High beam menace: Over 5k cases booked in four months

The first four months of the year have seen 42 cases being booked on average daily -5,045 cases in total -against people using high beam headlights.The glare from these lights are known to cause temporary blindness and consequently affect night vision of the driver for a few seconds ­ a perfect recipe for an accident.However, lack of awareness among motorists often leads to continued use of these lights in city limits.The lack of accurate data that can correlate high beam use to accidents has resulted in most violators being let off with minimal punishment.However, medical experts point out that the issue needs to be taken more seriously by lawmakers, given the hazards that high beam use exposes pedestrians and motorists on the road to.

“High beams definitely cause momentary blindness.Any pedestrian crossing the road could get hurt. There’s no need to use such lights in cities, where there are enough streetlights. High beam lights disturb vision and clarity. They are meant for vehicles travelling at high speeds on highways,“ said Dr K Bhujang Shetty, an ophthalmologist.

Head of the World Health Organization’s coordinating centre, and chief of the Centre for Public Health at Nimhans, Dr G Gururaj said accidents at nigh-time account for nearly 33% of all road mishaps. Lamenting the lack of concrete data that can link use of high beams to frequency of accidents, he added, “It would require skilled investigation to link the two.“

Excessive high beam usage forced C Sadashiv, an advocate residing at Seshadripuram, to cut down on driv ing during the night. “I can’t see anything for a few seconds when the bright light hits my eyes. I stop my car on the side of the road to avoid accidents each time this happens,“ he added.

Traffic police, on the other hand, point out that many motorists are unaware of the dangers. “People we catch often tell us they are using low beam, when they are not.When we point out the blue symbol on the dashboard, they claim they have no idea what it indicates,“ said Mohammad MA, an inspector on Old Airport Road.

Admitting that some of the dark stretches on Old Airport Road and Old Ma dras Road justified the use of high beam lights, Mohammad said, “But many of them are just negligent. There is a lack of awareness about the adverse ef fects of using these lights.“

Long reach of the focussed beam helps motorists navigate roads at high speeds at night.

Courtesy by TIMES OF INDIA

Preparation in full swing as Metro Phase 1 launch nears

The countdown has begun for the launch of Sampige Road-Yelachenahalli Metro corridor, operationalizing the entire Phase I of Bengaluru’s mass rapid transit project. The inspection for issuing safety clearance is to begin on Wednesday, even as authorities have invited Pranab Mukherjee to flag off the service. Tenders have been floated for distributing 10,000 laddus, besides providing 5kg dry fruits for VIPs to munch during the function.

On Monday , Bangalore Metro Railway Corporation officials invited K A Manoharan, commissioner of Metro Rail Safety (CMRS) of south western railway zone, for inspection. “I will visit them on Wednesday to get a brief explanation of the track and train testing that’s going on right now. The inspection, which will require three or four days, will start early next week and may be completed by this monthend. I need to check on a number of aspects before issuing the safety certificate. It may take one day or a week,“ he told TOI.

With the launch, the 42-km Phase I network of Namma Metro will be fully operational.The network will have 42 stations and the Kempegowda station will be the first underground interchange station.The Green line from Nagasandra in the north will run up to Yelachenahalli, Kanakapura Road, in the south. While the entire East-West corridor between Byappanahalli and Mysuru Road is up and running, only a part of northern corridor between Sampige Road and Nagasandra is operational.The underground stretch from Mantri Square station to KR Market and the elevated corridor from the National College to Puttenahalli through RV Road and Jayanagar will now be open for public use.

Chief minister Siddaramaiah is learnt to have sent an invitation to the President for the event but the date has not been mentioned. “The plan to invite the President has been there for some time as it might give brownie points to the Congress in the state. However, he has not been given a confirmed date because the safety certification is yet to be received,“ sources said.

The last launch of the underground stretch between Magadi Road and MG Road too was a costly event with 5,000 laddus ordered. BMRC has floated four tenders for food, snacks and beverages for VIPs, guests, staff and security personnel.

Courtesy by TIMES OF INDIA

Will night tourism at Lalbagh and Cubbon Park take off

The tourism department, in an effort to boost tourism with a piece of Bengaluru’s history , is planning to open up the two big green spaces in the city , Cubbon Park and Lalbagh, from 7pm to midnight.The proposal entails providing entertainment and food trucks for people to enjoy a greener part of Bengaluru by night. The plan is to keep the two parks open till midnight twice a month, if approved by the horticulture minister and department. “The idea is to provide a little lighting inside Cubbon Park and Lalbagh, open up spaces like the bandstand, Bal Bhavan and other locations inside Cubbon Park for people who wish to enjoy the quiet atmosphere for a longer time. While the proposal is for twice a month, initially we’ll experiment with once a month, and go for two days later,“ tourism minister Priyank Kharge said.

The department will ensure that the Cubbon Park and Lalbagh night projects will be held on separate dates.The minister said liquor will not be served, and the parks will be opened only partially. We do not have the manpower to handle things if the entire park is opened. We will be cautious which side to open, to ensure people’s safety and security ,“ Kharge added. He said the tourism department is ready with a draft proposal and will present it to horticulture minister S S Mallikarjun for his clearance.However, senior horticulture department officials said there is bound to be opposition from their department, considering the adverse impact it will have on the environment if artificial lights illuminate the parks at night.

“Further, if there are law and order problems within the parks, which are plagued with blind spots, the horticulture department will face the wrath of the people and government. With Cubbon Park in proximity to M G Road, it could mean many drunken incidents inside the park, if it’s open till midnight,“ said the official.Cubbon Park Walkers’ Association president S Umesh said when the government is not able to efficiently manage law and order with the existing infrastructure, how could they handle a situation with a huge influx of people after they open the space for night revellers.

“With no boundary walls, lack of CCTVs and inefficient horticulture department staff to manage the law and order situation, how can the state even consider such a proposal?“ Umesh asked.

Environmentalist Yellappa Reddy said the proposal, if implemented, is a crime. “The basic principle of nature is that there is a different world in parks and green spaces. For nocturnal creatures and the environment, night is the only time for breeding and allows birds to perch and rest. Bengaluru is already illuminated and has many other spaces for entertainment, why disturb and harm nature with artificial lighting inside green spaces? We will oppose such a proposal,“ Reddy said.

Courtesy by TIMES OF INDIA

Heavy rain, gusty winds pummel Koramangala, Mahadevapura

Several parts of the city were lashed by heavy rain and gusty winds; the Karnataka State Disaster Monitoring Centre (KSNDMC) recorded winds raging at 18 to 20kmph at Begur and Lalbagh around 4pm.

The downpour in localities of southeast Bengaluru such as Koramangala (68mm) and Mahadevapura (62mm) disrupted normal life.One of the arterial roads in Koramangala, 80 Feet Road, was cut off for approximately two-and-a-half hours, blocked by a tree that brought down an electric pole along with it. Power outage in the area only added to residents’ woes.

K Nagaraj, a resident of Koramangala 6th Block, said, “It’s an unfortunate day .Bescom and personnel from other corporations are working in different areas. The trouble is that we are not receiving any response on the Bescom helpline (1912).Residents were forced to contact executive engineers and other officials working at the spot. The process would have been far smoother if the helpline was functioning.“

Nagaraj said areas near Subramanya temple and Club Road had been affected badly .

Another resident Girish Vasudev attributed the mess on 80 Feet Road to work undertaken by various utilities. “80 Feet Road and other streets in the area have been dug up.As a result, roots of the trees have become weak. A number of cars have been getting stuck in the mud too,“ he said.

MORE RAIN OVER THE NEXT THREE DAYS

The average wind speed recorded in the city on Sunday was 12 to 15kmph, according to KSNDMC.Warning the citizens to guard against instances of crashing trees, the body forecast scattered rainfall in Bengaluru, south and coastal Karnataka over the next three days.

SSM Gavaskar, a scientist with KSNDMC, said the rain was a result of active premonsoon. “We can expect overcast sky, scattered rain over the next two weeks,“ he added.

Courtesy by TIMES OF INDIA

BBMP collects Rs 587 crore in property tax; glitches remain

Frustrated Citizens Air Their Grievances On Online Forums.

Although it’s been more than five weeks since the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) started collecting property tax ­ both via online portals and offline payments ­ some of the technical glitches that have hampered the process are yet to be resolved.Property owners are eager to pay their tax before May 31, the extended deadline announced by BBMP for availing of a 5% concession in the tax amount. Frustrated citizens have taken to airing their grievances with the BBMP’s process on online public forums.

Raghavendra Kumar (name changed), a resident of Mysuru who owns property in the city , said that the online payment portal had not made the process any easier.“I was very happy that I would be able to pay my tax sitting in Mysuru this year.Last year, I received the challan from the BBMP office, and paid the specified sum.But, every time I have tried to make an online payment in the past two weeks, I have received an error message stating, `previous payment invalid’. When I paid the amount specified in the challan generated by the system last year, how is that possible?“ he asked. After an unsuccessful attempt at registering a complaint with the BBMP’s customer care cell, Raghavendra was asked to wait till the glitches were fixed. “The worst case scenario is that I will have to come to Bengaluru and pay the sum in person,“ he added.

Kumar’s is not an isolated case. Errors in the system have resulted in payments being rejected. However, in the absence of a proper refund policy , many owners are still awaiting reimbursement. Nagarajan K, who owns a property on Sarjapur Road, said, “I was able to pay the tax in my second attempt when I used netbanking. But I have not been reimbursed after my first attempt through Payumoney , an ewallet, failed.“

Pointing to the Palike’s disclaimer, `BBMP is not responsible for any double excess payment’, Nagarajan said, “It appears as if the BBMP knew there would be problems with the payment system. I tried to file a complaint, but the system is not allowing me to register one for this year’s payment. I wonder when I will be reimbursed.“

The BBMP has collected tax worth Rs 587 crore for the year 2017-18 so far.

Very few people facing difficulty, says BBMP

After holding a meeting with senior officials of the civic body , and the National Informatics Centre last week, BBMP’s chairman for the standing committee on taxation and finance MK Gunashekar said that all glitches had been fixed. “People should be careful while filing taxes. Almost all the problems have been taken care of. Only 2 to 3% of the owners are facing problems. If people were really facing as many problems, how did we collect so much tax? We’ve collected Rs 250 crore more than what we had in the corresponding period last year,“ said Gunashekar, adding that the BBMP hoped to collect Rs 1,000 crore before the end of the month.

Courtesy by TIMES OF INDIA

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