‘Save Bandipur’ campaign picks up
- The ‘Save Bandipur’ campaign against the proposed elevated highways through the national parks is gaining traction with a slew of protests planned in the days ahead.
- While nearly 150 activists, including locals, staged a demonstration against the highway projects at Melkamanahalli gate, another protest is slated for October 27 at the same venue.
- This comes close on the heels of a demonstration held in Mysuru recently, while a similar exercise is slated to be held in Bengaluru as well in due course.
- Demonstration saw activists holding placards against the project, besides disseminating information to the general public about the pitfalls and the negative impact of highway projects through the national park. The activists pitched a camp outside the Melkamanahalli gate which is the entry point to Bandipur and drew attention of motorists with their placards with messages to save the national park.
- The campaign stems from the proposal made by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH), Government of India, that it wanted to develop five stretches of 1 km each – of elevated roads – through the national park to ensure that there was 24×7 movement of vehicles along the national highway 212 (renamed as NH 766).
- At present, there is a ban on movement of traffic through the national park from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. and this is being opposed by a section of stakeholders.
- But environmentalists and wildlife activists have supported the ban, first introduced by the State government which was initially challenged in the High Court of Karnataka that upheld the decision. But the issue moved to the Supreme Court where it is being heard and in the interim the MoRTH submitted a proposal for elevated roads through Bandipur before the apex court.
- The activists of Bandipur Ulisi or Save Bandipur campaign submitted a memorandum to the authorities registering their opposition to the infrastructure project.
- They said being a prime elephant and tiger habitat these forests were the last vestiges of wilderness and a biodiversity hot spot that had to be conserved.
- The activists expressed concern that the project would be a source of disturbance to wildlife and clearance to it would set a wrong precedent leading to further destruction of flora and fauna.
Namma Metro has brought down office commute time: ISEC study
- The average commuting time for office-goers in Bengaluru has come down by 11 minutes, thanks to metro rail connectivity and improved public transport facility, a study has found.
- The city-based Institute for Social and Economic Change (ISEC) study Will Bengaluru Become Smart or Liveable? (2018) — found that the travel time for office-goers has gone down from an average 40 minutes in 2001 to 29 minutes (one way) in 2017, owing to improved services of Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation and Namma Metro. The average distance travelled to office (one way) in the city is 7.7 km.
- The 150-page study by Kala Seetharam Sridhar, professor, S. Manasi, associate professor, K.C. Smitha, consultant, and N. Latha, senior research associate, found that the average commuting cost is Rs. 34 a day as a large number of people travel in public transport and BMTC buses.
- The study was based on a sample of 1,500 households (5,514 persons) in 27 wards in different zones of the BBMP. The Indian Council for Social Science Research funded the research.
- For ICT workers, the commute time was significantly higher at 40 minutes one way while average distance was higher at 11 km.
- The least commute time was for businessmen (19 minutes), as they run business/shops closer to their houses. However, the commuting time for teachers and researchers was on an average higher than the average (7.7km).
- The shortest distance traveled to office/work is in Shivaji Nagar ward (2.5 km) and longest is in Kumaraswamy Layout (9.9 km).
- The study also found that more households have cellphones (99.2 %) than TV sets (98.1%) and only 14.5% and 8.7% households had some form of computers and Internet access, respectively.
- Only 3% respondents (39) reported that they worked from home, which implied that the room for technology to reduce commute time, costs and congestion is limited in the city.
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