Friday 30 August 2013

Deaths on the footpaths

Bangalore is rather very liberal in giving a permanent send off to the people who walk its streets. On an average, it sends at least one person to Yama Loka every year and there seems to be no let up in this dubious statistic.
Hundreds of pedestrians are killed and thousands injured in Bangalore and this annual dance of death and injury continues unabated even as the road length remains the same, the footpath shrinks and the vehicle population shoots up.
At least 50 per cent of the accidents are on thirteen roads which have been identified by the Bangalore Traffic Police. Unfortunately, all the preventive steps they have taken seems not to have paid full dividends as rash and negligent driving, reckless attitude of  drivers and casual walking by pedestrians seem to fuel the deaths.
Of the 800-plus deaths that occur on the roads of Bangalore every year and 10,000 injuries, about 450-500 fatalities are of pedestrians. The number is likely to increase in the future, because of the indifference of the powers-that-are.
What is more shocking is that the number of those suffering minor injuries is around 40,000 to 50,000 people. OF them, six per cent of fatal and 15 per cent of non-fatal pedestrian injuries occurred in children below 15 years. Added to this, 51 per cent of those killed and 58 per cent of injured were in the age group of 16-45 years. Women were involved more in extremes of age groups with the elderly contributing to 17 per cent of pedestrian deaths and 10 per cent of non-fatal injuries.
Studies by the Bangalore Traffic Police and NIMHANS have shown that a majority of the pedestrians killed were those with lesser education and they belonged to moderate income levels. While 24 per cent of pedestrian deaths occurred at the site of accidents, 21 per cent of them died enroute hospital.
The surveys found that pedestrian deaths is higher in the outer areas of the city and in the suburbs while injuries were more in the central parts of Bangalore.
With the footpaths being encroached and frequently being dug up,  pedestrians were either forced to walk on the roads or walk on their edges. They had to regularly navigate or get around illegal mini gardens, badly installed streetlights, huge transformers, insensitive hawkers and awkwardly built bus shelters.
It is generally believed that for any progressive city, footpaths should not be less than 18 per cent of the roads where as at present it is only 12.25 per cent.
Adding to these woes is the footpaths being cut down to make way for more road space: signages and hoardings coming up, shops and business establishments encroaching on foothpaths and schools and colleges, hospitals and clinics using them to park vehicles.  
What worsens matters is the failure of the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike’s (BBMP) to have a proper road and footpath policy. BBMP records 5600 kilometres of roads but it has no exact figure of footpaths.
The footpaths are paved by a variety of cobble stones, granite, slabs and even mud. The average width of a footpath in the city is anywhere between 0.5 and 1 metre, thus jeopardising the pedestrians’ right to sidewalks.
On roads like KG Road and Commercial Street, the walkers’ space should be above 2.5 metres. It is just a little more than half.
The traffic police too add to the woes of the pedestrians by failing to regulate parking on footpaths. A majority of the footpaths lack guard rails and this makes it easy for a pedestrian to jaywalk or for a vehicle driver to drive on the pavement.
There have been many studies on roads and foothpaths of Bangalore but one of the best is by the Union Urban Ministry’s national study two years ago of major cities including Bangalore. The study placed Bangalore 12th among the 30 sampled cities on the ‘walkability index.’
The walkability index is calculated as (W1 x availability) + (W2 x facility rating). Here, W1 and W2 are parametric weights, assumed as 50% for both. The availability is the footpath length/ length of major roads in the city and facility rating is the score based on the opinion on available pedestrian facilities. A higher index reflects better pedestrian facilities in the city concerned.

It estimated that 16 per cent to 58 per cent trips by citizens in Indian cities are made on foot. Yet, there is no balanced and proper approach to provide pedestrian infrastructure, amenities and services. None of them figure during the urban planning process. What is shocking here is that cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Ahmedabad ranked higher than Bangalore on the index.
A higher index reflects better pedestrian facilities and Bangalore has 0.63 as the index. Chandigarh, with 0.91, topped the list of sampled cities. The average index for all the cities stood at 0.52.
The problem in Bangalore is that there are eight major stakeholders, including the BBMP, BDA, BESCOM, BWSSB and others and all of them seem more than eager to keep on digging road sand footpaths year after year. None seems to know what the other is doing.
By the way, the Indian Code for the Pedestrian Facilities — IRC 103-1988, recommends that: There should be a footpath on both sides of the road and that the minimum width on both sides should be of 1.5 meters  The Level of Service (LOS) concept dictates the maximum width dead width should be  0.5 metres and 1 metres to be added to sidewalk along houses and commercial areas. It says footpath width has to be increased in cases of bus stops and recreational areas. It also says that the height of footpath should to be above the carriageway supported by an un-mountable kerb.
But what do we have in Bangalore.
There are no footpaths on several roads. Check out the Lavelle Road or the junction of Nruputunga Road with Hudson Circle. Wherever there are, a majority of those are less than one metre for example the Lalbagh road connecting Double Road to Richmond Circle. Gardens are grown by house owners on footpaths and this can be seen in many parts of Jayanagar, Sadashivanagar and JP Nagar. Vehicles owners use footpaths for parking bikes and cars and this is so common that all localities have this free facility.  All kinds of public utilities like bus stops and electric poles are located on footpaths.  While shopkeepers block the way for pedestrians by placing display boards, hundreds of darshinis (fast food joints) place tables on the pavements. Public toilets are constructed on pavements and this includes even the Sulabh toilets. Check out the one in front of Siddapura Gate opposite Lalbagh. There are no guard rails on most of the pavements. In some areas, pavements and roads are at the same level.  Pavements are used to store construction material like sand, bricks and steel and this is so regular that all areas and all pavements can be cited as examples.
With Bangalore’s population crossing the one crore mark and the number of vehicles touching half a crore, pedestrians continue to be killed and last year Bangalore reported 565 road accident during the first nine months of the year. Nearly half the victims of road rage were pedestrians and this data is by none else but by the  Bangalore Traffic Police.
The police cite  uneven and insufficient footpaths, unsafe pedestrian crossings, poorly lit roads and pedestrians’ ignorance as the major causes of all pedestrian deaths.
So what has it done to the pedestrians.
In the last few years, it has claimed half of the total road accident deaths in Bangalore. In 2007, 518 pedestrians were killed and this was followed by 455 deaths in 2008, 365 in 2009, 400 in 2010 and 337 in 2011.
The police themselves have identified some of the major accident spots leading to pedestrian deaths. These roads are Tumkur Road (between Goruguntepalya and 8th Mile) and Hosur Road (between Garvebhavipalya and Electronics City), both below the elevated highway.
Mysore Road has been in a state of disrepair for over four years and the stretch of road between Muslim Burial Ground and Nayandahalli Junction does not have a footpath, forcing pedestrians to walk on the road. The result: Pedestrian deaths.
This does not mean that pedestrian deaths does not occur in other roads. Almost all roads are death traps for pedestrians and walking on roads or trying to cross them, especially during peak hours, means risking one’s life. In 2012, one  person was killed every day while walking or trying to cross the road.
A recent study by the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS) said that every fifth casualty admission at the institute was an injured pedestrian. Besides, 26.2 percent of the hospital mortuary cases were pedestrians.
NIMHANS commissioned a study called “Magnitude of Pedestrian Head Injuries and Fatalities in Bangalore” and this was taken up  between 2007 and 2009 by the neurosurgery department at NIMHANS.
The study revealed that the elderly and children faced greater risk while walking on the roads and that they constituting 47.6 percent of pedestrian trauma cases. The trends continue even today with a few minor changes.
Almost one-third of these injured pedestrians could reach the hospital only 24 hours after the accident or even later. Half of these belonged to the paediatric or elderly age groups. A two-wheeler was involved in almost every second pedestrian head injury case.
More than half of all these patients sustained moderate or severe head injury. Every second or third patient had an abnormal CT scan. Almost all of these patients sustained associated injuries. Nearly every fifteenth patient succumbed to the head injury. 
Contrast these medical figures with the road deaths last year. In 2012, Bangalore killed 358 pedestrians and they constituted 48 percent  of all accident deaths: Their fault-they were either crossing or attempting to cross the road. While 39.9 per cent of the accidents involved two wheelers, 27.9 per cent were caused by four-wheelers.
The most common autopsy finding at NIMHANS was diffuse
brain oedema (96.6 per cent. Interestingly right sided
hematomas were more common as compared to the left sided ones (contusions, extra dural hematoma, brain lacerations). Associated injuries were detected in 310 patients (95 per cent). The most common cause of death was head injury alone (277 out of 326 and  this meant 84.9 per cent). Significant associated injury in addition to head injury was the cause of death in the remaining 49 patients (15.1 per cent).

A rare newspaper from Mysore

It is called the language of the Gods and it is as old as India. Classified as an Indo-Aryan language, it is the primary liturgical language of Hinduism and a literary and scholarly language of Jainism and Buddhism.
Much of our ancient texts, books, Vedas, Shastras and even ancient literature is written in this language. Today, Uttarkhand is the only State in India which has made this its official language. Even now, it is widely used as a ceremonial language in Hindu religious rituals and Buddhist practice in the forms of hymns and mantras.
This is the also the language that is generally used in temples and religious institutions and most of the Shlokas and Shastras is in this language.
This is Sanskrit, which Panani says, evolved out of the earlier Vedic form. Historians and linguists generally trace the beginning of Vedic Sanskrit as early as 1500–1200 BC.
There have been efforts to revive the language and Mysore has a unique role in this. A Mysorean started in 1970 the first ever newspaper in Sanskrit.   
Called Sudharma, this vernacular has a print order of 3,000 copies a day and it is despatched across India by post. Copies are also sent abroad. Founded by Pandit Kalale Nadadur Varadaraja ( K.N.) Vardaraja Iyengar, the paper has never sought Government support, Government advertisement or even subsidy.
K.N. Iyengar, who was publishing Sanskrit works, hit upon the idea of starting a newspaper in Sanskrit to make use of the Sanskrit types that was lying idle with him. This is how the paper came to be started.
He was helped in starting the newspaper from some of his friends such as Agaram Rangaiah, editor of Saadhvi, a Kannada newspaper, and P. Nagachar, former Joint Director of Department  of  Information and Publicity.
Apart from these two, others who helped in starting the newspaper were H. G. Shithikanta Sharma, T. Shankara Shastri, Balaganapati Bhat, Shingappa, Araiyar Ramasharma, Roopa Narayan Pandeya, Venkatramana T. Bhat and other Sanskrit Vidwans and Pandits.   
K.N. Iyengar was born in 1921 in a Vaidika family. After schooling in the traditional Sanskrit Paathashaala system, he attained the title of Pandit. Later, in 1955, he established his own printing press. A socially involved person, he was moved by the shortage of schooling for girls. This led him to found the Srikaanta Education Society dedicated solely to educating girl children. He was also involved with many other social service organisations.
Today, the newspaper is run by the founder’s son, K.V. Sampath Kumar, but soaring costs, lack of Government support and low readership has proved to a bane for it.
The paper has a digital version too but this can be accessed only if one has Internet at home or office.  Subscribers from  38 countries and  Sanskrit lovers are reading e-version of Sudharma everyday.
However, the print version too is being printed and distributed through post but the costs are rising and the venerable newspaper is finding it difficult to sustain itself. Moreover, printing material and printing paper are expensive and the costs are rising.  
Till a few years ago, it was the only Sanskrit newspaper in India. Now there are two more from Gujarat. But Sudharma was the first and it is the only one in South India.
The first issue of Sudharma came out on July 14, 1970 from Ganapathi Totti in Maharaja's Sanskrit College or Ganapati Sannidhi of Maharaja Sanskrit Paathashaala. Now, the paper is currently published out of a press in the Ramachandra Agrahara and its subscriber base includes, Sanskrit colleges, Vidyapeethas, public libraries in Karnataka and states of Jammu and Kashmir, Orissa, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Assam and Rajasthan. There are avid subscribers in countries such as Japan and the U.S.
The single sheet daily covers news, politics, yoga, vedas and culture.  At first, Sudharma was hand-printed. Since then, the printing process has been modernized and it is currently printed by computerised offset printing.
Incidentally, Samskritavartamanapatram is a Sanskrit daily published from Vadodara and Vishvasya Vrutantam another daily published from Surat, both in Gujarat.
(The Hindu newspaper has a write up on this newspaper in its today’s edition. It is written by R, Krishna Kumar).

Wednesday 28 August 2013

A virtual treasure trove

A few days ago, the post had carried an article on libraries in Bangalore. Today, we are carrying an article on two little known libraries of Bangalore.
One of the library is called the Muslim Library in located in the downtown of Bangalore Cantonment and it is a little more than pone hundred years old.
The other library is in the United Theosophical College. This is considered to be one of the leading theological libraries in Asia. The library has a built-in area of over 43,000 square feet and the air-conditioned basement houses the Archives.
Let us first start with the Muslim Library.
This institution, which is located in one of the by lanes of Shivajinagar completed a hundred years in existence in 1912. It is located in the busy Veerapillai Street in Shivajinagar and it has one of the best and most comprehensive repository of Urdu and Islamic literature and also rare Urdu literary magazines.
It was initially started in a small building on Cavalry Road, now renamed as Kamaraj Road, before it moved to its present premises. The library was set up thanks to the efforts of  businessmen like Abdur Rauf, Muhammad Abdulaziz, Muhammad Saleh Ansari advocate, and historian Mahmood Khan Mahmood.
Among its early trustees was Mahmood Khan Mahmood, the noted author of history of Tipu Sultan in Urdu called Saltanat-e-Khudadad.
The library was a beehive of activity in pre Independence days and poet Sir Mohammad Iqbal visited it in 1929, writer Syed Sulaiman Nadvi  in 1925, Baba e Urdu Maulvi Abdul Huq in 1937, poet Josh Maleehabadi and poet Jigar Muradabadi in 1942.
The library has nearly 30,000 books and two thirds of them are in Urdu. A majority of Urdu books deal with the holy Quaran and there are innumerable commentaries on it.
Apart from the Quaran, there are excellent books on Urdu plays, satire, short stories, Islamic history, travelogues, theology, health, poetry and criticism. There are also many lexicons, novels and books on the history of freedom struggle.
The pride of the library is rare manuscripts in Arabic and Persian. The oldest manuscript is Jamiat Tazeerat by Hafiz Muhammad Maghribi, a Deccani Urdu manuscript calligraphed by Muhammad Ashraf Budhan 195 years ago. A few letters of Tipu Sultan are part of the collection too.
Another institution with an equally hoary past is the ULC library.  The library houses 75,000 books, 672 periodical titles, 420 microfilms of historical record and 23,023 microfiims which includes the Indian census from 1872.
The Archives preserves the original records and periodicals on the history of missions, churches, microfilm / microfiche during the last two centuries.
Some of the rare books are Martin Luther's Commentary on the Galatians in Latin, printed in Basel in 1523; Bartholomew Ziegenbalg's Grammatica Damulica, Hale, 1716 and the Biblia Damulica by Zie genbalg and Benjamin Schultze, Tranquebar, 1725-28.

The library has a Palm Leaf Collection dating back to about 600 years and they are in Kannada, Tamil, Sanskrit, Telugu, Malayalam on subjects as varied as history, poetry, stotras, puranas and  astrology.

Tuesday 27 August 2013

Will water bust the Bangalore boom

One of the ablest and honest IAS officer that Karnataka has seen in recent years, V. Balasubramanian, who retired as Additional Chief Secretary, stirred a hornest’s nest when he took on the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) over the water supply needs of Bangalore and said half of Bangalore would have to be evacuated if alternate channels to supply water to Bangalore were not explored.
Mr. Balasubramaniam said the Government would have to evacuate half of Bangalore’s population in the next ten years if  steps were not taken to redress the water scarcity and other water related problems that Bangalore faces and would continue to face.
As chairman of Centre for Policies and Practices, Bangalore, the former bureaucrat cautioned the Government against taking things in a casual manner and called for urgent steps to streamline the water supply system.
He was not far off the mark. Many cities in India have had to be evacuated after the water supply system fell into disuse. In Karnataka, the city of Bijapur, saw a mass evacuation when the ingenious water system of tanks and lakes collapsed after its fall to Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb in 1686.
Similarly, the Mughal Emperor Akbar had to abandon his pet city, Fathepur Sikri, when the water failed. Even the greatest Mughal Emperor, with untold wealth at his disposal and also served by the best and ablest minds, could not solve the water shortage.
Bangalore too could meet the same fate if the authorities to be fail to heed the warning.     
What are the factor that could lead Bangalore towards the dooms day saying ?. Well, here are some facts.
The Hesarghatta reservoir has completely dried up and the TG halli reservoir too is going the same way. The Hesarghatta first went completely dry in 1925 and the then Mysore Government took steps to provide drinking water from the Yelemallappa Chetty Tank, Byatha and Kakol Tanks. When this proved inadequate, the TG Halli was commissioned in 1933.
When TG Halli too proved inadequate, the Government decided to tap Cauvery in the 1970s. Today, Cauvery meets most of the needs of Bangalore but there can be no further drawal from Cauvery as the State has already reached the limits of water drawal prescribed for Karnataka for drinking water by the Cauvery River Water Tribunal.
Bangalore once had hundreds of lakes and today there are just a handful and even they are facing threats from urbanization and Government apathy.
Even as late as 1971, Bangalore has 260 lakes, Today, there are hardly 60 and most of them are highly polluted.  
The storm water drains are clogged and they need to be renovated and repaired. The water channels connecting the exisiting lakes need to be restored and encroachments around lakes removed. Some wetlands need to be restored.
A study by the Indian Institute of Science (IISC), Bangalore, says many dry tanks on the outskirts of the City have been encroached upon either for real estate or for agriculture.
It says conversion of farm land and encroachment of water channels in and around wetlands have weakened connectivity between Yelchenahalli and Madivala lakes and they have almost been lost.
The Public Health Institute, and the Department of Mines and Geology, Karnataka, has shown that 52 per cent of the borewell water and 59 per cent of the tap water in Bangalore is undrinkable. Shockingly, they contain 8.4 per cent and 19 per cent E.coli bacteria respectively.
Borewells, which have proliferated in the last decade and are a major cause of deepening water table in Bangalore, can only supply contaminated water. There are more than 4 lakhs borewell and only half of them are registered. The drawal of underground water is 3.7 times more than the recharge from the city’s annual rainfall 900 mm.
No wonder, the borewells have gone deeper, up to 1,250 feet and hundreds of  borewells have become dry. Moreover, the 600 lakes of Bangalore urban district have all become sewage tanks and this is highlighted in Volume 2 of Excreta Matters published  by Centre for Science & Environment, Delhi, 2011. This is study of water of 71 cities in India.
The 850 kilometres of old Raja Kaluves or storm water drains were conceived to transport surplus water from higher elevation lakes to lower levels in the Karanji system or a cascading system of natural rain water harvesting. Instead, they now carry sewage, debris, sullage and filth. Besides, the existing fourteen Secondary treatment plants, four tertiary treatment plants and ten more STPs under construction will together have a capacity to treat 1,133 MLD of waste water. However, all the existing STPs hardly treat 30 per cent of the sewage because of sewage is not flowing into the STPs but into the lakes and other water bodies. Moreover, there is no demand for treated water and it is let back into the polluted water channels and water bodies.
The sewage has to diverted away from the Raja Kaluves and they have to be treated before being let into lakes and tanks. Only then can Raja Kaluves carry rainwater to the lakes. If not., the lakes and water bodies will continue to be cess pools of filth, debris, sewage and foul smelling liquid with high health hazard.
Rainwater harvesting is yet to take off despite a law making it mandatory. It now covers just 50,000 houses out of some 18 lakh properties. Surveys have shown that only 40 per cent of  Bangalore is covered by roofs and if rain water harvesting is to be effective, it should be done on a geographical basis covering all the four basins areas or natural valleys of Bangalore, including Vrishabhavati and  Hebbal.
The Vrishabhavati, which takes birth in Bangalore, is polluted and the river has practically died. It needs to be urgently revived if the ground water level has to be recharged. The Arkavathi, which flows near Bangalore too needs to be cleaned up.
BWSSB Chairman Gaurav Das Gupta has gone on record that the peripheral areas of Bengaluru do not and will not have water for the upcoming years.
Gaurav Gupta was speaking at a discussion on­ “The Critical water situation in Bangalore- The way forward”,  conducted by Bangalore International Centre at Domlur.
It was at this meet that Balasubramanian had spoken about the water crisis. Acknowledging the water crisis, the BWSSB Chairman himself said  “If you are thinking of  purchasing or staying in a property in Bangalore, especially in the peripheral areas and in the suburbs, take them at your own risk! We really don’t have water for those areas.”
He said there are plans to provide water for peripheral areas of Yelahanka, K R Puram and Kengeri. But beyond that the BWSSB cannot supply water.
How do you tackle these problems.

Leakages, which are almost 50 per cent, needs to be urgently plugged. Alternate sources have to be tapped and rain water harvesting should be compulsory. Encroachment of  tanks, lakes and water bodies should be removed forthwith and borewell drilling has to be regulated. Raja Kaluvas have to be restored. Only then will Balasubramaniam’s remarks remain a mere statement. If not, it will become a reality.  

Monday 26 August 2013

What is in a statue

On Friday last, a group of people walked upto the statue of Mark Cubbon which is in the front of the High Court building and garlanded it.
Many in the group were part of the Cubbon Park Walkers’ Association and they were escorted to the statue through the small gate that divides the Cubbon Park from the High Court building.
The group wanted to honor Cubbon on his 238th birth anniversary and it was led by its president, S. Umesh, an advocate. This was the first time since 1947 that a statue of a British official had been garlanded.
Cubbon Park is home to many statues such as those of King Edward, Queen Victoria, Mark Cubbon and they were being honored and garlanded prior to Independence by British officers and the British and European residents of the Bangalore Civil and Military Station or Cantonment.
Though Cubbon had nothing to do with the park, it was named after him as the then Government wanted Indians to remember his contribution. While the group strongly felt Cubbon deserves recognition and remembrance  as one of the architects of Bangalore and Mysore, freedom fighters, Kannada protagonists  and some political outfits like the Kannada Vatal Paksha have taken exception to the garlanding.
The Kannada activists point out that the statue of  Cubbon was supposed to have been removed in the 1960s and even a resolution was passed by the City Corporation. However, the move was never implemented and the statue continued to remain in front of the Cubbon Park though the State Government in 1977 agreed to remove the statue.
The statue is covered by a thick tarpaulin when the High Court organizes Republic Day, Independence Day and other ceremonial functions. It does sound and look strange but the High Court has been keeping the statue covered during ceremonies out of respect to people’s sentiment.
The garlanding drew stringent criticism from Vatal Nagaraj. He promised to launch a movement to remove all British statues from the park and also get it renamed. He forgot that the park had been renamed as Chamarajendra Park in 1927 but the new name never struck and people still called it as Cubbon Park.
Even today, Government organisations, State and Central organisations and  even websites of the Karnataka Government and High Court and a host of other organizations that are located on the premises such as the Karnataka State Lawn Tennis Association, Century Club, Secretariat Club, Press Club, Raj Bhavan, Vidhana Soudha, Indira Gandhi Music Fountain, Jawahar Lal Nehru Planaterium, Bala Bhavan, Children’s Library, State Central Library continue to call the park as Cubbon Park.
This shows that people are not easily taken in by the new names given to places, roads and buildings.
Residency Road still continues to be called by that name though it has been renamed after Field Marshal Cariappa. Banks, commercial and business establishments, post offices and even people still call Frazer Town by the same name though others prefer to call it by the name of Pulakeshi Nagar.
Similarly, Palace Road continues to be called by the same name though it has been renamed. We still call Kengal Hanumanthaiaya Road as Double Road.
What this shows is that people are reluctant to accept change just for change’s sake. There should be a valid and good reason.  Cubbon is regarded as the architect of Bangalore and one of the ablest administrators. His contribution is so immense that garlanding his statue would not take away anything. True, he was a Britisher and a soldier. But does it take away his everlasting contribution.          
The garlanding has once again stoked up an old controversy of whether the statues from the British Raj should to remain in the park. In fact, statues of  Mark Cubbon, King Edward VII and Queen Victoria, has always been the focus of controversy.
While Vatal and others vow to fight and get the statue removed, others say it is better to let pieces of history let be as they are. History cannot be erased and, therefore, the British presence in India cannot be glossed over. The best way to pay tributes to our freedom fighters is to keep their ideals alive and work for the development of the country.   
Mere symbolism cannot lead to development. Nor can it wash away history. Let people remember history and let us join hands to ensure India always remains a free, fair and democratic country. Let us not go by statues alone but work hard to achieve the goals that Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Patel, Nehru, Shastri, Ambedkar and others set for us. That would be a more fitting tribute than tinkering with history or merely paying lip service. 

(The next post will deal with the contribution of Mark Cubbon and his achievements)

Sunday 25 August 2013

When Bangalore's first hotelier dragged BCC to court

In the earlier post, we had written about K.T. Appanna and how he had pioneered the hotel industry in Bangalore.
Not many know that Appanna was also among the first few entrepreneurs to take the then Bangalore City Corporation to court for enhancing the licence fee for hotels and also challenge the levy on the ground that it was not prescribed under the existing bye-laws.
Another ground was that the fee was enhanced by way of a resolution passed by the corporation and that this was illegal and arbitrary. The case gained wide currency and it was called as      
K.T Appanna vs Corporation of  City of Bangalore and the judgment was delivered by the High Court of Karnataka on January, 29, 1963.
The High Court Bench comprised Justice A Somnath Iyer and Justice G.K. Govinda Bhat.
The judgment was written by Somnath Iyer and Justice Bhat concurred with it.
Here goes the judgment:
Justice Iyer writes…….in the judgment that ……

A hotel-keeper in Bangalore who was called upon by the Corporation of the City of Bangalore to pay a licence fee of Rs. 300/- for obtaining a licence for the year 61-62 to conduct his hotel business, is the petitioner before us. The demand made by the Corporation is called in question on more than one ground. The first submission made is that since the licence fee which the petitioner is now called upon to pay was not prescribed by a bye-law made for that purpose under Clause (13) of Section 367 of the City of Bangalore Municipal Corporation Act, 1949, the demand was without the authority of law. The second submission was that since the fee was prescribed by a resolution passed by the Corporation, the licence fee was not exigible. The third was that even if the Corporation had the power to prescribe the licence fee, what was prescribed was excessive since the necessary correlation between the services rendered by the Corporation to the Hotelier and the fee imposed, did not exist.
2. It is common ground that until April 1, 1954, the licence fee payable by the petitioner was only Rs. 200/-a year. By a resolution passed by the Corporation, that licence fee in the case of the petitioner was enhanced to Rs. 300/- with effect from April 1, 1954. But till the year 1961-62 in consequence of a litigation between the corporation and the petitioner, the only licence fee which was paid by the petitioner to the Corporation was Rs. 200/-a year, and although for the year 1954-55 the petitioner did pay the enhanced fee, the excess licence fee was refunded by the Corporation. After the termination of the litigation, the Corporation has now demanded the payment of the enhanced licence fee, and it is the validity of this demand which is challenged in this writ petition.
3. Before considering the various submissions made before us by Mr. Venkataramaiah, it would be necessary to advert to the relevant statutory provisions. Section 286 of the City of Bangalore Municipal Corporation Act, 1949 which would be referred to as the Corporation Act and by which the questions arising in this writ petition are governed, prohibits a person from keeping a lodging house, eating-house, tea-shop, coffee-house, cafe, restaurant, refreshment room, or any place, where the public are admitted for repose or for the consumption of any food or drink or any place where food is sold or prepared for sale, without or otherwise than in conformity with the terms of a licence granted by the Commissioner in that behalf. It is not disputed that since the petitioner's hotel falls within the orbit of this section, it was necessary for him to obtain a licence for conducting the business of a hotelier as he has been doing. Clause (13) of Section 367 of the Corporation Act authorises the Corporation to make bye-laws providing for the regulation and licensing of hotels, lodging houses, boarding-houses and the other establishments referred to in that clause. Section 385 of the Corporation Act on the interpretation of which the decision in this case primarily depends, reads:
385 (1) "Every licence or permission granted under this Act or any rule or bye-law made under it shall specify the period if any, for which and the restrictions, limitations and conditions subject to which the same is granted, and shall be signed by the Commissioner.
2(a) Save as otherwise expressly provided in, or may be prescribed under, this Act for every such licence or permission, fees shall be paid in advance on such units and at such rates as may be fixed by the Corporation:
Provided that the Commissioner may at his discretion consider any application for the grant or renewal of any Licence or permission though the fee payable therefor has not been paid in advance;
Provided further that not more than one fee shall be levied in respect of any purpose specified in more heads than one of Schedule V if such heads form part of a continuous process of manufacture and the fee so charged shall not exceed the highest fee chargeable in respect of any one of the said purposes.
* * * * * * * *"
It is under the provisions of Sub-section 2(a) of this Section that the petitioner was called upon to pay the prescribed fee of Rs. 300/- in advance. The enhanced fee of Rs. 300/-was prescribed by the Corporation purporting to act under this Clause of Sub-section (2) of Section 385 by a resolution which it passed to that effect. What the Corporation did was to prescribe the fee payable by each person falling within Section 286, the fee payable by him depending upon the rental value of the place where his business was being conducted. The lowest fee payable was Rs. 15/- and the highest was Rs. 300/-.
4. That resolution passed by the Corporation provided that in cases in which the rental value of the place of business is Rs. 250/- and above, the licence fee payable by him was Rs. 300/-. Since the rental value of the premises at which the petitioner was conducting his business exceeded Rs. 250/-, if the resolution passed by the Corporation was within its competence, it is admitted, that the licence fee payable by him was that specified in the resolution namely, Rs. 300/-. But what was contended before us was that the only process for the prescription of a licence fee payable in respect of a licence necessary under Section 286 of the Corporation Act, was that specified in Clause (13) of Section 367 of the Act viz., by the making of a bye-law for that purpose. It was said that unless the fee was prescribed by a bye-law, it was not exigible and that a resolution by the Corporation could not be the source of me authority to prescribe the licence fee payable in respect of licences obtained under the Act. Sustenance for this contention was sought to be drawn from Clause (13) of Section 367 which reads:
367. "The Corporation may make bye-laws not inconsistent with this Act or with any other law to provide--
* * * *
(13) for the regulation and licensing of hotels, lodging houses, boarding houses, choultries, rest houses, restaurants, eating houses, cafes, refreshment rooms, coffee houses and any premises to which the public are admitted for repose or for the consumption of any food or drink or any place where any food or drink is exposed for sale; * * * * * * *"
5. It was argued that this clause of Section 36/, which was an exhaustive and complete Code on the regulation and licensing of hotels, also conferred power on the Corporation to make a bye-law prescribing the fees payable for licences which may be obtained under Section 286 of the Corporation Act. That the expression "for the regulation and licensing of hotels" with which Clause (13) of Section 367 opens, was wide and comprehensive enough to include within its ambit, the power to prescribe the fee payable in respect of a licence, and that that being so, the only source of the authority for the prescription of the licence fee was a by-law which could be made under its provisions, was the argument advanced. It is the validity of this postulate with which we are concerned in this writ petition.
6. Mr. Venkataramiah has urged that if a bye-law could be made under Clause (13) of Section 367 regulating a note) or licensing it, there would be no justification for the supposition that the power of regulation and licensing which may be exercised through a bye-law under that clause, did not include the power to prescribe the fee payable in respect of a license which a person was bound to obtain under Section
286. In support of his proposition that the power of "regulation and licensing" included also the power to charge a reasonable sum for issuing a licence, our attention was asked to paragraph 662 of Dillon's Book on Municipal Corporations Volume II (Edition V).
It is true that in that paragraph what was observed by the learned Author was that under the authority "to license and regulate", a Municipal Corporation may by ordinance require a licence to be first taken out and charge a reasonable sum for issuing the same and for keeping the necessary record. It is, in my opinion, not very useful to depend upon an observation to that effect which may be contained in a Book on the general powers of Corporations, since the expression "regulation and licensing" occurring in a statute must be interpreted in a manner which best fits into the scheme of the law in which that expression occurs having regard to its general scheme and object. Although the expression "regulation" has, it cannot be disputed, reference to some kind of a general power of control and may involve the power to impose restrictions on the exercise of a trade which is regulated both as to time and as to place for the prevention of nuisance or for the maintenance of order, that general meaning to be given to that expression may not always be the only meaning which could be given to it in every law in which that expression occurs.
Likewise, although the expression "licensing" which refers to a power which may be exercised for the governance of a trade or business which is sought to be licensed in that way and although that expression may in conceivable contexts include the power to prescribe a fee for the licence which is directed to be obtained or has to be obtained, if the statutory provision in which that expression occurs does not permit the understanding or interpretation of that expression in that way and the law in which that expression Is employed contains other provisions which make it clear that that expression does not include the power to presence a fee, we should not, in my opinion, fall back upon the general meaning to be given to the expression "licensing or regulation" and hold that the power to prescribe a fee is one of the concomitants of the power of regulation and licensing in every case.
7. Now, as ordinarily understood, the licence which Is directed to be obtained under Section 286 of the Act and the bye-law which authorises licensing of the trades referred to in Clause (13) of Section 367 have reference to an authority or privilege to do something which would be otherwise wrongful or illegal or inoperative. If Section 286 of the Act says that a hotelier must obtain a licence, what It expects the hotelier before he conducts his business is to obtain the authority which is requisite for that purpose. Likewise if Clause (13) of Section 367 permits a bye-law to be made for licensing of a hotel or for its regulation, what it empowers is to make a bye-law specifying many things which may be done for the purpose for which that bye-law is authorised. The regulatory part of the bye-law may include various acts of control which may be exercised by the Corporation for the control of the hotel business. Likewise the licensing part of the bye-law may specify the conditions, restrictions and limitations subject to which the business of a hotel may be conducted.
8. But it was argued that a bye-law may be made by the Corporation not only for this purpose but also for the purpose of prescribing a fee which has to be paid by a licence before he could obtain a licence or in order to obtain it. If nothing else could have been said about this matter and if the question entirely rested on the provisions of Section 286 and Clause (13) of Section 367 of the Corporation Act, it might have been possible to think that Mr. Venkataramiah's submission was without an answer.
9. But it seems to me that the most complete and effective answer to this argument which was advanced before us is what is contained in Section 385 (2) of the Act. Sub-section (1) of that section enumerates the contents of a licence or permission granted under the Act or under any rule made thereunder or under a bye-law made under Section 367. What it directs is the specification in that licences or the permission the period for which the licence or permission was granted, the restrictions, limitations and conditions subject to which the licence or the permission as the case may be, was issued and further directs that the document should contain the signature of the Commissioner. Sub-section (2) (a) then proceeds to state that unless otherwise expressly provided, every application for such licence or permission should be accompanied by the payment in advance of a fee computed at the rates as may be fixed by the Corporation.
What makes me disposed to take the view that Mr. Venkataramiah's argument should not be accepted is the most revealing contrast between the language of Sub-section (1) of this section and that of Sub-section (2). Sub-section (2) makes it clear and expressly states that the rates at which the licence fee should be paid are those "fixed by the Corporation", while Sub-section (1) refers to a licence or permission granted "under this Act or any rule or bye-law made under it". If Clause (13) of Section 367 which authorises a bye-law for the regulation and licensing of a hotel does not in express terms state that that bye-law may be made for the purpose of prescribing a fee payable for a licence which is to be obtained by a hotelier, and, IT sub-section (2) of Section 385 says that that licence fee is what may be fixed by the Corporation, and if in addition, the licence in respect of which that fee may be fixed by the Corporation is referred to in Sub-section (1) as a licence which is required by the Act or rule or bye-law, it seems to me that it would be impossible for anyone to think that the fee has to be prescribed by the Corporation only by a bye-law and not in the way in which it is generally fixed viz., by a resolution to that effect.
Mr. Venkataramiah has not explained to us satisfactorily why Sub-section (1) speaks of a licence "under a bye-law" and why Sub-section (2) does not refer to a tee fixed by such bye-law, and why on the other hand Sub-section (2) speaks of a fee fixed by the Corporation. If Sub-section (1) refers to a licence required by a bye-law and Sub-section (2) speaks of a fee fixed by the Corporation, what I think abundantly clear, in my opinion, is that the fee payable in advance is to be fixed by the Corporation and not by the bye-law. Any other interpretation would leave unexplained why Sub-section (2) does not speak of a fee fixed by a bye-law and why it speaks of a fee fixed by a Corporation.
10. In my opinion, the true construction to be placed upon the provisions of Sub-section (2) of Section 385 is to treat that sub-section as the source of the authority of the Corporation to fix the fee payable for a licence to be obtained under Section 286 or under a bye-law made under Clause (13) of Section 367. While section 286 and Clause (13). of Section 367 have reference to a licence and the latter statutory provision has reference to a bye-law which may be made for the purpose of licensing a hotel and therefore is in the nature of a general provision relating to the licensing of a hotel, Sub-section (2) of Section 385 is a special and independent provision creating in the Corporation the power to prescribe a fee for a licence which may be required by a bye-law made under Clause (13) of Section 367 and under Section 286. If therefore the Legislature authorised a bye-law generally for the purpose of licensing and enacted a special provision like Section 385 (2) confiding the power to fix a fee for licences to the Corporation, the Corporation becomes the repository of the power to fix a fee without being under the obligation to make a bye-law for that purpose under Clause (13) of Section 367.
We must, in my opinion, place upon the provisions or Section 286, Clause (13) of Section 367 and Sub-section (2) of Section 385 an interpretation which will be an interpretation which harmonises every one of these three statutory provisions giving effect to each one of them and every part thereof. While the interpretation suggested by Mr. Venkataramiah that the prescription of a licence fee may be made only by a bye-law made for that purpose under Clause (13) of Section 357 will make the expression "as may be fixed by the Corporation" occurring in Sub-section (2) (a) of Section 385, unmeaning and devoid of content, the interpretation that Section 385 (2) (a) is a special provision under which the donee of the power to prescribe the fee to be paid in respect of a licence is the Corporation which may exercise that power without recourse to a bye-law, is what will not take away from Section 385 (2) (a) the content ascribable to the words "as may be fixed by the Corporation" occurring in that clause.
11. I do not see any reason why we should take the view that, although Sub-section (2) (a) of Section 385 expressly states that the licence fee may be fixed by the Corporation which means that it may be fixed by the Corporation by a resolution, the power exercisable by the Corporation in that way is only for the purpose of making a bye-law under Clause (13) of Section 367. I do not also feel disposed to take the view that what makes the licence fee exigible is the fixation of that fee by a bye-law made under Clause (13) of Section 367 and not its determination by the Corporation in the exercise of its power expressly conferred on it by Section 385 (2) (a).
12. I am therefore prepared to say that there is nothing in Clause (13,) of Section 367 and in the Corporation Act, when it is interpreted in; the context of Sections 286 and 385 (2) of that Act, which would justify the interpretation that the scale of fees in respect of a licence to be obtained under Section 286, should be prescribed only by a bye-law and not by a resolution of the Corporation. In my opinion, whatever may be the purpose for which a bye-law under Clause (13) of Section 367 may be made, once a licence is prescribed by a bye-law made for that purpose it would be within the competence of the Corporation to prescribe the fee payable in respect of such licence.
13. In the view that I take, the argument founded on Section 370 of the Act which says that no bye-law made by the Corporation under the Act shall have any validity unless and until it is sanctioned by the Government can have little relevance. So long as it is not necessary for the Corporation to make a bye-law for the prescription of the licence fee and so long as a resolution passed by it is efficacious enough for that purpose, the requirement of Section 370 that sanction should be obtained of the Government for a bye-law made under Section 367 would have no materiality.
14. The argument which was at one stage advanced that that interpretation is likely to create a clash of exercise of power under Sections 367 and 385 (2) is, to my mind, quite insubstantial. What was envisaged by Mr. Venkataramiah was that it was not inconceivable that a bye-law may be made under Clause (13) of Section 367 prescribing a particular scale of fees and a resolution prescribing an entirely different scale of fees was equally possible under Section 385 (2) of the Act. The apprehension, in my opinion, is utterly groundless since the authority which makes the bye-law is the same which execcises the power under Section 385 (2) viz., the Corporation, and no one can suggest that that authority would make a bye-law under Clause (13) of Section 367 entirely at variance with its own resolution under Section 385 (2) of the Act.
I am also not impressed by the submission made that the expression, "as may be fixed by the Corporation" means as may be fixed by a bye-law made under Clause (13) of Section 367 of the Act or as may be fixed as explained by Mr. Venkataramiah under the other statutory provisions contained in the Act which have relevance to the exercise of that power. This argument is really the same argument which has been repelled by me put in a different form. Further, this argument suffers from the same infirmity which 1 have already indicated viz., the absence in Section 385(2) of words justifying that interpretation. Mr. Venkataramiah was unable, to explain why is Sub-section (2) of Section 385 directed the fixation by the Corporation of the licence fees in accordance with a bye-law made under Sub-section (13) of Section 367 of the Act. there were no words to that effect in that sub-section. That the Legislature was making a distinction between, the power to make a bye-law and the power to prescribe a licence fee independent of the bye-law is plainly revealed by the contrast between the language in which Sub-section (1) is worded and that in which Sub-section (2) is worded.
15. There is one more reason why we should come to the conclusion that, under the scheme of the Corporation Act, the authority which has the competence to prescribe the licence fee is the Corporation. Sub-section (1) of Section 385 speaks of the three categories of licences. The first of them is a licence granted under the Act. The second is one granted by the rules made under the Act, and the third is a licence granted under a bye-law. Within the first category falls a licence which has to be obtained under Section 297 of the Act which requires a person who wishes to use his premises for any of the purposes mentioned in schedule V to the Act to obtain a licence for such use. But Section 297 does not specify the fee to be paid by such person for the licence to be so obtained by him. But according to the provisions of Section 385 (2), the fee payable for that licence has to be paid by the licensee in advance at the rate fixed by the Corporation.
The position, therefore, is while the Act requires a licence, it does not prescribe the fee to be paid for that licence, and when we asked Mr. Venkataramiah to tell us who under the Act had the authority to prescribe the fee payable for such licence and whether it was not the Corporation which was authorised to fix that fee under sub-section (2) of Section 385 that could so fix it, Mr. Venkataramiah was driven to construct an argument that the fee payable even for a licence under Section 297 of the Act had to be prescribed by a bye-law made for that purpose under Clause (16) of Section 367 of the Act. It is plain that that clause of Section 367 on which Mr. Venkataramiah depends can have no relevance whatsoever to the fixation of the fee payable under Section 297 since that clause provides for the sanitary control and supervision of places used for any of the purposes specified in Schedule V and of any trade or manufacture carried therein. When this was pointed out to Mr. Venkataramiah that this clause had no materiality for the purpose of Section 297, he had to admit that it was so.
But, however, what is abundantly clear is that while Section. 297 of the Act prescribes a licence, there is no other provision in the Act save Sub-section (2) of Section 385 which provides for the prescription of a fee for that licence. Section 367 of the Act which authorises bye-law to be made for various purposes does not enumerate the prescription of a fee for a licence under Section 297 as one of the purposes for which a bye-law could be made for that purpose. No other provision was shown to us creating power in any one to prescribe the fee for a licence under Section 297. If that be the position ana Section 385 (2) is the only section which authorises the fixation of the fee and that sub-section says that that tee may be fixed by the Corporation, what is more than perfectly manifest would therefore be that the fixation of a fee for a licence under Section 297 is what may be made by the Corporation in the exercise of the power conferred under Section 385 (2) and that it may so fix the fee by passing a resolution to that effect.
Likewise it is equally clear that the position would be the same in respect of licences granted under the rules under the Act although there has been no discussion about it before us in the course of the argument. If therefore it becomes indisputable that the Corporation is the authority which has the power to fix a fee for the licence under Section 297 and that it may do so by a resolution under Section 385(2) of the Act, there is, I think scant reason for thinking that the fixation of a fee for a licence granted under Section 286 of the Act or for a licence which is made obligatory by a bye-law made under Section 367 (13), was not within the competence of the Corporation in the very same way in which it was within its competence to pass a resolution for the fixation of a fee for a licence under Section 297. We cannot interpret the expression "as may be fixed by the Corporation" in one way for the purpose of Section 297 and in another way for the purpose of Section 286 or for the purpose of Clause (13) of Section 367.
If that sub-section is the source of the power of the Corporation to fix a fee for a licence under Section 297 it should also constitute the source for the fixation of a fee for a licence under Section 286. It would be seen from Section 97 of the Act that many taxes which may be imposed by the Corporation under its provisions, are taxes which may be imposed by the Corporation. That the Corporation may impose those taxes by a resolution to that effect passed under Section 98 of the Act is plain. If the Corporation has been bestowed the power to impose taxes by a resolution, it is not, in my opinion, right to think, although Section 385(2) expressly confers the power on the Corporation to prescribe a fee for licences, that the intention of the Legislature was that the prescription of that fee is to be made only by a bye-law made under Clause (13) of Section 367 and sanctioned by the Government under Section 370.
16. What I have said, in my opinion, is an equally effective answer to the argument advanced by Mr. venkataramiah that the prescription of a licence fee was a matter of such great importance that the Legislative intent was that that fee should be prescribed only by a bye-law with the sanction of the Government.
17. There is yet another reason supporting the view that the Corporation was created by the Corporation Act, the authority to prescribe the licence fee. Until the enactment of the Corporation Act, the law operating in that regard was the Mysore City Municipalities Act, 1933. Under Section 49 of that Act, the City Municipal Council corresponding to the Corporation was authorised to make rules with the approval of the Government, and, under Clause (n) of that section, power was conferred on the Municipal Council to make a rule prescribing the fee for a licence required by the Act. But under the Corporation Act, the corporation was not required to make a rule to fix the licence fee nor was power to fix such fee by a bye-law expressly conferred by Clause (13) of Section 367 of the corporation Act, but, instead, that power was bestowed on the Corporation by Sub-section (2) of Section
385. The fact that it was so done is in my opinion, the clearest indication of the Legislative intent that the prescription of a licence fee was taken out of the scope of a bye-law and was entrusted to the Corporation to be made in the exercise of its power conferred by Section 385(2).
18. The challenge to the demand made to the competence of the Corporation to prescribe a licence fee without recourse to a bye-law must, in my opinion, therefore fail.
19. The next question to which I should proceed to refer is the argument that even if the Corporation had the power to prescribe the licence fees, there has been an excessive exercise of that power. It was urged that since the licence fee is a fee between which and the services to be rendered in respect of the licence obtainable on payment of such fee, there should be the necessary correlation, and as there was no such correlation in this case, the fee demanded of the petitioner, was not exigible. In the affidavit produced along with the application the petitioner states that the value of the services rendered by the Corporation to each of the many hotels of Bangalore, was not more than Rs. 25/- and no expense exceeding that amount was being incurred by the Corporation in respect of the services rendered by it. But in para 3 of the counter affidavit of the Corporation, that allegation has been more than sufficiently traversed. It has been explained in that part of the counter affidavit that while in the year 1951 when the maximum licence fee payable was Rs. 200/-which the petitioner was paying, there were only 589 hotels, that number had increased to 945 in the year 1961 which is the year with which we are concerned in this writ petition.
It is also further explained that while for the year 1950-51 the licence fee recovered in respect of those hotels was Rs. 21,395/- at the old rates, that recovered for the year 1960-61 at the same old rates was Rs. 46,620/-. For the year 1961-62, according to the statement contained in the counter affidavit, the licence fee recovered at the new rates was Rs. 63,556/-. It is thus seen that the fee which is recovered by the Corporation at the enhanced rate during 1961-62 does not exceed Rs. 17,000/- over and above the licence fee which was recovered at the old rates and does not represent more than about a third of the licence fee which was being originally recovered In Clause (d) of that paragraph of the counter affidavit what the Corporation proceeds to explain is that the expenditure incurred on the Health Department of the corporation has increased from Rs. 19,73,771/- which was the expense incurred in the year 1950-51 to Rs. 44,54,353/-which was the expenditure incurred for the year 1960-61. It will thus be seen that the expenditure incurred on the Health Department has increased by more than 125 per cent whereas the licence fee which was increased from Rs. 200/- to Rs. 300/- in the case of the petitioner has not been enhanced by more than 50 percent.
20. In Clause (e) of that paragraph of the counter affidavit the Corporation has enumerated the various items of services rendered to the hoteliers. They are as follows:
"(a) Environmental sanitation;
(b) Clearance of refuse and garbage;
(c) Spraying surrounding areas with insecticides;
(d) Personal services by the examination of food and food handlers working in the establishment;
(e) Prevention of food adulteration;
(f) Periodical inspections by the various Health Officers and Inspectors;
(g) Issue of licences;
(h) Propogation of Health Education by pamphlets, pesters etc; and
(i) Underground drainage and water supply." That every one of these 9 items of services referred to in that part of the counter-affidavit is what a Corporation is obliged to render to a hotelier is, in my opinion, indisputable.
21. In Clause (f) of the counter affidavit, what is next adverted to by the Corporation is the increase in the salaries of the staff, and according to the allegation, there is an increase of 300 percent during the last ten years. That clause proceeds to state that the expenditure on conservancy has increased from Rs. 12 lakhs to Rs. 27/-lakhs during the relevant period.
22. In Clause (g) what has been pointed out is the expenditure incurred amounting to 2 1/2 lakhs of rupees for the purchase of lorries for the clearance of refuse which has been steadily accumulating and to the appointment of additional staff in the Health Department of the corporation.
23. The other clauses of this paragraph of the counter-affidavit refer to the establishment of health centres in the different areas of the Corporation for medical examination of food handlers and for their education in their spheres of work, and to the increase in expenditure in the drainage system and to the employment of additional staff to facilitate the disposal and scrutiny of applications for licences ana their issue.
24. This counter affiadvit which refers to all these items of expenditure is accompanied by a tabular statement enumerating under each item of service rendered by the Corporation the expenses incurred.
25. It seems to me that the material contained in the counter affidavit is more than a complete answer to the argument advanced on behalf of the petitioner that the enhancement of the licence fee is not attributable to the increase in the cost of the expenditure which the Corporation has to incur for the various services to be rendered by them to the hoteliers within its area.
26. Mr. Venkataramiah, however, contended that the expenses incurred over the food handlers cannot be taken into consideration for the purpose of deducing the existence or otherwise of the correlation between the services and the amount of fee. He stated that in respect of each of the food handlers appointed by Corporation, every hotelier is asked to pay annually Rs. 2/-. But Mr. Venkataramiah had to admit that what was paid by the hoteliers for these food handlers did not exceed Rs. 2/- a year and that the total payment thus made by the hoteliers did not exceed Rs. 40,000/- a year which is a very small fraction of the total expenditure incurred by the Corporation in regard to the very many services rendered by it, as stated above.
27. But it was said that the expenditure incurred by the Corporation amounting to more than Rs. 44 lakhs over Health Department and Rs. 27 lakhs over the conservancy and for other purposes, was not an expenditure incurred exclusively for the establishments of the hoteliers or for the services to be rendered to them but for the services rendered by the Corporation generally to all the rate payers within the area and could not form the criterion for the determination of the existence or otherwise of the required correlation.
28. But Mr. Venkataramiah had to admit that it was not possible for the Corporation to set apart an exclusive establishment for the services to be rendered to the hotelier or to the establishments owned by them, and that since the services rendered by the Corporation to the hoteliers were of the same nature if not more extensive than those which were rendered to the other rate payers within the area of the Corporation, it was inevitable that the total expenditure incurred by the Corporation in that way must necessarily include the expenditure incurred for the services rendered to the other rate payers. In a case like this it is not necessary for the Corporation to establish with mathematical nicety the exact correlation between the fee prescribed and the services rendered. What should be established is that the prescribed fee, on a proper construction of the materials produced before us, is commensurate with the services rendered. If it could be said as was said in Varadachari v. State of Madras, , on which Mr. Venkataramiah depended that the entire expenditure incurred by the Corporation over all the rate payers within its area had been debited to the hoteliers in the form of fees or that a grossly disproportionate share had been demanded of them, it would of course follow that the required correlation did not exist.
But it is, I think, impossible for Mr. Venkataramian to insist upon the Corporation producing before court precise information as to the expenditure which is attributable to the hoteliers as distinct from the expenditure incurred over the other rate payers. In the nature of things, it is impossible for an authority like the Corporation to produce proof of correlation in that way. What is indisputable from the counter affidavit produced by the corporation is that the totality of the expenditure incurred over the various spheres of the Corporation activities has increased by 125 per cent during the period between 1950 and 1960, In some instances the increase has been even greater as in the case of the expenditure over the conservancy arrangements. If the enhancement of the licence fee is only by 50 percent and the fee recovered by the Corporation by reason of such enhancement was just about Rs, 17,000/- over and above the fee collected during the year 1960-61, I am not prepared to say that production of any further proof was necessary by the Corporation of the existence of the required correlation.
29. It was, however, contended that not more than a sum of Rs. 25/- was the expenditure incurred by the Corporation for each of the 945 hoteliers and that being so, the demand for payment of 3 sum of Rs. 300/- by the petitioner was indefensible. This submission, in my opinion, was only to be made to be repelled for its own unreasonableness. Mr. Venkataramiah could not explain why if what was incurred over the petitioner was only Rs. 25/- a year in the form of services, the petitioner continued to pay during all these many years a sum of Rs. 200/-towards the licence fee and why that impost was not questioned by the petitioner on the ground of unreasonableness, until now. It is also significant to observe that even in this writ petition what is challenged by the petitioner is only the enhancement of the fee from Rs. 200/- to Rs. 300/-.
30. There remains only one more submission to be considered, and that was an argument founded on the omission on the part of the Corporation to claim licence fee at the enhanced rate between the years 1954 and 1961. The explanation for this inaction on the part of the corporation was that there was a pending litigation which terminated in this Court only in the year 1961 between the Corporation and the petitioner. However that may be, if the prescription of the licence fee demanded for the year 1961-62 under Section 385 (2) was within the competence of the Corporation as indeed it was, it is no answer to the demand to say that the Corporation acquiesced in the payment of a smaller fee during the preceding years.
31. In the result, this petition is dismissed. In the circumstances, there will be no order as to costs.
G.K. Govinda Bhat, J.
32. I agree.

The first hotels of Bangalore

Bangalore is known as City of Darshinis and almost every busy street and road has a darshini or two. One of the earliest Darshini to come up in Bangalore is the Uphara Darshini on DVG Road in Basavanagudi.
Since then, Darshinis have mushroomed in every nook and corner and today there are no less than 5,000 of them. Some have a chain of Darshinis such as Adigas, Sukh Sagar, Woodys, while a majority are stand alone eat outs.
The Darshinis are essentially fast food joints that generally serve hot Indian cuisine and some have also specialised in north India, north Karnataka, Chinese and Jain dishes. However, it must be noted that Darshinis are of recent origin though Bangalore had hotels and restaurants going back to the closing years of the nineteenth century.
While many people go on and on about how and when West End and Windsor Manor and other hotels and eateries in the Bangalore Civil and Military Station or Cantonment came up, they tend to forget that the Pete or Peetah area or Old Bangalore too had its first brush with hotels around the same time and that they too had a romantic tale to narrate.
It is generally believed that the eateries first came to Bangalore when the city had a plague epidemic in 1898. The plague saw people emptying themselves out of Bangalore in thousands and many houses became deserted.
People in many homes were left to fend for themselves and in thousands of house holds women went out of Bangalore taking away children and the aged. Able bodied people and youth left behind were left to fend for themselves and while many managed to cook, others had to depend on someone for their daily food.
The Bangalore Municipality set up free boarding and lunch homes but they proved to be inadequate. Besides, the rich and orthodox refused to partake food with the rest of the populace as they felt it beneath their dignity to mix with people of other religion and other classes.
It was then that many entrepreneurs hit upon the idea of starting exclusive eating out joints. Sometime in 1898 itself, Avani Narsing Rao started perhaps the first hotel in Bangalore. The hotel came up at the Doddapet-Chickpet circle and it was a small establishment that offered limited food to people.
The hotel soon caught the fancy of people who flocked to it. However, very few women dared to come to hotels and those that came had a quick bite before bolting away. When the new establishment began making profits, another Bangalorean, Venkanna, set up a hotel a little away on Arcot Srinivasacharya Street.
Venkanna’s hotel was slightly different from Rao’s eatery in the sense that people had to reserve seats in advance. However, the first modern hotel and the true beginnings of hotel industry in Bangalore came when K.T. Appanna (1884-1962) set up his hotel in the Pete area.
Appanna was a man with a shrewd business sense and he quickly cahsed in on the demand from people for cheap and good food. His hotel served meals for two annas. He also began the practice of preparing fried south Indian dishes like bondas in the evening.
Even as the pete area began expanding, hotels also came to be set up in Cantonment area. The hotels in Cantonment primarily catered to Britishers, Europeans and aristocratic and rich Indians and they were out of bounds for natives and for a majority of  people living in the Pete.
When Sir M. Visvesvaraya took over as Dewan of Mysore in 1912, he decided to industralise the Mysore Kingdom and his motto was “Industralise or perish”. He recognized the importance of the hospitality sector and urged people to open more hotels in Bangalore ands Mysore.  
He personally took the initiative to give a fillip to the hotel industry and directed the Mysore Government to promote the industry by giving several sops such as subsidy, loans, low rate of interest and in some cases even business loans.
One of the first people to realise that hotels could be a gold mine was Kolar Thirumalaswami Appanna.  He was one of the thousands of people in Bangalore who were affected by the plague. Appanna had lost his father in 1898 and the burden of running the family fell on him.
Not skilled in any trade and not having the finance to start any other business, Appanna hit upon the idea of starting a hotel. He approached his neighbour, Ramaiah and his maternal uncle and took a loan from them. The same year, he opened his eatery which he named as Hindu Coffee Club and this was also in Chickpet.
Appanna’s mother helped him in running the new venture. The Club;s popularity as the best eat out in Bangalore soared when Appanna decided to add south Indian dishes to the menu. The hotel soon became crowded and earned a name for itself as one of the best eating joints of the Pete.
With crowds streaming in at the club, Appanna decided to provide comfort to his customers. He introduced for the first time the concept of chairs and tables, cups and seated his customers. Coffee was served in cups and saucers and soon they became a hit with the customers.
Till then, people had to either squat or stand to eat and drink coffee. The seating pattern of Appanna’s hotel worked so well that large crowds thronged to his eatery. When other eateries spied his innovation, Appanna decided to serve meals at affordable rates f two annas. Students and visitors to Bangalore flocked to have the meals.     
Very soon, Appanna’s business acumen caught the attention of the Mysore Government, including Dewan Visvesvaraiah. By then, Appanna had taken up catering to visitors to the Bangalore City Railway Station where he opened an eatery in 1905.
Then came the landmark Modern Hindu Hotel in 1916. Appanna started it after encouragement from Visvesvaraiah and the then Wodeyar King.   
The Modern Hindu Hotel became the first eatery to cater to people of all communities and religion. Soon Modern Hindu Hotels came up in Mysore and Ootacamund.
Appanna died in 1962 and today Bangalore celebrates October 10 as Hoteliers Day. That was the day when Appanna was born.
Today, setting up eateries is reckoned to be one of the easiest ways to make money. This is what people think when they see even road side vendors and push cart sellers making a profit.
What they seems to forget is the services of  Avani Narsing Rao, Venkanna and  Appanna in starting out hotels and the role of Sir M. Visvesvaraiah in encouraging hotels and restaurants in Bangalore and Mysore.

No wonder, Bangalore today is overflowing with hotels, restaurants, Darshinis, bakeries and motels and the credit for this must go to these three early entrepreneurs and Sir M.V.