State news – January 2017

2017 to be ‘Year of the Wild’ in Karnataka

  • The state tourism department has declared 2017 the ‘Year of the Wild’ and will cater to tourists keen on exploring the wilderness and wildlife of Karnataka.
  • The campaign ‘Year of the Wild’ was launched by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Minister of State for Tourism Priyank Kharge.
  • Kharge said the Tourism department, in association with the Forest department, had identified nine eco-trekking routes in the Western Ghats which will be opened to tourists and trekkers soon.
  • Trained nature guides will accompany and educate tourists about nature conservation on these trekking routes
  • There are some sanctuaries dedicated to conserving specific species exist, such as Ranibennur Blackbuck Sanctuary, Kokkrebellur Pelicanry, and Adichunchanagiri Peacock Sanctuary. Ornithologists from world over flock at the Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary, located just outside Srirangapatna where the Cauvery River meanders around a string of tiny islets, forming a popular nesting site for birds.
  • The state boasts of five national parks — Anshi, Kudremukh, Rajiv Gandhi, Bannerghatta, and Bandipur; 18 wildlife sanctuaries including the famous Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary, Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary and Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary; and several reserve forests.
  • By declaring 2017 to be the Year of the Wild, the state government hopes to promote conservation of many animal species. Mammals as diverse as the Bengal tiger, Asiatic elephant and Golden jackal have long called this part of the world home, along with exotic bird species such as the Yellow Wattled Lapwing and the Great Indian Bustard.
  • Local species local that have been declared endangered include the Lion Tailed Macau, the Sloth bear and the Leatherback Turtle and the move could help boost efforts for their conservation as well.

The Drawbacks

  • Even when the forest department has reportedly denied being part of the campaign that goes contrary to the minister’s claim, environmentalists worry that opening up the ecologically sensitive Western Ghats is nothing but a disastrous move.
  • Many naturalist and environmentalist believe that it is essential to open up new places in order to make people aware that they need to conserve the nature, but the government must not, in the process, do more harm to the environment.

Surfing festival

  • The international-level surfing festival will be held in Mangaluru in mid-2017 to promote Karnataka’s beaches as a water sports destination.
  • The Govt has launched a mobile app that provides app-based reservation system for Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation hotels.
  • The app provides access to a database of all trained and certified tourist guides in the state and tourists can directly call these guides and fix appointments with them.
  • A department official said KSTDC will provide 5% discount on tariffs for its hotels and tours, if booked through the app.

Bengaluru Hosts 14th Edition of Pravasi Bharatiya Divas

  • The 14th edition of the three-day Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, billed as the largest convergence of Indian diaspora, began in the country’s IT hub on Saturday with the spotlight on the role of youth in transforming the society and India’s potential to play the role of a ‘Vishwa Guru’ again.
  • The ‘Youth Pravasi Bharatiya Divas’ was inaugurated as part of the PBD 2017 with an aim to connect with the youth, the new generation of Pravasis growing up all over the world.
  • About 300-400 overseas Indian youth are participating in the Youth PBD, including nearly 150 PIOs who are visiting India for the Know India programme.
  • The Youth PBD in 2017 includes plenary sessions on problems faced by Indian students abroad, problems faced by NRI students in India, and startups and innovation which have a social impact in India.
  • The Youth PBD 2017, with focus on ‘Redefining engagement with the Indian Diaspora’, is being attended by delegates from 72 countries and registration has crossed 7,200 as of on Friday, officials said.
  • The event being held on the city outskirts aims to provide a platform to overseas Indians to engage with the Government on issues of concern to the diaspora and to explore opportunities for investment in India and contribution to the country of their origin.
  • The convention, being held biennially for the first time instead of earlier annual versions, will aim at redefining India’s engagement with its 3.12 crore strong diaspora in diverse spheres, including innovation, start-ups, tourism and education.
  • According to organisers, a total of 6,346 registrations have been confirmed for PBD 2017 and more than 1,500 NRIs and 400 floating NRIs will be a part of the event.

Prime Minister Modi attends Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2017

  • Addressing 14th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, 2017 – the largest gathering so far of Indians living abroad – Prime Minister Narendra Modi today urged the diaspora community to switch from their PIO cards to OCI cards.
  • Non-Resident Indians (NRI), Person of Indian Origin (PIO) and Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) are the three major categories in which the people from India go and live abroad can be categorised.
  • While NRIs is essentially a term used for Indians that live in another country, PIOs and OCIs are people who want to stay connected and involved with India more closely.
  • To serve the same purpose, the government of India issues PIO cards and OCI cards to them according to their needs. Check out what all you need to know about PIO card and OCI card benefits

Advantages to a PIO card holder

  1. If a person holds a PIO card, then he/she doesn’t need a visa to visit India. Along with this, he/she is exempted from a student or employment visa to acquire employment or academic opportunities in India.
  2. A PIO card holder during the duration of stay in India, is not required to register at the Foreigner Regional Registration Office (FRRO).
  3. The holder also enjoys parity with NRIs in concern to economic, financial and educational matters. These may include matters related to property transfer or acquisition, holding, disposal, investment, admission of children in educational institutions under general category quota for NRIs.
  4. A separate immigration counters are provided at all International airports in India for PIO card holders.

The drawbacks for PIO card holder are

  1. The PIO card holders do not have any voting rights.
  2. A prior permission is needed to undertake mountaineering expeditions or any such related research work in protected areas.

PM Modi also promoted the idea of converting their PIO cards with OCI cards.

The OCI card has its own several benefits.

  1. OCI is essentially a lifetime visa status offered by India to an Indian person who has given up his citizenship.
  2. It doesn’t matter how long does the OCI holder stays in the country, he/she is exempted from registering with the FRRO.
  3. Another advantage is that if a person remains an OCI for 5 years, he/she can attain Indian citizenship and then live in India for a period of one year including short breaks.
  4. Special immigration counters are provided at all international airports in India for OCI card holders.
  5. The card holder can open special bank accounts in India just like NRIs and make investments.
  6. OCI holders can also buy non-farm property and exercise ownership rights and is alos allowed to apply for a driver’s license, PAN card or open a bank account in India.
  7. The holder enjoys the same economic, financial and educational benefits like NRIs and he/she can also adopt children.

Restrictions for OCI card holders

  1. An OCI card holder cannot vote.
  2. He/she cannot hold a government job or purchase agricultural or farm land.
  3. Also, the person without permission cannot run for public office or travel to restricted areas.

MoEF team assesses eco damage due to Yettinahole project

  • A team of officials from the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) visited several villages in the taluk to assess the environmental damage caused by the Yettinahole drinking water project in the Western Ghats.
  • The team, comprising Conservator of Forests N Avinash, DCF R Padmavathi and environment scientist Thirunavukkarasu, visited the taluk as per the directions of the National Green Tribunal and inspected Aluvalli, Kadagaravalli, Kerihole, Bagudahalli, Kadumane, Yettinahole and Kesaganahalli. They inspected the check dams at Aluvalli and Kadagaravalli and gathered information from the authorities concerned.
  • Farmers Subbegowda, Vishwanath and others explained that they were cultivating arecanut, coconut and cardamom in the region.
  • Their lands have now been taken over by the government for the project, but they are yet to receive compensation, they said.
  • Local officials explained that over 6,000 trees were axed for the project.
  • This irked the environmentalists, who claimed that more than 15,000 trees had been axed so far.
  • This led to heated arguments. The team expressed disappointment over the documents related to the project that were submitted by the officials.
  • DCF Manjunath, ACF Ramesh Babu, Malenadu Janapara Horata Samiti president H A Kishore Kumar, the complainant, and others accompanied the team. The members refused to disclose anything to the media and said a report would be submitted to the Green Tribunal before January 16.

What is Yettinahole project?

  • Yettinahole River Project is  River Netravathi  Diversion project initiated by Karantaka.
  • Karnataka Govt is planning to divert waters from west-flowing river  Netravathi to some  districts i.e Kolar, Bangalore,  Ramanagara,  Chikkaballapur, etc
  • But this project affects the people of Mangalore District who solely depends upon this River for Everything.
  • Apart from this there is danger for Western Ghats and  might Change the Monsoon  pattern . Deforestation, Problem to Wildlife , Problems to  Marine and aquatic animals.

Background  of River Netravathi

  • Nethravathi is Lifeline of Mangalore and Dakshina kannnada District .
  • The river starts at  Bangrabalige valley, Yelaneeru in Kudermukh in Chikkamangalru District  of Karnataka, India flows West   and  reaches Arabian Sea.
  • It is used for  agriculture and  cultivation  by the  farmers of Hassan, Mangalore and Dakshina Kannada Districts to cultivate 3.5  lakh Hectares of Land.
  • Also used to provide Drinking Water for the people of Mangalore and Daskina Kannada District.
  • Apart from above two things it is also used for Fish cultivation and for fishing which is another prime occupation of people of Mangalore.

Why the project may fail

  • Dr. Madhyastha was delivering a special talk on ‘Ecology of Yettinahole: The story of a controversial river diversion project’, organised by the Centre for Gandhian and Peace Studies, Manipal University, in association with Adelphi, Berlin.
  • He said the way the project was envisaged presently, no water would reach Kolar. The only way the government can get some water to Kolar is by pumping more from Netravati river. “This project is based on false statistics and assumptions,” Dr. Madhyastha opined.
  • He added that the project will even impact the water flow in Kumaradhara river. The construction would affect the elephant corridor in the region, which should not be disturbed. Already, there have been instances of man-elephant conflict at Alur in Sakleshpur. Change in the quality of habitat would push lesser-known animals to extinction.
  • Since there will be less water in the Netravati because of the project, wells and ponds are bound to dry up in Dakshina Kannada region. It will bring down agricultural production, and stagnation of water could lead to a spurt in mosquito-borne diseases in the region.
  • Instead of spending Rs. 13,000 crore on the project, whose success is doubtful, the government should decide to not disturb Yettinahole, he said. “Yettinahole, in its present splendid form, is invaluable. It is better to go in for small eco-friendly projects,” Dr. Madhyastha said.

Karnataka lost 18 tigers in 2016, highest in the last seven years

  • The year 2016 was one of the worst for tigers in Karnataka as the state lost 18 of them to poaching, poisoning and natural causes. The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), which records deaths and seizure of tiger parts in the country, has reported on the website (http://www.tigernet.nic.in/) that India lost at least 97 tigers in the wild in 2016— the worst in the last seven years. Madhya Pradesh (30) saw the most tiger deaths this year, followed by Karnataka (18) and Maharashtra (15).
  • Karnataka has lost 75 tigers since 2010, with 2016 being the worst followed by 2013 (15 deaths), 2012 (12) and 2015 (11). Out of the 18 tiger deaths, the actual cause of mortality is yet to be determined in eight cases.
  • While a tiger was “poached” (none of its parts was removed) in Bandipur’s Maddur region on August 13, 2016, two tigers were poisoned near Umdlebylu village in Bhadravathi on December 8.
  • Four tigers died a natural death while three big cats died in territorial fights. On August 3, 2016, three tigers died in the Nagarahole National Park; the cause of death is still unclear.
  • According to the 2015 census, Karnataka has more than 406 tigers in the wild — 221 of them in Bandipur and Nagarahole national parks. The two national parks also lost the most number of tigers in 2016. While Nagarahole saw 12 tiger deaths, Bandipur lost four of them.

Forest Department’s statement

  • Forest Department officials contend that most of the tiger deaths in 2016 were natural. “There is no need to press the panic button about tiger deaths as most of the fatalities were natural,” Assistant Chief Conservator of Forests C Jayaram said.
  • Except for a poaching case in Bandipur and the poisoning of two tigers in Bhadravathi, all other tigers died either of old age or from injuries sustained in territorial fights, which is a common phenomenon in the jungle, he said. But that doesn’t mean that the department is doing nothing to protect the tigers, he added.

‘Farmers poisoned tigers’

  • The Forest Department suspects that farmers poisoned two tigers at Umdlebylu to protect their cattle from being devoured by the big cats. “We are creating awareness among people on tiger conservation and asking them not to harm them,” Jayaram said.
  • The government has increased the compensation from Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000 for each cattle death caused by wild animals, he said.

Karnataka: Citizens can generate their your own ration card from Jan 9

  • Beginning January 9, citizens can generate their own ration cards (Above Poverty Line) anywhere in Karnataka.
  • Under the new system, people can take a printout of their APL ration cards on the spot by submitting necessary information. The facility can be accessed by logging on to the Food and Civil Supplies department’s website – ahara.kar.nic.in

How does it works?

  • One has to fill up an online application by submitting information such as Aadhaar number and residential address.
  • The department will send the original copy of the ration cards through post to the applicants within 15 days of submitting the application.
  • The department will charge Rs 100 for providing a copy of the original ration card.
  • Those who already have APL ration cards can also take a printout of new ration cards.
  • The department had stopped issuing ration cards, both APL and BPL, to citizens about six months ago. People have to apply for ration cards afresh.
  • However, citizens can only submit the application online for BPL cards under the new system. Applications can also be submitted manually. Besides submitting Aadhaar number, all members of a family should submit their bio-metric details.

Palm scripts of Kumaravyasa’s magnum opus in tatters

  • The original manuscript of ‘Karnata Bharata Kathamanjari,’ a Kannada version of the great Indian epic ‘Mahabharata’ penned by 15th-century poet Kumaravyasa, is vanishing gradually at a house in Koliwad village in the taluk.
  • However, 350 such ‘talegaris’ are in a pathetic state.
  • At present, they have been placed in a small wooden box in the house belonging to the descendants of the great poet at Koliwad. As some of them are already damaged, they will disappear forever if immediate measures are not taken to protect them.
  • Expressing unhappiness over the delay in protecting the poet’s work, Dattatreya Patil, a 15th generation descendant of Kumaravyasa, said repeated pleas for preserving the original work of the great poet had fallen on deaf ears of the officials and the elected representatives.
  • He said a memorial constructed in the village a year ago for the poet was yet to be inaugurated. Kumaravyasa’s birth anniversary should be celebrated every year in a grand manner, Patil said.

About Kumaravyasa

  • Kumara Vyasa is the pen name of Naranappa, an influential and classical poet of the Kannada language in the early 15th century.
  • The poet, who was considered the king of metaphors was born in Koliwad, 35 km from the city. He was one of the greatest poets in Kannada literature.
  • His literary work explores a wide range of human emotions and showcases his extensive mastery over vocabulary.
  • Kumara Vyasa’s most famous work, the Karnata Bharata Kathamanjari (the Mahabharata of Karnataka) is popularly known as Gadugina Bharata and Kumaravyasa Bharata.
  • It is a sublime adaptation of the first ten Parvas (chapters) of the Mahabharata. A devotee of Krishna, Kumara Vyasa ends his epic with the coronation of Yudhishthira, the eldest of the Pandavas.
  • The work is easily the most celebrated in Kannada literature. Its fame arises due to its universal appeal.
  • Gadugina Bharata is composed in the Bhamini Shatpadi meter, a form of six lined stanza. Kumara Vyasa explores a wide range of human emotions, examines values, and displays extensive mastery over vocabulary.
  • The work is particularly known for its use of sophisticated metaphors. Kumara Vyasa is also renowned for his characterization. Karnata Bharata Kathamanjari is also known as Dasha Parva Bharata because it originally had only 10 parvas as opposed to the 18 in the original Mahabharata.

As per the Government:

  • Kiran Singh, officer on special duty to Kannada and Culture Minister Umashree, said that measures will be initiated for the preservation of the palm scripts if the village elders or successors of the poet submit a proposal addressed to her.
  • They should submit a photograph of the palm scripts along with the proposal. Steps will be taken to inaugurate the memorial.
  • Only the government can take a decision on celebrating Kumaravyasa’s birth anniversary, the officer said.

Centre rejects Karnataka’s demand for 25% quota in IIT Dharwad

  • The Karnataka government on August 9 demanded the Centre to amend the IIT Act to reserve 25 per cent seats for local students at IIT Dharwad.
  • The state government also sought an IIIT for a backward district of Raichur, recognition of courses offered by the Karnataka Open University, support for starting railway engineering courses and flying schools in the state.
  • IIT Dharwad was made functional from August 1, the local students did not get benefit as only seven students have been selected from Karnataka.

As per the Karnataka Govt

  • The state government has given 500 acres of land free of cost for construction of IIT Dharwad.
  • A few courses are being offered at present, he said after making a representation to Union Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar.
  • The state minister also requested the Centre to formally inaugurate IIT Dharwad later this month.
  • This apart, Basavarajrayareddy said the University Grants Commission (UGC) has derecognised Karnataka Open University and the state government has amended the laws in line withe UGC.
  • The state minister also discussed about possibility of establishing an IIT or IIIT at Raichur in order to develop the backward district. He said the state is ready to provide land at free of cost.
  • Basavarajrayareddy also made representation to Union Civil Aviation and Railways ministers and sought support for setting up of flying schools in the state and for offering railway engineering courses.
  • The flying club school, which set up way back in 1960, by the state government has now become a defunct entity. The state government has now suggested the Centre to utilise either HIL airport or Mysuru airport to restart the school.

Solar policy amended to ensure power to locals

  • The state Cabinet approved the implementation of solar power projects under distributed-generation approach wherein electricity generated will be supplied to the local community.
  • The move will help cope with the problem of peak-hour demand. Besides, generation of only up to 200 Mega Watt of solar power will be allowed in each taluk, excluding projects implemented on solar rooftops. These are some of the amendments brought into the Solar Policy 2014-21.
  • The Cabinet, which met under the chairmanship Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, gave its approval to amendments proposed to the policy.
  • Permission will be accorded on first-come-first-served basis. This has been done to ensure that solar power is generated across all taluks of the state.
  • Solar power projects are now concentrated in only the few districts of Tumakuru, Kolar and Chitradurga in the absence of any restriction.
  • Currently generation units are located in one corner of the state and power is transmitted all over from those units. But under the solar policy, units will be set up wherever the land is available and the generated power will also be consumed locally.
  • This will not only help redeem transmission loss but also saves money that should have been spent on infrastructure
  • Be it the roof-top or ground mounted generation units, they will be connected with the grid system of local Escoms and come in handy while catering to the peak load.
  • The government wants the projects to come up in all taluks. Hence, the restriction has been imposed. The amended policy has also enhanced the target to generate solar power by 2021 to 6,000 MW from 2,000 MW.

Land bank dropped

kpsc-ias-upsc-coaching-bangalore-best-faculty

  • Karnataka’s initiative of obtaining land from farmers on lease basis to set up solar parks was lauded by the union and directed all states to adopt the same method rather than going in for acquisition.
  • Karnataka had previously contemplated to create private land banks owned by individual farmers and farmer groups. But under the new policy, the government has done away with the land bank system.
  • Instead, the government has proposed to set up Solar Energy centre of excellence and incubation centre at the state level for promoting innovation in technology and skill development, R&D.
  • Further the policy proposes to generate solar power in every taluk not more than 200 Mw so as to ensure enough power supply all through the taluk.
  • While a high level project approval committee used to approve projects with capacity more than 1 MW, now Karnataka Renewable Energy Development Corporation Limited (KREDL) has been given more teeth and based on KREDL’s recommendation, the state government will approve the projects.

What are the new policies

  • The state government has decided to pursue solar energy aggressively and proposed a slew of amendments to its Solar Policy 2014-21.
  • While the earlier policy had envisaged including at least 3 per cent of solar energy in its total energy usage, the latest amendment has increased the cap to 8 per cent. Initially Karnataka had aimed to generate 2,000 MW by 2021 and now the same target has been increased to 6,000 Mw.
  • The government has proposed to set up Solar Energy centre of excellence and incubation centre at the state level for promoting innovation in technology and skill development, R&D
  • The new policy has proposed to motivate people to set up a hybrid generation unit which involves both solar and wind mill.

Justice Shetty unanimous choice for Lokayukta post

  • Former judge of the Karnataka High Court justice P Vishwanath Shetty finally emerged as a unanimous candidate for the post of Karnataka Lokayukta.
  • Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, who chaired a high-level meeting, told that he will soon recommend Justice Shetty’s name to Governor Vajubhai Vala to appoint him as the Lokayukta.
  • The post has been vacant since December 2015 when justice Y Bhaskar Rao resigned over charges of corruption and extortion in his office.
  • Who all supported Justice ShettyChief Justice of Karnataka High Court Justice S K Mukherjee, presiding officers of both Houses of the legislature, K B Koliwad and D H Shankarmurthy, and Opposition leaders Jagadish Shettar and K S Eshwarappa, are members of the consultative committee.
  • All the members supported Justice Shetty for the post. Justice Shetty is 71 years old.
  • Though it is the discretion of the chief minister to recommend any name, the governor will have the final say in the appointment.
  • The chief minister will also have to send the proceedings of the meeting to the governor.
  • Vala had refused to appoint Justice S R Nayak as the Lokayukta despite the chief minister recommending his name twice.

Why was his name rejected earlier?

  • One of the reasons why his name was rejected was that Justice Nayak faced charges of obtaining a residential plot in Judicial Layout in Bengaluru by submitting a false affidavit. The Opposition leaders, too, had opposed Justice Nayak for the post.
  • Interestingly, Justice Shetty also faces similar charges: he had reportedly obtained a prime plot in the Judicial Layout by submitting a false affidavit. He had reportedly declared that neither he nor any of his family members owned any plot in Bengaluru. But he is said to have owned a plot in RT Nagar.

About Lokayukta

  • The Lokayukta (also Lok Ayukta) is an anti-corruption ombudsman organization in the Indian states.
  • The Administrative Reforms Commission (ARC) headed by Morarji Desai submitted a special interim report on “Problems of Redressal of Citizen’s Grievances” in 1966.
  • In this report, the ARC recommended the setting up of two special authorities designated as ‘Lokpal’ and ‘Lokayukta’ for the redressal of citizens’ grievances.
  • The LokAyukta, along with the Income Tax Department and the Anti Corruption Bureau, mainly helps people publicise corruption among the Politicians and Government
  • Many acts of the LokAyukta have resulted in criminal or other consequences for those charged.
  • Maharashtra was the first state to introduce the institution of Lokayukta through The Lokayukta and Upa-Lokayuktas Act in 1971.
  • This was followed by similar acts being enacted by states of Odisha, Rajasthan, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Kerala and Delhi.
  • Maharashtra Lokayukta is considered as weak due to lack of powers, staff, funds and no independent investigating agency.
  • Karnataka Lokayukta is considered as the most powerful Lokayukta in the country
  • There are no Lokayuktas in Jammu and Kashmir, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Tripura and West Bengal.
  • The latest Lokayukta was established in Goa.On May 20, 2014 Arunachal assembly passed lokayukta bill.

Kannada inscription at Talagunda may replace Halmidi as oldest

  • The stone inscription (dated 370 CE) found at Talagunda near Shiralakoppa in the taluk during excavation by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) in 2013-14 is now said to be the earliest Kannada inscription.
  • This is indeed something to cheer about for people of the district in general and of Shikaripur taluk in particular.
  • The Halmidi inscription – dated between 450 CE and 500 CE – was earlier believed to be the oldest-known Kannada inscription.
  • A review of Indian Archaeology-2013-14, published by the Director General of ASI in 2016, said the inscription found in the North side balustrade of the Pranaveshwara temple, in all probability, dates back to 370 CE.
  • It is a seven-line slanted Brahmi script written left to right. The use of Kannada script along with Sanskrit makes it a dual-language inscription.
  • The inscription records gifts of land to a boatman namely Vaji Naga, who belonged to the Boygara family, by a certain Halami of Pulindage.
  • M Navin Kumar, president of the Shiralakoppa-based Kannada Research and Development Foundation, said there was a need to rewrite history books and mention that the Talagunda inscription was the oldest-known Kannada inscription and not Halmidi.
  • “Keshava Sharma, an official who was part of the excavation team, had predicted that it could be older than Halmidi inscription. But there was no official communication then. Now, I am told that it has been officially declared as the earliest Kannada inscription.”
  • The trial excavation was carried out in 2013 under the direction of M Nambirajan of the ASI at the temple complex.
  • Two sets of copper plates of the Kakatiya period and 13 gold coins of Ganga period were also found during the trial excavation.
  • An undated, fragmented and worn-out inscription was found on the left side balustrade (Simhakatanjana) of the temple during the second excavation.
  • The Archaeological Survey of India has reportedly directed Bengaluru circle officials to carry on excavation at Talagunda Shikaripur taluk for another five years.

Karnataka State to get Road Safety Authority soon

  • Ten years after Kerala instituted a Road Safety Authority (RSA) to focus on the rising number of accidents and deaths resulting out of it, Karnataka is finally preparing for a similar move to streamline road safety programmes in the State.
  • In the past four years, Karnataka has consistently featured among top States with the highest number of road accidents and fatalities.
  • In 2015, there were 44,011 accidents and 10,856 fatalities, which put Karnataka on the fourth spot in the total number of road accidents reported across the country. In Bengaluru, there were 5,001 cases with 890 fatalities placing the city at third position after New Delhi and Jaipur in terms of road accident fatalities.
  • Till date, road safety programmes are being managed by different departments under various councils, cells and committees.
  • The introduction of a RSA through an Act passed by the State legislature will result in a single body with the powers to pass orders that will be binding on other departments, experts said.
  •  “The road safety cell is headed by a senior official of the Transport Department. The RSA will be supported by an Act and will have the powers to issue binding directions,” a senior Transport Department official said. Additionally, other sources of finance like the setting up of a road safety fund are likely to be explored.
  • The authority will also be able to utilise funds of Rs163.5 crore, which can be made available immediately for implementation of safety programmes. This amount will come from the ₹327 crore collected by the Transport Department since 2008 as fees for issuing smart cards for driving licenses and vehicle registration.
  • “A charge of Rs200 has been levied on each application for a smart card since 2008. The actual cost of the card paid to the agency has been Rs63. The remaining amount has accumulated to Rs327 crore. Half of this amount can be utilised by the authority,” a senior transport official said.
  • Report submitted
  • A team, which studied the composition of RSA in Kerala, has submitted their report to the Transport Secretary. This will now be placed before the Chief Secretary, said Transport Secretary B. Basavaraju. Once approved, the formal process of setting up the authority will begin.

Bangalore: Rooftop solar power output up but not promising

  • In the past year, the city’s rooftop solar power generation has jumped nearly fourfold. However, despite this apparently rapid response to the rooftop solar scheme, there is growing concern that it is on the verge of losing steam.
  • The city had generated barely 7.5 MW of power in 2015-16 through the much-publicised scheme.
  • By the end of 2016 however, the number had jumped nearly fourfold — to more than 29.1 MW — making it a total of 36.7 MW generated through photovoltaic cells placed on rooftops in the city.
  • This number is bound to rise as nearly1,000 applications are pending or unfulfilled. But while officials of the Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (Bescom) say an additional 20 MW of solar power would be commissioned in the coming year, the numbers are likely to peter out under the current norms.

Why the scheme won’t work?

  • The commission which is paid now [is based on] the power purchase agreements signed in 2014 and 2015.
  • After the KERC (Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission) cut prices of solar (by over 25%), the number of applications has reduced drastically,” an official said.
  • Earlier, without subsidy, Bescom was to give Rs. 9.56 a unit. Now, as per the new agreements, it is Rs. 7.2.
  • Apart from this, inherent problems in the policy are seeing many of the older agreements, particularly with domestic consumers, falling apart.
  • Badri Prasad of Jayanagar scrapped his rooftop solar plans when told that trees in the area would result in lower yield. Chandrashekar Shetty of Koramangala dropped his 10-kW proposal when the costs of setting up the solar panels, along with a battery setup and inverter, shot up.

Karnataka: GPS to be mandatory for all commercial vehicles by year-end

What was the direction given by Supreme Court & Centre

  • Installation of the global positioning system (GPS) will be made mandatory for all commercial transport vehicles in the State by this year-end to bring in transparency.
  • All commercial vehicles, including autorickshaws, cars, trucks and buses, have to install GPS in line with the Centre and the Supreme Court’s direction.
  • Those violating the rule will not be given permission to use the vehicle for commercial purposes or transportation, an official said. Owners have to install GPS devices at their own cost, which runs into a few thousand rupees, depending on the manufacturer.

Delhi – Role model?

  • Delhi Integrated Multi-modal Transit System (DIMTS), a firm, which has bagged the contract for installing GPS in commercial vehicles in Delhi, has submitted a detailed proposal for adoption of devices in Karnataka.
  • The company, which bags the bidding, would be permitted to monitor the functioning of GPS in vehicles, the official said.
  • Fitting public transport vehicles with GPS devices was one of the measures that the Delhi government planned after the gang-rape case four years ago.
  •  Sources said the GPS devices have been installed in 6,400 Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation and around 2,000 Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation buses. There are around 1.6 crore vehicles on the road in the State, of which 16 lakh are transport vehicles. Another 1.44 crore vehicles are non-transport, of which 1.15 crore are two-wheelers.

How will GPS help?

  • Adoption of devices would help the Transport Department to keep a tab on mineral-laden trucks and crack down on illegal transportation of minerals.
  • Such devices help track trucks from the time of loading to unloading and also crack down on stolen vehicles, the official said. Currently, most logistics and courier service enterprises have installed these devices to track their vehicles.
  • But a large number of commercial vehicles in the private sector have not adopted GPS devices. Installation of GPS provides details about the vehicle, including the distance covered and so on.

How does GPS works?

  1. The GPS devices will receive satellite signals triangulating data such as location, speed, travel history, and driving patterns.
  2. This data can be collected by the vehicle owner as well as by a monitoring agency like the Transport Department.
  3. A control room will be set up to monitor movements of transport vehicles across the State.
  4. As GPS devices are passive receivers of satellite signals, they cannot be disabled easily.
  5. However, tracking is dependent on the position of satellites, surroundings and the weather as a minimum of four satellites are needed for accurate noting of location.

Haran Shikari tribals likely to get caste certificates

  • In a major step towards bringing the ‘denotified tribal community’ Haran Shikari into the mainstream, the Department of Tribal Studies of Hampi University has asked the Mandya district administration to consider issuing tribal caste certificates so that they get benefits of welfare schemes.
  • Around 1,000 people from the 350-odd Haran Shikari families have been living in sheds/huts near KRS reservoir in the district for the last 60 years.
  • They were denied of benefits of social welfare/development schemes owing to non-issuance of caste certificates by the authorities.
  • None of the community members have studied beyond class 9 or joined government service as a caste certificate is mandatory to get admission to class 10 to write SSLC exam.
  • The Social Welfare Department asked the Department of Tribal Studies (DTS) to conduct a study and submit a report, B. Malathi, District Social Welfare officer.
  • According to Ms. Malathi, DTS professor K.M. Metri submitted a 10-page report recently, in which he states that the members of the nomadic tribal family living near KRS are entitled to caste certificates and benefits of development schemes.
  • Haran Shikaris in Karnataka were also known by different names such as Pardhi, Phanse Pardhi, Raja Pardhi, Vaghri Pardhi, Thakanakari, Chigari Betageraru, Neera Shikari, Paschechari, and Advi Chincher. Those living in Mandya had migrated from Bagalkot years ago,
  • The report by DTS will help the Social Welfare Department to take steps to improve their living conditions, an officer of the department said.

Bandipur National Park likely to get Drone fitted with a camera

  • Bandipur National Park, which is seeing an increase in man-animal conflict on its periphery, has been selected as one among seven tiger reserves for an ambitious drone project.
  • Though the proposal was mooted nearly two years ago, National Tiger Conservation Authority and Wildlife Institute of India (WII) received the go ahead a week ago from the Ministries of Defence, Home Affairs and Civil Aviation.
  • In South India, Bandipur and Satyamangalam Tiger Reserve in Tamil Nadu have been chosen for the pilot.
  •  While a conventional drone — fitted only with a camera — has little use in the canopy-covered forests, the ‘e-bird’ project envisions developing thermal cameras and radar detectors.
  • The deployment, however, will take time as it needs to be tested against the vagaries of forest terrains.
  • Bandipur Tiger Reserve director Hiralal said the drones will keep a tab on forest boundaries and help early detection of forest fires. “Movement of animals outside forest periphery, and illegal entry into forests can be detected. A sense of psychological fear can be instilled among potential troublemakers,” he said.

Another tiger found dead in Karnataka’s Nittur village; fifth death in 23 days

  • The carcass of a tiger was found beside Lakshman Teertha River in Nittur on 22nd Jan morning.
  • The feline was about 9-10 years old and had sustained injuries when trying to devour a porcupine. It eventually succumbed to its injuries in the outskirts of Nagarahole National Park.
  • During the past few days, more than 80 personnel including tiger conservation force, veterinary doctors and drone cameras were deployed to capture the animal in a bid to prevent future attacks.
  • The first tiger death of this month was reported on January 4, when the carcass of an aged tigress was found in DB Kuppe forest range in Nagarahole.
  • On January 13, a tiger succumbed to injuries while being shifted from Bandipur to Bannerghatta Biological Park.
  • On January 16, a tigress died of alleged tranquiliser overdose when it was darted near the Antharasanthe forest range of Nagarahole National Park. Earlier,  another tiger rescued from snare trap in Nittur, succumbed  to injuries at Koorgally Animal Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre in Mysuru.

After Jallikattu, Karnataka wakes up for “Kambala”

What is Kambala?

  • Kambala is an annual festival celebrated in the Dakshina Kannada district of Karnataka. The festival involves the traditional buffalo race, a popular and unique sport among the farming community of the state.
  • This yearly event is celebrated with much enthusiasm and fervour in most parts of Dakshina Kannada, including Mangalore. The Kambala festival season starts in November and lasts till March.
  • The Kambala Festival is famous for the Buffalo race that is held during the celebrations. During the Kambala Festival in Karnataka, when the fields are wet, the buffalos are made to race on the tracks, edged by a strong farmer who comes after the buffaloes surfing and balancing his way on top of a wooden plank.
  • The buffalo race starts off amidst a lot of colors, frenzy and cheers. The buffalo which is the swiftest gets the fist prize.

History of Kambala

  • The origin of the Kambala celebration can be traced back to more than a thousand years.
  • During the early days of the festival it was known as Karaga celebrations.
  • Later it came to be known as Kambala celebrations. History says that for the purpose of entertainment, the Alupa King used to organize Kambala annually.
  • These known as Arasu Kambala (Kings Kambala).
  • This sport has grown up among the race of cultivators of the wet land. Usually Bunts, Jains, and other rich land owners own the racing buffaloes.
  • Earlier the race was not held for prize or stakes, there was no betting either but mere a status symbol.According to one belief this festival is dedicated to Lord Kadri Manjunatha, an incarnation of Lord Shiva.
  • It was celebrated to please the Gods for a good harvest. It was also a form of entertainment or recreational sport for the farming community.
  • The other belief regarding the origin of Kambala is that the buffalo races originated as a sport for the royal family’s amusement or pleasure The winner of the buffalo race was rewarded with coconut, crop and such other things.

Traditionally, there were two types of Kambalas :

  1. Pookere Kambala
  2. Bale Kambala

Why was Kambala banned?

  • At least 65 police complaints of cruelty to animals and one FIR was lodged against the ongoing Kambala (buffalo race) in Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts.
  • PETA (People for Ethical Treatment of Animals), which has been engaged by the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) to conduct a scientific study and inspection of the race, has found gross violations in the way the buffaloes were handled during the race.
  • According to PETA, 27 complaints of non-cognisable offence have been lodged at the Surathkal police station in Dakshina Kannada district after witnessing cruelty to buffaloes at the Surathkal Arasu Kambala held on January 3 and 4 2016
  • All the three Kambala events had been inspected by AWBI & found violation of Supreme Court’s ruling and several sections of the Indian Penal Code, Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 and other Acts.
  • At the Surathkal Kambala, PETA found that the buffaloes used in the race were not registered with the AWBI, the drivers and animal handlers did not possess fitness certificate for animals transported to Surathkal.
  • Many buffaloes had two or three tight-fitting thick nose ropes inserted through a hole in the nasal septum, causing tremendous distress and pain. Some had nose rings and plastic tubes which causes pain and distress.

Why in news?

  • With the clamour growing for organising ‘Kambala’, a traditional annual buffalo race, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah today said his government was in favour of holding it and asked the Centre to take a favourable stand as it did for jallikattu in Tamil Nadu.
  • Spurred by the jallikattu stir in Tamil Nadu, Kambala Committees had met in Mangaluru yesterday to strategise their agitation, where it was decided to hold a massive protest on January 28 in Moodbidri in Dakshina Kannada district.
  • Symbolic Kambala, a traditional annual buffalo race in the marshy fields in coastal districts of the state, is also likely to be held as a mark of protest.
  • Karnataka High Court’s division bench, headed by Chief Justice S K Mukherjee, in an interim order in November 2016 had stayed holding of Kambala on a petition by PETA challenging it in view of orders passed by the Supreme Court on jallikattu.
  • Kambala Committees have filed an interim application, seeking vacation of the stay.
  • The matter came up on Friday before the division bench of the High Court, which adjourned the case to January 30.
  • Calling Kambala a folk festival with over a thousand-year history, BJP state president B S Yeddyurappa said it has an emotional connect with the people.
  • Support for the folk sport has gained momentum in the social media also.

Jallikattu Explained – History – Controversy – PETA – Social Media – Protest

What is Jallikattu?

  • Jallikattu is an ancient bull taming blood sport played in Tamil Nadu. It’s a part of Pongal celebrations on Mattu Pongal day
  • According to experts, the term Jallikattu is derived from the term calli kacu (coins) and kattu (meaning a package) tied to the horns of the bulls as the prize money
  • One of the oldest blood sport, Jalllikattu is held in the villages of Tamil Nadu as a part of the village festival
  • ‘Jellicut’ are the bulls bred specifically for the Jallikattu sporting event

History of Jallikattu

  • Bull taming was common among the ancient Aayar or Yadava people who lived in the ‘Mullai’ geographical division of the ancient Tamil country.Later, it became a platform for display of bravery and prize money was introduced for participation encouragement.
  • A seal from the Indus Valley Civilization depicting the practice is preserved in the National Museum, New Delhi. A cave painting in white kaolin discovered near Madurai depicting a lone man trying to control a bull is estimated to be about 2,500 years old
  • Jallikattu’, also known as ‘Eruthazhuvuthal’ in Tamil, had been practiced in Tamil Nadu.
  • The bull-taming sports is usually played during the harvesting festival of the state, Pongal, before which hundreds of bulls are specifically identified, trained and nourished for the sporting event, by organizers of Jallikattu and bullock-cart race, as a traditional practice associated with village life, mostly in the southern districts of the state.
  • As part of the tradition, after the event weak bulls were used for agricultural purposes, while the stronger ones were used to breed cows, so that the wild nature of the bulls were inherited in the next generation.

Why it became a controversy

  • PETA India has documented that during jallikattu, terrified bulls are often deliberately disoriented through substances like alcohol; have their tails twisted and bitten; are stabbed and jabbed by sickles, spears, knives or sticks; are punched, jumped on and dragged to the ground
  • And as calculated from various reports, from 2010 to 2014, there were approximately 1,100 human injuries and 17 deaths as a result of Jallikattu-type events including that of a child.
  • During races, bulls are often hit with nail-studded sticks. In bullfights, the round ends when one of the bulls manages to flee (or is even killed).
  • In its judgement, the Supreme Court categorically held that the concerned ministry cannot allow Jallikattu, bull races or bullfights and cannot modify the notification dated 11 July 2011 (which banned forcing bulls to perform) without approval from the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI).
  • Just last week, the AWBI advised the ministry not to overturn the Supreme Court judgement. The court had also ruled that cruelty is inherent in these events, as bulls are not anatomically suited for such races. Making them participate is subjecting them to unnecessary pain and suffering, and so it was deemed such races are not permitted by law.
  • It was further stated by the court that when culture and tradition are at variance with the law enacted by Parliament, the law will take precedence.
  • PETA India’s online petition that was urging the government to keep the ban on Jallikattu, bull races and bullfights had been signed by nearly 60,000 people in India alone. A Change.org petition regarding the same that was put up only a few days ago has been signed by over 5,000.

Why is Jallikattu important especially to Indians

  • The controversy over Jallikattu, the bull sport banned by the Supreme Court, has been narrowed down to cruelty to animals, missing a very significant aspect the festival sport has become a nursery for quality breeds of bulls which are on the verge of extinction.
  • The Kangayam bulls, a quality native breed which is going extinct, is preserved mainly through the tradition of Jallikattu which incentivises villagers to rear these exceptionally strong bulls.
  • Tamil Nadu had six cattle breeds earlier and now we have lost the Alambadi breed.
  • The remaining breeds are Kangayam, Pulikulam, Umbalachery, Barugur and Malai Maadu.
  • There are a few more minor breeds without proper documentation or care. Most of these are on the verge of extinction.
  • Each breed has evolved in perfect harmony with its local region.
  • Kangayams fed on grasses in the calcium rich soil are the sturdiest animals and can pull up to 2.5 times their body weight with ease.
  • Umbalacherys have shorter legs which make it easy for them to walk around in the water filled fields of the delta region.
  • Barugurs in the hills of Erode district and Malai Maadus in Theni district are grazed in reserve forests and are adapted at walking around in hilly terrain.
  • The Pulikulam, found mostly in the region around Madurai, Sivaganga, Ramnad, Pudukottai and parts of Tiruchi district are herded in several hundreds and walk all day grazing before being penned for the night.
  • Native cattle have evolved over millennia, adapting to the local environmental conditions.
  • They are an integral part of farming, especially for small and marginal farmers as they serve multiple purposes like ploughing, transportation, source for farmyard manure, organic treatments like panchagavya, jeevamritham, and as a source of A2 milk.
  • The native cattle are both an input as well as insurance to the livestock keepers. In ancient Tamil and Sanskrit literature, cattle is considered as wealth. Cattle were measured as a unit of wealth.
  • In the Tirukkural, education is considered to be wealth and the word used for wealth is madu, meaning cattle. So it has a socio-cultural connotation which denotes lives and livestock having co-existed and cultures having coined usages around them.

Nature of protest

  • The protests were spontaneousand had no specific organizers.
  • The protest started as Occupy Marina protest along with sit-ins at large grounds across the state.
  • The protests were initially formed by members of Student community across the state which was further strengthened by people from various sections such as IT professionals who joined later.
  • The lack of leader was seen as stumbling block for the state government because it could not call people for talks. The protest were largely peaceful except few Baton charge by the police.
  • The protests are not just confined to Chennai but thousand gathered across the state in prominent places such as Thamukam Grounds in Madurai, VOC Ground in Coimbatore, VOC Ground-Tirunelveli, MGR Statue in Trichy, Salem, Thanjavur, Vellore and Pondichery.
  • Tamil youths from other states express solidarity with Jallikattu protestors in Tamil Nadu.
  • There was demonstration in Bengaluru,Mumbai,and Delhi.
  • Support for the protest also came from Tamils around the world  such as in Sri Lanka, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, Canada, China, Russia, United States,UAE France, South Africa.
  • The Protest against the Ban on Jallikattu was majorly coordinated using the Social Media Apps.
  • The Use of Meme has been another feature to spread the message that adds satire and humor to the protests. Various Traditional Tamil Sports such as Silambattam, False Leg performances, street plays are performed to showcasue tamil pride along with speeches to inspire the crowd.
  • Slogans were shouted against the animal rights organization PETA, alleging an international conspiracy favoring extinction of Tamil Nadu’s rare cattle breed, and replacing them with Jersey cows from Denmark and Switzerland

Did Social media played a huge role?

  • Social media appeared to have played a key role in bringing together thousands of pro-Jallikattu protesters to the sprawling Marina Beach in Chennai and other parts of Tamil Nadu, with updates on the ongoing students’ spontaneous stir and messages flooding the platform.
  • Sites including Facebook were awash with “Let us be united”, “We want Jallikattu,” and “I support Jallikattu” pages, which together account for lakhs of followers, who kept commenting on the evolving situation and pressing their cause.
  • Facebook pages like “Jallikattu veeravilayattu,” specially designed to spread messages on the bull-taming sport and protest across the state were active with live updates.
  • Special folk songs were uploaded and real time pictures, videos of protests were posted regularly which helped the information reach more and more people, prompting several of them to join hands.

Demands from the protestors

  • Ban PETA from India for not respecting the culture.
  • Promulgation of Ordinance for the Removal of Bull from the list of performing animals in the Prevention of Cruelty to Animal (PCA) Act.
  • Stop MNCs from depleting (abusing) Tamil Nadu’s Natural Resources (importantly ground water), there by mitigating water scarcity.

Other Demands

  • Revival of indigenous cattle breeds like Kangayam and Pulikulam.
  • Promote Organic farming across rural Tamil Nadu.
  • Improve the farmers life in the state.
  • Prohibit all Organisations and Educational Institutions in Tamil Nadu from diverting their foreign funds for proselytizing mission, mass mobilization and anti-national activities.
  • Boycott of foreign companies such as Pepsi, Coca Cola as their water consumption is affecting local farmers
  • Save and protect all Social, religious and cultural heritage sites in Tamil Nadu from external aggression and exploitation.
  • Respect for Tamil Culture and steps to protect it.

Current Update as on 21st Jan 2017

  • Jallikattu Returns As Tamil Nadu Governor Approves Ordinance.
  • All Tamil Nadu ministers will inaugurate Jallikattu in their districts tomorrow at 11 am. “I urge the youths, students and the general public to make the Jallikattu events across Tamil Nadu a grand success by participating in large numbers,” the chief minister said.
  • Mr Panneerselvam said the assent of President Pranab Mukherjee to amend the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 by Tamil Nadu was received last night. “The assent for the ordinance (amending the PCA Act) has been obtained from Govenor also,” he said, adding, “our dream to conduct Jallikattu this year has come true.”
  • He said a draft Bill to replace the ordinance and amend the PCA Act paving the way for holding Jallikattu without any hindrance will be introduced and adopted in the Tamil Nadu Assembly’s session which begins on January 23.
  • The state government is also exploring legal avenues to ban animal rights organisation PETA in Tamil Nadu, which has lobbied against the festival.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi had today said that all efforts are being made to fulfil the cultural aspirations of Tamil people. “We are very proud of the rich culture of Tamil Nadu,” PM Modi said in a tweet, adding, “Central Government is fully committed to the progress of Tamil Nadu and will always work to ensure the state scales new avenues of progress.
  • The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to not deliver its verdict in the next week, as requested by the centre, which pointed out that a decision could create law and order problems. Jallikattu, which sees young men wrestling with a bull in an open field during the harvest festival of Pongal, was banned by the Supreme Court in 2014.
  • Animal rights activists say bulls are abused, tortured, taunted with chillis flung in their eyes, and are doped on liquor. Lakhs in Tamil Nadu say that’s not correct and that those who oppose Jallikattu do not understand the region’s culture or respect it.
  • Last year, the centre allowed the sport, but that decision has been challenged in the Supreme Court. Pongal was held last week. Hundreds of people who defied the ban to hold local competitions in parts of Tamil Nadu were arrested, triggering a massive backlash.
  • Students took the lead in rallying people across the state. In Chennai, on the shoreline, they gathered in thousands, their numbers growing everyday with the extensive use of social media. Students have ensured that the protests remain apolitical and peaceful. Many of the demonstrators have helped clean up litter along the beach. Politicians who tried to join the mass demonstration were asked to leave.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a meeting with Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam on Thursday had indicated that though the centre cannot intervene while the Supreme Court is deciding on ending the ban, his government will support measures taken by the state.

23% of child marriages in India happen in Karnataka: Panel

  • Karnataka registers 23.2% of child marriages reported in the country, according to the Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (KSCPCR).
  • The state is also among the top 10 in the country in reporting child marriages.
  • Kripa Amar Alva, chairperson, KSCPCR, told on Friday that the state had been either in the eighth or ninth position in the country with respect to child marriage, according to the National Health Mission.
  • She added that child marriage was mostly prevalent in parts of North Karnataka with a majority cases reported from Dharwad, Belagavi, Bagalkot and the surrounding districts. The highest numbers are from Yadgir.
  • She said the practice is prevalent in certain communities and added that a sizeable number of “Gujjar” marriages are also reported in the state.

What is Gujjar Marriage

  • Men from Gujarat and Rajasthan buy out young children by paying families Rs 10,000 in the name of marriage.
  • They take them to their hometowns and abandon them.
  • This could lead to more complicated issues such as trafficking and flesh trade.
  • Members of the commission added that teenage affairs leading to child marriage are on the rise.
  • There is a rise in youths eloping. Though parents are aware of it, they make no attempt to stop it fearing it might mar their image in society.
  • The Commission for Protection of Child Rights will launch a campaign to prevent child marriages at Vidhana Soudha on Saturday by chief minister Siddaramaiah.

New Website to be launched

  • The commission is also launching a new website ‘Kare’ where complaints on a range of problems from education, visitation rights, child labour, ragging, corporal punishment and others can be filed.
  • The platform serves as a connect between 10 departments including education, labour, women and child welfare and the department of health and family welfare.
  • Complaints lodged on the website are channeled to the departments concerned.
  • Alva said, “For instance, if someone lodges a complaint pertaining the education department, it would be sent to the DDPI. If it is unattended, the matter gets escalated to the DC.”

CM seeks Rs 500 crore from Centre for next year’s Masthakabhisheka

  • Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Thursday urged Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to grant Rs 500 crore for organising the Mahamasthakabhisheka at Shravanabelagola in Hassan district in February next year.
  • The state government is making every effort to make the upcoming event a grand success.
  • The grant, if released, will be utilised for the overall development of the pilgrim centre and to provide better service to lakhs of devotees, who attend the event from across the globe, the chief minister stated in a letter to the finance minister.
  • Temporary and permanent infrastructure such as roads, water supply and shelters will be created for the sake of devotees. Projects for preserving the hills, setting up of a higher seat of education for Prakrit language and creating a library and a research centre for historians will also be taken up.
  • Increasing awareness on Vindhyagiri and Chandragiri, spreading the story of Bahubali and its relevance to the Digambaras and to the Jain community have been planned as part of the event that is held every 12 years.
  • A modern light-and-sound show is proposed to be implemented to effectively narrate these stories to the younger generation, Siddaramaiah added.
  • The chief minister noted that the then government at the Centre had granted Rs 90 crore for organising Mahamasthakabhisheka in 2006.

Mahamasthakabhisheka at Shravanabelagola

  • The Mahamasthakabhisheka, is the head anointing ceremony, of Gommateshwara Bhagawan Bahubali statue the colossus, the tallest monolith in the world atop the Vindyagiri hill at Shravanabelagola held once every twelve years. It is an integral religious and ancient composite Indian tradition It is a rare feast to the eyes and a meritorious opportunity to the devotees and tourists.
  • The ritual Mahamasthakabhisheka of Gommateshwara statue at Shravanabelagola is in memory of the first consecratory bath Prathista Abhisheka performed to the image by the Ganga Prime Minister Chavundaraya and his guru Achaiya Sri Nemichandra Siddhantha Chakravarthi
  • The 57 ft tall image was executed from the summit of the 3347 ft. high granitic hill Vindyagiri or Indragiri in the year 981 A.D.under the inspiration of his mother Kalala Devi After the event, it seems, there have been regular ceremonies of head anorntmg and the sacred bath once every 12 years
  • According to the inscription no 360 of the Epigraphica Carnatica, a grand 12 yearly ceremony took place in the year 1398 AD and 7 such ceremonies during the years 1612 1659, 1677 1800 1875 and 1887 had taken places earlier. Most of subsequent ceremonies are recorded in literature inscriptions of the later periods.
  • The ritual Mahamasthakabhisheka of the Gommateshwara image at Shravanabelagola is in memory of the first consecratory bath Prathista Abhisheka given to the image by the Chamundaraya and his guru Acharya Sri Nemichandra Siddantha Chakravarthi.
  • After the event, there were regular ceremonies of head anointing and sacred bath every 12 years. Most of the later ceremonies are recorded in literature and in inscriptions of the later periods.
  • At present, freshest and purest tender coconut, sugarcane juice, milk, rice flour, turmeric paste, kashaya (herbal concoction), shrigandha (sandal paste), chandana (coloured sandal paste), ashtagandha (8 varieties of sandal paste), saffron, gold and silver flowers, and precious stones, culminating in a spectacular shower of flowers from a helicopter.
  • On significant occasions such as the installation of a new idol, the completion of a long-drawn penance, the anniversaries of the great events of the Jina’s life or in its Culmination. the annual paryushana festival, a rathayathra or a chariot festival is organised.
  • The belief that every Tirthankara undergoes the five-benedictory events-conception, birth, renunciation, enlightenment and nirvana (liberation from body), presaging freedom from Karma, are important festivals of Jainism. To a large extent the Jam mythology, iconography and ritualism revolve around this concept and the ritual of consecration is no exception,. A new idol is consecrated by the ritual enactment of the above five events on the image.
  • The Pratistha Thilaka describes in detail the technical aspects of the consecration ritual. Such is the importance and significance of the Abhisheka or bath of the image in Jainism. The idea of giving purificatory bath to the image for consecration is common in other creeds too. But the concept of initiation of the image through the five great events, including the bath after the great event of birth is peculiar to Jainism alone Janmahhisheka – Kalyana.

Bengaluru’s water needs in 2031: Master Plan paints a grim picture

  • Faced with acute water shortage, particularly during the summer months, Bengaluru is struggling hard to cope . If this is the scenario now, how scary will it be in 2031? The Revised Master Plan 2031 document released recently by the Bengaluru Development Authority (BDA) offers some clues.

The Scary Part

  • To cater to the needs of a projected population of 20.3 million in 2031, the water demand will be 5,340 Million Litres per Day (MLD). This includes 3,920 MLD for domestic potable purposes and 2,745 MLD for non-potable and commercial purposes.
  • The RMP has stressed the need to finalise a perennial source capable of meeting the water demand till 2031 and beyond. “The estimated demand may be reduced in the long term by reducing the Unaccounted For Water (UFW) to 15-20%, implementation of Dual Pipeline System, use of lakes for water sourcing, etc.”
  • The document has put forward a set of short, medium and long-term proposals to meet the shortfalls by 2021, 2031 and 2051. The cumulative shortfall will be 69.45 TMC ft by 2051.

The Proposal

  • One key proposal to address the shortage by 2021 is to reduce the UFW to 16%.
  • To get an additional 12.88 TMCft of water from Cauvery within the framework of the Cauvery Water Tribunal Award is another proposal. This should be taken up in two phases of 500 MLD each, one immediately and the other after five years.
  • Rejuvenation of the Arkavathi catchment is a third short-term proposal. This can be achieved by diverting for the present, about 100 MLD (1.20TMC) from the Vrishabhavathi valley Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) to the Arkavathi catchment.
  • The mid-term proposals include diversion of water from Yettinahole and other streams to the catchment of TG Halli. This, the document indicates, will fetch 10 tmcft. Diverting water from Linganamakki reservoir to TG Halli will fetch another 10 tmcft. Long-term proposals include the construction of a reservoir at Mekedattu, further drawal of water from Linganamakki reservoir to Bengaluru and more focus on rainwater harvesting.

Current Situation

  • BWSSB draws about 19 tmcft of water from Cauvery to meet the city’s demand.
  • The plan is now to get an additional 10 tmcft (775 MLD) as accorded by the Cauvery Tribunal to meet the water demand in the BBMP area alone.
  • However, due to the high proportion of UFW, the document warns that the dependency on ground water will increase further. In the villages in and around the city, this trend will be particularly apparent.

Everything you need to know about – “Great Canara Trail”

What is Great Canara Trail

  • A section of the trail a 108 km route from Ulavi to Castlerock, falling within the ambit of Dandeli-Anshi Tiger Reserve is being readied, with the authorities taking up a host of development works.
  • These include improvement of trekking routes and setting up a host of amenities for trekkers at a cost of `1.07 crore in the core areas and buffer zones of a reserve that has a healthy population of big cats.
  • As per information gathered by activists through RTI, the Forest Department has taken up development of trekking routes between Ulavi and Castlerock wildlife ranges.
  • Once completed, it will be the country’s longest forest trekking and canopy walk.
  • The department had promised to open the first leg of the trail 108-km trekking route from Ulavi to Castle Rock near Dudhsagar waterfalls by August this year itself.
  • Trekking routes will cover difficult and rocky terrain including watering holes. Existing forest patches and small trekking routes have been widened and experts say these will be further widened in the years to come as trekkers continue to walk on these routes.
  • Kali is a unique forest type where one can see trees of different sizes. The biodiversity is richer when compared to many other forests in Karnataka. Hornbills are the great attraction and can be sighted along the trekking route
  • The forests of Dandeli offer one unique chance to explore the thick ghats.
  • Several streams flow through this forest and trekking here is a great experience. A large number of trekkers prefer Dandeli due to the challenging terrain.
  • Rest rooms are being provided wherever possible on the trekking routes. There are also tents with toilets and bathrooms. But looking at the Action Plan of Operation for the Great Canara Trail in Kali Tiger Reserve for the year 2015-16, the amount sanctioned for each facility be it a dustbin or a bench seems to be too high for a temporary structure.
  • For instance, in Ulavi range, the cost of putting up two tents with toilets and bathrooms is `10 lakh. Here, drinking water facility will be provided at a cost of `1.50 lakh, display sign boards at `1.5 lakh and f  our sitting benches will cost `96,000. An eco-shop at a cost of `1.20 lakh will also come up. In the Ulavi section, a 10-km trekking route has been developed at a cost of `3 lakh. Further, a temporary rest room will be set up at Sawantmatkarni at a cost of `1.5 lakh.

Greens Raise Red Flag

  • Environmentalists have voiced concerns on the trail. They have accused the forest department of dodging their concerns over the increased human footprint inside the tiger reserve in the name of tourism activities.
  • The department has, however, clarified that international standards for waste management along the trail are being followed. “There have been concerns over walking in Kathekan area, but we have assured that the trekking is done on the road wherever sensitive ecological sites are located,” forest officer Vijay Mohan Raj said.
  • A wildlife volunteer said 97 kilometres out of the total trail route fall under the Kali Tiger Reserve area and the department has not even bothered to take consult the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA).
  • The Trail Route in Uttara Kannada passes through Katlekan and Malemane forest areas which harbour the rarest of the rare Myristica Swamps, Kumbara frog and Lion-tailed Macaques. Katlekan is a highly fragile forest area and roots of the swamps can get wiped off with human activities.
  • When it comes to Lion-tailed Macaques, an endangered species, Katlekan and Malemane are the only place, after Annamalai Hills of Tamil Nadu-Kerala border and Silent Valley of Kerala where you can find them in the world.

Current News

  • Work on the controversial ‘Great Canara Trails’ is going on unchecked though clearance from national wildlife preservation bodies and the National Tiger Conservation Authority is yet to arrive.
  • The forest and tourism departments have planned the trekking trail that goes through the Kali Tiger Reserve, the Aghanashini Lion-tailed Macaque Conservation Reserve, the Bedthi reserve and elephant corridors in Uttara Kannada district.
  • Work on the ‘Great Canara Trails’ began at Ghanasagali in the Kumbarawada wildlife zone, where notice boards have been put up.
  • Green activists say the work being taken up by the Forest Department would harm the environment.
  • The project violates the Supreme Court directions on tourism projects near tiger reserves. Clearance from the National Wildlife Federation is mandatory for such works.
  • The action plans of both Bedthi and Aghanashini reserves do not mention the ‘Great Canara Trails’ and no clearance has been given for any such project.
  • The department’s use of forest land for non-forestry activity violates the Forest Protection Act, 1980, and Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, he added. Last year, Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant had advised against using land near reserves for tourism.

Karnataka: Solar policy amended by cabinet

  • The state Cabinet approved the implementation of solar power projects under distributed-generation approach wherein electricity generated will be supplied to the local community.
  • The move will help cope with the problem of peak-hour demand. Besides, generation of only up to 200 Mega Watt of solar power will be allowed in each taluk, excluding projects implemented on solar rooftops. These are some of the amendments brought into the Solar Policy 2014-21.
  • The Cabinet, which met under the chairmanship Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, gave its approval to amendments proposed to the policy.
  • Permission will be accorded on first-come-first-served basis. This has been done to ensure that solar power is generated across all taluks of the state.
  • Solar power projects are now concentrated in only the few districts of Tumakuru, Kolar and Chitradurga in the absence of any restriction.
  • Currently generation units are located in one corner of the state and power is transmitted all over from those units. But under the solar policy, units will be set up wherever the land is available and the generated power will also be consumed locally.
  • This will not only help redeem transmission loss but also saves money that should have been spent on infrastructure
  • Be it the roof-top or ground mounted generation units, they will be connected with the grid system of local Escoms and come in handy while catering to the peak load.
  • The government wants the projects to come up in all taluks. Hence, the restriction has been imposed. The amended policy has also enhanced the target to generate solar power by 2021 to 6,000 MW from 2,000 MW.

Land bank dropped

  • Karnataka’s initiative of obtaining land from farmers on lease basis to set up solar parks was lauded by the union and directed all states to adopt the same method rather than going in for acquisition.
  • Karnataka had previously contemplated to create private land banks owned by individual farmers and farmer groups. But under the new policy, the government has done away with the land bank system.
  • Instead, the government has proposed to set up Solar Energy centre of excellence and incubation centre at the state level for promoting innovation in technology and skill development, R&D.
  • Further the policy proposes to generate solar power in every taluk not more than 200 Mw so as to ensure enough power supply all through the taluk.
  • While a high level project approval committee used to approve projects with capacity more than 1 MW, now Karnataka Renewable Energy Development Corporation Limited (KREDL) has been given more teeth and based on KREDL’s recommendation, the state government will approve the projects.

What are the new policies

  • The state government has decided to pursue solar energy aggressively and proposed a slew of amendments to its Solar Policy 2014-21.
  • While the earlier policy had envisaged including at least 3 per cent of solar energy in its total energy usage, the latest amendment has increased the cap to 8 per cent. Initially Karnataka had aimed to generate 2,000 MW by 2021 and now the same target has been increased to 6,000 Mw.
  • The government has proposed to set up Solar Energy centre of excellence and incubation centre at the state level for promoting innovation in technology and skill development, R&D
  • The new policy has proposed to motivate people to set up a hybrid generation unit which involves both solar and wind mill.

Akrama-Sakrama online process to start soon

  • Citizens can apply online for regularisation of their properties under the Akrama-Sakrama scheme may have to wait at least a week as the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) is yet to put the system in place.
  • The BBMP has already kept the hard copies of applications ready for those planning to submit them in person. These applications will be made available free of charge at all the 198 ward revenue offices of the Palike.
  • The civic body will begin the process to implement the scheme after receiving the government notification, Mayor G Padmavathi told DH. The notification is likely to be issued in the next two to three days, she added.
  • BBMP Commissioner N Manjunatha Prasad said that the online system will be in place in about a week’s time. “We are working in this regard,” he said. Once the online system is ready, citizens can log on to the Palike website (www.bbmp.gov.in) and submit the application forms.
  • Akrama-Sakrama scheme envisages one time regularisation of up to 50% setback and floor area ratio violations (FAR) in case of residential buildings and up to 25% in case of commercial buildings.
  • Besides, illegally formed plots (without approval from planning authorities and without change of land use from revenue authorities) can also be regularised by paying penalty.
  • Property owners have to submit an affidavit along with the applications, declaring that the property has been constructed or developed illegally.
  • Senior BBMP officials said that they plan to hold zonal-level meetings soon to ensure that the scheme is implemented successfully and without any glitches.
  • The mayor said that the Palike expected a revenue of around Rs 400 crore to Rs 500 crore through Akrama-Sakrama scheme.
  • The regularisation fee collected would be utilised for development of parks and major projects to be taken up by the Palike. According to affidavit filed by the BBMP in the high court, there are over 1.54 lakh illegal properties in the city.

What is Akrama-Sakrama

  • Akrama Sakrama is the amendment to various acts including Karnataka Town and Country Act, resulting in Karnataka Town and Country Planning (Regularisation of unauthorised Developments) Rules 2013.
  • This bill has been in making for several years, it has seen many CMs and Governments, and now has it has finally been approved by the Karnataka Government.
  • The bill is a one-time regularisation of a whole gamut of bye-laws ranging from building deviations to illegal constructions to change in land use in urban areas.
  • Some regularisations like land use change have severe implications to the city and citizens than others. Previously when the government called for objections, owners of the buildings with deviations had objected to the supposedly high penalty amount.
  • Civil society groups and the High Court too had objected to the extent of violations being regularised.
  • The Governor had sent the bill back twice and suggested that the government reframe some of the existing rules, draft a time-frame without provision for extension, ensure that the scheme does not benefit the real-estate mafia and have absolutely no room for conversion of residential buildings into fully commercial buildings.

Waste Management: A goods train to transport city’s waste

  • Unable to enforce segregation of waste at source or run processing plants without citizens protesting, the city’s planners have hit upon a novel solution.
  • They are planning to load the garbage generated by Bengaluru onto goods trains, which will then undertake a nearly 100-km long journey to Marikuppam near KGF and Madhugiri, Tumakuru.

What is the plan?

  • The Karnataka Compost Development Corporation (KCDC) has identified government-owned lands of 1,000 acres in each of these locations and plans to set up “waste parks”, where they will invite private parties to invest in waste processing technology.
  • They have selected locations keeping in mind train connectivity & will lay down last-mile rail connectivity to these parks.

Why this was needed & will this help?

  • They are unable to run processing plants in the city owing to popular protests and hence have decided to move out, adding that a buffer zone will be maintained around the parks.
  • But Bengaluru’s decision to look to neighbouring districts to dispose its waste has not gone down well with residents of Marikuppam and Madhugiri.
  • Organisations in KGF held a protest in their city. Janardhana, secretary, Samudaya, KGF, said that people were already suffering from cyanide contamination owing to mines, and that dumping waste would further aggravate the situation.
  • The project is being spearheaded by Bengaluru Development Minister K.J. George, for almost a year now, sources said. Critics said that this plan goes against one of the main tenets of Bengaluru’s waste processing strategy which promotes a decentralised garbage management system.

Why is Bangalore’s garbage issue all mucked up?

  • As per the BBMP the blame squarely falls on the citizens for failing to segregate waste at source, the household.
  • With just about 40 per cent of households in Bengaluru segregating wastes and no improvement observed on that front despite repeated requests, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has thrown up its hands.
  • The civic body is now resigned to sending mixed waste to the processing units.
  • Mixed waste is ideally put into landfills and covered. But the pathetic situation is that Bengaluru has no landfill to send its mixed waste to.
  • Processing units can actually process only wet waste, not waste mixed with dry or other kind of waste which should ideally go to a landfill. But Bengaluru, at present, has no landfill worth its name to take in mixed wastes.

Landfills: Solution to garbage disposal?

  • It is well known that villages around Bangalore have become victim to the massive and largely illegal dumping of about 5,000 tonnes of solid waste generated daily in the city.
  • For years now they have quietly endured the obnoxious impact of Bangalore’s callousness.
  • Several villagers have died as a direct consequence of such dumping of toxic waste, and many more are suffering a wide range of infectious and chronic illnesses.
  • This abhorrent practice of dumping waste has destroyed village commons, farming land, grazing pastures, forests and water sources, and adversely impacted thousands of livelihoods.
  • The pollutants released have contaminated lakes, wells, streams, the air, etc., and is finding its way back into Bangalore’s population through food chains.
  • In recent year, a wholly needless crisis in managing garbage seems to have been created due to the systemic failure of the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike and other agencies.
  • It is claimed that the action of the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board forcing closure of the landfill operated by M/s Ramky at Mavallipura has provided no option to the city but to landfill wherever possible.
  • By so stating, there are attempts to project the legally correct regulatory action of KSPCB as being against the public interest, when the fact is Ramky has been operating the landfill without any legal clearance and in criminal disregard of applicable standards, norms and laws.

Sweden: Best example for managing waste

  • Less than one percent of Sweden’s household waste winds up in a landfill. Where does the rest go? Roughly half the nation’s waste is recycled, but what’s more interesting and lucrative for the nation is what happens with the other half.
  • Of the 4.4 million tons of household waste the nation produces each year, 2.2 million tons are converted into energy through an incineration process called waste-to-energy, or WTE.
  • Before the process begins, the waste is separated. Metals, light bulbs, batteries, hazardous wastes, along with recyclable materials like newspaper, are divided, some going into recycling, others into an incinerator, and a small subset into a landfill.
  • The official Sweden Vimeo account has published a video promoting its waste management abilities.
  • The nation imports waste from other countries, nearly 800,000 tons of it a year. Waste-to-energy incinerators have been more controversial in the United States.
  • Swedish Waste Management Anna-Carin Gripwall makes a lesser of two evils argument. “When waste sits in landfills,” says Gripwall, “leaking methane gas and other greenhouse gasses, it is obviously not good for the environment.
  • Waste to energy is a smart alternative, with less environmental impact, taking into account both by-products of incineration and emissions from transport. Plus, recovering energy from waste exploits a resource that would otherwise be wasted.”

Bengaluru: Waste figures for 2031 inflated

  • The Revised Master Plan 2031 has apparently laid the foundation for a perennially bigger garbage scam in the future.
  • The Bengaluru Development Authority (BDA) has projected the city’s population to be about two crores in 2031.
  • The garbage generation will be 18,390 Tonnes Per Day (TPD). At present, the city’s population is 1.2 crore.
  • The projected figure has baffled many including BBMP’s joint commissioner of solid waste management, Sarfaraz Khan.
  • He said that, the increase in population in Bengaluru will give rise to economic activities and garbage generation will shoot up. But it’s not possible that the waste generation will be 18,000 TPD. At the most, it can double from the existing 4,000 TPD (in Palike limits) but it cannot be 18,000 TPD.
  • At the Bengaluru Vision Group meeting in 2016, former BBMP commissioner Siddaiah had stressed that currently the waste generation in the city is not more than 2,500 TPD and a substantial amount of waste is not going for processing.
  • He had said that the Palike exchequer is incurring a loss of Rs 250 crore to Rs 300 crore every year.
  • Palike sources say that a field survey of waste generation was conducted in some wards in 2013.
  • This revealed that hardly eight TPD was generated there against the regular bills for 15 TPD.

Challenges

  • Even now, garbage trucks are not equipped with Geographical Positioning Systems (GPS) to track their movement. This is a 10-year-old recommendation, which the Palike could never implement.
  • Segregation of waste at source has gone for a toss.
  • There is no mechanism in place to conduct auditing of waste generation in the city, and scientific waste processing units have turned into dumping yards.
  • Some of these units have been closed following protests.

Cabinet okays Rs 150-cr corpus for School of Economics

  • The Dr B R Ambedkar School of Economics, modelled on the London School of Economics, will begin classes from the upcoming academic year (2017-18) at the Jnana Bharathi campus of Bangalore University.
  • The Cabinet on Saturday gave its approval for setting up a Rs 150-crore corpus fund for running the world-class School of Economics in Bengaluru, which will commence functioning from the next academic year (2017-18).
  • Higher Education Minister Basavaraj Rayareddy said retired IAS officer Anup K Pujari had been appointed special officer for the institute, which will be named after the architect of the Indian constitution B R Ambedkar.
  • The government has already released Rs 107 crore as grants for the institute, coming up on 48 acres 38 guntas on the Bengaluru University campus in Jnanabharati.
  • 50% of the corpus fund will be borne by the state government, while the balance will be mobilised through other sources. He said the School of Economics will function as an autonomous institution.
  • The Cabinet also gave its approval for extension of the term of the special investigation team constituted to probe cases referred to in the Karnataka Lokayukta report on illegal mining for a period of one year from January 24.
  • SIT had so far filed charge sheets in 26 cases and ‘B’ reports in 18 cases. The probe by the agency into 15 cases was pending and hence the extension.
  • Jayachandra said the Cabinet gave its approval for the implementation of the ‘Mathrupushtivardhini’ scheme of providing micro-nutrients to pregnant and lactating mothers in the most backward taluks at a cost of Rs 10.5 crore.

19 private hospitals barred from serving patients under government schemes

  • The state government will cancel the empanelment of 19 private hospitals, including some top corporate facilities, for refusing to serve patients under public healthcare schemes in protest against the non-payment of their dues.
  • On January 16, as many as 185 private hospitals across the state stopped performing non-elective surgeries under Vajpayee Arogyashree, Rajiv Arogya Bhagya and Jyothi Sanjeevini schemes.
  • Except 19, all of them have now withdrawn the strike, according to Shalini Rajneesh, principal secretary, Health and Family Welfare.
  • Among the 19 are some renowned corporate hospitals such as Mallya Hospital, MS Ramaiah Hospital, Narayana Hrudayalaya, all in Bengaluru, AJ Hospital and Research Centre, Mangaluru, and KMC, Manipal.
  • But all hospitals in Belagavi and Kalaburagi divisions are functional, the official said on Friday. The government had made alternative plans to substitute for these hospitals.
  • The 19 hospitals, however, can continue to serve patients who availed themselves of treatment previously and their bills would be cleared, but they can’t take up new cases.

Govt to consider reviving KGF that has $2 bn gold reserves

  • The Centre is planning to revive a cluster of gold mines at Kolar Gold Fields shut for 15 years but with an estimated $2.1 billion worth of deposits left as India, which is the world’s second-largest importer of the metal, looks for ways to cut its trade deficit, officials said.
  • State-run Mineral Exploration Corp Ltd has started exploring the reserves at KGF to get a better estimate of the deposits, according to three government officials and a briefing document prepared by the mines ministry that was seen by Reuters.
  • The ministry has also appointed investment bank SBI Capital to assess the finances of the defunct state-run Bharat Gold Mines Ltd, which controls the mines, and the dues the company owes to workers and the authorities, said the officials, who are involved in the process.
  • India, the world’s biggest gold importer behind China, spends more than $30 billion a year buying gold from abroad, making the metal its second-biggest import item after crude oil.
  • Balvinder Kumar, the top civil servant at the mines ministry, said getting KGF going would help the government bring down its import bill.
  • Initial Mineral Exploration Corp estimates show reserves worth $1.17 billion in the mines, according to the briefing document.
  • Another $880.28 million in gold-bearing deposits is estimated left over in residual dumps from previous mining operations. “These mines have huge potential,” Kumar said, adding that the initial estimates were conservative. “We feel there is more. The whole belt has a lot of potential in terms of untapped gold.”
  • The document does not give an estimate of how much it would cost to restart the mines.
  • India imports 900 tonnes to 1,000 tonnes of gold per year.
  • Both the Central and the state governments want to have another go at reviving the mines.
  • SBI Capital is looking to give an assessment for a one-time settlement of its dues, according to the document and the officials.
  • The investment bank is expected to give its report by the end of this month. If the reports show that mining is viable, the government would seek to restructure Bharat Gold to restart mining there more efficiently, the officials said. Kumar, the top mining official, said the next step would be to seek the Union Cabinet’s approval to get the project going.

About KGF

  • KGF or Kolar Gold Fields is a mining town in Bangarpet Taluk, in the Kolar District of Karnataka state, India.
  • It includes the township of the same name, viz. KGF, where reside mainly the families of the employees of Bharat Gold Mines Limited (BGML) and BEML (formerly Bharat Earth Movers Limited). KGF is about 30 kilometers from Kolar and 100 kilometers from Bangalore.
  • To the east of KGF is a ridge of hills of which Dod Betta Hill is 3195 feet above sea level.
  • The town was known for gold mining for over a century, which was eventually closed in 2001 due to low level of gold production.

Karnataka: Kambala buffaloes may get breed status

  • The State government, which made an earlier attempt to secure the breed status in 2016, is expected to make another pitch before the National Bureau of Animal Genetics (NBAG)-Karnal seeking the same for the buffaloes.
  • A breed status given by the NBAG would mean funding for research and development of the buffaloes from the Union government.
  • “We will submit fresh documents on chromosomal and other genetic studies conducted on the Dakshina Kannada buffaloes, as the NBAG sought these clarifications on our previous application,” K.P. Ramesha, Director of National Dairy Research Institute (NDRI), Bengaluru.
  • They hope to complete the project over the next few months and submit it & a fresh survey for numbers has to be conducted. They are hopeful of getting the breed status for both.
  • The NDRI has been coordinating the work with NBAG since 2016 on securing breed status to Dakshina Kannada buffaloes and also the Dharwadi buffaloes through Karnataka Livestock Development Agency. Earlier, Dr. Ramesha was involved in getting breed status to Malnad Gidda, a cow breed, in 2011.
  • Providing examples of how Malnad Gidda and Chilika buffaloes of Odisha received national attention for research after receiving the breed status, he said: “Most research programmes of ICAR are carried out on registered breeds, and once Dakshina Kannada buffalo is registered as breed we expect better research on these buffaloes.”

Demand for he-buffaloes

  • Kambala has had a negative impact on the male-female population ratio of buffaloes in Dakshin Kannada and Udupi districts.
  • Neglect of she-buffaloes in favour of he-buffaloes is said to be the reason.
  • The main reason for this is that farmers owning these buffaloes take extreme care to maintain bulls that are used in kambala.
  • Female buffaloes’ milk yield (one to five litres a day) is also low, adding that she-buffaloes could be just about 20 per cent of the total population in the two coastal districts.

Clash between BBMP and contractor leads to closure of 10 biogas plants

  • Nine biomethanisation plants commissioned in 2014 were shut down by the first week of January after a tussle between the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike and the contractor.
  • The biomethanisation plant in Domlur was recently shut down which was the only wet waste management centre.

Tussle between BBMP & Contractor

  • The BMPP alleges that the contractor has not fulfilled its obligations, while the contractor claims that they have not been paid dues of Rs 21.09 crore since December 2013.
  • However, it is the residents who are the biggest losers in this fight, as wet waste which was handled locally in these plants are now being transported many kilometres away.
  • As per the BBMP monthly payments had not been done for plants where proper maintenance was not done,.
  • “If they fail to function as per standard operating procedure, the BBMP will take control of the plants. We will rope in residents’ welfare associations (RWAs) if they show interest in managing the plants,” said Mr. Khan.
  • The contractor, Ashoka Biogreen Pvt. Ltd., has refuted these claims. In Varthur ward, where the plant never took off, residents have long been campaigning for the plant to be made functional.
  • “We want a biogas plant here as it would allow wet waste from at least two or three wards — Varthur, Hagathur and Kadugodi — to be processed locally,” said Anjali Saini, a member of Whitefield Rising, referring to the Varthur plant.
  • This will reduce the incidence of garbage on the streets, she felt, as the pick-up vehicles could make trips in the evening as well. “At the moment, they have to go almost 50 km to drop the waste, so an additional trip is out of the question,” she explained. She felt the idea to bring in the RWAs was ill-conceived. “Why can’t the BBMP manage it on its own?”
  • In this case, the contractor claimed that the BBMP had not ensured water and electricity connections to the Varthur plant for two years.
  • In Koramangala, a plant that has been closed for the past 10 days had been processing commercial waste from nearby restaurants. “It helped to manage the commercial waste and to light up lamps in the compound. We are planning to set up a similar plant for handling residential waste,” said Padmasree, president of the Koramangala RWA.

India Celebrate 68th Republic Day – Highlights

  • The 68th Republic Day parade in New Delhi’s Rajpath was a colourful affair tableaux from 17 states and Union Territories showcased the varied historical, art and cultural heritage of the country.
  • Marking the anniversary of the day the country’s Constitution was adopted in 1950, with the customary grand parade in the national capital and several other events
  • Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan was the Chief Guest.
  • The country’s main celebration took place at Rajpath here where India’s Who’s Who assembled to watch a 90-minute parade that also focussed on the government’s Make in India initiative to boost manufacturing.
  • The day began with President Pranab Mukherjee, commander-in-chief of the armed forces, unfurling the Indian flag at the Rashtrapati Bhavan and Prime Minister Narendra Modi paying tributes to the fallen soldiers at the Amar Jawan Jyoti at India Gate.
  • Modi welcomed the President and the Chief Guest, Sheikh Mohammed, the son of the UAE’s founding president.
  • A major highlight of the parade was 149-member marching contingent from UAE comprising personnel from Presidential Guards, the Air Force, the Navy, and Army. They were led by a band comprising 35 musicians from that country.

India showcases it’s weapons

  • The parade also saw the fly-past of three LCA Tejas Aircraft flying at a height of 300 metres in ‘Vic’ formation and the Airborne Early Warning and Control System (AEW&C) developed by DRDO.
  • Indigenously developed by the Aeronautical Development Agency, and produced by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, Tejas, as a fourth generation aircraft, can fly at 1,350 km per hour and is comparable to the world’s best fighters, including French Mirage 2000, American F-16 and Swedish Gripen.
  • The Indian Army’s missile firing capability T-90 ‘Bhishma’ tank, Infantry Combat Vehicle BMP-2K, Mobile Autonomous Launcher of the BrahMos Missile System, Weapon Locating Radar ‘Swathi’ and Akash Weapons System and Dhanush Gun System were among the main draw in the mechanised columns.
  • Manufactured by Jabalpur-based Gun Carriage Factory, the 155-mm Dhanush artillery gun cost about Rs 14.50 crore a piece. It is a modified version of Bofors Howitzers gun bought by India in the 1980s.
  • The theme of IAF tableau was “Air Dominance Through Network Centric Operations” and it displayed the scaled down models of Su-30 MKI, Mirage-2000, AWACS, UAV, Apache and Communication Satellite.

Indian states highlights their culture

  • Each state focused on one theme especially their socio-cultural aspect.
  • The rich cultural diversity was in full display during the dazzling celebrations which had Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan as the chief guest.
  • The 17 states which performed were Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Delhi, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Lakshadweep, Maharashtra, Manipur, Odisha, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Tripura and West Bengal.

Karnataka

  • The tableau showcased the Goravas, worshipers of Shiva engaged in the ritualistic dance.
  • The float concentrated on the folk dances of the state. Wearing caps made of bear hair, they danced to drums and flutes, which was followed by sword wielding warriors performing a dance along with other dancers.
  • The visual experience was completed by a dancer attired in attractive mask forming the ensemble of Somas dancers.

About Goravas

  • The term gorava refers to men and women belonging to the Kuruba community who have taken a special vow and dress in the traditional overcoat and headgear, and beat a damroo shouting “Elukoti.. Elukoti. Elukoti.”, meaning seven crores – the number of Goravas Mailara, armed with a bow and arrows, took to battle against a demon, Mallasura and his brother.
  • They also dance in ritualistic warrior-like dance called the Goravara Kunitha, which involves use of a small dollu in one hand and a flute in other. Goravas wear a headgear made of bear hair.
  • It is customary in most villages of Karnataka to bring young children in front of the Goravas to get their blessing and to allay the fears of children.

Burj Khalifa glows with Tricolour to mark India’s Republic Day

  • Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, was on Wednesday lit up in tri-colours – saffron, white and green  to celebrate India’s 68th Republic Day, showcasing strong cultural and trade bond between India and the UAE.
  • The LED shows were held thrice and will be repeated on Thursday along with complimenting Dubai Fountain shows.
  • The visual expression of the tri-colors underlined the solidarity of the UAE and its people with India, with which the nation shares strong cultural and trade ties,
  • The iconic building in Dubai, which stands at 823 metres, was named in honour of the ruler of Abu Dhabi and president of the United Arab Emirates Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
  • The grand public display of India-UAE close relations at Burj Khalifa was viewed by huge population of various nationalities present in Dubai and around the world through social networks and conventional media.

Smart City: Bengaluru’s core areas shortlisted for project

  • The remaining will have to come from the State government or through private-public partnership. The larger the area, more the burden on the State government.
  • Unlike the last year, when Rs 6,600 crore was available, this time the funds available are Rs 500 crore.
  • BBMP officials involved in readying the shortlist said an analysis of the top 10 cities selected the last time revealed that seven of them had pitched core city areas. Moreover, the limited availability of funds was also a factor.
  • Among the locations in the race to represent the city this time are the Shivajinagar and Kempegowda bus stands, K.R. Market, Russell Market, Tipu Fort, Kempegowda Museum, Brigade Road, and Commercial Street.
  • Bengaluru has lost out on the tag twice, with smaller cities such as Tumakuru and Davanagere having beaten it.
  • The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has shortlisted only the core city areas in its third attempt to make it to the list. With only 19 of the 100 slots left and lesser funds available than earlier, the BBMP has also narrowed it down to specific locations rather than whole areas.

No Suburbs

  • Explaining the reason behind ignoring the suburbs, Mr. Prasad said the core city areas “belonged to and were used by everyone”.
  •  “We can showcase many things in these areas; the TenderSURE roads, for example, which the Centre has taken as a model for the country. The core areas are also a good mix of the old and the new, which will be advantageous to us,” he said, and added that the scope of developing the chosen destinations utilising the funds through the project was also larger.

Vote for your favourite

  • Having also promised to garner public opinion this time, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), along with Jana Urban Space Foundation, which has been chosen as the consultant to prepare the proposal, has thrown open its list to the public.
  • Citizens can now vote for the location of their choice on the ichangemycity portal (http://www.ichangemycity.com/smart-city-bengaluru), a Janaagraha initiative.
  • Over 30,000 votes have been received so far. Public consultations are also in the pipeline.
  • But how much weight will the views of the public hold when the final proposal is made? BBMP Commissioner N. Manjunath Prasad said citizens’ opinion would be considered before a decision was made.

Padma Awards: Seven Padma awardees from Karnataka – Complete List

  • Padma Awards are the highest civilian Awards of the country conferred in three categories Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri.
  • This year, President of India Pranab Mukherjee approved conferment of Padma Awards to 89 persons.
  • The list comprises of seven Padma Vibhushan, seven Padma Bhushan and 75 Padma Shri awardees. As many as 19 of the awardees are women and the list also includes five persons from the category of foreigners, NRIs, PIOs and six posthumous awardees.
  • The only Padma Vibhushan awardee from the State is former head of the Indian Space Research Organisation U.R. Rao for his contribution to science and engineering in the country
  • Kannada film actor, Bharathi Vishnuvardhan, lexicographer G. Venkatasubbiah, Girish Bhardwaj who has built numerous low-cost bridges for deprived communities, Captain of the Indian blind Cricket team Shekar Naik, Gold medalist Vikasa Gowda, 75-year-old Sukri Bommagowda who is a popular singer in the folk traditions of Halakki Vokkaliga tribes, were given the Padma Shri.
  • 104-year-old litterateur G. Venkatasubbaiah says the award comes in the recognition of the work not just in Kannada but in lexicography itself. “This may inspire other lexicographers,” he says. HE has edited 25 books and authored Klishtapadakosha (a dictionary of complex words), the first of its kind in Kannada.

The complete list of awardees are as follows

Padma Vibhushan

  1. Shri K J Yesudas Art-Music Kerala
  2. Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, Spiritualism, Tamil Nadu
  3. Shri Sharad Pawar, Public Affairs, Maharashtra
  4. Shri Murli Manohar Joshi, Public Affairs, Uttar Pradesh
  5. Prof. Udipi Ramachandra Rao Science & Engineering Karnataka
  6. Late Shri Sunder Lal Patwa, (Posthumous), Public Affairs Madhya Pradesh
  7. Late Shri PA Sangma, (Posthumous), Public Affairs Meghalaya

 

Padma Bhushan

  1. Shri Vishwa Mohan Bhatt Art-Music Rajasthan
  2. Prof. (Dr.) Devi Prasad Dwivedi, Lit, rature & Education, Uttar Pradesh
  3. Shri Tehemton Udwadia Medicine, Maharashtra
  4. Shri Ratna Sundar Maharaj Others-Spiritualism, Gujarat
  5. Swami Niranjana Nanda Saraswati, Yoga, Bihar
  6. H.R.H. Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn (Foreigner), Literature & Education, Thailand
  7. Late Shri Cho Ramaswamy (Posthumous) Literature & Education – Journalism Tamil Nadu

Padma Shri

  1. Smt. Basanti Bisht, Art-Music, Uttarakhand
  2. Shri Chemanchery Kunhiraman Nair, Art-Dance, Kerala
  3. Smt. Aruna Mohanty Art-Dance, Odisha
  4. Smt. Bharathi Vishnuvardhan Art-Cinema Karnataka
  5. Shri Sadhu Meher Art-Cinema Odisha
  6. Shri T K Murthy Art-Music Tamil Nadu
  7. Shri Laishram Birendrakumar Singh Art-Music, Manipur
  8. Shri Krishna Ram Chaudhary Art-Music, Uttar Pradesh
  9. Smt. Baoa Devi Art-Painting, Bihar
  10. Shri Tilak Gitai Art-Painting, Rajasthan
  11. Dr. Prof. Aekka Yadagiri Rao Art-Sculpture, Telangana
  12. Shri Jitendra Haripal Art-Music, Odisha
  13. Shri Kailash Kher Art-Music, Maharashtra
  14. Smt. Parassala B Ponnammal Art-Music, Kerala
  15. Smt. Sukri Bommagowda Art-Music, Karnataka
  16. Shri Mukund Nayak Art-Music, Jharkhand
  17. Shri Purushottam Upadhyay Art-Music, Gujarat
  18. Smt. Anuradha Paudwal Art-Music, Maharashtra
  19. Shri Wareppa Naba Nil Art-Theatre, Manipur
  20. Shri Tripuraneni Hanuman Chowdary Civil Service, Telangana
  21. Shri T.K. Viswanathan Civil Service, Haryana
  22. Shri Kanwal Sibal Civil Service, Delhi
  23. Shri Birkha Bahadur LimbooMuringla, Literature & Education, Sikkim
  24. Smt. Eli Ahmed Literature & Education Assam
  25. Dr. Narendra Kohli Literature & Education Delhi
  26. Prof. G. Venkatasubbiah Literature & Education Karnataka
  27. Shri Akkitham Achyuthan Namboothiri Literature & Education Kerala
  28. Shri Kashi Nath Pandita Literature & Education Jammu &Kashmir
  29. Shri Chamu Krishna Shastry Literature & Education Delhi
  30. Shri Harihar Kripalu Tripathi Literature & Education Uttar Pradesh
  31. Shri Michel Danino Literature & Education Tamil Nadu
  32. Shri Punam Suri Literature & Education Delhi
  33. Shri VG Patel Literature & Education Gujarat
  34. Smt. V Koteswaramma Literature & Education Andhra Pradesh
  35. Shri Balbir Dutt Literature & Education Journalism Jharkhand
  36. Smt. Bhawana Somaaya Literature & Education Journalism Maharashtra
  37. Shri Vishnu Pandya Literature & Education Journalism Gujarat
  38. Dr. Subroto Das Medicine Gujarat
  39. Dr. (Smt.) Bhakti Yadav Medicine Madhya Pradesh
  40. Dr. Mohammed Abdul Waheed Medicine Telangana
  41. Dr. Madan Madhav Godbole Medicine Uttar Pradesh
  42. Dr. Devendra Dayabhai Patel Medicine Gujarat
  43. Prof. Harkishan Singh Medicine Chandigarh
  44. Dr. Mukut Minz Medicine Chandigarh
  45. Shri Arun Kumar Sharma Others-Archaeology Chhattisgarh
  46. Shri Sanjeev Kapoor Others-Culinary Maharashtra
  47. Smt. Meenakshi Amma Others-Martial Art Kerala
  48. Shri Genabhai Dargabhai Patel Others-Agriculture Gujarat
  49. Shri Chandrakant Pithawa Science & Engineering Telangana
  50. Prof. Ajoy Kumar Ray Science & Engineering West Bengal
  51. Shri Chintakindi Mallesham Science & Engineering Andhra Pradesh
  52. Shri Jitendra Nath Goswami Science & Engineering Assam
  53. Shri Daripalli Ramaiah Social Work Telangana
  54. Shri Girish Bhardwaj Social Work Karnataka
  55. Shri Karimul Hak Social Work West Bengal
  56. Shri Bipin Ganatra Social Work West Bengal
  57. Smt. Nivedita Raghunath Bhide Social work Tamil Nadu
  58. Shri Appasaheb Dharmadhikari Social Work Maharashtra
  59. Baba Balbir Singh Seechewal Social Work Punjab
  60. Shri Virat Kohli Sports-Cricket Delhi
  61. Shri Shekar Naik Sports-Cricket Karnataka
  62. Shri Vikasa Gowda Sports-Discus Throw Karnataka
  63. Smt. Deepa Malik Sports-Athletics Haryana
  64. Shri Mariyappan Thangavelu Sports-Athletics Tamil Nadu
  65. Smt. Dipa Karmakar Sports-Gymnastics Tripura
  66. Shri P R Shreejesh Sports-Hockey Kerala
  67. Smt. Sakshi Malik Sports-Wrestling Haryana
  68. Shri Mohan Reddy Venkatrama Bodanapu Trade & Industry Telangana
  69. Shri Imrat Khan
  70. Shri Anant Agarwal (NRI/PIO) Literature & Education USA
  71. Shri H.R. Shah (NRI/PIO) Literature & Education Journalism USA
  72. Late (Smt.) Suniti Solomon (Posthumous) Medicine Tamil Nadu
  73. Shri Asoke Kumar Bhattacharyya (Posthumous) Others-Archaeology West Bengal
  74. Dr. Mapuskar (Posthumous) Social Work Maharashtra
  75. Smt. Anuradha Koirala (Foreigner) Social Work Nepal

About Padma Awards

  • Padma Awards, namely, Padma VibhushanPadma Bhushan and Padma Shri are given for exceptional and distinguished service in any field including service rendered by Government servants.
  • Padma Awards were instituted in 1954 to be awarded to citizens of India in recognition of their distinguished contribution in various spheres of activity including the Arts, Education, Industry, Literature, Science, Sports, Medicine, Social Service and Public Affairs.
  • It has also been awarded to some distinguished individuals who were not citizens of India but did contribute in various ways to India.
  • The selection criteria have been criticized in some quarters with the claim that many highly deserving artists have been left out in order to favor certain individuals.
  • On its obverse, the words “Padma”, meaning lotus in Sanskrit, and “Shri”, a Sanskrit-derived honorific equivalent to ‘Mr.’ or ‘Ms.’, appear in Devanagari above and below a lotus flower. The geometrical pattern on either side is in burnished bronze. All embossing is in white gold.
  • The recommendations for Padma Awards are received from the State Governments/Union Territory Administrations, Central Ministries/Departments, Institutions of Excellence, etc. which are considered by an Awards Committee.
  • On the basis of the recommendations of the Awards Committee, and after approval of the Home Minister, Prime Minister and President, the Padma Awards are announced on the eve of the Republic Day.

After Jallikattu & Kambala, next demand for lifting ban on Hori habba

  • The massive campaign for Kallikattu in Tamil Nadu and a similar campaign building up for kambala in Karnataka seem to have opened a Pandora’s box.
  • Now, there is demand from people in some parts of Shivamogga to lift the ban on hori habba, a bull-taming event.

How it started?

  • A meeting of enthusiasts of hori habba was held in Shikaripur town on Monday evening under the aegis of the Hori Habba Abhimani Balaga, in which a resolution was passed to demand lifting of the ban.
  • Nandan Sommannanavar, an M.A. student, sought to know why the former Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa, who has appealed in favour of lifting restrictions on kambala in coastal Karnataka, was mum on hori habba, a popular sport in his home town.
  • The meeting decided to hold protests in Shikaripur, Sorab and Shivamogga and submit memorandum to the government demanding withdrawal of the ban.
  • The enthusiasts of hori habba are using social media platforms to mobilise support.
  • Rearing bulls is a “passion” for the people in semi-arid regions of Shivamogga and Haveri districts. Mr. Prashanth, who owns two bulls, said the social status of an individual in rural areas is not determined by the car owned, but by the bulls reared by them.“The farming community enjoys an intimate relationship with the cattle,” he said.
  • Though no case was filed against conducting hori habba, the district administration in Shivamogga has taken an unilateral decision to ban the event.
  • Superintendent of Police Abhinav Khare had said that conducting hori habba was against the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Rule and had cautioned of stern action against those who organised such events.

What is Hori Habba & why in news?

  • Hori habba is a popular rural sport in Shivamogga, Haveri and Davangere districts.
  • The deaths caused by bulls goring those who attempt to catch them and in stampede were reported regularly in these events in the recent times. In the wake of death of two persons after they were gored by a bull in Tallur village in Sorab taluk on January 2, the district administration in Shivamogga imposed a blanket ban on the event.
  • Superintendent of Police Abhinav Khare had said that conducting hori habba was against the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Rule and had cautioned of stern action against those who organised such events.

Miscellaneous 

  • Three musicians were presented with prestigious Mallikarjun Mansur award, at a function to mark the birth anniversary of Mansur. Hindustani vocalist Pandit Mani Prasad was honoured with the national award, while promising vocalists Rajeshwari Patil of Hubballi and Onkarnath Havaldar of Bengaluru were honoured with the young musician awards.
  • 8 monkey fever cases reported from Thirthahalli: The outbreak of Kyasanur Forest Disease (KFD), commonly known as moneky fever, in Thirthahalli taluk has triggered anxiety among people of Malnad region. A source in the Health Department said that eight KFD cases have been reported in the taluk so far. The laboratory based in Manipal, Udupi district, has confirmed that all the eight persons are affected by KFD after examining their blood samples.
  • Gowrishankar Swami, pontiff of the Jangama Mutt at Gollahalli in Gubbi taluk of the district, died of heart attack at a hospital. Gowrishankar Swami was named as the successor of Shivakumara Swami in 1975, but was expelled from the Mutt in 1988 due to a dispute. A case in this regard is pending in the court.
  • KSRTC to provide free Wi-Fi on all its buses by may: the KSRTC has come up with a plan to increase passenger amenities ranging from free Wi-Fi in all its buses to deploying 2,500 additional buses on the suburban routes by May 2017. About 35 lakh people have already used the free Wi-Fi in 24 bus stations.To ensure safety measures, CCTV cameras are being installed in the corporation’s workshops, depots and 90 bus stations at the cost of Rs 14.95 crore.
  • Forest dept begins axing trees in Chikkamagaluru: The forest department has planned to cut 40,000 to 50,000 trees inside the forests in Chikkamagaluru. The Koppa division of Chikkamagaluru circle of the department has initiated a drive to fell teakwood, ‘nandi,’ rosewood and other trees in 22 plantations. Chikkamagaluru circle CCF Range Gowda said, “As per plan, selected trees in 40 plantations in Koppa division and 22 plantations in Chikkamagaluru division were to be felled. Following opposition, trees have been felled in 8 to 10 plantations in Koppa division and six in Chikkamagaluru division.”
  • 6 airports in state part of regional connectivity plan: Routes connecting six airports in Karnataka, including four unserved ones, will go under the hammer as part of the Centre’s ‘UDAN’ scheme to connect regional destinations by air. Operators have bid for starting services from Bengaluru, Bengaluru HAL, Bidar, Hubballi, Mysuru and Vidyanagar (Ballari district) airports to unserved or under-served airports as per the Regional Connectivity Scheme ‘Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik’ (Let the Common Man Fly) or UDAN.
  • Poor response to pension scheme for acid victims: Of the 129 cases of acid attack, only 12 victims have been drawing the pension though the department has written to each of the victims informing them about the scheme, she told reporters. Under the scheme, the department gives Rs 3,000 a month as pension to each of the victims.
  • Karnataka’s oldest jumbo dies at Sakrebailu: Ninety-year-old Indira, arguably the oldest tusker in Karnataka, died at the Sakrebailu elephant camp near here early on Monday morning. Indira was brought to Sakrebailu in 1968 along with two other elephants, Balarama and Bhaskar. The elephants had been captured during the Khedda operation at Kakanakote near Mysuru. Indira was cremated in the camp after the post-mortem. With its death, the number of elephants at Sakrebailu has reduced to 22, a source in the Forest department said.