Atal Bihari Vajpayee:

Atal Bihari Vajpayee:

What a great Statesman.  He was the first head of Government from outside the Congress party to serve a full 5 years term, as a leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).   India has lost a great son.  He was loved and respected by millions.  He lived for the nation and served it for decades.  He was a great personality, a steadfast and a universally accepted leader.  The void left behind will remain forever.  He was known for his unique oratory style, poetic vein and a great statesman.

Aided by an inherent charisma, Vajpayee collected friends and admirers, many for life as he progressed through a career largely spent in the opposition.  He was loyal to those whose affection he commanded.  An instinctive reformer, he backed privatization and promoted de-regulation.  He deepened economic reforms and expanding India’s foreign policy with US and Russia and made terrorism the focus of relations with Pakistan.

He was quite adventurous when it came to trying out new dishes and generous in his compliments.

The 8 decisive moments he took as the PM of India :

  1. Pokhran 2 (1998) – carrying out nuclear tests
  2. Operation Vijay (June-July 1999) – Kargil war
  3. Ride to Lahore (1999) – Direct bus between India and Pakistan
  4. Hijacking of IC-814 (1991) – hijack at Kandahar – release of terrorists
  5. Agra Summit (July 2001) – discussion of nuclear arsenals between India and Pakistan
  6. Gujarat riots (2002) – Non-dismissal of Narendra Modi as CM of Gujarat
  7. Parliament Attack(2001) – Demobilization by Musharaff Government
  8. Composite Dialogue (2004) – Meeting Musharaff on the sidelines of SAARC summit.

Vajpayee made his mark as a leader of substance who would use a turn of phrase or a pause to speak volumes.

Our salute and respect to one of the greatest leaders of India. An interesting comment I saw today on the topic of the passing of Atal Vajpayee ji RIP (Return if possible) Sir.

Nature’s fury @ Madikeri, Coorg and Chikkamagaluru

Nature’s fury @ Madikeri, Coorg and Chikkamagaluru

Heavy rains create havoc in the land of Coffee.  Life continued to be affected in Madikeri and Coorg owing to heavy rains in the Kodagu district for the past few days and with no signs of respite.  Unrelenting rains continue to wreak havoc with incidents of landslides, flooding of villages and stranded people. Many places have been marooned due to overflowing river and connectivity to parts of the district has been badly affected due to landslips.    Traffic movement within the district is affected and local people are forced to walk due to disruption in transportation.

As a result of copious rainfall that struck the region in the last months, landslides occurred at numerous places of the district causing widespread damages to houses, private public properties abutting the hillocks.  The district is on high alert as many hillocks damaged by cuts for construction of houses and roads have developed cracks and may fall anytime.

The heavy rainfall and winds continuing across the district have left behind a trail of destruction in the district. Scenes of uprooted trees, collapsed structures and houses were a common sight across the district. Roads in many areas of the Madikeri City Corporation were submerged, affecting traffic movement.   People are being evacuated from the flooded areas using boats and rafts. The ground has turned soft by the increased water flow. People living in hilly areas are in danger of landslides.  National Disaster Response Force was pressed into action for relief work at the worst affected Kushalnagar.  Army has been called for the rescue operation which is expected to land in the district.

The incessant rain that have lashed Chikkamagaluru district in the past months have left the planters worried.  Coffee. Pepper and arecanut are the worst affected in many parts of the district.  Hundreds of acres of plantation and paddy fields have been inundated following heavy rain.

Donors who wants to make a difference to the helpless people in these regions can come to the platform and serve the needy.

Indiranagar Residents protest against demolition of BDA Complex at Indiranagar

Indiranagar Residents protest against demolition of BDA Complex at Indiranagar

A protest was held recently against the proposed demolition of the BDA complex, a building in Indiranagar which houses 165 tenants and government offices.  The complex, is spread over 6.03 acres will be redeveloped under the PPP model at an estimates cost of Rs.657 crore.   The BDA has already issued tenders for the project.

The redeveloped structure would apparently have two huge blocks, housing over 1000 car parks, 6,50,000 sq.ft. of retail and mall space and 3,50,000 sq.ft. of commercial office space with a total built up area of 14.95 lakh sq. feet versus the current 1.34 lakh sq. feet. This will be over 11 times the size of the current structure!!!!

The residents opposed to the plan of the Bangalore Development Authority to demolish the existing complex and claimed if demolished, then an environment-friendly tree park should come in its place.  The Residents Welfare Association (RAW) of Indiranagar and a citizen group i-change Indiranagar are against the demolition. They prefer to get it renovated and maintained.  The complex is only 32 years old and RAW and i-change Indiranagar think that any decision on the development by BDA should be done after discussing with the residents.

If as per BDA’s plan, a new complex is built, it will result in 171 trees being axed which is against the National Green Tribunal (NGT) Regulations.  The complex also lies within the 75 metre buffer zone of the adjoining Kadirena Palya lake where any development is banned as per NGT order.  There are two Rajakaluves literally abutting the Complex.

According to the RAW, Indiranagar, the proposed structure will increase in vehicular pollution, sound pollution, traffic congestion.  The redevelopment will only ensure there is a huge overload on public infrastructure and a breakdown on control of traffic.  Residents are already feeling the stress and inconvenience of illegal commercialization of residential bye-lanes.

Is it worth causing distress and inconvenience to the residents? The residents want this place to be a lung space, a carbon sink and an oxygen producing area for the public and the future generations.

Shaky Varthur bridge – repair to continue for 30 more days

Shaky Varthur bridge – repair to continue for 30 more days

The repair work of the Varthur bridge will take another 30 days to be completed, according to BBMP officials.  The bridge, situated along State Highway 35, has been wobbling since the second week of May due to heavy vehicular movement.  As a safety measure, the Whitefield traffic police have barred heavy vehicles from plying on the bridge. Movement of heavy vehicles has been banned on the 17 year old bridge across varthur lake –  the only link between Whitefield and Varthur.

According to BBMP officials one of the reasons for the bridge to develop this problem is the explosion in traffic volume in the area.  Residents are of the opinion that this bridge would have never been designed for heavy traffic. That is the main reason it is crumbling and falling apart. Repairing will not solve the problem in the long run. Best would be to build another bridge near to it for heavy traffic vehicles.

After the initial inspection of the bridge, the BBMP officials admitted that there was a vibration in span 3 and span 2 during the movement of heavy vehicles.  They also said that when multi axle vehicles cross the bridge it vibrates.  The lab report of Civil Aid indicated that there was some problem in the bearings of Span 3 resulting in vibration and they have observed damage in the deck and girders and some of the bearings.

The BBMP is planning a new bridge adjacent to the old bridge.   The Palike began preparations for a new bridge designed for all vehicles as part of Varthur road-expansion project.  The officials said irregular attendance of laborers, due to delay in untimely supply of materials has contributed to the delay.

Some of residents are of the opinion easy and lazy option to indulge in expenditure to invest in inefficiency to make weak structures. The tradition continues.  Is there enough space for a new bridge?  What was the estimated life of this bridge and who is responsible for short charging public money? Why not an enquiry by ombudsmen so that the new bridge has no such defects?


Youngest Indian Golf Player Viraj Madappa secures record-breaking victory

Youngest Indian Golf Player Viraj Madappa secures record-breaking victory

Viraj Madappa delighted the home crowd when he closed with a four-under-par  67 to claim a two-shot victory for his first Asian Tour title at the TAKE Solutions Masters.  Apart from becoming the youngest Asian Tour winner from India, Madappa is also the first rookie and youngest player to win on Tour this season. He takes home a winner’s prize purse of US$63,000 and earned a one-year winner exemption on the region’s premier Tour.  It’s been a tough journey. A lot of hard work has been put in from all members of the team. Madappa became the youngest Indian to win on the Asian Tour, beating the record held by Gaganjeet Bhullar who won the Indonesia Invitational when he was 21.

In 2018, he qualified to play at the Asian Tour through the tough qualifying school.  It took him just 7 months to find his feet as he became only the 3rd Indian to win a title in his rookie year on the Asian tour.

He hails from Kolkata but is now based in Bengaluru and trained by Tarun Sardesai at the Tarun Sardesai academy.  It was a big decision, which involved a lot of sacrifices. After graduating school, Madappa gained admission to the Texas A&M in the United States to study a Bachelor of Arts degree while playing on the college golf team in 2016. The young Indian, however, only stayed there for a semester before deciding to return home to play professional golf.

When it comes to golf, the Kolkata-born Madappa is possessed with the single-mindedness of a pit bull terrier. Take the story of how he started playing for instance. He recalls facing serious overweight issues as a seven-year-old and how his dad decided to take him for swimming lessons to the Tollygunge Club. Young Madappa just hated being in water and would run to the 18th green of the club at the first instance to watch the golfers. It did not take long for him to be bitten by the golf bug. Once he started playing junior golf, then under the tutelage of Indrajit Bhalotia, Madappa knew he had to lose weight and improve his fitness levels. He went about with a vengeance.  At 6ft 2in and built like a world-class sprinter, Madappa is one of the fittest and strongest players on the Asian circuit. The future belongs to him.

Independent India @ 72

Independent India @ 72

“At the stroke of today’s midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom,” said Jawahar Lal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India, on 15th August 1947 after the country got freedom from the British rule.  India was born as a free democratic country which had many challenges ahead. During the past 72 years,  India has built a modern economy, remained a democracy, and lifted millions out of poverty.  India has overcome different hurdles and earned global recognition in various fields.  After independence the Hindu-Muslim riots, wars with Pakistan and  with China, a series of droughts and a spiraling population affected development.

This Independence Day, don’t just celebrate the freedom, but take pride in what India have achieved. India have gone through several changes over the years. From political arena to the social life, Indians have witnessed major changes in their lives.  The greatest achievements of India in different fields are :

  • India designed and built Asia’s first nuclear reactor ‘Apsara’ on August 4 1956. India currently has 21 nuclear reactors in operation in 7 nuclear power plants.
  • India designed first space satellite, ‘Aryabhata’, in 1975 named after an Indian astronomer Aryabhata.
  • Indian Space Research Organisation, India’s space agency, successfully launched Mars Orbiter Mission to probe Mars. It is the first Asian nation to reach Mars orbit, and the first nation in the world to do so in its first attempt.
  • India successfully launched Chandrayaan in order to explore the moon. On the greatest achievements of Chadrayaan was the discovery of the widespread presence of water molecules in the lunar soil.
  • Railway network in India was nationalized in 1951 and Indian Railways became one of the largest railway networks.
  • India gave every adult the right to vote from its first day.   Women have held high offices in India including that of the President, Prime Minister, Speaker of the Lok Sabha and Leader of the Opposition.
  • India is one of the four countries that refused to sign Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty on matter of principle. India has one of the largest supplies of thorium in the world.
  • India successfully launched nuclear submarine called INS Arihant class.

The bureaucracy, unfortunately is aped from the British. The incredible diversity of the country would make it impossible for any single reform to be acceptable to all. Last but not the least one would say there is way too much freedom for the good of social reformation.  Having said all of that, I am incredibly proud to be an Indian. History has on record that we as a nation had been pillaged and conquered by many forces, but the spirit of the nation still survives and I am confident that she shall endure.  Jai Hind. Vande Mataram.


Book Festival at Bengaluru

Good News for all book lovers……..The Bengaluru  book Festival invites bookworms and bibliophiles to bask in the winter sun in the Garden City of India — as this festival brings the world to ‘Namma Bengaluru’.  The country’s biggest publishers, distributors, exports and importers are expected to participate in the biggest ever show.

The festival intends to celebrate the creative spirit and commemorate the literary diversity it offers, bringing it in conversation with the best minds in the world of literature within.  Besides Kannada and English, the festival would also feature stalls of Tamil, Hindi, Malayalam, Telugu, Marathi, Manipuri, Bengali and other different language books.  The last book festival was held 2 years back.

There will be about 300 stalls of which 80 to 100 stalls will be Kannada books.  The added sweetner for book lovers are the discounts offered on all titles.  A 15% discount would be offered on all books.  The book festival is open to the public and the entry fee is Rs.20 and the entry is free for school and college students. It starts on October 15 and closed on October 21.  Publishers such as Kuvempu Bashabharati, Kannada Sahitya Parishat and Kendra Sahitya Academy have been urged to provide up to 50% discount during the festival.


Indian flag bearer at The Asian Games in Jakarta is Neeraj Chopra

Indian flag bearer at The Asian Games in Jakarta is Neeraj Chopra

Neeraj Chopra, 20 years old (born 24 December 1997) is an Indian track and field athlete competing in the Javeline throw. He is from the Khandra Village, Panipat, Haryana.  He is currently coached by Uwe Hohn who is a retired German track and field athlete He is the only athlete to throw a javelin 100 metres or more, with his World record of 104.80 m

Neeraj Chopra won a gold medal at the South Asian Games 2016 with a throw of 82.23 m, where he equaled the Indian National record.  He also won a gold medal in IAAP World U20 Championships 2016 at Bydgoszcz, Poland. He got gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast this year.  The star athlete struck a gold medal in the Savo Games in Finland after he defeated his Chinese Taipei rival Chao-Tsun Cheng in July, after throwing 85.69 m to warm up for the Asian Games showdown.

Javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra, will be the flag bearer in the opening ceremony of the upcoming Asian Games 2018 at Jakarta in Indonesia.   He said he is “thrilled to be chosen as flag bearer of the Asian Games. It is a huge honour to be leading the Indian contingent in such a big event”.

Neeraj, the country’s first under-20 World champion and the first Commonwealth Games javelin gold medalist, will start as the favorite in the Asian Games which begins on August 18.  No man or woman has ever won a javelin gold at the Asiad.  Neeraj Chopra is expected to be India’s best gold medal prospect in Jakarta. The 2018 Asian Games will take place from August 18 to September 2 and will be held in Indonesian cities of Jakarta and Palembang. Track and field events start on August 25 in the Asian Games.


Facility of wheelchair at Railway Stations

Facility of wheelchair at Railway Stations

To help differently abled, ailing and elders, the South Western Railway provide wheel chairs at major stations.

Help-Age India an NGO and a technological firm supplied 60 wheelchairs at Bengaluru city station. The balance 65 wheelchairs will be presented on world elders day which falls on 1st October.

The South Western Railway is planning in providing lifts and escalators at stations for easy movement of passengers with special needs.  Differently abled friendly toilets are being provided at all stations.

Elderly, ailing and differently abled train travellers can now book an ‘e-wheelchair’ online through the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation’s website, free of cost depending on the availability of wheelchair on first come first serve basis.  To book wheelchair, one needs to enter their PNR on the website mentioned above and follow the instructions.  They will have to fill in the required details and request a booking. Once the booking is done, the applicant can take a print out of the voucher, which will be required at the time of collection of the wheelchair.  Wheel chair is provided free of cost in almost all tier-1 and tier-2 railway stations in India.



TDR halts road widening projects

Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) is a voluntary, incentive- based program that allows landowners to sell development rights from their land to a developer or other interested party who then can use these rights to increase the density of development at another designated location.  While the seller of development rights still owns the land and can continue using it, an easement is placed on the property that prevents further development.

When the Government undertakes compulsory acquisition of individual land parcels for creating infrastructural projects in a city, it is required to compensate the land owners. The compensation provided by the Government is usually lower than the market rate, and hence they introduced the concept of Transferable Development Rights. These rights are obtained in the form of certificates, which the owner can use for himself or can trade in the market for cash. The Transferable Development Rights are usually transferred from the fully developed zones to other zones and not vice-versa.

Karnataka government’s revised Transferable Development Rights (TDR) scheme introduced to make compensation more attractive for landowners who lose property for public infrastructure projects — has found no takers in Bengaluru city.

The new rules were aimed at offering a better package to land losers and also to prevent large-scale misuse of the earlier TDR scheme. The revised scheme offers TDR at two times the value of the land acquired whereas under the old scheme the value was limited to 1.5 times.  BBMP officials reveal they have not received any request for a Development Right Certificate (DRC) from land losers and that people prefer monetary compensation. But BBMP is crash strapped.