Steps sought to conserve Kappatagudda hills
- The Natural Committee for the Protection of Natural Resources (NCPNR) has urged the State government to initiate immediate steps to preserve and conserve the biodiversity-rich Kappatagudda hill ranges in Gadag district and also the areas affected by reckless mining activities in the State.
- The recent natural calamity in Kerala and Kodagu are said to have been the direct results of reckless environmental destruction.
- Large-scale damage has been done to the ecological system in the name of mining and other such activities in Ballari, Chitradurga, Tumakuru districts.
- It has also affected the livelihood of weaker sections of society.
- The government should take cues from the recent natural calamity and take ardent steps to initiate corrective measures.
- For this purpose, the government should make use of the funds collected for reclamation and rehabilitation works
- NCPNR will, in association with other organisations, organise a workshop to discuss the matters related to the conservation of Kappatagudda and other such places in Gadag on October 6 and 7.
- The workshop will explore ways to protect the Kappatagudda hill ranges and demand that the government declare it as reservation conserve as per the provisions of the Wildlife Act 1972. NCPNR will also urge the government to constitute a committee involving the local people and other stakeholders to preserve and conserve Kappatagudda
Intelligent traffic signals replace fixed-time lights in Mysuru
- Traffic signals in Mysuru City will no longer remain green in the absence of traffic flow on a particular stretch while motorists on another stretch wait frustratingly for their turn to move on.
- The city police has replaced the traffic signals hitherto functioning on fixed-time mode, with upgraded automated signals that change colour based on the traffic volume on each stretch.
- The traffic signals change automatically on the basis of traffic flow.
- When there is no traffic flow on a particular stretch, the green light automatically reduces the time allocated to it
- These signals have been installed at 50 junctions and have already begun functioning.
- They are aimed at ensuring smoother flow of traffic. Mysuru is the second city in Karnataka after Bengaluru to have this system.
- Also, the new automated traffic signals communicate data on traffic flow with other traffic signals on the stretch to ensure the signals synchronise with one another and change their colour depending on the traffic density.
- The system can be centrally controlled from the Control Room.
- The movement of an emergency vehicle or a VIP convoy can be prioritised from the Control Room by turning the signals on the particular stretch to green.
- The system will be maintained by a private company.
- The police has also installed Smart Variable Messaging Signs at three places to give alerts to the motorists on the traffic scenario in different parts of the city.
- The LED signboards have been installed at Aishwarya Petrol Bunk junction on Mysuru-Hunsur road, Columbia Asia Junction on Mysuru-Bengaluru highway and near the Balarama Gate of Mysuru Palace on Albert Victor Road.
- The smart signboards provide real-time information on traffic jams, VIP movement, change of routes for emergency reasons and weather updates.
- They will also display emergency messages provided by the police, fire services, ambulances, highway patrol etc.
- These signboards are also maintained by a private company
E-governance award for e-auction of cocoons
- Till about three years ago, silk reelers across the State would visit cocoon markets and participate in open auctions for cocoons by shouting out their price in front of the lots they wished to buy, often leading to confusion among other reelers and sericulture farmers.
- Now, all nine government cocoon markets in the State have switched to e-auction of cocoons.
- This infusion of technology, which has helped bring about transparency in transactions at the government cocoon markets across the State, was last month identified for the e-governance award by the State government’s e-governance department for 2016-17.
- Under the e-auction, or e-haraju, system, a mobile application is installed in the phones of reelers so that they can participate in the e-bidding.
- A farmer, on his arrival at the market, will be allotted a number for his lot of cocoons, whose variety and other details will be fed into the system and communicated to the reelers through the mobile app.
- The reelers are given 30 minutes to bid for the lot of their choice, and the farmer has the option to accept or reject the bid.
- If the farmer is not satisfied with the bid, the lot will be open for bidding in the next round of auction
- E-auction has not only helped remove middlemen, but is also preventing creation of cartels, which were detrimental to sericulture farmers
- Over time, nine cocoon markets across Karnataka — at Kollegal, Ramanagaram, Siddlaghatta, Kanakapura, Kolar, Vijayapura, Channapatna, Malavalli, and H. Cross — have embraced the e-auction system.
- Introduction of e-auction, however, faced resistance from certain quarters in the cocoon markets.
- There will be hurdles in the implementation of anything new
World Rhino Day at Mysuru zoo on Sept. 22
- September 22 is celebrated annually as World Rhino Day. Mysuru zoo is joining the celebration on that day from 9.30 a.m. to 5.30 p.m.
- Attractive information boards and fun facts about the rhinos in front of the rhino enclosure will be on display all through the day.
- Visitors can observe feeding of rhinos by the keepers at 10 a.m. Mysuru zoo has two Indian rhinoceros – Virat and Bobbli.
- Virat is seven years old while Bobbli is around four years.
- They came from Patna zoo under an exchange programme in 2014.
- The zoo is also making efforts to get a pair of white African rhinoceros, an endangered species, under an exchange programme with foreign zoos.
Centre should demarcate boundary between Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh: SC
- The Supreme Court has put the ball in the court of Union government on implementing the report of the Surveyor General of India over demarcating the Inter-State Boundary (ISB) between Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh passing through the Ballari Reserve Forest.
- This order was pronounced by a two-judge bench comprising Justice Madan Lokur and Justice Deepak Gupta, while hearing a Special Leave Petition 7366-7367/2010 of Government of Andhra Pradesh and others versus Obulapuram Mining Company (OMC) on 17th Sep.
- The court order said that Surveyor General of India filed a final report pursuant to the directions given by the court and the demarcation of the boundary between Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka has been exhaustively dealt with, adding that counsel for Karnataka accepted the report in full. Counsel for Andhra Pradesh had some reservations.
- It is now entirely up to the Union of India to implement the report of the Surveyor General of India and demarcate the boundary between the States of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. Post the matter after six months
- It may be mentioned here that pursuant of the apex court order, the Survey of India (SoI) led by Surveyor General of India, along with a team of officials of both Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, conducted a field survey, and submitted the final report to the Supreme Court recently on the demarcation of an inter-State boundary passing through the Ballari Reserve Forest between Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, using a forest map that dates back to 1896.
- The issue had been pending since 2010 and the Supreme Court directed SoI to submit the report by August 31.
- Obulapuram Mining Company (OMC), owned by G. Janardhan Reddy, having a mining lease in Andhra Pradesh, had been accused of encroaching on forest area on the Karnataka side of the border, erasing the boundary markings.
- Before taking up the joint field survey, SoI held consultations and deliberations and analysed all the submissions, records, observations and inputs provided by both the State governments, and held several rounds of meetings, since January, 2018, before coming out with a map showing new border alignment.
- It also decided not to consider the Traverse Map of 1887 given by Andhra Pradesh for determining the border.
With raids and squads, VTU steps up anti-ragging activities
- In an attempt to tackle hazing of students on campus, Visvesvaraya Technological University (VTU) has directed engineering colleges to set up anti-ragging squads.
- They have also been mandated to set up anti-ragging committees that will ensure that colleges comply with the anti-ragging rules and follow protocol when cases are reported.
- According to the national anti-ragging helpline, over the past nine years there have been 200 cases reported in Karnataka.
- The data does not reflect the magnitude of the problem as victims are often wary of confronting their tormentors.
- The anti-ragging squads will include faculty members who have to carry out ‘surprise raids’ in hostels. A circular issued by the university last week states that squad members have to be nominated by the head of the institution to maintain vigil, be active and alert, and visit hostels, including private ones and institution premises for the first few months when new students are still adjusting to college life. If a whistle-blower reports an incident of hazing to the squad, his or her identity will be protected.
- Despite a ban on ragging — one that has been in effect for decades — colleges have not been able to clamp down on it completely. This torture forces many students to give up studies and drop out
- The circular also underscores the toll it takes on the mental health of students, and instructs faculty members to maintain a diary of their interaction with freshers, who are often targeted by their seniors.
- Besides the anti-ragging squad, each institution is expected to have an anti-ragging committee. The members, nominated by the head of the institution, will include representatives from civil and police administrations, the local media, NGOs working in youth empowerment, and representatives of faculty members, parents and students who are freshers.
- The committee is vested with the responsibility of ensuring compliance with all the regulations on ragging. In order to monitor the situation, the institutions have also been told to discreetly conduct random surveys among freshers every fortnight for the first three months. The head of the institution, in turn, will have to submit a report to the Vice-Chancellor every week at the start of the academic year, and later on a monthly basis.
- The circular states that if any incident of ragging takes place, an FIR should be filed within 24 hours.
- The head of the institution is also expected to send a report to the district anti-ragging committee.
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