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HDMC to use AR tech to plug billboard revenue loss

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HUBBALLI: If a plan of Hubballi-Dharwad Smart City Limited (HDSCL) goes as expected, Hubballi-Dharwad Municipal Corporation (HDMC) should be the first urban local body in to use (AR) technology to plug revenue loss due to billboards which are illegal, inaccurate in size and with expired approvals.

The project, which has been given approval, is estimated to cost of Rs 93.22 lakh. Revenue from billboards is one of the major sources of income for urban local bodies, be it HDMC or Bengaluru’s Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP). Sources in the HDSCL said urban local bodies are incurring revenue loss due to violations in billboards. At present, the size of billboards are measured physically which is of great risk as they are placed at a height.

HDSCL special officer S H Naregal told TOI that the local bodies can incur revenue loss pertaining to billboards in three possible ways. “Illegal billboards are put up without permission. In some cases, approval is taken for one billboard but two billboards are put up facing both sides of the road. Advertisers also increase the size of billboards marginally beyond the approved size. The billboards with expired approvals are also a major loss of income. In this case advertisers do not renew the timed-lease contracts,” he said.

HDSCL is adopting AR technology to address the issue. AR can help solve the billboard issues by using scale algorithm to determine the dimensions of billboards located too far for convenient measurement. A QR code is independently identified and serves as a record matching mechanism for pulling the relevant billboard details like approved height, dimensions, company name etc. Using a or AR glasses, one can see if there is any violation. The technology ensures cent per cent compliance to approving authorities.

As on June 2018, there are a total of 415 billboards within the jurisdiction of HDMC. “We have invited tenders for the selection of an agency to design, develop and support an AR-based application. We are also procuring devices from them. The handheld device can help us determine the size and violation, if any. The project will be released soon. The twin cities will be the first to have such a facility in the state,” Naregal said.

He added that the AR app will work without internet connectivity. The app will be with a GIS-based billboard database and HDMC‘s existing billboard database. The data will flow seamlessly between the app and database which will be secured and encrypted.
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Forum opposes ban on plaster of Paris Ganesh idols

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BELAGAVI: Madhyavarthi Sarvajanik Shri Ganeshotsav (MSSGM), a forum of all mandals in Belagavi that install Ganesha idols in public places, is unhappy with the decision of the district administration to seize plaster of Paris (PoP) idols and taking action those who make such idols.
The decision was taken by Deputy commissioner S Ziyaullah on Monday at a meeting with police, pollution control board and other officials regarding the ban on PoP idols owing to environmental concerns.

According to the Mahamandal, the administration took this decision when the festival is just three weeks ahead. “Almost all the idols are ready and the decision was taken at the last moment. This is nothing but playing with the religious sentiments of Hindus,” said Vikas Kalaghatagi, public relations in-charge of the Mahamandal.

The Mahamandal has already told the administration that the decision is impractical at the present stage. The forum has also decided to submit a memorandum to the administration along with BJP, various Hindu outfits, idol makers and office bearers of over 400 mandals who install idols on public places.

According to the Mahamandal, the Ganesh festival in Belagavi has a glorious history of over 100 years after it began when Bal Gangadhar Tilak the leader of the freedom movement installed the first in the city. Lakhs of people from Karnataka, Maharashtra and Goa visit the city during the 11-day festival only to see the idols and decorations. It is the biggest festival of the city and involves the turnover of crores of rupees. Any decision taken in a hurry, like banning PoP idols may affect the celebrations, the Mahamandal said.

The district administration is advising mandals and the public to opt for eco-friendly idols but the forum claims that there is a dearth of clay needed to make the idols. Some idol makers say they bought clay from Maharashtra after paying a hefty price. Environment friendly colours are also not easily available in the region and the administration must consider all these aspects before imposing a ban, they say.

Vikas Kalaghatagi said awareness about environment is growing among the people and gradually they are opting for clay idols despite the high cost. “The change is happening by itself and it takes time for a complete transformation. Forcible implementation of sensitive decisions may create law and order problem,” he said.

According to Kalaghatagi, the use of Pop idols in Belagavi is not an environmental concern as no mandal in the city immerses idols in a river, well or lake. “Instead, the idols are immersed in 8-10 ponds constructed by the Belagavi City Corporation. Later, the water and silt is disposed of properly. Hence, there is no chance of contamination of water bodies,” he said.

Noted idol maker Sanjay Killekar said the timing of the decision is wrong as 90% of the work of making idols has been completed. “Idol makers would have considered not using PoP had the administration passed strict orders banning PoP 4-5 months ago. One has to use PoP while making large idols, as large clay idols do not have strength and may develop cracks, which is considered as a bad omen,” he said.

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KUD Press gets a tech upgrade

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Hubballi: After a long time, the 49-year old Karnataka University printing press in Dharwad got a facelift and is now all set to increase the varsity’s revenue by embarking on printing bulk orders. For the first time, the press will print answer sheets with a bar code that is used to curb manipulation.
The press was started in 1969-70 to undertake all printing works of various departments of the university and was equipped with old letter printing machines.

In this era of modern technology, the press too has adopted advanced equipment to improve its productivity. Its old building was also renovated in the last one year. Very recently, the printing press was equipped with an advanced Mano Web printing machine, barcoding machine, Offset printing and other equipment.

Speaking to TOI, A B Vedamurty, Director, , Dharwad said, it is the only full-pledged press in the university in the entire state which is equipped with advanced machines. Though Bengaluru and Mysuru universities have their own printing presses, they are not updated and upgraded yet, he added.

“Earlier in the old printing system, we could print only 16 pages at a time and would print only 3,500 to 4,000 books and literature of Prasarang annually. But now, we can print 9,000 to 15,000 books, journals, and other works every year,” said Vedamurty.

“Earlier, we could print only 30,000 to 35,000 answer sheets per day. With the new machine, which cost Rs 65 lakh, we can print 70,000 to 80,000 32-page in a day. Moreover, the new machine allows us to print scripts with barcode instead of a serial number. Besides, we can also print 90,000 to 95,000 OMR sheets,” he added.

“This apart, we have already undertaken publication works of Vijayanagar Sri Krishnadevaraya University, Ballari and Rani Chennamma University, Belagavi. Now, we can handle bulk orders and are expecting bulk printing orders from other universities in the state. Now, we are printing exam related material of Karnatak University including 17 lakh theory answer sheets, 10 lakh practical answer sheets and 27 lakh graph sheets every year,” the official said.

KUD intends to increase its annual revenue from the press from Rs 1.2 crore to 2.5 crore in the days to come. “We will soon install 16 CCTV cameras in the press and increase the number of security guards since we undertake printing of exam related material. VC Pramod Gai has supported our endeavours,” he added.

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Smart City has over 8,000 potholes

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HUBBALLI: A recent survey conducted by the Hubballi-Dharwad Municipal Corporation (HDMC) revealed that the twin cities have more than 8,842 .
Zone 12, which covers major areas of including Jubilee Circle, has the highest number of 2,532 potholes. Zone 3 and 6, which covers major wards of the twin cities and where former chief Jagadish Shettar and MP Pralhad Joshi reside, lead in a total of 84,322.71 sqm damaged road area.

While Zone 3 has total damaged road area of 12,528 sqm, Zone 6 has 11,296.55 sqm.

The survey also shows that potholes are also common on concrete roads, numbering 469 on such stretches. Zone 2 and 9, have 192 and 277 potholes respectively. Interestingly, it was found that Zone 3 and 6 have less number of potholes at 97 and 14, respectively, but the total area damaged is large.

HDMC sources said that after analyzing the facts, the executive engineers in North, South and Dharwad have estimated Rs 4.36 crore fund for the repair and restoration of roads in the twin cities.

Dharwad deputy commissioner said that HDMC officials will be asked to take up road repair, potholes filling and other work on war footing before the Ganesha festival. “The HDMC has Rs 5 crore for potholes filling and restoration work. Soon the work will be initiated for the repair of roads and restoration,” she added.

After taking charge, Cholan asked HDMC officials for a detailed report on the current condition of roads and the number of potholes.

Senior HDMC officials asked zonal assistant commissioners to conduct a survey in this regard. The zonal assistant commissioners submitted the report on potholes to the DC.

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Vadodara trader accuses 3 persons of cheating

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VADODARA: A computer trader in Nizampura has accused three persons of cheating after buying a laptop from him and not making a payment after promising to buy more systems.

Ashesh Patel, the complainant, approached the police after the three accused identified as Umesh Thakkar alias Balkrishna, Sandeep Pathak and Kanu Patel alias KK fled with the laptop and switched off their mobile phones.

Police said that Patel had received a call from the trio on August 15 and they inquired about different models of laptops and their prices. The accused decided to buy a model costing Rs 46,500 and paid advance amount of Rs 1,100 through mobile wallet application. Police said that they had promised to pay remaining amount on delivery.

On August 18, Patel went to deliver the laptop to the office of the accused on Sun Pharma Road. Upon delivery, the trio informed Patel that they have started a new business and would like to buy more models and paid the remaining amount through cheque. Two days later, when Patel deposited the cheque in bank, he was informed that the trio’s account has been suspended.

Patel then went to their office, but found it locked. He the tried to reach the accused on his mobile phone but found it switched off.

The complainant later approached JP Road police station where a complaint of cheating and criminal conspiracy was registered on Tuesday.
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CM Vijay Rupani reviews Ahd Metro project work

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AHMEDABAD: Gujarat chief minister on Wednesday reviewed the progress of the Rail project near its underground site and directed the authorities to complete the Metro’s stretch from Vastral Gam to Apparel Park on priority basis and start its trial run in January 2019.

Rupani was told that the viaduct atop the pillars on Vastral-Apparel Park stretch has been completed, while work is in progress for the track and traction, as well as on six stations on this stretch.

While 33.5km of the 40km Metro lines will be elevated, 6.5km will be underground.

Since the underground portion of the Metro passes through the old city’s crowded areas with people living in old structures, Rupani directed the authorities to ensure no damage to the people’s property and existing structures, and least inconvenience to people’s movement.

He said the Centre has approved the project as it passes through ten protected monuments falling under this route.

The Metro is envisaged as an alternative to Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation’s growing traffic problem for public transportation. Out of Rs 10,700 crore project cost, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is extending Rs 6,000 crore loan.

There will be 32 stations on the Metro tracks being laid in two corridors – East-West and North-South. The two kilometre long viaduct on the western end of the East-West Corridor is ready, whereas work on another 2km stretch is under progress.

The work is in progress for another bridge being built across Sabarmati river near Gandhi Bridge from where the elevated viaduct will enter the tunnel near Shahpur beneath the old city area. Four Tunnel Boring Machines (TBMs) are working on two up and down tunnels, having completed 0.65km.
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BJP wants CM, others to join Atal‘s memorial service

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BHUBANESWAR: The BJP is planing a memorial service for former Prime Minister at the Exhibition Ground in Unit III on Friday. The party hopes that the service will be attended by members of all faiths and irrespective of political beliefs.
Given Vajpayee‘s acceptance across political divide, the party hopes it will allow people from all walks of life to pay homage to the former Prime Minister. “We appeal to everybody across the political divide to join in the memorial service,” BJP spokesperson Golak Mohapatra said at press conference here on Tuesday.

He also said the party plans to invite chief minister and BJD president to atend the memorial service. “We will send personal invitations to various political leaders including Naveen Patnak, presidents of various political parties, leader of opposition and prominent citizens. We hope all of them will attend the memorial service,” Mohapatra added.

It remains to be seen whether Naveen, who served as Union minister for steel and mines in the Vajpayee government from 1998 to 2000, attends the memorial service. Naveen had gone to Delhi to visit an ailing Vajpayee and had described him as one of the tallest leaders of the country.

Mohapatra said BJP state unit president Basanta Panda, Union ministers Jual Oram and Dharmendra Pradhan and BJP legislature party leader KV Singhdeo will reach here with the ‘asthi kalash‘ (urn) from Delhi on Wednesday evening. The ashes will be brought to the party office and kept there for people to pay homage before it is immersed in the Bay of Bengal.

The BJP is planning bhajan and kirtan at the party office throughout the night. The saffron outfit is mobilising people from its more than 800 organizational units to take part in the immersion and memorial service.

On Thursday morning, the BJP will take out a massive procession from Bhubaneswar to Puri to immerse the ashes in the Bay of Bengal. The procession will pass through Pipli, Danda Mukundpur, Sakhigopal, Chandanpur and Atharanala, Mohapatra said. There would be brief stopovers in these places for people to pay their respects to Vajpayee.

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