Thursday, February 25, 2010

Carlton Fire Accident – will we ever learn?

 

 

(Image courtesy : http://www.mynews.in )

 

The whole city was buzzing with the news of the unfortunate fire accident at Carlton towers, a well known landmark in East Bangalore near the bustling Indiranagar Flyover. There are too many loose ends as usual to the story. No setbacks to the building, all emergency exits were locked (astonishing part of the irony), fire tenders could not reach more than fourth floor, no water nearby and only fire tender in Karnataka to have hydraulic ladders. Neither did fire alarms did not go off in the building, and nor did the water sprinklers.

This was a recipe for perfect disaster and disaster it was – or should I say a shame to the government with due respects. 108 is a great effort by the CM as a nice service to have. Believe me I have personally used 108 and found it ultra effective. Its free as well. But what about FIRE ? The fire engines, equipments, and firemen all belong to 1980 era. Unfortunately no government has spent any money on upgrading the fire handling infrastructure and this is a biggest shame for an IT capital of a country like ours. What more can I say if a water hose does not reach more than fourth floor of a building.

I am totally disqualified to talk of people within that building on that day since I can only feel bad about what they went through, but then one of the basic steps during a fire is to lie low on the floor, with a wet handkerchief around your mouth and nose and start crawling towards the nearest exit. Alas, the biggest cruelty in this accident was to keep the emergency exits locked and the person responsible for this act must be handed the highest sentence as a lesson to learn. If punishment brings about education, then thats what we need today.

The firemen did their best, risked their lives, and are also in the ICU thanks to no gas masks!!! Dear Yeddy, what we need is an urgent order for gas masks of the highest technical capability for our firemen. If they cant help us, we cant help ourselves as well. Even as you read this blog post in every corner of every sub registrar’s office one property violation is being overlooked every 10 minutes. And the blatant fact is that these offices of impurity tell us that “the government has fixed charges for this deal” – may I know what is the meaning of charges here?

Yeddy I know you are a person who feels bad if something happens to the 10 crore people of Karnataka. Well, in the Carlton case, it was only 10 people. Which should still make you feel bad, and lose your sleep. Take the same action what you would if these 10 people were from your own family. Punishment is only one remedy. Enhancement of fire fighting capabilities is the NEXT BIGGEST CHALLENGE. Are we geared up for this?

Picture this: As the fire alarm sets off in my company, and I proceed to take the nearest emergency exit, some people continue working as though nothing happened, some people hear to the alarm as though its AR Rahman’s next pop hit, and some people say “they get annoyed” asking the security to switch it off as soon as possible. And some go to the cafeteria to take a break. Reason given: Its a usual occurence !!

It takes half an hour for fire to engulf entire floors. And suffocate you to death. The next time an alarm rings – GET THE HELL OUT OF THE BUILDING, it would be well worth an attempt. Atleast you can come to office the next day.

 

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Mysore – Chennai Shatabdi – evolving change – then and now

I recently had an opportunity to go to Chennai, using the already famous shatabdi express from Mysore to Chennai. I thought it was worth a blog post considering some nice changes that have taken place. So it finds a mention on the Bengaluru Blog.

Initially the Shatabdi’s looked to be just a variant of normal trains. The insides were plastic cushioned seats of blue colour, which were at best described as being reasonably though not ultimately comfortable for a long journey. For what was served on the train as food, you can see it yourself here.

 

 

Since then, this train has now metamorphed into something similar to European train standards in terms of the service, compartments, general cleanliness etc. The entire compartment set looks flashy, and of high grade design, with much larger windows to see nature at your heart’s content. One look at the new compartment and you realize the country has had some major technological and manufacturing advances recently. The seats are now plush green velvet feel, which makes it all the more swanky in terms of design.

The toilets have undergone some major upgradation in terms of look and feel, though I would personally feel that a doormat or two, some tissue paper for hand towel use, and some high grade soap could alter the perception of the loo standards dramatically. For now you have a press button flush, and a decent looking wash basin. One thing I still hate though is the fact that the door would open right on you leaving you with no space to come out properly and this is unacceptable design.

Among some other nifty and usable stuff are A/c charging points above every seat, and bright spot reading lights integrated with the luggage rack. In fact the luggage rack itself seems leagues ahead offering a transparent and/or mirror view which increases the swankiness quotient greatly. Emergency exits are marked on one of the windows making it highly integrated without any special fuss.

 

The attendants are neatly dressed and from time to time offer the prescribed food for the journey. The food is not exactly sumptuous but not bad either. I do have grouses in the fact that the journey from Chennai to Bangalore does not offer great tasting food and it can be done better. Another grouse is that the attendants converse in Hindi mostly on a South Indian train. With due regards to the national language, its a thought whether they can do better with English, Tamil or Kannada considering the context of the states the train passes through.

 

The ceiling of the compartment feels similar to an airbus or boeing plane and the quality of materials is top notch. Few notable things which add nice touch are the sun glare screens which are easy to use, and the near perfect temperature control which is soothing. In summary, the Shatabdi remains the popular icon of fast, reasonably priced smooth travel for many a set of people drawn from the young and old alike. The new changes effected only enhance the image of the service making it a great option to use instead of even an economy flight! With growing needs, the train is now equipped to add on wireless internet, and telephone services to augment what is already available. The railways seems to consider the Shatabdi as one of the important bread earners in their family of trains and is leaving no stone unturned to churn out better ideas as time progresses.

Finally, similar to the famous Harry Potter scene where Harry enters a platform number 9 3/4 th by running into it, to board the Hogwarts Express train, which is a mythical train, the Shatabdi too leaves Chennai from platform 2A (between platforms 2 and 3) though only in this case, this is a real platform that actually exists half way down in between platforms 2 and 3!

  

 

(Some images are copyrighted to their respective owners – they are reproduced here from the original web locations, and due credits are given to these)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Standing ovation and self speaking testimony for FIAT

 

The real testimony to the FIAT multijet diesel engine was never really available. Finally one of my very own forum friends at Team-BHP, has written a standing ovation to this engine gem which not only speaks volumes about FIAT’s technical prowess, but also leads one to believe what quality FIAT cars and engines are made of. Arguably FIAT did have a tough time in India with respect to marketing and they continue their ways with the rather unholy nexus with TATA which is somewhat clicking and somewhat not. The owner has a swift diesel VDI, which has a FIAT engine inside as we all by now know and here are excerpts from his opinion.

Well thats all i've experienced with the swift. what i've seen is that its a very forgiving car. you dont need to change oils every 5000 kilometers and you dont need to look under the bonnet or anywhere else for that matter very often. a little care and this car will go a long way. even with so many kilometers on the odo, the car has managed to hold to 160 on expressways without any problems. the performance has always been sparkling and i've enjoyed every kilometer i've done in this car.

 

 

If you are still feeling what’s great about this opinion, bear in mind that this person’s car has done a record 200,000 kilometres of driving on Indian roads and the engine has endured all this and continues to serve the next buyer faithfully.

You can read the entire review of the experience of epicenter, by clicking here.

 

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Seasons change, as Bengaluru embraces Summer

 

(image source: from here)

This February has seen some unusual temperature variations. Bengaluru was ultra chilly at 12-13 degrees C. Added to this were few virii in the air, and everyone were down with viral fevers, cough, sore throat and other typical Bengaluru syndrome.

My case was similar and trying out different modes of treatment did not help much. What really then helped was a shift to summer which I was eagerly awaiting. And change did happen. The second fornight of Februrary is bound to see the minimum temperatures hovering around 17-19 degree mark, while the maximum temperatures feel like May really at 32 degrees and above with very little humidity levels.

Whatever happened, has happened for the good, and atleast we have sunny mornings these days! :)
Time to welcome the summer and its showers to cool us down once in a while. Enjoy your summer and holidays if any!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

KHB Suryanagar 2nd phase allotment announced ! (Allottees list and other info added)

For those of you who have legitimately been thinking of owning a government allotted property in Bangalore here is some good news. The government has listed out in  Prajavani its intention to allot different types of sites/houses and apartments in KHB Suryanagar the most sought after and debated layout near Electronics city/ Anekal area.

 

(if you are looking for part 2 please click here)

 

 

The details are as given below:

  • 1633 sites are on offer which is meaningless compared to the aspirants
  • 487 built houses are on offer as well which are higher on the cost side – more below
  • 1577 apartments also on offer which might bring some succor to low income and middle income group people aspiring properties at lower pricing
  • Shopping complexes, hospital, school, playground, police station and parks are part of the layout.

Coming to the cost structure – this time its not going to come to you cheap.

Sites:

  1. For weaker sections of society – sites are distributed at 300 rupees per sq.ft
  2. For Low income group – 500 per sq.ft
  3. For middle income group – 550 per sq.ft
  4. For HIG – 1 (god only knows who today falls in this category!) – 600 per sq.ft
  5. For HIG- 2 it totals 650 per sq.ft

Houses:

  1. For LIG a 30x40 house is 15.5 lakhs with 3.87 lacs of initial deposit
  2. For MIG a 30x50 house is 18.25 lakhs with 4.56 lacs of initial deposit
  3. For HIG – 1 a 40x60 house is 29.5 lacs with 7.37 lacs of initial deposit
  4. For HIG – 2 a 50x80 house is 43.75 lacs with 11 lacs of initial deposit

So Where do you get the application forms – Each form is Rs.50/-

The following bank branches are giving out application forms:

  • Axis Bank – Jayanagar, Sanjaynagar, BWSSB complex, Electronics city
  • Syndicate Bank – BWSSB complex, Avenue Road, Chandapura Marasuru
  • Vijaya Bank – Chandapura
  • Canara Bank – Chandapura
  • ING Vysya Bank – KG Road Bangalore branch

Phone numbers for enquiries which will never work ;-) -- 9448070227, 9448671002

If you want more information and you know how to read kannada, click on the attachment below:

Last date for application forms submission is

06th March 2010

UPDATE:

I m adding the notification that appeared in the newspapers on 11/11/2010 for everyone’s benefit:

CLICK FOR LARGER VERSION:

Update 2: Here is the link for the eligible allottees now uploaded onto this post.

Alternatively click on pic below for a bigger version.

Update 3: As per information received from Pavana, the eligibility list for LIG as published on November 22nd, and MIG on November 23rd as provided below

Update 4: According to Mahesh, though, the list puts up potential allottees, the status in the list still says that these people stand in UNALLOTTED category. This may be due for update soon, and here is the official link for you to observe as often as you need.

Photos from KHB venue:  You can visit http://www.tinyurl.com/suryanagar to see photos from allotment venue.

Update 5: Photos of layout (thanks to jagadish who sent this in, click for larger versions)

 

For part – 2 please click here:


NOTE: This blog post is updated as and when new information is available. However in some rare cases, the information here may not be as accurate as what is present in KHB website itself. Hence this information is to be used as indicative information and is put up here for the benefit of readers.