Thursday, January 15, 2009

Rs 5-cr for lake facelift

Rs 5-cr for lake facelift
Minister for Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board Katta Subramanya Naidu has ordered a survey to assess the extent of encroachment on the 44-acre Kempambudi Lake in the City. The Bangalore Urban District Deputy Commissioner has been asked to submit the report within 15 days.

The survey is a prelude to the government’s plans for the rejuvenation of the tank. An estimated Rs 5 crore shall be spent on the same, it was noted.The Minister, who inspected the tank and its limits on Tuesday morning, took note of residents’ complaints that almost 7 acres of the tank was encroached upon.

Naidu also ordered for immediate action to check the flow of sewage into the lake. Civic agencies involved in the lake’s maintenance were told to complete the work before the onset of monsoon.

If need be, another Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) shall be set up near the lake, he said.

The residents complained of water contamination and noted that desilting work had been pending since many months. They held the officials responsible for water contamination, saying that they had failed to provide a separate line for the sewage flow.

The Minister was accompanied by local MLA Hemachandra Sagar, and other civic officials.

HCC to invest Rs41,500 crore in Gujarat luxury township

This is called new urbanism? township..exclusive by uprooting people... : HCC to invest Rs41,500 crore in Gujarat luxury township
Ajit Gulbchand's Hindustan Construction Company (HCC) has signed two agreements with the Gujarat government to develop a waterfront city at Dholera and a water pipeline projects at a total investment of Rs 41,500 crore.

The waterfront city project will be spread over 4000 acres at the Dholera Special Investment Region (SIR) on the lines of Lavasa, India's first and largest man made Hill City being built by HCC near Pune, at a cost of Rs.40,000 crore.

Dholera, on the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC), is located at the Gulf of Cambay about 129km from Ahmedabad.

The water pipeline projects are with Narmada water resources, water supply and Kalpasar department to develop three water pipeline worth Rs1,500 crore.

The three water pipelines project envisages inter basin transfer of water from N M C to various reservoirs such as the reservoirs based inter basin transfer of water, to Dharoi reservoir in Mehsana district, Sipu and Dantiwada reservoir in Banaskantha district.

''The concept of new urbanism is gaining momentum globally and we are happy to initiate this modern and sustainable WaterFront City in Gujarat, based on this model," said Ajit Gulabchand, chairman and managing director, HCC. "We are confident of replicating our successful Lavasa business model which has already established a large network of business partners. The innovative nature of this project is matched only by the Gujarat government's keen interest to develop world-class infrastructure in the state."

HCC says it will will fund the first phase of the project through private equity and debt, a part from it's own investment while the balance through the self cash generating route.

The actual construction work will start after various regulatory approvals like detailed project report, Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) study and after development of the master plan of the region.

The initial phase is expected to be ready in the next three years and the entire project is due to be completed in 8-10 years time. The new Water Front City at Dholera is expected to employment around 50,000 workers.

HCC's 15,000-acre Lavasa township has a 20sq-km man-made lake, and is India's first man-made hill station.

The township itself has been master-planned by Hellmuth, Obata + Kassabaum to develop into a world-class, integrated urban and economic centre providing an aspirational lifestyle and facilities where the people can live, work, learn and play, in harmony with the highest environmental ideals.

The company has already established tie-ups with international as well as domestic institutions such as ITC Hotels (Fortune Select) and Accor (Pullman, Novotel and Grand Mercure) in the field of hospitality, Oxford University (Said Business School), Girls' Day School Trust (UK), Ecole hotelier de Lausanne (Switzerland), Symbiosis (Pune) and Christ University (Bangalore) in the field of education and Apollo Hospitals in health and wellness.

Through its subsidiary HCC Real Estate, the company owns 60 per cent of the Lavasa township venture, which has already won some of the world's most prestigious planning awards from The Congress of New Urbanism, in the US and The American Society of Landscape Architects - the only development in India to have qualified for this recogntion.

As you sow, so you reap? Deccan Herald

Deccan Herald - As you sow, so you reap?
Tomorrow is Sankranthi, the festival of harvest. And most parts of Karnataka will celebrate. It’s also that transitory period, ‘Sankramana’ when the sun enters the sign of Makara, or Capricorn. Though urban Karnataka is far removed from its agrarian roots, the traditional distribution of ellu and bella (in little ziplock covers!) in urban neighbourhoods continues as a symbol of our essentially agrarian past.

Look carefully at the ingredients distributed. All traditional crops available locally: sugarcane, banana, coconut, gram, groundnut, til. In that sense, Sankranthi is really a festival of the local farmer. And fittingly, it is the farmer who should be at the centre of any discourse on festivities like Sankranthi. It is a festival of the farmer, and for the farmer.

In the Mysore region, like the village of Siddalingapura, the harvest is generally a time of heightened expectations. There’s the ritual of Kitchchu hayisuvudu (Cattle with their horns painted and decorated with turmeric cross over a burning heap of haystack). Farmers along with their cattle assemble on Mysore-Bangalore road near Siddalingapura to perform the ritual, even as curious onlookers gather.

Nagendra, a farmer tells Spectrum that the young and old alike gear up for the ritual in villages like Siddalingapura and Hosahalli in Mandya district. Earlier, Kurubara Halli near PKTB Sanatorium on KRS road in Mysore also drew huge crowds, but not on a such a scale anymore.

But, if Sankranthi is about the harvest, what then is the harvest like this year? “Where are the crops for us to celebrate the festival of harvest?” a Mysore farmer asks. Thanks to the rapid urbanisation, the fields have all gone and farmers have taken to other professions.

The best of times; the worst of times

When we asked Bandeppa (48) of Panegaon in Gulbarga taluk about what Sankranthi holds for him, he says it is hardly something to look forward to. Having burnt his fingers badly, Bandeppa is cautious. The awfully merciless south-west monsoon dealt him a heavy blow. Though a proud owner of ten acres of dry land, he has incurred insurmountable losses this time. All he has got as part of the harvest are four bags of tur (red gram), the predominant cash crop of the district. With untimely rains and a severe pest attack, his investment has gone in vain. “Never in recent memory have I had such a hard time,” Bandeppa rues.

But, the good news is that there are farmers who have reaped a bountiful harvest, thanks to regualr water supply to their fields. They have also been able to contain the pest menace. Take Shivasharanappa, for instance.
This Kotnur farmer is ecstatic with the 20 kgs of tur that he has been able to harvest from his five acres of wetland. It is quite a handsome gain, for tur is fetching a good price in the market today.

So, his 20 bags would amount to 25 quintals and at the rate of Rs 30.50 per quintal, he has netted more than Rs 75,000. Not too bad, in these troubled times.

But not all farmers are as lucky as Shivasharanappa. Small holders with less than five acres of dry land are the worst hit and their borrowing from private money lenders has only added to their misery. With most of the farmers depending heavily on tur which is a long 180-day gestation crop, they cannot even think of an alternate crop.

What’s with the areca...

Elsewhere, in Shimoga district, the harvest has been a mixed bag for farmers. After braving the vagaries of nature such as the moody monsoon, pest and fungal infections, the farmers here are all set to celebrate Sankranthi.

The major crops in the district have traditionally been paddy, maize, areca and sugarcane. Though the harvest has been along expected lines, areca growers in the district are in dire straits. The produce has come down by 30 per cent due to fungal infection locally known as kole roga. Prices of crops like paddy, maize and sugarcane have remained normal this year while that of areca, the main commercial crop has registered a steep fall.

Areca, the main commercial crop of the region seems to have lost its sheen. Cheap imports and extension of cultivation in non-traditional areas have resulted in a price slump. Another reason that is being cited for the drop in prices is that the government is charging Rs 12.5 lakh per month as tax for each guthkha producing machine.

Recession is global too

For proof that the global economic recession has widespread implications, pay close attention to the areca market in Shimoga. Areca merchants who had invested heavily in the stock market are not in a position to purchase produce from farmers at a competitive price. The price of saraku variety of areca which was around Rs 18,000 last year has crashed to Rs 12,000 and rashi idi variety from Rs 14,000 to Rs 8,500. Areca growers are hoping that the market will recover even as they celebrate the harvest festival.

So, tomorrow, when you savour your ellu-bella, think of the farmer in Kotnur, Panegaon, orSiddalingapura. For, it is all about him, indeed.

(Inputs from Srinivas Sirnoorkar, Srikantaswamy B and Veerendra PM)

Karnataka seeks Rs 25,800 cr as grants

473660 : National : Karnataka seeks Rs 25,800 cr as grants
Bangalore , Jan 9 Karnataka Government today urged the 13th Finance Commission to release Rs 25,800 crore grants and more devolution of funds through the Commission rather than the planning commission route.
During an interaction with the Commission headed by Vijay Kelkar, the Government pointed out that the state faced a number of"special problems"including regional imbalance in North Karnataka and had to address the infrastrucutre needs of the ever growing Bangalore City.

The city is home to 743 multi national IT companies and 131 BT firms accounting for 57,000 crore software exports annually, Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa, also the state&aposs Finance Minister told the Commission here.

There is a need to augment the drinking water supply in the city by 476 million litres daily by 2011-12. At present as against the requirement of Rs 1219 MLD only 870 MLD was being supplies and the city faced a shortfall of 349 MLD, he noted.

To address the city&aposs infrastuructre probelms there is a requirement of Rs 8,500 crore grants, Yeddyurappa said.

"We suggest that 40 per cent of the Central taxes should be devolved to the states. The overall limit on the transfer of central resources should also be raised to 50 per cent", Yeddyurapps demanded.

Dharwad water project

IVRCL bags projects worth Rs 260.46cr
The water division has bagged an order from Karnataka Urban Water Supply and Drainage Board, Dharwad, for construction of head works near Almatti dam, laying and joining pipes from the head works up to water treatment plant at Hungund and construction of two pump houses. It will design, construct, supply, install, test and commission a 25.25 mld water treatment plant in Hungund. The project, estimated to cost Rs 53.86 crore, would be completed in 20 months, according to a release.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Water safety problems in Karnataka unlikely to be addressed by 2009-end The Hindu : Front Page

The Hindu : Front Page : Water safety problems in Karnataka unlikely to be addressed by 2009-end
Water safety problems in Karnataka unlikely to be addressed by 2009-end

Nagesh Prabhu

BANGALORE: Addressing water safety problems in all the quality-affected habitations in the State by the end of 2009 is likely to remain a dream under the Centre’s flagship Bharat Nirman Programme.

There are 21,008 water quality affected habitations in the State. So far, only 2,106 habitations have been provided safe drinking water under the rural water supply schemes of the Union and State governments.

Funds have been sanctioned to provide quality water in 6,029 habitations and the progress of work is at different stages. Providing safe drinking water in all the quality-affected habitations in the country by the end of 2009 is one of the major objectives of the Bharat Nirman Programme.

The State Government had earmarked Rs. 654.79 crore to implement 22,973 rural water supply works in all the 29 districts in the current financial year (2008-09). The funds will be utilised to provide safe drinking water in 2,035 habitations in the current year, according to officials in the Department of Rural Development and Panchayat Raj. The provision of clean drinking water, sanitation, and a clean environment are vital in order to improve the health of the people and to reduce the incidence of diseases and deaths.

As many as 9,39,221 cases of diarrhoea, 14,980 cases of viral hepatitis and 96,147 cases of typhoid were reported in the State in 2006, due to drinking contaminated water.

Water-borne diseases claimed 1,308 lives (diarrhoea-1,279, viral hepatitis-24, typhoid-5) in 2006, according to the Planning Commission document.

As many as 14,779 habitations are yet to be covered in the State.

The State was finding it difficult to establish alternative sources of water supply to the quality-affected habitations, as the source was either very far away or was not available. Many habitations have been affected due to fluoride content in drinking water.

The district-wise approval of funds for taking up works under the rural water supply scheme in 2008-09 is as follows: Bangalore Urban Rs. 40.93 crore; Ramanagara Rs. 55.49 crore; Bangalore Rural 38.92 crore; Kolar Rs. 21.74 crore; Tumkur Rs. 7.76 crore; Chitradurga 37.28 crore; Davangere Rs. 20.72 crore; Shimoga Rs. 18.14 crore; Mysore Rs. 90.56 crore; Mandya Rs. 43.10 crore; Chamarajanagar Rs. 24.16 crore; Hassan 16.02 crore; Dakshina Kannada Rs. 37.33 crore; Udupi Rs. 39.13 crore; Kodagu Rs. 3.08 crore; Belgaum Rs. 13.52 crore; Dharwad Rs. 16.75 crore; Haveri Rs. 7.97 crore; Gadag Rs. 18.53 crore; Uttara Kannada Rs. 12.93 crore; Bagalkot Rs. 26.11 crore; Gulbarga Rs. 14.41 crore; Bidar Rs. 90 crore; Raichur Rs. 16.02 crore; Koppal Rs. 25.11 crore; Chickballapur Rs. 12.52 crore; Chikmagalur Rs. 11.60 crore; Bijapur Rs. 14.91 crore; and Bellary Rs. 14.91 crore.