Botched up opening ceremony for Jayadeva flyover

It seems our white-kurta clad men botched up the opening ceremony for Jayadeva flyover as well. As per the original poster(s), they gifted a never-to-forget morning commute to drivers who got caught in the melee.

Remember how they had punctured the airport road flyover for the opening ceremony? Apparently an encore happned here as well!

Parivartan says the right thing

These guys (Parivartan) have been awarded the 2006 Magsaysay Award. Should be a good news and publicity for RTI and citizen driven apolitical movements. I fully agree with what Parivartan says on its website:

The real change would come when the people start demanding accountability and the government is forced to respond. Then it would not be easy for the governments to go astray.

It is ultimately our city, our state and our country. We can’t just not participate in how our cities and state get managed. We got to push, demand, participate, whatever. But we can’t leave it in the hands of a few folks we ourselves call corrupt and selfish. Doing that is almost criminal!

Anyone else wanting to join forces to do this and a few more PILs focused on how Bangalore is getting run today?

How beggars lose limbs

I was stunned to see this report on CNN-IBN yesterday. I only hope it is not true. If it is, then I will like to see what punishment awaits this (or these) doctors.

See the video yourself: “Why and how beggars lose limbs“.

The brutal ways of the beggar mafia know no boundary. In order to sustain their business, they don’t hesitate to use willing doctors to first invalidate totally healthy limbs and then hack them off before pushing the victims back on the streets to live off their earnings.

Cant find words beyond shocking, inhuman.

Rings around Bangalore

I said a month ago there were two peripheral ring roads planned for Bangalore. Increment that count by two please. As per that news article about BMRDA’s plan for fringe townships, we are going to have two more.

SATELLITE TOWNS RING ROAD (STRR)
Length: 284 km; 8- lane with 2-lane service road
Connects: Dobbaspet- Magadi- Ramanagaram- Kanakapura- Anekal- Hoskote- Devanahalli- Doddaballapur.
Land required: 6,303 acres
Estimated cost: Rs 1,150crore

And

INTERMEDIATE RING ROAD (IRR)
Length: 188 km; 8- lane with 2-lane service road
Connects: Nelamangala- Bidadi- Harohalli- Tattekere- Hoskote- Aradeshanahalli- Mylenahalli.
Land required: 4,182 acres
Estimated cost: Rs 750 crore

Just the way number of concentric rings in the stump tells you the age of a tree, these peripheral roads will live to tell the story of Bangalore’s growth!

How to get to Bangalore International Airport – II

Time for an update after the first post on the subject. It is still not clear as to how long it will take me to get to this International Airport when it gets ready.

There has always been this plan for a rail link between city and the airport. Last month, BIAL CEO Mr Brunner presented this plan that passengers will be able to check-in at a railway station in the city itself and then just take a train to the airport with a boarding pass in hand.

And for the first time, this weekend, we got some concrete news on plans for this rail link. No dates and time-lines though. And as far as I know, nothing has been reported yet on route and location of the stations on this line either.

I am willing to bet that this rail link wont be ready before the new airport opens.

Good to see BMRDA think long term

It was great to read this news about BMRDA proposing five townships on the fringes of Bangalore:

On the cards is the development of five townships at a distance of 35 to 75 km from Bangalore City. Bidadi and Ramanagaram, Solur, Sathanur and Nandagudi will be covered under the plan.

Wonderful! This certainly is a thought in the right direction. A word of caution though. This should be more than just setting up 2 nice peripheral roads connecting these towns. And thought BMRDA is clear it does not want to develop satellite towns, i.e:

A satellite town per se depends on its mother city for sustenance, while a township is a self-sustaining unit, it is explained.

If they can’t convince a critical mass of job providers (IT, BPO uints?) to shift base to these towns, these towns may end up becoming just that. If BMRDA is serious about de-congesting Bangalore, it better plan on shifting some employers to these fringe towns. State government itself is a big employer, and could take the lead by shifting its offices to say Ramanagaram. Unfortunately, the news item quotes SUDHIR KRISHNA, Metropolitan Commissioner, BMRDA as saying:

There will be no relocation of the existing population in these towns. Their economic integration by means of skills training and self-employment generation is part of the project.

Easy to say these things. But government’s record on providing capabilities for self-employment generation are well known. And last, let us hope this plan does not become another BMIC like thing. Grand plan on paper, that takes 20 years to turn into reality.

All in all, this sounds like a good thought. Whether this is a good plan or not, let us judge after we get to know the details.

Neal n Nikki at 8 pm

Turned on TV just before dinner, and noticed Sony was screening “Neal n Nikki”. What a shocker! This movie was better off getting titled Neal n bra, or just Nik-toria’s secret.

What is Sony thinking putting on a movie like this on at 8 pm! Is 8 late in the night? Or is “Neal n Niki ” a family fare?

Someone needs to monitor and censor these TV channels. A few ads they telecast already cross the line. And Sony might just be testing waters by running Niktoria’s secret in primetime. Good TRP ratings here may mean more of the same.

Publicity stunt by BDA?

BDA said today that it will get IIM-A to review the Comprehensive Development Plan it has prepared for Bangalore:

IIM-A to appraise plan.

Why IIM-A? Popular perception is that this institute isn’t exactly known for research or teaching on urban planning. Searching a bit on the painfully slow IIM-A website, I found that they have a focus group on “Infrastructure” under an initiative called “3-i Network“. Going by the short descriptions they have in here

  • List of projects mentioned does not have any credible item on Urban Planning.
  • This initiative has a few courses on Infrastructure, but those seem to focus on financing and logistics side and not planning.

In fact, google search for phrases like “Urban planning”, “Urban development” tells me that it is usually not the subject of expertise for Business Schools.

So why IIM-A then? A publicity stunt by the BDA to divert the focus away from its main problem – execution? Or are they engaging IIM-A to figure execution plans. I hope its the latter.

Friends of Bangalore, help with this PIL

If you know what’s a PIL, and you want to be a party to filing one, let me know. And before that, let me tell you what I am thinking here.

The problems Bangalore is dealing with today have all been blamed on ‘unexpected’ rapid growth. Governments, state and local, have admitted this. Fine and we all agree.

Now, remember how we still keep hearing news like these. IBM to invest millions in Bangalore, Cisco to invest further millions in Bangalore, Accenture to double size in an year.

When we have raised our hands and accepted unmanageable growth as the real reason, then the first thing to do to deal with the situation is to control this growth. Right?

So, how about a PIL to ask that state should not allow any further “investments” in the city till it can prove that it is ready to handle the incremental growth resulting from each “investment”.

Let me translate that better. Let us say IBM wants to open a big office to seat 10000 folks. Before government allows the new office to operate, it must prove to the court that it has taken steps to handle 2000 more cars and 4000 bikes that will ply to the new facility. It must show it has worked on arranging 10 MW of power this new building will need.

Why not? Or else the residents will pay the price for this growth in terms of less space on the road, longer power cuts somewhere else to feed this new facility and more. Why should we?

If it makes sense, please join in, and we will try filing a PIL. No more growth, till you are ready to handle it!

Time to buy Bajaj shares

The auto-rickshaws have landed in the west. I hope you heard the news about tuk tuks starting their run in Britain. The guy who is importing them seems confident he will end up importing a lot many more.

Well, good luck to him and Britain. Its only a matter of time before Indian drivers get their hands on these three wheelers there. And we will see what happens then! I bet the added seat belts will come handy.

If the initial reactions are any indication:

The auto’s success may be measured by the lyrical words of Brighton residents like Maria. She said her first auto ride was “joyous and so much cheaper than a taxi I plan to do it again and again”.

then I am picking up some Bajaj shares tomorrow!

BTW, Indian Express Pune got this reaction from Bajaj

‘‘Of course we are happy to learn that our autorickshaws will be plying in the West, but I just hope they serve the purpose of the country in which they are being put on road. Basically these are vehicles for developing nations. Nevertheless, we hope they do well since our name is attached to them and is thus at stake.’’

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