Archive for July 22nd, 2012

Flood distress? Don’t call Belgaum helplines

July 22, 2012


By Sangamesh Menasinakai

23rd July 2011 02:59 AM

BELGAUM: The rain gods are showering misery on Belgaum district and if people in distress need any help, they have nowhere to look but above.

For, a reality check by the Express of the "24hour helplines" announced by the deputy commissioner on Wednesday, showed that affected people have no hope of getting any succor from them.

Express began by calling taluklevel helplines from 1.50 am to 3 am on Thursday. The result: Of the 10 taluks, only three were alert. Some calls were answered by servants who had no clue about the helplines.

After incharge deputy commissioner Ajay Nagbhushan had on Wednesday announced that new control rooms at all assistant commissioner and tahsildar offices would work around the clock. Express, at 9 pm, contacted the district control room number. The call reached a fax machine after a long ring. After five minutes, a staffer asked us to call after 10 minutes for the list of helpline numbers of other taluks.

Express called the same number at 1.50 am – just 10 hours after the DC’s press meet on Thursday – and sought helpline numbers of Raibag taluk. A sleepy voice at the other end said there was no electricity and finally gave the number.

On dialling the number (08331225247), the call reached a fax machine.

Express found that helplines opened by Belgaum City Corporation (BCC) were slightly better.

Calls made to 08312405316 were received but not answered. However, staff answered queries to a call made to another no. 08312405377.

Interestingly, a call was received in the morning by a contractor who asked for caller details.

Bhagyalaxmi: officials in a fix again

July 22, 2012

By Sangamesh M

04th July 2011 02:57 AM

BELGAUM: Bhagyalaxmi applicants and officials of Woman and Child Development are again in a state of confusion over the new criteria for issue of bonds.

One can recall that the government stated in March last that Below Poverty Line (BPL) card is mandatory for all applicants, including those who had applied in 2009 and 2010. Parents and opposition parties expressed strong objection to the order.

The department asked applicants to submit the documents including BPL cards once again. Some parents wrote letters to the government, saying that if government has made the BPL card compulsory while receiving applications, they would not have applied for the same.

One can remember that BPL cards are not distributed to all poor families of the state. There are some allegations that cards were distributed to families that are not eligible.

However, Woman and Child Development Department Minister CC Patil clarified that BPL card is compulsory for new applicants, who applied after April 2011.

After this statement, old applicants relaxed and waited for the bonds. But now officials of the department are themselves in confusion about BPL cards for old applicants.

A source from the department said they have not received any order about what CC Patil told the media.

The department itself is in confusion if old applicants without BPL cards should be considered or not.

However, Deputy Director of the department KH Obalappa assured that the department will receive an order from the government in this regard and applied who applied before April 2011, will get bonds though they do not have BPL cards.

Villagers’ Gutkha Ban is a Big Hit

July 22, 2012


By Sangamesh M

Last Updated: 16th May 2012 09:13:58 PM

BELGAUM: It first happened 13 years ago. Villagers of Kalloli in Gokak taluk, in 1998, took offence to shops in their area selling gutkha. Soon, outfits like the Baj­rang Dal joined the campaign—and the local administration passed a resolution banning sales of the powdery mild stimulant made of crushed arecanut and tobacco responsible for negative health effects, including oral cancer. Shops selling gutkha would be slapped a fine of Rs 1,000, while those helping catch offenders would be rewarded with Rs 100. The idea spread to a few neighbouring villages in northern Karnataka. Today, a village called Biranagaddi has collected Rs 80,000 as fine, which also means, some sale of gutkha is still happening in a covert way.

Give change for Rs 100, get Rs 120 in return

July 22, 2012

The New Indian Express

By Sangamesh M

16th June 2011 04:45 AM

BELGAUM: If you have coins, you can make money easily.

If you give coins worth Rs 100, we will pay you Rs 120,” is an open offer from the Belgaum shopkeepers to people.

Though the offer looks very attractive, it shows the dearth of coins in the market.

As vendors are not getting sufficient coins from banks, they are opting for alternatives like giving chocolates and candies for change.

However, according to rules, one can not force another to take any other thing instead of money.

If a customer insists on money only, the vendors have no other option than leaving the deal due to dearth of change.

Meanwhile, cashing on the situation some people are selling the coins at 5 to 20 per cent commission. The problem is haunting the owners of provision, stationery and medical shops and vegetable and newspaper vendors.

“We are giving chocolates instead of change as various dailies have rates like `3.50 to `4.50. If they deny it, we obviously say ‘no paper’,” says a newspaper vendor near Central Bus Stand.

Some hotel managers even give chocolates for the change of `2-3. However, customers have their own analysis.

“If they give chocolates or other things, they earn additional profit,” says Prasad, a citizen of Sadashiv Nagar.

As some medical shop owners are not ready to lose their business, they are ‘purchasing’ coins from touts.

However, they never reveal their ‘source of coins’.

“We will pay you also if you provide change,” says a medical shop owner of Shahapur.

Though district has 23 currency chests, prescribed by Reserve Bank of India (RBI), lack of change is haunting each and everyone.

RBI supplies fresh notes and coins to the branches and public can obtain the change from any of the prescribed branches.

Though RBI has clearly instructed all the banks to supply change irrespective of the account, bank officials made it mandatory to have an account in branches concerned to get change, that is also subjected to availability. “If we allow nonaccount holders, then we have to open many counters to meet the demand,” says an official of Corporation Bank, which has 17 currency chests in the district.

Lok Sabha member Suresh Angadi said on Wednesday that he will urge the RBI and the Union Government to intervene in the matter and make change available.

Taking tobacco trouble to task

July 22, 2012

The New Indian Express


By Sangamesh Menasinakai

13th June 2011 03:49 AM

  • Some villages in Belgaum district in Karnataka where the villagers have ‘banned’ tobacco.
    Some villages in Belgaum district in Karnataka where the villagers have ‘banned’ tobacco.

BELGAUM: In most of the villages in the country, it is a common sight to see menfolk — and even children — chewing tobacco, a habit that becomes addiction and the cause of oral cancer. However, there are some villages in Belgaum district in Karnataka where the villagers have ‘banned’ tobacco. Fine is slapped on shops that are found selling gutkha.

Also, those who were earlier addicted to chewing tobacco are now themselves supporting the campaign against it. The campaign involves everyone in the villages: farmers, women, school children and panchayat leaders.

When Express visited some of these villages, it came to light that although the villagers are against tobacco and liquor, some business interests are trying to make sure that the business survives and thrives there.

Also, even though most of the rural populace is against these addictions, the sale of such products continues in a covert way.

How it started 13 years ago

Kalloli village in Gokak taluk took offence to gutkha 13 years ago. The local leaders of Bajrang Dal started the campaign against gutkha and appealed to all the vendors of pan shops and provision stores to stop selling it.

They started the movement after seeing that even primary school students were addicted to chewing tobacco.

Although many vendors agreed to Bajrang Dal’s request, some approached police as legally the shopowners are allowed to sell tobacco.

Even the then DSP got involved in the debate. Ultimately, a resolution was passed wherein it was decided to rid the village of gutkha. After the resolution was passed, four shops were found selling gutkha and they were asked to pay a fine of `1,000 each. Also, villagers declared `100 reward for those who would help catch such offenders red-handed.

Soon the news of Kalloli’s anti-gutkha campaign reached a neighbouring village Rajapur. These villagers too adopted a resolution to save its youth from the health hazards that come with chewing tobacco.

Hefty penalty, strict warning

Another village that has woken up to the hazards of chewing gutkha, Biranagaddi, has already collected `80,000 as fine from those who were found selling gutkha and/or liquor. The amount has been used to construct a community hall and renovate Basaveshwara temple. Also, the villagers have taken note of the practice wherein menfolk get drunk in a neighbouring village and create nuisance back home. They have been clearly told not to quarrel with anybody in inebriated condition and sleep in their house.

Basavaraj Kadadi, one of the anti-gutkha campaigners, says now just one-two per cent people of Kalloli and Rajapur villages chew tobacco.

A villager Goudappa Kotigi reminisces how his village was nine months ago, when even students of fourth class could be seen consuming alcohol openly. He said it was this sight that got them thinking about starting a campaign against tobacco and liquor.

All is well? No

Some youths of Gokak taluk complain that arrack lobby was stopping them from prohibiting the sale of liquor. A youth, on condition of anonymity, said the arrack lobby was involved with some politicians and thus nobody dared confronting them.

Bailoor and Tigadolli villages of Bailhongal taluk have banned the sale of arrack but the business goes on behind closed doors. The covert trade goes in Balobal too. A 13-year-old boy told Express that there was total ban on sale for three-four months but now someone had resumed it.

Sanganakere Cross in Gokak taluk is the hub of tobacco chewers of nearby villages where gutkha has been banned. Former addict Shivanand, President of Vishnua Sena, said Sanganakere Cross is the centre point and most addicts get their gutkha sachets from here. He said even drivers and cleaners of commercial vehicles were serving the addicts by bringing sachets from Sanganakere Cross to the villages.

Shivanand said they had observed a day’s bandh there but the vendors were not keen to stop the sale.

Unperturbed, the villagers are determined to end the tobacco menace.




— Iranna Kadadi, Member, Kalloli ZP Constituency and President, Belgaum ZP




—    Lokesh Banger, BSc student and President of Kanaka Self-Help Group, Hunashyal PG village



– Gopal Shetty, Pan shop owner, Kalloli village  


Two friends in Birangaddi, Nagendra Kudari and Basu Gokavi, used to tease each other over their occupation. Along with other things, Kudari used to sell tobacco products from his provision store and Gokavi was a vendor of arrack. One day Kudari challenged his friend to quit the business wherein he sells harmful product. “If you stop sale of arrack, I will never sell tobacco products,” he told Basu, who agreed. The news soon spread among the villagers, who were disgusted with liquor as well as tobacco. It got them thinking and they resolved to put an end to this nuisance. Neighbouring village Balobal learnt about this development and the members of Karnataka Rakshana Vedike put a board at the village’s entrance, which states that the village is free from gutkha and liquor.  


Hulikavi village in Belgaum taluk had seen an election in 2006 where people voted to decide whether or not to ban tobacco and liquor. People voted in favour of banning these products. MLA Abhay Patil had taken Panchayat members of Hulikavi gram panchayat to a Maharashtra village where sale of tobacco and liquor was banned. He had even conducted mass meetings wherein doctors told people why tobacco and liquor consumption is harmful. The MLA made similar efforts in Jafarwadi village in 2007.


GUTKHA, LIQUOR? NOT AVAILABLE HERE Villages such as Hadaginal, Chigadolli and Adibatti too have banned liquor. Hadaginal has banned gutkha too. Banajwad of Athani taluk has never seen sale of gutkha and liquor in its limits. Satti and Krishna Kittur too have banned liquor. Bettagere and Hanumapur too have imposed the ban. Gundenatti (Khanapur taluk), Handur, Goshanatti, Hulikottal (all in Bailhongal taluk) have stayed away from sale of liquor. Koligud of Raibag taluk has not allowed sale of gutkha.

Government schools not for teachers’ wards

July 22, 2012

The New Indian Express

By Sangamesh M

11th June 2011 02:00 AM

BELGAUM: Shocking as it may sound, 95 per cent of government primary and high school teachers are seeking admissions for their wards in private schools, raising questions about their honesty towards their service.

The findings are a part of a random survey conducted by Express, which found that most government teachers admitted that quality of education in government schools is poor.

Jagannath, a government primary school teacher, says, "In private schools, teachers are meant only to teach, whereas a teacher in a government school should handle the responsibilities of a cook, enumerator, election officer, campaigner of government projects, peon and many more." However, it must be noted that except for children enumeration, all the other duties are also alloted to teachers of private schools.

Retired DDPI B R Gangappanavar said,"There is a need for teachers to remain in schools at least during duty hours. When they’re not in school for most of the time how can we expect the quality? Officers and supporting staff of the department should support teachers by fulfilling their needs", Gangappanavar said .

Karnataka State High School Assistant Teachers’ Association’s Vice President, Ramu Gugwad agrees that 95 per cent of teachers are admitting their children to private schools in Belgaum district.

"Today’s generation of teachers are completely against educating their kids in their mother tongue and they don’t have respect towards their duties", he said. He also said that nonteaching work like elections, census are not disturbing them and these duties are mandatory for private teachers also. Another teacher Prakash Goudar remarked that there is an option for the private schools to choose their students which is not the case in government schools.

"Knowing the truth that students are below average and learning process is slow how can we admit our children in government schools?" he said. Gangappanavar asserts that government schools are still suffering from lack of infrastructure.

Where cycling is a tradition

July 22, 2012

The New Indian Express


By Sangamesh Menasinakai

30th May 2011 02:35 AM

  • Clockwise from top: A cycle race; cyclists ready for the act; these wheels are specially prepared to avoid wind resistance at a cost of ` 60,000 each;
    Clockwise from top: A cycle race; cyclists ready for the act; these wheels are specially prepared to avoid wind resistance at a cost of ` 60,000 each;

BELGAUM: Dundappa Athani, a 63-year-old man of Kolhar village in Bijapur district, can still ride any cycle at a speed of 40-50 kms per hour! Yes, You should see him to believe it.

He returned from New Delhi after seeing Indira Gandhi to Kolhar in just four days cycling at a speed of 70 kms per hour. He peddled to Gwalior Jail to see bandit queen Phoolan Devi and cycled in Chambal valley. He challenged a police inspector of Karimnagar to rode cycle to follow his jeep to Srisailam in Kurnool district in Andhra Pradesh and succeeded in it. Still he can ride cycle at 40 km per hour even at his ripe age. Not only Dundappa, hundreds of others, including women of Bijapur and Bagalkot districts, can be seen cycling daily on national highways.

Cycling has become a part and parcel of peasants of this region and cycle races have become common in most of the annual fairs held in villages here. What made this region to adopt the cycling as its tradition?

No doubt, bicycles were a property of rich men once and a principal means of transportation till a few decades ago. But riding the cycles was a prestigious sport in Mumbai and Pune provinces which inspired the Patwardhan dynasty of Jamkhandi, one of the princely states under Bombay Presidency of British India. As the royal family also ruled neighboring states like Sangli, Miraj and Kurundwad, they used to organise competitions in cycling and wrestling during Dasara, December 31 and annual fairs of different villages. There were many inter-princely state competitions then.

There is one more reason. The hardness of the people is encouraging them to take a keen interest in this sport.

According to Anita Nimbargi, District Cycling Coach, Bagalkot, people of the region have a strong stamina required for cycling, as they eat jowar roti and curds. It is also found that as this whole region shifted due to backwaters of Almatti Dam, it lacked basic facilities like roads and buses. As an alternative, cycle was the only mode of transportation for the poor.

M P Maranur, the cycle coach, who hails from Kumbarhalla village in Jamkhandi taluk, observes that poverty has become a boon in disguise to promote cycling here. “As people were unable to pay even for public transport, they travelled by bicycles and cycles were everything for them,” he analyses. Of late, economy has improved in the region, now people prefer bikes rather than bicycles, he feels.

Cycling Training School

When Cycling Training School, the only one of its own kind in the state at that time, was opened in Bijapur in 1983, there was a flood of cycling in undivided Bijapur district, which then included Bagalkot also. Because of this school, cycling became popular. It even attracted women. It has trained thousands of budding cyclists and contributed hundreds of national and international cyclists to the nation till now.

The government converted the school as the District Sports School in 2006 with the training privilege of Cycling and Basket Ball. Now, the District Sports Schools of Bagalkot and Gadag also have training facility of cycling.

However, the aspirants of this sport are mainly from rural and poor families. Many a time, they face financial problems. Such an example can be found in Bijapur where a woman cyclist begged money to fulfill her needs. To avoid such a situation, Bijapur District Central Cooperative Bank has taken approval from the Apex Bank to provide financial assistance to cyclists. It has decided to reserve `10 lakh every year for this sport. But Bagalkot district has not received such support.

Most of annual fair committees are conducting cycle races and giving out attractive prizes to encourage this sport. Even local representatives have been supporting the game by organising races as it has a big following in the region. The government is also supporting the ace sport by providing facilities like hostel, coaching, modern bicycles, and shoes.

Despite such a support, the sport is haunted by infrastructure facilities like lack of better grounds for practice. Cyclists of both districts have depended on the national highway to improve their skills. A long-pending velodrome in Bijapur, which was approved by State Government on June 31, 2003 is yet to come up. The district administration is not finding standard contractor to take up this dream project worth `4.5 crore. In between, the higher officials had proposed to shift this project to Bangalore. But a strong protest from cyclists and the public prevented the shifting.

However, cyclists are still practicing on highways on their own risk. Already two cyclists including national cyclist Rajeshwari Mathpati have lost their lives in road accidents while practising on the busy national highway.

Jamkhandi is called as ‘Kashi of Cyclists’ like Lords is known as the ‘Cricket’s Kashi’. Kumbarhalla, a village in Jamkhandi taluk, has gifted over 100 cyclists to the state till now. “Here each house has at least one cyclist and it has over 10 national and international cyclists,” says Yenkappa Entettu, a senior cyclist. Neighbouring taluk Mudhol has also recorded its name in this field. One can find over 50 cyclists in a small village called Kolar which is famous for curds.

There are many cyclists in  Basavana Bagewadi taluk too. Bilgi, Tulsigeri, Hulloli have also many cyclists.

Women not left


Though cycling needs more physical strength and endurance among participants, women of both districts never feared to ride the bicycles. According to Alka Phadtare, District Cycling Coach, Bijapur, even illiterate women are also much enthusiastic towards this sport and all of them from poor and rural families.

Neelamma Malligawad, Gangu Biradar, Premalatha Sureban, Anita Nimbargi, Sunita Nimbargi, Sharada Nimbargi, Kaveri Banakar, and Savita Goudar are some of the international and national women cyclists.

Unfortunately national cyclist Rajeshwari Mathpati died in a road accident recently during her routine practice. Many races are being organized in villages exclusively for women.

Sabu Ganiger also participated in the Delhi Common Wealth Games. It is found that those who live in city are not showing interest towards this sport.

Cycling Coach CM Kurane says: “All aspirants who are getting trained here are from rural areas. We don’t know why city people are not coming forward.”

However, Maranur admits that city people think that their studies will be interrupted by this activity. B B Chimmalagi, a national level cyclist and Commercial Tax Officer from Bagalkot says that cycling will not disturb the study, instead it enhances good health and concentration.

Job Opportunities

Passion for cycling has provided many job opportunities to rural cyclists in various departments like the Railways, Police, LIC, and in the Forest Department under sports quota.

Currently 15 international and national cyclists like R N Attar, Nijjappa Entettu, Vijay Singh Rajputh, Sabu Ganiger, Laxman Teradal and Kaveri Banakar are working at Bagalkot and Bijapur stations of South Western Railways.

A PhD on a cyclist!

Bijapurians have also concentrated on documenting this as a tradition. Sharada Nimbargi, a cyclist, has pursued a PhD on  international cyclist Vijay Singh Rajputh, who is serving Railways.

Pondering over dearth of Anchors

July 22, 2012

By Sangamesh Menasinakai

14th March 2011 04:11 AM

BELGAUM,: Is there a dearth of anchors in Karnataka? The World Kannada Meet gives ample scope to ask this question as N Aparna and Shankar Prakash were the masters of ceremonies from the inauguration to valedictory functions on all the three days.

Manjari Hombali, a primary school student from Gadag, was a big hit with the audience with her expressions and clear pronunciation at the session organised for children. She proved that organisers need not look to Bangalore for anchors and there are budding talents in rural areas.

Manjari is also a Bharatanatyam artiste and a poet.

“We could find only Aparna and Shankar as icon anchors.

No doubt their way of narration and language are excellent, but could we not identify any other talents for the job among 6 crore Kannadigas?” theatre personality R N Kulkarni, who was present at the children’s session asked.

Children’s time to speak up

July 22, 2012

The New Indian Express

By Sangamesh Menasinakai

14th March 2011 04:10 AM

  • Students were all ears at a session on children organised at Gandhi Bhavan as part of the World Kannada Meet in Belgaum on Sunday
    Students were all ears at a session on children organised at Gandhi Bhavan as part of the World Kannada Meet in Belgaum on Sunday

BELGAUM: It was time for kids to show their talent in science and literature at the Makkala Vichara Gosti organised as part of the World Kannada Meet on Sunday.

Yashas J of Shimoga received accolades from the audience for his speech on Kannada literature, art and language. He said Kannada has marvelous capacity to express and it will surely become world language in some time.

Rudrappa Hatti of Bailhongal said today’s Kannada was being polluted by words from other languages, especially English. Shivaputra Jadhav, Geeta Giddagoudra also spoke on the occasion.

Manisha Patil from Bijapur made complaints that Kannada papers were not available in any hotels and lodg es of Banga l o re.

Jayashree Hammannavar addressed the session of art and said folk meant not only songs but it was also a way of life and culture.

Vittal Joshi of Dharwad revealed that Kannada was more scientific than English.

Girish Bhat of Karwar and Vishwas Savadi also expressed their views on science.

Shweta Babali of Kittur presided over the meet. Students of Maheshwari School for blinds presented a prayer song and Navya Prabhu and team attracted the audience by their yoga performance.



Though it was a session for kids, Minister Jagadish Shettar, Karnataka Bala Vikas ACademy’s president Mahesh Tenginkai and Sri Dingaleshwar Swamiji of Balehosur took sufficient time for the inaugural session.

Both Shettar and Swamiji also did not listen to children. But organisers, who did not care about the time at inauguration, put time restrictions on paper presenters.

President of the session on science was allowed to speak only for one minute.

Yahsas J expressed his disappointment by saying: “I have to serve you a sea of Kannada language through only one glass.

NRN: Love your work, money will follow

July 22, 2012

The New Indian Express

By Sangamesh Menasinakai

12th March 2011 03:38 AM

BELGAUM: Brushing aside all controversies of not being a true Kannadiga, Infosys chief mentor N R Narayana Murthy said that in his heart he is a pure Kannadiga. Bangalore which is a software land, may soon feature in the English dictionary, he said.

Inaugurating the World Kannada Meet here on Friday, Murthy said that Kannadigas are a peaceloving and patient people. "Development does not mean only in urban areas or in the field of software, but includes improvement of living standards of rural people. Keeping this in mind, Infosys Foundation is trying to improve villages and making efforts to save our folk art forms," he explained.

He called on youngsters to work hard and not be guided by money alone. ‘‘Love your work, money will follow, else it will run away from you.’’ Litterateur Dr G S Shivarudrappa appealed to the government to stop making assurances of grants of crores, and show real concern for Kannada by protecting the state’s natural resources.

‘‘Only then this global event will be meaningful.’’ Jnanpith awardee U R Ananth Murthy released ‘Punaravalokana’ edited by Hampa Nagarajaiah.

Leader of Opposition in Assembly Siddaramaiah appealed to Maharashtrians to accept the recommendations of Mahajan Commission Report and clarified that Belgaum is part and parcel of Karnataka.