Archive for April, 2006

The Silk Route(s) in Bangalore

It was kinda difficult to digest this news. Seemed unbelievable. I mean, was it for real? I pinched myself, drew blood. Well, almost.

Rs 1.15 crore proposed per km. of road ‘rehabilitation’ as against average current spend of Rs 12 lakhs??! I mean, wow… thats almost a 1000% – if my math is anywhere near right! – increase. No middle of the road attitude finally in spending (that the money is coming out of loans is another matter!) for infrastructure. I wonder at the arrival of which crossroad(s) in decision making did the powers-to-be decide to adopt a ‘paradigm shift’ in thinking. Public ridicule & ‘brick’bats, for two? Anyway.
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City of lakes

How many lakes do you know in and around Bangalore – Ulsoor, Sankey Tank, Yediyur, Lalbagh,Puttenahalli, Madiwala. Surely you know more! try harder….NO? Apparently Bangalore used to have over two hundred lakes and tanks once upon a time.
“Bangalore once had 141 lakes of which seven cannot be traced, seven are recognisable as small pools of water, 18 have been unauthorisedly occupied by slums and private parties, 14 have dried up and are leased out by the Government. In the area where there were once 28 lakes (in different locations, of course), the Bangalore Development Authority has distributed sites and built extensions. The remaining 67 lakes are in fairly advanced state of deterioration.”
Read on more here:

It is pretty obvious where the water bodies must have existed from the names of some of the localities – for example channamanakere, or arakere. ( Kere in Kannada means a tank). Before the big Bangalore boon, these areas were of course agricultural villages surrounding Bangalore and these tanks were essential for the survival of cultivation. As Bangalore has grown to encompass all these areas, slowly these agricultural lands have been acquired and converted for residential purposes and many of these tanks and lakes have been filled up and leveled to be used for construction of apartments and residential colonies. According to official estimate, about 60 lakes have been encroached upon apart from those which have become dry long ago and been closed with official sanction.
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All knotted up…

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It was to be a shoe-in of a good plan but you know what happens to the best laid (or stitched) plans of men? They come apart at the seams! Aaarrgh! I know, I know. Just couldn’t avoid those.

I guess all this unraveling happens to the Bangalore Mahanagara Palike on issues which confront Bangalore. Plans are first made. Then announced to an eager and waiting public. Only to fail in their implementation & execution.
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Shivanasamudram

Update: Post # 100! Congratulations to Bangalore Metbloggers on completing a century of posts! :-)

Fellow Bangalore Metblogger, Amit, had posted his piece on Places to visit near Bangalore. And there was quite a bit of discussion on Shivanasamudram. So this post is going to be dedicated to talking about Shivanasamudram.

Shivanasamudram, actually, has 2 waterfalls. Most people just see the first falls, Gaganachukki, and miss watching the second, Barachukki. Infact, it was only during my second visit to Shivanasamudram that I saw Barachukki. I sincerely felt that Barachukki is more glorious looking waterfalls, spread over a wider area.

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Gaganachukki Falls

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Barachukki Falls
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Wildlife Photographer par excellence – Kalyan Varma

How many of us have really chucked good jobs and the cushioned comfort of our lives to brave the wild in search of our passion? Not many, I reckon. But here’s one, whom I am going to talk about in this blog post.

Kalyan Varma. Bangalorean. He calls himself Wildlife Photographer and Naturalist. Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2005. And that too on debut.

The award winning picture?
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Description: Worker Ants attacking the Queen Ant.

Next target? BBC Wildlife Photography Award.

Please do read the “About Kalyan Varma” page to know more about him.

It is people like these that make Bangalore special. And not only this, it makes each and everyone of us sit up and take note of the passions of our life and to ponder if we are doing anything about it.

Kudos to you, Kalyan. And best of luck for your attempt at BBC Wildlife Photography Competition. The whole of Bangalore is with you.

Here’s to those little guys

Right, its quiz time! Which species is / was known by its scientific name ‘passer domesticus’?

If you’ve guessed that right – & that would be a big if, considering they are almost extinct – I’m certain you’ll recall these little fellas with melancholy. Sparrows!

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Bangalore Airport reaches saturation stage!

According to a report in today’s papers, HAL (Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd) said that the Bangalore Airport could not handle anymore flights.

The airport is designed to handle only about 3.6 million passengers every year but is operating way above its capacity (6 million is the reported figure). Saturation, besides creating huge problems in the airport, also increases risk in the air. Every two minutes there is one landing or take off during peak hours. This huge increase can be attributed to the large number of State-owned and private airlines that operate today. We have seen many new low cost airlines enter the scene lately as the war for air space hots up.

Bangalore Airport today is the third busiest one in the country though its infrastructure has not kept pace. While the new airport plans are still on, that will definitely take another five years going by the pace at which developments take place in the state. I guess until that opens, things are going to get a little crowded both in the air and in the airports…

The Geek Factor…

4028380815.jpgBangalore witnessed one of the propitious gatherings of the year as youthful and innovative minds from all over the nation came down to India’s Silicon valley for the national finals of Imagine Cup and the national exhibition for Microsoft Student Academic Project Program. The barometer hit the ceiling as the competition got tougher among the best of the nation. Projects spanned over innumerable domains of research and application including medicine, health, information retrieval, machine learning, speech recognition and machine translation to name a few.
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Places to visit near Bangalore

For the travel-bugs I have compiled a list of places around Bangalore that are worth paying visit over the weekends. The places here are ideal for the ones who want to go somewhere but do not have enough time to travel long distances. They require a max of 4-5 hours drive. So, wake up on a Saturday morning and drive out. Anyone who can contribute with some other noteworthy places, please add to the list. i will also try to provide pictures for each of them. If you have any images, do add them.
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MRTS

MRTS – Mass Rapid Transit System aka Merciless & Rash Transit System.

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This is what came to my mind, when I saw these guys on the truck on my way back from Mysore to Bangalore. I couldn’t resist taking my camera out to click, right from the moving car.

Later at a signal, I struck a conversation with these guys and found that they are going into the city to attend some function/celebration. During my days in Chennai, I used a see of lot these trucks full of people during election time taken out for party meetings.

They don’t seem to bother about safety. They are ready to take this risk for one square meal and a packet of liquor. It certainly brought a teardrop or two in my eyes …

In a country where there is law (that allows no more than six cattle per lorry) even for governing animal abuse during transportation, does this photo mean anything to you?

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