Week’s news in brief: Aug 22-28

Business & Economy

Petition questions law banning employing women in bars

When women are storming male bastions in all areas, why can’t they be allowed to work in bars? This is one of the petitions lying in a Karnataka court. Apparently bar owners are only too happy to employ women in this business. However, section 9 (1) of Karnataka Excise Licence Act (1967) bans women from being employed in bars, but allows them to own one and consume alcohol (in bars). Social parameters clearly do not allow women to work in bars, even as they work in night shifts in other jobs. But women activists argue that they should be allowed to if they so wish. ( Vijaya Karnataka, Saturday, August 23 )

Bangalore home to over 10,000 crorepatis

A World Capital report for the year 2008 by leading Mutual Fund company Capgemini Meryill Lynch has interesting details about Bangalore. According to the report Bangalore has more than 10,000 crorepatis, after Mumbai and Delhi. The crorepatis have an investing capacity of Rs.0.5 – 4.5 crores. 7 per cent of them are below 30 years of age. ( Kannada Prabha, Monday, August 25 )

Cheap Chinese mobile sets in Bangalore market

What if you get a high end mobile phone just for Rs.4000? You would be thrilled, for sure. Cheap mobile sets from China have started ruling the Bangalore market. Youth are buying them by the dozen, attracted by their looks, which are sold in and around Majestic area. ( Prajavani, Wednesday, August 27 )

Crime

Sadism behind hoax bomb scare calls say shrinks

After the recent serial bomb blasts in the city, hoax bomb-scare calls have increased. Due to the complicated proceedure of tarcing calls, police find it difficult to book such callers. Psychiatrists blame it on sadism on part of the callers. The hoax calls are not limited to bombs- recently they extended to spreading fear among the public with respect to the recent lunar and solar eclipses as well. People in some villages in Dharwar district did not sleep during the lunar eclipse as miscreants spread rumours of an earthquake that night. ( Vijaya Karnataka, Saturday, August 23 )

Robots to help police detect and diffuse bombs

In the wake of the recent bomb blasts, the city police have decided to use robots to diffuse and detect live bombs in future. Police have asked for 62 new remote operated vehicles (robots). Such robots are already being used in Jammu and Kashmir, Maraharashtra and other states. ( Prajavani, Saturday, August 23 )

DIG’s son’s name surfaces in land scam

"With the land prices in Bangalore skyrocketing, encroachers are getting more active. Lakshmidevamma, a retired teacher, lost her 2.24 acres of land near Devanahalli. After Lakshmidevamma filed a complaint in this regard, police arrested one S S Nagesh, who named 11 culprits, in which the name of Abhijit Nayak, son of DIG Jayaprakash Nayak, surfaced. Nagesh has alleged that Abhijit Nayak sold this land worth Rs.16 crores to a Delhi based firm, getting a person to impersonate Lakshmidevamma to carry out the transaction. Lakshmidevamma has not confirmed this, however, according to the report. " ( Vijaya Karnataka, Thursday, August 28 )

Education

Karnataka Open University to introduce new courses

Karnataka Open University Vice Chancellor Dr B A Viveka Rai intends to introduce courses in BBA and MBA in aviation, apart from courses in agriculture and handicrafts. He was speaking after releasing the university prospectus. Interestingly, the university is starting six courses on producing art materials using mud and wood. ( Udayavani, Friday, August 22 )

Teachers love to skip school too

You are mistaken if you think that only students love to escape school. Chidre Shankaraiahswamy, Director, High School Education had interesting tales to narrate in a conference on the need of immediate reforms in education in Bangalore on August 22. He said that 24 per cent of high school teachers absented from work and 1 per cent tended to be on leave without permission. 50 per cent of students did not continue with high school education, he said. ( Kannada Prabha, Saturday, August 23 )

Online training for state teachers

Teachers from different parts of the state have so far been thronging the capital for the sake of training. They need not do so anymore, as the Education Department is implementing web based training from August 25. The State Education Research and Training institute (DSERT) in collaboration with Regional Education Centre in Mysore is implementing this unique programme. To begin with, DIET (District Institute for Education and Training) teachers will have this training. Soon it will extended to others also, says Baig, Director of DSERT. ( Kannada Prabha, Sunday, August 24 )

Government

Fibre poles fail to meet BBMP standards

The fibre pillars on MG Road and Residency Road, written about in this column last week, were removed and dumped into a truck by BBMP. A company called Alesh Collections had the contract to install more than 500 such pillars in different parts of city. As a part of the pilot initiative, the company wanted to install 100 such pillars on MG Road and Residency road. BBMP officials, however, claim that the pillars were not up to the standards mentioned in the contract. Apparently the company also failed to get approval from BBMP before installation. ( Prajavani, Friday, August 22 )

SAS to continue

A cabinet sub-committee has recommended the continuation of Self Assessment System (SAS) to collect taxes, and has suggested doing away with the much criticised Capital Value System (CVS). However there may a few changes in the SAS format to increase tax collection by 20-25 per cent. BBMP has set a target of collecting Rs. 1000 crores during this year. President of the sub-committee Minister R Ashok said that a legislation to this regard will be passed during next assembly session. ( Kannada Prabha, Friday, August 22 )

Fibre pillars issue continues to dog BBMP

The BBMP’s cup of woe over the fibre pillars on MG Road and Residency Road runneth over! After having withdrawn the contract after criticism by the media and public, BBMP now grapples with the problem of recovering the advance of Rs.8.4 lakhs paid to Alesh Collections. It has now confiscated 122 pillars, and trying to leverage the same to recover the advance money. ( Prajavani, Saturday, August 23 )

Traffic woes: next is what?

Traffic police cry foul even as the transport department smiles. Every day 1650 new vehicles hit Bangalore roads, making the RTO richer. Department records say that there are 32 lakh vehicles in Bangalore. 1,500 two wheelers and 100 other vehicles are registered every day, increasing the RTO’s income from Rs.716 crores in 2002-03 to Rs.1,732 crores in 2007-08. This of course, has a direct impact on traffic jams in the city. ( Prajavani, Monday, August 25 )

Traffic fines fatten police wallets

If you think that the government is earning a huge income by fining errant motorists, you are wrong. According to a FIR filed by the Corps of Detectives, lakhs of rupees collected in the form of fines do not go to the exchequer, but to the pockets of traffic police. This FIR was regarding a misappropriation case in Traffic East division between1999 and 2003. After investigation, four officials have been booked for misappropriation of government funds to the tune of Rs.12,63,190. ( Kannada Prabha, Tuesday, August 26 )

BDA confiscates assets worth Rs.303 crores

The BDA had confiscated its encroached assets worth Rs. 303 crores in last six months. Most of the confiscated lands are in upper class layouts. Assets worth thousands of crores are still in the hands of private people. BDA officials accept the fact that their own employees are hand in glove with private people in encroachment. HBR layout tops the list with Rs.110 crores worth assets being confiscated since March this year. ( Kannada Prabha, Tuesday, August 26 )

Labour dept to train and employ child labourers

The labour department has envisaged a plan to start schools in Bangalore and Raichur to provide training and employment for child labourers. UNICEF has joined hands with the state government in this project. Taking a cue from the successful pilot project in Hyderabad, the department wants to start ‘Jeevana Kaushala mattu Udyoga’ (the art of living and working) schools in these two cities in phase 1. As per plan, orphans below 14 years of age will be selected and trained in four to five subjects and employed in different companies. Children below 14 years will be admitted to child labour schools until they turn 14. ( Kannada Prabha, Tuesday, August 26 )

Stepmotherly treatment towards Cubbon Park alleged

Lalbagh and Cubbon park are two gardens that attract tourists in Bangalore. While the horticulture department shows great care in developing Lalbagh, Cubbon park appears to be neglected. The garden, spreading right in front of the Vidhana Soudha, has the history of more than 130 years. It has more than six thousand trees of 96 varities. The horticulture department gives least priority for its development, says the report. It is turning into parking lot, besides being a place for a number of illegal activities. ( Prajavani, Tuesday, August 26 )

Infrastructure

This flyover fails to solve traffic woes

While inaugurating the flyover near Jayadeva Hosiptal towards BTM layout, the then chief minister H D Kumarswamy had assured that it would be the end of traffic jams. That is not the case, however, with commuters between BTM layout 1st phase and 2nd phase still face traffic jams. Minor accidents involving women and children while crossing the road are common. The empty space beneath the flyover has turned into a dumping yard. ( Prajavani, Friday, August 22 )

Namma Bengaluru voted second best city in India

Irrespective of the innumerable problems Bangalore may be facing, it is considered the second best city in India to live in. In a survey conducted by the magazine Business Today, readers voted Namma Bengaluru the second best after Mumbai, the third being Delhi. Reports claim that Bangalore is on the verge of becoming the second commercial centre of India after Mumbai. Respondents of the survey mainly included CEOs, businessmen, government officials, etc. Bangalore had secured the third place in the same survey conducted last year. ( Kannada Prabha, Saturday, August 23 )

2nd phase of Metro to get momentum

After slow progress in phase one, Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (BMRCL) has decided to take up phase two works on a war footing. 70 km will covered during this phase, double that of what was covered in phase one. Electronic city will be connected to Yelahanka during this phase. BMRCL sources say that Whitefield too may be connected. ( Kannada Prabha, Sunday, August 24 )

ISKCON dishes up a new kitchen

The ‘Akshaya Patre’ mid day meal scheme by ISKCON is widely appreciated. To carry out the scheme with even more efficacy, ISKON has set up a huge, modern kitchen where food for one lakh children can be cooked in just five hours, in Vasanthapura on Kanakapura road. ISKCON has been serving hot and tasty food to a number schools and the central jail in Parappana Agrahara. It has set up a similar kitchen in Hubli. ( Prajavani, Monday, August 25 )

Security check at MG Road, board at Devanahalli!

Boarding at the new International airport just might get easier, with a similar terminal expected to come up near M G Road, albeit in a few years’ time. The terminal will also have a high speed rail station that will connect to Devanahalli. Thorough security check for the air travellers carried out in 60 counters are to facilitate boarding flights at Devanahalli without any additional security checks. The train link, when completed, may save at least two hours of commute time from M G Road to Devanahalli. ( Kannada Prabha, Thursday, August 28 )

People

Launching a drive against terrorism

V Parameshwaran works for a travel company in Bangalore, and is an anti-terrorism activist. He has coined a number of slogans and penned poems against militancy, which he distributes to whoever boards his car. However, Parameshwaran’s claim to fame is that Dr Kalam used to travel in his car before becoming the President. ( Vijaya Karnataka, Tuesday, August 26 )

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