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Smart Cities - Can Bangalore become one?

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How can Bangalore leverage technology to outsmart corrupt & outdated practices? 

Cities are adopting smart technologies for different reasons: Amsterdam to reduce its carbon emissions, Tokyo to become more competitive, and China to tackle its resource scarcity. Elsewhere, South Korea is using cities like living labs to help domestic companies drive growth in other markets, specifically in India and China. In every case, the smart city is the beginning of initiatives that will drive big changes on the earth over several decades. "The city is a relatively manageable entity when compared to the earth,"

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psaram42's picture

 Smart corruption is more

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Smart corruption is more appropriate to our city of Bangalore in the present context.

When a sewage manhole spills over it is diverted smartly in to the near by storm water drain. To day we can see all the storm water drains of our city of Bangalore flowing with copious sewage water all round the year. If harmful chemicals are absent this sewage water can be used for growing fruits and vegetables profitably for all of us in and around Bangalore. Our town planning, maintenance and governance is abysmal to say the least.

What is the Point of MG Road Boulevard now? Thus Laments Deputy Mayor Harish.

Instead of going ahead with the boulevard we can provide parking space for cars and two-wheelers

is the parting shot!

Should we not have our priorites sorted out? Come and join project Belladur Lake for a change!

idontspam's picture

1500 crore scam in BBMP

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The civic body on Thursday registered a case with the Bangalore Metropolitan Task Force (BMTF) with regard to alleged irregularities in ward-level works involving Rs. 1,500 crore since 2008-09.

A top BBMP source said the scam pertains to the 10,100 ward-level works in the Malleswaram, Rajarajeshwarinagar and Gandhinagar Assembly constituencies from 2008-09 to date. 

This will not be possible if the BBMP brings in e-procurement, as it is transparent.

source

Classic example of how technology can be used, & this isnt even complex techology

psaram42's picture

   The question perhaps,

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The question perhaps, is not about technology, but about transparency. If there is a will to root out corruption at State and National levels, bring in absolute transparency in all financial transactions. This is the job of legislators and parliamentarians to enact necessary robust laws to start with. These laws in turn need to be enforced by the enforcement arm. 

idontspam's picture

Out of the box

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This is the job of legislators and parliamentarians to enact necessary robust laws to start with. These laws in turn need to be enforced by the enforcement arm.

This is old school, it is not working, you need to think out of the box here. People have started justifying innefficient/corrupt habits & have converted it into a culture. The minute you start giving it names like jugaad etc, you have gone too far to fight with old school tools. What part of this can be moved to technology to minimize human intereference in standard processes.

Apply similar technologies in all types of processes, how can technology benefit in bypassing parking "mafias"? How can technology help in monitoring & managing public transport? How can technology help in reducing congestion? How can technology help in monitoring T&D losses for both water & power?

 

Inefficient use of technology can also be useless. We have traffic cameras but how are we using them? What were the innefficiencies they were supposed to bypass? How effective have they been? Would it have been able to bypass those inefficiencies if there were manual practices?

Take your favourite lake example? Why can tamper proof water pollution measuring meters send real time data directly to the KSPCB/LDA so a dashboard can show them increase & decrease in pollution levels? How complicated is this? What inefficiencies does it remove? Like the traffic cameras, if summarized data from the dashboard not exposed to public on a regular basis even having technology will become useless. This is the transparency part where we can focus on laws, public dislosure etc. Split the problem into things that you can manage more easily than the rest & start killing those inefficiencies thru technology.

Remember 1500 crores of our tax money went into some peoples pockets. They are probably buying apartments & villas while you slog in the office or live on retirement benefits. They arent any better then the pickpokets on the street who get IPC applied on them. Wouldnt you rather have invested even 1% of that into a commercial e-procurement software? 

psaram42's picture

  Have a Robot Prime minister

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Have a Robot Prime minister instead of a Dum Prime minister? If the Robot Sonia Gandhi Still controls Robot Dumb Prime minister you had it. Is not a fair statement? Can you kindly elaborate juggad? Is it:-

Jugaad (Hindi: जुगाड़ Punjabi(gharuka)) are locally-made motor vehicles that are used mostly in small villages as a means of low cost transportation in IndiaJugaad (also sometimes juggard) literally means an arrangement or a work around, which has to be used because of lack of resources. This is a Hindi term also widely used by people speaking other Indian languages, and people of Indian origin around the world. The same term is still used for a type of vehicle, found in rural India. This vehicle is made by carpenters, by fitting a diesel engine on a cart.

"Jugaad" is also a colloquial Hindi word that can mean an innovative fix, sometimes pejoratively used for solutions that bend rules, or a resource that can be used as such or a person who can solve a vexatious issue. It is used as much for enterprising street mechanics as for political fixers. In essence, it is a tribute to native genius, and lateral thinking.

Innovative fix that is it. WOW

psaram42's picture

Technology of blunders

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"Take your favourite lake example? Why can tamper proof water pollution measuring meters send real time data directly to the KSPCB/LDA so a dashboard can show them increase & decrease in pollution levels? How complicated is this? What inefficiencies does it remove? Like the traffic cameras, if summarized data from the dashboard not exposed to public on a regular basis even having technology will become useless. This is the transparency part where we can focus on laws, public dislosure etc. Split the problem into things that you can manage more easily than the rest & start killing those inefficiencies thru technology."

IDS, this example of yours is not correct to best of my knowledge.

Bellandur Lake is receiving Sewage [3billion cusec] water 24 hrs per day for all 365 days, in a year, through the 20 odd storm water drains. If you are aware Storm Water Drains as the name suggests is supposed to supply ONLY pure rain storm water to the lake. If that were the case it would never get polluted. Hence I cannot but laugh reading the above quoted paragraph.

Your enthusiasm for technology is well appreciated though. Come and join project Belladur Lake. It is boring some times to be a lone ranger for me.

 

idontspam's picture

  If you are aware Storm

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  If you are aware Storm Water Drains as the name suggests is supposed to supply ONLY pure rain storm water to the lake. If that were the case it would never get polluted. 

Before you laugh understand what I am trying to say. Lets say you plug all the sewage holes, how will you monitor if another sewage hole is made to the lake? 

psaram42's picture

Monitor Sewage flow? What for?

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IDS Kindly understand there is no need to monitor Sewage levels in lakes as such. On the other hand what is needed is to discourage those who are responsible for diverting sewage water overflow in to the storm water drains. I hope you know that ther are seperate lines for Storm water and sewage water. Storm Water drains are open and of rectangular cross section. On the other hand Sewage lines are now a days concrete pipes of 400, 600 mm dia. They used to be of seramics earlier. 

 

Sewage is to be detected at entry point. Usually it is visual inspection what is sufficient. However if you think this is out moded then you are welcome to use the detection techniques sitting at the console you are hinting. 

 
idontspam's picture

Sewage is to be detected at

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Sewage is to be detected at entry point. Usually it is visual inspection what is sufficient.

This is like saying all traffic violators need to be punished but there is no need to monitor whether they are violating.

It is correct & clear that sewage needs to be stopped in the storm water drains. So why hasnt it been stopped?

Assume it is indeed stopped. How do you know it has reoccured? 

srinidhi's picture

SWD's will take sewage..period

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our sewege lines are not planned well enough and they will empty into SWD's..we will need to accept this 

and will they end up in our lakes..yes..thats also a fact which cannot be denied..

so what do we do? how about treatment plants as the water enters the lakes?

Small treatment plants as described in the video here should go a great distance in keeping our lakes clean..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e20nWqAT874

idontspam's picture

so what do we do? how about

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so what do we do? how about treatment plants as the water enters the lakes?

Exactly, route all SWD thru an STP before entering lake. In places where STP is not possible Sieves & gate based filtering with bological treatment is done before letting it in. Technology doesnt mean somebody watching a computer screen, but just deploying people knocking doors is not the solution

psaram42's picture

Some hands required

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Some clarifications can be sought in the relevant project on Bellandur Lake. Some help is required. Can interested people join please? 

kbsyed61's picture

Nice Thought?

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Source - Deccan Chronicle

"...The State government plans to develop the towns surrounding Bengaluru to decongest the city. With this in mind, Hoskote will be developed as a satellite town and equipped with good infrastructure facilities,.."

"...We plan to build a 500 bed- hospital in Hoskote...."

idontspam's picture

Manual failings still

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The guide clearly defines the STP parameteres set by the Board. It also gives a checklist that the Board officials can follow during their inspection, which may make inspections more accountable. "We already have parameters, but they are broadly defined; different officers use different criteria during inspections. From now, this checklist will be followed,"...Currently inspections are mostly based on visual checking of the system rather than tests or measurements.

Source

sanjayv's picture

STP guidelines - manual failings

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From what I have seen and heard while dealing with STP issues in my apt, I can say that the failings are entirely manual. The legal and rules framework is sufficient.  Since a lot of info I got is off the record, cannot post anything here.

psaram42's picture

BBMP itself is the biggest culprit of all!

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"
In the last few months, many apartments in the city were pulled up 
for not operating their Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) 
according to standards. Apartment associations had complained 
that the standards set for STPs were too stringent and that 
officials did not follow clear guidelines during inspection. "

If the BBMP can pull up Apartments for not operating their STPs according to the standards, how are they justified in letting 3 million CUSECS of untreated Sewage water in to the Bellandur Lake for all the 365 days of a year? 

Half hearted pollution watch dog indeed! 

srinidhi's picture

problems galore

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was talking to someone who was in charge of STP in one of the appartments in bangalore and he was mentioning the issues faced there with running the STP..

  • Getting a tractor to move the sludge cakes is a big problem..and for some reason if the tractors doesnt turn up in time, the treatment plant needs to be shut down
  • If the treatment plants are shutdown..restarting the motors is a major issue. These motors go to major maintenece, costing lakhs to overhaul every year

So its a major economic burden to maintain these STP's for appartment complxes.

Also, as the report mentions, smaller appartment complexesand individual houses exempt themselves from setting up an STP...

The best way is for the govt itself to setup STP and run them. They can collect additional taxes from the same from all houses and appartments!

sanjayv's picture

BWSSB not BBMP

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PSA sir,  You raise a valid point.  The biggest culprit is BWSSB (Bangalore Water Supply and SEWERAGE Board) which is responsible for treating the sewage, not the BBMP.  Huge volumes of sewage daily gets dumped into the three vallies of Bangalore by the board without any punishment.  Their existing STPs are known to function poorly.

This was a line of reasoning I understand many of the aggrevied apartments used when notice was served upon them by the KSPCB.  I spoke with one of the leaders of the group of Apts that got a notice.

They argued, correctly that

(a) KSPCB is failing in its duties because they are not checking the rampant discharge of untreated / partly treated sewage by BWSSB and other areas without any sewage lines while coming after apartments which are at least treating some of their sewage

(b) They picked and demonstrated clear holes in KSPCBs consent process and framework

(c) There was a laundry list, but the summary was that the STP plan was ill thought out. The board is not fully performing its mission which is clearly identified in the various acts and rules. Also that the consent fees etc. is very arbitrary and unfair.

The KSPCB is apparently in the process of making some changes to address these valid concerns.  Hopefully, the outcome, at least as far as apartmentslevel STPs are concerned is that the concerns will be addressed and the process improved with the board tightly regulating the design and construction of STPs to its satisfaction before being handed over to apt associations.one

kbsyed61's picture

A mirror to the reality?

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"...There are duplex apartments with 'plunge pools', the AKDK Golf village, fertility centres and stores selling modular kitchens, spas, drinking-water tanker services. Every major bank is here, alongside a flood of women-only hostels, some with 'gym, beauty parlour, indoor games', home to the women who work along the IT Expressway.

But the third world is ever present: the road is terrible, there are no shoulders, no pavement, and garbage is everywhere. There isn't enough water and electricity...."

Source - Hindustan Times

psaram42's picture

Height of stupidity

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The newly appointed young water meter reader informed me to day that according to a new rule I have to pay Rs 50/- per month extra if I use my well water. On enquiry I found out the reason why. If I use my well water BWSSB believes that my sewage water loads on their sewage lines will increase, to that extent.

I was elated with fond hopes of BWSSB providing sufficient Sewage Water drains capacity so that the storm water drains are kept clean. Though we do not use our well water for house hold use I still asked him to charge the extra Rs 50/- PM.

On second thought, I think the reason for the charging might be for depleting the ground water. I am at my wits end to figure out the real reason for charging extra Rs 50/- month after month for using my own well water their by reducing the demand on precious Cauvery water. 

However my wife was aghast at my stupidity. I on the other hand on the logic behind BWSSB's "smart" move.

 
sanjayv's picture

Well water charge

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Dear PSA sir,

If I am not wrong, the well water charge used to be Rs 25 and this is now revised to Rs 50 pm?  The question you should ask is - (a) How do they keep track of all this water and (b) Since they do not treat a large portion of the sewage and actually let it go down the storm water drain - how do we know that they are actual;ly using this money to treat sewage?

psaram42's picture

The Sanitary charges are Rs 15/- as per monthly bill

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@sanjayv

Yes you are right.  The sanitary charges are 15/- which is being charged for me.

I have a well since 1986 when I built the house. For compulsory RWH compliance I collect all the rain water on my 60x40 site and charge the well. All these years since 1986 we never used the well water. Even now it is the same.

The boy told me that there is no [extra?] charge if one does not use the well water.  In any case I don’t see any relevance in the use of well water for sewage treatment charges. All Houses discharging their sewage water in to sewage drains need to pay for treatment of the same. The charges should vary with built-up area to keep it simple.

I tried contacting Mr. T Venkataraju Chief Engineer BWSSB, without any success. I plan to try again tomorrow morning.

murali772's picture

earlier discussions on the subject

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@ Sanjay  -  On the question of applicability of Pollution Control Act to housing complexes, you may refer this discussion too. And, on the matter of consent fee - this.

Muralidhar Rao
kbsyed61's picture

Patna City, next in line?

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Source - Times Of India

"...Patna could soon get its own version of London's famed Thames Path or Mumbai's Marine Drive: a long, pleasant walk or drive on along the banks of the river Ganga.

At 40 km, Patna's Ganga driveway will be shorter than the Thames Path, which is 64 km long, but vastly longer than Marine Drive, which stretches a mere 3 km along the shore of the Arabian Sea.

The finance ministry and Planning Commission have cleared the project, which will cost 2,400 crore. Land for the project has come at little cost: the Ganga has altered its course leaving spare land in its wake. .."

idontspam's picture

Technology & scam artists

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 The Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike’s (BBMP) Task Force Station located on the third floor inside its complex caught fire on Saturday. All important documents relating to the BBMP Task Force were charred to ashes. Only the documents relating to daily administration were burnt. Those relating to scams are safe at the ground floor and first floor. More security is needed to guard this. The fire accident may be a well planned one

Source

This is the same task force which is looking into thte 1500 crore scam in ward works. This is the same scam the MLA' s were up in arms against Siddiah for exposing. I can imagine how easy it can be for some of the affected parties to use age old method of fire to get rid of evidence.

Again a proof of how simple technology like storing files digitally in datacenters with disaster recovery setup will keep these mischief mongers at bay. There is no way the city authorities can live in the pre-independence era & hope to administer the city. They have to be dragged kicking & screaming into the new era whether anybody likes it or not.

psaram42's picture

Paper less society

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There is ample justification for a paper less society with an ever growing robust computer technology.  TV9 covered the incident live:-

“Fire tenders were called presumably for a major fire at BBMP head office at about 9:00 PM on Saturday November 19 2011. Short circuit was suspected. 8 fire tenders were requested. The fire broke at third floor of BBMP office. 3 fire tenders arrived several office files might have been gutted in the fire. BBMP files are safe Sidhaiya.”

The news however was reported in TOI only today, Monday the 21 Nov 2011. 

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