Kodagu’s Nidtha forest a haven for smugglers

 Karnataka State’s Somwarpet Taluk’s Nidtha forest reserve has become a safe haven for  timber poachers said the environmentalists who toured the region.  The smugglers are doing their work without any fear of the forest officials.  Most of the teak wood around the forest quarters has vanished and it goes under the very nose of the officials.

The Nidtha Forest looks very thick and it is unapproachable from a distance says environmentalists who had toured the region. But when you pass by the forest quarters you can see only the stems of teak wood trees coming out of the ground.   The poachers’ nexus with forest sleuths came to light recently. Teak worth lakhs of rupees was reportedly transported from this forest on December 5.  The officials of the forest refused all the charges.

But a few reluctantly lodged a complaint with the mobile police squad at Madikeri to check the incident. The police team noticed freshly cut tree bottoms. The cunning forest sleuths tried to plead helplessness and convince that they were not aware of the crime.

To know more about Somwarpet taluk please click here


Love me, love my city!

Could you capture the spirit and essence of your city? Have you ever thought of looking past the concrete jungles and motor fumes that are so much a part of your everyday life? Or given a thought to the rich cultural heritage that your city, no matter where in India you are, must have?

These five children have done that — and a bit more! Srishti Soni, a student at DPS Varanasi, was always conscious of the heritage of her city and the patronage it thus enjoys. But what this Class IX student did not realise were the pros that she, as a citizen, could have. For instance, the lure and mystery of the ghats of Varanasi got her a place in the second edition of My City, My History. An initiative of Fox History and Entertainment channel in alliance with the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), this programme encouraged school children to discover historical treasures in their respective cities, which in turn could help them to learn a lot more about the streets they walked on every day.

In retrospect, this programme was perhaps a reason for kids to look inside their cities and take a peek at the people and lifestyles that inhabit them.

And so, if Srishti found the ghats of Varanasi alluring, Raksha Rai of Deorali Girls Senior Secondary School, Sikkim, was spellbounded by Sakewa — a traditional dance form in her area. Ayush Ganapathy from the Coorg Public School, Kodagu, Karnataka, on the other hand, found his muse in his own family — the warrior clan of Puliyanda.

Ayush is quick to explain, “I am really Puliyanda Ayush Ganapathy.” Sharing a glimpse of his connections to the Nalnad Palace, this youngster goes on to proudly clarify, “Some believe that the fierce features and attitude of our ancestors gave them the name Puliyanda. As the Kongalva rulers of Kerala said in Malayalam — ‘they (the Puliyandas) have a tiger’s build and are equally courageous!’”

My City, My History reached out to over 10 lakh children in over 1,000 schools (aged bet-ween 11-15 and in Classes VI-IX) from all 28 states in India.

The final five winners, came from Auranga-bad, Kochi, Kodagu, Sikkim and Varanasi, and were the lucky ones to bag the opportunity of filming their own stories. These films will now be aired on the Fox History and Entertainment channel in March. And to top it all, since the film-makers are novices, the channel will get these kids guidance from a professional film-maker who will steer them through the whole process!

For Khan Tauseef Ahmed of Class IX, Little Flower High School, Aurangabad, participation in the programme goes beyond getting a trophy and national recognition. “Before the contest, I had a near-zero interest in history as a subject. But, this victory at the contest has made me interested in history and geography. If my area is home to so many interesting and unheard of historic treasures and legends, think about what the myriad other places scattered all over India must hold!” he says excitedly.

Rohini Mohan of Delta Study School, Kochi, has a fairly similar view. “I think this contest also created a sense of belonging in all of us. In my city, a major percentage of people have come from other places, and so fail to call Kochi ‘their city’. Being able to be a part of this show has certainly empowered me to help these people realise what they are missing out on,” she says happily.

Today, these kids know where their cities stand in their hearts. How about you?

To know more about Kodagu please click here


Many taken ill after wedding feast

Several people, who attended a wedding in Somwarpet on Saturday and Sunday, were taken ill and admitted to hospitals since Monday following complaints of vomiting and diarrhoea. The bride and the groom too were admitted to were also hospitalised in Somwarpet on Tuesday. Consuming contaminated water is suspected to be the reason for the illness.

The wedding of Annappa from Igoor near Somwarpet and Bharati from Uppinangadi in Dakshina Kannada district had taken place on Saturday and Sunday at a private marriage hall in Somwarpet.

A few people complained of vomiting and diarrhoea on Monday morning and were admitted to the Somwarpet taluk hospital. Patients from Somwarpet were admitted even on Tuesday.

Eight persons, including three women, were brought to the District Hospital here on Tuesday. Some others were admitted to a private nursing home here as well. The water storage tank at the marriage hall had not been cleaned for a long time leading to contamination.

District Surgeon, Ajith Kumar, told The Hindu that three persons were admitted to the hospital here on Monday and five on Tuesday.

They had been administered anti-biotic drugs and put in IV fluids.

The condition of all is reported to be stable. The District Health Officer was not available for comments.

The matter was being monitored, Chief Executive Officer of the Kodagu Zilla Panchayat, N. Krishnappa said.

District Surveillance Officer, Satish, said that water samples had been drawn from the marriage hall for testing.

Only those who drank water in the marriage hall were affected. They were from different areas of the district such as Sunticoppa, Chettalli, Igoor, Somwarpet and so on.

M.P. Appachu Ranjan, Madikeri MLA, told The Hindu that he had summoned doctors working in other parts of Somwarpet taluk to attend to the patients in the Somwarpet hospital and ensured enough stock of medicines to tackle the crisis.

Suitable action would be initiated against the owner of the hall where the marriage was held. Notices had been served on a few hotels in Somwarpet for not maintaining cleanliness, Mr. Ranjan said.

-The Hindu

Al Ameen to organise mass marriage

Al Ameen, Kodagu district unit, will conduct mass marriage of 25 eligible poor and orphan Muslim girls in the district here on May 15, publicity secretary of the organisation M.E. Mohammad said here on Tuesday.

He told presspersons that applications were available at select outlets in Madikeri, Somwarpet, Kodlipet, Shanivarasante, Kushalnagar, Sunticoppa, Nellihudikeri, Gonicoppa, Virajpet and Napoklu. Filled-in applications by the parents or guardians should be submitted to the Al-Ameen office here by February 20, Mr. Mohammad said. About Rs. 22.50 lakh was expected to be incurred — Rs. 90,000 for each marriage — and efforts were made to mobilise donations from the benevolent public in the district. As many as 165 Muslim girls had availed the benefits since last six years, Mr. Mohammad said. If the number of the Muslim girls touched or exceeded 25, the State Government would contribute Rs. 10,000 to each girl under the “Adarsha Vivaha” scheme of the Government.

Al-Ameen would try and resolve the post-marital disputes that could arise involving the girls covered under the mass marriage, Kodagu Al Ameen president F.A. Mohammad Haji said.

Al-Ameen principal convenor M.H. Nooruddin, general secretary K.Y. Quraishi and member Hasan Kunji Haji were present.

-The Hindu