Page 1

 7 more families likely to lose 9 homes in Ejipura P8 Congress wins Karnataka, but no hard grip on Bengaluru P12 Was corruption an electoral issue for Bangaloreans? P14 Bangalore yet to gear up for direct transfer of LPG subsidy P22 Surveys and measurements that ‘shaped’ India P24 The woman who conquered the world of numbers P30

Citizen Matters Local news like no one else does

Centre banned commercial

borewells in city State overturned it quietly

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Centre banned comm in city, state overtu The central government’s ground water authority had issued a major order in November 2012, banning digging of commercial borewells. When the baton passed to the state authority this April, everything broke.


hile water-strapped Bengaluru is waiting for the mercy of rain gods to bless the Cauvery belt to quench its thirst, water mafia is busy drawing water from just about anywhere: their own bore wells, bore wells of others, lakes and water bodies - wherever one can see water. As this article goes into publication, the city water board has just announced that Cauvery water supply for Bengaluru will stop in four days. Few know that the Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) issued an order in November 2012: No more borewell digging in Bengaluru for commercial purposes. If implemented correctly, this will change the pace of ‘development’ in Bengaluru. This order is meant to save the water level in existing bore wells, and thus help the existing population. 4 CITIZEN MATTERS

The strict implementation of this might turn upside down the plans of water tanker mafia and many builders who start constructions indiscriminately without any long term plans for water. However, like all other dysfunctional government rules, this also has remained only on papers.

Rules and rules - just paper tigers The Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) had notified Bangalore as an overexploited area in November 2012. This was a notification issued based on a study done by the Board, along with the state Mines and Geology Department, in 2009. Both Bangalore Urban and Rural districts, along with many other areas in the country, have been notified so far. In November itself, the Haryanaheadquartered Central Ground


Water Board passed a rule that borewells cannot be drilled in notified areas for commercial purposes. They can be dug only for extracting drinking water, that too only for homes, educational institutions, government organisations and hospitals. Houses and hospitals can dig bore wells only if there is no government water supply to them already. (Apartments are considered as commercial, according to the CGWB officials.) Until recently, CGWB had been responsible for giving permission for borewells in the state. As per its rules, CGWB did not issue permissions to commercial establishments after last November. A quick look at the CGWB site shows that many Bangalore-based businesses and water packaging companies had applied for permission in 2012-13, who figure in this list .

city news

mercial borewells urned it quietly

Pic: Padmalatharavi



City news Here is where the Central Board handed the things over to the State Board and things got messy for Bangalore. In a classic handoff from centre to state, Bangalore has been left high and dry, literally, in control of borewells.

KGA formed; but no action In 2011, the Karnataka state government passed the Karnataka Groundwater (Regulation and Control of Development and Management) Act. Following this, the Karnataka Groundwater Authority (KGA) was formed in March 2012 to enforce the Act. It is headed by the Secretary of state Minor Irrigation department, and has 15 other members including top officials from BWSSB, Mines and Geology Department, state Pollution Control Board etc. The Regional Director of CGWB is also a KGA member. Once the KGA was formed, it was supposed to process the applications from industries and real estate developers asking for borewell permissions. But the KGA has been so dysfunctional that it could not do this initially. So for about a year, until the end of March 2013, it had asked CGWB to continue processing applications. From April, CGWB has been forwarding applications to KGA, but it is not clear if the KGA has been doing the job. Like CGWB, state government’s Karnataka Groundwater Authority (KGA) has also notified Bangalore as overexploited. Officials at the state authority admitted to Citizen Matters that Bangalore’s condition is pathetic, however, they also say that a blanket ban just cannot be enforced.

Water mafia seeks no permission for bore wells Dr K M Najeeb, Regional Director 6 CITIZEN MATTERS

Manipal ETA Infotech SEZ coming up in Agara. Massive projects like these, n

of CGWB, says, “Since November, we have not given borewell permission to industries anywhere in Bangalore as it is a notified area. When people came to apply, we would tell them about the new rule, and hence there has been no applications recently.” But when it comes to thousands of Bangalore’s tanker water companies that roam the streets, there have never been any applications, both before or after the notification. “No tanker companies have ever applied to us. But we don’t have punitive powers, and hence never took action. Only the Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) can take action in case of complaints,” says Najeeb. The process is that, when an industry comes up, it has to take some permissions from KSPCB. If a bore well is needed, KSPCB will ask the applicant to get permission for this from CGWB (and now from the KGA). CGWB scientists will check the area and send a report to the central authority in Haryana who will take the final decision. “If there is no permission, applicant should


arrange for water from BWSSB,” says Najeeb.

Constructions that have arrangement for water


In the meantime, as the city teeters on a crisis, there are major industries coming up in the city without even disclosing their source of water. Citizen Matters had earlier reported about Manipal ETA Infotech, a 72-acre SEZ-cumtownship coming up in Agaram village near Koramangala. This project, a joint venture by Mantri Developers and Century Group, got BWSSB NOC for only 1.8 lakh sq ft of built-up area. The total built-up area for the project is a humongous 145 lakh sq ft. It is not clear where water will come from, for the major part of the project - SEZ, hotels, and other businesses. Citizen Matters enquired with Mantri Developers about whether they will dig bore wells in the area, but the company has not responded. Even if they dig bore wells, the water requirement

city news

need millions of litres of water daily. Pic: Navya P K

for the project is so high - about 4.5 Million Litres per Day - that it will completely dry up the groundwater table in this residential area. On the other hand, CGWB’s 2009 study named‘Dynamic Groundwater Resources of Karnataka’ - based on which it notified Bangalore - threw up scary statistics. The study shows that, of all the 30 districts in the state, the net annual ground water availability was lowest in Bangalore. It was only 1.17 million litres, while the state average was 4.9 million litres. The highest was in Belgaum, over 11 million litres. Bangalore was also the second highest in the extent of groundwater exploitation. Exploiting groundwater at about 142% of the actual recharge, it came second only to Kolar. The usage of Bangalore Rural was also high, at 132%. The state average was only 67.5%.

Cannot impose blanket ban: KGA Like CGWB, KGA has also notified overexploited areas. Last August, KGA notified 35 such taluks

in the state. Not surprisingly, entire Bangalore Urban and Rural districts are covered in this list too. But even then, Karnataka Groundwater Rules do not specify blanket restrictions on commercial borewell drilling like CGWB does. The KGA’s rules say that anyone whether for commercial, industrial or even entertainment purpose can apply for permission. KGA will only decide the ceiling of water that can be extracted in each case. Borewell owner should fix a water meter and give monthly data to KGA on water use. KGA can use this data to restrict water extraction by the owner. If the Groundwater Act puts any blanket restriction, it is only with respect to irrigation. The Act says that borewell permission will not be given in notified areas for irrigating water-intensive crops. But even in such cases, permission can be given after keeping some conditions, says P N Srinivasachary, KGA Chairman. Dr Najeeb of CGWB says that the state is free to make its own rules, and CGWB can only give guidelines. “Water comes under the concurrent list of the constitution - ie., both state and Centre can make rules on it. Since water is the state’s resource, they can make the final decision,” he says. Srinivasachary says that a new law can be made to put blanket restrictions on commercial borewells, but that it may not be effective. “The experience of other state authorities who made similar laws, is that enforcement is difficult. There is no alternate water source,” he says.

No alternative to more illegal borewells and tankers?

arrangements if there is no Cauvery supply. Now residents in all these areas are saying that tanker water is their only alternative”, he adds. Srinivasachary says that banning new commercial bore wells will also give monopoly to businesses that have existing unregistered, illegal borewells. District level officers of KGA are supposed to monitor existing bore wells. “There are only a couple of people in the district level. They cannot go door-to-door and ask people to register.” KGA has asked the BWSSB to do a borewell registration drive, but even this has not been very effective; very few people have registered so far. BWSSB estimates that there are 1.75 lakh borewells in the city, but only 13,000 have been registered. Another 3000-4000 applications are being processed. BWSSB will continue the registration drive until July 31. Rules say that those digging bore wells without permission can be fined or imprisoned, and their borewell and equipments confiscated. But on the ground, nothing has been happening. Dr Najeeb agrees that there are no alternatives to tanker water now, but says that government departments themselves are responsible for supplying water if there is shortage. “The price of piped water should be increased, so that there is no wastage, which will lead to surplus water. Now people waste water for cleaning cars, watering lawns etc,” he says. But how practical this suggestion is, is another question.

Navya P K is Senior Staff Journalist at Citizen Matters.

“When new layouts came up earlier, BWSSB gave them NOC (no objection certificate), saying that they will have to make alternate dd-month-2013



97 more fam to lose hom

Even as the controversy about the forced eviction of residents of the EWS quarters in Ejipura is yet to die down, another 97 families find themselves in danger of being displaced because of the project. 8 CITIZEN MATTERS


city news

milies likely mes in Ejipura R

ecently unearthed details about the concessional agreement between the BBMP and Maverick Holdings show that the BBMP intends to hand over additional land to the firm but the BBMP is yet to inform its residents about it. Maverick Holdings is constructing a commercial complex as well as 1,512 low income homes at the site previously occupied by tin sheds housing low-income housing allottees, their tenants and squatters. But now the land previously allocated to pourakarmikas is also being handed over to Maverick Holdings. In response to an RTI query, B T Ramesh, Chief Engineer of the BBMP, replied that apart from the 14 acres and 5.2 guntas already fenced off, an additional 1 acre 21 guntas of land is to be handed over to Maverick Holdings. Speaking to the press at Ejipura, Isaac Arul Selva of the Forum Against EWS Land Grab, who filed the RTI request, said that the BBMP has suppressed this information from the public. "Only through RTI we were able to get this information," he said. Selva said that almost none of the people living in the area were aware that their land was to be handed over to Maverick. However, this was confirmed by B T Ramesh who is also the nodal officer for the project. He said that the BBMP is yet to inform the residents about the impending



City news

Primary health centre in the location Pic: Sriram V

handover. "We will discuss with the residents and convince them to move to another location," he said. The residents living in the 1 acre 21 gunta land are BBMP pourakarmikas who were relocated here after the collapse of the pourakarmika quarters in Marenahalli in JP Nagar. Venkatesh, one of the residents living in the area, says they were unaware of the plans of the BBMP to hand over their land to Maverick Holdings. "We have been living here since 1996. We have titles for the land. We have even taken 15 lakh loan on the property. How can they hand it over to Maverick? " he asked. According to Yogananda, another pourakarmika, around 97 people from the Marenahalli 10 CITIZEN MATTERS

pourakarmika quarters were given 18X20 site each on a lease-cumsale basis and the corporation lent them money to build houses. He said that though the land was inside the compound of the erstwhile EWS quarters, they had full titles to the land. Yogananda showed this reporter a sale deed executed by the BBMP on March 2012, handing over the site to them. "It took us a lot of time to settle into this area. We have spent all our savings on building this home. We are not going to let someone come take it from us. If that were to happen, all the pourakarmikas in the city would go on strike," he said. In its reply to the RTI, the BBMP says that the land is to be handed over to Maverick Holdings in two


parts (see map). Part I is 14 acres and 5.2 guntas which has already been handed over by the BBMP to Maverick. Part 2 is 1 acre and 21.08 guntas which is yet to be handed over. But local corporator S Vijayan of the Congress who turned up with his supporters said that no more land would be given to Maverick. "All the development will happen only in the vacant land which has already been fenced off. Our MLA (N A Harris of the Congress) will not let them demolish these houses," he promised. Vijayan said that if such an agreement exists then it would be cancelled. Prabhakar, member of the Forum Against EWS Land Grab, said that according to the map obtained as part of the RTI, the Koramangala

city news

Top: Venkatesh, a pourakarmika residing in the to-be-handed over land Pic: Sriram V Below: Yogananda, a pourakarmika, shows the sale deed that handed over the site to him Pic: Sriram V

primary health center falls within the first 14 Acre 5 guntas already handed over to Maverick. "The PHC serves around ten thousand people living in the cluster of slums surrounding it. If that land is also handed over, people living here will have no public hospital to go to", he said. BBMP Chief Engineer B T Ramesh, when asked about the fate of the PHC, said that a final decision on whether to move the PHC is yet to be taken. "As the PHC serves a lot of people in the neighbourhood, we might decide to retain it," he said. We will seek relief: Uday Garudachar When Citizen Matters sought the views of Uday Garudachar, the then-Managing Director of Maverick Holdings, he said that as per the judgement of the High Court the BBMP has to handover the extant of land submitted in their affidavits which is 15.64 acres. "If they are unable to handover the entire land then it would be considered a breach of trust; we'll seek necessary relief from the courts". When told that the residents claimed to have titles for the land, Garudachar said that they were free to contest the handover if it was so. "We have agreed to construct 1512 houses and maintain them for 30 years. If they have legitimate titles for the and and the BBMP cannot transfer the land, we'll have to seek necessary compensation from them" he said. Garudachar said these issues were being raked up to damage his election campaign. "People are trying to make an issue of this because I'm contesting" he added.

Sriram V is a freelance journalist and photographer.




Congress wins Karnataka, but People do not want a coalition government that leads to resort politics and horsetrading. Anti-incumbency has catapulted the Congress party to power, but it is not an approval of the corruption in the party.


he people’s mandate for Karnataka is clean and clear - they do not want to watch the episodes of resort politics, horsetrading and ‘óperations’ to continue. The Congress party has been given the mandate to rule the state for next five years - but it’s no way an approval of the massive scams erupting at the Central Constituency & number

government level. It is just that people have taken a chance to see if Congress is a ‘lesser evil’ for the state. In Bangalore, the number of Congress MLAs has gone up from 10 to 13 - an increase of just two seats. Anekal, Yeshwanthpur, Rajarajeshwari Nagar, K R Puram and Chikpet have slipped from Bharatiya



Votes secured

Janata Party’s fold to Congress’ fold, while Congress lost Mahalakshmi Layout and Pulakeshinagar to Janata Dal (Secular), resulting in a two-seat increase for JD(S). BJP lost five seats and is down from 17 to 12 in numbers. 2008 tally: BJP-17; INC-10; JDS-1 2013 tally: BJP-12; INC-13; JDS-3

Runner up

Winning margin

Yelahanka 150

S R Vishwanath



Gopalakrishna MN (INC)


K R Puram 151

B A Basavaraja



N S Nandish Reddy (BJP)


Byatarayanapura 152

Krishna Byregowda



A Ravi (BJP)


Yeshwanthpur 153




T N Javarayi Gowda (JDS)

29010 18813

Rajarajeshwari Nagar 154




KLR Thimmananjaiah (JDS)

Dasarahalli 155

S Muniraju



B L Shankar (INC)


Mahalakshmi Layout 156

Gopalaiah K



N L Narendra Babu (INC)


Malleshwaram 157

Ashwath Narayan



B K Shivaram (INC)


Hebbal 158

R Jagadish Kumar



A Rehman Sherief (INC)


Pulakeshinagar (SC) 159

A Srinivas Murthy



B Prasannakumar (INC)


Sarvagna Nagar 160

K J George



Padmanabha Reddy (BJP)


CV Raman Nagar (SC) 161

S Raghu



P Ramesh (INC)




Nirmal Kumar Surana(BJP) 20855

Shivajinagar 162


Roshan Baig


city news

t no hard grip on Bengaluru Constituency & number Shanthinagar 163



N A Haris

Votes secured

Winning margin

Runner up



K Vasudeva Murthy (JDS)


Gandhinagar 164

Dinesh Gundu Rao



P C Mohan (BJP)


Rajajinagar 165




Manjula Naidu (INC)


Govindrajnagar 166

Priya Krishna



H Ravindra (BJP)


Vijayanagar 167

M Krishnappa



V Somanna (BJP)


Chamrajpet 168

Zameer Ahmad Khan



G A Bava (INC)


Chikkpet 169

R V Devaraj



Uday Gaurdachar (BJP)


Basavanagudi 170

Ravi subrahmanya



K Bagegowda (JD(S)


Padmanabhanagar 171

R Ashok



L S Chetan Gowda (INC)


BTM layout 172

Ramalinga Reddy



M Sudhakar (BJP)


Jayanagar 173

B N Vijaykumar



M C Venugopal (INC)


Mahadevpura (SC) 174

Aravind Limbavali



A C Srinivas (INC)


Bommanahalli 175

Satish Reddy



Nagabhushana C (INC)


Bangalore South 176

M Krishnappa



R Prabhakar Reddy (JDS)


Anekal (SC) 177

B Shivanna



Narayana Swamy (BJP)


Somashekhar, the Congress candidate for Yeshwanthpur, secured 1,20,132 votes - the highest by any MLA this time. Lowest vote for any winning MLA was secured by R Jagadish Kumar, BJP candidate from Hebbal. There are no women MLAs elected this time from Bangalore, though there were 40 women

candidates in the fray. Single woman MLA from Bangalore in last elections, Shobha Karandlaje, lost in the race against Suresh Kumar (BJP) and Manjula Naidu (INC) in Rajajinagar constituency.

News Desk



City news


fter the Karnataka elections, many political analysts said that people of Karnataka are not for corruption; the BJP lost the state because of corruption. But did they? At least in Bengaluru, this argument does not seem to hold any ground. It is true that the rest of Karnataka voted out the corruption-ridden BJP. Outside Bangalore, the party got just 28 seats out of 196, and lost its deposit in 110 constituencies - a defeat unimaginable and unexpected by its leaders. But in Bangalore, BJP lost just five seats, down from 17 to 12. The Congress party suffered two upsets (Narendra Babu - Mahalakshmi Layout and Prasannakumar - Pulakeshinagar) and won five additional seats, taking the tally to just 13 form 10. If there was an overall trend for Bangalore's 28 seats, it was this: most sitting MLAs across parties won their seats, 20 in all. This takes us to an important question: Does corruption matter to an average civilian burdened with the day to day affairs of coping up with life in Bengaluru? Says Kuppanna, 65, a retired government servant residing in Malleshwaram: “Corruption does not count. What I see while

voting is what he has done for the constituency, and whether he has helped me on a personal level.” There is a large majority of voters who follow the same criteria while choosing voters. “I’m traditionally a Congress voter. But this time I voted for BJP. This BJP MLA is good; when we visit him, he buys us drinks and talks with us. But the Congress candidate is not so good,” is how Hanumanthappa, an auto driver explains the phenomena. There were attempts to boost interest on voting among individuals, by various nongovernmental groups. One of them is Bangalore Political Action Committee, BPAC. Mohandas Pai, Vice-President of BPAC believes that corruption still counts, as far as a normal voter is concerned. “Voters take corruption seriously and that is why many were voted out. The basic flaw is the justice system that takes an inordinate amount of time to dispose of cases,” he adds. If this is true, and if a voter takes corruption seriously, why have the MLAs with unimaginable increase in assets in five years gotten reelected? Some MLA contestants’ assets had swelled more than 1000% in five years - an increase no

Was corr

for B

infrastructure bond, no bank or no ULIP can promise. Just an example: BJP MLA S Raghu (C V Raman Nagar) had figured as a topper among the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR) list, by growing his assets by 4200%. He had Rs 72.9 lakhs as his assets in 2008, which increased to over Rs 31 crores in five years. He has been re-elected. Here is a chart that lists the increase in assets from 2008 to 2013, for new MLAs/MLAs who re-contested. This is not to say that steep increases in asset base automatically mean the individual is corrupt. It is just a fact-presentation that lists the growth of assets in five years. The numbers here are taken from the affidavits of respective persons.

AC No.



Total Assets

Total Assets - 2008

Growth in 5 years


Govindaraja Nagar

Priya Krishna (INC)

910 Crore+

767 Crore+



Shanti Nagar

N. A. Haris (INC)

133 Crore+

readability of 2008 affidavit is not good, we could not summarise it

Even data released by ADR did not seem to have it


Sarvagna Nagar

Kelachandra Joseph George (INC)

31.55 Crore+

24.2 Crore



CV Raman Nagar

S. Raghu (BJP)

31.6 Crore

72.9 Lakh



BTM Layout

Ramalinga Reddy (INC)

35.9 Crore

8.65 Crore




Satish Reddy (BJP)

41.8 Crore

15.9 Crore



Bangalore South

M Krishnappa (BJP)

34.6 Crore

17.7 Crore





ruption an electoral issue

Bangaloreans? While the BJP was wiped out in the rest of Karnataka, the party lost just five seats in Bangalore. It got 40 seats, out of which 12 were from the city’s 28 constituencies. Is Bangaloreans’ anticorruption anguish real? AC No.



Total Assets

Total Assets - 2008

Growth in 5 years



R. Ashoka (BJP)

26.2 Crore

9.98 Crore



Shivaji Nagar

R.Roshan Baig (INC)

19.7 Crore

8.17 Crore




C N Ashwath Narayan (BJP)

15.93 Crore

5.5 Crore




Krishna Byregowda (INC)

6 Crore+

Affidavit not summarisable



B.Z.Zameer Ahmed Khan (JDS)

9.45 Crore

52 Lakh




Shivanna.B (INC2013) (New)

7.06 Crore

Affidavit not summarisable


A Narayanswamy (BJP-2008)(Lost)

7 Crore+

3.11 Crores




Aravind Limbavali (BJP)

6.12 Crore

1.29 Crore




Dinesh Gundu Rao (INC)

22.76 Crore

20.33 Crore




B N Vijaykumar (BJP)

17.62 Crore

75.82 Lakh




Ravi Subrahmanya (BJP)

2.93 Crore

2.2 Crore




S.Muniraju (BJP)

13.7 Crore

20.12 Crore




City news AC No.



Total Assets

Total Assets - 2008

Growth in 5 years



S R Vishwanath (BJP)

21 Crore+

8 Crore+




Suresh Kumar S (BJP)

2 Crore+

affidavit not readable



M Krishnappa (INC)

144 Crore+

129 Crore+



K R Puram

Basavaraj (new)

26 Crore+

K R Puram

N Nandish Reddy (BJP-2008)(Lost)

118 Crore+

36 Crore+



Mahalakshmi Layout

Gopalaiah (new)

7.1 Crore+

Mahalakshmi Layout

N L Narendra Babu (INC-2008) (Lost)

1 Crore+

8 Lacs+




R V Devaraj (INC2013)(New)

32 Crore+

11 Crore+

nearly 300%



A Srinivas Murthy (New)

4.1 Crore


B Prasanna Kumar (INC-2008) (Lost)

6 Crore+

76 Lacs+



Rajarajeshwari nagar


28 Crore+

Affidavit for BBMP elections not available

Rajarajeshwari nagar

M Srinivas (BJP-2008) 32 Crore+ (Lost)

14 Crore+




S T Somashekhar (INC-2013) (New)

1 Crore+


7 Crore+

* Only assets are considered, not liabilities * Previous affidavits of some of the new MLAs could not be checked * Some of the affidavits filed in 2008 are not readable/ could not be summarised. * BBMP elections -2010 affidavit for Muniratna could not be searched out.

Anticorruption plank fails to make headway Perhaps one reason corruption didn't matter is that choices from alternative candidates to sitting MLAs were not attractive enough, with the result that incumbents were at an advantage anyway. Some observers were looking to see if the Lok Satta party could capture the angst of Bangaloreans. The party ran its campaign on a 'clean-politics and anti-corruption' plank and fielded candidates characterised as ‘professionals’ - in nine constituencies in the city. The AP-headquartered Lok Satta party is relatively new to Karnataka and 16 CITIZEN MATTERS

does not have a statewide base and following. Their strongest base is Bangalore itself. But with mainline candidates spending massive amounts of money to lure low-income voters, and with voters also mostly preferring the big parties with statewide or national recognition, Lok Satta’s anti-corruption plank did not make much headway. Some observers say that considering the odds, two of its candidates did do well. Ashwin Mahesh (Bommanahalli) and Meenakshi Bharath (Malleshwaram) came third in their respective races, beating JD(S) and KJP contenders.


Also the premise that the city has had a large population of voters frustrated with corruption and who may be sizeable enough as a vote bank is perhaps faulty. At the peak of Bangalore’s Saaku corruption and Anna Hazare-support campaigns during 2010-11, the maximum number of people who visited the Freedom park by some accounts was around 30,000 in a day. Assume that around one-two lakhs of people visited Freedom Park over several days of the Hazare campaign. Compare that to the voter turnout for Bangalore on May 5th, 41 lakhs. The one-two lakhs are anyway spread all over Bangalore,

city news

not in any one or two of the city’s 28 constituencies. So the staunch anticorruption voters alone could not have made a difference anyway. Of course there is an undercurrent of those who may not approve of corruption internally though they may not go around protesting against it. But the people who don’t care for corruption seem to outnumber this minority category of voters who care about corruption. Sridhar Pabbisetty, Chief Operating Officer of the Centre for Public Policy at IIM-Bangalore who contested from Hebbal on Lok Satta's ticket, acknowledges the reality. “Familiarity and working for a long term in the constituency has been placed much above contributions made in policy (by voters)”, he says, interpreting the results. But there is still another question: Bangalore being highliteracy city, did voters even know about the reality of assets and criminal cases of the candidates? Media coverage of candidate profiles not enough? There are many institutions

in Bangalore working for reforms in electoral politics. Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), established by a group of professors from Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore and Ahmedabad, has been working towards empowering citizens with the details of assets and criminal cases of contesting candidates and chosen representatives. ADR releases extensive reports to media from time to time. The team covers elections not just in Karnataka, but all over India. When asked why so many incumbent MLAs with multiple times of growth in assets, and even those with criminal cases, got elected and re-elected, Trilochan Sastry of ADR puts forth a different perspective, important nonetheless. “Media doesn’t report our studies seriously. The coverage is usually just one or two columns, with just the names of a few contestants. If the media doesn’t report how will people know about such things?” The media industry has its own reasons not to carry serious issues. According to a decision maker in a major media organisation in

the city who did not want to be named, every outlet has a fixed set of objectives, which contribute to the circulation / viewership and brand image. Readership surveys and Television Rating Points (TRPs) too play a major role in deciding editorial priorities. As a result, local politics, less-serious issues and frivolous elements fetch more audience and yield better circulation or viewership, while serious issues have less audience. This is perhaps reason for the media not to carry the informative reports such as ADR releases in detail. Coming back to Bengaluru, the voters of the capital city did vote in highest numbers, contributing to highest polling percentage recorded in recent times. So did they vote right? Nobody has the time to think. It’s over; move on. The new government has come, it will do whatever it has to. Let’s think about it after five years. Corruption is the order of the day. It’s common nowadays. That seems to be the sober bigger picture, as far as this cosmopolitan, all-accommodating city is concerned.


News desk



Verdict 2013: Will patronage po There are two spheres of politics being played out in India. One is patronage, and the second, aspirational. During the just concluded Karnataka assembly elections, both were seen. More and more people are waking up to the aspirational one.


lenty will be written, said, read, and heard over the next few days around the return of the Congress to Karnataka. Plenty will also be said about how the incoming chief minister plans to fix Bengaluru, the ailing capital city. As if this party did not have opportunities in the past. At the end of this article, I’m going to summarise what this verdict means to me. I will also add a few key areas where I would like to see real change. But before that, let’s take a deeper look at the context under which our elections are being fought and won. I will also decode apathy for you without the judgmentalism of the self-righteous. Some of this is all economics. I am not an economist, so I will not write this part like one. There are two levels at which I am seeing politics played out in India. One is patronage, and the second, aspirational. During the just concluded assembly elections, both were seen. The aspirational one is a baby movement getting louder by the day. But let’s do first things first. In patronage politics, our MLAs and their parties are expected to help in the providing of many 18 CITIZEN MATTERS

services for the citizens. Water, housing, electricity, schools, roads, drains, waste collection, religious trust funds, regularising property titles, jobs, BPL cards, hakku patras, you name it. Most key of these are schooling, health care, electricity, housing and water. Governance has by and large continued to fail lowincome people in these areas. As a result you find that during every election, the same cries come out each time, many getting louder. People are desperate for whatever their MLAs can do. My domestic help voted for the sitting MLA because he helped bring a ‘transformer’ to her area for electricity and promised to get new government sites allotted. And of course, she took money from all the major parties this time. Equally, she took part in rallies where lowincome people like her are paid Rs.250-750 to attend meetings. In patronage politics, MLAs are like the extended arms of state


city news

olitics yield to aspirational?

power (the p o l i t i c a l executive) reaching directly into the constituencies. Government is like an octopus with 224 arms. Lawmaking glory is not for our MLAs. Ever heard of an MLA proudly boasting about a reform law passed in the state assembly that changed the way things were done? Hardly. Most importantly, in patronage politics, all kinds of conflicts of interests are fused in, with no

regulatory teeth to actually check or stop anything. Politicians are builders. Builders are politicians. Politicians run water tanker firms, contractors become city councillors. Also, patronage politics is supported by a society that is still struggling to unshackle itself from being deeply hierarchical, casteoriented and easily corruptible. Fundamental rights of citizens are not upheld here. A policeman could abuse you tomorrow and you will not get remedy easily. Journalists can be jailed on trumped up charges. In this world, MLAs are like ‘rulers’ not public servants, and ministers, ‘gods’. Corruption is still ‘accepted’, especially as a means to an end. Ethics? It is best left out. You know all this. Here is the problem though. In better-off democracies, schooling, health care, electricity and water are considered entitlements and are delivered far better to all people. No country is perfect and there are problems everywhere. But in comparison to us, there are democracies that deliver the basics better. The result: Voters in those democracies are not en-masse struggling for water, good public schooling, decent healthcare and power. If they fall ill, the expense does not push them back into poverty. In turn, this allows people to plan for their future and invest in

it. The assurance of the basics, and upholding of fundamental rights levels the playing field and gives most citizens, if not every one, a shot at the good life. It is also the biggest counter-balance against apathy, which we will come to later. The broadest group that receives these entitlements in the so-called ‘mature’ democracies is the middleclasses. (How it got that way is another story altogether.) The modern idea of holding governments accountable to citizens is built on top of this premise that the basics themselves will never become a struggle for the people. So the largest vote bank is itself the middle class, and they vote on the issues that matter to them. For instance, voters will support parties and candidates on whether ‘healthcare’ be made universal or not. They could vote on whether state government funding to protect forest lands be expanded or cut. Or cutting pollution in cities. That is where ideology and competitive politics comes in. In patronage politics, this is not even imagined. The basic entitlements themselves are so far from being delivered that lowerincome voters do not have any real autonomy, as citizens. Children go to dysfunctional schools and get unreliable health care. Fetching potable water kills a substantial part of a poor woman’s productive day time. Housing may be in an informal slum today, and it may get razed tomorrow. These citizens will take whatever money comes their way. Naturally, when elections



City news come around, as was abundantly on display in Karnataka this time too, political campaigns here are rozi roti. Which brings me to the second level, aspirational politics. Aspiration politics is the new India. Here, citizens are earning more and are already setup to go up further. Even though the Indian middle-class is a much smaller percentage of the country compared even to Brazil’s middle class, lakhs of people are already better-off in Indian cities. Economists are also pointing to an income class in India which is below the middle class itself. This income group is much larger than the middle class, is well above the poverty line and is expanding. This group too contains citizens who are breaking from the grip of patronage politics. Aspirational politics is most defined by people speaking up. Speaking up is in fact picking up here. Most voters here are not voting to ensure their tomorrow will not be snatched away or because of their identity. They are trying to rise above that. So freedom of expression, justice, equality, governance reform, integrity, accountability, rights, independence of regulators, vision, professionalism, problem solving, data driven debate, etc., all figure in the discussions at this level. Also in aspirational politics, you cannot buy voters. They are already better off. You have to get them to come out and vote for you and your party with an ideology or with a promise of change or both. By the way, in each major political party there are a few individual politicians of this mould. It would be wrong to say that such politicians exist only on the fringes. But they are isolated cases in a system of patronage anyway. However, it is still early times for 20 CITIZEN MATTERS

aspirational politics in India. Voters from this sphere do not count heavily on the polls right now. So if it is as simple as this, some would say we need more economic growth to get the majority of Indians into the income levels that work for aspirational politics and by then, our political parties would have morphed by necessity. Politics itself will then deliver. Simple. Why not just wait it out, new India? Sorry. This is where the comparison between India’s journey and that of the more evolved democracies fades out. Several problems complicate matters for us. I will only list two here. (Ask leading economists and political scientists, they have even more.) One, the better-off classes in India are also what political scientist Pratap Bhanu Mehta calls the world’s largest privatised middle class. Because of caste, as well as how this country was colonised, run by the British, and run after political independence in 1947, our story is unique. Today, our better-off citizens do not rely on government for two most important and publiccreating entitlements that citizens in mature democracies usually do: public schooling and healthcare. Better-off Indians go to private school and get private health care. (Central government-run Kendriya Vidyalayas do not count as normal government-run schools. They are on par with private schools, and cater to government staff at the same middle and upper income levels. This itself is shameful proof of how our governance creates hierarchies in taxpayer-funded schooling system.) As for water, the better-off in cities like Bengaluru just buy it outright when the state system fails. So at the local level, for betteroff citizens, it is roads, electricity


to some degree, and waste management that governments provide as ‘basic’ services. Which to put in one word is ‘infrastructure’, with roads dominating everything. This is why you find every politician and party promising ‘infrastructure’ when they campaign with people at the aspirational level. But, let me take a small detour here to explain voter apathy better. Political scientists note readily that middle and upper classes have historically been the smallest numbers in voting in India. But not voting is only one-half apathy. The other half is a real response to stake. The better-off know that they are only reliant on state and local government for infrastructure. But here again, look at the manifestos. All the parties talk infrastructure anyway. So why vote, when anyway you know they will all promise 100, deliver between 20-50 and take turns coming to power to do that? Flip over now, and look at it for the parties. Promising infrastructure always looks good. And they do not need a higher-income-voters’ mandate to justify infrastructure anyway. Why? In patronage politics, infrastructure building is 'cool'. Politicians get rich, builders get rich. Voters understand this, cynically. That is the win-win. This is the other half of apathy you do not hear much about. Herein lies the deeper problem for aspirational politics in the higher income groups: The minute patronage politics makes tall infrastructure promises, it is like a drug, especially in the media. It neutralises the real progressive purpose of dialogue on governance reform. All conversations about integrity, accountability, and fairness in public spending become secondary. They want to give you infrastructure, that is great, so take it. The second thing that

city news complicates matters is language. At the aspirational level, there is a duality of language choices for discussion. While some citizens prefer local languages, other citizens prefer English. This changes the game because it creates a parallel political process, with each side not necessarily emotionally comfortable with the other. It also creates the need for bilingual mediators to bring both aspirational spheres together. If you ask Ramachandra Guha, he worries that there are simply not enough bilingual intellectuals emerging. I would argue that language, as issue, is by far the messiest factor. Seen this way, there are two publics in our polity. One is the patronage politics-public, running in local languages everywhere. The other is the aspirational politics-public which works in the languages to some degree, and is also very vocal in English, especially in ethnically diverse cities like Bengaluru. Despite these complications, more and more people are waking up. As seen in Bengaluru this month, the better-off did vote in higher numbers. Voting is starting to get recognised as progress itself. Which brings me to the Karnataka verdict of 2013, and what lies in store for Bengaluru. To me, the verdict is simply a change of guard from one patronage politics player to another. The manner in which politics itself is conducted and plays out has not changed. And, recognising the two publics, the new government, like the previous one, will play at both levels. To the less better off, ministers and MLAs will play ‘gods who roll the dice’. You may get water, you may not. You may get better teachers and school buildings, you may not. To the better-off, they will

talk infrastructure. We’ll give you expressways, corridors, industrial townships, and what not. There is a lot of money in that. Wink, and winwin. So what are the chances of aspirational politics to get a transformative shot? Hard to say. If you are searching for a silver lining here, there is one slightly promising factor from recent history. When the Congress-led UPA government came to power at the Centre in 2004, it came on the back of a campaign where it derided the BJP for India Shining. There was something new in the air then, I still recall. The National Advisory Council was set up with great expectations. That is how the Right to Information Act and the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (there are critics of this one) were also passed. Both were strokes of aspiration politics, not patronage. But in its second term, the Congress at Delhi has more or less mirrored the BJP’s first term in Karnataka, stroke for stroke, scam for scam. Patronage politics prevailed. For the sake of argument, let us assume that the incoming Karnataka government sees itself as having been given a chance to lead the way forward. Focusing only on Bengaluru, here is a litmus test of the new leaders' capacity to transcend the old culture. Just examples, you may have other ones. The new cabinet is not even going to be a coalition, so they have five continuous years. Water: Bangalore is in deep, deep trouble. Tanker firms are holding sway at the peripheries. Unchecked and illegal borewell drilling is still the norm. Massive real estate activity still happens without water planning. The water agency is not fixing its own massive pipe

leaks and is squandering the most precious resource. Solutions exist as always. But patronage politics must yield for solutions to flow in. Public lands: Over the past few decades massive theft of government lands in the greater Bengaluru region has taken place, as showed by both the A T Ramaswamy and V Balasubramanian reports. The city became a real estate playground. After all, land theft is the hallmark of patronage politics. The Karnataka Congress party, if it really means change, can do something new here to stem the rot. (At the time I wrote this, their High Command in Delhi is busy negotiating the storm that the latest Coalgates and Railgates have stirred up.) Decentralisation of state powers: Our cities are like bloated children on steroids. Without decentralisation of state power, Bengaluru has grown, but did not grow up. I argued in an open letter to Manmohan Singh two weeks ago that I do not want world-class infrastructure, I want world-class city government. Many friends found so much clarity in the letter that they asked me to get Dr Singh to read it. That article was premised on aspirational politics. I intend to give it to the new chief minister anyway. Fat hopes they will act, you might say. In the meantime, the people in aspirational politics will simply have to keep chipping away to take power back in this city, as in others. There is no comparable model anywhere on the planet for the complex and transformative political journey this country and its cities are going through. Something will have to break on he ground, hopefully sooner rather than later.

Subramaniam Vincent is co-founder and editor at Citizen Matters.




Bangalore yet to gear up for direct transfer of LPG subsidy The Direct Benefit Transfer of subsidies will start in Mysore and Tumkur on June 1; the scheme will reach Bangalore soon. Is the capital city ready for the implementation of the scheme?


inally the Central government has taken the major step of implementing the direct benefit transfer scheme for LPG subsidies. This will be implemented 1 June 2013 onwards in selected 20 districts all over India, including Mysore and Tumkur. Petroleum Minister Veerappa Moily issued a statement to this effect on 15 May 2013. Public sector banks also have started alerting the customers and educating them on linking their accounts to their Aadhar cards. According to Moily, oil companies will credit the subsidy amount to the bank accounts of the customers; the government will transfer the subsidies to the companies every quarter.

What is Direct Benefit Transfer? The Central government introduced Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) scheme, also called as the Direct Cash Transfer scheme, for various welfare programs by the government such as pensions and scholarships. The scheme is aimed at reducing corruption by 22 CITIZEN MATTERS

eliminating middlemen in the scheme of transferring the benefits to the beneficiaries. The Phase-I of this program was initiated from 1 January 2013 in 43 districts of various states including Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. Phase -II is all set to roll out on 1 June 2013, in which LPG subsidy is included.

How does the new system work? In the existing system, the consumers of subsidised LPG have to pay a subsidised price of anywhere between 410 to 420 rupees for a cylinder of 14.2 kg. A cylinder actually cost the double, of almost 50% was borne by the government. Now, the consumers need to pay the full non-subsidised market price for LPG at the time of purchasing LPG cylinder. The DCT scheme mandates that the full subsidy amount should be credited to the accounts of the customer directly. The Aadhar card system would be the link that will join the consumers' bank accounts to their individual LPG accounts. The


scheme basically will put an end to the illegal diversion of domestic LPG cylinders for commercial purposes, and the illegal sale of subsidised cylinders. Important thing is, the bank needs to be a public sector bank, like SBI, Canara or Syndicate bank. Here is the process: As soon as you book your first LPG cylinder, you will receive an amount equivalent to the subsidy in your bank account. This will be the advance subsidy that you use for buying the cylinder with non-subsidised price. As soon as you get the first delivery of the cylinder, an amount equivalent to the subsidy will again be deposited to your account. This will be your subsidy for the next cylinder you will book. This will continue for nine cylinders in a year- the cap for subsidised LPG cylinders fixed by the Central government. After nine cylinders, you will be eligible for the subsidy only in the next year.

Is Bangalore ready for the scheme? As none of the DCT schemes have been implemented in the city

city news the existing account holders to link their Aadhar cards to their accounts. On 15 May 2013, State Bank of India issued an advertisement informing the customers to link their accounts to Aadhar card, to enable Direct Benefit Transfers. Some banks are asking prospective customers to submit their Aadhar cards as their proof of identity. "We have 5000 accounts in our branch out of which only a 100 have registered with Aadhar cards," said a branch manager of a bank in HAL-II stage who did not want to be quoted.

Gas agencies still not ready

yet, people have not found any use for their Aadhar cards yet. Majority of them are not aware of how the scheme works. The procedure to be followed by the customer to avail this program is to submit his Aadhar card number along with the bank account details to their gas cylinder dealer, along with the Know-Your-Customer (KYC) form given by the gas agency. Bank account details should be filled up in Aadhar registrations forms and should be linked to the Aadhar card, at the time of Aadhar card registration. If the linking is not done during Aadhar card registration, it can be done by submitting the Aadhar card to the bank branch where one holds the account and linking it to the account. Such an account clubbed with Aadhar card would be qualified as the beneficiary's account for direct cash transfer in lieu of subsidy, according to the existing system. Some banks are encouraging

In Bangalore, however, public sector banks and government gas agencies are yet to find out more about the scheme. The time gap in which the subsidy will be credited to the customer's account is not known to anyone. Gas agencies in some areas don't seem to have clarity on whether people who haven't procured their Aadhar cards till date would be eligible to avail the LPG subsidy from the government or not.

■ Aadhar card compulsory for all the gas connections ■ Those who want to avail subsidy must have an account in public sector banks, and link it to their Aadhar card ■ Subsidy amount will be applicable only nine cylinders per year. However, an official from Indian Oil Company who did not want to be named said that subsidies will be applicable only for the connections that have an Aadhar-enabled bank account. He informed Citizen Matters that the scheme will roll out

in Mysore and Tumkur in the pahseII, and will be launched in Bangalore very soon. But not everybody seems to have this knowledge. "We are expecting the DCT scheme to be introduced in the month of October," said Suresh, who is accountant at Anant Indane gas agency, Airport road. Agencies of Hindustan Petroleum gas in Malleshwaram area have started collecting KYC information and Aadhar card details long back. "They had even gone to the extent of disconnecting the gas connection because there a delay in submitting Aadhar card," says Sharada, a resident of Malleshwaram, whose connection was restored after she submitted the Aadhar card. Hindustan Petroleum has uploaded on its website the forms for submitting Aadhar cards to the banks and distributors separately. Indane too has included the links on its website that educate the customers on how to get their Aadhar cards linked to their gas subscription numbers, and Aadhar card submission form. "We have not yet received the orders from the Head office to collect Aadhar information from the customers." said Padma, a senior staff member at Bharat gas agency in Uttarahalli. She said that LPG holders would have to pay the Rs. 857 for each cylinder and the deficit of Rs. 420 for each cylinder would be credited to the customer's bank account. If you need subsidised gas and if your account is not Aadhar-enabled, rush to your bank and get it linked to Aadhar card, and get your gas conncection linked to Aadhar card.


Kedar Nadella



Surveys and m that ‘shap

It was in our backyard in Bangalore and Mysor Vijay Thiruvady explains the gigantic efforts th the difficulti


n 1802, Alexander von Humboldt climbed towards the crater of Mount Chimbarazo in Ecuador, 20,480 ft. above sea level. It was believed then that this was the highest point any man had climbed; Mt Chimbarazo was then considered the highest (volcanic) mountain in the world. It was many decades later that the height of the peaks of the Himalayas were established. Mt. Everest (in 1852) at 29,002 ft. was the highest mountain in the world - nearly two miles above the spot at Chimbarazo where Humboldt stopped his ascent at 19,286 ft. Humboldt, between 1799 and 1805, explored Central America and parts of the USA. He studied and recorded everything that crossed his path - the rivers, the lakes, the mountains. He studied the tribes in his journeys, the flora and fauna of the region and the geographical features such as the connection between the Orinoco river and the Amazon by a natural channel. It was here that Humboldt saw a Rain Tree with a spread of over an acre. This tree (Samanea saman) is a tree all Bangaloreans are now familiar with. This tree was brought in from the New World as 24 CITIZEN MATTERS



measurements ped’ India

re that the greatest surveys were undertaken. he British undertook while mapping India and ies involved. so successfully introduced into India that most Indians believe that it is an indigenous tree. One would have thought the work of Humboldt and his companions was the greatest survey being undertaken in the world at that time. Not so. It was in our backyard in Bangalore and Mysore that the greatest surveys were undertaken. Three major surveys were begun in the region consisting of a Route survey, a Topographical survey and the Great Trigonometrical Survey(GTS).

Route Survey In 1800 Dr. Francis Buchanan began route surveys of the country spanning Mysore, Canara and Malabar. This resulted in a classic three volume comprehensive survey titled "...the State of Agriculture, Arts & Commerce, The Religion, Manners & Customs, The History Natural & Civil & Antiquities... " which was published in 1807. This great comprehensive Route survey provided geographical details of the countryside, the main arteries and furnished a preliminary reconnaissance for the other surveys. Buchanan's accomplishments covered Buddhism and Indian dd-month-2013


Features Antiquities, Agriculture & Botany, Zoology, Architecture & Archaeology. He also started the first Zoo in India and ended his career as the Superintendent of Calcutta Botanical Gardens.

Topographical Survey The Topographical survey was carried out by Colin Mackenzie. Colin Mackenzie along with William Lambton fought in the fourth Anglo-Mysore war which resulted in the death of Tipu Sultan, the ruler of Mysore. With this it was a matter of time for the rest of India to come under the control of the East India Company. Colin Mackenzie did his first survey in 1784 when he joined the Engineers. He went on to participate in the third AngloMysore war (1790-1792), the siege of Pondicherry (1793), fought with the Nizam of Hyderabad's troops (1795) and was involved in the siege of Colombo (1796). He surveyed the Hyderabad territory including its famous diamond mines. The Survey of Mysore carried out by Mackenzie was the first large topographical survey in India covering 40,000 sq. miles and took nine years to complete. Mackenzie's technique consisted of establishing carefully determined positions, carrying out minor triangulations with individual survey parties, touring the ground, fitting in woods, rivers, physical features and all other details that go to making a map.

Trigonometrical Survey A Topographical survey is the basis of cartography, map making and revenue mapping. The Trigonometrical survey is the basis for geodesy which establishes the curvature of the earth and helps in pinpointing accurately the 26 CITIZEN MATTERS



Lambton’s Instruments Lambton’s Geometric Instruments for the Survey have a unique tale. Chains of blistered steel together with other instruments including the Zenith Sector were procured from a Dr Dinwiddie. The instruments were presents from England to the Chinese Emperor in Peking. However, the Court at Peking thought that these instruments looked like torture instruments and were not suitable as presents to the Emperor. Lambton relieved Dr Dinwiddie of these instruments at Calcutta when Dr Dinwiddie was escorting the instruments back to England.

Brihadeshwara Incident In 1807, Lambton had reached Tanjore. The summit of Brihadeshwara temple, i.e. the top of the Sanctum Sanctoram at 216 feet was chosen to form the apex of the triangle with the base line at ground level. In the process of winching the half a ton theodolite(geometric instrument) to the top, the guy rope guiding the movement of the theodolite snapped, swung and crashed into the tower. It is recorded that the theodolite was badly damaged (it took four months for work to begin again). However, the sculptures on the temple face seem to have survived undamaged.

The Indian who discovered Mt Everest In 1852, a very bright Bengali employee, Radhanath Sickdar, first believed that he had found the highest mountain in the world, designated as Peak XV. It took many more years of accurate measurement to confirm this and it was named Mt Everest, by Capt Waugh, in memory of the Surveyor General, Mr Everest.



Features meridians(longitudes) and latitudes of the area surveyed. While Mackenzie & Buchanan were executing their surveys, William Lambton began his Trigonometrical Survey of India. After the Battle of Polilur (1780) where the British were roundly defeated, it was felt that a survey of the upland interiors of Mysore needed to be implemented to prevent the British from being ambushed in unknown countryside. Lambton carried out a trial exercise (1800-1802) starting at Agara village next to Koramangala in Bangalore. A level piece of ground was selected and a chain,100 ft long of blistered steel, was housed in five wooden coffers each 20 ft long. The blistered steel chain consisting of bars 2.5 ft in length were connected to each other by brass hinges. The wooden coffers were supported on tripods with levelling screws. The coffers were also equipped with thermometers so as to make any corrections on the length of the bars induced by temperature changes. The baseline starting at Agara was 7.44 miles long. Using this baseline after its position was determined, the triangulation began. Placing a pole on a high eminence such as a doorg (durga) or the temple gopuram or a bamboo tower 30 metres long, a triangle was formed. Once the angle between the two ends of the baseline and the third point on the eminence was worked out the distances of the other two sides of the triangle were known. Then one of the other two sides of the triangle was used as a baseline and a new triangle was 28 CITIZEN MATTERS

established. The measurement of Agara baseline which was 7.44 miles long needed the coffers and tripods to be dismantled and re-erected nearly 500 times. It staggers the imagination to believe the kind of effort that was put into measuring the entire length of India from Kanya Kumari to Dehradun in the Himalayas (1600 miles)! The dedication of these early surveyors helped create an accurate picture of India which otherwise was unknown. More people died in executing these surveys than in the contemporary wars. Then, Lambton began the Trigonometrical survey with a baseline from the Madras beach to


St Thomas mount. On completion of this exercise, and reaching Mangalore, he found the distance from Madras to Mangalore was 360 miles - 40 miles less than the previously believed 400 miles. Peninsular India thereby lost an appreciable amount of real estate. Later this survey continued from Calcutta into the Himalayas. For the first time it was known that the Himalayas were the greatest range of mountains in the world with numerous peaks over 20,000 ft and with Mt. Everest at 29,002 ft. Everest became the Survey General of India after Lambton probably never saw Mt. Everest. But his contributions were hailed by Sir Clements Markham (a great geographer, explorer and writer) as "one of the most stupendous works in the whole history of science". Lambton's Trigonometrical Survey of India was a foray into Geodesy and would result in help establishing the shape of the Earth itself and its curvature at the pole and equator. When the Survey of India was over and the Great Indian Arc of the Meridian (the 78th degree longitude) was established the exercise took nearly 60 years. The difficulties were immense, infectious diseases, malaria, tigers, leopards, snakes and scorpions, unfordable rivers everywhere, unknown territories, new languages - the list is unending. Yet, starting from the Mysore country and the Agara village near Bangalore, this stupendous work when completed was considered one of the greatest successful endeavours of science.

Vijay Thiruvady


In search of a new village How many Bangaloreans wandering around the city have wondered about some many ‘hallis’ abound here? Here’s your primer on the villages of Karnataka.


he south Indian state of Karnataka has over 29,000 villages spread across a 190,000 square kilometres. Anyone who travels a little in the state quickly realises that there are common village names that keep recurring. In Bangalore in particular, lakhs of people from all over India have settled down and many travel from Bommanahali to Kodihalli or Marathhalli everyday. There is a story here. Here’s a comprehensive look at the most common village names in Karnataka, prepared using the Census 2011 village directory for the state. It turns out that the most common village name in Karnataka is Hosahalli – or simply, ‘New Village’. Hosahalli is the complete name of about 108 villages, and forms a part of the name for another 82 (For example, Chikkahosahalli, which means ‘small new village’). Curiously enough, the second most village name is Hosur, which is a variant of the former and also means ‘New Village’. A possible reason as to why this has come about is that as villages grew in size, people might have shifted to an adjacent site and created a new settlement, perhaps a couple of miles from the original village. In conversation, this new settlement would be referred to as just that – new village or new place - until one day the name got

formalised in an inscription or an agreement, and the name Hosahalli or Hosur became permanent. Other common village names include Bommanahalli, Gollahalli (village of cowherds), Kurubarahalli (village of shepherds), Siddapura and Basavanahalli (dedicated to reformer Basavanna). Different words are used to denote a village or settlement as well – from hallis to puras to nagaras. Of these, halli and ooru are of a Dravidian origin, with halli being equivalent of palli in Tamil, while most of the others are borrowed or adapted from Sanskrit. Pura is said to denote a walled town and nagara a town or a city, but they were often used quite interchangeably while naming villages and towns, even historically. Villages are also named after local features like lakes (kere, sandra) and fortresses (kote), as well as after gods and goddesses. So there you have it. If you are thinking of starting a new settlement in Karnataka, you couldn’t go wrong by calling it the unimaginative, but eminently serviceable Hosahalli or Hosuru. I’ll take them over the Residencies, Enclaves and Gardens that have come up in Bangalore, any day. Many thanks to Shreevatsa and Mohan KV for an erudite discussion on the meaning of village names, their origins and their use. Kudos to Karthik for suggesting the perfect

name for the post. You can also download the raw data used in this post from here. This post was originally published in Pavan Srinath's blog at at and has been adapted for Citizen Matters with permission.

Pavan Srinath is a public policy researcher with the Takshashila Institution and a blogger on the Indian National Interest platform. You can also find him on twitter @ zeusisdead.




The woman who conquered the world of numbers At the age of three, she lost her childhood even as her family discovered her mathematical skills. What she earned through the shows was the bread and butter for her family.


mmorality does not consist in being different. It consists in not allowing others to be so. It is not the individual whose sexual relations depart from the social custom who is immoral - but those are immoral who would penalize him for being different. A law-abiding citizen who respects the rights and dignities of others, if he is made to suffer merely for deviating from the conventional norm, is not the offender - he is the victim". This is a quote from the rare book 'The World of Homosexuals' written by Shakuntala Devi, the mathematical wizard of India who passed away on 21 April 2013, in a Bangalore hospital. She continues: "The time is overdue now, when rather than pretending that homosexuals don't exist, or hoping to eradicate them by the sheer weight of disapproval or prison sentences, we face the facts squarely in the eye and find room for them so that they can live unfettered and unmolested, and make their contribution to the common good of community." "On this level nothing less than full and complete acceptance will serve - not tolerance and not sympathy." This is a very powerful and deep-felt espousal of the gay 30 CITIZEN MATTERS

cause. The fact that she wrote this book in 1977 - in a country which was still deep in denial about homosexuality and had criminalised it - is remarkable. This sensitivity came to her due to the first-hand experience of living with a man who was a gay and married to her. On the other hand, her father too had deviated from the conventional norm, by choosing to become a trapeze artist in a circus, when he was expected to become a priest, the family profession. In an interview to a documentary


film, 'For Straights Only' released in 2001, Shakuntala Devi said, "My only qualification for writing this book is that I am a human being." Incidentally, the book is referred to as the first "social-reformist homophiliac Indian writing" in English. This was just one interesting facet of Shakuntala Devi, who otherwise is famous for her capability to calculate complex numerical equations faster than the fastest computer on earth. Her name is synonymous with mathematical

Obituary calculations. In the 70s and 80s there must have been rarely a household in the country which did not invoke her name when it came to convincing children as to why math is a desirable subject. While some would call her a mathematical genius, it may be more correct to call her a 'computational genius' as one professor of computer science put it. Hers was an ability to intuitively arrive at solutions for complex equations involving numbers. How she did it, no one knows, not even she herself, as she admitted on few occasions. "I am a 'one-in-a-billion' case," she said of herself. She could retain and resolve complex calculations in a jiffy, for which her name was entered in the 1995 Guinness Book of Records, after she demonstrated the multiplication of two 13-digit numbers, picked at random by the Computer Department of Imperial College, London. She answered it correctly in 28 seconds flat! There is one such interesting description of her capabilities in the book by Osho, "From Misery to Enlightenment" where he is talking about the power of Intuition. "Albert Einstein gave her (Shakuntala Devi) a certificate — she showed the certificate to me when I was in Madras where she lives. She showed me all her certificates, and the one from Albert Einstein says, ‘I asked this woman a question which I take three hours to solve because I have to follow a whole method; I cannot just jump from the question to the answer. I know that nobody can do it in less time than I can, and that is three hours. Others may take even six hours hours or more, but I can do it in three hours because I have done it before. But the whole procedure has to be followed. If you miss even a single step...' "The figures were so big that it took the whole board for her to write the answer. And before

he had even finished the question, she started writing the answer." He was puzzled, absolutely puzzled because it was impossible. He asked, "How do you do it?" She said, "I don't know how I do it — it simply happens. You ask me and figures start appearing before my eyes, somewhere inside. I can see 1, 2, 3, and I just go on writing." Osho goes on to lament: "That woman was born with her intuition functioning, but I felt really sad for her because she became just an exhibition. Nobody cared that a woman who is born with intuition functioning can become enlightened very easily. She is just standing on the border; one step and she becomes the ultimate in consciousness. But she is not aware because this is just some freak of nature." Her tryst with numbers started at a very young age. Her father who was a trapeze artist and a magician of sorts, used to show her card tricks. But he soon noticed that baby Shakuntala had extraordinary memorization powers and managed to beat him purely by remembering the cards. Being a showman himself, he immediately saw great value in the 'mental circus' that she could do. And he set about getting her to display her skills to the world. At the age of six, she showed her prowess at the Mysore University. Thus continued a saga of shows around the world, which was just discovering the computer and was in awe of a man-made machine which could calculate in seconds and minutes what it took the human brains few minutes or hours. When Shakuntala Devi beat the fastest computer of that time she had attained the peak of her famed career. However, like many other prodigies, this fame came at a cost. Though she would have loved to

have a formal education and go to school like other children of her age, she could not pursue one for long, given the 'tours' and 'shows' she had to give. The money she brought was the bread and butter for the family. Talking to Gita Aravamudan, a writer, who met her in the 1970s, she recollected her miserable childhood when she craved to go to school but her family had discovered her uncanny gift for numbers. From the early age of three she was pushed into performing circus tricks with math by her father. At one point, she even ran away from home and disassociated herself from her family. Nevertheless, despite the 'pressure of performing,' she did love numbers and believed that any child could develop a love for it provided it is presented in the right way with the right techniques. She reasoned that the brain could be made to function better by using it more. Talking to a reputed national daily in 2008, she lamented that children today were not as sharp as they were about 20 to 30 years ago. According to her, technology was to be blamed to a large extent for this and she thought that 'no child should be given access to computers till he reaches the university and has developed enough human mental skills.' "The right age to start training children in mathematics is six," she said. With her passing, India certainly has lost an evangelist for the most dreaded subject among students of mathematics. Her name though will continue to inspire those few who seek to conquer the world of numbers.

Samuel Jacob is a Bangalore-based journalist. He writes on urban infrastructure, planning and development issues.



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citizen matters digital edition 18-May-2013  

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