Karnataka portfolio allocation seems poor

The portfolios of Karnataka Council of Ministers have been announced, and it seems to be a rather poor exercise.

The above tweet by Mr. Aruna Urs seems to convey a common sentiment.

  1. Handing Bengaluru Development to Mr. Parameshawara (who is also Home Minister and had mismanaged police in his last stint) is not going to help. You can read stories of his mismanagement here, and here.
  2. Four different ministers for Commerce and Industries!
  3. Mr. Krishna Byre Gowda could have been made Finance Minister. Its hard to believe Mr. Kumaraswamy is capable of handling finance, while also being the CM. Mr. Siddaramaiah had nearly a decade of experience as Finance Minister before becoming CM. We hope Mr. Krishna Byre Gowda will still represent Karnataka in GST Council and 15th Finance Commission related discussions.
  4. Several ministries are split with many ministers handling departments within those ministries.
  5. Handing particular depts to unrelated ministers leads to suspicions of planned loot of those depts or fear of loot. Media must watch such ministers (like Sugar, Muzrai, ports).
  6. Mr. Priyank Kharge is Social Welfare Minister, while Backward Classes dept and Women/Child, Senior citizens, disabled depts are with Ms. Jayamala. Why not hand all these to Mr. Kharge who did a very good job last term?
  7. Why have 3 ministers for Education?

An appeal from Siddaramaiah4CM campaign

Respected CM Mr. Siddaramaiah, and Karnataka Congress leaders,

As Mr. Rahul Gandhi leads the Congress Party to comprehensive defeats in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, we the volunteers of Siddaramaiah4CM, a non-partisan campaign by Indian Liberals, are making this appeal.

Please do not allow Mr. Rahul Gandhi to sabotage Mr. Siddaramaiah led Congress Government in the 2018 Karnataka Assembly elections.

We believe Mr. Rahul Gandhi sabotaged the Gujarat Congress campaign to win the Congress President selection that concluded with his assuming office on Dec 16, two days before the expected defeat of your party in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh.

***

The Gujarat govt of the Bharatiya Janata Party is quite unpopular. The struggle of several members in the Gujarat Council of Ministers including the CM Vijay Rupani to retain their seats, lays bare to the fact that Congress could have done much better in these elections, if Mr. Rahul Gandhi had stayed away.

Mr. Gandhi ran a terrible campaign, making it a personal contest between himself and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who hails from Gujarat. As Bihar CM Nitish Kumar pointed out, the pride of the people of Gujarat in seeing their former CM as the Prime Minister of India, was not to be mocked. But Mr. Gandhi did exactly that. By repeatedly portraying himself as the “decent” person, he sought to insinuate to the people of Gujarat that Mr. Modi was indecent.

When reports were coming in that South Gujarat, with pockets of tribal areas, was being closely contested, Mr. Rahul Gandhi portrayed himself as a sacred thread and rudraksh wearing Brahmin. In a state which has seen communal violence, a politician openly and brazenly using religion and caste for seeking votes was condemnable. What message did that send to Muslims, Dalits and Tribals, who have borne the brunt of upper caste hegemony?

When Congress leaders were working tirelessly to win the Gujarat elections, Mr. Rahul Gandhi made 89 different sets of leaders to file nominations for himself in the Congress Party President selection. What was the need to have that selection in the midst of Gujarat elections?

As Mr. Gandhi was busy plotting to smoothly take over the reins of the Congress Party from his ailing mother, Gujarat Congress leaders were being denied the media space.

Only few months ago, Gujarat Congress leaders led by Mr. Ahmed Patel had shown extraordinary resilience to re-elect Mr. Patel to the Rajya Sabha from Gujarat, in the face of horse-trading by the BJP. Mr. Gandhi allegedly refused to attend a Congress Working Committee meeting called after that very motivating victory of Gujarat Congress leaders. Journalist Barkha Dutt wrote about his sulking here.

Once the Gujarat Congress Leaders were ousted from the limelight, to project this as Mr. Rahul Gandhi’s coronation election, the Congress campaign lost focus on Gujarat. That people wanted to hear about Gujarat issues, was evident from the campaigns of Mr. Hardik Patel, Mr. Jignesh Mevani and Mr. Alpesh Thakor.

Screen Shot 2017-12-18 at 11.42.01 AM

***

Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh has shown that focusing on state issues, by keeping Mr. Rahul Gandhi largely out of the campaign, can ensure a Congress win. Punjab based journalists also concur with this view.

How Amarinder taught Rahul a lesson.

Amarinder, not Rahul, won Punjab for the Congress.

***

Hence we urge you, CM Siddaramaiah and other Karnataka Congress leaders, to not allow Mr. Rahul Gandhi to hijack the Karnataka Assembly election in 2018. Let our assembly election be fought on policy issues and by showcasing the good governance delivered by Namma Sarkara.

Thank you,

Siddaramaiah4CM campaign of indianliberals.org.

Public Transport and the spread of diseases

The purpose of this page isn’t to discourage public transport. LiberalHour is a project to promote public transport. But Public Transport is not for everyone, as we try to explain below.

Certain segments of society should avoid public transport (infants and toddlers, elderly, those already sick with influenza, tuberculosis etc) to protect themselves from communicable diseases. Also adults who share the household with vulnerable population, should also be aware of health risks associated with using public transport.

The following research papers point to a relationship between spread of diseases like Influenza and Tuberculosis (extremely common in developing countries like India) and using public transport. Further, the relationship between spread of epidemics (ex: H1N1) via public transport systems is also referred.

Research Papers:

News Articles

Who is a Liberal?

A Liberal person supports individual freedom in both Economic and Social lives. By freedom, we mean lesser restrictions from the government.

political_quadrants

Government is an entity that people have created to manage few collective requirements of the society. Allowing that government to control more and more aspects of our lives is counter-intuitive. Legitimate areas for govt intervention include security, justice, foreign relations, maintenance of public records, regulation of industries, managing natural resources, and protection of forests and environment.

A Liberal person is against socially conservative restrictions and opposes government intervention in unnecessary areas of business, like those listed below.

Socially Conservative Restrictions

  • Govt restrictions on Freedom of Speech (Article 19(2) of the Constitution).
  • Prohibition of alcohol.
  • Ban on Cow Slaughter and restrictions on people’s food habits.
  • Criminalisation of Gay, Lesbian and Transgender relationships (Sec 377 of IPC).
  • Ban on Religious Conversions.
  • Bans on books, movies and documentaries.
  • AFSPA which overrides people’s legal rights during Army deployment.

Economically Conservative Interventions

  • Government acquisition of private land, to help private companies.
  • Support for Subsidies – Food, LPG, Fertiliser, Electricity, Water
  • Govt run schools, RTE, School Vouchers – funded by taxes or forcing other parents to pay by way of higher fees.
  • Ban on private companies in city bus service and railways – Indian Railways, BMTC/BEST are govt monopolies.
  • Restrictions on Auto-rickshaw ownership.
  • Restrictions on News – bans on FM news and terrestrial TV/Radio broadcast
  • Opposition to Foreign Direct Investment in Indian companies.

So, are you Liberal?

This short article was originally published on a newsletter edited by Loksatta Party. Reproduced here with permission from the author.

Please support Rajbhavan to Hebbal Flyover

children_crossing_road
Ballari Road without flyover
mattunga1
Mumbai Matunga Flyover
matunga3
Mumbai Matunga Flyover

What kind of city do you want to live in? Where a high speed road runs through the city and children risk their life to cross it? Or one where fast moving vehicles run on an elevated road and the ground below is available for children to play?

The image 1 above is the current state of Ballari road in Bengaluru. Image 2 is the Nanalal D Mehta garden under Matunga flyover in Mumbai. Image 3 is Kids zone organised on a Sunday under the same Matunga flyover.

Do you want your children to inhale the toxic exhausts from vehicles on jammed roads? Or should vehicles run quickly on elevated roads, leaving neighborhoods with less pollution?

If your choice is a safe neighborhood, with enough space for children to play and for local vehicles to ply, without having to share the road with high speed vehicles going to two national highways, please support the Hebbal Steel Flyover project.

If you have doubts on whether the proposed flyover is good for Bengaluru, please read the below questions and answers, and convince yourself that the flyover is a welcome relief for our beloved city.

Questions and Answers:

  1. Why do we need a flyover from Basaveshwara Circle (near Rajbhavan) to Hebbal junction?
  2. Is there a mobility plan for Bengaluru?
  3. Why do we have to demolish two flyovers, an underpass and two skywalks to build this flyover?
  4. Is this not a VIP flyover to the airport?
  5. Why can’t we promote public transport instead of building flyovers?
  6. Why should we build a steel flyover?
  7. What about claim by experts that Flyover only moves congestion elsewhere?
  8. Why can’t we build a metro on this route instead?
  9. Which other city has an elevated freeway passing through the city?
  10. Didn’t Mr. Nitin Gadkari, who built lots of flyovers in Mumbai, regret it?
  11. The problem is at Hebbal junction. Why can’t we fix that?
  12. The Outer Ring Road from Silkboard to KR Puram has worse traffic. Why can’t we fix that first?

If you are convinced about our arguments, please support the flyover project by signing the below petition. Thanks.

https://www.change.org/p/chief-minister-of-karnataka-i-support-hebbal-steel-flyover

  1. Why do we need a flyover from Basaveshwara Circle (near Rajbhavan) to Hebbal junction?

    Ballari road is part of the old National Highway 7. Hosur road forms the southern portion of this old highway. This old NH7 corridor divides Bengaluru vertically and all important roads of Bengaluru intersect with it. When Outer Ring Road was built, the portion from Silk Board to Hebbal on ORR was declared the National Highway 7 instead of the north-south Ballari/Hosur roads.

    So elevated roads on this very important North-South corridor with adequate exits (ramps) will benefit the whole of Bengaluru.

    The East-West corridor from Mysuru road to Old Madras road should also have elevated roads. Mysuru road already has an elevated portion built as early as 2000. That flyover already helps vehicles to avoid the crowded KR Market and Bengaluru Fort area. It brings traffic from Mysuru road to near Corporation Circle. The aim of this new flyover is similar. See map below.

    Elevated Roads

  2. Is there a Mobility plan for Bengaluru?

    Ofcourse there is. Transport is part of the Master Plans made for the city. Current metro construction is based on the plans envisioned in Master Plan 2015. Master Plan 2031 is yet to be released because of some political controversies. Proposed elevated corridors, new metro lines on ORR and to Airport will all be part of Master Plan 2031.

                    Bengaluru Transport Vision:

    Neighbourhood traffic – by walk (TenderSURE), bicycles and feeder buses.

    Intra-city traffic – Namma Metro, Big 10/Trunk/Connect bus system, ORR buses.

    Suburban traffic – Commuter Rail Service connecting to Metro.

    Inter-city traffic – Elevated north-south (including Hebbal Steel Flyover) and east-west road corridors, Peripheral Ring Road (including NICE road).

  3. Why do we have to demolish two flyovers, an underpass and two skywalks to build this flyover?

    The underpass at Cauvery junction, built with magic box, was so badly designed that Bengaluru Traffic Police have already closed it (now re-opened to facilitate this steel flyover construction). It was a single lane underpass from Sankey Road to Ballari road in one direction.

    The flyovers at CBI junction and near BDA office are again badly designed. There is a small way below the flyovers which doesn’t benefit surrounding areas. An elevated corridor will mean that the road doubles. One above for long distance traffic and one below for criss crossing neighborhood traffic. You can already see this on Hosur Road and Airport Road elevated corridors.

    The skywalks at Chalukya circle and near Mekhri circle may not even be needed if fast moving traffic is on elevated roads. They can be replaced with pedestrian crossings. If needed subways can be built at the same locations.

  4. Is this not a VIP flyover to the airport?

    No, it is not. There is already an elevated road from near the airport to Hebbal junction. Most of the traffic on this elevated road is bound for interior Karnataka and Hyderabad Karnataka region. More than a thousand buses ply every night on this stretch. The elevated road also benefits traffic bound for Doddaballapur.

    Similarly, there is an elevated road from Silk Board to Electronic city and from there to Hosur. The gap between Hebbal and Silk Board was proposed to be covered by two other projects already.

    a. Signal free corridor on Hosur road with a series of underpasses. The Madiwala underpass was built with this in mind. There are other proposals for St. John hospital junction.

    b. Recently there is a proposal to build 5 elevated roads criss-crossing Bengaluru. This is being discussed in BMPC, BBPAG and other fora.

    This Basavesra Circle-Hebbal flyover will also have a ramp at Mekhri circle to connect city center to the Yeshwantpur via C V Raman Road. People in heavily populated Malleswaram, Rajajinagar, Sadashivanagar, Vasanth Nagar will benefit from this elevated road.

    flyover_map
    Two national highways, current NH4 and erstwhile NH7.
  5. Why can’t we promote public transport instead of building flyovers?

    Public transport is already being heavily promoted.

    • Bengaluru city has the largest bus fleet (6000+ buses operated by BMTC) among Indian cities.
    • Metro construction is at its fastest pace, with Phase 1 slated for completion at the end of 2016 or early 2017.
    • Work on Phase 2 metro has already started, besides the newly added ORR section.
    • BMTC has recently introduced an app for real time tracking of buses.
    • Karnataka is the first state in India to have a comprehensive Cab aggregator guideline.
    • Bengaluru Airport has a separate dedicated pick up area for app-based cabs. There is a running line of Airport cabs like in US airports.
    • Karnataka Tourism department (KSTDC) itself runs  one of the airport cab services.
    • BMTC organizes Bus day every month.
    • A number of feeder buses connect people to Metro stations.
    • Metro has a smart card which is going to be integrated with BMTC as well.

    Given all this, to say that Karnataka govt doesn’t promote public transport will be a blatant lie.

  6. Why should we build a steel flyover?

    Karnataka is a major iron ore and steel producing state. Most of our iron ore gets exported to China via Karwar port. Why cant we use locally produced steel for flyover construction in Bengaluru?

    A recent supreme court order asked govts to use the revenue from Iron ore for local development. Karnataka govt has already announced a new railway line from Tumakuru to Davanagere via Sira, Hiriyur and Chitradurga. This is to use the iron ore funds for local development.

    Karnataka is not a major cement producing state. International Steel prices are low because of low demand. Using steel will help the local industry in Karnataka. As long as there is no conclusive civil engineering argument against using Steel for flyovers, there is no reason why we cant use in Bengaluru. Its not just the Basaveshwara Circle-Hebbal flyover which is proposed to use steel. Minerva Circle to Hudson Circle flyover is also planned as a steel flyover.

  7. What about claim by experts that Flyover only moves congestion elsewhere?

    Yes, that is true with shorter flyovers. What is proposed is a long (more than 60 kilometers) elevated corridor from Devanahalli to Electronic city. When the steel flyover comes down near Hebbal junction, the traffic will disperse onto Outer Ring Road and the NH7 Elevated road that starts near Esteem Mall. Hebbal junction itself is being remodeled. A new underpass is coming up on ORR. Another flyover from ORR to NH7 is going to be built.

    On the Southern End, there is not going to be single entrance but several ramps from Vidhan Soudha, Rajbhavan road etc. The CBD itself is being majorly upgraded with TenderSURE roads. Eventually there will be a flyover from CDB to Silk Board on Hosur road.

  8. Why can’t we build a metro on this route instead?

    Metro is for city traffic. Not for inter-city traffic. When this flyover is built, Ballari, Hyderabad, Tumakuru, Davanagere, Nandi Hills and Airport bound traffic from all parts of Bengaluru can use this elevated route, leaving the city traffic unaffected.

    Besides, Phase 2, Phase 3, and metro line on ORR between KR Puram and Silkboard, are already planned after wide consultations. BBMP has provided 8 different routes, and is seeking the opinion of people. to choose for the airport metro line.

  9. Which other city has an elevated freeway passing through the city?

    Lots of cities. Phoenix, Kualaumpur, Los Angeles, Mumbai to name a few.
    No major city in the world relies only on small streets for mass transit. Every major city has a large mass transport corridor, of freeways, metro or suburban railway line. Metro in Bengaluru is only getting started. NYC, Paris, Tokyo which have Metro as the core model, have had their system for atleast 50 years now. Mumbai, Chennai which rely on suburban rail, have had their system for nearly 100 years. Mumbai has Western Express Highway running through the city.
    Metro and Rail take time to build. So cities like Phoenix (I10, I17), Los Angeles (I5, I10, I405), Kualalumpur have a grid of elevated roads. Even the famous Strip in Las Vegas is pedestrian friendly because most vehicles take the Las Vegas Freeway that runs parallel to the Strip.

  10. Didn’t Mr. Nitin Gadkari, who built lots of flyovers in Mumbai, regret it?

    Yes, because the Western Express Highway was badly designed. Instead of building an elevated corridor, it is a long series of small flyovers which requires long distance and neighourbood traffic to use the same lanes. In Bengaluru, 27 kms of elevated corridor already exist. This section from Hebbal to Rajbhavan is an addition to existing and widely used elevated north south corridor. Infact this elevated corridor will replace 2 badly designed small flyovers and the disastrous magic underpass at Cauvery junction.

  11. The problem is at Hebbal junction. Why can’t we fix that?

    Hebbal junction redesign work has already started! Work on underpass on Outer Ring Road from Mathikere side to Nagawara side has started. The ramp that goes from Ballari road to Nagawara side is going to be demolished and traffic sent to this new underpass on the left. There is a new flyover proposed from ORR Nagawara side to Ballari Road (joins at Esteem mall). So when the vehicles alight from the new steel flyover, they’ll seemlessly continue to the already existing elevated corridor towards Airport or take the left or right on Outer Ring Road without any signal. Additional lanes are being added to the Ballari road ramp as well.

  12. The Outer Ring Road from Silkboard to KR Puram has worse traffic. Why can’t we fix that?

    Outer Ring Road is already being attended to. A new Metro line from Silk Board junction to K R Puram is being constructed with the collaboration of IT and Software Companies on this stretch. The new steel flyover will infact help divert some of the traffic from HSR, Sarjapura road, which can now take Hosur road to CBD and take elevated road from Chalukya junction. This will help provide relief at Marthahalli and KR Puram junctions.

Join us!

We are Indian Liberals. A group of Liberals interested in promoting Free Market and Liberal Democratic values in India.

Instead of being in our own silos, we support all Liberal organizations in India.

We also support some specific projects.

govpedia.in – to make government accessible to citizens.

nitish4pm.org.in – Nitish Kumar is not a Liberal. But we heed to his call, asking for unity among all political forces opposed to Fascism.

siddaramiah4cm – Siddaramiah is probably a Liberal. His party isn’t. We are going to support Liberals no matter where they are.

You need not agree with the motivation behind some, or all of these initiatives. But you can still be part of us and work on your interest areas. After all, we are Liberals.