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Clay and terractotta Ganesha idols prove a big draw at crafts bazaar

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MYSURU: There is less than a week to go for Ganesha Chaturthi celebrations, and in an indication of growing concern among citizens for the environment, business at stalls set up at the selling eco-friendly idols of the elephant-headed God appeared to be brisk. The ban on (PoP) idols, coupled with a slew of initiatives undertaken by the government highlighting the benefits of eco-friendly idols, appears to be yielding desirable results. Besides idols made of clay, the other substance that customers appeared to prefer was terracotta.
Mandya terracotta artisan Nagaraju, participating in the crafts bazaar organised by the Union ministry of textiles in association with JSS Urban Haat, said that he had registered very good business at the event. “The demand for has steadily increased over the past few years, following the ban on PoP idols. People are switching to clay and terracotta idols as a result,” Nagaraju said.

Explaining the artistic and sustainable benefits of terracotta, Nagaraju said, “Terracotta is a clay-based product, which has been a major ingredient in sculptures since ancient times. Terracotta is manufactured by inserting clay into a mould in a specific shape, and then burning it, which results in the clay attaining the shape of the structure.”

Delighted with the demand for terracotta idols, he added, “The price of these idols ranges from Rs 80 to Rs 400, based on size and design. Some of the smallest idols are just two inches in height.”

In keeping with the spirit of the season, T Sekar, a deaf textile artisan, and his sister Pushparani, has managed to bring Ganesha to life in various shapes, and positions, on the saris that the duo has designed.

Meanwhile, Nanda Dole quit her job at a cooperative bank when she was due to deliver her second child, but was reluctant to return to her job in the financial world. Once she learnt how to work magic with ‘waste’ substances on fabric, besides bringing out intricately wrought jewellry. She has managed to design necklaces, earrings and other ornamental jewellery.

Modern Aplic, designed by Suresh Kumar Patnaik, was also a big draw at the crafts bazaar, which will conclude on Sunday.

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Protest by UoM employees enters fourth day; varsity mgmt remains indifferent

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Mysuru: The 165 women, whose jobs as civic workers at the () was threatened following tweaking in the rules, are showing no signs of relenting as their against what they dubbed ‘unfair termination’ by the varsity administration entered the fourth day on Friday. The women have been protesting round the clock, sleeping at the entrance of the campus, and forced to relieve themselves in the open. The situation of Chaya, with a nine-month-old baby in tow, is particularly distressful. Chaya has been struggling to feed her child in the open for the past four days, even as the varsity administration appears to be in no hurry to put an end to the impasse.
The 165 civic workers have been serving UoM for the past 14 years, and they launched the stir in the wake of the varsity’s decision to outsource cleaning , which would effectively have rendered them jobless. Refusing to take this injustice lying down, they launched a protest under the banner of ‘Karnataka State Composite University Cleaning Workers’ Association’ from Tuesday. Intent on reclaiming their job, the workers have refused to budge from their stance.

Lack of access to lavatories during the agitation has been one of the major problems confronting the workers. The protesting women said that, the varsity administration had locked the toilets besides the arch to prevent them from using it. “It is very hard for us to relieve ourselves in the open, and onlookers only make it worse,” said some protesters.

Kantamma, a resident of Paduvarahalli, admitted that her family members were so moved by their plight at the protest site that they had requested her to abandon the agitation, and return home. “But, I am reluctant to go home. It is not just a matter of days for years. We have served the varsity for years together,” she told TOI.

Lakshmamma, 48, of Sundalli in Mandya district, said that she had had to leave her physically challenged husband at home in order to participate in the protest. “I would travel from Mandya to UoM every day. My family members are asking me to leave the job, and return home. It is very difficult for us women to leave our families behind, and protest round the clock. But we will protest till we get justice,” Lakhmamma told TOI.

The protest by the hapless women is far removed from those that the public are accustomed to watching on television. It is not so much about waving of flags or wearing black bands around one’s arm that has been the highlight, but the many trials that they have been subjected to since they launched their agitation. On the night of Tuesday, when they launched the stir, it rained heavily leaving them drenched. The women have been forced to sleep on plastic sheets. However, they have faced no respite from mosquitoes or the biting cold. However, doctors from the city’s Medical Service Centre have volunteered to check their health.

What has added to their sense of betrayal is the indifference of the varsity, and district administration, to their protest. Neither the in-charge vice-chancellor of UoM nor the registrar has bothered to speak to the protesters and hear their grievances. On the other hand, no official from the district administration has paid a visit to the protest site.

All India Democratic Youth Organisation member M Umadevi lamented the disrespectful attitude towards women by the administration of a university, which was more than a century old. “It is the responsibility of the varsity to uphold the dignity of women. This protest has clearly reflected the pathetic state of affairs prevailing at the varsity,” Umadevi said.

– ( By Akshatha J)

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Everyone deserves to hear the sounds of life: Brett Lee

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MYSURU: “No one in this world deserves to live in silence. I strongly believe that everybody deserves to hear the sounds of life,” said , former international cricketer and Global ambassador with Cochlear, an implantable hearing solutions company.
Over 2.35 lakh people in Karnataka suffer from profound hearing impairment. Brett Lee believes technology is transforming the experience of deafness. “Parents and family members should not ignore the smallest signs of hearing loss and should take speedy action,” said the cricketer who was in the city and is spearheading a global campaign to raise awareness about hearing loss ever since an accident temporarily impaired his son‘s hearing.

“I have personally witnessed how an implant takes a person from silence to sound. It is a life changing moment,” said the Aussie pacer.

Stressing on the importance of early intervention, especially in the case of children, Lee lauded Kerala’s efforts, a first in the country, to screen children for hearing loss in 66 government maternity centres. “There is an urgent need to make newborn screening test for hearing mandatory as well as educating parents of children with hearing loss so that they the problem is dealt with at the earliest,” added

Lee’s son was five when he had a fall and fractured a part of his skull. The injury was close to his ear and led to hearing loss in one of the ears which was later restored. This incident made him realize that no one deserves to live in silence.

Dr HA Dathathri, consultant- ENT, head and neck surgery, ColumbiaAsia Hospital, Mysuru, said, “Our country lacks public awareness about hearing loss. There was a time when children with hearing loss had to learn and master sign language and adjust to a life without sound. But that does not hold true anymore. The newborn screening program is a first of its kind and an important support for children who are deaf and hard of hearing. A child as young as 12 months of age can receive cochlear implants that can potentially restore hearing.”

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Stray horse holds up traffic in Mysuru, bites executive’s hand

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MYSURU: Stray horses abandoned by their owners are fast becoming a and commuters. The city corporation argues that there are far fewer horses roaming the streets than but as 30-year-old Harish found out, just one was enough to cause harm.

Harish, a marketing , was bitten by a near Mysuru Law Courts on Thursday. He was weaving his bike through the traffic on a work assignment at 3.30pm when he came across two horses fighting with each other. The horses were moving around menacingly, knocking their heads together, when Harish slowed down to let one of them pass. Instead, the horse turned and lunged at him and bit him in the right shoulder. A dumbstruck Harish did not react for a few seconds and the horse clamped its jaws. He then vigorously shook his hand to free himself.

“I was shocked when the horse held my hand in its mouth but I managed to get it released and jumped to safety. Luckily, I didn’t fall from the bike otherwise it would have been another tragedy,” said Harish. His friend, who too was riding a bike, moved ahead and did not notice that Harish had fallen behind. He then took Harish to hospital.

But another shock awaited Harish at the Krishnamurthypuram Primary Health Centre as he arrived writhing in pain. The doctors suggested he get an anti-rabies vaccine (ARV). He was given a tetanus injection and painkillers and referred to the government-run Krishnarajendra Hospital.

PHC medical officer Suvarna said she had come across a horse bite for the first time. “We advised him to get ARV as precaution. It is the only treatment available for bites by dogs, horses, cats, monkeys, rats and squirrels,” she said.

Elephant electrocuted

A 45-year-old makhna (tuskless male elephant) was electrocuted after it touched an illegally built electric fence around a field near Thattaguppe village, Kaggalipura, on Bengaluru’s outskirts on Friday. Landowner Prabhu Kumar, who is absconding, has been booked under Wildlife Protection Act and Electricity Act.

Kaggalipura range forest officer Varun Kumar said, “We suspect the makhna ventured out of Bannerghatta National Park in search of food. While trying to enter the field, it came in with the wire. The land owner might have installed the fencing to restrict entry of wild boars, but no permission was taken,” he added.

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BMTC fares to go up 15%-18% this week

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MYSURU/BENGALURU: All state-run transport corporations, including the Karnataka State Road and Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation, will increase ticket fares in the next couple of days.
Transport minister DC Thammanna confirmed to TOI fares will be revised between 15% and 18%. “Transport corporations are demanding 18% increase, but we want to trim it by 1-2%. Today, too, diesel price has increased. Tomorrow, prices could go up further. If this happens, we will be left with no option other than approving an 18% increase,” he said, adding they were expecting the CM‘s approval in two days.

Bus fare hike: Ball in CM’s court

Transport department sources said the day the CM approves the hike, all transport corporations will increase fares that midnight. “There is no question of waiting for a day or two to implement it as corporations are incurring huge loss every day due to diesel price revision,” an officer said.

With diesel rate at an alltime high, the minimum fare is expected to be increased by Re 1 to Rs 3. All corporations wanted 20% hike in bus fares, but pared it to 18% in the interests of passengers.

“To implement popular schemes like farm loan waiver, tax burden on petrol products was hiked. People have been made scapegoat,” said Vijaya Kumar, a resident.

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Devegowda steps in to solve UoM civic worker crisis; asks mgmt to cancel new tender

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Mysuru: In the aftermath of the () administration deciding against continuing with as many as 165 women civic workers who had served the varsity for 14 years, the employees started a stir at the entrance to the Manasagangothri campus – one that has lasted more than five days. Sleeping at the entrance, the women have had to endure the humiliation of having to relieve themselves in the open, besides sleeping on plastic sheets in the rain.
On Monday, higher education minister met the protesting civic workers, and heard their grievances. After lending a patient ear to their woes, Devegowda directed UoM’s in-charge vice-chancellor Prof. TK Umesh to cancel the new tender, which the varsity had called to hire new contract civic workers.

It was the threat of being rendered jobless in the wake of UoM’s decision to call for a new tender that triggered the protest by the 165 women workers. Now, satisfied with the minister’s assurance, the workers have withdrawn their protest.

Accompanied by Prof. Umesh, and UoM registrar R Rajanna, Devegowda spoke to the women. Besides highlighting the imminent danger of unemployment that the new tender posed, the protesting women sought benefits such as ESI care and provident fund (PF) that they were entitled to in accordance with a Supreme Court judgment.

“The women are dedicated workers, and committed to the varsity. I have not received any complaints against them from the UoM management. I have directed Prof. Umesh to cancel the tender for new employees with immediate effect,” said Devegowda.

The minister also promised to address other problems that the workers had raised including the demand for pay on a par with permanent employees. “I will address these problems after the Dasara celebrations,” Devegowda added.

For the protesting women, Devegowda’s assurances came as a soothing balm after what has truly been a trying period. Elation and relief swept the protesters in equal measure. Emotions ran high among the protesting women following the minister’s assurances, which signalled the end of their ordeal.

Taking the case of Chaya, who was forced to return to work soon after having given birth, into cognisance, Devegowda directed the varsity administration to provide maternity leave for the civic workers, and asked them to extend healthcare benefits to the workers.

Narayana, who was the first civic worker to become the city’s mayor, historian Nanjaraj Urs, AIUTUC member M Umadevi and Civic Workers’ Association president Chandrashekar Meti were present at Manasagangothri on Monday.

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MCC calls for fresh tenders to provide breakfast for pourakarmikas

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Mysuru: Lack of response to tender applications by the (MCC) to provide breakfast for in Mysuru nearly a year ago has prompted the civic agency to call for fresh tenders again. However, in order to ensure that the civic workers are well nourished, has arranged for them to have breakfast at till the tender for breakfast caterers is finalised. The MCC’s proposal to provide nutritious breakfast for free had been the source of much joy among the community. However, the protracted delay in the initiative’s implementation has left them a disheartened lot.
Since the tender process is slated for completion in a week or so, MCC has made the necessary arrangements to ensure that the pourakarmikas receive free breakfast at the 11 Indira Canteens across the city.

MCC commissioner KH Jagadeesha told TOI that the initiative to provide free breakfast to pourakarmikas had hit a roadblock owing to lack of interest among contractors to vie for the tender that the civic body called for last year. “We floated the tender again on Monday. We will ensure that the pourakarmikas get free breakfast at Indira Canteens till the tender is finalised,” Jagadeesha added.

However, the pourakarmikas are none too pleased with the prospect of enjoying a free breakfast at Indira Canteens. “The free breakfast scheme was announced nearly a year ago. We are awaiting its implementation for months now. We will not settle for food at Indira Canteens. ‘Naashta (breakfast)’ at Indira Canteens cost Rs 5, but we are entitled to a breakfast worth Rs 20. Why is the government asking us to adjust to Indira Canteen?” asked a pourakarmika.

Secretary of the Pourakarmika Organisation Srinivasa, meanwhile, questioned the delay in the implementation of the breakfast scheme in Mysuru when it was already in place in Srirangapatna and Mandya. “I met senior officials in Bengaluru and have expressed the disappointment of the civic workers over the delay in this regard. This scheme has not been implemented owing to confusion,’ Srinivasa said.

Reiterating the pourakarmikas’ opposition to accept the consolatory offer of breakfast from Indira Canteens, Srinivasa added, “There are more than 3,000 pourakarmikas in the city, of whom 580 are permanent employees. There were proposals to provide us breakfast from institutions such as Iskcon and other such organisations. We do not know what is stopping the government from implementing the scheme without any delay. The process was halted for months together citing the Model Code of Conduct that was in place for the assembly elections.”

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