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Dasara royalty to Wadiyars uncalled for: Historian

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MYSURU: Historian Nanjaraja Urs on Friday expressed his reservations at the state government giving royalty to the during Dasara festival.
Urs who has obtained details from the district administration regarding the royalty amount paid by the state government to the royal family from 2011-12 to 2016-17 through RTI said that in five years the government has paid Rs 1.36 crore to the royal family.

“Officials say that as per tradition, royalty is being paid to the family. But it is illegal and the state government should immediately stop this practice as it is tantamount to the government giving bribe to the royal family,” he said and requested the government to give the royalty amount to Kodagu relief fund.

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Condition of JNNURM houses woeful, residents fear for their lives

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MYSURU: It was a novel, and indeed noble, endeavor undertaken jointly by the state and central governments with the aim to provide housing to the poor and underprivileged sections of the society. However, the condition of the () housing complexes in the city, is indicative of the massive gap between planning and execution. The massive cracks that have developed on the roof of many apartments, coupled with the vulnerability of the structures, is posing a direct and very real threat to the safety of the inhabitants.
In fact, some of the inhabitants are claiming that the ‘kuchha’ they lived in before moving into these houses were better.

The houses constructed under JnNURM in Ekalavyanagar were handed over to the beneficiaries nine months ago. That cracks that have developed in these structures attest to the shoddy quality of work. What is worse is that window panes, and doors have been blown away by gusty winds. Clogged drains and water seepage are the other problems that the residents are facing.

Manjunath, one of the residents, rued that the houses were coming apart within a year of their moving in. “The ceiling has developed cracks, and the drains are blocked,” he said.

Another resident Suresh said that the fragility of the structures was very worrisome. “We are afraid when it might collapse,” said Suresh.

The situation is not different at the housing complexes completed a few years ago in Bannimantap, Yadavgiri.

The failure of the officials at the (KSDB) to address the residents’ woes has only aggravated the problem. “When we approach the officials, they just dismiss us,” said Rajeshwari, a resident at the JnNURM complex in Bannimantap.

Nethravathi, also a resident in the Bannimantap complex, expressed helplessness at the lack of official concern, and the generally apathetic attitude they were forced to contend with on a regular basis. “We don’t know whom to approach. Politicians visit us only during elections, and give us false assurances, and visit us before polls again,” she said.

Hanumaiah, a civic worker has been living in constant fear of the roof of his house collapsing ever since he noticed cracks on the ceiling. “There are massive cracks on the ceiling, and walls of my house. I fear for the lives of my wife, and two daughters, who stay home most of the time. When we approach the authorities, they shun us, and ask us to look into the repair work ourselves. The families that reside in these complexes lead a hand-to-mouth existence, and are in no position to foot bills for repair,” said Hanumaiah.

KSDB executive engineer Kapini Gowda promised to look into the problems of the residents. “Earlier, there were no provisions to repair these homes. Now, the board has drawn an action plan to ensure that the houses are safe to dwell in. We will receive approval by the end of September and solve all problems,” Gowda told TOI.

Queried if action would be taken against contractors found guilty of having executed substandard work, Gowda said, “In the case of projects coming under the defect liability period, the contractors will have to attend to the repair work.”

The JnNURM complexes had triggered controversy when the construction of the buildings was undertaken with loans availed from HUDCO banks, which offered rates of interest higher than that of nationalised banks.

– (By Shivendra Urs)

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Muslim man builds temple for Ganesha

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MYSURU: The Gauri-Ganesha festival is just three days away, and 14 kilometres from Chamarajnagar district headquarters, a Muslim man is busy making arrangements for the installation of an idol of Lord Ganesha, the destroyer of all obstacles.
T Rahman, a 61-year-old retired employee of the irrigation department, grew upset when the Ganesha idol was stolen from Chikkahole reservoir area. “Last year, a few unidentified thieves stole the idol of Lord Ganesha from the Chikkahole project area park. I was upset and felt a strong need to build a new temple for the Lord. When the same thoughts continued in my dream, I decided to build a new temple,” he said.

Rahman, after his retirement, has begun working as the gate officer for both the Suvarnavathi and the Chikkahole reservoirs, which are located in 3-kilometre radius.

Local residents see a true champion of secularism in Rahman. “It‘s a positive trend that we are willing to even build a place of worship for another community. We do not mind even visiting each other‘s shrine. This is the true spirit of Indian culture,” says Raghu Gowda, a resident of Chikkahole dam area, where the temple is coming up.

Ritualistic necessities, however, delayed Rahman‘s plans to open the temple during the Gauri-Ganesha festival itself. “All of us were eager to open the temple at the time of upcoming Gauri-Ganesha festival. The idol, which was sculpted in Tamil Nadu, was also ready. But the priests informed me that before the installation of any idol, it must be kept immersed in water for six days, and in paddy for another six days. We won‘t be able to open the temple during this Ganesha Chaturthi. But it will be done at the earliest,” he said.

When enquired about the cost involved, Rahman declined to share the details. “It is Lord‘s work. So, I will not share any details,” he said.

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Farmers, activists in Mysuru protest Yogendra Yadav’s arrest

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Mysuru: In the wake of president Yogendra Yadav’s arrest by Tamil Nadu police in Tiruvannamalai, where he participated in a against the eight-lane Chennai-Salem Expressway project, the farmers in the district decided to show solidarity with their brethren in the neighbouring state.
Farmers, writers and activists gathered near the Mahatma Gandhi statue near the Mysore Law Courts complex, and raised slogans against the Tamil Nadu government. Dubbing the project ‘anti-farmer’, acclaimed writer said, “People are laboring under the delusion that the expressway will usher in development. This is an absolute misconception. The project is being taken up at a cost of Rs 10,000 crore, and at least 3% of this – Rs 300 crore – will reach the rich. Only the timber mafia will benefit from this project, which entails destruction of forests.”

Questioning the Tamil Nadu government’s decision to construct alternative roads between Chennai and Salem, when there were other roads connecting the two cities, Mahadeva said, “The state government wants to build another road by acquiring agricultural land, and destroying forests. This is condemnable. If the Centre goes ahead with the project, that region will meet the same fate as Kodagu.”

Condemning Yadav’s arrest, Mahadeva said, “He went there merely to speak on behalf of the farmers and listen to their woes. He was detained for no reason. When Indira Gandhi was Prime Minister, an Emergency was openly declared. This is an undeclared Emergency.”

Lamenting the rise in fuel prices, the writer said that the rate of a litre of petrol had been Rs 65 when a barrel of crude oil was around USD 130. “Now, though the price of crude oil has dropped, petrol price is on the rise. This constant fluctuation is like slow poison to the people,” he said.

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Gujarat model means false encounters to kill progressive thinkers: Former advocate general

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Mysuru: Invoking the legacy of the late writer Poornachandra , considered one of the leading lights of the Navya movement of Kannada literature, who was at the forefront of protests that threatened individual liberty, former advocate general of Karnataka Prof. Ravivarma Kumar on Sunday said that the 2019 Lok Sabha elections would be the last wakeup call for the people of the country lest India become witness to the dismantling of its Constitution.
Prof. Kumar, who delivered the valedictory in an event organised to commemorate the life and achievements of Tejaswi on the polymathic author’s 80th birth anniversary at the Mini Theatre of Kalamandira, said, “Tejaswi’s participation in social movements has not been recorded greatly. But, when imposed the in 1975, he opposed it, and called on people to condemn such an act. He inspired many people through his actions. Today, we are facing an undeclared Emergency under the BJP government in the Centre. This is more toxic than what happened during Indira Gandhi’s time.”

The ‘Gujarat Model of Governance’ that Prime Minister wanted to emulate across India entailed commissioning false encounters to kill progressive thinkers, said Prof. Kumar. “In recent days, under the guise of apprehending so-called Urban Naxals, Left liberal thinkers and writers are being detained. We have lost faith in the country’s executive and the legislature. But, we still have faith in India’s Election Commission. The architect of the Indian Constitution BR Ambedkar said that our power lies in exercising our franchise. In the next year’s elections, we must take an oath to elect a pluralist party to power. Although Modi is the PM, he only makes speeches. It is BJP president Amit Shah who takes all the decisions,” he added.

Friends, acquaintances recall writer

Noted cartoonist Gujjarappa, meanwhile, remembered his association with Tejaswi, who he called his mentor and teacher. “It was Tejaswi who taught me photography, and dark-room painting. When I was working with noted writer-director P Lankesh, he sent me to Niruttara in Moodigere to learn photography from Tejaswi. I stayed there for a week. During my sojourn, I went on a fishing trip with the writer. We are planning on publishing comics based on Tejaswi’s works in the foreseeable future. His love for the environment, flora and fauna will be a message to children,” said Gujjarappa.

Noted film critic Parameshwara Guruswamy touched on the difficulties involved in bringing Tejaswi’s stories to life on celluloid. “Along with Tejaswi, it is hard to film works by Kuvempu and Devanooru Mahadeva. But, if one is successful, it would elevate Kannada cinema,” he said.

Bird watching at Kukkarahalli Lake

Meanwhile, wildlife enthusiasts DH Tanuja and A Shivaprakash led a group of bird watchers at Kukkarahalli Lake, where a special programme was organised to celebrate the ecological legacy of , who was himself an avid bird watcher and photographer.

As the group travelled through the lake, Tanuja pointed to the various birds, identifying and giving a short talk about each of them. Tanuja also voiced concerns over the proliferation in the growth of acacia trees in the lake premises. On the origins of the island at Kukkarahalli Lake, she said, “In 1970, a mud road was built to bridge Manasagangothri and Kalamandira. But, it rained heavily and the mud was washed off, and settled in the middle of the lake creating an island.”

BN Shriram of Pustaka Publications and Abhiruchi Ganesh were among those in attendance.

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Will initiate stringent action against anti-party members, leaders: AICC secretary

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Mysuru: Warning party workers and leaders against indulging in , All India Committee () secretary N Vishnunath on Sunday said, “Stringent action will be initiated against those found to have been involved in anti-party activitiesduring the assembly and the Mysuru City Corporation (MCC) council elections.”
In the assembly elections, Congress lost two of the three urban segments that it had held in Mysuru district. While lost to L Nagendra of the BJP in the Chamaraja segment, forfeited his Krishnaraja seat to former minister and senior BJP leader SA Ramadas. Congress’ impressive performance in the Old Mysuru region, and particularly in Mysuru and Chamarajanagar had been instrumental in the party’s victory in the 2013 elections. However, the Congress lost several seats that it had won five years ago in Mysuru, including Hunsur and Nanjangud. Former minister Tanveer Sait was one of the few Congress leaders, who managed to retain his seat – Narasimharaja. The Congress party office in Mysuru has witnessed confrontations aplenty since the results for the assembly elections were announced, with supporters of defeated candidates leveling charges of anti-party activities against other Congress leaders.

“We have collected details against those who were allegedly involved in anti-party activities. In the coming days, the party leadership will initiate stringent action against them,” Vishnunathan said.

Former MLA Vasu said that the party had held a three-hour long meeting on Sunday to discuss the course of action to be pursued against those who acted against Congress’ interests in the elections. “The Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) has constituted a panel to look into this. We will send the list of those who worked against the party to the KPCC leadership in two days. KPCC leaders will take a decision on what action is to be taken against them. Even in Chamaraja segment, four of five Congress leaders worked against the party,” Vasu said.

Mayor yet to be named

With the elections to the MCC council throwing up a fractured mandate, the Congress and JD(S) have decided to come together to stake claim to the mayor’s post. Vasu said that the two parties had not yet held discussions on who would occupy the post of the mayor. “Once former chief minister Siddaramaiah, who is on a foreign tour, returns, the two parties will take a call,” Vasu added.

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Mobile phones light up Chamarajanagar district hospital during power cuts

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MYSURU: Wards in Chamarajanagar district hospital are being lighted with every time there has been a power cut over the last couple of days, a video which has gone viral shows. The video was recorded by a patient and it also shows patients in the men’s ward have to make do with cardboard instead of mattresses.
The district hospital is a lifeline for hundreds of patients especially from poor sections of society. District health department officials say they are helpless since the diesel generator is in disrepair.

The video shows paramedical staff attending to patients with the aid of the torch function on their mobile phones in the old building of the hospital, which is located in the heart of Chamarajanagar city.

“The number of tribals and people of the SC and ST community is high in the district,” said a patient. “Due to poor infrastructure, there are no big in the district. The district hospital is a lifeline. It is really sad that the district hospital is still facing these kinds of problems.”

District surgeon Dr Raghuram admitted he is aware of the problems, but suggested there is little he can do about it.

“The diesel generator has been out of order for a few days now,” Raghuram said. “Spare parts are available only in Pune so there has been a delay in getting it repaired. Presently it is switched on and off manually. We have deputed a person to switch on the generator wherever there is a power cut. He may take five to 10 minutes to start the generator. During that time, mobiles are used.”

As for people having to sleep on cardboard, he said: “There is no dormitory for those who stay in the hospital along with patients. Ours is a 300-bed hospital. A proposal to build a dormitory at an estimated cost of Rs 1.2 crore is pending approval. Once the new hospital building is ready, all these problems will get resolved.”

He went on to suggest that doctors and staff are doing their best under the circumstances.

“At around 12.45 am on Wednesday, a pregnant woman was referred from Yelandur,” he said. “Our surgeons performed a caesarean operation. But there was no bed to keep the mother and the new born. I got a call at 1am seeking advice. Finally, we decided to provide a bed at the cardio care unit. This is the situation. The daily footfall at the hospital is around 1,400 patients. Once the new building is ready, we won’t have these problems.”

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