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9th May 'interaction' with Metro - who were "they"?

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Metro Rail

There are reports around about how the 9th May interaction between Metro and Laxman Rau Park and Lalbagh lovers (fronted by Hasiru Usiru) turned 'ugly'. After reading enough on HU mailing list, and hearing a first hand account of the event, I learn that some "special" people were brought (by whom?) to project the other ("we love Metro") view. Some carried banners, and some appeared threatening (an accusation, first hand account) to the visibly vocal anti-metro group.

Having seen similar stuff from close quarters, ("Yuva" style ways of mobilizing crowds are for real), this may have been a first in our city as far as hiring 'help' for such urbane apolitical rally is concerned. At a recent rally addressed by a big name leader back at my native place, the going rate was Rs 200 + meals for mere attendance and slogan shouting (via first hand narration). From second hand sources, at a recent rally right here in our city, the rate was Rs 150 plus one meal, and hard workers (who help maintain 'order' etc) would get a bonus on top of that.

This is reality folks. Amidst all the coverage of elections, rallys and protests, this country's media does not have the guts to report the real stuff from the ground (Nalini Singh's coverage on DD two decades ago - one exception I remember).

Before I digress into criticism of media (and their reckless role in recent Lok Sabha elections), back to the point. Such 'organized' protestors - is there anything illegal about it? There are no legal or illegal ways of mobilizing people. Don't think there is a law that prevents you or me from using money and booze to organize a 'peaceful' rally against, say, MP Rajeev Chandrashekhar for misusing ABIDe volunteer mailing list to promote his personal blog :)

So what do we do? (when I say we, I mean us, regardless of HU, KI, CAF etc etc, it is we). Organized way of interacting with government needs some thinking. Street protests can easily be scuttled - unless someone finds a way, or media shows some guts to expose the "lallans" of the day, there are ways to pollute the crowd-driven opinion building events.

Aggeregating questions beforehand. collecting representatives for each opinion that exists, and then organizing an interaction with civic authorities - is such a thing possible and practical? Then again, who is to say that all opinions were heard, and the interaction provided everyone an equal chance? Is there a perfect way of doing such "interaction" and "participation"?


Arun's picture

Bad show, true colours...

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It is true that some were there only to create problems.  His behaviour was very obvious; lots of people were interrupted by him.  I was there at 7AM and initially this guy appeared alright but as things progressed he wanted to hog the limelight. Many people, having lived there for more than 3 decades were fed up with this guy and questioned him which ‘residents’ association’ is he talking about as none recognized him.  But the ‘for METRO on LR Park’ gang people did nothing to shut this guy.  Some even had banners with their photographs and proclaiming support for the METRO. 
But it was heartening to see that this organized gang was very soon outnumbered and too too many Jayanagarikaas came out and questioned BMRCL for not having acted on their repeated requests to clarify the alignment since 2005-06!!!!
BMRCL, on the other hand was at the receiving end.  Obviously, coz they have no exposure to public consultations where the genuine stakeholders are in large numbers.  It was appalling to over hear one of the senior BMRC engineers telling ‘…maraa bekkidhre kaadalli irli…’
rnavada's picture

maraa bekkidhre kaadalli irli...

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couldn't resist..

1. What was HU doing all these years? the plan and path if metro alignment is on the website    since 2008 .

2. Do they know how many trees will be cut down on lalbagh? 18 eucalyptus tress . btw, eucalpytus is such an useless tree that forest department's permission is not even required to cut it down. (  coconut tree in my house needs permission!).

3. Nanda theater road..all the trees..tragedy..but why not agigate then when the alignment was announced?

4. As cities grow-NY,London included, they become un-manageable. Its a fact and we need to face it .

5. How come HU does not even create 1% of the noise for sheshadri road. Sheshadri road trees are all 100+ yrs unlike RV road planted by RK hegde's govt. in 83.
6. If  alignment not  RV road then where. If HU or that matter i start designing alignment there will be anarchay( i want only the stop not the track near my house!)
Gentlemen, I am neither a member of HU nor any of the other RWA . I am a furstrated resident of bangalore trying to go to office and back everyday in minimum comfort.
Remember, trees can always be grown back. but lost time in these media seeking ,Personal agenda based agitations, will not come back

I do care for trees but people come first!

pls. visit MKK road where people are very happy to see all the trees and buildings razed ...they go on with the classic bangalore style.."yen maadokagathe, road nalli jaagane illvalla"..

oh! i am not "they"..
 why would a govt. agency "hire" people to counter the HU folks? Is it not possible that opposite could be true?i.e HU on a take from a rival political parties?
HU head was thrown out of a recent BBMPcouncil meeting on tree cutting because, he wanted his way when he was voted against 11-1!!

allave matte..mara bekadre kadalle irabeku..illandre site togundu bari mara nedabeku..:)
idontspam's picture

This could be leverage

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One could however use this as leverage and get written committment from Govt  to make race course into forest as compensation. Will we miss the forest for the trees? Greed for more trees is good. I would like to see a Red/Amber/Green status for each area in Bangalore vis a vis green cover. Let us see how the rest of the city fares. Lets also compare with cities nationally and internationally.

§§§ Tweetenator

Arun's picture

getting the facts right!

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if some unplanned activity by the State is opposed it makes sense for the State to rethink.  Looking at your comments it seems you were not present at the venue.  Let me tell you, majority of the people who gathered there were for METRO and for greenery, including HU.  But the fact is there were certain people, miniscule, who wanted the METRO were not allowing the rest to question Sivasailam. 

Agreed that the alignment was announced sometime back.  But the efforts of engagment with BMRC has been as old as that.  Not just HU, even associations in Jayanagar have been engaging with them since 2006, but to no avail.

'As cities grow-NY,London included, they become un-manageable. Its a fact and we need to face it'....but they do everything to protect their heritage and parks.  They reclaim public spaces for people.  But here our Govts snatch it for the sake of traffic and stupid infrastructure.  And generally people not so concerned will create a ruckus since they want to reach office and get back home as you have said.  Trafalgar Sq is no longer open for traffic!  Will you support such an initiative where Jayanagar 4th Block is made traffic-free?

'...eucalyptus...' let me correct you...(1) even a twig cannont be broken from a park as they are protected by Kar Park and Open Spaces Act (2) these 18 trees that you are talking about were Australian species and not the ordinary ones

'...Seshadri Road...'  HU has even got a HC order which the Tree Officer and the Committee of 'experts' have violated.  Honourable Justice Manjunath pulled up the Tree Officer and the Committee Chairman for their act.  Fortunately for these two no orders was passed against them.  As a result you see the Tree Officer still cutting trees and the veteran environmentalist still presiding as Chief Guests at many events.  A detailed plan was given to the 'Engineers' of BBMP to widen roads and retain the trees.  But they were ignorant and arrogant enough not to accept this.  So all the trees on Seshadri and Palace Roads were lost. 

'...thrown out of BBMP Council meeting...' when did the council come into existence my friend?  This was a meeting for the Committee constituted by the HC which was open to public.  But the Committee conveniently held all 'meetings' and passed orders to cut trees on Seshadri, Palace, KR Road, etc.  This too was not acceptable to the Judge.

'yen maadokagathe, road nalli jaagane illvalla..' this attitude should go; unfortunately too many people are just bothered about right of way for their vehicles; the wider the road more vehicles and more congestion; isn't  this common sense?

'allave matte..mara bekadre kadalle irabeku..illandre site togundu bari mara nedabeku..'   'I do care for trees but people come first!'  these do not augur well..It is stupid to assume trees as not part of the infrastructure, they come before any underpass, flyover or even a METRO or a MONO

silkboard's picture

rnavada - dont attack like that

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One has the right to take a stand, but there is no reason to attack HU like that.

I am on HU lists, there were folks active on Seshadri Road widening matter.

Actually, getting into HU, trees etc is secondary here. What needs noting is that people at large don't take interest in scrutinizing projects. Okay, its not perfect, but transparency has increased in last 5 years. Few active people at HU or a small bunch of geeks at Praja or elsewhere etc talking about things can't mobilize people at early stages of projects. It so happens that issues get attention only when the developments or damage becomes "visible" on the ground.

This is the bigger thing to fix - have to find a way to get people to be interested. Some say that systems of making people participate (Area Sabha etc) is the way, some say there should be more direct on-ground engagement. Whatever. But two things 1) these engagement processes are heavily loaded in favor of people who have more time available - retired people 2) and, the reality is that not many take interest, so all said and done, we may just deserve it.

Anyway. The mystery of the "surprise guests" on May 9 morning remains.

srinidhi's picture

'kai mugidu oLage baa idu sasya kashi'

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 This has been written at one of the entrances in Lalbagh..there were times when we have called this place the holiest of all !

..and now we are ready to desecrate this sacred place, which doesnt have an equal anywhere !?

What ever is happening now should be an eye opener for BMRCL that we dont give it up without a fight and they think a 100 times before cutting a tree!

Also..when there were houses and properties annexed for metro job..huge compensations, unprecedented in history, were given...what is the compensation for the tree cutting?

They need to equally penalized, if not more, for cutting the trees..

rnavada's picture

i do have the facts right...

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I dont  want to drag on this. but i think you need to realise jayanagar is not bangalore and most importantly spend more time reading both kannada and english newspapers and maybe biology too.

1. Eucalyptus tress: point was ,this trees should be allowed to cut  since it does not serve any purpose other than sap the soil of all contents. Pls. read more on this. I know about the law. man made law and not other way around. so we need to modify it.

2. Sheshadri Road: the High court named head of comitte is yellappa reddy- a noted environmentalist. BBMP covenes a meeting before every decision is taken. It is in one of those meetings where HU man was childish and was abusive when every one had voted the other way. pls. refert  to kannada prabha sometime in Nov.08.  There is no high court order stay  on tree felling on sheshadri road.  BBMP will not touch it if High court had issued one. BBMP is a govt. agency and not some land grabbing company.

3.Other points like trafalgar sqare etc, i wont comment. let the other readers judge your comments.

4. Democracy's greatest strength -freedom of expression-should not be its greatest drawback.
Everyone is entittled to his/her opinion. You would have no right to ask others to change their attitutudes just because it dosent suit  yours and "miniscule"  block residents of jayanagar.  

Dont paint the govt. with such dark colors. "unplanned activity" etc. Metro is the most meticulously planned project costing roughly 9+ thousand crores. People who run BBMP/Metro are not idiots or for that matter the elite IT/IIT guys. They are IAS folks. If india continues to run successfully today it is because of them and not the two bit jokers whom we elect.  

Yes I was present at the meeting.Saw the RWA presidents trying to grab mike and pose for cameras  and almost pushed back Shivasailam at one point in time.

Just think; If cauvery water is diverted from bangalore and given to our farmers, there will be no lack of water for farmers. will you agreee?? farmers are the nation's backbone right? Constitution clearly states, water's primary need is drinking and next is farming. surprising??

I will continue to be conceited and wish to travel in minimum comfort. I am not bothered about "huge" , "irreversible" damage that cutting of couple of RV road and Lalbagh will bring upon us.  Heard of amazon jungles? Western ghats?  pls. read.


liked your approach to the problem. Praja is the right forum for people like us to get into action mode .

If i were to tell you what HU does for media attention and money it would be a long story. Lets take that offline. Who heads HU? how do they get funded? why do they oppose every single infra project(NICE/Metro ) and suddenly drop out/go cold etc .Has someone thought about it? 

My intent is/was never to attack anyone. My view point -maybe strong words.

rnavada's picture


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Murali772 has just corrected me that HU is not the same as ESG. My comments were on ESG on the last paragraph and about sheshadri road. It stands withdrawn.

Arun's picture


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‘…realise jayanagar is not bangalore and most importantly spend more time reading both kannada and english newspapers and maybe biology too’ 
Thanks for this piece. The kind of reporting on this event would have enlightened me just as you have been. Well, my efforts were to bring out the facts and not to construe by reading some Kannada and English newspapers. By the way, it was the miniscule numbers that ran behind BMRC officials supporting the METRO while a huge number, (excluding HU) had few tough questions for BMRC.

‘Eucalyptus tress: point was…so we need to modify it.  
These man made laws put in place in good faith are for common good; it is good that these cannot be modified at the convenience of few.
‘Sheshadri Road…BBMP will not touch it if High court had issued one. BBMP is a govt. agency and not some land grabbing company’ 
BBMP has to convene a meeting before every decision is taken. Also do not forget this is not a meeting only of/for the committee, but for public too. Not sure if you were made known about this by Kannada Prabha sometime in Nov08. HU presented alternatives and also did a spot inspection with other committee members, including Dr.Prasanna of IIMB and the elite ‘engineers’ of BBMP. But what damage BBMP has inflicted is there for everyone to see.  If not land grabbing, definitely tree grabbing, also the construction lobby is behind this.

‘Democracy's greatest strength…’
Attitudes of both the Government as well as the people will have to change if we need to live in a sustainable world.  A sustainable world is true Democracy. Roads (including highways) at the cost of lakhs of trees/lakes (read ecology) or dams at the cost of ecology again will prove disastrous. No offer from nature is free and eternal.

‘Dont paint the govt… "unplanned activity" etc. Metro is the most meticulously planned project costing roughly 9+ thousand crores. People who run BBMP/Metro are not idiots..They are IAS folks…’
If ever they have planned anything meticulously it is the Lakshman Rau Boulevard.  But that was some many decades back. I am not sure if we have idiots running BBMP/BMRC, but whoever has planned the METRO can pat their backs.  If it was planned properly, opposition on CMH Rd, Rajkumar Road, RV Road would not have existed. This is precisely what HU has been fighting for, to talk to people before you start the work so that there is less damage to the livelihoods, homes and ofcourse greenery. But BMRC thought otherwise. If anyone’s to be blamed for a delayed METRO, it has to be BMRC. I need not say more as everyone knows this story, including those who read newspapers. With all due respects to IAS, why should we assume all that they plan and implement is right?  And which IAS officer planned Seshadri or Palace Road? I was surprised to see the few remaining trees near the temple and opposite Golf Club on Palace Road chopped off very recently.  You need to understand, that there is the timber lobby too that is playing. This has been clearly made known in all papers and even by Justice Saldanha.
‘If India continues to run successfully today it is because of them and not the two bit jokers whom we elect’…pearls of wisdom eh?  I do not disagree but also not completely agree

‘…pose for cameras and almost pushed back Shivasailam...’ without a doubt I can tell you these were the people who towed the MLA and MD saying they have brought them to Jayanagar…these were the so called RWA who were not recognized by people of Jayanagar! Some elderly and couple of noted theater personalities who had come were not even allowed to come near the MLA or the MD.

If Cauvery water …’ don’t mind if less water is available in Bangalore…atleast people will stop spraying their cars and yards with piped water cleaning them or leave the motor running while the water makes a descent from the fourth floor.

‘…huge…damage that cutting of couple of RV road and Lalbagh…’ this is not a case of 2 or 3 trees standing on a street making way for METRO.  You know that as a growing city Bangalore cannot have one Cubbon Park and a Lalbagh. RV, Lalbagh, KR, Seshadri, Palace, Mysore Rd, Vijaynagar, Ulsoor, Vani Vilasa, et al has seen several thousands being felled.  Am sure you would appreciate that I am not talking about Jayanagar alone, but of Bangalore.  Collectively this has been damaging Bangalore’ ecology.   What about those nests, birds, breeding, flowering…well this needs some stuff to comprehend, else I wouldn’t be surprised if the not-so-concerned laughing at this. Vijaya Karnataka has a nice little piece on this.

‘…Who heads HU? how do they get funded?...’ Dude you need to get your facts right if you making malicious allegations. Most of your comments seem to have come out of you not knowing the matter in toto; you were eventually corrected on this
I will in any case CONTINUE to read about Amazon and Western Ghats the way I have been doing for more than a decade.  It is an ongoing engagement. And FYI…HU consists people from all walks of life who intend to make things better for Bangalore.  No project has been opposed in Bangalore, including METRO if it is in common interest. There have been serious efforts to engage with the authorities.  There are common members between HU and PRAJA as well. Surely, none of the citizens have been engaged with HU either for media attention or money.

Hope things are clear now. My last posting on this.

rnavada's picture

no other option ..

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Well , i tried...but...

I am closing this argument from my side. guess metro/BBMP has realised that organizations like HU cannot be engaged for meaningful negotiation. They are now in the mode of stonewalling everyone. what else can they do.

" helosthu helodu..illa,nanna kudurege moor kaalu andre...anubhavisi"
( try to, my horse has only three legs...ok! enjoy the ride)

FYI there is no oppposition to alignment on DR.Rajkumar Road because, there is NO TRACK being planned there!! so much for the detailed knowledge about metro.

out of curiosity..did you even read my posting properly?

oh! laxman rao park is REALLY the greatest planned park in bangalore. Yeshtadru "namma jayanagara allave!"

One oldie from Jayanagar to other:
"Adeno JP parku (mathikere), mini forestu( padmanabhagara) ideyantalla...namma park kinta chennagideya?

Good luck to to change the metro alignment.
BTW all trees( except two) on sheshadri road, race course road , palace road are already cut...
forthcomign attraction (ad in todays deccan herald): hosur road and others...

Act the trees ....

Hello TV9/udaya/TOI? very huge agitation planned. thousands coming.will ensure BMRC/BBMP comissioner will come to take our petition.. This is big. pls. pls. come ....ondu sanna photo  bandru saaku...!!!
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