Forest dept to take up seed ball dispersal in big afforestation drive
- The Forest department has decided to rope in citizens in a big way in afforestation to take up seed ball dispersal and sowing.
- The seed ball campaign is not new to the state or to the department. In 1986-87, the department even used an aircraft to disperse seed balls said Punati Sreedhar, Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, (Development).
- Some forest officials point out that this method of plantation is good as it involves no expenditure . “Seeds are freely available everywhere. Seed balls are prepared with the naturally available soil and then sown. Citizens are involved in this task,” an official said.
- The foresters term it as a win-win situation.
- The Forest department has also tied up with all Jawahar Navodaya educational institutions in all districts to sow 28 lakh seed balls. This has also been made a part of the one crore saplings programme under the “Neerigagi Aranya” scheme.
- For the seed balls to germinate, the right soil and the right species need to be chosen. Tejus R, a conservationist, said that some over-enthusiastic volunteers don’t understand this. “Wildlife enthusiasts have dispersed varied species like mango, honge, jackfruit and jamun everywhere.
- “People need to understand the terrain — dry deciduous, moist deciduous, arid and evergreen regions. They should also learn which species need to be sown on roadsides and in forest patches,” he said.
- Sreedhar said that while in any species can be planted in Western Ghats, but one has to choose wisely in other places.
- Though native species are always welcome, one should ensure that they are apt. For example, in the Western Ghats, fruit-bearing species are welcome, but not neem. But in some north Karnataka regions, neem and ficus are preferred.
In BNP too
- The seed ball campaign has been undertaken in Bannerghatta National Park (BNP)
- The forest officials started the seed ball sowing in Turahalli, Jarakabande, BM Kaval, sandal reserves and minor forest patches.
KDA issues notice to BMRCL on Hindi usage in metro
- The controversy over the use of Hindi in Namma Metro stations and in their announcements is not new. In 2015, a different organisation had raised similar issues.
- Interestingly, this time, the campaign only started after the launch of services on the Green Line between Sampige Road and Yelachanahalli.
- Several stations across Phase I have mixed signage, where combinations of Kannada and English or all three languages are used.
- However, the practice seems random as there are some entry points into the stations where there are signboards in all three languages while some do not.
- According to experts, BMRCL was largely sticking to the three-language policy for station names outside the stations while it stuck to using Kannada and English within station premises.
- But there are several exceptions to this policy as well. Some entry and exit points in stations do not use Hindi at all, like the Cubbon Park station, but some have Hindi signs both outside and within the stations as well, such as M.G. Road and National College.
- The apparent lack of a strict protocol or pattern seems to have led users to raise questions over language, argued an expert.
- Passengers also pointed out that the announcements onboard Metro trains were mostly in Kannada and English while there were sudden Hindi announcements, in some trains, for instructions like not smoking, eating and staying away from doors.
- All signage’s inside coaches though are only in Kannada and English.
HC orders revival of NGEF; permits use of land for public projects
- In a unique verdict, the Karnataka High Court on Thursday recalled its 13-year-old order of winding up of NGEF Ltd., a State-owned company, and allowed the State government to make use of the company’s properties only for public infrastructure projects of Bengaluru city.
- The High Court directed the official liquidator to hand over all records and assets of NGEF Ltd., which is free of all debts now, to the board of management as soon as it is constituted by the State government.
- Justice Vineet Kothari delivered the verdict while allowing the State government’s plea, filed in 2015, to revive the company, but not the NGEF factory, and utilise around 119 acres of lands for public infrastructure projects.
- If the winding up process was continued despite clearing of NGEF’s debts, the 119 acres of land, the present value of which is more than Rs. 2,000 crore, would have faced public auction and landed into the hands of real estate firms.
- Leading builders had attempted to purchase NGEF land through auction during initial stages of the winding up process.
- The court on August 3, 2004 had ordered winding up of the NGEF after the Board for Industrial & Financial Reconstruction (BIFR) recommended liquidation as attempts to revive the company had failed.
- In his verdict, Justice Kothari termed as “misconceived” the objections raised by EHG Elektroholding, Germany, which is a minority shareholder with 10% share in NGEF.
- It had claimed that there was no provision in law for recalling winding up order and there was no scheme placed by the State for revival.
- However, the court said that though there is no specific provision in the Companies Act for recalling of winding up order, the law also has not imposed any restriction on the court from recalling winding up order.
- Stating that the court is conscious of the fact that NGEF lands may be encroached upon, Justice Kothari said the plea for using assets for public infrastructure projects in the larger public interest can be accepted as a reason for recalling winding up order as no adverse material is placed before the court to establish that the State will not adhere to its undertaking.
- Referring to the the plea of around 400 former employees of the NGEF, who opposed revival of the company for the reason that they should have been provided with better voluntary retirement packages and sought more monetary benefits, the court said they can approach the company’s management or the State government with their grievances as the government has also agreed to look into their demands.
Mysuru City to get more ‘green’ public conveniences
- After the first green building for public convenience (toilet) built at a cost of Rs. 1 crore atop Chamundi Hills, more such facilities are in the offing at prominent tourist spots in Mysuru, including the Mysuru palace premises.
- Tourists, who come to the palace, used to complain about a lack of hygienic toilet facility.
- The district administration, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) Mysuru chapter and Automotive Axles Ltd. have partnered to set up toilet facilities in tourist spots similar to that of at Chamundi Hills.
- The ground-breaking ceremony for the facility at the palace premises was held recently.
- The response for the green toilet constructed at Chamundi Hill was good.
- On the same lines with the CSR fund, permission had been give for such facilities at Mysuru palace.
- Some of the tourists even complained about existing toilet facility at the palace. Hence, the proposed toilet facility at the palace premises will become handy for tourists, he felt.
- The new facility at the palace will have separate toilet facilities for both men and women and an exclusive toilet for those with physical disabilities.
- The new toilet facility at the palace will be inaugurated on December 1.
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