MoM with Prof TV Ramachandran

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Water

Attendees: Neha Dar, Jim Gowda and myself.

We meet Prof Ramachandran from Center for Ecological Studies, IISc this saturday. Even though, he blasted us for not doing anything after our last meeting with him (read about it here), he spent over 2 hours with us discussing this project among other things. I like to call this meeting "He pulled up our socks" session.

Some of the points which were discussed are

  • Even though BWSSB has water shortage, it gives an NOC to new construction projects saying something to the effect that "a connection will be provided when water is available". Once these constructions get this NOC from BWSSB other agencies such as pollution control board etc do not have any criteria based on which they deny them an NOC. We live in a state where it has become essential for government agencies to show high revenues, sometimes at potentially inexplicable costs. BWSSB gets something to the tune of 30 lacs to over a crore depending on the size of the construction. He pushed Jim to act like a responsible citizen and file a PIL against BWSSB asking them on what grounds they were giving such NOCs to which Jim's response was that he is helpless.
  • A bit off topic, but Prof mentioned that there are clear guidelines for the height to which commercial buildings can be constructed based on the width of the roads around them. These guidelines were clearly violated in the case of Mantri Mall. Now since the mall is complete, it will result in further tree cutting. Prof again suggested that Jim should file a PIL asking how such violations were allowed. Jim again wiggled out explaining his HELPLESSNESS.
  • We should contact department of mines and geology. They have a lot of data on ground water which will be useful for us.
  • On the issue of lake encroachment, prof had done a study on the lines of economic valuation of a lake. The idea was that people think that economic value is being generated by the encroachment of lakes so he set about calculating the economic value of a lake if it is well taken care of. He suggested we should go through his study.
  • He suggested we use land satellite data to track the hyacinth and size of lakes. It would require some effort because we will have to spend some time in understanding the images and connecting them to political map of bangalore using topo sheets.
  • Another issue he brought out was that every agency has different para state boundaries. BBMP has wards, BWSSB has zones and same is the case with other agencies. He suggested Praja takes up a project to make all the agencies use the same map.
  • He suggested that we should also get in touch with Central Ground water commission as well.

@Jim, Neha: Feel free to add anything that I may have missed out.

 

Comments

About Hyacinth

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Prof TV Ramachandran pointed out that the hyacinth coverage changes seasonally. Monthly tracking won't tell us anything about whether the situation is any better/worse. We'll have to compare across monsoon seasons / dry seasons.

blasted us?

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Interesting to note that he blasted us for not doing anything.  I don't remember us promising to go on a crusade.  That first meeting was a learning mission. As I am sure Prof. TVR understands, the lakes issue is not a simple one to tackle.  If that was the case, the several organizations working on this would have solved everything by now.

Bad traffic mgmt

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Prof mentioned that there are clear guidelines for the height to which commercial buildings can be constructed based on the width of the roads around them

First off the height of the mall over ground is approx 4 to 5 floors. Its not like a skyscraper has come up there. Second there is a limit to how wide you can have roads. If I built a 100 floor tower I cant have a 1 km wide road.

I would like to stick to the bad traffic routing & throughput management theory and the solutions I have proposed based on that. Of course this shows the traffic police to be incompetent and hence will be brushed under the carpet. Trafic management has remained exactly the same since the building came up without a single change in routing/management and I dont know which part of the world will believe that this status quo will work.

Pathetic enforcement at every nook

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this shows the traffic police to be incompetent...

Trafic management has remained exactly the same since the building came up without a single change in routing/management and I dont know which part of the world will believe that this status quo will work...

Authorities, be they traffic police, BBMP or any other are so averse to change that they have consistently been failing to face up to the new realities. They are now permanently in a state of "fire-fighting", & will remain so for several decades, if not forever.

Even many African nations are forging ahead & are in sync with the rest of the world in traffic restraining measures by pushing ahead BRT & other road taxing policies whereas here, we have let loose everything under the garb of being the largest democracy - nothing can be enforced here, since that is what the majority of the people demand, whilst politicians & their many bureaucrats have been reduced merely to puppets !

we are seeing this everywhere

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We live in a state where it has become essential for government agencies to show high revenues, sometimes at potentially inexplicable costs. BWSSB gets something to the tune of 30 lacs to over a crore depending on the size of the construction.

Comes down again to the problem of revenue orientation - check this
 

Muralidhar Rao

no mundane stuff, only high-tech!

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@ IDS

Of course this shows the traffic police to be incompetent and hence will be brushed under the carpet. Trafic management has remained exactly the same since the building came up without a single change in routing/management and I dont know which part of the world will believe that this status quo will work.

Well, what else do you expect when they are pre-occupied with these high-tech pursuits?
 

Muralidhar Rao

PIL on lakes already filed!

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 Maybe Prof. R can join cause with this lawyer and see if he can get something moving.

Refer to this citizen matters article.

http://bangalore.citizenmatters.in/articles/view/1936-bda-site-allotment-s-vasudeva

There, a certain high court lawyer, Mr. S. Vasudeva's PIL filing record is discussed,  He apparently recently filoed a PIL on lakes and protection. Quoting a small portion from the article -

Vasudeva's track record

  • Vasudeva has filed over 70 PILs. He recently filed a petition before the High Court seeking the state government and the BBMP to protect lakes in the city. The hearing of this case was adjourned.

What say - seems like an eminent ally for Prof. R?

@Sanjay: They know each other

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Prof mentioned Mr Vasudeva's name as well. In fact the PIL which he has filed quotes Prof's work. I am thinking of setting up some meeting time with Mr Vasudeva. Looks like he has done a lot of interesting things :) I have his number. Game in meeting him?

weekend meeting, yes

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 If we can workout a weekend meeting, sure.  My Sat mornings are booked with some serial doc appointments for the foreseeable future.  Have some regularly scheduled stuff on Sun mornings also, but can wriggle out of that if required.  Really do not prefer week day evenings.

I would like to join - give

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I would like to join - give me a call.

Muralidhar Rao

Mr Vasudeva meeting

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Mr Vasudeva seems very interesting - I am eager to meet him too. I have a few engagements this weekend, but will try to make it if it fits in.