KEDB to open eco-trails around Bengaluru in August
- The Karnataka Eco-Tourism Development Board (KEDB) will throw open 10 eco-trails for tourists. These trekking trails include famous and lesser-known hillocks and reserve forest patches.
- Of the 10 routes, nine are around Bengaluru, while one is in Chikkamagaluru. The board is yet to finalise the rates for these day-long treks.
- This is the first phase of the eco-trails around Bengaluru.
- They have been officially identified by the Board and the Forest department. All other trails around the city, apart from the ones in Western Ghats, are considered illegal.
- The Forest department and the Board would be regulating trails across the state in a phased manner
- The Forest department has introduced trekking routes in Western Ghats.
- At present, all these routes have been closed because of the monsoon
- The KEDB has also trained 30 guides for the trails around Bengaluru. The trek routes vary between 7 km and 14 km. “These are all designed for day-long trekking only.
- Trekking used to happen in forest patches earlier, but was not permitted officially. People used to take permission from some officers privately.
- There were no set rules and regulations as it was happening unofficially in the forest patches.
- Now there will be a series of forest rules to follow, along with a set of ‘dos and don’ts’ and it will be official. Also, each trekking group will have a regulated nature guide, in the absence of whom, no one will be allowed
CEC favours cancellation of 20 iron ore mine leases in state
- The Supreme Court-appointed Central Empowered Committee (CEC) has recommended action against 20 iron ore mining leases in Karnataka for their lapses in implementing reclamation and rehabilitation (R and R) work.
- The CEC, in its report submitted to the court after inspecting R and R activities being executed by ‘B’ category mines in Ballari district, said, of the 20 mines, four lease holders failed to supply baseline data and other relevant material to prepare R and R plan. The state government can implement the R and R plans after treating these leases as lapsed, the report said.
- The panel suggested that Karnataka, Telangana and Surveyor General of India may be directed to file a report on the action taken for determination of inter-state boundary within the Ballari reserve forest.
- Earlier, the court, which cancelled leases of all ‘C’ category mines, had directed the CEC to implement the R and R plan for 62 ‘B’ category mines which committed less violation while extracting ore.
- Of the 62 mines, Dehradun-based Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education prepared R and R plan for 58 mines and four leases holders failed to provide baseline data.
- The court had directed the companies to deposit money as specified by the CEC as a guarantee and implement the R and R with their own money. The money will be returned to the lease holders on the satisfactory execution of the R and R plan.
- Only 42 mines of the 58 lease holders have deposited Rs 103.12 crore as guarantee money with the CEC and started implementing the R and R plan.
- The Federation of Indian Mineral Industries had filed an interim petition before the Supreme Court, seeking return of the guarantee money to lease holders. Following this, the court asked the CEC to submit the status report on the implementation of R and R plan.
- Lease holders who did not provide baseline data:
A whopping 42 lakh farmers opt for e-trading
- In the midst of adverse climatic conditions, 42 lakh farmers in Karnataka have registered for online trading under the Unified Marketing Platform (UMP) and are getting higher prices for their commodities in agricultural produce marketing committees (APMCs).
- The UMP, an initiative by the State government, has weeded out the role of middlemen in 157 APMCs. Till the launch of the UMP, middlemen cornered almost 75% of the final price, leaving a very little for farmers. APMCs often faced the disadvantage of middlemen deciding the price of the produce.
- Launched in 2014 by the Rashtriya e-Market Services (ReMS), the UMP facilitated interaction between traders and farmers.
- The NITI Aayog commended the work done by the State Agricultural Marketing Department and said farmers had realised 38% more income in 2015–16 from the sale of commodities through e-trading.
- Presently, more than 34,000 licensed traders are trading on UMP. The ReMS has been providing training to farmers and traders who are still new to the idea, Manoj Rajan, managing director and CEO
- Traders from Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Kerala, Haryana, West Bengal, and Delhi have taken the unified trader licence with Karnataka to trade and participate in online auctions.
- Agro firms such as Cargill, ITC, Reliance, Metro Cash & Carry, Godrej Agro, Pepsico India, Max Hypermarket, and Trinetra Super Retail have been buying in bulk through UMP.
- Traders can quote prices online, which the farmers have a right to reject if it is not satisfactory
- An analysis of prices of 20 major commodities shows an average increase in price from 15% to 45%. Farmers have got higher prices for commodities such as copra, black gram, toor, bengal gram, maize, Byadgi chilli, and tamarind in various markets in the State
- Unified single trading licence has allowed remote trader participation and it has shifted competition from local to national. “More number of participants in the markets has reduced local cartelisation and this has led to better price,” the official said.
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