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The Observer

The Observer An IIJNM publication

Accidents in Bengaluru,up in 2016, decline this year, says police data | P 2

Vol 17, Issue 8

Bengaluru’s honkers cause agonizing noise pollution; data shows levels exceed optimum levels even at night Saket Tiwari


Just how safe are women in Namma Metro? T

Piercing noise from vehicle horns can damage the eardrums and brain, say doctors | Credit Saket Tiwari (Gymkhana), Peenya Industrial Area (Regional Office) and Yelahanka’s KHB Industrial Area record noise levels in the industrial areas. Stations at AMCO Batteries on Mysuru Road, Teshwantpur police station and Central Silk Board on Hosur Road are in “Other (commercial)” areas. Other areas in Bangalore where monitoring happened is as follows. >>Shrill horns biggest issue, P 2

Bringing Durga to Bengaluru Manikankana Sengupta


or the past 17 years, a group of artisans from Kolkata has come to Bengaluru four to five months before Durga Puja to create idols that are supplied to various pandals in the city. Fifteen artisans come every year and rent dwellings in Lingarajapuram and Kacharakanahalli. They pitch tents nearby and work on idols. Their families stay back in Kolkata. Bengaluru has a large Bengali population. Durga Puja, held from September 25 to 30 this year, is widely celebrated across the city, with even non-Bengalis

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Pracheta Panja

ears and brain and cause mental disturbance. It has been seen that people living in an 80-metre radius of a busy road have reduced life span,” Sanjiv CC, a neurologist at Apollo Hospitals, informed The Observer. “Bengaluru has 10 noise monitoring stations. Those at the Export Promotion Centre in the Whitefield Industrial Area, Peenya Industrial Area

The Kacharakanahalli workshop | Credit: Manikankana Sengupta participating. These artisans deliver their idols to popular pandals such as the ones in Domlur, Koramangala and KR Puram. Sushanto Paul, 36, from Patuli village in Burdwan district, informed The Observer: “I have made idols for the past 20 years.

On the Web: theweeklyobserver/docs/ the_observer and

Never-ending drain work in Koramangala prolongs citizens’ agony | P 2


esides impurities in air and water, Bengaluru is suffering a malaise that is worsening: Noise pollution. Places like hospitals, which are categorized as sensitive areas, and residential areas have seen a rise in noise levels even at night, data of the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) shows. Noise levels in residential areas, sensitive areas, and commercial areas increased by an average of 26.26%, 34.84% and 9.28% respectively. But readings taken at Bengaluru’s Continuous Noise Monitoring Stations in 2016-17 show noise levels in industrial areas were within limits. Nimhans, BTM Layout, Marathahalli and Domlur, among other areas, had an excess of noise, according to the data. The optimum night-time noise levels set for commercial areas, residential areas and sensitive areas are 55 decibels, 45 dB and 45dB respectively. This year's data shows an average increase of 12%, 25%, and 37% respectively. The situation is no different during day time, when roads are chock-a-block with vehicles. “Exceeding the optimum level of noise in cities can harm the


I come here every year because I like the city and feel my work is appreciated here. The money I make in these 4-5 months depends on the number of contracts I get, but usually I earn Rs. 1-1.5 lakh every year in Bengaluru during this time.” There is no union of these artisans, but a club near Kacharakanahalli helps them financially. When The Observer visited their workshop near Hennur Main Road, it had close to 50 idols. Sushanto’s fellow worker Parimal Haldar said: “I like coming to Bengaluru, but I miss my home during these months. Durga Puja is not celebrated here the same way.Although we make more money here, the celebrations are

he BMRCL has received complaints regarding harassment of women in Metro trains and stations. These range from eve-teasing to sexual harassment while travelling. Most cases are not even reported, raising serious questions over womens’ safety. A passenger at the Mysuru Road Metro station who did not want to reveal her identity said: “It is difficult to travel alone at night. Small Metro stations are deserted, and security at that hour is not good. It’s not safe even inside the train.” In August, women complained they were reportedly harassed at the MG Road and Jalahalli Metro stations. When The Observer asked the M G Road control room manager, he said: “No complaint has been registered with us. Maybe the victim went to a nearby police station.” Some such cases have been registered at the Cubbon Park police station, located near the MG Road station. A source at the police station said police will file a chargesheet against the accused. The BMRCL, for its part, plans to extend coaches from three to six and proposes to reserve one coach for women. Bengalureans

will have to wait until January 2018 for these. TL Ravi Prakash, senior manager, public relations, said: “All stations are under CCTV surveillance. Each station has more than 50-60 security personnel, including women guards. The trains are also under CCTV surveillance monitored by an Operation Control Center. At least for a week, they preserve all recordings. So if any such offence is captured, a complaint will be filed, and the footage will received by the station concerned. The chief security officer will then be informed. Unless a complaint is registered, we

Women say it is not safe even inside trains | Credit: Rayan Mitra cannot take action.” “There are no special security arrangements at night,” Ravi Prakash added. Women commuters,meanwhile, look forward to travelling on Bengaluru’s cheapest and most convenient mode of travel.

BMRCL to allow more shops Rayan Mitra


he BMRCL plans to set up more shops in the premises of Metro sta-

tions. Sunil Kumar, a BMRCL customer relations executive, informed The Observer: “Metro stations already have 75 vendors, but can accommodate more vendors. It will increase revenue. The Metro has become a popular mode of transportation after the rollout of phase 1. It accounts for 3.5 lakh commuters daily.” Will the addition of vendors not congest the stations? TL Ravi Prakash, BMRCL’s senior man-

ager, public relations, said: “We are setting up shops in the non-ticketing zones, which are not as compact as the functional areas; so the congestion would be under control.” “All vendors are being verified by police, and have been provided identity cards. “We will have almost all types of shops to meet consumer demands,” Ravi Prakash said. A Metro commuter The Observer spoke with did not agree with the BMRCL version. “Congestion gets worse at peak hours in Majestic and KR Market stations. Introducing shops will only make it worse. We have enough shops outside,” he argued.



Accidents in city, up in 2016, decline this year ‘No. of cases has dipped because of reduced speed’


oad accidents in Bengaluru city, which spiked in 2016, seem to be on a decline in 2017 compared to the previous year, data available on the traffic police website shows. As per data collected by the Bengaluru City Traffic Police, the number of accidents registered in 2016 was 7,506, an increase of 55% from the 4,828 cases registered in 2015.


Fatal cases 2015 714 2016 754 2017 (Jan- 419 Aug) Year

Non-fatal cases 4,114 6,752 2,977


4,828 7,506 3,396


dents. These numbers shot up to 754 and 6,752 respectively the following year. The number of dead and injured in 2016 was 793 and 4,193 respectively as against 740 and 4,047 in 2015 respectively. The data suggests a drop in casualties in the road accidents this year. Between January and August, 442 people lost their lives in the road accidents.

uP to you, CitizenS: Police say it is the responsibility of citizens as well to prevent accidents. they must avoid jaywalking Traffic inspector Anil Kumar informed The Observer: “There were 3,396 road accidents in Bengaluru from January to August 2017.” The inspector added: “The transport department has spent money on projects to ensure road safety. It is not only the government’s job; but the public must be responsible too. Pedestrians must watch while crossing the road. Jaywalking must be avoided… regulations do not permit it. 2017 has seen a major dip in road accidents as the speed limit is under control.” Said MN Sreehari, adviser to the Karnataka government on

traffic, transportation and infrastructure, said: “92% of accidents occur not due to the drivers. But this year, due to proper road infrastructure and road design, we can see that there has been a decrease in road accidents compared to previous years.” The speed of vehicles has come down drastically, resulting in fewer accidents compared to the previous years, Sreehari said. When the speed of a vehicle is in single digit, the impact won’t be much; injuries, if any, will be minor. Police say that many cases of accident are not registered because the parties involved reach a compromise.

Never-ending drain widening prolongs agony of residents Shiny Kirupa. R


he road in front of the Passport Office in Koramangala is waterlogged every time it rains. Motorists circumvent paths that are stagnated. Mahesh, a cab driver, informed The Observer: “80 Feet Road become worse when it rains. The rainwater has nowhere to go as there is no proper drainage system. This results in inconvenient travel for my passengers.” Mathew, an autorickshaw driver, said manholes overflow every time there is a heavy shower. “It flows thick and black.” The BBMP says it is widening the drain in the bustling road. BBMP civil engineer Jagdesh said: “The drain is being expanded from 0.9 metres to 1.2 meters and is deepened. This will help in better draining of rain water than before.” Because of continuous rain, he added, they haven’t been able to finish the work on time. But locals have a different ver-

‘Climate treaties must be legally binding’ Sreejani Bhattacharyya


G. Manashaa

In 2015, there were 714 fatal accidents and 4,114 non-fatal acci-

the observer tuesday,october 10, 2017

Residents are not convinced by the BBMP’s explanations | Credit: Shiny Kirupa sion. The work, under way for several months, is not even partially complete, they said. “They do not finish it in one go and keep prolonging it for no reason,” said Sangeetha, a sugarcane juice seller whose shop is close to the road. Workers digging the drain dump mud and stones by the roadside, making driving even more risky. The road gets muddy and slippery during rainfall.

Das Suresh Kumar, a resident of Koramangala and data analyst in a market research company, said the road has been in a bad condition ever since he moved to the place one and half years ago. He has to ride over the potholed road when he drops his daughter at school. “On top of the bad roads, the incomplete drainage work, which was started more than a month ago, has worsened the state of the road.” Raju, an autorickshaw driver lives in the area, said driving on the road is risky; it damages his vehicle. He avoids giving rides even if people offer to pay more. “The rainwater gets inside the silencer. I have spent Rs 4,000 on getting my autorickshaw repaired.” he remarked. The BBMP’s work has in no way improved the situation, said Sudhakar, another autorickshaw. He recalled the situation last year: Work was partially done and left incomplete. This year too, he added, work would not be finished within the time stipulated by the BBMP.

ccording to the “Climate Change over India: An Interim Report”, published by the Centre for Climate Change, ministry for earth sciences, in July 2017, “climate change poses a major threat to the world in view of its far-reaching implications for environment, water availability, natural resources, ecosystems, biodiversity, economy and social wellbeing”. Govindasamy Bala (in photo), professor at the Center for Atmospheric and Oceanic Studies, Indian Institute of Science, spoke to The Observer about climate change and its implications. Extracts from an interview: Q: Your paper talks about the concept of “planetary boundaries”. What is it? A: There are many components in the climate system. Each has a range. Crossing the threshold of that range could be potentially

Observer interview dangerous for the entire system. If the rate at which species get extinct reaches that threshold level, that would cause permanent damage to the ecosystem. The Paris Agreement talks about a 2degree-Celsius rise in temperature as the threshold. If the rise in temperature crosses that, life on Earth would be in danger. Q: What are the major manmade factors contributing to climate change? A: The two major human factors contributing to climate change are fossil fuel burning and deforestation. When coal and petroleum are burnt, carbon present in them converts to carbon dioxide, which accumulates in the atmosphere .This carbon dioxide traps heat just like a greenhouse which

causes a rise in temperature of the Earth. Similarly, when trees are cut, carbon stored in the trees gets converted into carbon dioxide which traps the heat. Q: Why are summers in Bengaluru getting hotter? A: There could be two reasons for higher temperatures in Bengaluru: Global warming and urban heat island. Global warming is caused by increasing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. An urban heat island is caused by an extensive use of concrete in cities. According to National Geographic, an urban heat island is a metropolitan area that is a lot warmer than the rural areas surrounding it. Q: Why have we not been able to achieve sustainable development though we have so many treaties and protocols to get solutions to climate change and environmental degradation? A: The biggest problem with all treaties… is they are not legally binding. They are based on voluntary actions. People can get away after harming the environment.... Q: How can solutions to climate change and environmental degradation be found? A: In my paper, I talk about Garrett Hardin’s ‘Tragedy of Commons’, where he talks about how … air, fresh water bodies, sea or public properties are exploited when they are common property. Human beings have a tendency to pollute. The conscience of human beings to not pollute cannot be the solution for climate change globally. The need of the hour is to make these treaties legally binding so that every person or country breaking these rules faces strict penalties. Only then can solutions... be obtained.

Shrill horn is the biggest issue >>Continued from page 1 The other measuring stations are located at Banasawadi police station, TERI office in Domlur, Victoria Hospital, DTDC office on Victoria Road and Kazisummanahalli in Whitefield. Shrill horns are the biggest problem. “I have to travel to office daily. Because of noise pollution, I get headaches. It has been increasing,” said Poornima JV, a resident of Nagasandra in northwest Bengaluru. Bengaluru traffic police booked 9,395 shrill-horn cases till August

this year, according to data accessed on their website. The optimum noise level for motor vehicle horns has been set at 85 decibels. But with car drivers and bike riders honking needlessly and thoughtlessly, it has been crossed. The situation is serious. Said Dr Vikrant, a cardiologist at Fortis Hospital: “Piercing noise from vehicles and other sources can lead to heart attack, stroke, and high blood pressure. It can also cause problems like hemorrhage, anxiety and depression.


Editor: Rayan Mitra News editor:Manikankana Sengupta Copy editor:Sreejani Bhattacharyya and Pracheta Panja Photo editor: Manashaa Ganesan Page layout:Saket Tiwari and Shiny Kirupa Web-page layout: Manashaa Ganesan and Pracheta Panja


Our eighth edition from IIJNM


Our eighth edition from IIJNM