Sweet and not- so- sweet tidings through the year

Sweet and not- so- sweet tidings through the year

Flashback Y2K9

Sweet and not- so- sweet tidings through the year

Moon and water

ISRO, headquartered in Bangalore, has every reason to close the year with a bang. ISRO and NASA both confirmed Chandrayaan-1 detecting the presence of water on the moon. NASA had no hesitation to thank ISRO for making the landmark finding possible.

Chandrayaan-I of ISRO had made the water discovery before it was prematurely aborted in August. In another landmark, ISROs PSLV-C 14 also successfully placed in orbit seven satellites including Oceansat-2.

One more district, more wards

Karnataka officially got one more district this year taking the total number of districts to 30. For administrative convenience, Yadgir district has been carved out of Gulbarga which will come into existence from December 30. After much delay, 198 wards of Bruhat Bangalore were notified in 2009. Elections are scheduled to be held in February. BBMP has no elected body from 2006.

National honours

Of the 114 films Kannada movies released in the year only a handful could bring returns to the investors. However, the happy movement for Kannada industry was when two artists of Karnataka, won national awards. Umashree and Prakash Rai won the best actress and best actor awards respectively for the year 2007. While Umashree won the award for her acting in Gulabi Talkies, directed by Girish Kasaravalli, Rai got it for his role in Kanchivaram, a Tamil movie. Gulabi Talkies also won the best regional film AWARD.

Statues liberated

The relationship between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu saw a major shift after August 2009. Statues of Tiruvalluvar, Tamil saint poet and Kannada poet Sarvajna were unveiled in Bangalore and Chennai respectively. The unveiling of Tiruvalluvar’s statue in Bangalore had been deferred for more than 18 years. Amidst protests and attempts to commit suicide by a few pro-Kannada activists, the statue at RBANMS grounds was unveiled by TN CM M Karunanidhi. In a similar function at Ayanavaram in Chennai, Karnataka CM Yeddyurappa unveiled the Sarvajna statue. Both the CMs resolved to settle the controversial issues concerning the two states, including the sharing of Cauvery river water and Hogenakkal drinking water project through talks.

Some more laurels

Among those who brought laurels to Karnataka in 2009 were scientists Dr C N R Rao, Dr Kasturirangan and writer Vaidehi.

Rao, in December, was awarded the prestigious August-Wilhelm-Von-Hoffmann medal for his outstanding contribution to Chemistry. The medal, the highest recognition in the field of Chemistry, is instituted by German Chemical Society. Rao is the first Indian to get the honour. The Centre nominated space scientist Dr K Kasturirangan to the Rajya Sabha in August. The Central Sahitya Akademi has selected Kannada writer Vaidehi’s short story collection Krouncha Pakshigalu. Legendary athlete P T Usha was honoured with Basavashri award of Murugha Mutt.
Six  more varsities

The State got six more universities this year. Law University in Hubli, Gangubai Hangal Music and Visual Arts University in Mysore, Agriculture University in Raichur, Horticulture University in Bagalkot and Davangere University have been set up by the Government and VCs have also been appointed. The Government has also given green signal for establishing Azeem Premji Foundation University in Bangalore. This the first varsity in Karnataka named after a foundation. VC will be appointed by the Foundation.

Monsoon  fury

As the year comes to an  end, the scenes that haunt the people of Karnataka are those of rain havoc, floods and unending suffering for the people of 14 districts of North Karnataka. It is said to be the heaviest rain in the last century.

The downpour from September 29 to Oct 4 killed 220 people, damaged 3.5 lakh houses, 6.5 lakh people were rendered homeless, swamped crops worth Rs 2,500 cr. The State sought Rs 18,500 crore from the Centre. So far Rs 1,000 crore had been released by the Centre. But the rehabilitation work has been far from satisfactory.

Dreaded disease

As many as 127 people have succumbed to Influenza A (H1N1) across the State according to the government. The first death was reported in Bangalore on August 13. When people, especially Bangaloreans, panicked fearing the outbreak of the dreaded virus in August, Health Minister Sreeramulu was not to be seen or heard. But he claims that the government has done a marvellous job in containing the disease. Yet the toll is increasing and the last death was reported on December 24.

Controversial CJ

Karnataka High Court attracted nation-wide attention in 2009, following allegations made against Chief Justice P D Dinakaran. The Supreme Court collegium shortlisted his name for elevation to the apex court. A few senior advocates in New Delhi opposed the collegiums decision alleging that he has encroached upon land belonging to Dalits in Tamil Nadu and amassed wealth. The collegium has deferred his elevation to the Supreme Court.

Recession and the common man

The global recession continued to have its negative impact on the State. Real estate, a major money spinning sector in Bangalore, slumped drastically. The soaring prices of rice, tur, vegetables and other essentials have left the common man helpless. The government did launch an innovative programme like Rice Shandy to sell quality rice at reasonable prices to consumers. Sadly, the shandies were shut at the behest of the CM who succumbed to pressure from the rice mill owners.

Mining and CBI probe

Bellary continued to be in the news for wrong reasons from October. Illegal mining, boundary dispute between Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh and looting of natural resources by a handful of mine owners, mainly the Bellary Reddys, remained the prime news for several weeks. On request by Andhra Pradesh, the Centre has ordered a CBI probe into illegal mining. The Reddys, the owners of OMC mining company, have been arguing that false charges have been levelled against them. The Supreme Court has stayed mining in the disputed areas.

One more tribunal
The Centre has set up the Mahadayi tribunal to look into the dispute over sharing of water in the Mahadayi basin among the riparian states, including Karnataka. The Centre has opted for a tribunal despite the dispute pending before the Supreme Court. The ruling BJP protested the establishment of the tribunal, but only through newspaper statements. It has failed to articulate its discontent in proper fora.

They left us

The State lost a host of eminent personalities who had made the State proud at national and international level. Among the giants who passed away during the year were freedom fighters Harnahalli Ramaswamy & K S Seetharam Iyengar,  playwright H N Hugar and singer Raju Ananthaswamy.







From top left to right : Hindustani musician Gangubai Hangal, Kannada writer B M Idinabba, Bollywood star Feroz Khan,  former union minister B Shankaranand, photographer T N Satyan, Yakshagana artiste Keramane Mahabala Hegde,