A rare honour for Kodagu

The election of Kombarana Ganapathy Bopaiah as Speaker of the legislative Assembly on Wednesday has come as a rare honour for Kodagu.

Born on October 17, 1955, at the sleepy Kalur village near here, he is the second son of Kombarana Ganapathy and Chinnamma. He was closely associated with the Sangh Parivar since his school days. He had his primary education in the Kalur Government Primary School and went to Chettalli in Somwarpet taluk for high school.

Mr. Bopaiah obtained B.Sc. degree from the then Government Senior College here (now Field Marshal K.M. Cariappa College) in 1974. He was as an active ABVP member during his college days. He participated in the movement against the Kambadakada dam project in Kodagu proposed by the government in 1970.

After completing B.Sc., Mr. Bopaiah joined the BMS College in Bangalore for LLB course. He was arrested during the Emergency in Bangalore and jailed for some time. After completing the LLB course as a gold medallist, Mr. Bopaiah returned to Madikeri in 1980 and started practising law.

He was appointed as general secretary of the Kodagu unit of the BJP and elevated as its president in the 90s. He was chosen to contest from the Madikeri Assembly segment in 2004, which he won as the BJP candidate comfortably.

In the previous elections, Mr. Bopaiah contested from the Virajpet Assembly constituency.

Mr. Bopaiah served as pro tem Speaker for four days after the BJP won the mandate and has the honour of administering oath to all the members of the legislative Assembly in that capacity. Later, he was made Deputy Speaker of the legislative Assembly. His wife Kunthi is the principal of the Kudige School in Somwarpet taluk. His elder daughter Prajna is an engineering student in Bangalore and second daughter is studying in the St. Joseph’s Convent School here.

Biddanda S. Kushalappa served as Speaker of the then Coorg State Assembly in the early 50s. Coorg was a Part “C” State from 1952 to 1956.

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-The Hindu

Two-day Kodagu Sahitya Sammelan from January 20

The seventh district Kannada Sahitya Sammelan will be held at Shanivarasante in Somwarpet taluk of Kodagu on January 20 and 21, the president of the district unit of the Kannada Sahitya Parishat, T.P. Ramesh, said on Wednesday.

Addressing presspersons here, he said writer M.G. Nagaraj would preside over the sammelan. The Kannada Sahitya Parishat would release Rs. 4.7 lakh to organise the sammelan.

Of the amount, Rs. 1 lakh would be spent on bringing out four books — a collection of stories, collection of poems, Dalit literature and on Kodagu and its culture, Mr. Ramesh said.

He said 1,000 copies of each book would be brought out for sale.

A sum of Rs. 9 lakh was expected to be spent on the two-day sammelan. People from Arakalgud and Sakleshpur areas of Hassan district were expected to attend the sammelan as Shanivarasante was on Kodagu-Hassan border.

Shanivarasante was a historical town where Field Marshal K.M. Cariappa was born.

It was also known for freedom fighters such as Bidanur Madayya, B.K. Shantaveerappa, and G.K. Chandrashekar, Mr. Ramesh said.

The main entrances of Shanivarasante would be named after them.

The book stall would be named after freedom fighter N.K. Murthy.

The dais would be named after S.V. Ranga Rao, who started the first newspaper, “Kodagu Chandrika”, at Shanivarasante in 1884, he said.

The Shanivarasante PU and GMP School Grounds, where the sammelan would be held, would be named after folklore expert Besur Nanjanna, he said.

Director of Kannada and Culture Manu Baligar would inaugurate the sammela. The sammelan souvenir would be named “Sahitya Saptami”. Seven seminars would be held during the two-day event.

Students from VIII to X standards would participate in a poets’ meet. Twelve persons, who had worked for the cause of Kannada, would be honoured on the occasion, he said.

He said preparations were on for the fourth Madikeri taluk Kannada Sahitya Sammelan to be held at Napoklu on January 4.

Members of the parishat here mourned the death of singer C. Ashwath and actor Vishnuvardhan.

The president of the Somwarpet taluk unit of the parishat, J.C. Shekar, the honorary secretary of the district unit of the parishat, B.A. Shamsuddin, the secretary, Bharati Ramesh, the sammelan sub-committee members, Sripathi Rao, D.B. Somappa, Pushpa Nagaraj, Prem Kumar and R.P. Mohan, were present.

-The Hindu

Coffee crop loss assessment sought

Madikeri: Newly appointed Coffee Board members from Kodagu, A. Nanda Belliappa, Chandramati Ganesh and Faiz Musa Kutty have urged the Board to send a team of officials to Kodagu, Chikmagalur and Hassan districts within a week’s time to assess the coffee crop loss following unseasonal rainfall in the last few days.

Speaking to presspersons here on Tuesday, Mr. Belliappa, who represents large growers on the Board, said that rains had wrought havoc on fully ripe Arabica coffee, Robusta also to a certain extent, in the coffee growing districts of Kodagu, Chikmaglur and Hassan. Ripe berries were falling off the plants because of the excess rains. Many growers have lost up to 20 to 50 per cent of the standing coffee crop.

However, the members wanted the Coffee Board team to visit the plantations personally to assess the exact loss, he said.

Chandramati Ganesh, a member representing the small growers on the Board, said the growers in Kodagu suffered heavy losses in the past three years because of the vagaries of nature such as excess unseasonal rainfall and pest infestations. She suggested that the team should submit a report to the Board after assessing crop loss. The report should be placed before the Board meeting scheduled to be held in Bangalore on January 7, she added.

In reply to a query on the non-payment of compensation to growers for crop loss in Kodagu during 2007-08 and 2008-09, Mr. Belliappa and Ms. Ganesh said they would talk to the Deputy Commissioner in that regard. The Swaminathan Committee had recommended payment of a compensation of Rs. 1,500 crore for various kinds of crop loss in Kerala during 2006. They said that the Government should announce such a package for coffee growers who had suffered crop loss in the three districts.

According to Mr. Belliappa, H. Vishwanath, Mysore MP, and R. Dhruvanarayan, Chamarajanagar MP, have written to Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee to issue directions to the banks through the Reserve Bank of India not to pressure coffee growers to clear their loans till a special debt relief package was announced. He added that the banks were forcing the growers to settle their accounts under the One-Time Settlement (OTS) Scheme. He showed copies of the letters issued by banks to coffee growers to clear their debt to presspersons.

Mr. Belliappa said there were at least three proposals sent by various coffee organisations to the Union Commerce Ministry seeking debt relief package. The Coffee Board, in association with a few growers’ organisations, had submitted a proposal seeking Rs. 805-crore debt waiver package. It would definitely come through in a few days as it was before the Union Cabinet, Mr. Belliappa said.

In reply to a query, he said that the proposal was not held up by the Government because the large growers wanted the loans availed by them for purchase of plantations included in the package. The vice-president of the Karnataka Growers’ Federation, Basappa, said it was only a ploy of certain growers to mislead the growers’ community.

When asked whether the coffee growers had held back stocks in anticipation of remunerative price, Mr. Faiz Musa Kutty, who represents the curers on the Coffee Board, said no such thing had happened. He added that it is estimated that the coffee produce will be down by 30 per cent this year.

B.M. Suresh, president of the Somwarpet Taluk Coffee Growers’ Association, said Arabica growers, particularly in and around Somwarpet taluk, had suffered crop loss for over a decade now. The main reason for crop loss was excess rainfall and pests.

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-The Hindu

Virajpet town panchayat president resigns

President of the Virajpet town panchayat Kanti Belliappa has tendered her resignation on Saturday as the Opposition members in the panchayat were preparing to move a no-confidence motion against her.

In a dramatic development that unfolded on September 26, 2009, as many as 12 members of the panchayat had ‘passed’ a ‘no-confidence’ motion against Ms. Belliappa, and ‘installed’ B.K. Chandru, the current vice-president as the president of the panchayat. Of the total 16 members in the panchayat, 12 members from the BJP, Congress and the JD (S) attended the meeting to oust Ms. Belliappa from her position in her absence. But Ms. Belliappa had refused to resign and the matter was taken to the court.

Ms. Belliappa said on Saturday that she was tendering her resignation as soon as the in-charge chief officer of the panchayat Nagaratna started reading out the no-confidence motion being passed against her. She submitted her resignation to Ms. Nagaratna and walked out of the meeting hall.

Eleven members of the total 16 voted for the no-confidence motion. Interestingly, A.H. Vishwanath, MP, who was present, also supported the no-confidence motion by raising his hand, taking the total votes against Ms. Bellliappa to 12.

The panchayat members who voted against her were vice-president B.K. Chandru, M.K. Poovaiah, Satish and Tara (all Congress), Zareena Noor, Maria Sequeira, Moinuddin and Mateen (JD-S), Independent member Kausar and two BJP members – Katti Poonacha and B.A. Kumar.

Those who did not support the no-confidence motion were besides Ms. Belliappa herself, Kootanda Suresh, Umavathi and Savita. Congress member Madan Mandanna was absent.

BJP members Mr. Poonacha and Mr. Kumar defied the ‘whip’ issued by the BJP to vote against Ms. Belliappa. She had won from the JD (S) and later joined the BJP.

On hearing the news of Ms. Belliappa’s resignation, members of the Congress and certain others owing allegiance to a particular organisation celebrated by bursting firecrackers outside the town hall.

Reacting later, Ms. Belliappa said political power was not permanent as winning and losing always was part of political game. She would accept defeat and success equally. She considered failure as the stepping stone for success. Ms. Belliappa clarified that she had resigned on her own and not under any pressure.

-The Hindu

‘Take steps to mitigate miseries of tribal people’

Chairman of the Karnataka Janapada Academy Go. Ru. Chennabasappa has appealed to the State Government to take steps to mitigate miseries of the tribal people in the State.

He was speaking here on Saturday at the two-day State Tribal Convention being held at Thithimathi in Virajpet taluk of the district. Elected representatives and officials concerned with tribal welfare had the responsibility of addressing the problems of tribal people, Mr. Chennabasappa said.

According to him, the tribal people’s culture had contributed significantly to the welfare of the State. The convention would help raise issues concerning the tribal people and would also provide solutions to the problems being faced by them, he added.

The nation had been plunged into the abyss of corruption after attaining Independence, Mr. Chennabasappa lamented, adding that human values had taken a nosedive. People should come together to eradicate the menace of corruption by creating awareness among communities, including tribal people, he said. Particularly, the youths should be involved in such awareness programmes, he felt.

The Janapada Academy was organising “Janapada Jaguli”, a novel programme in colleges to popularise folklore, Mr. Chennabasappa said.

The president of the Kodagu zilla panchayat, V.M. Vijaya, who inaugurated the convention, urged the State Government to take steps to conduct another survey of tribal people to assess their lifestyle so that the Government could use the data to uplift them. A survey conducted earlier had concluded that tribal people enjoyed all facilities. This had resulted in the Government not extending any help by way of welfare schemes for the tribal people, he claimed.

Describing the tribal people as the saviours of forest wealth, Mr. Vijaya said steps were being taken to implement the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of. Forest Rights) Act in Kodagu.

President of the Virajpet taluk panchayat Sarita Poonacha said the tribal people were being deprived of the benefits of several government schemes as they did not possess title deeds for their land. The Government should ensure that marketing facilities were provided to the tribal people to sell the products manufactured by them.

Tribal leaders P.S. Motaiah, J.K. Kenchappa, Chanda Kala, and president of the Karnataka Kodava Sahitya Academy Rani Machaiah, were present. Registrar of the Karnataka Janapada Academy Prasadaswamy welcomed.

In-charge Registrar of the Kodava Academy Vinod Chandra proposed vote of thanks.

A procession comprising 15 troupes of tribal people, including six from outside Kodagu and schoolchildren, was taken out in Thithimathi town in the morning.

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-The Hindu

Bumper price for Arabica coffee beans in market

There is a good news for Arabica coffee growers of Kodagu. As the Arabica coffee entered the market, the coffee has received bumper price. Arabica coffee has fetched good price for the first time in the last 25 to 30 years
The production of coffee in Brazil and Columbia have decreased. As a result, there is a great demand for Indian coffee. Coffee companies have started purchasing Arabica coffee in advance from the growers.

At present, Arabica parchment coffee bag costs Rs 6,800 to Rs 7,000. One kg coffee fetches Rs 175. Last year, the price of coffee was Rs 4,500. There is also good price for Arabica cherry coffee. Last year, it was Rs 2,000. This year, it has been increased to Rs 3,100.

The price of Robasta coffee is same as last year. Robasta coffee fetches Rs 2000 per bag. However, Robasta coffee will enter the market within one or two months, said coffee planter P K Devaiah.

Though there is a steep rise in the price of coffee in the international market, owing to heavy rains and untimely rains, coffee harvest has been damaged in the district.

“On the one hand we lost coffee harvest due to heavy rains. On the other, owing to untimely rain, coffee beans have started falling in the month of November. Inspite of bumper price, we can not enjoy it,” said a grower.

Low production

According to an estimate, 130 million coffee bags will be produced in the world in 2009-10. However, owing to heavy rains, untimely rains and borer disease, the production will be 127.5 million, said Coffee Board Deputy Director N Rangaswamy Reddy.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, he said “in India, based on pre monsoon shower, we had estimated that coffee production would be 306,400 metric tonne. However, according an estimate, after the rainfall, the production will be 290,000 metric tonne. Overall, there is reduction of 16,400 metric tonne coffee production in the country. In the state, the coffee production will be 206,100 metric tonne.”

Less production in Kodagu

Kodagu was forerunner in the production of coffee. However, there is 5.40 per cent reduction in coffee production, said Coffee Board.

Looking at pre monsoon shower, coffee board has estimated that 117,975 metric tonne coffee will be produced in Kodagu.

However, after the monsoon, the estimated production is only 111,600 metric tonne. Compared to last year, Arabica production has been reduced by 1,300 metric tonne while, Robasta by 5,075 metric tonne.

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