Thursday, 16 February 2012

Waste water management

Today's edition of the 'Deccan Herald' carries an article about Hoskote town in Bangalore rural district, which was facing an acute shortage of water all these years ; the water table at Hoskote that had depleted to a depth of 1250 feet, has now begun to increase as a consequence of this project. The project involves the treating and reusing of the sewage water from Bangalore city, which otherwise would be discharged to the rivers downstream, thereby polluting them. The sewage water from Bangalore city is stored at the Yelemallappa Shetty tank near K.R Puram and later diverted to Doddakere lake on the outskirts of Hoskote town, adjacent to the national highway. The minor irrigation department, Government of Karnataka, has implemented a project that intended to treat the sewage water and supply the same to the villages in and around the region for agricultural purposes. Surprisingly, according to a test conducted by the BMS College of Engineering, the treated water has been found to be fit for human consumption (potable) as well. The best part of the project is that the residents of Hoskote town and surrounding areas are now receiving drinking water almost round the clock which was hitherto unheard of and inconceivable, in the town. All the agencies and departments behind the materialization of this project need to be complemented. The icing on the cake is that a similar project has been planned for Sarjapur as well.

If only Bangalore Water Supply and Sewage Board (BWSSB) emulates the minor irrigation department and starts utilizing all the tanks and lakes in the Bangalore region to meet the future requirements of the city, the dependence on the river Cauvery, which involves the pumping of the water from a distance of nearly 130 Km at a steep gradient, could be reduced. Needless to say, the pumping of water to a gradient posed by the topography of Bangalore, involves the consumption of enormous amounts of power. Therefore, utilizing the locally available sources of water would be a better option than to divert the West flowing rivers and streams in the state, that could spell a doom on the ecological balance in the Western Ghats.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Suburban trains to the regions in and around Bangalore

Bangalore's ever increasing population and the traffic caused by it is a known fact. The increase of population is not something that the government or the people can control ; besides the people who are looking at the city to settle down on a permanent basis, the number of people who are commuting up to and down the city from the nearby towns and cities is also immense. The floating population from the surrounding towns like Tumkur, Kolar, Kolar Gold Fields, Kunigal or even Mysore which is nearly 145 Km away from the city, is immense and is contributing to the traffic jams for which the city is notorious. As a consequence of the traffic, the commuting time, air pollution as also the fuel consumption in the city has been increasing. The health problems caused by these factors is a different issue altogether, though not discussed here, is one of the major issues that requires serious thinking. Experts after carrying out studies, have suggested the commissioning of a Commuter Rail System (CRS) for the city on the lines of Mumbai and Chennai where-in either the existing railway lines could be used to run trains from the city center to the nearby towns and cities. Due to the extensive use of the suburban trains by the people, these cities have exclusive lines for the suburban trains. The same model could be emulated in Bangalore so that the city's floating population which at present comprises of the government employees and the blue collar labor force, is benefited by means of a quick, safe and an inexpensive means of transport. In addition to the government employees and the labor class people, the agencies or even the private sector could look at the surrounding towns to meet the future housing requirements of the city as transportation, the major constraint at present, would be solved.

The below map shows my plan for the Bangalore Commuter Rail Service.

Some of the routes which I believe would do good are as follows :

Bangalore City - Kolar via Whitefield and Hosakote ( The Whitefield - Kolar railway line which is still under construction is expected to connect the major industrial hub and the residential areas along the line, besides the Volvo factory in Tavarekere en route)

Bangalore City - Kolar Gold Fields via Whitefield and Bangarpet which is a major town in the state.

Bangalore City - Tumkur via Yeshwantpur and Nelamangala

Bangalore City - Kunigal via Nelamangala

Bangalore City - Chikballapur via Yelahanka and Devanahalli ( this under-utilized route provides connectivity to Nandi Hills as well )

Bangalore City - Gauribidanur via Yelahanka and Dodballapur ( Gauribidanur is the last of major towns in Karnataka en route to Hindupur )

Bangalore City - Anekal via Byappanhalli and Sarjapur road

Bangalore City - Kanakapura via Kengeri ( as it is not possible not to lay any more railway lines in the crowded areas of the city like Banashankari and Basavanagudi )

Bangalore City - Channapatna via Kengeri, Bidadi and Kengeri

Bangalore City - Magadi ( a new line needs to be connected for this either from the Nagarbhavi area in the city or Yeshwantpur for this. When completed this would benefit a large number of people thereby decongesting the busy Magadi Road.

 The above plan also supports the idea of having more railway terminii outskirts of the city as presently the two railway stations at Bangalore City and Yeshwantpur are more than just saturated. Besides working out to be cheaper, the commuter rail system aids the passengers to carry more baggage unlike the metro (which is expensive due to the air-conditioning facility) where there an upper limit has been imposed on the weight of the permissible baggage.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Theses on Bangalore in Bangalore University

Here is a link to the library section of Bangalore University ; This page contains the theses presented by a few researchers in the field of Geography about Bangalore. There is scope only to the index column and not the entire contents. The fact that Bangalore has been a subject of research for a few learned minds has made me happy ; it was relevant to share it here.

The titles of the theses in question are :

Urban fringe of Bangalore metropolis - Presented by R.Thirunavukaras under the guidance of B. Eswarappa

Bangalore city a study in environment pollution - By Prabhu P under the guidance of  Daksha C Baral

Women's participation in economic persues with special reference to agricultural activities in Bangalore rural district - By Sulochana N under the guidance of Rayamane A.S

Spatio-temporal variation in agricultural development of Bangalore rural district - By Shivamurthy H.N under the guidance of Rayamane A.S

Some aspects of industrial development and migration in Bangalore city region - By Vijayalakshmi V under the guidance of Daksha C Baral

Friday, 3 February 2012

Robbing Peter to pay Paul

Today's editions of the newspapers say that the Government of Karnataka plans to divert a stream in the Western Ghats 'Ettinahole', towards the hinterland citing it is as a solution to the drinking water crisis faced by the districts of Bangalore Rural, Tumkur, Kolar, Chikballapur and Chitradurga. The project is being considered with utmost importance as it is also expected to meet the long term needs of Bangalore region as a whole, given that the city would not be able to draw any more water from the river Cauvery in a short while from now. Many irrigation experts seem to have suggested that the diversion of west flowing streams seem feasible to meet the future requirements of the capital and have prepared a report as well.

Ettinahole is learned to be one of the major tributaries of the river Netravati, a prominent West flowing river in Karnataka which also caters to the drinking water needs of the largest coastal city in the state, Mangalore. Its catchment area comprises of several streams but the contribution from 'Ettinahole' is known to be the most significant. Now if the Govt spends a sum of 7000 crores to build a reservoir along 'Ettinahole' and construct pump houses to pump the water to an altitude of 3000 ft through pipe lines laid along the hilly regions, it would amount to killing a major West flowing river and denting the lives of the people in the towns and cities along its banks or dependent on its water. It would just mean that Mangalore and its surrounding towns would be deprived of water just to meet the ever-growing requirements of  their counterparts in the Bangalore region. A few of irrigation experts are known to be discouraging the diversion of West flowing rivers and streams for very genuine and logical reasons to which the Govt is paying no heed.

It is really hard to understand the mindset of politicians. Two rivers that are very close to Bangalore, Arkavati and Pinakini  (Gauribidanur), both of which have their sources in Nandi hills are practically non-existent, thanks to Bangalore's sand and land mafia. Ministers speak of clearing encroachments along the courses of these rivers but no action seems to have been taken ; children using the Pinakini river bed as a playground is a very common sight in Gauribidanur town. As per the locals, this has been the case since more than a decade.Bangalore was a city with several wetlands ; the Govt sees to urgency revive them. Vrishabavati was a river which had its source in Bugle rock park in Basavanagudi, one of Bangalore's central-most localities. Today Vrishabavati is a huge drain with several 'tributaries' - the Govt sees no need to treat the water which can later be mixed with potable water in calculated quantities and supplied to the city (Newspapers had published a report on a similar project in the past) . A stream that originates in the Savanadurga hill near Magadi town is a tributary of the river Kanva which in turn joins Cauvery. A reservoir has already been built along this stream at the Manchanabele village off Mysore Road. Besides these, another stream which is known to join Cauvery has its source in the hills near Bannerghatta in Bangalore. It would come as a surprise if any of the ministers even know of its existence.

When these many options are available near Bangalore, it is hard to comprehend why the Govt is keen on spending an enormous amount that could spell a doom on the entire development of another city in the state. Priority must be accorded to cheaper options rather than drawing up big plans and and quoting exorbitant amounts regarding their implementation.

Thursday, 2 February 2012


Bangalore, as per my knowledge is indeed the best Indian city to live-in. Perhaps I feel so because it is my birthplace. I witnessed the growth of the city from a small sleepy town to a burgeoning metropolis and must say, though the city has witnessed tremendous urbanization, a large portion of it is unplanned and in an appreciable number of cases, unnecessary. The formation of the 'Greater Bangalore' has not done much good to the city ; neither has the corporation BBMP got richer, nor did the people living in the newly added conurbation areas receive any benefits of their properties being brought under the ambit of a happening metropolis. I have had my own plans for my city and the time to express the same has come now ... :)

Instead of having a Greater Bangalore and including new areas into it on a timely basis, I propose to have a State Capital Region (SCR) which includes Bangalore Urban, Bangalore Rural, Kolar, Chikballapur and Ramnagar districts. When it is almost certain that the city is likely to extend into all its neighbouring towns and villages in the near future as it has been doing since a while, there is no point in drawing up the boundaries to suit a certain radius. All the places must be linked by metro, sub-urban trains and buses. I propose to have a ring road for the entire SCR along with the other ring roads like Peripheral Ring Road (PRR) by the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA), Intermediate Ring Road (IRR) and Satellite Towns Ring Road (STRR) by the Bangalore Metropolitan Region Development Authority (BMRDA). Bangalore must not grow beyond the SCRRR.

This road links all the National Highways and State Highways that may or may not originate from Bangalore. The commuting distances between the various towns in Kolar, Tumkur, Chikballapur and Ramnagar districts are greatly reduced. It also helps the industries to set up shop in these towns ; the walk-to work concept could be a reality as well as the authorities could look at these towns to meet the housing requirements of the future.