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1000-year old inscription stone bears earliest reference to Bengaluru

Posted by Admin on December 4, 2012

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bangalore/1000-year-old-inscription-stone-bears-earliest-reference-to-Bengaluru/articleshow/17446311.cms?

By , TNN | Dec 2, 2012, 02.11 AM IST

BANGALORE: Begur, a village off the Bangalore-Hosur highway, has seen rapid growth in the past few years thanks to its proximity to IT companies in Electronics City. Property values have multiplied, with residential layouts, high-rise apartments and malls coming up near the once-sparsely populated village. The proposed Metro connectivity heralds further prospects for the region.

Amid all this development lies neglected in theheart of the village a precious inscription stone, said to over 1,000 years old. It bears the earliest reference to the name ‘Bengaluru’.

The stone, dating back to around 890 AD, was found at the Parvathi Nageshwara temple. Written in Halegannada (ancient Kannada), it mentions ‘Bengaluru Kadana’ (battle of Bengaluru) that took place between the Gangas (Jains) and the Nolambas (Shaivites).

When the Nolamba army attacked Begur, the Ganga administrator Nagattara was killed in the battle. It was a significant turning point in the history of Bangalore, as it led to the eventual decline of Jain kings and the rise of the Shaivites. Thereafter, Shaiva settlements and temples came up in Bangalore, including the famous Someshawara temple in Ulsoor, according to SK Aruni, deputy director, Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR), Bangalore Regional Centre.

The inscription seems to refute the popular ‘Benda Kalooru’ theory behind the origin of the name ‘Bengaluru.’ While the boiled beans anecdote relates to Hoysala king Veera Ballala’s regime in 1120 AD, and modern Bangalore was built by Kempegowda I in the 1530s. But the Begur inscription indicates that a settlement called ‘Bengaluru’ existed much before that, as early as 890 AD.

This has been recorded in the ‘Epigraphia of Carnatica,’ compiled by the Mysore archaeological department. Even though the Begur stone was identified and recorded in 1915 itself, no efforts have been made to preserve it. It lies against a compound wall in the Parvathi Nageshwara temple. Several other stones (veeragallus) are lying along beside, cracked in two pieces, echoing the tales of battles bygone.

“Some pillars inside the ancient temple are gradually sliding and caving in. The government should take immediate steps to preserve the temple and the monuments,” said Venkatesh, a villager who is also a member of the Rajagopura Construction Committee. The committee, formed by locals, raises funds from devotees and is building four Rajagopuras (high towers) around the temple. The construction in the premises poses further threat to the inscription. There should be care taken that the new concrete cement towers don’t ruin the beauty of the temple.

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Posted in Ancient Architecture, Bengaluru, Hindu Empire, India Forgotten, Rated R, Truthout Articles | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on 1000-year old inscription stone bears earliest reference to Bengaluru

Igniting Kannada minds

Posted by Admin on November 5, 2012

http://www.bangaloremirror.com/article/31/2012083120120831184632730b9e70a63/-Igniting-Kannada-minds–.html

Eminent scholar K V Narayana’s path-breaking initiative ‘Reading Karnataka’ seeks to radically change our traditional concepts of information and knowledge.

“We are not going anywhere,” said Prof G Venkatasubbaiah, effectively indicating that “the Kannadigas are here to stay and we will survive” irrespective of all the recent politicising of language issue.
Another crusader, Prof U R Ananthamurthy, never gets tired of pushing for “all information/knowledge to Kannadigas through Kannada”. But there is an unexpressed “also” to it, implying most of our knowledge sources are in English.
That the language issue has become a political game is common knowledge. The current topic of debate is the Nature of Knowledge. Journalist Sugata Srinivasaraju calls it an “epistemological intervention”.
Scholar and critic Dr K V Narayana thought of expanding the debate on such an issue and he started a series of workshops, a special knowledge zone, what he calls ‘Karnataka Oodu’. Some translate it as ‘Reading Karnataka’. It could also be termed Karnataka Studies. The three basic questions he poses are:
1. What should be the nature of the knowledge that we receive through Kannada?
2. Should the knowledge that we receive through Kannada be similar to the one we derivefrom English?
3. Is there a need to also import the frameworks through which we receive knowledge, that is, should we also borrow the troughs in which knowledge is contained?
“Karnataka Oodu (studies) is a result of debates we used to have among a group of friends and we decided to expand the reach and started conducting workshops at various places for the last two years,” says KVN.
“The first step we need to take in this process is to integrate the various knowledge zones that remain scattered, independent and disconnected in the language. Though we can’t erase the borders between them, we should not create walls. Through this process, as it connects history, sociology, political science, anthropology, archaeology, art history, linguistics etc., we’ll figure out the way Karnataka has been perceived and interpreted by these disciplines. As we peruse the material, we’ll realise that the various disciplines have perceived and placed the land and its culture in a global framework. That there is hardly any difference between an insider’s view and an outsider’s take because the theoretical receptacles are the same or similar. They are indistinguishable and alien. The only difference is that the insider would have written his exegesis in the Kannada language.”
‘Karnataka Study’ aims to get as many as possible to think about acquiring the capacity for thinking in Kannada and it should start from within and not be borrowed from outside. Education has resulted in getting into the habit of looking at ourselves from the outside rather than evolve a method that comes as being an insider critique.
If this has to change, we have to use frameworks that have an organic or symbiotic relationship with the knowledge that is created.
“In our enthusiasm to ensure that all knowledge is made available in Kannada, we opened our gates wide. Now, we realise that the knowledge we possess is what got transferred from elsewhere and that we haven’t created any of them ourselves. We seem to have expanded our understanding of things, but then we have lost the ability to think independently. Ram Manohar Lohia had once said that India had not produced an independent thinker since the 4th century. Shankaracharya was the last one. We have come to such a pass that if need to develop a process of thinking, we borrow it from outside; we have lost confidence that a Kannada mind can create it independently. When we borrow, we struggle to adapt to them to our circumstances and that in itself appears like a huge exercise. We should not only have a goal to create our own knowledge systems, but we should also believe that it is very much possible.”
LIKE HANUMAN’S MIND
He says that some sort of languor or fatigue has impeded the Indian mind. To think independently has taken a back seat. “It is like the state of Hanuman’s mind in Ramayana just before his leap across the ocean. He thinks he is an insignificant small ape and may not be able undertake the venture. But luckily for Hanuman, there are others around to instil confidence in him, that he is very much competent to carry out the job. But sadly, there is nobody to do that to our languages and cultures. We have simply given up.
“As we get into an exercise like this there are people who’ll accuse us of being frogs in the well. They may be correct, but while we express wonderment about the expanse of the ocean, we can’t allow our ponds and lakes to go dry. They sustain us, not the sea.” (Translated by Sugata Srinivasaraju)
Is the ‘Reading Karnataka’ a process or a product?
KVN says it is both. “It is something that I have been preoccupied since 30 years since my student days. Take for instance, the American concept of South Asia. For them, South Asia comprises Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Iran, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. But from our point of view Tibet, Burma, Malaysia, Japan also belong to South Asia. However, we are conditioned by their concept. But our culture thoughts should be for our understanding and should relate to our lives in the contemporary times. The Kannada life, its problems should be understood from our point of view and we have to reclaim our intelligence. I call it the moment of realisation. Can we really reclaim our way of thinking? I think we can. We have to interact and include our younger generation into the debate and since it is not merely an intellectual exercise, but also emotional. They will definitely respond.”
KVN also talks about the scholars who address the pan-Indian or global audience “with their backs turned on Kannadigas, they should be facing the Kannadigas, if you know what I mean.” One has to talk to Kannadigas as an insider and not as an outsider.
KVN and his friends are organising workshops across the state and the response has been phenomenal. The next workshop is on September 1 and 2 at the farm house (Nisargadhama, Doddaballapur – Chikkaballapur Road, Thimmasandra,) of Kannada activist T N Prabhudev at Doddaballapur. Boarding and lodging facilities will be provided at Doddaballapur for participants. Those interested contact K Y Narayana Swamy (9739007127) and Ravikumar Bagi (9448881480).

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Shutdown hits normal life in Karnataka

Posted by Admin on October 7, 2012

http://in.news.yahoo.com/shutdown-hits-normal-life-karnataka-063958980–finance.html

By Indo Asian News Service | IANS India Private Limited – 14 hours ago

Bangalore, Oct 6 (IANS) A day-long shutdown to protest the release of Cauvery river water to Tamil Nadu crippled life in Karnataka Saturday.

The state-wide shutdown called by farmers and pro-Kannada organisations is supported by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and the opposition Congress and Janata Dal-Secular.

Uneasy calm prevailed in Bangalore and other cities and towns of the state.

“The 12-hour shutdown began at 6 a.m. There were stray incidents of road blockade, forcible closure of shops and damage to a couple of state-run buses,” a senior police official told IANS here.

The state-run transport services of Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) and Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) were suspended amid fears of damage to the vehicles by miscreants.

Although train and flight services remained unaffected, passengers were stranded at the railway station here, as autorickshaws and taxis remained off the roads.

The state education department late Friday advised schools and colleges to declare a holiday Saturday to ensure safety of students during the bandh.

Companies offering 24×7 services like call centres and business process outsourcing had to make arrangements to escort their employees to work and back home.

With commercial establishments like shops, malls, restaurants and petrol pumps shut, life has virtually come to a standstill in the state capital, Mysore, Hassan, Mangalore, Hubli, Belgaum and Shimoga.

Supply of essential commodities like milk and medicines and ambulance service were, however, exempted from the shutdown.

The security has been beefed up across the state.

Additional police personnel were deployed at vital installations and sensitive areas, especially in Bangalore.

The state has been releasing 9,000 cusecs of water daily since Sep 29 in compliance with the Supreme Court order of Sep 19, directing the prime minister, who is also the chairman of the Cauvery River Authority, to supervise the distribution of water in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

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Shocking Photos: Poachers chop Rhinos’ horns

Posted by Admin on October 4, 2012

http://in.news.yahoo.com/photos/shocking-photos-poachers-chop-rhinos-horns-slideshow/

Rattled by the slaughter of six rhinos in a week, Dispur has decided to constitute a state wildlife crime control bureau to protect the state’s fauna. Chief minister Tarun Gogoi made the announcement today while expressing concern over the recent spate of rhino poaching in and around Kaziranga National Park. He said the proposed bureau would track criminals, manage databases, carry out thorough investigation and break the network of poachers. (telegraphindia.com)

Shocking Photos: Poachers chop Rhinos’ horns

Villagers look at a wounded rare one horned Rhinoceros which was shot and dehorned by poachers in a jungle in Parku hills near Kaziranga National Park, about 250 kilometers east of Guwahati. Two rare rhinos brutally attacked by poachers this week in northeast India have died, veterinarians said September 29, 2012 triggering protests at local authorities’ failure to protect the animals. AFP PHOTO/Biju BORO

Shocking Photos: Poachers chop Rhinos’ horns

Indian forest officials stand near a one horned horn Rhinoceros, which was killed and de-horned by the poachers at Karbi hills near Kaziranga National Park, some 250km east of Guwahati the capital city the northeastern state of Assam on September 27, 2012. A rhino was killed by poachers and its horn removed in the early hours on Thursday, barely a day after one was killed and another left bleeding in the world-famous Kaziranga National Park. AFP PHOTO/ Biju Boro

Shocking Photos: Poachers chop Rhinos’ horns

An Indian forest official shows the bullets used by poachers to shoot a one horned horn Rhinoceros, which was killed and de-horned by the poachers at Karbi hills near Kaziranga National Park, some 250km east of Guwahati the capital city the northeastern state of Assam on September 27, 2012. A rhino was killed by poachers and its horn removed in the early hours on Thursday, barely a day after one was killed and another left bleeding in the world-famous Kaziranga National Park. AFP PHOTO/ Biju Boro

Shocking Photos: Poachers chop Rhinos’ horns

An Indian Forestry Department official, riding an elephant, pulls away the carcass of a rhino killed by poachers at Bagori range in Kaziranga National Park, some 250 kms east of Guwahati, on September 28, 2012. A rare rhino, whose horn was hacked off by poachers, died after struggling for its life for over a day. The gravely injured rhino was found in the deluged Kaziranga National Park on September 27, bleeding from gunshot injuries and a huge wound on its snout after poachers cut off its horn, nose and part of its ear. AFP PHOTO/BIJU BORO

Shocking Photos: Poachers chop Rhinos’ horns

In this file photograph taken on September 26, 2012 villagers look at a wounded endangered one horned Rhinoceros which was shot and dehorned by poachers in the jungle of Parku hills near Kaziranga National Park, about 250 kilometers east of Guwahati. Two rare rhinos brutally attacked by poachers this week in northeast India have died, veterinarians said September 29, 2012, triggering protests at local authorities’ failure to protect the animals. AFP PHOTO/ Biju BORO/FILES

Shocking Photos: Poachers chop Rhinos’ horns

Rattled by the slaughter of six rhinos in a week, Dispur has decided to constitute a state wildlife crime control bureau to protect the state’s fauna. Chief minister Tarun Gogoi made the announcement today while expressing concern over the recent spate of rhino poaching in and around Kaziranga National Park. He said the proposed bureau would track criminals, manage databases, carry out thorough investigation and break the network of poachers.The government took the decision after drawing flak from various quarters over its failure to curb poaching of rhinos in the state. The state bureau is likely to be constituted on the lines of the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau, which was formed by the Centre on June 6, 2007, by amending the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.

Shocking Photos: Poachers chop Rhinos’ horns

He said the number of anti-poaching camps in Karbi Anglong district would also be increased to prevent killing of Kaziranga rhinos that strayed into the district during floods. “I will take up the issue (of setting up of the camps) with Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council as Karbi Anglong is a Sixth Schedule area.” The chief minister also stressed the involvement local people in wildlife conservation and mooted constitution of animal defence parties on the lines of village defence parties.Slamming the Opposition for criticising his government over the incidents of rhino poaching, he said Assam was among the best performing states in the country in wildlife conservation and the number of rhinos had ncreased in Kaziranga during his tenure. “The number of rhinos has increased from 1,080 in 1984 to 2,201 in 2001.”

Shocking Photos: Poachers chop Rhinos’ horns

Gogoi, however, was quick to add, “I am not trying to justify the recent killings of rhinos at Kaziranga. We have taken it very seriously. What I am saying is that nobody should play politics on this issue.”The chief minister said the state government would publish a white paper on steps taken by it for protection of animals and those taken by erstwhile governments.He said the increase in number of rhinos in Kaziranga had, in fact, become a problem, with the animals straying out of the protected area to adjoining forests in Karbi Anglong district, where poachers and militants attacked them for their horns.Sources said one way of tackling the poaching menace during the floods was to deploy adequate security forces like the CRPF and army in the Karbi Anglong hills, to which the animals head in search of higher ground. “There is need for heavier deployment of security forces between April and October when floods occur and the animals of the park start moving to Karbi Anglong,” a source said.

Shocking Photos: Poachers chop Rhinos’ horns

According to him, in Karbi Anglong, the weapon to guard ratio was 1:2, which was unfavourable in an encounter situation. “Besides, we have weapons like the .303 and .315 rifles which have to be cocked for every shot, by which time the poachers, who are armed with automatic weapons, can fire several bursts,” he said. The source said all poachers, however, did not have sophisticated weapons. “We have found empty cases and live cartridges of SLRs and AK-series rifles as also those of .303. This shows that even militants could be involved apart from the traditional poachers whose signature is the 303 rifle,” he said.Asked about a possible remedy, he said local youths should be provided livelihood opportunities to keep them from being lured by poaching gangs. “We must be able to ensure another generation of poachers does not come up while dealing with those already into the trade.”

Shocking Photos: Poachers chop Rhinos’ horns

Indian rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis) standing mist of long grasses, Kazaringa, India.

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Karnataka’s new ration card system goes hi-tech

Posted by Admin on September 28, 2012

http://in.finance.yahoo.com/news/karnataka%E2%80%99s-new-ration-card-system-goes-hi-tech.html?page=all

By | Yahoo! Finance India – Wed 26 Sep, 2012 1:00 PM IST

By K.R. Balasubramanyam

Risaldar Street is a little known Bangalore locality situated about a kilometre from the city’s main railway station. It has only one fair-price shop. More than a third of its 3,000-odd ration card holders belong to families living below the poverty line (BPL). But the fair-price shop now has one claim to fame – it is one of a handful of shops through which the Karnataka government has taken its first steps towards reforming its leaky public distribution system (PDS).

Consider the scene at the shop one evening in the last week of August. As usual, a group of people had gathered to buy their rationed monthly quota of foodgrains, sugar and kerosene. Among them was Sujatha, a helper at a hotel, in her mid-30s. When she handed over her ration card to the shopkeeper, he did not, as he used to once, scribble on it and return it to her. Instead he punched the card number into a biometric machine installed at the shop three months ago. The woman was then asked to put her left thumb on the machine, which promptly recognised her thumb impression as that of a genuine beneficiary. As each item Sujatha sought was placed on the weighing platform, the machine not only displayed the list of purchases along with their weight and price, but also announced these verbally in Kannada. Finally, the transaction complete, it printed a bill.

The process does not end there. After each transaction, the machine electronically relays its details to a National Informatics Centre (NIC) server, which uploads the data on a newly created portal of Karnataka’s PDS data centre. “Not just the officials, anyone from anywhere can access the information,” says B.A. Harish Gowda, Karnataka’s Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Secretary, who has been driving the change. “We can achieve results only by increasing transparency.”

Karnataka’s move is the latest in a series of efforts by states and the Centre to fix the inefficient system of distributing essential items at subsidised rates to the poor. The PDS is run through more than 500,000 fair-price shops across the country.

The Centre spends a huge amount on food subsidies – it has budgeted Rs 75,000 crore for 2012/13 – but many poor people do not get their allocated quota of grains as the system is notoriously leaky. Some estimates suggest more than half the subsidised grain meant for BPL families is siphoned off.

“Transparency puts pressure on people to perform,” says Sudhir Kumar, Union Food and Public Distribution Secretary. “We support all such positive moves, and are in the process of preparing a scheme that will encourage states to take up PDS reforms.”

Gowda says the state has installed biometric machines in 103 shops in Bangalore and Tumkur districts since July. He is satisfied with their performance. “We will now start installing them in all the 20,459 fair-price shops in the state,” he adds. Karnataka hopes the Centre will help fund the Rs 100-crore programme.

Continued on next page…

Gowda estimates there could be around 1.5 million ineligible ration cards in the state, which will go out of circulation once the machines are installed all over. He expects the move to save the state around Rs 150 crore a year.

In the first phase, the Bangalorebased Essae Teraoka is supplying 1,000 machines at Rs 46,011 apiece. “We had feared shop licensees would resist the new system, but things have gone smoothly till now,” says its Managing Director S.A. Prabhu Chandran. He is trying to persuade other states such as Tamil Nadu to follow Karnataka’s example.

To ensure only genuine beneficiaries buy from the fair-price shops, the state food department has collected fingerprints and photographs of all cardholders and fed the data into a server that links all the machines. To further eliminate fake ration cards, the government has also linked the cards to electricity meter numbers in urban areas and property tax numbers in rural.

Wherever more than one family has claimed the same electricity meter or property tax number, officials have visited the houses and allowed only the ones genuine.

The linking had another tangential effect – it cleaned up land records. “When we shared data relating to property details with village panchayats, it did not match in many cases with what the panchayats had. The panchayats were able to identify more than 200,000 new properties that had not paid taxes,” says P.V. Bhat, Senior Technical Director, NIC, Bangalore.

Karnataka is also using its information technology network to ensure fair-price shops lift their allocated stock from warehouses in time. Earlier, many shops would lift the stock only in the last week of each month – since lifting early meant locking up their working capital for a longer period. Today most shops are taking their quotas well in time and state officials keep tabs on the stock position. “A few warehouses had a month’s extra stock because many shops postponed lifting by one week every month,” says D.N. Jeevaraj, Karnataka’s Food and Civil Supplies Minister. “I have instructed that stocks should be lifted by the 10th of every month.”

How the new system works
1. The machine identifies beneficiaries with their thumb impressions
2. It displays weight and price of items, verbally announcing them too
3. It electronically transmits transaction details to a server
4. The data is uploaded on Karnataka PDS Centre’s portal

Reproduced From Business Today. © 2012. LMIL. All rights reserved.

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Power cut hits millions, among world’s worst outages

Posted by Admin on August 1, 2012

http://in.news.yahoo.com/power-blackout-sweeps-north-india-second-day-081130063.html

By Frank Jack Daniel | Reuters – 2 hours 10 minutes ago

              NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Hundreds of millions of people across India were left without power on Tuesday in one of the world’s worst blackouts, trapping miners, stranding train travellers and plunging hospitals into darkness when grids collapsed for the second time in two days.

Stretching from Assam to the Himalayas and the northwestern deserts of Rajasthan, the outage covered states where half of India’s 1.2 billion people live and embarrassed the government, which has failed to build up enough power capacity to meet soaring demand.

“Even before we could figure out the reason for yesterday’s failure, we had more grid failures today,” said R.N. Nayak, chairman of the state-run Power Grid Corporation.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had vowed to fast-track stalled power and infrastructure projects as well as introduce free market reforms aimed at reviving India’s flagging economy. But he has drawn fire for dragging his feet.

By nightfall, power was back up in the humid capital, New Delhi and much of the north, but a senior official said only a third was restored in the rural state of Uttar Pradesh, itself home to more people than Brazil.

The cuts in such a widespread area of the world’s second most populous nation appeared to be one of the biggest in history, and hurt Indians’ pride as the country seeks to emerge as a major force on the international stage.

“It’s certainly shameful. Power is a very basic amenity and situations like these should not occur,” said Unnayan Amitabh, 19, an intern with HSBC bank in New Delhi, before giving up on the underground train system and flagging down an auto-rickshaw to get home.

“They talk about big ticket reforms but can’t get something as essential as power supply right.”

Power Minister Sushilkumar Shinde blamed the system collapse on some states drawing more than their share of electricity from the over-burdened grid, but Uttar Pradesh’s top civil servant for energy said outdated transmission lines were at fault.

Asia’s third-largest economy suffers a peak-hour power deficit of about 10 percent, dragging on economic growth.

Between a quarter and 40 percent of Indians are not connected to the national grid.

Two hundred miners were stranded in three deep coal shafts in the state of West Bengal when their electric elevators stopped working. Eastern Coalfields Limited official Niladri Roy said workers at the mines, one of which is 700 metres (3,000 feet) deep, were not in danger and were being taken out.

Train stations in Kolkata were swamped and traffic jammed the streets after government offices closed early in the dilapidated coastal city of 5 million people.

The power failed in some major city hospitals and office buildings had to fire up diesel generators.

By mid-evening, services had been restored on the New Delhi metro system.

“PUSHED INTO DARKNESS”

On Monday, India was forced to buy extra power from the tiny neighbouring kingdom of Bhutan to help it recover from a blackout that hit more than 300 million people.

Indians took to social networking sites to ridicule the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, in part for promoting Shinde despite the power cuts.

Narendra Modi, an opposition leader and chief minister in Gujarat, a state that enjoys a surplus of power, was scornful.

“With poor economic management UPA has emptied the pockets of common man; kept stomachs hungry with inflation & today pushed them into darkness,” he said on his Twitter account.

The country’s southern and western grids were supplying power to help restore services, officials said.

The problem has been made worse by a weak monsoon in agricultural states such as wheat-belt Punjab and Uttar Pradesh in the Ganges plain, which has a larger population than Brazil.

With less rain to irrigate crops, more farmers resort to electric pumps to draw water from wells.

India’s electricity distribution and transmission is mostly state run, with private companies operating in Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata. Less than a quarter of generation is private nationwide.

More than half the country’s electricity is generated by coal, with hydro power and nuclear also contributing.

Power shortages and a creaky road and rail network have weighed heavily on India’s efforts to industrialize. Grappling with the slowest economic growth in nine years, the government recently scaled back a target to pump $1 trillion into infrastructure over the next five years.

Major industries have their own power plants or diesel generators and are shielded from outages. But the inconsistent supply hits investment and disrupts small businesses.

High consumption of heavily subsidized diesel by farmers and businesses has fuelled a gaping fiscal deficit that the government has vowed to tackle to restore confidence in the economy.

But the poor monsoon means a subsidy cut is politically difficult.

On Tuesday, the central bank cut its economic growth outlook for the fiscal year that ends in March to 6.5 percent, from the 7.3 percent assumption made in April, putting its outlook closer to that of many private economists.

“This is going to have a substantial adverse impact on the overall economic activity. Power failure for two consecutive days hits sentiment very badly,” said N. Bhanumurthy, a senior economist at National Institute of Public Finance and Policy.

(Reporting by Delhi Bureau; Sujoy Dhar in Kolkata and Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow; Writing by Frank Jack Daniel; Editing by Robert Birsel and Diana Abdallah)

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What is causing power grid failure in India?

Posted by Admin on August 1, 2012

http://in.news.yahoo.com/what-is-causing-power-grid-failure-in-india-.html

Power failure hit India for a second day running, cutting power to more than 600 million people. Here are a few facts about the power crisis:

Yahoo! India News – 7 hours ago

NEW DELHI: Power failure hit India for a second day running on Tuesday due to the collapse of the Northern and Eastern grids, cutting power to more than 600 million people in the populous northern and eastern states including the capital Delhi and major cities such as Kolkata. Around over 300,000 passengers were stranded in over 300 trains across eight states after the northern and eastern grids failed, crippling operations across six railway zones in the country. Here are a few facts about the power crisis in India:

What is an electrical grid?

A power grid is an interconnected network of transmission lines for supplying electricity from power suppliers to consumers. Any disruptions in the network causes power outages. India has five regional grids that carry electricity from power plants to respective states in the country.

What leads to a grid failure?

Planning Commission Deputy Chairperson Montek Singh Ahluwalia said the blackout may have been caused by a mix of coal shortages and other problems on the grid. The power deficit was worsened by a weak monsoon that lowered hydroelectric generation and kept temperatures high, feeding the appetite for electricity.

Farmers using energy-intensive water pumps for irrigation to save their recently sown crops may also have pushed up the demand.

If the monsoon does not pick up, the grids are expected to come under more stress. Hydro-power accounts for about 20 per cent of installed power capacity but reservoirs have only 24 per cent of the water they can hold — just about half of what they carried at this time last year.

Many state governments give farmers free or near-free electricity, triggering a vicious cycle of unviable power boards whose supply is so erratic that farmers are forced to pay a steep price to run diesel pumps and generators. Many states have not adjusted tariff for 10 years.

The industry has advocated abolishing a 1973 Act that nationalised coal mining. Changes to the law are expected to allow professional miners to scout for and mine coal.

India’s power shortage

India is slow to set up new power capacity principally because it is short of fossil fuels. Coal is mined hesitantly and natural gas, the other feedstock for power plants, is just beginning to flow in from new offshore finds. The government rations both.

The immediate response to a power sector in distress – thermal plants are idling a quarter of their capacity – is to give it a bigger slice of the pie. The sustainable response will need the pie to grow overall.

This January, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh set up a committee to work through the issues that have been bedeviling electricity generation: a host of problems ranging from coal and gas shortages to environmental clearances to the price at which power is sold in the country.

India’s basic energy shortage is compounded by the policy of selling electricity to consumers at politically correct prices. The government-owned distribution monopolies in the states have all but lost their ability to buy power because their political bosses force them to sell it cheap, sometimes free, to voters. This opportunism is hurting the economy: the government estimates unaccounted for sale of power in India, at a third of the total, costs the country 1% of its gross domestic product.

The road ahead

The road ahead for reforms in the power sector is well lit. Introduce competition in all three areas of the business – generation, transmission and distribution – to enhance productivity and contain leakages. Create an independent watchdog that can withstand the political pressures playing on different links of the nation’s power supply chain.

Finally, free up pricing to make consumers more responsible for the electricity they use. This has been the broad course of electricity reforms the world over. India’s energy pricing, including transport and cooking fuels, is hopelessly caught in competitive populism. Serious attempt to extricate it will need more grids to trip.

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Baba Ramdev dares Govt. to prove his black money estimates wrong

Posted by Admin on July 4, 2012

http://in.news.yahoo.com/baba-ramdev-dares-govt-prove-black-money-estimates-061107840.html

By ANI | ANI – 14 hours ago

Jaipur, July 3 (ANI): Yoga Guru Baba Ramdev has dared the Congress-led UPA Government at the Centre to prove his estimate of 400 trillion rupees’ worth of black money being stashed in safe havens abroad wrong.

Baba Ramdev said he was ready for punishment if proved wrong.

“It is said that the statistics given by me are false, and that I am lying and presenting the people with a false dream. I say that if I am lying and presenting false statistics, then I should be given the most stringent punishment. But if I am speaking the truth, then do not evade it,” he said.

Baba Ramdev further said that graft was destroying India’s democracy at its roots, and added that the present system needed to be replaced by a more just and equitable one.

“Approximately 400 trillion rupees that have been looted by corrupt people should come back to the country. Graft has eaten away the roots of our democracy and made them hollow. Democracy has become more about loot, graft and currency notes today. It must be saved. The current system must be replaced with one that provides economic and social justice to all,” he said.

Baba Ramdev, who sat on a daylong fast Delhi along with veteran social activist Anna Hazare at the Jantar Mantar in New earlier last month, had demanded that the government should follow the steps suggested by him in its endeavor to bring back black money stashed abroad.

Baba Ramdev, who has been at loggerheads with the government over a range of national issues for the past many months, had also called on the government last year to pursue billions of dollars in illegal funds abroad and the withdrawal of high denomination bank notes. (ANI)

Posted in Conspiracy Archives, Economic Upheavals, Geo-Politics, India Forgotten | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Baba Ramdev dares Govt. to prove his black money estimates wrong

Floods kill 77 in Assam, two million affected

Posted by Admin on July 4, 2012

http://in.news.yahoo.com/photos/floods-in-assam-slideshow/

At least 77 people have been killed and nearly two million affected by heavy monsoon rains that caused floods in Assam, in what the prime minister on Monday called one of the worst such disasters to strike recently.Prime Minister announced an aid package of Rs.500 crore. The mighty Brahmaputra river and many of its tributaries have breached their banks after downpours, washing away thousands of homes mostly made of bamboo and straw, as well as roads, bridges and power lines.Authorities have given shelter, food and medicines to thousands of homeless people, and deployed mobile medical teams to prevent the outbreak of disease.(Reuters)

Floods kill 77 in Assam, two million affected

This handout photograph received from the Press Information Bureau (PIB) and taken on July 1, 2012 shows an Indian Air Force (IAF) helicopter on a Relief and Rescue mission in the flood-affected areas of Assam. At least 79 people have died and 2.2 million forced to leave their homes over the last week as torrential monsoon rains triggered floods across India‘s northeast, officials said on July 2, 2012.

A view of flood-affected people, who are stranded, standing on a bridge in the flooded area of the Sonitpur district in Assam

A view of flood-affected people, who are stranded, standing on a bridge in the flooded area of the Sonitpur district in the northeastern Indian state of Assam July 1, 2012. Incessant heavy rains in northeast India have caused massive flooding and landslides, killing more than 60 people, local media reported on Sunday. Picture taken July 1, 2012. REUTERS/Stringer (INDIA – Tags: DISASTER ENVIRONMENT)

An aerial view shows the flood-affected areas of the Sonitpur district in Assam

An aerial view shows the flood-affected areas of the Sonitpur district in the northeastern Indian state of Assam July 1, 2012. Incessant heavy rains in northeast India have caused massive flooding and landslides, killing more than 60 people, local media reported on Sunday. Picture taken July 1, 2012. REUTERS/Stringer (INDIA – Tags: DISASTER ENVIRONMENT)

Floods kill 77 in Assam, two million affected

Villagers travel on a country boat through flood waters at the flood affected area of Tataliguri in Morigoan district, some 80 kms from Guwahati, the capital city of India’s northeastern state of Assam on June 29, 2012. At least 27 people have died and 10,00,000 others have been forced to leave their homes as monsoon rains swamp wide areas of the northeastern Indian state of Assam, officials said. AFP PHOTO/Biju BORO

Flood-affected residents are silhouetted against the setting sun as they travel on a boat through their submerged paddy fields at Himalua village

Flood-affected residents are silhouetted against the setting sun as they travel on a boat through their submerged paddy fields at Himalua village in the northeastern Indian state of Assam July 1, 2012. Incessant heavy rains in northeast India have caused massive flooding and landslides, killing more than 60 people, local media reported on Sunday. REUTERS/Utpal Baruah

A view of flood-affected people with their domesticated animals stranded on an islet in a flooded area of the Sonitpur district in Assam

A view of flood-affected people with their domesticated animals stranded on an islet in a flooded area of the Sonitpur district in the northeastern Indian state of Assam July 1, 2012. Incessant heavy rains in northeast India have caused massive flooding and landslides, killing more than 60 people, local media reported on Sunday. Picture taken July 1, 2012. REUTERS/Stringer (INDIA – Tags: DISASTER ENVIRONMENT ANIMALS)

A flood-affected man pushes a temporary raft carrying his son through the flood waters after heavy rains at Mayang village

A flood-affected man pushes a temporary raft carrying his son through the flood waters after heavy rains at Mayang village in the northeastern Indian state of Assam June 30, 2012. Incessant heavy rains in northeast India have caused massive flooding and landslides, killing at least a dozen of people, local media reported. REUTERS/Utpal Baruah

A flood-affected girl uses a submerged hand-pump at Dhuhibala village

A flood-affected girl uses a submerged hand-pump to fetch drinking water at Dhuhibala village in the northeastern Indian state of Assam July 1, 2012. Incessant heavy rains in northeast India have caused massive flooding and landslides, killing more than 60 people, local media reported on Sunday. REUTERS/Utpal Baruah

Flood-affected residents use a temporary raft to move their belongings to safer places in front of their submerged hut at Himalua village

Flood-affected residents use a temporary raft to move their belongings to safer places in front of their submerged hut at Himalua village in the northeastern Indian state of Assam July 1, 2012. Incessant heavy rains in northeast India have caused massive flooding and landslides, killing more than 60 people, local media reported on Sunday. REUTERS/Utpal Baruah

Flood-affected residents sit inside their flooded house at Dhuhibala village

Flood-affected residents sit inside their flooded house at Dhuhibala village in the northeastern Indian state of Assam July 1, 2012. Incessant heavy rains in northeast India have caused massive flooding and landslides, killing more than 60 people, local media reported on Sunday. REUTERS/Utpal Baruah

Flood-affected residents move to safer places on a temporary raft next to their submerged huts after heavy rains at Khalabhyan village

Flood-affected residents move to safer places on a temporary raft next to their submerged huts after heavy rains at Khalabhyan village in the northeastern Indian state of Assam June 30, 2012. Incessant heavy rains in northeast India have caused massive flooding and landslides, killing at least a dozen of people, local media reported. REUTERS/Utpal Baruah

Unidentified women weep next to the body of a victim of a boat that sank in India's Brahmaputra river, at Buraburi village

Unidentified women weep next to the body of a victim of a boat that sank in India’s Brahmaputra river, at Buraburi village in Dhubri district of the northeastern Indian state of Assam May 1, 2012. Rescue workers fought heavy wind and rain to search for survivors after at least 103 people drowned on an overloaded ferry carrying about 300 people that sank at night on one of India’s largest rivers on Monday, police said. REUTERS/Utpal Baruah

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Sringeri – the confluence of religion and beauty

Posted by Admin on June 20, 2012

http://in.lifestyle.yahoo.com/sringeri-the-confluence-of-religion-and-beauty.html

Sringeri is a temple town nestled in Chickmagalur district of Karnataka.

By Lakshmi Sharath | Yahoo Lifestyle Entertainment – 17 hours ago

My earliest memory of Sringeri goes back to my childhood, when I was probably five years old. It starts with an old black-and-white photograph, with me in ponytails standing next to my grandparents, against the backdrop of the temples at Sringeri Mutt. It was probably around the same time, I had heard about the story of Sringeri, narrated by my mother and she never tires of telling me the story again and again even today.

More than twelve centuries ago, Hindu seer and exponent of Advaita philosophy, Ādi Śaṅkarācārya had come to Sringeri. He saw an unusual sight on the banks of the Tunga that made him realize that this place was sacred. A cobra was seen spreading out its hood over a pregnant frog protecting it from the scorching sun. He was struck by the sanctity of the area which could bring two enemies together and infuse love between them. The acharya went on to establish his very first Mutt here and dedicated it to Goddess Saraswati. He had invoked the deity and had consecrated an idol of her, which was initially made of sandalwood. He later established the guru-shishya tradition that follows till date, as pilgrims visit the town to seek the blessings of the current Shankaracharya, Jagadguru Bharati Tirtha Swamigal.

Sringeri

As a child, I had made several trips to Sringeri and slowly the word ‘spiritual’ seemed to become synonymous with the place. The journey was long and arduous then. We used to drive down to Bangalore from Chennai and then take the long route via Tumkur and Arsikere to reach Hassan and then Chikmagalur. The winding roads of Malenadu painted a carpet of green coffee estates as we continued our journey to Sringeri from the hills. Sometimes, we used to take the picturesque Agumbe route, just to take in the views of the forests and sunsets. And every time, I used to lose myself in the journey.

Even today, I am lost as I drive through Malenadu, drenched in monsoons. Sringeri brings to the mind images of the long roads snaking across the green mountains, the heavy rains and squalls, the richly carved temples, the fish swimming in the serene Tunga, the rhythmic chanting from the various rituals and the bisi bisi saaru (rasam) on a rainy day.

My first stop in Sringeri is always at the banks of the River Tunga. Sitting on the steps and watching the fish nibble at the feet of people who are performing their evening rituals, I take in the scene. The sun lights the scales as they whisk their fins in and out of water. The forests border the banks of the river, while two temple elephants cross over to the other bank on the bridge.

The temples are not crowded. I stop by at the Sharadamba temple adorned with massive sculptures. It was reconstructed in the South Indian Dravidian style, after the earlier wooden temple had given way. After visiting several smaller temple complexes dedicated to various deities like Malayala Brahma,Torana Ganapathi, Kodandarama, Janardhana, Subramanya and other guardian gods and goddesses,  I enter my favourite shrine – the Vidyashankara Temple, standing tall at the entrance to the river, Tunga.

Standing in awe and gazing at every sculpture on the outer walls, I watch the sun shine on them. The twelve zodiac signs are carved on the pillars and it is indeed an architectural marvel in stone, a fusion between Hoysala, Vijayanagara and Chalukya styles in the 14th century. Dedicated to deities, Vidya Ganapati, Vidyashankara, Durga and the Trimurtis , it was built by pontiff Bharati Krishna Tirtha Acharya, as a tribute to his Guru, the 10th Acharya, Vidyatirtha. Another temple is said to be buried beneath this temple and there is a story around it.

Vidyatirtha was the reigning acharya in the 13th century when two brothers from Ekasilanagaram or today’s Warangal came to meet him. Vidyatirtha wanted to meditate and he explained to one of the brothers Bharati Krishna Tirtha not to disturb him for twelve years.

An underground chamber was excavated near the bank of the river  where the seer meditated and instructed that the door remained closed  for twelve years .After three years, when the pontiff  was away, the attendants out of curiosity opened the chamber only to see that the body was replaced by a linga.

Bharati Krishna Tirtha then received a divine message from his Guru to build the Vidyashankara Temple near the river. He later became the next Jagadguru and was followed by his brother, Vidyaranya, the founder of the Vijayanagara Empire and the Guru to the brothers, Harihara (Hakka) and Bukka.

The connection between Hampi and Sringeri is something I learnt afresh here. It is believed that the seer Sri Vidyaranya was meditating on Matanga Hill in modern day Hampi, when he met two brothers, Harihara and Bukka. Under his guidance, the brothers built a new capital, Vidyanagara and designed it in the form of a chakra with the Virupaksha Temple in the centre and nine gates surrounding it. The town soon became known as Vijaynagara or victory as the brothers established a new dynasty by defeating Delhi Sultans and the various rebelling feudatories.

It was already night fall as the stars came out and the moonlight drenched the waters of the Tunga. Hordes of devotees were crossing the bridge to reach the other side of the bank in time for the night puja of the Chandramouleshwara Temple, performed by the Shankaracharya. It is a surreal like experience as one crosses the Tunga on a star lit night and walks across rich vegetation in silence , listening to the crickets ,enters the portals of the shrine as the invigorating chants fill the air and vibrates across the river. It is at the moment, I truly grasp the meaning of spiritual.

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Nature till I die

Posted by Admin on June 4, 2012

http://in.news.yahoo.com/photos/nature-till-i-die-slideshow/;_ylt=AggUbEpT.Sm0.xab.CfiKNfPfNx_;_ylu=X3oDMTN2cWhmZ2tnBG1pdANMYXRlc3QgbmV3cyBwaG90b3MEcGtnAzdhN2UwZjc1LTFkZTYtM2JiMy05MDhmLTg3NTIwNGNjNzY4ZARwb3MDMwRzZWMDdG9wc3RvcnlfZ2FsBHZlcgM0OTdjNzVmMi1hYmQ2LTExZTEtYjFjZi0xNTY4NjkzNjNiM2Q-;_ylg=X3oDMTJwaG9tNDFsBGludGwDaW4EbGFuZwNlbi1pbgRwc3RhaWQDMDFjYzgzYzMtZDY0Yi0zMDg2LTg0NTQtMmYzMWM2MWY0ZDU3BHBzdGNhdANhdXRvcwRwdANzcy1nYWxsZXJ5;_ylv=3

Nature till I die

My art and the environment, Yahoo’s original series tracks what loving the environment means for an ordinary person with extraordinary commitment. These are people who love an art form and from that vantage have explored the environment. In mainstream media, we hear too many ideological voices of activists, partisan NGOs and biased industry players, but sometimes it starts with what piques an individual’s curiosity. Today meet 18 year old Archith Sridhar. When he was 10, his mother caught him lovingly caressing a centipede on his palm, examining its glossy colors and its numerous legs. For him, this beautiful creature was fascinating – as was the injured migratory stork that he helped rescue and leave at the Blue Cross, an animal rescue centre. Leisure reading for him as a twelve-year-old was ‘Microcellular organisms’, a biggie with glossy illustrations. He’s currently pursuing a Bachelor’s in Veterinary Sciences in Pondicherry. The camera has been his favorite gadget – from a trip with family(much to his chagrin) to Bandhavgarh’s tigers to flying solo to Gir and Agumbe or enrolling as a docent at the Madras Crocodile Bank. Ask him what he wants to become – he is not sure. Ask him what he wants to do now – and he would probably pick up his Canon 7D and his backpack. Hear him tell you about his photos and experiences with passion, enthusiasm and humor.

Nature till I die

Tigress, Bandhavgarh: MP
This striped and endangered majesty of an animal is forever in conflict with human habitation. This picture to me perfectly captures that conflict. The tigress is stepping onto a dirt road criss-crossed with jeep tyre marks.

Nature till I die

Tarantula, Agumbe
Walking through Pit viper terrain, wading through a pond in shorts and floaters without a torch (I didn’t want to scare the tarantulas away), my group and I came here specifically to see these tarantulas creeping out of their nests burrowed into mud embankments.

Nature till I die

Spectacled cobra, Chennai
Snake hunting with the Irulas was an unforgettable experience and spotting this Spectacled Cobra made my day. My usual camera was at service and I had to make do with a point and shoot, and thus had to get really close to this guy for such a shot. The thrill of looking at a cobra in the wild was like a dream come true.

Nature till I die

Jaws III, Croc Bank: Chennai
Meet Jaws III, the largest captive saltwater croc at in India at over 18 feet. He is a massive and fierce dominant male who keeps complete control over his territory, even refusing to allow mating females into his murky waters. You wouldn’t want to meet him on a Sunday swim, snout to snout.

Nature till I die

Golden frog, Agumbe :Karnataka
The toughest customer – He kept jumping away, out of the line of my lens. Believe me, he almost missed his chance to be covered here, at Yahoo! He was the typical celeb guy being chased by this lens man. Had to crouch very low, get my camera a foot away from his eye level and click, using the flash.

Nature till I die

A Pair of Jungle babblers, Gir : Gujarat
What makes this photograph special for me is that one bird was grooming another. They looked like they were in love with each other, totally immersed in the mood of the moment. You take the pick on who the male is, and who the female is.

Nature till I die

Shield bug, Chennai
On a snake walk with Irulas, this flashy bug distracted me from my main quarry. Instead of looking for snakes, I began looking for more of these bugs. Little did I know then that they were capable of releasing pungent chemicals in self-defense. I am happy I did not have to find out the hard way.

Nature till I die

Indian scops owl, Gir, Gujarat
Perfectly blending with the bark, he was patiently posing for a long while. Unusually, instead of the animal tiring of me, it was my turn to walk away. I loved his expression and his patience.

Nature till I die

Moth in my backyard
I have been unable to identify this patterned moth, which I one day clicked in the backyard of my house. Note that it appears to have eyes, an open mouth and a flowing moustache – giving the appearance of a face looking at you. Imagine further, and you can see arms and a body to this creature.

Nature till I die

Web, Agumbe
Beautifully created, carefully designed and perfectly executed, this spider web is doomed to be destroyed for it fell right in the middle of a road entering the Agumbe Rainforest Research Station. The effort and toil of one whole night would be gone with the next motor vehicle.

Nature till I die

Peacock, Gir
My camera got wet in a sudden shower and began to malfunction. I missed most of the beginning of his spectacular dance, but luckily, was able to manage a few shots towards the end.

Nature till I die

Dew on Branches
What better time than dawn to capture beads of dew? Indeed my first time and to me it seemed that the dewdrops formed in a second, showcased their beauty for another second, then fell to their death. Poetic.

Nature till I die

Jungle babbler, Gir : Gujarat
I was roundly cursed by this feathery friend for disturbing his peace.

Nature till I die

Calotes versicolor, Chennai
This male of the species(identified from its elongated dorsal spine above its head) is common lizard that you spot in your garden. Often mistaken for the chameleon, this lizard possesses the ability to change colour as well. In the breeding season, the male acquires a bright red coloured throat(like in this picture where it is faintly seen in between the black) and thus, is often referred to as a ‘blood sucker’.

Nature till I die

Black faced Langur, Bandipur, Karnataka

Nature till I die

Black faced Langur, Gir, Gujarat

Nature till I die

Calotes rouxii, Agumbe, Karnataka

Nature till I die

Chital, Gir, Gujarat

Nature till I die

Gharial, Crocodile Bank, Chennai

Nature till I die

Signature spider, Bandipur, Karnataka.

Photo credit : Archith K.Sridhar
Contact him at: archithphotography@gmail.com

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