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BLOG - ER Ramachandran

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Trampled In Temple Road!

The Temple Road, an important Road connecting Yadavagiri to Jayalaksmipuram via intersecting K.R.S. Road, is on the verge of becoming a Trample Road, especially for Pedestrians. May be quite a few roads in Mysore are like this. It’s worth having a look as to what happens here everyday.

The Road is a microcosm of life, as it were. The past and future meet here at the present…. It is a mini India with Venkataramanaswamy and Shiva Temples rubbing shoulders with I-Robots from New York , Sankalpa Builders, Shubam, Loyal World Super Market, Logrosoft and UTI & Centurian Banks. The Andal Manram is close to to Pizza Hut and Dominos (Half an hour late –Free Pizza!).

Housewives, senior citizens, school children use this stretch of road everyday from morning to night, mostly by walking.

The Road was wide enough and generally peaceful with stray and regular cattle with pigs sharing the avenue with pedestrians until recently, till, the Mysore City Corporation got a brainwave to convert into a ‘double Road’, without bothering about consequences.

The stretch of this road between Mahatma Gandhi circle and Mathru Mandali circle resembles a street twisted out of its bearings in Baghdad, due to American bombing of a bazaar and after effects of a suicide car- bombing at the very same place!

Now the road has a shoddy divider, with mud work spilling both sides of the road. The footpaths (Foodpaths!) continue to be haunted by 100% profit Idli- vada- dosa-Gobi Manchurian joints, Chinese, Thailand and Mongolian Food Carts (Mobile food Courts!). Operating under the aegis of Central Roadside Tiffin Food Research Institute (CRTFRI) under the patronage of Health Dept. of MCC, they can put the renowned CFTRI to shame! Daily lottery vendors with their ever-hopeful bakras, bent upon having their daily fix hoping to become a millionaire; Soppu, Elaneeru vendors, Buy- anything -you –want- for –Rs. 100 shop on the floor of footpath near Chescom office. It has also booksellers, Chavi repairer, god-knows-who-else…

The Road has a parking- lot for cars on one side, scooters on the other side, parking for cows on all sides in the middle of the road, pigs darting whenever they feel like! The footpath is occupied 24*7 hours by the above mentioned business houses and a small extension of Mysore Zoo!

It has bus shelters made for the convenience of chain snatchers, as the shelters are dark and dingy, due to which passengers wait on the Road; two Autorakshasa- Stands and car parking on one side with radial parking to ensure traffic is blocked / stopped as one takes a reverse, complete the picture.

There is a Dental clinic next to the MCC Bin, which stinks sky-high due to all kinds of waste muck thrown in. Fillings can come real dirt-cheap here for cavities!

One would like to know from the MLA, who recently put his name as one responsible for construction of the Bus stop next to post office, whether he has walked this street, of late? Ditto for MCC Commissioner and the Traffic Police Chief….

Are Roads meant for only cars, autorickshas, scooter and motorcycles , buses, Trucks, JCBs? What about footpaths for pedestrians? Should they allow themselves to be trampled by vehicles or tremble in constant fear of being run over?



E.R. Ramachandran 25 August 2007

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Government's Role as a protector of cherished Heritage...

The proposed 1000 MW Thermal Power Plant at Chamalapura is supposed to alleviate the power shortage in Karnataka State. No doubt, there is acute power deficit in the State with respect to Demand and supply.

However, it is wise to keep the overall picture in perspective. Comparisons are made with Raichur with regard to the aftereffects stressing that the environmental effects would be minimal. However, the following facts may be noted.

Without comparing Raichur Thermal Project, an objective analysis of the adverse effect on taking up Chamalapura Thermal Project has been attempted. Despite whatever decision that has been taken we would urge the government to bestow urgent and serious attention to the issue on which NGOs, citizens and the farmers affected have protested vehemently. The following facts speak for themselves.
1. Hoary history of Mysore
Mysore has a magnificent history dating to early part of 5th century A.D. The spiritual, cultural heritage on one hand and the architectural and diversity of nature’s bounty in terms of forestry and the wild life surrounding the city on the other, makes Mysore one of the most sought-after tourists spots and is the backbone of thriving tourism Industry. The Dasara festival is a result of centuries of culture put together now. The environmental impact will affect tourism Industry in many ways apart from other disastrous results which are enumerated below.

2. Palaces and Heritage Buildings:

With an estimated emission of SO2 Of 180 Tons per day and NO2, 50 Tons per day, Solid Particulate Matter of 5 Tons per day, Ash of 6000 tons per day,CO2 7.5 Million tons per year and finally of 5000 tons of ash per day blowing across Mysore, the bounty of nature will vanish in just few years. To give an example, the engineering marvel of Palace structures has mainly lime stone and sand. The gases and dust will gradually corrode the surface,discolour the facade and weaken the structure. What elements did not do for centuries, the power plant will do it in few years. Finest of Electrostaic Precipitators cannot trap dust particle ( less than 65 microgram) which permeate and corrode all surfaces over a period of time. Are our Tourism Ministry experts and Secretary, Heritage commissioner and INTACH are convinced that nothing will happen to the august structures? Have the scion of the Wadiyars been consulted whose forefathers were the original builders of this great city?

3. Forestry and wildlife:

Mysore has all along been famous for its Khedda operation and now for wildlife Safari in Bandipur and Nagerhole Tiger sanctuaries. This is again the backbone of tourism Industry and the erstwhile rulers protected and nurtured this for centuries. Has the Government consulted its own experts in Forest Department and wild life experts, some of them world-renowned, for its impact of Thermal Plant? Should the Government fritter away centuries of a healthy and very rich environment, unmindful of fears of general public and not even consult experts who will stand faithful to their profession and give their considered opinion?

4. Human and aquatic life:

Apart from above harmful effects, the effect on human and birdlife cannot be minimized. Apart from exposure to these gases, they will get much worse in winter due to temperature inversion. There is no doubt large populace will be exposed to respiratory problems from air pollution due to coal dust and acid rain. There will be heavy impact on flora and fauna and the impact on soil will hit the agricultural crops. Why have the Government not consulted the Public health specialists and Agricultural Scientists on the Environmental Impact. Finally, mercury traces of radioactive minerals are already proved as forerunner of carcinogens leading to cancer. Why have the leading oncologists in the State not consulted before launching this project?

There is no doubt power is a real problem and efforts have to be made to enhance the same. But in our anxiety, to get over cold, we should not cut off the nose.

We have not once touched on the human problem of displacement of people which causes untold large-scale miseries. But do we have the right to erase history of a city running for centuries by hacking its rich spiritual, cultural, bountiful forests, wild life, rivers, agriculture without as much as a discussion of the experts in a myriad field who have spent lifetime studying the same.

If all of them agree in unison with the Government, it should go ahead with the project. The least any responsible Government, any responsive Government should do is call for such a meeting and take an unbiased overall view before taking a decision.

History will applaud a person, a Government for having the courage to listen to all aspects of a problem from the experts, look at it from all sides, and satisfy itself fully that it is protecting its treasured heritage inherited by it, before arriving at a decision.

We believe such a situation has come up in Mysore.We call upon our leaders to rise to the occasion.


H.R. Bapu Satyanarayana Mysore
E.R. Ramachandran
Krishna Vattam August 18, 2007

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Sleepless in New Delhi!

The Prime Minister is not able to sleep these days for a variety of reasons. Although he has mentioned some of them in public, his doctor was ready to share more information on this.

‘He just can’t sleep when the stock market is going thro’ the roof and the industry is doing very well.’ said his doctor.

‘Why? That should make him happier!’ I was surprised.

‘He thinks of the salary the captains of Industry are making. He is worried the Navarathna Chiefs may also start demanding similar salary and because of this all night he keeps counting the rupees, er, instead of counting the lambs’.

‘But surely the P.M. must understand the rationale here. The Private sector is not DRDO and is doing very well.’I protested.

‘That’s the problem. The Navarathnas don’t want to be called so just by name. They want salaries matching their new status. The P.M. feels first it will be the PSUs, then MPs and MLAs will be asking for further raise and how can he sleep when he is counting with his fingers and toes all night’?

‘Even the 1984 attack on Sikhs after Indira Gandhi assassination seems to be bothering him now affecting his sleep…’ I queried.

‘You are right. To see riot-instigators instead of being in jail, still moving around in his party as heroes must be gut-wrenching for him’.

‘Can’t he shut his mind off before he goes to sleep’?

‘Easily said than done. These days he can’t sleep thinking what Pratibha Patil will say next. Her statements have started giving him nightmares’. Said the doctor.

‘No point in worrying about it as Patil herself doesn’t know what she is going to say next. Even if she says something absurd, she can always get away saying she didn’t mean it as she was re-living something out of her own dream. Still, it would be dreadful in the coming days for the already sleep-deprived P.M.?’

‘Indeed, as she can keep him in tenterhooks for the next five years. Imagine being sleepless for that long. By then, even his nightmares will have nightmares!’

‘Do you think anybody can survive in such a state of mind for that long’?

‘Good question. After sometime there will be ringing in the ears which is when P.M. will start picking up noises from the inner voice.’

‘Like what?’ I asked.

‘Finito. Khel Khatham.It means Thanks and Good Bye’, concluded the doctor.


E.R. Ramachandran 12 August ‘07