Bug-alert devices fly off the racks
Spooked by sting operations, Karnataka politicians aren’t taking chances. They are investing in gadgets that alert the owner to any covert recording — audio or visual — in a 500-metre radius.
If someone is recording voice or filming a video secretly, the transmitter in these devices picks up the signals and sends alerts through light waves or vibration.
The battery-powered devices, mostly Israeli and German, don’t come cheap, though. These could set you back by Rs 5 lakh to Rs 6 lakh. No larger than a remote car-key, they fit snugly into pockets.
Karnataka chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy has bought some of these instruments, as have many MPs and MLAs.
The demand for devices to detect bugged phones is also rising — and mostly from politicians.
These can be fitted into pens, dolls, calculators, tube light fixtures and even shirt buttons. And, while they cost over Rs 1 lakh, the investment is worth it, especially when fragile political careers are at stake.
Top up at BEST pumps
Petrol pumps in BEST depots might soon be opened to the public, if Uttam Khobragade can steer his plan through.
So, during a strike of petrol pump owners, you can drive to these depots and top up your tank. “Only 15 of our 27 depots will open their pumps to the public initially,” the general manager of the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) said.
An added advantage is that these pumps are likely to remain open round the clock. Given that the city already has around 550 pumps and there is little room to set up new ones — because of space problem and safety concerns — the BEST pumps will give car owners big relief.
BEST will tie up with Mahanagar Gas, the city’s only CNG supplier, to set up outlets.
P.K. Gupta, the gas firm’s chief, said having pumps inside BEST depots will help at a time when CNG is becoming the preferred fuel option.
End of road for complex
Actor-politician Vijayakant has hit a dead end in his efforts to prevent a complex next to his party office from being taken over by the Centre to make way for a flyover.
After the DMDK boss’s petition in the Supreme Court against the land takeover move was dismissed, his family sought time from Madras High Court till August to hand over the plot. The Kalyana Mandap had been booked for many weddings, they said. Even vacating it would take time.
The Centre, which is paying Vijayakant a compensation of Rs 8.5 crore, argued in the high court that the delay in getting land would hit the flyover’s construction schedule. The court saw merit in this argument and asked the actor to release the plot by May 15.
It’s not a quirk of coincidence that the flyover is being built by the National Highway Authority of India, overseen by Vijayakant’s rival and DMK leader T.R. Baalu.
Maharashtra, facing its worst power crunch in decades, is readying a novel plan that promises to trip power thieves by offering incentives to those who help catch them.
The idea to give away rewards came last week from deputy chief minister R.R. Patil, who asked power minister Dilip Walse-Patil to consider the suggestion.
With 15-hour blackouts not unusual in much of the state, it is felt that the motivation to report pilferage will be strong.
While making sure thieves don’t have it easy, the government is also thinking of ways to make it difficult for mobs to vandalise power board offices. More security and better communication are among the steps planned.
Bangalore: Want to watch traditional theatre' Catch Singaravva and the Palace, an 85-minute English play on May 11 at Ranga Shankara, J.P. Nagar. Directed by Soumya Varma of the Kriyative Theatre, the play brings alive local tradition. For tickets, call 080-41204553. Also available at the venue.