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Jan 14th 2012 Kor-HSR Launch Edition INSIDE 6 Garbage tender delayed. What's new? 7 Cycle lanes for HSR 10 BTM citizens stop land grab 15 R ajeev Chandrasekhar, MP on St John's Agara works 17 Why Bangaloreans run Checkouts, features and more... Citizen Matters was founded in 2007 to independently chronicle city current affairs, foster community, and be a forum for citizen voices.
Local news like no one else does
The great kormanGala
park robbery Page 11
BBMP's bench: `9,300 Market price: `5500
unwanted fountain: `16,79,359
BBMP's dustbin: `6,500 Market price: `1500
koramangala, hsr layout
14 - 27 Jan 2012
Citizen Matters Vol-3 Issue-25, 14 - 27 Jan 2012 KARENG/2009/28904. Published & printed by Meera K for Oorvani Media Pvt Ltd. Printed at Lavanya Mudrana, 19, 15th cross, Vidyapeeta Circle, BSK I Stage, Bangalore 560060 Place of publication Oorvani Media, 165, I cross, I block, Kmgla, Bangalore 560034. Editor Subramaniam Vincent.
A blink in time and your eyes will be fine
Computers are increasingly becoming a necessary part of our life, at work, home, and even play, so much so that, now computer classes are being included even in primary school teachings! No wonder we are seeing a significant proportion of our patients attending our eye clinics and hospitals coming with complaints of Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS). CVS is not a disease. It refers to eye related problems people develop after long hours of computer work or work with any other electronic visual display units like television, laptops etc. These complaints can be - dryness feeling in eyes, burning sensation, itching, redness, and irritation, pain in and around eyes, general tiredness and sometimes even headache. However computers are not to be blamed directly. The problem lies with the way one uses the computers and how we constantly stare at the computer monitor. In a normal healthy eye, a thin layer of tear film covers the front exposed part of the eye. This tear layer is required for normal functioning of eyes. The tears layer acts as a lubricant and as a protective layer. During waking hours a healthy adult blinks around 12 to 14 times in a minute. This blinking is required for smooth spreading of tears secreted by tear glands. Any abnormality in the tear-blink mechanism can cause dryness of eye surface, which will cause blurred vision, eye pain, irritation etc. A person who works with computer for long hours with concentration tends to blink only 3-4 times in a minute instead of 12-14 times. This happens without his knowledge. Decreased blinking will cause more evaporation of the tear layer leading to dry spots, which will manifest as dryness, irritation, burning sensation and sometimes even painful eyes. This cluster of problems associated with computer use is CVS. Low humidity associated with air conditioning exacerbates the problem. Persons who use contact lenses get more dryness and suffer more from computer vision syndrome. Wearing improperly corrected spectacles or many times not wearing spectacles will also increase eyestrain.
In some cases, increased watering from eyes during computer work may occur. This can also be because of dryness! The irritation from dry eyes sends signals to brain to secrete more tears. But quality of these extra tears will not be normal. These are of not much help to the eyes. Prevention and Cure Avoid working in low humid dry air-conditioned environment Give rest to eyes for 2-3 minutes after every 30-45 minutes of concentrated work Look at distant objects or keep eye closed for few seconds Decrease contrast and brightness in monitor to comfortable levels. Always maintain proper sitting posture Frequent voluntary blinking during working is essential. Use prescribed lubricating eye drops If you have symptoms of CSV, consult an eye specialist. Eye specialist may suggest some lubricating eye drops to be used every few hours to keep the eyes moist and prevent dryness. Avoid using eye drops available over the counter in medical shops without doctor’s prescription. These drops usually contain some additives called preservatives, which can damage the eyes if used more frequently. Use only preservative free eye drops prescribed by an eye specialist. Myths 1. Rays coming out from monitors are harmful to the eye. Not true. No scientific study or report has shown this till now. 2. Wearing of antireflective or antiglare glasses prevents eye damage. Not true. No scientific proof is available. 3. Long hours of computer work or staring at television increases glasses’ power. Not true. Changes in glasses power occur because of general body growth and because of aging.
Dr Raja Shekar Y L is the Medical Director, Shekar Nethralaya
633, 100 feet Ring Road JP Nagar 3rd Phase, Bengaluru - 560078 Tel: 08026593210 fax: 08041209197 firstname.lastname@example.org Ph:9980062020 email@example.com www.shekarnethralaya.com
Dental Sleep Medicine Do you have a loved one disrupt your sleep every night and you don’t know what to do about it…?
men and women of any age or body type can have sleep apnea. The sleep disorder progressively worsens with age and weight gain. Dentists have pioneered the use of oral appliance therapy for the treatment of sleep apnea and sleep related breathing disorders. An oral appliance is a device worn in the mouth only during sleep. The device fits like a sports mouth guard or orthodontic retainer and prevents the airway from collapsing by either holding the tongue or supporting the jaw in a forward position. With an oral appliance, dentists can minimise or eliminate the symptoms of sleep apnea in mild to moderate cases.
Dental Sleep Medicine is an area of practice that focuses on the management of sleep-related breathing disorders including snoring and obstructive sleep apnea through the use of oral appliance therapy and upper airway surgery.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is a potentially lifethreatening medical disorder that causes your body to stop breathing during sleep. The muscles in your throat relax and the tongue may fall back and block the airway as you sleep, reducing the amount of oxygen delivered to all of your organs including your heart and brain. People with sleep apnea may snore loudly and stop breathing for short periods of time. The breathing pauses from sleep cause
your body to briefly wake while you remain unaware. This can happen hundreds of times per night, and you may wake up feeling unrefreshed. In addition to snoring and excessive daytime sleepiness, sleep apnea can cause memory loss, morning headaches, irritability, depression, decreased sex drive and impaired concentration. When left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to hypertension, stroke, heart attack or sudden death while asleep. Sleep apnea patients are often older, obese and have thick necks, but
For comprehensive dental care solutions, contact:
Clinical Director and Owner - Perfect 32, Consultant at Fortis Hospitals Consultant-Dental Legal Advisor & Auditor Clinical Director of International Certification Training programs in Dental Implants, Dental Law and Rehabilitative & Aesthetic Dentistry
Perfect 32 “Green Arch” 45/A, 1st Floor, 1st Main (Next to Parkview Hotel), J.P Nagar 3rd Phase, Bangalore www.perfect32.in Ph: 40989896, 40981767, 9880027728. email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dentists with training in oral appliance therapy work closely with sleep physicians in the diagnosis, treatment and ongoing care for sleep related breathing disorders.Once a patient is diagnosed with sleep apnea or a sleep related breathing disorder by a physician, dentists may provide treatment. Dentists assist patients in the selection and fitting of an oral appliance and provide long-term follow-up care.
Keep the sparkle in your smile The Dental Care and Implant Centre Dr.Sandhya Ramanujam D.D.S (USA), B.D.S India),C.B.M.(USA), P.G.D.M.L.E (India), Fellowship in Implantology (USA)
Koramangala & HSR
Garbage tender deadline extended, yet again BBMP has extended the deadline for submitting bids for Solid Waste Management tenders. The deadline was extended from January 10th to 18th. This was due to the low number of bids received and demands from contractors to amend some terms, says B V Satish, Chief Engineer (SWM) at BBMP. Here are some conditions in the contract for S-14 package, comprising Koramangala (151) and Jakkasandra (173) wards, as per the Request for Proposal (RFP) documents available online. The contract would be for three years. A contractor can bid for and win any number of packages (2-3 wards form one package). Contractor should collect wet waste daily and dry waste once a week. Wet waste should be transferred to decentralised compost units, and dry waste to collection centres. Inert waste should be transported to quarry pit at Bingipura, Anekal. Construction debris at any spot weighing less than 250 kg is contractors' responsibility. E-waste should be collected on the last day of every month, and household bulk waste like furniture once in
three months. Defaulting on any of these even once will entail penalty of one percent of monthly contract value. Penalty amount will be double if the same offence is repeated. BBMP can terminate the contract if a contractor commits the same offence thrice or if the penalty is 10 percent or more than the monthly contract value for three months consecutively. If residents do not segregate waste, contractor should do this, but he can complain to BBMP about such residents. There around 26,480 households and 700 shops, in addition to hotels, institutions etc in this package. Contract says that 187 labourers, 158 pushcarts, 20 auto tippers, two tipper lorries and four compactors will required here. There will be one auto tipper per 1000 households and one pushcart per 200 households, and one sweeper for each km of road length. Every month, contractor has to get Compliance Certificates rating him on his performance from two residents and a BBMP official, all designated by BBMP.
BMTC elephants can’t dance
Pic: Deepthi M S
Navya P K
HELLO HSR Layout and Koramangala! Launching Citizen Matters' area-specific print magazine in Koramangala-HSR is a very exciting development for us. Over the years, the two areas (and Koramangala in particular) have had citizens at the forefront of several city reform initiatives. Some of the champions here are RTI actvisits who have exposed wrong doing over and over again and gotten authorities to remedy matters. Others have won hard fought battles at courts to protect lakes from land grabs. Still others have been zoning rule watchdogs. Some of you are regularly involved with working with local authorities to ensure public areas are kept clean and particularly, clear of garbage. Equally, some are also community builders conducting events to enrich the lives of citizens around you. One of the apartments in your area is also an award winner for solid waste management. Green leadership is not new to communities in this part of town. Above all, your volunteer spirit inspires people, making neighbourhoods and communities better places to live than otherwise. We raise our hats and give you all a bow as we launch Citizen Matters' print fortnightly in your area. We hope this magazine will raise the bar for a community-city voice in your area and be an indepth platform for awareness, voice, activities and fun. Best Regds from Subramaniam Vincent, Meera K & the entire Citizen Matters team
“The building seems to be ready, but even then there are no buses entering in,” says Malini Shekar, 48, a Bangalorean who travels through Kormangala everyday for work. Malini is referring to the biggest Travel and Transit Management Centre (TTMC) of the city at Koramangala, off the 80 feet road going into Vivek Nagar from the Inner Ring Ring Road. It is yet to start its operation after being inaugurated 11 months ago! Swanky from the outside, there are no buses entering it, and neither is massive swath of
6 CITIZEN MATTERS 14 - 27 Jan 2012 Vol-3 Issue-25
commercial space being used. The TTMC has space issues for movement of buses. “We have a turning radius problem. It is being fixed and the TTMC will be operational soon,” says Veere Gowda, Traffic Manager, CTM (Commercial). “The Tenders have been called for and Assest Management Agencies are now renting out the office spaces,” says a Assistant Traffic Manager, who wanted to remain anonymous.
deepthi M S
Koramangala runs for the village school The Koramangala 3rd Block Residents Welfare Association organised a walk and run for charity for its residents. The participants could either run or walk for 2.5 Km or 5 Km. “It is a charity event, money has been collected through the registration process that will be going towards the Kormangala Village School,” says Nitin Seshadri, Secretary of the RWA. The registration fee was ` 200 person and the money collected was to be used for buying footwear for the school children. Residents were happy to participate in the run. “I have always wanted to be a part of a community and take part in community events. It is really a nice way to engage with people living around us,” says John Havlick, 40, who had accompanied his wife Mita Havlick, 44. “It was beautifully organised and we got to meet new neighbours,” Mita added. 170 residents participated in the run.
deepthi M S
Pic courtesy: Arvind Reddy.
For safe cycling at HSR Layout We, a core team of resident representatives, children, urban planners, office goers and enthusiasts in HSR Layout, are working with government agencies to set up cycling routes in the area.
represented by a team of four senior officials, were convinced about the project and agreed to fast track it. Government agencies have assured us of adequate funding. They are planning an integrated cycling lane and footpath solution that would transform nonmotorized transport in the locality.
We have made significant progress over the last two months. A meeting with K Manjula, the dynamic Commissioner for the Department of Urban Land Transport (DULT), has fast DULT Commissioner tracked the project. We have increased the scope of coverage to large companies like Wipro, who have been supportive. Having end-toend connection that caters to officegoers also guarantees substantial usage. Children, especially, see this as a great opportunity as public parks cater mostly to children below six and adults who prefer walking. Under Manjula's guidance, we did a detailed survey of HSR Layout in November with BBMP and DULT. Both agencies,
K Manjula says, “The tender document - RFP (Request For Proposal) for this is being finalised now.”
As residents, we can support these agencies with guidance, suggestions and action. Proposed routes DULT's draft proposal has seven cycling routes along ORR, 27th main road, 17th cross road, 19th main road, 27th cross road etc. Residents have proposed tracks along four additional roads, which are being considered by DULT. Saju Joseph is a resident of HSR Layout. Contact email@example.com to participate in this project.
Vol-3 Issue-25 14 - 27 Jan 2012 CITIZEN MATTERS 7
From silver jewellery to handmade sarees An exclusive artifacts exhibition ‘Hastakala’ is being held at the Mangala Kalyana Mantapa, Koramangala, from 6- 15 January. The exhibition showcases various forms of handloom and handicraft products from across the country. “The antique stuff here is amazing,” says Menaka Singri, 32, who was shopping at the antique jewellery store. From Silver to handmade
Madhubani painting to Channapatna wooden craft, brightly coloured pottery to home furnitures, the exhibition provides a variety of articles to chose from. ‘Hastakala’ is being held at the Mangala Kalyana Mantapa, Koramangala, 7th block from 6- 15 January. The exhibition showcases various forms of handloom and handicraft products from across the country.
Red is the theme
Tomatina, is a newly opened multi cuisine vegetarian restaurant at HSR Layout. As the name suggests, red predominates the colour scheme of the interiors and ‘tomato’ is used in almost every delicacy. The ambience has a touch of countryside charm and there is terrace seating too. “The restaurant Jain food, Tandoor
specialises in a n d
Deepthi M S
continental food”, says Shivaram Nataraju, 31, Assistant manager. He also adds that the chefs are from the Maldives. The menu offers sizzlers (Rs 200400), continental food, north Indian food and salads; it also has soups served chilled - like tomato gasparchio, carrot soup and more. Liquor is not served. Cost: About Rs 1000 for two. Tomatina, 2631, 27th main, 1st sector, HSR Layout. Ph: 080 42420606 Chilli Pepper in Kormangala is just three months old, offering authentic Bihari cuisine. “The place is famous for its unique bihari dishes like litti choka with chicken curry or mutton curry”, says Chanchal Banerjee, 28, manager.
8 CITIZEN MATTERS 14 - 27 Jan 2012 Vol-3 Issue-25
Pics: Deepthi M S
Another specialty is sattu lassi. Sattu is a kind of channa which is powdered and used as a masala in the lassi and is available only in Bihar, he adds. The menu ranges from Bihari food to coastal (fish and prawn) to desserts and coolers. Cost: About Rs 1000-Rs 1500 for two. Chilli Pepper, 80 feet road, 17th D main, 6th block, Koramangala. Ph: 9379441899
Tomatina. Pic: Shruti Mohan Left: Pic courtesy: restaurant websites
Rajeev Rajagopal plays the drums, while Bruce Lee Mani is the guitarist and vocalist of the band. Prakash K N plays the base guitar. The band came together in 1996, while still at Christ College. TAAQ is known for its unique collaborations with musicians pursuing different forms and styles. Rajagopal, 35, drummer, tells me that with time and change of setting and activities, the latest of which are the children in their lives, their music has grown as well. They assimilate their various life-experiences into their music and this according to him is how their music takes shape. The ‘setting’ for the music here is none other then good-old but changing Bangalore(uru). Its many vibrant Rajeev Rajagopal. Pic courtesy: TAAQ
Takka-di-mi of Bangalore Rock colours are reflected in the band’s musical choices as well as lyrics. The band, in fact, describes its music as ‘Bangalore Rock’! TAAQ involvement in creating music and video initiatives for cause-related issues such as corruption, moral policing and voting reveals a nerve of Bangalore and its people. The sounds of ‘Bangalore Rock’ make us pause, listen and experience. The innovativeness is somehow easily noticeable; it is no jargon but a clearcut attempt at creating quality music that delivers an experience. The TAAQ members see its involvement with causes as a way of responding to the events around them, which they consider is inevitable for an artist. For them, engaging with causes is a way of expressing themselves.
Taaqademy, is a result of the band’s name TAAQ with an addition of the word ‘academy’, however I initially read it as takka-di-mi, the band members reveled in the many meanings the name evokes. Bruce Lee Mani. Pic courtesy: TAAQ
TAAQADEMY in Koramangala is the result of the band, Thermal and A Quarter’s 16-year-old tryst with music. The one month old academy teaches music-making and songwriting as well as playing instruments and is also conceived as a space for musicians and bands to practice or hang out: ‘Make Space for Music’ is Taaqademy’s sweet demand of us. The academy was earlier located on Queen’s road.
The studio space at Taaqademy is aesthetically appealing, with red brick walls and no cement. It is technically perfected for recording. Expert sound engineer and acoustic designer Didier Weiss, from Auroville has designed the studio. The recording space is available to individuals and bands for hiring for `500 per hour.
Sushumna Kannan is a PhD scholar.
Vol-3 Issue-25 14 - 27 Jan 2012 CITIZEN MATTERS 9
BTM society prevents park land grab It happened in the nick of time. Alert residents of housing society in BTM Layout fought back to prevent land allocated to a park to be gifted away by BBMP and BDA for a residential project.
Pic: Deepthi MS
In a startling land grab case filed by BTM Layout’s Bank Officers’ CoOperative Housing Society against the BDA for illegal land transfer, the Karnataka High Court has ordered the BDA on January 6th to restore the land and maintain it as a park. The Bank Officers Society was alloted 30 acres of land in bulk in 1982, at the time of the formation of BTM layout. The land was given on a lease and subsequenty in 1997 transferred to the society. It was used for construction except for 2 acres and 31 guntas, which was meant for a civic amenity. In May 2005, the society relinquished the 2 acres and 31 guntas to the BDA for use as a park. The BDA did not build a park and the place remains barren even after the area came under BBMP. The twist emerged when the BDA, out of the blue, issued an NOC in November 2005 to one Channappa, who then claimed ownership of the same chunk of land. This happened within six months of relinquishment. Channappa then got a Khata from the BBMP. Following this, in December 2006, he received town planning approval for construction of a residential building on the land. These developments weren’t known until construction work began on the land recently. “In 2010, we found someone digging in that piece of land for construction
purposes. It is then we realised that something was wrong here. We immediately got a stay order and the digging was stopped. Later, we learned that some unknown person claims to be the owner of the land,” says Kishore Kumar P, Secretary of the Bank Officers’ Co-Operative Housing Society. Through RTI, the society learnt about the land transfer and about the ‘’new owner’’. Stung by the land transfer, in
BRIEF CHRONOLOGY 1982: 30 acres leased to housing society 1997: Land registered in name of society May 2005: Society relinquishes chunk to BDA for park. Nov 2005: BDA gives NOC to Channappa over same land Dec 2005: BBMP gives khata to Channappa Dec 2006: Town Planning gives approves for residential complex to Channappa Sep 2010: Channappa starts construction Sep 2010: Society files case against BDA Jan 2012: High Court asks BDA to restore land to park.
10 CITIZEN MATTERS 14 - 27 Jan 2012 Vol-3 Issue-25
September 2010, the society sued the BDA for misuse of the land meant for civic amenity. At the first hearing in the High Court on December 16th, the BDA attracted the ire of Justice D V Shylendra Kumar. The BDA had claimed it had no records of issuing the NOC itself! “No wonder, in this state of collusive murky conduct on the part of many officials of state government, BDA, BBMP and who others who might have been involved in this affair not known, BDA wants to wash off its hands.....” wrote Justice Kumar. And then on January 6th, the High Court ordered the BDA to clear encroachments and to ensure that the land be retained as a park. Here again, Justice Kumar spared no words. “This submission is too simplistic and one of trying to avoid or evade responsibility on the part of the Commissioner, BBMP, particularly trying either to cover up or shut his eyes to the possible earlier illegal actions or to shelter some erring persons in the BBMP”, he wrote.
Deepthi M S
The great Koramangala
BBMP has been quietly spending away tax money on parks. A Citizen Matters inquiry has this expose.
Parks have turned out to be the new ‘play’ area for BBMP. The palike has spent over one crore rupees (1,30,48,825) on the Koramangala 1st block park or the Wipro park between 2007 and 2010. And more than 81 lakh rupees lakhs (81,16,051) on the Lakshmi Devi park in 6th block. Most of which is for the work that was never done. Anil Kumar, of KRIA Katte and Secretary of the Ejipura RWA, FORWARD 68, compiled the BBMP records used by Citizen Matters for this inquiry. In the era multi-crore scams this might seem like a small number, but the scale of these figures for a two wards of Bengaluru – tells a tale of corruption that could quickly add up to a running scam of the tune of
hundreds of crores of rupees. Tenders had been awarded and work orders given to install a fountain twice at the 1st block park, earlier known as Wipro Park. This despite citizens saying they did not want the fountain and BBMP agreeing to drop it. The first time the tender was awarded in 2008 – 09 for about eight lakh rupees. “BBMP said that they overshot the budget and had no funds for the fountain”, says Manvel Alur, longtime Koramangala resident and citizen campaigner. It is not clear why work orders were issued if there was no budget. “When residents saw the item in 2009-10 plan again, they shot it down, because they were not confident of BBMP's maintenance capabilities, says Manvel. Local MLA Ramlinga Reddy
other works. I am not sure of what those other works are,” he says.
The some story goes for park sculptures. Residents shot down the project, but two work orders were issued, in two plan years back to back. Gross overpricing Items currently in the park are overpriced. The 1st Block park has 16
In the era multi-crore scams this might seem like a small number, but the scale of these figures for a two wards of Bengaluru – tells a tale of corruption that could quickly add up to a running scam of the tune of hundreds of crores of rupees. confirms stoppage due to protests. “The amount that was given in the tender may have been used for some
metal garbage bins and 56 concrete benches apart from play equipments. The BBMP work order however puts the cost of each dustbin, specified to be made of only PVC and not metal at `6588 per bin. Records show that between 2008 and 2010, BBMP bought 16 dustbins worth `2,40,000 putting the cost per dustbin at a whopping `15000. Even if you assume they had to replace the dustbins in the two-year time frame, each dustbin still costs `7500. A quotation from a popular play equipment provider puts the cost of these same metal bins at `1510 as on 10 January 2011. Furthermore, play equipments were installed only in December 2011, for 2009-10 work order, says Manvel.
Koramanagla 5th block park. Pic: Vijayalakshmi
The concrete benches in the park are Continued on Page 13
Vol-3 Issue-25 14 - 27 Jan 2012 CITIZEN MATTERS 11
for your Info
Can you help save a life? During the last decade the incidence of suicides in India has increased from 108,593 in 2000 to 134,599 in 2010 (23.8% change). Suicides and attempted suicides are far more common amongst males, those with depression, failed relationships, excessive alcohol abuse, loss of rational thinking, financial loss and/or inability to manage finances, lack of social support, not coming up to expectations of those who matter and more. Suicides have a social, cultural, and economic background. Thus, while farmer suicides may be a phenomenon in some states, children dying by suicides especially following declaration of examination results is an expression of the expectations from the parents. Stress has been pointed out as a significant factor in a large number
of cases. Termination of significant relationships, especially in younger age group, is a significant cause. In quite a few cases, an inability to terminate or failure to bring a relationship to logical conclusion in extramarital affairs, and triangular love stories, precipitates suicide attempt. Some of the common warning signals in vulnerable people may include someone going into a shell, organising his finances, writing will, or anything suggestive of winding up. Someone taking to excessive smoking are other warning signs. An usually introvert person suddenly reaching out to people may also be of concern. Importantly, the number of attempted suicides range between 8-10 times the numbers of death by suicide. This strongly suggest that most of the deaths that occur
by suicide have a chance to be prevented. The concluding part of this article in the next issue will go into preventing suicides and useful helplines in Bengaluru. Col (Retd.) Dr Mukul Saxena
has over 30 years of cross-functional expertise in healthcare, both in the public and private sectors. email: mukul@ citizenmatters.in
Clearing the air on STPs State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) will redefine Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) norms for apartments by March. In a Nov 26th meeting with Board Chairman A S Sadashivaiah, residents of some city apartments explained their problems and proposed solutions. Current Process Builder has to get a Consent For Establishment (CFE) before setting up the STP, and a Consent For Operation (CFO) before starting its operation. CFO has to be renewed annually by paying a fee to KSPCB. There is no formal process for builder to hand over STP to apartment owners’ association. After the handover, association will be responsible for renewing CFO and maintaining STP. Problems Residents complained that builders set up STPs that do not meet specifications and pass it on to apartment assocation even before all flats are occupied. Later Associations struggle to maintain STPs as they do not have the required knowledge and builder do not do a knowledge transfer to them. KSPCB does not evalute STPs based on design before approval, they said. 12 CITIZEN MATTERS 14 - 27 Jan 2012 Vol-3 Issue-25
Proposed Solution Residents proposed that Board should certify STPs based on design and engineering aspects, and keep a record of all STP components while giving consent. Builders should be held responsible in case of flaws later, as per Water Act. They also proposed that the CFO process should be done in two stages – a Provisional CFO (PCFO) should be issued to start operation, and a Final CFO (FCFO) after the STP runs successfully for a certain period. They said that PCFO should be mandatory for getting Occupancy Certificate, and FCFO should be made mandatory for builder to hand over the STP to association. Another demand was to waive the annual fee for renewing CFO. KSPCB response Sadashivaiah said that builders will be asked to operate STPs for at least five years before handing them over to associations. An expert committee will be formed to evaluate residents’ proposals and finalise new processes by March, and these will be implemented by June. He said that CFO fee collection cannot be stopped suddenly as this was a huge revenue source.
Navya P K
Bengaluru’s gallery of curious memories A Bangalore of leisurely afternoon siestas, trees in abundance, monkey tops adorning grand bungalows, joyous celebrations unrestrained through the night and cycle rickshaws that got you about town. How do you celebrate the best years of your life? Artist Paul Fernandes does it with a series of 50 paintings that relive vibrant Bengaluru of the 70s. While the series currently reflects life in the Cantonment areas, Paul hopes to extend this in the coming months.
Top: The exhibition. Right: Paul Fernandes. (Pics: Christina Daniels). Bottom: Fernades' work.
Most of these paintings were drawn at leisure, with no specific purpose in mind. But they have now come together as an exhibition series at Paul’s studio aPaulogy. He explains, “I wanted to show these drawings to people who remember that time of Bangalore and get them to feel nostalgic about it.” Paul expects the current exhibition to continue for a year before the paintings will also be brought together in a book remembering memories of Bengaluru.
In the future, Paul hopes to move to documenting economies on the street. Like his previous work, his perspective will remain on a lighter vein. Paul says of his work, “it’s a nice way to approach a serious topic. You can’t simply depict Bengaluru changing in a text book fashion.” So how does the artist in him come to terms with the rapid transformation? Paul believes, “the changes are skin deep. If you go down any street and look beyond the first row of monstrous new buildings, it’s still the beautiful old Bengaluru. We are the same people.” aPaulogy is located at 15 Clarke Road (Opp. Au Bon Pain) Richards Park Entrance, Richards Town, Bangalore - 560 005. The studio is open between 11 am to 7.30 pm from Monday to Saturday. Christina Daniels is a communications professional based in Bangalore. She authored the novel Ginger Soda Lemon Pop, co-authored Mind Blogs 1.0.
Koramangala Park scam over priced too. The ‘Delhi Benches’ (wrought iron) are priced at `9300 each in the tender. All 56 benches in the park are however made of concrete and cost only `5,500 as per a quotation. Different Park, same story In the Lakshmidevi park in 6th block, BBMP has spent 81 lakhs in last three years. Though the park does have a fountain, there are no animal sculptures. The tenders were however given out for `10 lakh and `10,97,072 in 2008-09 and 2009-10 respectively.
Continued on Page 11
The tender for construction of toilets and security sheds were given out in 2009 for `7,55,051. But no work was taken up till 2010. Only after Anil Kumar questioned BBMP authorities, did the shed and the toilet come up at Lakshmi Devi park. Kumar says none of the work is executed as per the work order. There’s more. Discrepancies abound between amounts specified in tenders and the work orders issued. Work order amounts are about 7 – 9.5% higher. “It is only on the behest of
contractors that these numbers are changed,” he claims. The Koramangala ward has 23 parks. Documents available with Citizen Matters show the same kind of figure fudging in all the parks.
Padmalatha Ravi Vijayalakshmi Bhat and Navya P K also contributed reporting.
Vol-3 Issue-25 14 - 27 Jan 2012 CITIZEN MATTERS 13
Citizen's alternative to BDA's St.John's-Agara plan Last year, a group of Koramangala residents managed to temporarily stop BDA's poorly planned Agara-Sirsi Circle signalfree corridor project. BDA had to halt grade separator works in four junctions Jakkasandra, Koramangala 80 feet road, Krupanidhi College and Koramangala Water Tank. Chief Minister has now promised a review of the project. Nitin Seshadri, a member of the citizens' group that accomplished this, shares the story.
We were first informed about the projects in early Septmber. Initially residents were stoic, but a meeting with BDA and traffic police revealed lack of planning and co-ordination between the agencies. For instance, the underpass at Krupanidhi college junction was planned along the lesscongested road, which would force traffic from the more-congested road into a narrow service lane. We met BDA officials and raised concerns on faulty traffic data, poor
design of slip roads, and lack of provisions for through traffic and parking. We also met BBMP and BDA Commissioners and ACP (Traffic) at a meeting arranged by Rajya Sabha MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar. At the meeting Chandrasekhar pointed out that congestion along Sarjapur Road was an offshoot of traffic problems on Hosur Road and hence Hosur Road had to be improved first. We pointed out that one elevated road would be better compared to many grade separators, since elevated roads have greater capacity, cause lesser traffic disruption and prevent tree loss. In both meetings, BDA agreed to stop work and consider our proposals. But work started at 80 ft road junction in October. BDA stopped the work after residents protested, but a trench was dug in the road by then. In November, work resumed, but was stopped again when about 100 residents protested. Our RTIs showed that BDA’s traffic studies,which were the basis for the project, were outdated. BDA was forced to commission a new survey, which showed radically different
numbers. There was no Environment Impact Assessment study and the DPRs were too simplistic. We then gave detailed representations and a common petition signed by 1200 residents to Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda and BDA Commissioner Bharat Lal Meena. BDA called a meeting with us to discuss “new” plans. But the only change was a slight increase in width of service road at Water Tank junction. We also learned that BDA was planning to acquire land. In December we met Gowda, who promised a detailed review and suggested that residents be involved with BDA and ABIDe in developing a better proposal. At the meeting BDA said that elevated corridor would not be financially viable, but Gowda said that funding could be debated later. A meeting is expected within a few days between BDA, citizens and ABIDe, in line with Gowda’s suggestions. We hope that the outcome will be a win-win, balancing a sustainable traffic solution with the rights of residents.
Citizens protest at the Koramangala 1st block junction in Nov 2011. Pic courtesy: Namma Bengaluru Foundation.
Civic agencies should consult residents Bengaluru is the city of neighbourhoods and local communities, which are being destroyed in the name of development. The rising public concerns over road widening projects and construction of underpasses touted as solutions to traffic problems, are legitimate. They cause pain and disruption without offering a permanent solution, are a result of bad planning and lack of foresight by the civic agencies. Underpasses divide the capacity of the existing roads and destroy the neighbourhoods. Building elevated roads are the only long-term solution.
The Chief Minister’s decision is a positive sign for all residents and for their struggle to save their neighbourhoods from ill-planned projects. Engaging and involving the local residents in the planning of public projects is the only way forward. The BDA and civic agencies must understand that they cannot ignore the concerns of the citizens. In fact, the civic agencies can immensely benefit from partnering with the local residents - who have a lot more at stake, are knowledgeable. They are willing to partner with the civic agencies in finding lasting solutions without affecting their neighbourhoods.
In the case of Agara - St. John’s junction - the local residents, were neither consulted nor their consent taken before starting work on the project. Their attempts to seek answers about the project went unheeded by the BDA. The residents then approached me and ABIDe members for help. They pointed out that the project would result in creating more chaos for the As a Member of Parliament and Convener users besides disrupting the of ABIDe, my doors have been open to citizens who want to approach me for help. lives of the local residents. We were fortunate that Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda agreed to hear the points of view of the residents and members of ABIDe. He could quickly understand the futility of the proposed project and appreciate the alternate solutions proposed by the representatives of ABIDe and RWA. The Chief Minister directed the civic agencies to stop work on the corridor and rework the project in consultation with ABIDe and the local residents.
As a Member of Parliament and Convener of ABIDe, my doors have been open to citizens who want to approach me for help. In fact, several citizens and RWAs from Malleshwaram, Rajajinagar, Dr. Raj Kumar Road, Panduranga Nagar and others have approached me, ABIDe and other active organisations such as Namma Bengaluru Foundation for help and received support.
Currently, Namma Bengaluru Foundation works closely with citizens’ groups, NGOs and activists to take up the issues and problems that matters to the citizens. Rajeev Chandrasekhar is a Member of Parliament & Convener - ABIDe Task Force.
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Malls: It’s BBMP Vs Traffic Police New malls mean entertainment hubs in the neighbourhood. But it also adds hundreds of cars to the very street. A Citizen Matters inquiry exposes a huge hole in BBMP's mall approval rules.
Culture, sculpture: in the circle, on the street Dr Rajkumar’s bust, Rani Chennamma on a horse or the controversial Thiruvalluvar statue, what do these sculptures mean to Bengaluru’s cultural space?
Building violations remain rampant, but Meena denies shutting down call centre Even as the state government pushed the Sakrama bill to regularise the massive pile up of bye-law violations in Bengaluru, BBMP has systematically encouraged illegal buildings only further.
see & do theatre Rangashankara Plays 13 Fri to 15 Sun Nammoora Benkibaakaru (K) 17 Tue Aarkanola (K) 18 Wed True India (K) 19 Thu Maduve Hennu (K) 20 Fri Uttara Bhoopa ©Ãchi (K) 21 Sat, 22 Sun Chasing My Mamet Duck (E) 24 Tue Naayi Kathe (K) 25 Wed Runavemba Suthakavu (K) 26 Thu Narigaligeke Kodilla (K) 27 Fri Mariyamla Moorane Maduve (K) 28 Sat Jugaari Cross (K) 29 Sun Sanjay and his Master (E) (for children above 5 years) Rangashankara, 36/2 8th Cross II Phase J P Nagar Wah Guru - Marathi play 9.45 am 22 Jan, St. John's Auditorium, No.1, St. John Hospital Campus, Opp BDA Complex, Koramanagala Enna Da Rascalas - A Lungi Lifting Bar Comedy by Stray Factory 15 Jan, 8:00 PM, Bacchus F&B, Papanna Street, St. Marks Road. Tickets: 42064969 Runavemba Soothakavu 7 pm 17 Jan, Ravindra kalakshetra, J C Road, Ph:42064969
Masala Improv comedy by Yours Truly Theatre. India’s own version of ‘Whose line is it anyway’. 7 pm, 15,22 Jan, Yours Truly ALMA, CMH Road, Indiranagar, Bangalore
Films Remembering Vaclav Havel Jan 25,7 pm, Alliance Française de Bangalore Auditorium Ph: 080 40808181 Rumale Chennabasaviah Retrospective 8 Jan, 11.30 am: Huangshan World of Immortals (Chinese with English subtitles) 21 Jan 3 pm: Thomas Cole and the American Landscapes (Eng) 28 Jan 3 pm: Painted Fire (Korean with English subtitles) NGMA Bengaluru, Palace Road
Exhibitions Lalbagh Flower show Indian floral art, Ike-Bana, vegetable carving, Dutch art, Thai art, dry flowers, Janur Arrangement, Bonsai creations on Jan 20-21. Open from January 21.
music & dance Vocal concert by Priyanka Prakash Tue 24 Jan, Bangalore International Centre, TERI Complex, Domlur II Stage. RSVP No. 98865 99675.
Sur Taal - An evening of World Music By Trilok Gurtu - fund raising show 7 pm, 21 Jan, UB City Amphi Theater, Vittal Mallya Rd. Tickets:42064969 Anoushka Shankar live 'The Traveller Tour' 6.30 pm 22 Jan, UB City, Vittal Mallya Road. Tickets:42064969
workshop Painting from Nature in Oil Medium Call 9886394195, 9886153297 21 & 22 Jan, Cubbon Park Premises Get Stylin! Wardrobe styling and image make-over workshop 21-22 January, iReboot. Ph: 96638 57828 Drink up me hearties yo ho! Bartending workshop 21 January, iReboot. Ph: 96638 57828 Haiku Poetry Workshop Ph: 9886719216 6 pm, 21 Jan, Koshy’s “CHILL OUT”. St. Marks Road Embroidery Workshop Conducted by Anchor - Freestyle and Kutch Embroidery. Call 8762462302 Limited seats, Reg Closes on 20th January 2012 10.30 am, Wed 25 Jan Just Books, 3rd Block Koramangala
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Bengaluru: A runnersâ€™ haven On one run through Bangalore's Cubbon Park, Pankaj Rai, one of Bangalore's several runners and a senior executive at an IT giant, muses, "Where else can one carry on stimulating conversations with such a diverse set of runners while running at the same time?"
Bengaluru and running Was Bangalore always a running hub? Runners for Life (RFL), arguably India's largest running community is Bangalore's very own and is based out of Victoria Layout. Arvind Bharathi of RFL recounts how the first edition f Urban Stampede in 2008 - India's largest inter-corporate running race hosted in Bangalore saw 37 companies with barely 300 runners. Its fourth edition in 2011 saw a nearly four-fold increase in participants to 1200 runners from 81 companies. Similarly the number of participants in Bengaluru's World 10K, originally sponsored by ITC Sunfeast, now sponsored by TCS, has jumped multifold over the last three years to around 8000 participants. 10K stands for 10 kms. World 10K is also an International
Amatetur Athletic Federations (IAAF)-rated Gold Road Race, a testament to its billing as a premier race for not just ordinary runners but also elite athletes. It is only one of 26 road races worldwide to be recognised as such.
Is Bengaluru just better suited? This brings us to our next question - Is Bangalore better suited to runners? Is that why the city has so many running events? Although the city's pleasant climate round the year has been a major factor in persuading its citizens to lace up their shoes and get out, the answer is not straightforward. Event organisers face challenges in designing attractive city routes and getting traffic control support for the duration of the race. On more than one occasion in the past, participants have had to put up with trucks spewing smoke, running just a few feet away, while simultaneously challenging themselves to get through those miles. In the absence of an event, avid runners are forced to share the space with vehicles or run at times
of the day when traffic density is lower or resort to running on the outskirts of the city. The city's parks have been a strong motivator for so many people who have taken to running. Most runners admit to having started by walking or jogging around the neighbourhood park or at Cubbon Park or Lalbagh at least a few times before they took to running longer distances. At last count, over 60% of the 10000 members on RFL's popular email group which includes members from around the country were from Bangalore. Still, more fun could be had if the city decided to support its runners better. After all a city which comes to an unplanned standstill for various political demonstrations can surely stop its traffic for a planned event and let its residents as well as tourists soak in more of its splendor, at least on one day of the year. Dharmendra D is a running coach in Bangalore and formerly a management consultant. He is also associated with Runners for Life (RFL).
Vol-3 Issue-25 14 - 27 Jan 2012 CITIZEN MATTERS 17
Help! There’s a birthday in my home There’s more to being a parent than posing prettily with the cherub, wrote a slightly hassled friend on Facebook. The reason? Her son’s upcoming birthday or at least the decision making process of it. I could not resist an evil and slightly relieved laugh. So it wasn’t just me who dreaded the birthday juggernaut- the planning, the presents, the cake, the theme and of course, the return gift, which is a must give these days unless you have been living under a rock or are very brave and do not care for public opinion, especially from pint sized people. At our home, the older one’s great birthday party has come and gone and I am already being asked about the next one that comes in February next year, courtesy boy number two. My first predictable reaction is a groan. Considering that boy number two is turning one, an age where chocolate cake elicits the same reaction as Cerelac, a full-fledged birthday party seems rather pointless. Yes I am one of those moms who are absolutely on the fence when it comes to birthday parties. I do love the idea of planning one, especially as the boy loves having
them. I go through party ideas on the net and even think of cards the boy and I can make. Though this is exactly the stage where the idea hibernates for the whole year. Why do I get the birthday jitters? Part of it of course has to do with the fact that I spend the D-day moving around the house like a bird on wheels and the post birthday part of it picking up confetti from every bit of floor and furniture. These days, just the thought of doing it makes me feel rather tired. Confetti apart, the jitters are probably also because I am not a well-planned mom and good birthday parties always require planning. I can’t make up my mind whether to do a humongous creamy concoction for a cake, theme based of course or go the healthy wholewheat route.
One look at my son’s face and I know it is either cream or fondant. Healthy stuff never looks as good and simply cannot be turned into Chota Bheem or Spiderman. I’m also rather last minute in the return gifts department, starting off with nice, thought-provoking ideas like gifting plants or homemade chocolates in a jar (a friend of mine once gave jam in pretty jars, still feel like bowing to her) before succumbing to the easily available (and acceptable) ones. Acceptability is rather important in the return gifts department because no matter how hard you teach your child, she/he is likely to walk up to the host and demand, ‘ok aunty, mamma says I need to go now. So where’s my return gift?’ She/he is also likely to dissect and analyse said gift with a ‘I have the same thing at home (Sketchpens), ‘Borrring’ (Sipper/ cup), ‘too girly’ (photoframe), ‘too kiddy’ (art kit), ‘for boys only’ (frisbee). Now before I sound like the mom from hell, let me try for some redemption. I actually look forward to the birthday parties. It gives me a chance to make the brat endlessly happy as only kids of a certain age can be. Even if that means cake with green colour cream. Reshmi Chakraborty is a freelance writer, mother of two and lives off Bannerghata Road.