Cities and self rule

Mayor of London, Mr Ken Livingstone, made headlines when he visited Mumbai and Delhi recently. Amongst the things he said, here is one that I thought stood out. “London mayor Ken Livingstone said on Wednesday that … when it comes to the development of a city like Mumbai, he said he was not sure if his counterpart here can do much to change people’s lives with limited executive powers.”

Thats a quote from TOI Mumbai Nov 22 2007. Truth hurts, but Mr Livingstone was almost right when he said that:

“… unfortunately the mayor of Mumbai did not have any power regarding important matters affecting the city. Almost all the powers are with the state government.”

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The music bull run

When I look at my Hindi Soundtrack playlist these days, I think about this one bull run many may not have noticed. I wouldn’t use loaded words like unconventional, melodious, richly orchestrated, full of variety etc to describe the sound Bollywood is churning out these days. All I would say is this, they seem to be producing enjoyable stuff, and the playlists are getting bigger.

Hard to put down a date when things changed. But there was a sort of lull when A R Rehman was the king. ARR was, and still is doing great. But most others were focusing either on creating the ARR sound – overly jazzed up music being the result, with needlessly high levels of electronic percussions and low pitch strings, or on carrying on with the boring Bollywood sound of 90s – where melody meant slow, and lyrics meant standard phrases from Sameer.

And then things changed, May be with Shankar Ehsaan Loy, but not them alone. Vishal Shekhar, Shantanu Moitra, Pritam as well. Add Ismail Darbar and Himesh too (why not?). Old horses like Anu Malik and Jatin Lalit are trying to fit in. And don’t forget some more talented folks like Vishal Bhardwaj and Rabbi Singh.

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Airlines, staff want existing airports to stay

As per this story in Business-Standard:

“… lobbying to prevent closure of the existing facilities — at the Airport Authority of India’s Begumpet airport in Hyderabad and HAL airport in Bangalore — has got louder”

I have been predicting here that these noises will grow louder. And this newspapers story quotes an unnamed ‘official’ from Civil Aviation ministry to tell us just that:

“Yes, the crescendo is rising. In fact, we recently had a meeting in the ministry to discuss this, but we are bound by the contract,” said a civil aviation ministry official …The contracts with Bangalore … and Hyderabad International Airport(s) provide for closure of the existing facilities when the new airports start.

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Metro @ Jayanagar – how exactly will it look?

Any ideas on how exactly will Metro look at this beautiful Jayanagar road? What is the precise location and design of upcoming terminal on Nanda Talkies road?

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BIAL connectivity – upgrade ORR?

If you look at it, the delayed and much hyped BIAL expressway would anyway not solve the connectivity issue. The problem would be in getting to the point in ORR from where BEL Road/NH7 or this expressway would emerge. What you need is quick way for folks to get out from the center or east/south/western corners of the city.

That Minsk Square to Hebbal tunnel road is one such thing. God knows if that project would ever get executed. But there is another, and cheaper option with BBMP/BDA that I think hasn’t been fully explored: Outer Ring Road. The east loop of ORR – the stretch from Silk Board to Hebbal via Marathahalli and Banaswadi – almost throughout, has good space on both sides of the road. Service Roads exist on some stretches, or is being built in the rest. Also, barring a small stretch of about 3-4 km I think in Hennur-Banaswadi area, ORR has six lanes.

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Sorry I wont

So much for the ‘anything for the country’ and ‘I play for the team’ talk. First it was Mr Wall, and now it is Mr Ten, they seem to care more for their personal records than anything else.

What makes you think that they wont be saying things like ‘I wont open’ (in tests), and ‘I must open’ (in the one days)? Or ‘I wont take that single’, or ‘I wont field at long leg’ etc as well?

But, to think of it, individual over group is an Indian thing. We all do it in our walks of life, yes, you and me included.

ICL vs IPL, domestic vs international

I may not have written lately on the topic – the untapped market for organized domestic cricket, and a dream – but I have been watching them both, ICL and IPL. Thanks to the monopolistic protection from BCCI and ICC, IPL is going great guns. Aussie cricket stars signed up, Russel Crowe interested in owning an IPL team, and more – hope you have been reading the papers. On the other hand, ICL is struggling to sign big names, and I am sure will struggle to get cricket venues though it has announced it will start the league end of November.

I am no die hard backer of ICL. I mean I don’t really care whether its IPL or ICL, as long as I get my 3-4 month season of quality cricket without patriotic pretensions  and at my  preferred times – late evening every other day and weekend afternoons. I also want to experience the stadium atmosphere once in a while with family, the noise and crowd thrills.

So, will IPL provide us all that? I am still not sure. Here are my apprehensions:

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Airport for sale at Puttaparthi – interesting?

In case you guys missed reading this story (Business-Standard 31st Oct), Sai Baba’s airport which is only 70 km from Devanahalli is up for sale. What if a big name corporation buys and develops this airport and the sorrounding region? Bad news for BIAL?It wouldn’t really create a Delhi vs Noida airport like situation because Bangalore doesn’t have a satellite region in that area yet. But two airports north of Bangalore may be an incentive for industries to shift there, and may help create a Noida like thing. A chance for Andhra Pradesh to cash in on Bangalore story?

Just a thought.

[Cross posted at Praja, comments off]