Week’s news in brief: Dec 5 – Dec 11

Government to strengthen ATC

The ATC (Anti Terrorism Cell) squad is slated to get a new face with government deciding to strengthen this cell in the wake of increasing terrorist activities. Government approved a proposal to appoint 750 specialised personnel to the squad. A number of initiatives are taken to make working with ATC more attractive for the police, which they have so far been looked upon as as a punishment rather than prestigious. (Prajavani, Friday, Dec 5)

Vidhana Soudha in danger?

The state government does not seem to be bothered by terrorist activities in the various parts of country. Its seat of administration, the Vidhana Soudha is still exposed to danger, thanks to the shortage of security personnel. There are 162 security persons stationed inside the Vidhana Soudha, 44 in Vikasa Soudha and 13 in Legislatures’ Home. 85 more are required to properly man the premises. Most of them are apparently on deputation. (Prajavani, Saturday, Dec 6)

SIM cards are available without check

There are growing instances where terrorists misuse SIM cards to carry out their activities. Yet there seems to be no attempt to check SIM cards from falling into wrong hands. Though procedures require certain documents to be produced to get a SIM, there is no mechanism in Bangalore to verify them. Some sellers even provide SIM cards for free for the first 15 days. (Prajavani, Monday, Dec 8)

Subsidies meant for farmers benefiting companies

A new circular from the agriculture department allows for misuse of subsidies meant for farmers. The department provides subsidy on agriculture implements which was earlier going directly to farmers. However, a government circular dated 24th October states that subsidy amount should be sent directly to agricultural tools production companies or dealers. It has been observed, with such schemes, in the past that companies increased price of implements to misuse subsidy. (Kannada Prabha, Monday, Dec 8)

CBI fails in AIDS scam investigation

CBI investigation on the multi-crore scam by Karnataka State AIDS Prevention Society (KSAPS) may be rendered ineffective due to the lack of in-depth investigation. In its voluminous report of over 500 pages, the World Bank had discussed the scam in detail, but even after months of investigation, CBI has failed to gather major clues regarding the same. Some important files had been found missing before the investigation started. (Kannada Prabha, Tuesday, Dec 9)

MLAs stalling BBMP elections?

Rumour is rife that BJP MLAs of Bangalore are themselves not ready for BBMP elections and they are doing their best to stall the same. They are apparently worried about corporators coming to power, which may result in the loss of their own powers in their constituency and access to grants. At present, developmental works in various wards are going through respective MLAs. It is said that Rs 16- 22 crores are earmarked for each assembly segment for development. (Udayavani, Friday, Dec 5)

New rule for speedy disposal of court cases

The high court is thinking of formulating a set of rules to dispose of cases lying with various courts. These rules are likely to be implemented soon. One of the rules seek the cooperation of advocates to avoid postponement of hearing. Speedy passing on of information on cases from district courts to high court is also sought to be made mandatory. About 15 lakhs cases are likely to be disposed of immediately if these rules come into existence. (Kannada Prabha, Saturday, Dec 6)

Bangalore population: 1 crore plus?

Bangalore’s population may exceed one crore by 2011, according to the Vision 2020 of the Karnataka Planning Commission. Though Bangalore occupies 0.5 percent of the state’s total geographical area, its population is 10.5 per cent of the state’s population. It has the 12.7 per cent of the labour force. Vision 2020 identifies rapid increase in migration from rural areas as the cause for population rise. (Kannada Prabha, Sunday, Dec 7)

Committee finds brain mapping methods inadequate

The Dr D Nagaraj committee which conducted a study into brain mapping methods in institutions in Bangalore and Gandhinagar (Gujarat) said that present method is not a complete one. Committee includes Nagaraj, Director of NIMHANS and senior scientists like Dr Narayanan Srinivasan, Dr Narayan Dutt, Dr N Pradhan and Dr G Venkatasubramanyan. Committee was formed in the wake of criticism on the process brainmapping. A number of reforms have been suggested. (Vijaya Karnataka, Sunday, Dec 7)

Student subsidy not released

Government is yet to release subsidy money for eligible students in various professional courses. More than 32 crores are due for disbursement. Erstwhile JDS- BJP government had decided to subsidise the fees of certain category of students during 2006-07. This subsidy, as envisaged, was to continue for four years. However, the government has not released money for the years 2007- 08 and 2008-09. The future of thousands of students is, thus, hanging since colleges are insisting on them paying the additional fee.(Prajavani,Sunday, Dec 7)

Diabetics Institute to start operations soon

Karnataka Institute for Diabetes (KID), set up a year ago, will start functioning from January 2009. Institute will start work in the premises of Jayadeva Cardiology Institute at Jayanagar. Construction of a separate wing is on in full swing. This full fledged diabetes centre will be a model of sorts in the country. (Prajavani, Friday, Dec 5)

Liver transplanted on one year old

Narayana Hrudayalaya, a heart foundation on Hosur Road, has done a rare surgery of liver transplantation on a one year old baby. The liver was harnessed from a brain-dead five year old, from Tamilnadu. When Narayana Hrudayalaya sent information to important hospitals requesting for a liver for transplantation, a hospital in Trichy responded. The baby, Akshay Kumar, now has a new lease of life. (Kannada Prabha, Saturday, Dec 6)

Govt to auction unutilised BIA land

After completion of the Bangalore International Airport, about 413.65 acres of land is still left unutilised. The government is now planning to auction this land to private parties to construct a ‘Business Park’ near the airport. According to the agreement, these private parties can enjoy this property for 60 years. Eight companies have apparently come forward to buy the land.(Kannada Prabha, Tuesday, Dec 9)

Grama Panchyat wings to be clipped

State government is planning to curb the powers vested in the Grama Panchayats(GP) by enacting an amendment to the Panchayat Raj Act. If implemented, GP presidents will no longer be able to sign cheques and will lose the Ashraya house distribution powers. (Kannada Prabha, Thursday, Dec 11)

Siddaramayya to form new party

Congress leader Siddaramayya is planning to form a new political party named ‘Karnataka Janata Dala’ before the Lok Sabha Elections. Apparently, frustrated by the Congress culture, he is rumoured to go in for a seat arrangement deal with the BJP. (Vijaya Karnataka, Thursday, Dec 11)

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