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Congress MLA faces expulsion for criticising Karnataka Chief Minister

The Congress Disciplinary Action Committee has recommended the expulsion of its legislator from Devarahipparagi (Karnataka), AS Patil Nadahalli, for his alleged derogatory statement against Chief Minister Siddaramaiah.

The MLA was suspended from the Congress a few months ago after he demanded a separate statehood for north Karnataka region on the grounds that Siddaramaiah had ignored the development of the region. He had also dared the Congress to suspend him from the party.

As a consequence, the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) President G Parameshwara wrote to Siddaramaiah, who also happens to be the leader of the Congress Legislature Party, recommending disciplinary action against Patil. As a result, Patil was suspended from the Congress on April 25.
Later, the matter was referred to the All India Congress Committee (AICC) Disciplinary Action Committee, which today informed the KPCC to expel AS Patil from the party. The Congress' strength in the Karnataka Assembly is 123 and his expulsion from the party is unlikely to affect the party.
  • Published in Karnataka

Vasundhara bans CMO staff from wearing jeans, T-shirts at work

The Rajasthan government has officially banned the Chief Ministers' Office (CMO) staff from wearing casuals such as jeans and T-shirts while on duty. 

The orders also apply to staff of the Director Public Relation when they are covering formal functions involving the chief minister and other dignitaries including at the chief minister's office (CMO).

Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje has in the past objected to her staff and aides wearing colourful T-shirts and jeans during office hours but recently she noticed some of her and public relations' staff in shoddy casuals forcing her issue an official order in this regard.
The order says officials were expected to dress in formals and not in jeans or T-shirts. It also says that behaviour of photographers and videographers should be graceful when they cover dignitaries.

The CMO is a part of the main secretariat.

Earlier, Raje had banned carrying and use of cameras beyond a certain point in the Secretariat so that visitors coming to the CMO are not photographed or videographed.
  • Published in National

No confidence in Siddaramaiah government:major industries in Karnataka pack bags

Bengaluru: During SM Krishna's regime between 1999 and 2004, most top leaders of the world used to visit New Delhi via Bengaluru (then called Bangalore). The Chinese leader Deng Xiao Ping, Japanese Prime Minister Mori, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and a dozen other leaders from the highly industrialised nations first landed in Bengaluru, met Krishna, discussed big investment plans and then headed to New Delhi to discuss dry politics.

It is a fact that Karnataka emerged as a major investment destination on the world map during that period. In 2004, Krishna lost power and the state faced political uncertainty of nine years under five chief ministers.

"The CM has no development agenda. He has no vision. He treats investors badly. Even if they get appointments, they get no attention," a minister in the Cabinet said.

When the Congress returned to power in the 2013 Assembly elections, people had high hopes that it would improve the economy and boost investor confidence. However, exactly the opposite has happened after Congress chose a rank outsider Siddaramaiah as the new Chief Minister. Siddaramaiah who is allergic to the corporate world and planned growth, started focussing only on populist schemes like free rice, free milk, etc., totally ignoring the concerns of the industry leaders who have contributed a lot for the economic development of the state. Worse is that the state does not even have a full time industries minister and he holds the Industries ministry as an additional portfolio.

In the last two years after Siddaramaiah came to power, there has been no visible improvement of infrastructure. State government is taking a lot of time to clear approvals for the industries. There is no proper communication between the corporate world and the state government.

Two recent incidents have jolted the state to a big extent. World's online shopping leader Amazon has moved its central warehouse from Bengaluru to neighbouring Hyderabad and blamed state government's lethargic attitude for its decision. Indian online shopping major Flipkart is also facing 'harrassment' over commercial taxes.

The latest industry major to slam the Karnataka government is iconic German multinational company Bosch. Bosch has been in Karnataka for over 60 years and it is also one of the oldest foreign investors in India. According to a report in Karnataka's leading English daily ‘Deccan Herald', the India unit head of €49-billion German auto component giant Bosch Steffen Berns, tore into the Karnataka government for its culture of red tape and threatened to shift the company's expansion plans elsewhere.

Delivering a lecture on the "Multinational Perspective on Make in India" at the 38th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Bangalore Chamber of Industry and Commerce (BCIC) on Saturday, Berns thundered, "Bosch is thinking of diverting its expansion plans to other states because of delays in approvals. We have got lots of support from the Karnataka government here, which we really appreciate, on many issues, but looking at the construction progress, getting electricity, it took us 29 touch points and 19 months to get approvals for two of our office buildings.

"To tell you, it was not for land acquisitions, just for electricity connections. It took us seven months to get approval for simple logistics."

He added, "We have completed phase-I construction activities of the new plant at Bidadi, which also took a lot of time. We are still waiting for approval of electricity connections. These are the points which I cannot explain to my headquarters in Germany. It is not a question of whether we have to wait six months longer. But, it is a question of whether we can continue investments in Karnataka, or look to invest in other parts of India or Asia."

Loud complaints by multinationals against the state government have acquired a familiar ring of late. A few months ago, American eCommerce giant Amazon had announced it was putting on hold all future investment plans in Karnataka after a long-running dispute over payment of value added taxes (VAT) boiled over. There at least, the state commercial taxes department could argue about the merits of its contentions. But the grievances of Bosch are sure to touch a chord. The German marquee name has been one of the earliest multinationals to make in India, with its first plant coming up in Adugodi in the city in 1953.

Berns referred to that heritage in his speech. "As a multinational company, we are present in Karnataka for over 60 years and we are still facing issues. We have to think twice to continue to make further investments and we don't see enough improvement yet."

According to him, labour laws with unclear terminology, multiple contradictions, and complex problem resolution mechanisms are among the major hurdles to making more investments in India.

Contrary to popular beliefs that Bengaluru is just an IT city, the city is home to a several top manufacturing majors and garment industries. They also generate a huge income.

According to a top Cabinet minister in the Siddaramaiah government, the Chief Minister is disinterested in promoting industries. He spends all his time on his favourite populist schemes which are actually leading the state economic ruin. He adds that Siddaramaiah lacks basic etiquette and manners. He does not even know how to meet and greet world's industry leaders. Even during very important meetings with them, he dozes off offending the corporate leaders.

Talking to media on the condition of anonymity he said, "the chief minister has no development agenda. He has no vision, no plans, no seriousness. He treats investors badly. They don't even get appointments. Even if they get, they get no attention. If the same situation continues, no new industry will come to Karnataka. Even the existing one may leave one by one".

Karnataka is also facing a huge competition from two neighbouring states Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Their governments are working overtime to woo investors from Karnataka. They keep visiting Bengaluru looking for a disappointed investor who is ready to move out.

"The Congress high command is also not bothered about the exodus of industries from Karnataka. Instead, it is backing Siddaramaiah's populist schemes," said another minister.

However the government claims that projects worth around Rs 97,000 crore have been approved during Siddaramaiah regime, generating 2.27 lakh employment.

Bangalore's booming real estate sector has taken a big hit due to no new investments.

Another minister in the government said, "if the same situation continues for the remaining three years of our government, if we don't take some drastic steps to change the perception and the atmosphere, Karnataka will be doomed. Siddaramaiah will take the state backwards by 20 years."

Future looks bleak and scary for a development oriented state like Karnataka.
  • Published in Karnataka

U.T.Khader visits Kotepur Kodi in Ullal

Ullal: Minister U.T.Khader visited places in Ullal affected by sea corrosion. He said that temporary and permanent construction works are going on and fot the houses that are severely damaged he assured that he would speak with CM for rehabilitation.
He visited Mogaveerapatna, Kodi, Kotepura, Kaiko, Hilaria Nagar and Ucchila.

He said that Ullal is notified under Pilot Scheme. UPA government has taken measures to counter erosion from Talapadi to Karvar and Gujarat coastal. First stage break water construction work has already begun and it fuels the sea corrosion so it has been decided to change the model of work he informed.

He also assured that every probable measure would be taken to tackle the problem and if necessary help centers would be opened for public. He said that the problem is already brought to the notice of CM.

Ullala Nagarasabha president Girija Bai, VP Raziya, DC Sadashiva Prabhu, Tahasildar Jean Tavro, And others were present.
  • Published in Ullal

CM to launch two projects in Chamarajanagar today

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah will be laying the foundation stone on Tuesday for a new industrial park to be set up in 1,595 acres of land at Badanaguppe-Kellamballi industrial area, near here, at a cost of Rs. 400 crore.

With the Dr. Nanjundappa committee report rating Chamarajanagar as the most backward district in the State, the objective of setting up the industrial park is to create jobs for thousands of local youths by establishing small and medium scale industries. According to sources, about 300 investors have evinced interest in investing Rs.12,000 crore during a road show conducted by the State government, in association with the Coimbatore District Industries’ Association under the aegis of the Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce and Industry to attract investment in the border district of Chamarajangar about 18 months ago.

The park would feature granite, textiles, leather, automobile and allied industries, besides agriculture related industries, including food processing units. A notification had been issued to acquire 1,595 acres of land at Badanaguppe and Kellamballi villages in the district. Of the 1,595 acres, 1,200 acres is private land and 394.2 acres is government land. So far, 53.08 acres has been handed over to the Karnataka Industrial Area Development Board. A sum of Rs. 175 crore has been paid as compensation to farmers, whose land had been acquired at the rate of Rs. 20 lakh an acre.

The industrial park, when completed, is estimated to provide 25,000 jobs. Steps have been initiated to draw adequate water from Kabini River and for the installation of 66/11-kV substations to meet the power requirements.

The State government has sanctioned Rs. 50 crore for the construction of a road from Kavalande to Chamarajanagar.

Later, Mr. Siddaramaiah will be laying the foundation stone for the new Chamarajanagar District Cooperative Milk Producers’ Union Ltd., on 19.14 acres of land at Kuderu village in Chamarajanagar taluk at a cost of Rs. 92 crore.

It was the long cherished dream of the district milk producers to have a union after Chamarajanagar district was formed 1998. Now, with the foundation stone being laid for the establishment of a new milk dairy and U.H.T milk unit, Chamarajanagar would be separated from Mymul.

The Chamarajanagar district milk union has been functioning independently since April this year. In all, 3,34,776 litres of milk is being collected every day from 97,622 members of various unions.

The new project will be implemented by the Karnataka Milk Federation, Bengaluru. The new Chamul unit will consist of 3-lakh litres milk production, 30,000 litres curds, 4,000 kg butter and 3,000 litres ghee production units.
  • Published in Karnataka

Yoga may bring Modi, CM together

Despite displays of much political animosity at public events, two men at the helm of their respective power centres in the Capital are likely to brush shoulders thanks to their mutual admiration for yoga this Sunday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal are both expected to be in close proximity of each other while in attendance at the International Yoga Day celebrations, organised in the heart of New Delhi.

A senior Delhi government official said Mr. Kejriwal was “more than likely” to be present at the event given the “grand scale” at which the event is being organised in the Capital. The official could, however, not confirm whether the Prime Minister’s Office had extended an official invite for the same to Mr. Kejriwal.

“In any case, we don’t have any plans to organise a parallel event on similar lines,” the official told.

Another official said the Delhi government saw “no need to do so” due to the sheer financial burden and other ancillary preparations that could strain its resources, which organising such an event will require, and “will be more than happy to participate in the one already organised”.

While Mr. Modi’s inclination towards yoga is well-documented, Mr. Kejriwal has, on more than one occasion, expressed his proclivity for Vipassana meditation, going as far as declaring that he was in favour of dedicating the latter half of his years, post retirement from public life, to practising it.

The Chief Minister had devoted ample time to the same both after his hectic campaign for the Delhi Assembly elections, held earlier this year, in addition to a fortnight’s retreat to practice Vipassana at a prominent institution in Bangalore after assuming charge at the helm of the Capital’s government.

In fact, the Aam Aadmi Party-led (AAP) government even offered to send teachers deputed across schools in the Capital for Vipassana sessions to counter routine and work-related stress.

However, that did not find many takers among the teachers.
  • Published in National

Oath taking ceremony of Jayalalitaa on Saturday

Less than a fortnight since her acquittal in the disproportionate assets case, AIADMK Chief Jayalalithaa will be taking oath - again - as Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. The swearing in ceremony will take place at 11.00 a.m. on Saturday at Madras University Centenary Auditorium, according to sources.

Ms. Jayalalithaa, who made her first public appearance in 217 days on Friday, to much adoration and frenzy among supporters, headed first to Raj Bhavan to meet Governor K Rosaiah. She presented to him a list of ministers who will be sworn in. She was, earlier in the morning, elected as Legislative Party leader.

It may have been one of the hottest days that Chennai had seen this year, but that did not stop legions of AIADMK supporters from pouring out on to the street - beating drums, dancing in celebration, or just dutifully lined up for hours - to catch a glimpse of her.

Her convoy finally emerged only at around 1:30 pm after the inauspicious rahu kalam had passed. The hysteria spread to common citizens, who ran along with the convoy, strewing flowers on it and craning to glimpse at their "resurrected" Amma. Parts of the city were however caught in a gridlock, with commuters inching along to work as traffic was diverted.

Security fortress

Meanwhile, the Chepauk campus in the University has turned into a fortress with police personnel cordoning off the area to both media and the general public.

An anonymous telephone call to Chennai Central threatening that "a bomb will explode at Jayalalithaa's swearing-in ceremony" created a flutter early Friday morning. Government Railway Police swung into action and searched the University of Madras, but fortunately, the call turned turned out to be a hoax

On May 11, Ms. Jayalalithaa was acquitted in the disproportionate assets case by the Karnataka High Court, less than a year after a special trial had sentenced her to four years in prison.

  • Published in National

Karnataka attracted about Rs 1 lakh crore of investments: CM

Bengaluru: Karnataka attracted about Rs 1 lakh crore of investments during the first two years of his term, said Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah.

He was addressing the media at an event organised by the Press Club of Bangalore to mark the completion of two years of his term. This, despite some states like Andhra Pradesh and Telangana being more in the news on investments because of the many incentives extended to them by the Centre, and the tax benefits offered by the two states.

Karnataka has been ranked first for its healthy business climate and for attracting investments by the World Bank's Investment Climate Index. This is despite the incentives being extended to investors, such as e-commerce firms, by the newly-formed states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

"Karnataka continues to be the preferred investment destination for e-commerce firms like Amazon and Flipkart," Siddaramaiah said adding that they would not leave the state.

The state was the first to come out with an industrial policy and has introduced policies so as to sustain growth over the years.

Despite the skewness brought about the incentives extended to neighbouring states of AP and Telangana, the chief minister said, once the GST comes into force during 2015-16, such incentives will be neutralised as there would be a uniform tax system across the country.

Siddaramaiah expressed satisfaction over his two years' administration as chief minister of the state and said he has fulfilled 100 out of 165 promises made during the elections in May 2013 through the budgetary grants.

Facing fire from various quarters, especially the opposition parties for the clearing of encroachments that has left many people homeless, Siddaramaiah today threw the ball back into opposition's court and said it was during the period that the BJP-JD(S) combine ruled the state that many of the encroachments had taken place. Also, he said that the government will act against the officials responsible for clearing the projects and take strong action against them.

He added that those not guilty of being involved in any illegality, but had been duped by land sharks would be considered for rehabilitation. He refuted the Opposition charge that the government had turned a blind eye to the plight of those displaced by the demolitions.

He said, "Contrary to the allegations, we are working day and night to find solutions to the problems of the innocent."

Siddaramaiah said that the problem would not have become so complex had the BJP and the JD(S) prevented the encroachments when they were in power, adding that when the Congress came to power, the government handed over 10 lakes to the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) so that it could develop them and protect them from encroachments. "The innocent are now suffering due to the lapses of the previous governments," he said.

On the plans to trifurcate the BBMP or the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike as it had grown too unwieldy, he said the situation would not have come to this if the area under the BBMP was not expanded by bringing so many areas under it, and expanding the BBMP jurisdiction from about 200 sq km to over 800 sq km.

"The garbage situation had become so bad only because of the unplanned expansion of the BBMP's jurisdiction without understanding the consequences of such a move," he said.
  • Published in Karnataka
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