Archive for the ‘Government & Administration’ Category

Plans for a better Bangalore: Hop-on, Hop-off and the Big 10 services

The ABIDe (Agenda for Bengaluru Infrastructure & Development) Task Force, with the Chief Minister as Chairman, Mr. Ananth Kumar (MP-Bangalore South) as Vice Chairman and Mr. Rajeev Chandrashekar (MP – Rajya Sabha) as Convener, has been constituted to revive and rebuild Bengaluru through a combination of Comprehensive planning, improved municipal services and new investments into infrastructure. ABIDe also owns the task of providing a blue-print for sustainable and orderly development of Bangalore under Bengaluru Vision 2020.

ABIDe has formulated several draft reports and action plans and blueprints in the areas of Governance, Road Traffic Management & Transportation, Urban Poor, and Public Security. These reports are available here. Citizen inputs to help develop these further is welcome.
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The Beauty of the Sausage Tree (Kigelia pinnata)

Jayanagar, near the Ashoka Pillar, has an avenue (an avenue, by definition, is a tree-lined street), filled with, among other trees, Sausage Trees .

This is the time when the tree bears both flowers and fruits, and incredibly striking they are, too.

Here’s a flower and a bud:

061108 Jayanagar Ashoka Pillar Kigelia pinnata flower and bud

Here are some flowers, hanging down on their stalks:

sausage tree flowers on stalks

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Namma Raste,Namma Ooru Walk from Lalbagh West Gate on Nov 9, 2008

Hasiru Usiru, a network of community organisations, residents associations, project affected communities, voluntary organisations and individuals concerned about protecting equitable access to public spaces such as roads and parks in Bengaluru, invite you to participate in a Walk to Reclaim Bengaluru on November 9th 2008, at 11 am at Lalbagh West Gate. The key purpose is to highlight the extensive damage that road-widening and Metro projects are causing to the city, destroying in the process lives, livelihoods and thousands of trees. This walk is also to demand an inclusive planning process in shaping our city and ensuring that short-sighted, elite induced, infrastructure development, does not cause irreversible damage to the city and ruin the lives of thousands.

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Is HAL Airport Re-opening?

Seems like a Deewali gift to Bangaloreans, and shows someone is awake upthere, remains realistic to the infra-starved India, the Parliamentary Standing Committee report (42nd report functioning private airports and related issues) show the signs of practicality and even seem to think along in the interest of passengers in both the cities…

The report highlights issues and concerns in and around HAL airport at Bangalore and Begumpet in Hyderabad, here are some important observations / highlights of this report…

• Charging of ADF or UDF for financing of the airport is not advisable in the context of policy objective of making the air travel more affordable. The committee has recommended that the UDF imposed on passengers may be withdrawn immediately and no more UDF may be imposed on passengers in any airport.
• Closures of existing airports had caused a revenue loss of Rs 610 crore in 2007-08 for the Airports Authority of India and hundreds of crore spent on developing this airports were lying unutilised because of closure of this infrastructure although these were used for VIP flights, general aviation and helicopter taxi services.
• These airports may be used for short haul flights as is the practice existing in major cities of the world which had more than one airport.
• Committee was informed that the Notice Inviting Tender did not have any mention about the closure of HAL airport at Bangalore but was brought in at the later stage of concessionary agreement. As regarding the violation of the norm that no new airport should come up within 150 km of existing airport and the permitting the Greenfield airports in the two southern cities seemed to violate the policy of the Government.
• Both Greenfield airports were far away from the cities compelled the passengers to use other means of transport such as road and trains for short distance destinations. UDF charges have made the travel from these airports costlier both in terms of time and money.
• Committee had found that the equity contributions of these two Greenfield airports were Rs 240 crore in Bangalore and Rs 330 crore in Hyderabad and the land was given at a concessionary rate. Rest of the finance had come from Government agencies by way of debt from financial institutions. If such resources were to be given to AAI itself, they could have easily developed the infrastructure
• The panel had observed that the Bangalore and Hyderabad airports were making the passengers pay ”exorbitant prices’ for the food items in the airports, while those waiting outside had not access to affordable canteen facilities, toilets and bathrooms. excessive commercialisation had taken a toll of the passenger amenities

Read the full coverage here and here

Ambulances

Its a pity every time you hear the sound of the roaring [sometimes quite feeble] ambulances in Bangalore. There is nothing much , you , as an driver can do, nor the ambulance. That’s the sorry state that we all go through time and again. First of all, for a driver, there is no room to move whichever way, and to add to the predicament no one really knows, which side to move. Till date I haven’t personally seen any rules to guide an driver, as to which side of the road should he/she move.

Abroad, especially in the US, there are fixed rules that all vehicles should move onto the slowest moving lanes and leave the fast moving lanes for the Ambulances or Police etc as soon as one hears the siren. So everyone knows which side to move and so does the Ambulance Driver.
Here everyone is clueless. Its only when one hears the siren next to your ear, you start panicking and start looking for place to move. Please post your opinions and views and any rules which already exist on this front.

Worse, people don’t even bother to give them the right of way. Guys, just think that someone from your family is in the vehicle and you can save a life.

I just hope and pray that first of all the RTO makes some fixed rules and secondly makes everyone aware that these rules exist. The sole link that I have found on the web makes no mention as to where should a vehicle move. Please post your views or ideas on this issue.

Talk by Dr Michael Goldman at ESG, Jayanagar

Today, Environment Support Group, which is working in many ways for the commons of Bangalore and Karnataka, organized a lecture on ‘Rethinking the Indian city, reclaiming its Commons” by Professor Michael Goldman.

Here’s the background about Prof. Goldman that ESG gave in their invitation mail:

“Prof. Michael Goldman is a McKnight Presidential Fellow and professor of Sociology and Global Studies at the University of Minnesota, in Minneapolis, USA. He is the editor of Privatizing Nature: Political Struggle for the Global Commons (Rutgers University Press and Pluto Press), and the author of Imperial Nature: The World Bank and Struggles for Social Justice in the Age of Globalization (Yale University Press 2005; Orient Longman India 2006; Kyoto University Press [in Japanese] 2008), based on a decade-long ethnography of the World Bank. He is currently conducting research in Bangalore on the project,“Bangalore: The Making of a World City,”focusing on the transformations of land, government,and citizenship taking place under liberalization.”

Here’s Leo Saldanha of ESG, introducing Professor Goldman:

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The Labor Office

The thought of having to visit the Labor office was scary. I don’t know why but for some reason the idea was not exciting and I did it cos I couldn’t get someone else to do it. I imagined a crammed small office, with officers who would be very indifferent, touts pestering, and numerous visits to finish the task. And of course a big bribe to ensure the work gets done.

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If you are against indiscriminate tree-felling, road-widening, and the privatization of lakes in Bangalore….

Here’s a message from a friend, about a meeting I consider it important to attend:

There will be a meeting at Environment Support Group (ESG) at 3.30 pm tomorrow (Sat. 5th), to discuss and strategise on two very important issues concerning the city.

1)The BBMP has touted a road-widening program on 91 roads ( to be extended to 123) of Bangalore. Since the announcement of the scheme, ESG and Hasiru Usiru have been opposing the project, as it is irrational and against all basic principles of design and planning.

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The new roads of Bangalore….

Here’s Bannerghatta Road, at the Jayadeva flyover; four years ago, all the trees that had been planted on this road were cut down and the road widened, and the flyover built.

Can you see even a blade of grass in the picture?

Photobucket

What has the effect of the tree-felling, road-widening, and flyover-building been on traffic?

The traffic is as choked as ever, and all that has happened is that we have lost a lot of greenery and tree cover; the area has become much more polluted and noisy.

Can we stop further unnecessary felling of trees and widening of roads, which result in the same traffic congestion + lack of trees, just a few years down the line, and think of more long-term and people-friendly solutions to our traffic problems?

Profiteering of few Sr. Govt officers….

Lokayukta has done it again; surfacing the bemani properties of corrupt sr.govt officials… this still seems to be the tip of the iceberg …

Lok Ayukta sleuths swooped down on the Bangalore residence of Davangere assistant commissioner (commercial taxes) Amanulla Sharief on Friday morning, They unearthed documents for property worth Rs 1.35 crore and cash from his house, whereas his entire 30 years’ earnings would have come to just Rs 30 lakh.
The Lok Ayukta also raided residences of nine officials, including an IAS officer, a deputy superintendent of police, commercial tax department officers. The raid yielded properties worth Rs 20 crore, disproportionate to their known sources of income. Read more..

What’s happening is not something new; the corruption has deeper roots in almost everything in our country, the lac of drive from political and administrative fronts to uproot the same. The need of hour perhaps is to protect the public wealth and interest rather than compromising our democratic principles and maintain the ‘chalta hai attitude’. The legal framework though has noted this down the ‘suo motto’ actions from political arena must be deep asleep over these cases for sure…

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