Over the last three years, a non-governmental organisation in Bangalore has been working to restore the greenery around the Thippagondanahalli catchment area.
The NGO, Parisara, in collaboration with the state government, had formed a trust named 'Spoorthivana' in 2005.

Since then, the trust has planted about 3,000 saplings over the last three years. It now plans to plant 7,000 more saplings in the next four months.

The plans do not end there. Another re-greening drive will be taken up along the entire stretch from Nandi Hills to TG Halli, covering the stretch of the Arkavati river basin.
Parisara has also tied up with the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board and has planted 3,000 saplings of jackfruit, mango, jamun and species of ficus (fig) in the board's 300 acres of land in the area.

At present, the trust is spending about Rs50,000 on every hectare of land that it maintains.

Eshwar Prasad, convener of the trust said, "When we started the trust, we had planned to plant at least 20,000 saplings in three years. But we did not have enough support from the public then. Now we are being supported by the citizens. But we also require donations from them to help us maintain the plants."

He said, "Individuals need to pay only Rs500 to plant a sapling, after which Parisara will take care of the sapling for the next five years. We will also give each registered citizen an identity card and a certificate about their plant."

People can mark special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries by planting a sapling as well.

As of now, the State Bank of India and the State Bank of Mysore have planted 200 saplings in the area.

Teleprocessing through GSM and broadband - Express Computer

Its a Tech dream..without adequate and reliable water supply, whats the use of having this system...we should get our priorities right...

Teleprocessing through GSM and broadband - Express Computer
Teleprocessing through GSM and broadband

Water distribution networks can achieve great benefits with the adoption of GSM and broadband technologies for teleprocessing. By Varun Aggarwal

Utilities invest considerable sums of money in their water and wastewater networks—so it is probably worth spending a little more to ensure that they operate efficiently. As the vital importance of water conservation grows ever more apparent, large amounts (of water and money) can be saved simply through the rapid detection of leaks and other untoward events on a water network’s pipelines. The water industry has been slow to take advantage of information technology, but it is catching up quickly. In many parts of the world, water managers now depend entirely on real-time data to manage their water supply and wastewater services.

Automation has become a core enabler of operations. Water loss due to leakages is a bigger problem than people may think. With regard to water leakage in India, this is of major concern and of significant importance to those companies involved in the transportation of water any leakage can have significant financial consequences. In India, there is great opportunity and benefit to manage leakage considering the scarcity and cost of drinking water in the region coupled with unreliable weather prediction and truant monsoons. It is gradually being accepted that water networks need to be managed and maintained around the clock and, as a result, the concept of infrastructure asset management has emerged.

Conventional methods of leak detection rely primarily on the expertise of operators to identify leaks within the system based on pressure losses at various locations. Pressure management and DMAs (district metered areas) are used to prevent leaks and detection is typically done by using acoustic listening devices, leak noise correlators and tethered hydrophone systems.

Although this method works in the case of large leaks in which there is a considerable loss of pressure in the pipeline, it is more difficult to identify smaller leaks which, over time, cause the majority of the water losses. Leaks that are not visible in the water distribution system can go undetected for months and even years. Typically, water leaks do not happen quickly—they appear over a period of time.

The challenge is not only to detect, but even avoid a water leak in the first place. Data acquisition software allows a utility to collect data from all control systems and instrumentation, which is the key to water leakage prevention and detection. Without the data, a utility can only guess at the amount of leakage and would not be able to detect long run leaks that are not visible. Utilities need to be able to collect and analyze data before any optimization or leakage reduction can be accomplished and measured. Based on the constant stream of data collected from water meters, the system can conduct real-time water balances to alert operators of possible leaks or anomalies in the entire water distribution network. It can reconcile the entire water distribution system in real-time.

A typical water distribution system is spread over large geographical area and requires teleprocessing of data from remote area. Accurate and reliable data acquisition over telemetry needs reliable and affordable carrier (media) for data like flow, level, pressure, pump status etc. Media for teleprocessing should be easily available and simple in maintenance. Communication should be understood by semi- skilled staff operating at remote places without supervision.

Teleprocessing of data in the early 1990s was achieved often through licensed band radio or via satellite. With the continuous development of automation hardware and software, by the early 2000s European and American water industries started using RTUs based on GPRS/GSM/Broadband teleprocessing with small application logic built in. The technology now available for the Indian market is even more advanced, reliable, relevant and optimized.

GSM technologies

Niraj Desai is a Surat based System Integrator who runs a company called Nish Automation. His company has deployed many telemetry solutions in India for the automation of water distribution systems. According to Desai, “As the bulk of data logging occurs at remote places, this data is transferred using GSM channels to centralized control room through periodic data polling or data file transfer over data call generated by a predefined schedule. GSM-based systems also have an advantage of sending SMS periodically to various numbers, which can be logged. Data sent by this method is time stamped. This fulfills data acquisition needs of the system with accuracy and at a low cost. In the event of alarm conditions, it is sent out of turn with an exception report. The provision for sending SMS to mobile helps executives stay in touch directly with the system parameters.”

“However, SMS-based solutions have many limitations. SMS can be sent only in a predefined structure for the system to understand it. Moreover, in case of a bulk of data is required to be sent, it needs to be sent in multiple messages as SMS has a limitation of 160 characters. Another big issue is of reliability. SMS often do not reach the destination on time due to congestion in the operator network etc. Therefore, time stamping also becomes difficult with the use of SMS and real time processing is out of question here,” Desai added.

GPRS is the new way for telemetry. However, GPRS technology now available in India is better than the conventional way of using it in other countries. The conventional use of GPRS is through connecting to the Internet using a GPRS SIM. However, this mode of communication suffers with huge amounts of data loss due to call drops and is often rendered unreliable. Many telecom operators in India now offer data services through which one gets a dedicated GPRS connection through a GSM modem. This mode of communication does not suffer call drops as is the case of a regular GPRS connection and are more reliable. GSM data calls are also a more cost-effective mechanism for telemetry as compared to radio signals or VSAT connectivity. Nish Automation has already deployed this solution in water distribution projects in Hyderabad and Bangalore. Apart from water distribution, the technology is also viable for other purposes like gas and power distribution.
Essentials for a typical RTU or PLC based system

* Communication should be understood by semi-skilled staff who operate at remote places without supervision
* Local data storage capacity with time stamping capability
* Battery backup in the event of power failure
* In built GSM modem or facility to hook up external GSM modem
* Web-based navigation for programming and monitoring
* Ethernet Port for Broad band connectivity with relevant features like SNMP, DHCP and Port configuration
* Serial port for fetching data from the slave PLC
* HMI (Human Machine Interface) software with schedule dialup to the OPC server in case of GSM based system
* HMI software with routing and firewall for the broadband based system
* HMI software with remote connectivity for the MIS system

Broadband for higher reliability

One of the biggest inhibitors to the GSM data call is that not all operators offer this service. In metro or urban areas, where broadband is easily available, broadband and Internet-based data acquisition bring everything online in real-time. This is the best form of data acquisition combining accuracy and high speed. Broadband also offers better connectivity as there is no signal loss or network congestion in the case of broadband as compared to GSM technologies. Moreover, with dedicated leased line connectivity, higher security can be achieved on a broadband connection.

“When implemented with Google Earth features, geographic positions of pumping station or distribution station can also be embedded for easy viewing of operators. With this, a Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition system (SCADA) can offer a three dimensional representation of pipelines, leakages, visualization of flow and direction of the water etc. HTML-based configuration and programming make it programmable from anywhere without any geographical limitations. Each RTU becomes a Web server on its own, e-mailing reports directly to whosoever needs to read them,” opined Desai.

Both broadband and GSM technologies can help water distribution companies to get a faster, more reliable, and a lower cost solution for telemetry. Depending on the availability in the area, any of the two technologies can be implemented as in rural areas broadband may not be available and in urban areas, there can be issues like network congestion.

Byatarayanapura & its battered citizens

This newly-formed constituency welcomes one with open drains, stagnant water, piles of garbage and battered roads. Byatarayanapura recently became part of BBMP and is semi-urban in nature, with a few well-developed localities and a few villages. The constituency has problems galore.

From irregular drinking water supply to mosquito menace, the residents have a list of problems which need to be addressed on a priority basis. Non-availability of Cauvery water is of great concern to residents here and they had been fighting for this even before the constituency was formed.

The constituency, with apartments, layouts, slum and villages, is plagued by infrastructure woes too. Poor sanitation system is another worry here. Except a few stretches of roads in the posh Sahakarnagar area, other roads in the constituency are a nightmare “We do not get Cauvery water supply and we get only borewell water that too once or twice a week,” said Thangappa, a resident of Amruthahalli. The plight of people in the villages that have been newly merged with BBMP, is worse with no civic amenities at all. The voters here complain that they do not have access to safe drinking water, proper sanitation and transportation.

Bangalore heading for a water crisis

Bangalore heading for a water crisis
Taps in the city might go dry as the Krishnaraja Sagar dam, the main source of water to the city, has almost dried up.

While the demand for water has increased due to the onset of summer, the sources of water are gradually drying up.

There is only 7 TMC of water left in KRS. Everyday, 3,700 cusecs are being released from the dam. If it does not rain in a month, the dam will dry up.

Thippgondanahalli tank is the other major source of water.

But there is only 30 ft feet of water left in this reservoir.

Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) supplies 870 MLD of water everyday from Cauvery and 60 MLD from Thippgondanahalli.

Sources in BWSSB said if KRS dries up, the board will not be able to supply water.

Bangalore’s 5.64 lakh water consumers will have to brace themselves for dry days. The BWSSB is making efforts to meet the increased demand. It has drilled 163 new borewells in the core area of the city and 516 borewells in CMC areas.

At present, BWSSB is maintaining 5,387 borewells.

But BWSSB warns that it all depends on the rains. If it doesn’t rain soon, these borewells might also dry up due to over exploitation of the ground water.

BJP to unveil roadmap for city’s future

BJP to unveil roadmap for city’s future
With a hope to win all the three seats in Bangalore city, Bharatiya Janata Party on Tuesday said that it would evolve an exclusive, growth-oriented, people-friendly ‘action plan’ for the IT city.

The action plan will have five ‘sutras’ - having an exclusive law for BBMP on the lines of the ones in Mumbai, Delhi and Chennai, providing citizen-centric governance, welfare of urban poor, decentralisation of public service delivery system and preserving Bangalore’s heritage and ecology - and will be unveiled within a week by all the three BJP Lok Sabha candidates contesting from Bangalore.

The action plan to be packaged under the punch line ‘forward looking and caring,’ will be entirely different from the Abide module, Bangalore South candidate Ananth Kumar told reporters here.

“While Abide is a module for overall development of the city for next 12 years, the action plan is a roadmap for development of Bangalore in next three years.

Through this, Bangalore can be seen as a role model for other cities in the country,” Kumar, who has taken the initiative in drawing this action plan, said.

Elaborating on the standalone law for BBMP, Kumar said the existing law is carved out through an amendment to the Karnataka Municipal Corporation Act 1975, while the proposed law will support speedy development of the city.

Funds for action plan would flow from the state government, which has allocated Rs 4,000 crore in the recent budget for Bangalore’s development and also from stakeholders like Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), Bangalore Development Authority (BDA ), Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB), Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) among others, with some assistance from the Centre.

‘This election would be a sportive encounter’

Welcoming the candidature of Capt Gopinath and KYPCC President Krishna Byregowda for Bangalore South, Kumar said that he would not undermine any of the opponents. “They are not my enemies, but opponents.

The upcoming election in Bangalore South will be a sportive encounter,” he maintained.

When asked about rumours that Gopinath was being backed by the CM, Kumar said that the Captain was a dear friend of him and in democracy anybody can contest polls. “And as far as Yeddyurappa is concerned, he has only one candidate of his - that’s me,” he said.

People's power triumphs Deccan Herald

Deccan Herald - People's power triumphs
The success story of Sampoorna Swachatha Andolan is very much in keeping with Gandhi’s dream of uplifting villages that constitute 70 per cent of the country.

The Andolan has been a great success in almost every Gram Panchayat in Dakshina Kannada district with full participation from the people. Ironically, while most of the villages that have bagged Nirmal Gram Puraskar have not taken up any development works, Hosangadi is soon emerging as a model village for the rest of the GPs in the region. This Gram Panchayat not only won the Sampoorna Swachatha Award, but has continued its quest for a clean village by way of novel programmes. Also, the Hosangadi GP has been vying for the Google Gram Puraskar award under the health and nutrition category.

Towards checking plastic usage

In 2008, this GP started a ‘plastic control campaign’. Accordingly, 17 plastic soudhas were built at various points where plastic waste from all over the Gram Panchayat would be dumped.

The Gram Panchayat takes up the responsibility of recycling the plastic once the soudha is filled with plastic.

This programme was kickstarted in October 2008, with a plastic awareness jatha held by the school students.

Since then, it has brought about a visible transformation in the GP and it is now rightly called the village where plastic has been controlled. But the residents of Hosangadi are not going to rest till the GP is declared a ‘plastic-free GP’.

Zilla Panchayat member Dharanendra Kumar says the success of the Gram Panchayat is in the participation of the people who have left all their differences behind them.

“Today the plastic campaign has witnessed outstanding success only because of people’s willingness to embrace change. Earlier women in households were known to burn plastic. With the help of school and college students, the ill-effects of burning plastic. The people understood what they were being told. Women now voluntarily bring plastic to the soudha,” he says.

The soudhas were full and hence the GP members cleaned them and stacked up the plastic which will be recycled soon.

The plastic campaign was started by the Gram Panchayat without any government funding. The funds required to put up permanent plastic soudhas as well as detachable soudhas are raised by the villagers with help from various donors.

The model of Hosangadi has attracted study teams from Netherlands, Uttar Pradesh, Orissa, Bangalore etc.

Google awards

Google Gram Panchayat Puraskar has been launched by connectivity portal to reward the best innovations in local governance by Gram Panchayats of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

Encompassing 27,942 villages in 49 districts, the competition has been launched under the ‘Inform and Empower’ initiative of

The innovation needs to be in the context of one of the following six areas - education, health and nutrition, water supply, rural infrastructure, rural electrification, resource mobilisation.

Spreading the message of cleanliness

Another programme of Hosangadi Gram Panchayat aimed to spread the message of cleanliness is the Swacha Mane - Swabhimani Kutumba programme. Under this programme, 547 BPL families in the Gram Panchayat will compete with each other to maintain a beautiful, aesthetic house. The winners will get a cash prize of Rs 5,000, Rs 3,000 and Rs 2,000 respectively. The owner of the house requires to see to it that the house is well kept. It must have a toilet with adequate water facilities.

The house must have a beautiful garden with flowers and vegetables growing. Special emphasis must be laid on herbs like turmeric, ginger, tulsi etc in the garden. The house must have a compost pit where the organic waste are dumped.

All the family members who have attained the age of 35 years must be literate and all the children between 6 and 14 years must be school-goers. These are some of the requisites for a family to take part in the competition.

While it was earlier decided to announce the winners on March 30, people of the GP have demanded that the winners be declared after monsoon, as plants grow well naturally during rainy season.

Whither Gram Swarajya?

Gandhiji always dreamt of Gram Sawarajya. (self-reliant villages). His wife Kasturba stood faithfully by him to help realise his dream of Gram Swarajya.

It was with the goal of establishing Gram Swarajya that he established the Kasturba Memorial National Trust on October 2, 1942. It was the Mahatma himself who was the first President of the Trust. In keeping with such dreams, the state unit of the same trust was started at Arasikere in Karnataka by Yashodharamma Dasappa.

Even Gandhiji’s ashes were transported and kept as a memorial in Arasikere’s Trust. The Trust was built on a 84-acre plot in the town, and worked for about 50 years towards empowering women economically. The Trust took up training in health education, bee-keeping, weaving and other occupations that could lead people on the path to self-reliance and empowerment.

On the decline

However, over the last 10-15 years, the Trust has been on a path of decline.

Owing to the apathy of authorities who were managing it, the Trust was drifting away from its original aims and intentions.

Even the area around Gandhiji’s memorial was not maintained well.

The CBSE model school that the Trust started is also under lock and key. The garden around the Trust has dried up. Land sharks now seem to be eyeing the Trust premises. It is unfortunate that a Trust that was formed to establish the glorious tenets of Gram Swarajya is in such a bad state today. The authorities concerned should take up the matter and revive the Trust to its past glory.

Suspected cases of chikungunya

Suspected cases of chikungunya
Poorly maintained sewerage has yet again led to outbreak of chikungunya at Jai Bhuvaneshwarinagar near Yeshwanthpur, doctors suspect.

Around 1,000 are suffering from its symptoms in the area, claim the residents.

Septic tanks in the area have been overflowing for quite some time, leading to a mosquito menace, which might have caused chikungunya.

The first symptoms occurred two months ago when some residents complained of swelling and severe pain in the joints, and constant fever. Today almost all residents in the locality suffer from the ailment.

“Body weights of patients have come down drastically and they experience constant headaches and difficulty in walking. Most residents are daily wage labourers and continue to go to work,” says Louis, a resident.

The government hospital in the area has not been very effective, forcing residents to depend on private clinics.

“The government hospital does not have facilities or good medicines. Private hospitals charge around Rs 400 a visit,” says 50-year-old Seth.

The treatment has cost Seth and his family of 10, Rs 10,000 so far. As the disease would take another 5-6 months to be cured completely, treatment has to continue.

The mixing of sewage with water supply lines have been causing diseases like diarrhoea for quite some time now. Residents get water only from borewells, located very near to septic tanks. “The tanker water from BWSSB comes only once in 10-15 days. If stored for more than three days, it gets contaminated too,” says Seth. Adjacent areas which get Cauvery water supply have also seen an outbreak of diseases, but on a smaller scale. BWSSB has been replacing sewerage lines over the last few days.

Children are the worst-hit.

In the absence of effective intervention from anganwadis, there's no special attention given to them.

According to a survey by Rajeshwari, a member of NGO Sama Foundation, the condition of four children in is critical. “In such situations, government should have taken action on a war footing. But there is no response,” says Nagasimha G Rao, Convener of the NGO Child Rights Trust (CRT).

One constituency, two worlds

One constituency, two worlds
Core parts of C V Raman Nagar and few other upmarket areas like Indiranagar, Jeevan Bima Nagar, parts of Cox Town and Defence Colony are perfect examples for well-planned and maintained layouts.

But, other localities in the constituency, including Malleshappanapalya, HAL II and III stage, New Tippasandra, besides parts of Nagavara and Byappanahalli stand out in contrast with several civic and inadequate infrastructure issues.

The regular complaint from everyone in this constituency is unscientific traffic management and irregular water supply. Traffic, especially at peak hours is horrible and the old Madras Road and HAL Airport Road are the worst-affected.

Here there is bumper-to-bumper movement leaving several office and school-goers stranded on the roads.

Narrow lanes of Tippasandra and areas surrounding the old airport road are congested and busy with commercial activities, even in residential areas, leaving little space for people to move about.

Residents point out that the stormwater drains have not been desilted for years which is a cause for the mosquito menace in the localities.

The residents of HAL Layout and other parts of the constituency complain about acute shortage of drinking water.

The residents wait for days together to collect and store the drinking water. The constituency comprises of IT companies, defence localities, posh residential layouts and slums. Yet, it has its own share of civic and infrastructure issues.

Speaking to Express, A K Varadan, president of BDA Layout Residents Welfare Association (HAL III stage) said, “Inadequate water supply and poor sanitation system has to be looked into on a priority basis. Several representations to the concerned civic agencies have fallen on deaf ears and the citizens are put to hardships.” Traffic woes are many here and reaching the core majestic area from the old airport road takes not less than one-and-half hours for the residents of this constituency.

The roads must be upgraded and the flyovers and the sub routes should be put to proper use, so as to help the smooth flow of traffic, added Varadan.

Delayed civic works dog civilians here

Delayed civic works dog civilians here
The major areas of the constituency have never seen any development for a long time now. It is only a few localities like parts of Indiranagar, Banaswadi and Cooke’s Town that are lucky enough to have civic amenities in place, whereas the other localities have been completely ignored by the leaders.

While areas like Lingarajapuram, Kammanahalli, Maruthisevanagar, Nagavara and Vivekanandanagar get irregular drinking water supply and there is no proper garbage disposal in these areas, residents of Banaswadi and nearby layouts complain of the slow progress of the infrastructure projects.

The construction of railway gate overbridge connecting Wheeler Road to Banaswadi main road, which started in 2006 is still under progress causing great inconvenience to motorists, traders and residents. The work on the rail overbridge near Cox Town is moving on at a snail’s pace and every time, the residents complain, civic authorities have only assurances to make.

The localities including, Pillana Garden, HBR Layout, Kammanahalli, Cooke’s Town, Vivekanandanagar, Banaswadi, Maruthisevanagar, Lingarajapuram, Nagavara, parts of Indiranagar and areas under the erstwhile Byatarayanapura CMC, form this constituency, which is still underdeveloped and needs complete attention from the authorities and the government.

Drinking water is the immediate necessity of residents in this constituency.

The roads they say have not been asphalted for years and most of them are in bad shape.

That old world charm is hard to find

That old world charm is hard to find
Located at the heart of Bangalore is the Chamarajpet constituency, which has accommodated the city’s most enduring landmarks like the historical Tippu Palace, Krishnaraja Market, Victoria Hospital and Kote School.

However, of late this constituency fails to evoke its charm of the yore and is slowly sinking in the quagmire of shambolic infrastructure.

The once deserted roads of this constituency are nowadays choc-a-block with vehicles making traversing of the area a Herculean task.

Apart from the core Chamarajpet area, parts of Cottonpet, Goripalya, Azad Nagar, Taragupet and Rayapuram also fall under this constituency and these areas problems are no different from Chamarajpet. There is a resentment among the voters of the constituency of their repeated complaints falling on deaf ears.

The K R Market and the Kalasipalya areas are chocked with traffic and people owing to the fact that the private travellers are situated here and the buses block the roads most of the time. Garbage is openly dumped and this is just one among many complaints that involve clogged drains, lack of footpaths, inadequate water supply and stray dogs.

These factors have ensured that the footfalls for the Tipu Palace have seen a constant decline in the recent past and government’s apathy ensures that this decline continues unabated.

The entrance of the Victoria Hospital is always obstructed with vendors, vehicles and BMTC buses. The hospital officials expressed their helplessness of the complaints evoking zero response from the civic authorities concerned.

With the underpass construction in the Market junction, the traffic is uncontrollable and pedestrians and motorists are forced to bear the brunt. With the commercial areas reeking of such rot the residential areas are automatic casualties. Battered roads, improper sanitation, irregular garbage disposal and bad transportation facilities is a motif that plays in all these areas.

Though the bus service is well connected the public feels that there is a room for lot of improvement and there is a demand for increase in the number of bus shelters. It is also observed that the public initiatives in fighting for their rights and amenities is also not very strong in this part of the constituency.

Apart from individual complaints from the concerned citizens and random protests, lack of unity among residents is letting the problems multiply like bacteria, complain few senior residents of Chamarajpet.