Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Mysore to have upgraded KSRTC bus facility soon

A first of its kind in India
To reduce traffic congestion and to cut down use of private transport, KSRTC has come up with several plans to improve transport facility in city.

Highlights of the services proposed

 City to have its own Corporation - MCTC
 SMS alerts on mobile
 Dedicated bus lanes
 GPS and PIS services
 Bus terminal and depot in Vijayanagar
 Plasma screens in city bus stand
 Control room coming up in city bus stand
 BRTS / MRTC Service

Gone are the days when one was completely clueless about the arrival and departure of the bus save for the painted board at the bus-stop that displayed outdated information. All this is set to change with the implementation of the Passenger Information System (PIS) in Mysore City bus stands shortly.

KSRTC is planning to improve its services by deploying Information Technology Enabled Services (ITES) along with a well – planned infrastructure. To meet this objective, KSRTC is hiving off its Corporation in the city naming it as Mysore City Transport Corporation (MCTC).

The name of MCTC is yet to be finalized as most people would expect it to be named as MMTC, on the lines of BMTC, but officials in the Corporation say it would be most likely MCTC, as Mysore is yet to become a Metropolitan City. It is not just a mere change of name but plans to introduce a slew of measures in a phased manner which when completely implemented would make bus ride in the city memorable for the passengers.

As Mysore now seems to be in growth phase it’s witnessing a lot of changes like construction of sub-ways, removal of encroachments on roads, paving of foot-paths with interlocked tiles all meant for the smooth flow of the pedestrians and traffic. Most of the roads in the city, built during the princely days, are quite narrow and cannot accommodate the additional traffic. Also except for some prominent roads in the heart of the city most others continue to be in a bad shape. The increased traffic density, coupled with bad roads has led to frequent traffic snarls and the numerous one-ways and No-Entries resulting in roundabouts has only worsened the misery.

The best solution to reduce traffic congestion on city’s roads as well as to check air pollution resulting from the exhaust fumes of hundreds of privately owned vehicles that ply each day on the roads is to have a an efficient public transport system in place, when more people would naturally opt to avail the services. Towards meeting this objective, the city’s KSRTC has taken up several ambitious plans to improve public transport facilities in the city and has planned many things under the guidance and support of KSRTC Managing Director Gaurav Gupta and Transport Minister & Home Minister R. Ashok.

Express spoke to M.N. Sreenivasa, Divisional Controller, KSRTC when he explained the details of the project as follows:

Passenger Information System (PIS)

One of the main reason people hesitate to avail the services of public transport is lack of precise information on when their designated bus would arrive at the bus-stop. With the exception of daily commuters, for the rest it is a common experience to learn that the bus, which they were supposed to catch, left just a minute before they arrived at the bus-stop and have no other option but to wait for the next one.

To mitigate such problems KSRTC proposes to introduce the Passenger Information System (PIS) also known as the Intelligence Transport System (ITS). Under the PIS, a large LCD screen will be fitted at every bus-stop displaying information such as the route number of the next bus to arrive at the bus-stop, its destination, type of bus, expected time of arrival along with the bus number.

The PIS will work using the GPS (Global Positioning System) technology. The information will be displayed both in Kannada and English. It will be first installed at 105 major bus stops [Under the ITS Project, 22 bus shelters were constructed by KSRTC and another 58 bus shelters will be constructed by the city Corporation on BOOT basis. 25 existing bus shelters already constructed by Corporation under BOOT will also be utilised for the ITS project]. With commuters now having precise information about the time of arrival of their bus, it will help them to schedule their works accordingly instead of wasting time at the bus-stops.

The cost of implementing the ITS project is estimated to be Rs.22.76 crore, of which Rs.8 crore will be provided by the World Bank and the remaining 14.76 crore will be funded by the Central Government. Global tenders have been floated for implementing the project and the list is already in the process of being finalized. The GPS technology has already been tried out on 20 buses plying in two different routes - Infosys & R.S. Naidu Nagar. Very soon the PIS display panels will be installed in bus stops, which helps passengers to access information in real time about the arrival and departure of busses.

Bus alerts via SMS

One can get instant SMS alerts on their mobiles through existing mobile services. It will be implemented on a trial basis for three years. Tenders for providing this facility will be finalized within two months and the system is expected to operational shortly. MCTC commuters can shortly know which route number bus to take for which destination via SMS.

Control room at City Bus stand

The city bus stand will have one huge control room that monitors the arrival and departure timings of busses and the same will be displayed on plasma screens for the public at each platform in a manner similar to that now being already used at the Airports.

BRTS – Bus Rapid Transit System

BRTS has already been implemented in several major cities across the country such as Delhi, Pune, Vishakapatnam, Ahmedabad, Indore and others. It is now proposed to be introduced in Mysore too at a cost of Rs. 400 crore. Dedicated bus lanes, exclusively meant for the Corporation buses will be demarcated on the city roads, thereby reducing the travel time and help commuters to reach their destination quickly.

To begin with KSRTC has identified four corridors where a bus will be departing every five minutes on the dedicated lane. The four corridors selected are between 1. Yelwala to Mellahalli (34 km, frequency every 6 mins.) 2. KRS to Kadakola (36 km, frequency every 5 mins.) 3. Bogadi to Mahadevapura (26 kms, frequency every 5mins.) and finally Srirangapatna – Udboor Cross (31 kms, frequency every 6 mins.)

Once passengers alight at their destination, there will be other feeder busses ready, which take passengers to interior of their localities. Similarly people, who wish to come to city, have to come to the BRTS corridor to catch a bus to reach the City Bus Stand and other above mentioned destinations.

Additional bus services in selected routes

Depending on the demand, additional bus services will be provided in select routes to beat the peak day rush. For example, on Fridays, more buses for Chamundi Hills and on weekends for KRS, Nanjangud, Srirangapatna will be provided. Everyday during evening additional trips will be operated to avoid the inconvenience for the regular commuters.

Under MCTD, 150 buses are already plying under JNNURM of which 30 are Volvo buses, 41 Marco Polo buses and 79 are semi low floor buses bus-bay buses meant for children and aged persons. All are provided with aesthetic interiors fitted with pneumatic doors having comfortable seating facilities. Electronic display route boards

MUDA sanctions land in Vijayanagar

Five acres of land has already been allotted by MUDA in Vijayanagar 4th stage to construct a bus depot with a bus terminal for which the blue print is also ready. With this the total number of bus depots in the city will then be 4 which will operate city depots.

Innovative environment friendly projects

To promote a clean environment by checking the emission of green house gasses, KSRTC has already introduced low emission buses that consume less fossil fuels by running on diesel blended with Ethanol. Also diesel particulated filter have been installed in one bus as a trial which is plying in Mysore. Further the number will be increased.

Streamlining Management

Operation Managers will henceforth manage the entire fleet operations more effectively with the help of online remote access by monitoring the vehicle position and its speed. They also get to know instantly if there is any breakdown / accident through control room City Bus Stand. A two-way communication facility enabling instant contact with drivers in case of any Emergency will help in rushing aid to the spot immediately. Also management of diversions due to traffic jams and alerting the drivers becomes easier.

Preparation of daily reports and charts that assist various management levels in decision making becomes easy as access to all kinds of information such as routes cancelled, late trips, duration of break downs, offline time of vehicles, nature of accidents, its impact, operational losses etc. can be had at finger tips.

Travel time analysis becomes easier by monitoring route-wise stopping time at bus stops for various trips and average point to point speed. Also errant drivers can be identified by continuously monitoring improper halting at bus stops, route deviations and speed violations at all points of their journey.

All the above plans can be successfully implemented only when roads are maintained well. Though Mysore City Corporation has recently taken up major repair works on several roads and also widening them in some places by removing illegal encroachments, it is still a long way for the roads to become motorable during all seasons of the year.

Statistics of Mysore KSRTC

Total number of vehicles - 399
Number of buses plying in city : 189
Sub-urban areas : 122
Ordinary services to surrounding villages- 73
Villages covered from suburban and ordinary services - 131
Total number of schedules : 384
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7 hi-tech bus stands
Seven hi-tech bus station constructed in Mysore at a cost of Rs. 108.59 crore under JNNURM (but the estimated cost was 85.25) they are:

Name of the Project. Estimated Cost in Crores Cost of the Project Rs in Crores Extent of Land No of Floors Built up area in sqm

Upgradation of City Bus station 11.87 15.97 02A 30G GF+Sub way 2273.00
Upgradation of Muff- Bus station 18.01 23.53 06A 20G BF+GF+2 17664.00
IMTC & PAC at Sathgalli 28.48 34.84 03A 33G BF+GF+5 23487.00
IMTC & PAC at Kuvempunagar 14.23 18.36 02A 16G BF+GF+3 11599.00
IMTC at R.S. Naidunagar 4.74 6.00 01A 25G BF+GF+3 3939.00
IMTC & PAC at Ilawala 4.64 6.01 0A 19G BF+GF+3 2520.00
PTAC at Chamundi-hills 3.28 3.88 0A 27G GF+2 1915.00
TOTAL 85.25 108.59 63388.00

* City Bus station, Muff- Bus station and Naidunagar bus stands – Completed works
* Kuvempunagar and Sathgalli works has to be completed.
* Ilawala bus stand inauguration by next month.
* Work on Chamundi Hills is still going on

Age no bar for this 81-year-old athlete

At an age when one depends on the walking stick to get around, here’s a veteran who has been setting records on the athletic tracks — all on bare feet.

N R Shankar Rao, an unassuming 81-year-old, has represented India in various international veteran athletic meets at Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Thailand. He has even represented the country at an Asian meet and has bagged the second place.

His tally of medals at the state, national and international meets is a whopping 102 with 49 gold, 37 silver and 16 bronze, besides more than 180 certificates.

Rao can still be seen walking and working out for more than two and a half hours a day from 4.30 to 6.30 am at the Oval Grounds.

And when most people decide to fade away as they reach the retirement age, Rao, who used to work in a petty shop and as an LIC agent, developed an interest in track events at 56.

He soon made a mark in 5, 10 and 20 km walk events. “My uncle D S Nanjunda Rao, who too was a veteran athlete, has been a source of inspiration to me,” Rao reveals.

Presently the joint secretary of Mysore District Masters Athletic Association, Rao says the secret behind his stamina is his sheer will power and an unwavering determination to achieve. He covers a distance of 30 km in just 21/2 hours.

“Youth today are drawn more to the TV and have less interest in sports. They should be made aware about the benefits of physical fitness and exercise,” he advises.

But his only regret is that he could not take part in the World Masters Athletic Championships in Canada and South Africa in 1993 and 1998 owing to financial constraints.

He says that due to a lack of government policy to fund veteran athletes like him, he had to miss several events.

All the 150 events he has attended so far have been with his hard earned money and savings and has spent lakhs of rupees on them.

He also laments that athletics doesn’t get the attention and funding that cricket receives. He, however, is grateful to his association for extending co-operation.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Women's Day not for every woman

Though there is joy and a sense of achievement at the celebration of the 100th Women’s International Day for today's woman, who knows her freedom and can demand her rights in the society, but for several unfortunate, like for example the 73 year old Mallamma, life continues to be an unending series of challenges, especially for one who is not aware of the happenings in the world around her and continues to see herself as an inconsequential existence.

Hailing from a village named Pallya near Kollegalla, Mallamma was married off when she was just 12 years old and by the time she turned 15, she already had three sons. Her husband who was to addicted to drinking, lost all the inherited property in gambling and passed away when she was 29 years old following a brief illness.

Now it fell on Mallamma's shoulders to raise her three sons. Her first one Malliyappa became a Shirastedar, the second son became a car driver to the District Judge, while the third son Siddaraja Nayak got a job in the Chamarajanagar Police Station. Unfortunately her first two sons too passed away, while only the last son is surviving now.

Mallamma moved into the Mysore Court premises around 40 years ago along with Malliyappa and began selling groundnut, bananas, coconut berfi and toffee to eke out her livelihood. Malliyappa got Shirastedar's job in the Court.

Reminiscing those past days Mallamma said that the Court then had only one door, with just nine advocates. There was a Co-operative Society in this Court premises which sold rations like rice and wheat.

His son went to villages on official duty and after his retirement he too passed away leaving her all alone. With his pension amount of Rs 2000 and along with her daily earnings, she is now leading a life of solitude in a rented house.

When asked about Women’s Day celebrations, she said ‘I don’t know much about these celebrations, but I am quite happy to see women dressing well and going out in a happy spirit, doing their daily schedules.'

Mallamma called upon women not to lose hope during any situation in life and advised them to always remain positive while boldly face life's challenges, because a woman by nature reacts emotionally in any situation which makes her easily vulnerable while also making her nervous and agitated.

Scorching heat of the blazing sun

People are coming out with their own ideas to quench their thirst and to keep themselves cool

With the onset of summer and with the mercury expected to soar to record heights in the coming months, all things people did to quench their thirsts and keep themselves cool are slowly gaining momentum. While dealers of fruits, umbrellas and fans are hoping good sales this summer as usual, others too cashing in on the scorching heat of the blazing sun.

Earthen pots: Earthen pots, though has become passe, they are still popular and many still continue to use them even today. Drinking water stored in earthen pots cooled naturally is not only safe, but does not have any side-effects like throat infection, as the ice-cold and refrigerated water does. Potters are busy making new designs to attract customers.

Street side juice vendors:
It’s a common sight these days in most of the city roads to see a Rajasthani guy standing by a push-cart fitted with a hand crushing machine ready to offer fresh juice of Sweet Lemon (Mosambi). A small crowd can always be seen around vendors selling Nimbu pani with soda.

While most of the juice shops offering juices of various fruits and also a combination of them have to depend on power to run their Juice Mixers, some have already installed portable generators to keep the customers happy.

Tender coconut and cut water melon fruits are in great demand. Fruits like Water melons, orange, musk melon, grapes are in good sale and there is a huge rush in fruit stalls

Ice cream parlours
Fruit salad with ice-cream are in good demand and to meet the customers demand ice cream parlours are adding new flavours for their menu and some are working extra time.

Demand for fans, refrigerators
If compare to fans the demands for Air-coolers are less as it cant be offered by an common man and the electronics shops are having normal sale of refrigerators.

`Every year during summer there will be good number of sales in fans as most of them change home and replace their old fans with new one and some to beat the summer heat,’ says Aditya a seller.

Change in dress code
Most of the girls are wearing full sleeves dresses specially cotton dresses with closed neck without exposing their skin to sun to avoid skin burn. It’s a common sight in city road and near colleges where girls are seen walking with an umbrella.
There is a good number of sale in cotton dresses, t-shirts and sarees.

Increase in helmet users:
Helmets which are meant as life saviors has now become heat coolers especially for girls. Most of them have started using helmets to avoid the summer heat and are using sun screen lotions, which are selling like hot cakes.

More number of walkers:
There is a drastic number of rise in early morning walkers. When asked about this Shubha said that ‘in this summer I cant have good sleep and woke up late, so, though of concentrating on health and started walking. Now, I enjoy walking, as the climate is very cool.

Everywhere summer camps
If compare to last year this year there is a increase in number of summer camps for all age group of people.

Demand for pushcart vendors:
Most of the women are hesitating to go outside to purchase their daily needs and are purchasing it from the pushcart vendors who come near by their home.

Change in food style:
'Most of them are not having spicy items they prefer spicy in side items with the combination of rasam with some spicy fry items.

Cool places to tour:
Usually most of the people prefer to go for temples during summer but according to travel agencies this year 'people are selecting green and water spots for picnic.

An opportunity for people to learn and appreciate Odissi classical dance

To preserve and propagate Oriya culture and to create awareness about philosophy of Orissan socio-cultural heritage between Orissa and Karnataka, Orissa Association Mysore (OAM) will celebrate Utkal Divas (Odisha Day) with lot of enthusiasm and fanfare every year.

This year the 'Utkal Divas 2011', was celebrated at Jaganmohan Palace on Sunday with a sheer of cultural programmes, including an Odissi dance drama and Odisha Folk dance by renowned dancers from ‘Nupur’ a famous Odissi dance institution based in Bhubaneswar. The students of Odissi Dance Academy also presented Santakaram Bhujanga Sayanam in praise of Lord Vishnu.

Apart from this, Devi Bandana, Lalita Labangalata Abhinaya duet, Madhu Basanta Dance Drama group, Danda Nata Chadeia and Chadeiani, fold dance and Smbalpuri Chit Chita, folk dance and many other cultural programmes were also held on the occasion.

The Association is a non-profit, non-commercial, socio-cultural organization established in 1993 and was registered in 1998 with the intension of developing spiritual and socio-cultural centre in and around temple complex for research on Vedic studies, Yoga, Classical art, music & dance of Orissa and Karnataka.

About Utkal Divas

Orissa was separated from Bengal province after a long struggle of around 350 years hence to commemorate the day of the formation of the state since April 1, 1936 this day is observed as Utkal Divas. Now with the change in name of Odhisa to Orissa this day is also called as Orissa Day.

With the long journey and struggle of the last Hindu ruler of the Odhisa was Mukunda Dev. Utkal Sammilani lead by Utkal Gourab Madhusudan Das, Maharaja Krushna Chandra Gajapati, Pandit Nilakantha Das, Bhubanananda Das and many others played a key role for the creation of a separate Orissa state on the basis of linguistic pattern.