Superstitious CM issues vastu diktat for metro inauguration

BMRCL gives first priority to security arrangements, but Gowda wants an east-facing dais at metro launch

When the Bangalore Metro that has been under fire for missing five deadlines so far and allegedly bleeding the exchequer of around Rs 390 crore in the process, is looking confident about keeping its October 20 date for the launch of the mass transit system, a Vastu diktat of sorts from the Chief Minister for the inauguration ceremony has sent the embattled agency into a tizzy.

Grand opening: The state government, led by Chief Minister D V
Sadananda Gowda, has set aside
Rs 2.5 crore for the opening ceremony
of the Bangalore metro. FILE PIC

At a meeting held recently with the Metro officials, D V Sadananda Gowda categorically told them to have the inaugural stage facing east as it is traditionally considered to be auspicious. This 'diktat' has triggered a cold war between the Chief Minister's officer and the BMRCL, literally. Gowda and his cabinet colleague S Suresh Kumar inspected the MG Road Metro station and the Manekshaw Parade Ground where preparation is on for the inauguration ceremony.

Luck by chance
The Metro has been notorious for its tryst with delays and has earned flak from every quarter. It was originally scheduled to be launched in March 2010. After the BMRCL missed the deadline, it was shifted to December 31. Failing to complete the project in time, the agency fixed an April 4 date for the launch. Continuing its miserable record, the BMRCL missed the next two deadlines -- September 15 and September 26 -- as well.

The Bangalore Metro's penchant for missing deadlines forced India's Metro Man, to comment on the loss incurred due to the delays. "With each day of delay by the Bangalore Metro, the exchequer faces a loss of Rs 65 lakh," said E Sreedharan, during his visit to the city earlier this year.

Aware of its poor records, the Bangalore Metro is leaving no stones unturned to ensure that the opening ceremony becomes successful. But Vastu experts believe that the Bangalore Metro can profit only if it follows the right Vastu procedures. "It is just about tapping the positive force," said S Ramanath, Vastu Consultant.

According to Vastu consulants, only having an east-facing dais  won't help break the jinx. "It is important that the dais be facing South-East as it will bring more gains as opposed to North-East," said Ramanath.

The general public might be calling it a superstitious practice, but for the officials from the Chief Minister's office it is a tradition. "All of us build homes as per the Vastu and if by adopting a similar practice, people can be benefitted, then what is the harm?

"It has been a long standing tradition in the country to have homes or even buildings with entrances facing east," said R P Jagadish, Media Adviser to the Chief Minister.

The Chief Minister seems to be bitten by the Vastu bug. When Gowda assumed office, he made major changes in his official residence Anugraha to make it Vastu compatible.  Besides, Gowda was still the BJP state president when the new BJP office in Malleshwaram was constructed keeping Vastu implications in mind.

Security first
Bangalore Metro officials, however, are taking no chances. While the BMRCL has said that it will abide by the Chief Minister's advice, its officials have maintained that their first priority will be to ensure adequate security at the venue.

"We will abide by the CM's advice but before that we have to ensure that the point is secure," said B L Y Chavan, spokesperson, BMRCL.

Grand event awaits
The Metro launch on October 20 will be a grand event over which the Bangalore Metro will be spending Rs 2.5 crore. Around 800 personnel will be deployed and 160 CCTV cameras will be installed to keep a tab on the crowd movement. Around 50,000 people are expected to participate.

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