Bye '10... Hi 2011...

Bye '10... Hi 2011...

Bye '10... Hi 2011...

With the dawn of January 1, 2011, yet another year has become history, leaving behind sweet as well as sad memories. Perhaps 2010 witnessed some unprecedented incidents which would haunt Mangaloreans in the years to come.

Though the year started with a colourful note with the 14th edition of Alva’s Virasat, a five-day cultural extravaganza at Shobavana in Moodbidre and the 46-year-old Shiroor mutt pontiff Sri Lakshmivaratheertha ascending the sacred ‘Paryaya Sarvajna Peeta’ to take over the charges to run the temple administration and Sri Krishna pooja for two years, the worst ever air crash in Bajpe on May 22 would remain in memory of all Mangaloreans.

In fact, Mangalore airport witnessed its first major aircrash in its 61 years history, killing 158 persons on board, after the Air India Express aircraft Boeing 737-800 operating from Dubai to Mangalore, overshot the runway and crashed into a 300 metre deep valley. However, the lucky 8 passengers survived the crash miraculously.

Incidentally, towards the end of the year, Mangalore also witnessed an unprecedented incident when a 72-year-old man brutally murdered a three-year-old girl child Priyanka. She was killed in an apparent sacrifice as part of a black-magic ritual. As Mangalore never experienced such an incident, several people are yet to come out the shock.

The rescue of 44 bonded labourers from a quarry in Vittal is yet another black mole on DK which is also known as land of intellectuals.

Police commissionerate
When the then Home Minister Dr V S Acharya inaugurated the Mangalore Police Commissionerate on January 26, a long-pending demand of Mangaloreans was fulfilled. It is the fourth Commissionerate in the state after Bangalore, Mysore and Hubli.
The City also received three new officers in the form of Deputy Commissioner, Inspector General of Police and Police Commissioner.

While Subodh Yadav took charge as the 121st DC, Alok Mohan took charge as the 8th IGP and Seemanth Kumar Singh became the first Police Commissioner of Mangalore.

NITB / Volvo / cruise
Along with the tragic incidents, the district also witnessed some good development works and that includes the inauguration of New Integrated Terminal Building (NITB) constructed at a project cost of Rs 250 crore at Bajpe by Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation Praful Patel. The announcement of the Minister on the occasion to spend another Rs 100 crore to develop Mangalore airport, if implemented, would be a bonus for air passengers.

Meanwhile, the inauguration of airconditioned KSRTC Volvo buses between Mangalore and Manipal & Mangalore and Kasargod proved that many people prefer Volvos than private buses.

The direct cruise service to Lakshadweep from Mangalore through MV Minicoy is another milestone in tourism sector.At the same time, opening of passport office in Mangalore helped several people, who otherwise, had to travel all the way to Bangalore.

Konkan Kogull no more
The sudden demise of Konkan Kogull Wilfy Rebimbus (68), one of the greatest singers / musicians of all time in coastal region, is of course a great loss in the field of Konkani music.

When the music legend breathed his last on March 9, it was difficult for many to believe that their favouite singer and lyricist was no more. Perhaps no Konkani singer can replace the void created by his demise.

World Konkani meet
The 25-day long first World Konkani Cultural Convention was a memorable event by Mandd Sobhann Gurkar Eric Ozario and his team members.

The event not only showcased the unity in diversity among various Konkani speaking communities, but also help spread the fragrance of Konkani world over.

The highlight of the event was President Pratibha Devi Singh Patil’s visit to inaugurate the event. Former deputy prime minister Lal Krishna Advani graced the occasion at valedictory.

Asian Games champs
Within a few days after Ashwini Akkunji bagged gold medal in Common Wealth Games, she and Mamatha Poojary, both hailing from Udupi district, bagged gold medals in Asian Games, thus putting the coastal districts on the world map.

Prior to the commencement of Common Wealth Games, the Queen’s Baton received rousing reception in Mangalore as well as Udupi.

Meanwhile, Mangalore United, the team owned by B A Moideen Bava, also made Mangaloreans proud when they emerged champions in the second edition of the Mantri KPL T-20 tournament on September 29.

Gregory Patrao
The coastal districts witnesses at least one protest a day for various reasons by various associations. However, the protest staged by Gregory Patrao after his house/land was demolished by KIADB created such an impact that Chief Minister sent the Regional Commissioner to probe.

Though he could not succeed in his battle against the authorities, he succeeded in creating an impact.

Fly overs / roads / rains
With the opening of Kottara fly over a few days ago, the traffic chaos in that junction has reduced considerably. The concretisation of roads has also decongested the City roads. Perhaps the completion of work on the remaining fly overs and concretisation of other roads, would give a new look to the City.

The ban on ore laden lorries and heavy vehicles on national highways in Dakshina Kannada as well as Udupi district from June too helped the roads to remain in good condition. On the other hand, the rains which continued till November (though not regularly) damaged crops in several parts of the district.

Gundia project
Following the direction from Union Ministry of Environment and Forest, Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel Chairman Prof Madhav Gadgil and his team visited Gundya in September, where the proposed hydel power project is coming up. The panel has to submit its report by March 2011.

Terming the proposed site of Gundia project as the “last remains of the original Western Ghats rain forest,” Prof M D Subash Chandran, a scientist from IISc and Member of Biodiversity Board of Karnataka, said the project passes through very rich endemic land, where endangered animal species move around freely and the hill tops and many slopes having luxurious grass lands favourable for wildlife. Only time can say whether the Gundia project will be a reality, thus destroying the rich flora and fauna.

Real estate boom
Undoubtedly Mangalore is growing exponentially and several multi-storey buildings are mushrooming in the nook and corner of the City. The opening of City Centre mall, the 10th largest in India and second largest in Karnataka, and mushrooming of apartments is a clear indication that real estate is booming. Planet SKS, the latest project in Mangalore with 35 plus floors comprising 184 three to four bedroom units is sure to change the skyline of Mangalore.
Projects in offing
Be it technology, banking, education or facilities, the coastal districts have registered growth in every field. At the outset, it is true that the district is progressing quickly and has achieved a lot; but there is lot more to be achieved.  If the proposed Mangala Corniche (a river front road from Ullal bridge to Kuloor bridge) becomes a reality, Mangalore would have another marine drive like Mumbai or Cochin. Completion of four-laning of NH-17 and NH-48; completion of vented dam at Thumbe; and development of phase III of Malpe port are a few major projects to be implemented in 2011. Incidentally, the fate of hundreds of ZP and TP candidates would be sealed on the last day of the year. Will the new year bring good luck to the ‘land of intellectuals’? Wait and see.