Week’s news in brief: Nov 14 – 20

Business

Big demand for cows of Indian breed

These cows were the center of attraction at the Krishi Mela conducted in the UAS campus. They belong to the pure Indian breed called ‘Devani’. Due to their high resistance to diseases and capacity to work hard, they are in much demand. However the Devani cows are not available in large numbers and the National Diary Development Corporation is now engaging in developing this breed. There was demand for more than 500 Devani cows during the farm fest. (Vijaya Karnataka, Sunday, Nov 16)

KSRTC launches courier service

KSRTC has hit upon yet another way of generating revenue. From November this year it has started a courier service called Unaccompanied Luggage. KSRTC has set a goal of earning Rs 3.18 crores annually with this service. An Aurangabad-based agency has got the tender to manage this service. (Vijaya Karnataka, Monday, Nov 17)

Apparel industry hit by recession

Most of the garment outlets and factories in Bangalore have now started feeling the heat from recession. Business reduced by 20 per cent during this festive season compared to that of last year. The import of raw materials proved expensive as the dollar became stronger. Many traders are now demanding removal of four per cent of VAT to give boost to the trade. (Prajavani, Tuesday, Nov 18)

Sunday Bazaar proves popular

Sunday Bazaar is a special attraction of Bangalore. People throng here to buy a variety of goods at cheaper rates. Traders, too, put up cheaper goods. Spreading across Avenue road to the flyover in K R Market, this Bazaar functions right on the road leading to traffic jams. Traders here are happy to let customers bargain, which is probably why the Sunday Bazaar is so popular. (Prajavani, Tuesday, Nov 18)

Crime

An IT park cheats BWSSB?

IT Knowledge Park has allegedly cheated BWSSB to the tune of Rs.6 crores by getting water and sanitation connections illegally. An investigative team headed by Minister Katta Subramanya Naidu brought this to light. The multi storied building has got connections illegally to its C and D blocks. It had got connections to A and B block by paying the fee but has extended the facility illegally, alleges the investigative team. BWSSB intends to fine IT park for the crime. (Prajavani, Wednesday, Nov 19)

Entertainment

No actors in this film

Film Producer G Srinivasulu is producing a film that could definitely get him international attention. There are no human characters in his film called ‘Bana’. Only a truck and a car will feature throughout the two hour film. Srinivasulu says this is an action thriller where the villain hires somebody to kill his lover’s husband. The film has four characters that can only be heard but not seen. The film is to be dubbed in Hindi, Telugu, Tamil and Malayalam. (Vijaya Karnataka, Sunday, Nov 16)

Bandstand gets back to work

The Bandstand at Cubbon Park was meant for music. But the stand remained silent for quite some time. Recently the Kannada and Culture department organised musical shows Udayaraga and Sandhyaraga at the Bandstand. Now an association called Prakruthi has come forward to provide a musical feast to music lovers. Prakruthi intends to introduce a number of new singers and new songs in the coming days. The association has even given a facelift to Bandstand. (Vijaya Karnataka, Tuesday, Nov 18) Also see: Citizen Matters earlier story.

Government

CM denies elephant offering to temple

The controversy over Chief Minister Yeddyurappa’s donation of an elephant to a temple in Ernakulam, Kerala, took a new turn with the CM claiming that he never took the vow to do so. Sources close to him clarified that a close friend of Yeddyurappa did so and on behalf of him, the CM visited the temple. A petition regarding the same is now with the Kerala High Court. Many records clarify that the elephant is owned by someone else, say people close to the CM. (Vijaya Karnataka, Friday, Nov 14)

Private operators dominate in Krishi Mela

Krishi Mela, a farm fest organised by the state government in the University of Agriculture Sciences campus in Hebbal last week had more private operators dominating the show. Though the fest intended to popularise organic farming practices, only 29 stalls out of 450 stalls were exhibiting organic products. Out of them 27 were from private companies. More than 350 stalls were operated by private multinational companies. (Vijaya Karnataka, Friday, Nov 14)

Children Rights Commission yet to start functioning

The State Children Rights Commission, which should have come into existence during this year’s children’s day, is delayed due to untimely transfers of officials concerned. The state government had earmarked Rs.50 lakhs in the last budget for the purpose. However transfer of both the Secretary and Director of Women and Child Welfare Department has delayed the process. The Commission is intended to safeguard child rights, stop exploitation, and create awareness about the same. (Udayavani, Friday, Nov 14)

No government funds for farm fest

It has now come to light why private companies dominated the farm fest. Government did not fund the Krishi Mela, which was fully dependant on private sponsorship. Rs.40 lakhs were collected from private stalls of which Rs.23 lakhs were spent on organising the fest. The rest was used for subsidising stalls of Self Help Groups. Except for the Agriculture Department (Rs.1 lakh) and Horticulture Department (Rs.50000) none of the departments spent any money, though they had put up stalls. (Prajavani, Saturday, Nov 15)

Lakhs participate in Krishi Mela

This is one instance when the ‘IT citizens’ took a back seat to sons of the soil. The Krishi Mela managed to get more participation, compared to the recently concluded IT Fest. Organisers say that more than 4 lakh people attended the farm fest, with more than 80,000 farmers registering on the last day. Most of the visitors shopped for plants and seeds. (Prajavani, Monday, Nov 17)

23,000 cases pending with Lokayukta

Courts are given a run for their money these days, with the Lokayukta having more than 23,000 cases pending with it for inquiry. But the Lokayukta still has the same number of personnel as when it came into existence in 1986. Justice N Santhosh Hegde says that his recommendation on increasing employee strength is lying with the government. (Kannada Prabha, Monday, Nov 17)

Contract awarded without calling for tender

Raman International Institute of Technology (RIIT) has been awarded the contract of conducting training for
unemployed youth belonging to the schedule castes. The whole process has opened a can of worms, as tenders were not invited for it, and RIIT was given the work order worth Rs.3.94 crores. Social Welfare Minister D Sudhakar and Principal Secretary Bharathlal Meena expressed surprise over the issue and assured to look into matter. Sources say that this is a classic case of awarding contracts, where even the ministers are kept in the dark by officials. (Udayavani, Monday, Nov 17)

Book Policy disappears in Vikasa Soudha

The file of recommendations by the Karnataka Book Authority to formulate a Book Policy (for purchasing books) to check corruption has disappeared in the deep caverns of the Vikasa Soudha. Informal enquiry into the matter revealed that the Principal Secretary of Kannada and Culture is sitting on the file, without taking any action. The Book Policy intends to provide guidelines to the departments of library, book authority, various universities and other educational institutions to procure books. The state government spends more than Rs.15 crores on books, which is misused by publishers who sell books in the black market. (Udayavani, Monday, Nov 17)

‘Transfer Raj’ during Kumaraswamy reign

The JDS may criticise the BJP government for transfers. But records prove that the erstwhile JDS headed coalition government had ordered more than 70,000 transfers in just 20 months. The Yeddyurappa government has done 15,153 transfers so far. The Congress rule during 2004 and 2005 witnessed more than 58,000 transfers. A classic case of pot calling the kettle black? (Udayavani, Thursday, Nov 20)

Health

Sensex goes down, sale of drugs goes up

Shareholders may curse the share market for their misfortune, but a category of drugs has been the beneficiary of this negative trend. A study shows that there is about 30 per cent increase in anti depressant drugs, thanks to investors taking these drugs to overcome depression. Karnataka Chemists and Druggists Association President, D S Guddodagi, says there has been a 10 per cent increase in the sales of these drugs in last two months. (Kannada Prabha, Thursday, Nov 20)

Infrastructure

Aid from London for slum development

The Karnataka State Pollution Control Board has initiated cleaning of slums in Bangalore with the help from a London based agency. Water and Sanitation for Urban Poor (WSUP) will give assistance to provide sanitation and toilets to three slums near Krishnarajapuram. More than 1,300 families in Rajiv Gandhi Nagar, Laxmanamurthynagar and Swatantra Nagar are beneficiaries. More than Rs.1 crore will be spent on development of which 80 per cent will be borne by WSUP. (Udayavani, Sunday, Nov 16)

5 TMC of water to Greater Bangalore

The second phase of the fourth stage of bringing Cauvery water to Bangalore will take off soon. This work will bring 5 TMC of water to most of the outskirts of Bangalore which are included in the BBMP recently. BWSSB will call for tenders for the works which is estimated to cost Rs.3,000 crores. Work is to be concluded by 2011. International Bank of Japan will provide financial assistance for the project. (Kannada Prabha, Monday, Nov 17)

BMTC goes hi-tech, forgets common man

There is a remarkable decrease in the number of red and black board buses in Bangalore, thanks to high tech initiatives by BMTC. There is more number of high tech buses running since a month. Public complaint that that BMTC is intentionally running buses with expensive fares during peak hours which forces common people to use them. Volvo buses have become very common now, with their numbers increasing from 13 in 2007 to 97 in 2008. The number of Pushpak buses has reduced from 109 to 34 and Parisara Vahini buses from 473 to 59. (Vijaya Karnataka, Monday, Nov 17)

BBMP fails to fulfill promise

A huge sanitation work near Brigade road has not yet been completed even after BBMP declared that it would do so in just three days. Work is still going on even after a week, and sources say it may take one more week to complete. BBMP officials started working on this project worth Rs.1 crore without warning, causing traffic jams that disrupt normal activities. (Kannada Prabha, Wednesday, Nov 19)

Now, mobile courts at your service!

Keeping in mind that each and every person of society should get justice, State Legal Services Authority will flag off the Mobile Court on November 22. There will no fee charged, and clients will have access to personnel on par with any other court. The Mobile Court will also act as Legal Literacy Chariot. Disputes will be heard and solved as Lok Adalats do. The Chariot (Mobile Court) cost around Rs.1 crore. (Kannada Prabha, Thursday, Nov 20)

Society

The dead are not taxed by them

There are a few organisations in Bangalore which are doing yeoman service by carrying dead bodies to crematoria. For the poor, even cremating the dead is difficult, which might cost up to Rs.10,000. Taking the body to the cremation ground too is tough. Associations like Vaikunta Yatre (26622760), Rajastan Karnataka Sangha (26761202/ 9342936798), and Chalukya Geleyara Balaga (9901888555/ 26593578) provide free vehicles to transport dead bodies. BBMP too has this service (102/ 22975829), but it charges Rs.30 per hour. (Prajavani, Thursday, Nov 20)

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