Week’s news in brief: Aug 29-Sep 04

Business

Shooting houses’ on the rise in city

If you do not see ‘To-let’ or ‘For Lease’ board in front of a vacant house, don’t assume that it may be meant for own use. It could be a ‘shooting house’. An increasing number of Kannada serials, almost all of them family based, have created a huge demand for such houses in Bangalore. Such houses have all amenities that are required for a family, and located mainly in the city outskirts. They are rented out for Rs.2000 to Rs.5000 per day. (Prajavani, Tuesday, Sept 2)

Education

Multi-storey buildings for government schools

Bangalore will soon have multi-storeyed government schools, thanks to an initiative by the education department. If the department’s plans are executed 19 such buildings will come up in different parts of the city. The schools have already been identified and tenders for construction will be called for before November this year. The schools are expected to be on par with private schools that have the basic infrastructure. Officials say that the intention of the department is to provide quality education in quality premises. (Kannada Prabha, Sunday, August 31)

Education department officials on awareness drive

Our earlier chief minister made big news by staying overnight in villages. Now it is the turn of officials, with the CM Yeddiyurappa promising to send officials to villages in a bid to ensure better governance. Officials of the education department are visiting villages during evenings, and staying there till late night to create awareness among villagers about education. The trial was successful in Yadgir in Gulbarga district. As of now the department has been concentrating on educationally backward north east districts of Karnataka, and plans to extend it to other parts also. The Deputy Director of Public Instruction, the Block education officer and others are part of the visiting team. (Kannada Prabha, Monday, Sept 1)

Environment

Mobile tanks for idol immersion

The Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) came up with a unique model to save tanks from pollution due to immersion of Ganesha idols this time. It provided mobile tank service where people could immerse idols, which were pressed into service throughout the city. (Kannada Prabha, Wednesday, Sept 3)

Government

Government construction corpn turns unprofitable

The state government had set up the Karnataka Land Army Corporation as a sovereign construction agency. Apart from participating in government tenders and competing with private agencies, it also took up private works. The corporation made a profit of Rs.1.82 crores during 2003-04. However, it is now facing a loss of upto Rs.9.65 crores. The corporation could not sustain its edge as it failed to counter the competition from growing construction agencies effectively. (Kannada Prabha, Friday, August 29)

Corrupt officials safe with government?

The government has not yet initiated any action against corrupt officials in the health department who were found guilty in misappropriation of over Rs.2.25 crores in the name of medical bills. Higher officials of the department wrote to the government to initiate a CoD inquiry into the scam over a month ago, but the file seems to be under cold storage. Though three of the accused, including Bangalore urban district health officer Dr Prashanth were suspended in this regard, they managed to get further investigation squashed. (Kannada Prabha, Saturday, August 30)

Police transfers open pandora box for government

The present BJP government is making erratic transfers of city police officials, which in turn, is infuriating both officials and some BJP MLAs. Surprisingly (or maybe not so surprisingly) transferred officials are found to be back in their stations within 24 hours. For example, P S Sudarshan who was transferred from Electronic City police station was back before the new inspector K C Lakshminarayan could take charge. M G Shankaranayana was transferred to Kadugodi station. However before he could assume charge P Shivakumar was transferred to same station and took charge. 200 inspectors were transferred in just one week. While some stuck to the same place with political clout, some tried to get a stay from Karnataka Administrative Tribunal (KAT) and some took charge. (Vijaya Karnataka, Monday, Sept 1)

Direct election of mayor to remain a dream?

Direct election to the post of mayor may remain an unfulfilled promise this time round too. More than administrative hiccups, one can sense a political agenda behind this. The ruling BJP feels that if the Congress and JDS jointly field a single candidate against its members, it may lose hold on BBMP. However, the party earlier promised to implement a system wherein a mayor elected by the people would serve for five years, so as to provide a strong foundation for the BBMP administration. Sources say that the chief minister himself wishes to continue with the present system for the next election. (Kannada Prabha, Wednesday, Sept 3)

 

Infrastructure

Whitefield marooned

Thanks to heavy rains and a breached bund, Whitefield temporarily turned into an island recently. Apartments like Raheja Sai Garden were submerged when a bund of Ele Mallappanashettar tank in the neighbourhood broke and excess water gushed into apartments. Also, more than 30 houses in Hennur were marooned. (Kannada Prabha, Friday, August 29)

City development takes back seat

The BJP led state government has failed to impress people as far as development of the city is concerned. Even after 100 days in power no visible changes are to be noticed. Though the CM has given charge of Bangalore south and north areas to two ministers, he has kept the city portfolio with himself. It means that nothing can proceed without his consent, but he has no time to concentrate on Bangalore. Confusion over tax structure has stopped revenue to BBMP too. This has affected a number of developmental works. (Vijaya Karnataka, Saturday, August 30)

BBMP demolishes bus shelters during monsoons

Allegations about BBMP’s absolute lack of discretion have been proved right time and again. The palike has undertaken demolition of about 800 bus shelters that were in good condition, right in the midst of heavy rains, forcing passengers to run for cover during showers. Officials claim that these shelters are to be ‘modernised’ by a private venture. However it is hard to understand why stable shelters built at the expense of tax payers needed to be demolished. (Kannada Prabha, Sunday, August 31)

Private parking system a success on Brigade road

The newly implemented pay and park facility for two wheelers at Brigade road is appreciated by the public. Vehicle and fuel thefts are common in many parking lots, but not so on Brigade road they say. The system has been leased out to Building Control Solutions of India, and employees around the area and others have the option of paying a monthly fee for parking. (Vijaya Karnataka, Monday, Sept 1)

BIA completes 100 days amid problems

Some describe it as a luxurious version of the Kempegowda bus stand. Some feel that it is no better than an industrial shed. The Bangalore International Airport (BIA) has completed 100 days, negative feedback notwithstanding. While the HAL airport had more than 1000 employees to serve passengers, BIA has only 200. Air travellers find the minimum number of counters and long queues highly inconvenient. They also have problems with the parking lots and toilets. Add to this the non-availability of South Indian food and the steep cost of a cup of coffee or tea (about Rs.80), it will a long time before BIA find itself up there in the popularity charts. (Kannada Prabha, Monday, Sept 1)

Underpass passes water!

Pre-cast underpasses by BBMP have earlier faced public wrath, but the BBMP seems to be adamant on pursuing the experiment. The first ever such underpass constructed near Cauvery junction turned into a reservoir when it rained. Water seeps into the underpass on other days too. The BBMP however feels that it is a common feature in underpasses per se! (Prajavani, Wednesday, Sept 3)

City Life

Prisoners turn to social service

To make amends for their mistakes some prisoners in central jail in Parappana Agrahara have resorted to social service. Thanks to an NGO called Pro-Vision Asia, about 15 prisoners are working on repairing wheel chairs that are meant to be distributed free to the underprivileged handicapped. The US-based NGO has entered into an agreement with the Department of Prisons and has been training prisoners in repairing imported chairs. (Udayavani, Sunday, August 31)

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