Bengaluru Buzz: 2 bandhs protest Cauvery sharing | Govt notifies 225 wards … and more

Other news of the week: Mixed response to September 26th bandh, steps to decongest ORR road, and Metro Mitra App launched at Jayanagar Metro station.

September 29th bandh

Normal life came to a halt during the one-day statewide bandh over the Cauvery water-sharing dispute on September 29th. Hundreds of pro-Kannada protesters and farmers were detained and more than 40 flights were cancelled. Many raised their voice against the government’s decision to release water to Tamil Nadu. The bandh was called by the Kannada Okkoota.

Section 144 of Criminal Procedure Code was imposed, prohibiting the assembly of four or more. Shops, eateries and theatres were shut down, even as schools and colleges declared a holiday as a precautionary measure. Kannada activists barged into a press conference by actor Siddharth, who was promoting the Kannada dubbed version of his Tamil film Chithha.

The state-wide bandh will be followed by the government planning to challenge the directives to the Cauvery Water Regulation Committee (CWRC) before the Supreme Court.

Source: Indian Express, The Hindu

Read more: How is Cauvery water supply treated for contamination?

Mixed response to Sept 26th bandh

On September 26th, a Bengaluru bandh, called by the Karnataka Jala Samrakshana Samithi, to protest the move to release 5,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu, evoked a mixed response from opposition political parties and organisations.

Educational institutions, small industries and businesses were closed, while public transportation and essential services continued. Bus stands were empty and Namma Metro stations had scanty footfall, with just a few autorickshaws and cabs.

Traffic was green on navigation applications with smooth flow. In the evening, too, the flow remained nearly the same. Traffic police reported more than a 50% reduction in traffic, especially as schools were shut and most people worked from home.

In the south, Bellandur, Silk Board Junction, Sarakki Junction, Jayadeva Junction, Hosur Road and Sarjapur Road were among the few high-density areas that saw only about 30% of the regular traffic flow throughout the day.

Similarly, in the east, the Old Madras Road, ITPL Main Road, HAL Old Airport Road, and the areas around Mahadevapura, Marathahalli, Hoodi and Whitefield saw as low as 20% of the regular traffic load. The Sumanahalli junction on the Outer Ring Road was clear with free-flowing traffic all day. Other areas, such as Magadi Road and KR Circle, saw no traffic hold-ups.

Meanwhile, the unplanned closure of schools has made several private schools think of cutting down the Daasara vacation of 10-15 days, scheduled for October.

The Advocates Association requested Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court, Prasanna B Varale, to ensure that the day’s listed cases were not “damaged” due to the absence of lawyers.

Source: Indian Express, Deccan Herald

Govt notifies 225 wards for city

The government issued a final notification regarding delimitation of BBMP wards, with the number being brought down from 243 to 225 before the civic elections, reportedly by the end of the year.

The delimiting process began on June 23rd when the Wards Delimitation Commission, under the chairmanship of Tushar Giri Nath, BBMP’s chief commissioner. The move was opposed by heritage conservationists and many residents.

According to the final delimitation report, the names of 15 wards have been changed, with some names getting interchanged, while some older names were dropped. Hence, Basavanagudi ward in South Bengaluru will soon be known as Dodda Ganapathi, while Girinagar ward will morph into Swami Vivekananda.

Giri Nath said the renaming was made after a detailed study, considering many factors, such as the area that occupies the majority of the ward and the historical and cultural places in the ward. Before finalising the name, the joint commissioners were asked to collect public opinion.

Source: Indian Express

Read more: Urban designers must first answer the question, whose city is it anyway: Mathew Idiculla

Steps to decongest ORR

For better traffic management, the Bengaluru police aims to begin a daily count of vehicles entering tech parks on the Outer Ring Road stretch, from the Outer Ring Road Companies Association (ORRCA). The data will help the police to issue advisories on a phased exit for vehicles and manage traffic better.

This plan follows the traffic congestion of 3.5 lakh vehicles on the stretch on September 27th.

The ORR had 100% or almost 60,000 vehicles in tech parks because it followed the previous day’s bandh as well as due to the long weekend that would follow. This was unusual, as most parks record only 60% capacity, with about 25,000-30,000 vehicles between 6 pm and 8 pm.

A busy junction in Bengaluru
Representative image. Traffic congestion on ORR roads. Pic: Ashwin Kumar via Wikimedia

Commuters, including children in school buses, travelling through areas like Marathahalli, Bellandur, Sarjapur, Varthur, Whitefield and Iblur, took almost double the usual time to reach their destinations. 

Mobility experts say that the mismatch between land use and transport planning leads to traffic congestion and unplanned use of vehicles.

Last month, a report by ORRCA showed that traffic congestion on the ORR stretch cost the city $15-plus billion in annual revenues. Another report from the planning, programme monitoring and statistic department and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce suggests a congestion tax on private vehicles that use nine high-density roads during peak hours.

Source: Indian Express, The Hindu, Deccan Herald

Metro Mitra App

The Metro Mitra app has finally been introduced and can be accessed at the Jayanagar metro station. The collaborative mobility initiative will involve the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) in partnership with the Autorickshaw Drivers Union (ADU). It aims to enhance the first and last-mile connectivity from and to metro stations. 

The app will roll out to all stations on the Green Line, while for the Purple Line, its launch is scheduled after the Baiyappanahalli-KR Pura Namma Metro link becomes operational.

Source: The Hindu

[Compiled by Revathi Siva Kumar]

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