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    Review of Kaveri Ponnapa’s book “The Vanishing Kodavas”


    Title : The Vanishing Kodavas / Author : Kaveri Ponnapa / Pages : 360 / Price : Rs. 7,500 / Publisher: Eminence Designs Pvt. Ltd. [Order from www.thevanishingkodavas.com]

    New Light on Kodavas of Kodagu – 1

    People are interested in history because they want to know their roots; they want to know who they are; they want to know their progenitor. And with their physical features, colour and gait being different from their immediate neighbours, they want to know the why and how of it. The desire to know their ancestry becomes even more strong if their customs, costumes, culture, cuisine, language, songs of oral tradition and even Gods are different from those of others. The question arises if they could be of the land where they have been living from time immemorial or did they come from another part of this country or from another country traversing thousands of miles by land or sea due to historical reasons? War, pestilence or famine?

    The Kodavas of Kodagu district in Karnataka belong to this class of unique people who want to know. Hence, there is an abiding interest among the successive generations of Kodavas, even scholars, to know their ancestry, history of their land of hills and valleys with thick rain forests, criss-crossing rivers and streams, having very high rainfall for over four months in a year. They are the high-landers and hardy people — physically strong and daring at any task and in war.

    In retrospect, I myself being the son of that clan and soil, it can be said that these Kodavas lived on this land from the dim past to this day fighting all the time for survival with the nature and wild animals like tigers, elephants and vermins that destroyed their paddy fields and other crops; fighting the local chieftains of their own clans and the invaders from the neighbouring kingdoms till the geographical unity and political stability was attained when Kodagu (with Sulya and Puttur) became a kingdom under the Haleri Dynasty from 1600 to 1834 — 234 years.

    In between, there was an interregnum when Hyder Ali and his son Tipu Sultan ruled Kodagu uneasily, under constant armed resistance from Kodava chieftains, for 11 years from 1780 to 1791 when Madikeri was renamed as Zaferabad.

    In a classic example of the saying, “My enemy’s enemy is my friend,” the Kodagu Rajahs cultivated British of the East India Company, who were engaged in fighting Tipu Sultan, a sworn enemy of Kodagu Rajahs. So Tipu’s enemy, the British, became the friend of Kodagu Rajahs. But alas, in a tragic play of history, the British were able to de-throne and deport Chikkaveera Rajendra Wodeyar in 1834 after being betrayed by the Rajah’s trusted Dewans Cheppudira Ponnappa and Apparanda Bopu. Despite the Rajah’s army successfully resisting the British at the other two fronts, at the Eastern stockade it was a meek, humiliating surrender by Dewan Apparanda Bopu with a party of 400 Kodavas at the present Kushalnagar to Col. Frazer (hence Kushalnagar was known as Frazer Town).

    The Dewan then “led the British troops back to Madikeri where the Union Jack was hoisted on 6th April 1834. The last battle for Kodagu was a sad betrayal,” writes Kaveri Ponnapa in her magnum opus of a book on Kodagu and Kodavas titled “The Vanishing Kodavas,” the book under review.

    However, let me submit a caveat here. The records indicate the young King Chikkaveera Rajendra was more into outdoor activity, ironically with visiting Englishmen, of hunting and camping leaving the matters of State in the hands of trusted and able Kodava Dewans and also a Dewan from his own caste Kunta Basava, an evil genius no doubt, and another Muslim Dewan, probably to neutralise the power of Kodava Dewans mentioned above. When the relation between the Rajah and the East India Company got strained on the question of extradition of fugitives and the Kodava Dewans realised the end result of an inevitable war, they counselled the King to negotiate peace. But, the King was adamant. The Kodava Dewans, in the circumstances, decided that ‘discretion was better part of the valour.’ The British had already defeated a more powerful Tipu Sultan than the Kodagu King and as for weapons of war, the Britishers had cannons which the Kodagu Rajah did not have. If only Chikkaveera Rajendra had negotiated peace, he could have continued in the throne like the Mysuru dynasty under the suzerainty of the British Company.

    Curiously, a large number of scholars and people, who have read the history of Kodagu written by many, are fed with information that shows the Haleri Kings, specially Doddaveera Rajah, Linga Rajah and the last Rajah, Chikkaveera Rajendra Wodeyar in poor light, as tyrants and mentally deranged towards the end of each one’s rule.

    The history of Kodagu commissioned by Doddaveera Rajah in 1807 known as “Rajendranama” and another by Linga Rajah known as “Hukumnama,” the land laws of 1812, can be verified to find out its veracity and the good administration delivered by these rulers. The secret, if the word can be used, of the Haleri Rajahs ruling Kodagu for so long, 234 years, is no doubt because they never interfered with the land holdings of Kodavas, their customs, culture and, in short, Kodavas’ way of life. And Kodavas in return served their Kings loyally till the ‘betrayal,’ for self-preservation of Kodagu and Kodavas, came in 1834.

    The proof of the Haleri Kings being good rulers is in the representation made to the British Government on 13th April 1834, just 7 days after the surrender, signed by 400 senior officials of Rajah’s Government, expressing their entire satisfaction with the Rajah’s rule and with grief requesting that the Rajah be allowed to remain in Kodagu.

    Kaveri Ponnapa writes, “Despite the fact that he had an infant son, Prince Chitra Shekara, when he was conducted out of his kingdom, no attempt was made by the British to restore Haleri rule by placing a Regent over Kodagu, as had been done in some States, including nearby Mysore.” One would wish the author had given more information on Prince Chitra Shekara. Pray whatever happened to him? Interestingly, the Rajah begot more children in exile — in captivity at Varanasi ! To jest, what else could he have done with nothing else to do !

    This book by Kaveri Ponnapa, based on 15 years of research, nearly 200 visits to Ainemanes (ancestral houses), historical locations, sacred places and interviews with elders in Kodagu, debunks many tendentious works on history and culture of Kodavas. The wealth of information, not so much on political history but on other aspects of Kodava life and culture, contained in the book The Vanishing Kodavas astonished me no end.

    The book is a treasure trove of many informations hitherto presented in a distorted manner or suppressed from us to justify British occupation of Kodagu. I am reminded of a great Nigerian proverb which says that until the lions have their own historians, the history of the hunt will always glorify the hunter. Let it be.

    It is, therefore, necessary for us to question the description of Chikkaveera Rajendra as a bad King in the eponymous novel by Masti Venkatesha Iyengar. No wonder there were protests and criticisms when Masti Venkatesha Iyengar was given Jnanpith Award for this book and when an attempt was made to produce a film-based on the book. ______________________________________

    New light on Kodavas of Kodagu – 2

    The book, The Vanishing Kodavas, however, does not answer the fundamental question: If not the natives of the land, where did the Kodavas come from? Many have ventured to address this question without any answer, leaving us in a sea of absurd speculations. One had tried to trace Kodavas’ origin to Rajasthan and parts of North India by drawing similarities between names of some clans there to the family (Okka) names of Kodavas. They also link the similarity in the distinct individual Kodava names like Muddappa, Muthappa, Machiah, Ponnappa, Somaiah, etc.

    Some have speculated that a breakaway army unit of Alexander-the-Great had trekked to Kodagu from North India looking for a safe haven. Some others speculate Arab descent finding strong similarities between the Arab cultures and social life and that of Kodavas — the headgears (red-check vastra, head scarf) worn while at work and on special occasions, the ornate gold or silver dagger held by the sash (chale) tied around the waist, the white one-piece knee-length upper garment etc., complete with other artifacts.

    Yet, some researchers on the origin of Kodavas opine Kodavas are Scythians, Eurasian nomads who landed in Kodagu. A 1398 Kannada dictionary says Kodavas are Mlenchas come from outside the country. Others have told us that Kodavas are Kurds, a hill-tribe of Arabia come here after a long journey by the sea, landing in Malabar coast of Kerala, then making an arduous journey to a safe hilly place inhabited sparsely by the local tribals — Kodagu. Well, if this is so, I doubt, the name Kodagu could not have been derived from the Tamil word ‘Kodimalenad’ — Hill Forest Land, an eponymous name as speculated in the book under review.

    Extending this kind of speculation a bit further to Kurds, one can say the name Kodagu might have come after these Kurds (pronounced Koords) occupied this land, suggesting it is the land of Kurds which name, in its corrupt form or with minor distortion in pronunciation, must have become Kodagu the land of Kurds, Kodavas. The English called Kodava as Coorg and in early Church records it is Kurg.

    To add to the confusion, of late, we have a Greek come to Kodagu making similar speculation — Mr. Antonios Vasileiadis. He says the customs of the people of Kodagu bear a striking resemblance to those of Ancient Greece. Can we connect this to the earlier speculation of Kodavas being the breakaway warriors of Alexander’s Army? 300 BC!

    The book also does not address two other important questions. One, the origin of Kodava language which is a dialect and the other, the origin of the name of each okka clan or family — like Ajjikuttira, Apparanda, Biddanda, Chowrira, Kambiranda, Nadikeriyanda etc. And so far, no one has answered these enigmatic questions including that of our origin. I guess these questions will remain riddles wrapped in mystery inside an enigma even as Kodavas may vanish in the next 100 or so years from their ancient land Kodagu, perhaps, leaving behind their land, language, okka names, personal names, traditional dress, customs etc., in short, the treasure chest of their hoary past. Thereafter, they can be seen or heard only in the digital library or in books like “The Vanishing Kodavas.” Which is why, this book is a wonderful Collector’s Item, specially for Kodavas.

    Is the title of the book prophetic? Time alone can say! UNESCO has already sounded the warning saying Kodava language is among the disappearing languages of the world. If so the people who speak the language may also disappear lost in a diaspora. And even as one reflects on the dismal future of this unique race under the sun, one will wonder how was it that these Kodavas whose number is 2.3 lakh (with 1.5 lakh living in Kodagu) survived for centuries as an ethnic people, practising a distinctive life found nowhere else in India or in the world. In a sense, it is providential that Kodavas survived so long in Kodagu in the absence of a religious or temporal head from their own blood-line to hold the flock together and bind them under a singular culture common to all Kodavas.

    The book bears the stamp of not only the scholarship of the author, the love of labour of a patriotic Kodavathi but also the tremendous research and leg-work that have gone into its making. It has between its 360 pages, 12 chapters devoted to specific subjects, 300 colour and sepia photographs of superb quality and of archival value, most helpful guide to a reader of this kind of a researched book. The glossary of Kodava words is exhaustive and descriptive to leave no doubt in the mind of a serious reader about the import of those Kodava words and names; the select bibliography authenticates what is researched and will help those who wish to write on Kodavas and Kodagu in future.

    Kaveri Ponnapa is beholden to so many who co-operated and helped her in writing this book. A grateful author recognises each one of them and also okkas acknowledging their help — proof of her deep sense of gratitude. I am sure in the next edition some more names will appear should she learn there are omissions! Index to a book of this kind can never be understated but here it is done with such meticulous care one is left wondering at the hard work by the team that put the book through production. Photo credits too are there which is as it should be.

    I must mention here the depth and sweep of her work of extraordinary research with just one example. It is about least of an item used by Kodavas to deserve a research. It is about a ceremonial walking stick, made of black wood, known as gejje thand, a waist high staff. Her research finds out that it is made from the male kari mara (botanical name Diospyros ebenum) decorated with strips of beaten silver and tiny bells. She writes in detail about its significance and power as spirit medium and more. I guess Kaveri Ponnapa does not seem to have left a single stone unturned in her research that concerned Kodava life and culture.

    At one point she mentions of the precepts delivered by an elder at the time of solemnising the marriage. Readers would wish a sample text of it was published. May be the next edition will find a place for it.


    New light on Kodavas of Kodagu – 3

    For those Kodavas, who have been opposing the Jamma tenure of land holding in Kodagu, an act which is self-defeating in the context of the need to keep their land for themselves and thereby their identity as a unique people, here is some food for thought from the book:

    “Since time immemorial the ownership of land has been the foundation of Kodava identity, and the thakkas and Haleri Rajahs, in their wisdom, made the Jamma lands inalienable, with reason.”

    Lewis Rice, writing in 1878, summed it up best, his words proving to be prophetic in today’s Kodagu: Hence the Coorgs who hold lands on Jamma tenure are prohibited from alienating them, a restriction which was in force in the time of Rajahs, and which is absolutely necessary in order to prevent all the land in the province from gradually falling under the ownership of settlers from the low country. And should the ownership of the soil, which rightly belongs to them as a nation, pass away from the Coorgs… the independence and self-respect of a fine race will be sacrificed…

    No wonder Britishers did not interfere with the land holdings in Kodagu. British did not also interfere with the law prohibiting slaughter of cattle and sale of beef that existed during the rule of Haleri Rajahs in Kodagu. I am one of the irrelevant majority of Jamma holding Kodavas, Gowdas, Mapillahs and others in Kodagu who agree with Rice and his warning.

    The beginning of the end of Kodagu and Kodavas was when Kodavas felt betrayed by their elected leaders. The book says, Cheppudira M. Poonacha, the then Chief Minister of Kodagu, a Kodava himself, went down in Kodava history as the man responsible for the merger of Kodagu with Karnataka in 1956.

    The fate of Kodagu and Kodavas was hermetically sealed by this unholy, sinister merger once and for all accelerating the ‘vanishing’ of Kodavas and Kodagu. According to Kaveri Ponnapa, this political move of merger “cost them (Kodavas) their independence, wrested the control of their land from their hands, severely depleted the natural resources and eroded the Kodava identity.”

    Now, after Kodava political leaders gave away Kodagu on a platter to Karnataka for their own selfish political ambitions, the Kodavas and Jamma land owners became victims of the new Land Revenue Act of Karnataka that is often used to keep them under constant threat of eviction from their land — Jamma, Bane, Paisari. Kodagu’s development suffered under Karnataka. The Revenue Department practically rubbished the land records under all pervasive corruption and favouritism. The roads were neglected. For example, Hunsur-Gonikoppa road had remained unmotorable for six years. Many private bus operators stopped service and car owners avoided this road. The high-tension power-line was drawn across Kodagu forests, paddy fields and coffee estates despite objections and agitations. There are more trees in coffee estates today than in the forests. The latest threat to their land holding comes from the UNESCO plan to declare major parts of Kodagu as Eco-Sensitive Zone and the controversial Dr. Kasturi Rangan report that will adversely impact 55 villages. That probably will be the last nail to the Kodagu coffin.

    A feeble effort is being made to overcome these dangers by Codava National Council (CNC), led by Nandineravanda Uthappa Nachappa demanding creation of a Kodava Autonomous Region, but there seems to be little hope as Kodavas are divided among themselves.

    Now, before I vanish from these columns, a few words about the author Kaveri Ponnapa whom I had the privilege of meeting along with her husband Kambeeranda Naresh Ponnapa, a big-time software industrialist in Bengaluru, at their house of unique architecture in Whitefield. There was very little about her in the book which says that she studied English Literature at Lady Shri Ram College, Delhi and took a Master’s Degree in Social Anthropology in London. Like nature, she wants to remain half-revealed. Let us respect her sentiment but let me reveal that she is the daughter of Lt. Gen. B.C. Nanda, now settled in Kodagu.

    The book is too heavy to handle. It is more like a Coffee-Table Book in its style of page layout. The font size needs to be increased. Such small type is harsh on eyes. It is best to have this book in two volumes with photographs compatible only to the text, not to please individuals who might have assisted the author. The next edition needs to take these changes, nay the challenge, seriously to make it reader-friendly. Should the expensive art paper be of that thickness merely adding to the weight of the book?

    And finally, my most sincere thanks to Kaveri Ponnapa for giving us this pictorial book which will preserve for posterity the religious, social practices and agricultural activities, with keepsake photographs of Kodavas who are likely to join the ranks of Lost Tribes of the world.

    e-mail: kbg@starofmysore.com

    source : http://www.starofmysore.com / Star of Mysore / Home> Abracadabra…..Abracadabra / by K.B.Ganapathy / September 26th, 2015

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    Cauvery — which is the lifeline of the people in south Karnataka and people living along the downstream in Tamil Nadu — has its origins in Kodagu which is the key catchment area of the river.

    Kodagu received 33 per cent excess rains when the monsoon set in during June this year. It recorded a rainfall of 826.2 as against the normal of 622.4 mm. But the monsoon slackened during July and August.

    In July, Kodagu received 360.2 mm of rains as against the normal of 904.7 mm, which is 60 per cent below normal whereas in August the district as a whole received only 289.4 mm of rains as against the normal of 597.7 mm which is 48 per cent below normal.

    The cumulative rainfall deficiency for the period June 1 to September 6 is minus 31 per cent and against the normal of 2181.2 mm of rains, Kodagu received only 1,504 mm rainfall. The deficient rain was uniform across the district, resulting in depleting inflow into the KRS.

    Likewise, the adjoining districts of Mysuru and Mandya through which the Cauvery flows, also received deficient rains during July and August, adding to the reduction in the inflow into the reservoirs.

    source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> National> Karnataka / by R. Krishna Kumar / Mysuru – September 07th, 2015

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    Karnataka district has India’s highest concentration of home-stays, according to HolidayIQ study

    The picturesque scenery of Coorg

    The picturesque scenery of Coorg

    The Kodagu district of Karnataka, also known as Coorg, offers the largest amount home-stay accommodation in India, according a new study.

    HolidayIQ, the Indian online travel site, has revealed a series of trends relating to the country’s home-stay sector. And according to its listings, 13% of Indian home-stays are located in Coorg, followed by Kochi with 9%. Located in the Western Ghats, Coorg is famous for its mountainous jungles and its native Kodava residents.

    In total, HolidayIQ found a total of 1,663 Indian home-stay options distributed among 207 destinations. And many are concentrated in the same areas; destinations with 10 or more home-stays accounted for 76% of the entire market.

    Home-stays in Coorg and Kochi, plus the Kerala destinations of Alleppey, Wayanad and Munnar, were found to offer better value-for-money than other types of accommodation.

    “With the growth of the online travel industry, in all its different guises, people now have a lot more information at their fingertips and the research has become a larger, richer part of holiday planning. At the same time, travel industry providers have grown exponentially in India, so travellers now have more options than ever,” HolidayIQ said in its report.

    “The diversity of India is legendary presenting travellers with endless opportunities to sell its charms. Home-stays in India are now becoming the popular new concept of tourism. In the recent years Home-stays and the trend of offering budget accommodation is picking up. Homes are the new hotels,” it added.

    source: http://www.traveldailymedia.com / Travel Daily India / Home> Hote & Spa / by Mark Elliot / July 24th, 2015

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    Different kind of busy: The local hospital in Ammathi sees all kinds of illnesses and injuries. Photo: Sukalyan Basu

    Different kind of busy: The local hospital in Ammathi sees all kinds of illnesses and injuries. Photo: Sukalyan Basu

    Hooked to the silence, slowness and familiarity of Ammathi, this town in Coorg suits me fine

    It is 20 minutes since I got out of bed to the alarm bell of our cat wanting to go out. I’m seated before my laptop, with a tumbler of filter coffee by my side. I listen to the birds, of which there are at least a dozen varieties in our garden. When a two-wheeler (a nurse’s husband leaving for work a little before 7am) drones outside and my husband begins to get restive for his second cup of coffee, I switch off the laptop. The next half-hour is reserved for sitting by the window, doing nothing. By half-past eight, I’m in the hospital.

    All sweetness and light? No. Today, for instance, in the emergency ward there is a man who fell while plucking pepper and broke his back; a suspected cerebral malaria, which can kill in quick time; an attempted suicide (using pesticide) and a woebegone tribal whose wife tried hacking off his leg with an axe.

    A surgeon in a rural hospital must treat every type of illness that comes in: broken ankles, diabetic ulcers, scorpion and snake bites, hernias, tumours, lungs with tuberculosis, bleeding guts and gangrenous limbs, suicide attempts and family quarrels ending in mental and physical damage. I love the unpredictability and the challenges that keep coming at us. The day over, I come home and, after half an hour of watching television, I am in the kitchen making tea, anticipating the quiet hours I have before bedtime.

    Ammathi is a little town in south Kodagu (Coorg), with two-and-a-half streets, a post office, a hospital, a convent and a government school, a police outpost, bank, vegetable vendor, three liquor shops, one of which is also the newsagent, a bakery and others that sell everything from lipstick to cattle feed. Many houses huddle alongside the shops, while larger bungalows hide inside coffee estates that stretch in all directions beyond the town.

    Coorg offers easy, lazy holidays of doing nothing besides sighting elephants, enjoying the silken air of my childhood, or what’s left of it, feasting on Kodava food like pandi curry (pork curry), akki otti (rice roti), kadambutoo (rice dumplings) and crab. Visitors always say they are dying of envy for us locals but hardly ever wish to stay longer than a weekend.

    “How do you spend your time here?” we’re asked. “What do you do on weekends?”

    Weekend? Mine is half a Sunday. This week, I had to forsake my half hour of television and trot back — on a Sunday evening — to the wards: an eight-year-old girl with serious injuries that happened at home. It might even be a police case…

    “Visitors always say they are dying of envy for us locals but hardly ever wish to stay longer than a weekend”

    To make a living doing what you really enjoy is a blessing to be preserved at any cost. Once a week we go to the Sunday market to buy vegetables, although half of what we consume comes from our own garden and from my doctor friends, nurses and family. Everyone knows everyone else in our community and exchanging produce is common practice. When we drive, we can sometimes give a lift to a woman or children waiting for a bus along the way, a custom long abandoned in most urban areas for understandable reasons.

    Fresh sardines from across the hills bordering Kerala are on sale in town; if you are willing to indulge in a shady deal, you can have venison, partridge, rabbit or wildfowl on your dining table. All that enviable brawn and swagger that you see in our Kodava men is thanks to the muscle-building properties of wild meat, no doubt about it.

    Our town has progressed from my childhood days of oil lamps and lanterns. Years ago came the outsiders who climbed the hills of Malanad to sell sardines and bananas. These Maplahs soon began to trade in oranges, cardamom and pepper. They made money, built homes (at first modest little houses that were always either pink or green) and put down roots. These hard-brained Malayalis have cornered most of the trade and help sustain the economy. With the recent flood of migrants from the north, we Kodavas have been reduced to a minority. And that we do not like.

    But signs of affluence are everywhere. On the busy streets, cars outnumber people. Ammathi boasts 18 auto-rickshaws. Most accidents that take place here involve one of these.

    My patients are puzzled when they hear that besides doctoring, I ‘write stories’. Fellow writers feel the same about my profession. Recently the friend of a friend who was holidaying in Coorg with her family brought her daughter to me with an abscess that needed to be drained. She asked repeatedly if it was possible to do it here and later when the girl was well, came to thank me. “We’re so lucky that you are here,” she gushed. “We were planning to cut short our holiday and go back to Mumbai for treatment.” City people always think that medical help in rural areas will be non-existent or sub-standard.

    Habits die hard and we’ve got comfortably hooked to silence and slowness. I like living in this place with its haphazard development, elephants on the roads and the long journeys to some urban paradise for a few days of ‘comfort’. I want to be able to go to the shop nearest home and buy two eggs for tonight’s dinner and owe ₹8 to the shopkeeper to be paid soon enough when my husband needs an urgent box of matches, or the shopkeeper brings his child to me with stomach ache.

    When I vote in the next elections, I want to enter the two-roomed, tile-roofed panchayat office and stand in line next to friends, cousins, patients, the gardener, plumber and the red-eyed local drunk and cast my ballot. I hope I will never have to face the jolt of living in any place that is bigger. Smaller is all right. Very much all right.

    (In this monthly series, authors chronicle the cities they call home.)

    Kavery Nambisan

    Kavery Nambisan

    Kavery Nambisan is a surgeon and the author of A Town Like Ours

    source: http://www.thehindubusinessline.com / BLink / Home> Read > HomeSpun / by Kavery Nambisan / January 02nd, 2015

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    Kasturirangan Varadi Horata Samiti Member Cheranda Nanda Subbaiah called upon people of Kodagu district to arrive at large number to express their opposition to Kasturirangan report, during the visit of State-level expert panel members, at Fort premises in Madikeri on Friday.

    Speaking at a press conference here on Thursday, he said: “The people of the district should stop the recommendations of Kasturirangan report from implementing as it is question of our future generation. The draft published by the Central government is completely anti-people. Members of the various organisations and general public should express their objections before the expert panel members,” he said.

    “The recomendation is made to identify Western Ghat and 10 km of nearby area as ecologically sensitive areas and ban mining and other activities in the region. So, opposing the reporting is our necessity and need of the hour. We have do demand to keep residential areas, farm land, coffee plantations, Devarakaadu areas of tribal out of the ecologically sensitive area. If we don’t get positive response from government’s side, we will continue our protest,” he said.

    If they declare ecologically sensitive areas, C and D land, Baane lands will be declared as deemed forest. Buffer zones will also be declared. Later, where is the land for people for living? he questioned. The people of the district have same opinion about the Kasturirangan report and the government can not implement the recommendations of the report against public opinion. People from every village will come to Madikeri to submit their objection, he added.

    Committee Member Bottangady Raju said that panel should make changes in the demands submitted by the people.

    Ready to share woes

    Various political party leaders and heads of organisations would submit memorandums to the panel members who will collect opinions of people who live in the areas which come under ecologically sensitive areas. Along with Kasturirangan Varadi Virodhi Horata Samiti, Congress, BJP and JD(S) leaders, MP Pratap Simha, MLA K G Bhopaiah, Appachu Ranjan, Zilla Panchayat President Shareen Subbaiah and many others will submit memorandums.

    Congress District President B T Pradeep said that no development work can be started in 53 villages which would come under ecologically sensitive areas. It would make life hazardous for the people. JD(S) District President V P Shashidhar said that similar protest was conducted against Kasturirangan report at Kerala and the Central government had to drop many places from the list.

    Concession should be given in Kodagu also. We will give a memorandum to the expert panel, he said.

    DH News Service

    source: http://www.deccanherald.com / Deccan Herald / Home> District / Madikeri, DHNS – November 27th, 2014

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    The High level Working Group of Western Ghats (HLWG) has identified 1,576 villages in Karnataka as Ecologically Sensitive Areas (ESA). Of which, 53 villages have been included in Kodagu district. Additional DC Abhiram G Shankar and DCF Manikanta have directed the officials from Forest and Revenue departments to submit the report on ESAs after conducting a survey by November 24.

    Speaking at a training for the officials on Monday, the Additional DC said that the officials should visit the identified villages and submit a report. After compiling the reports submitted by the officials, a detailed report will be sent to the State government.

    Teams have been constituted to identify natural landscapes. The district level committee will have DC and forest officials as its members, while the village level committee will have officials from revenue, forest and gram panchayat president as its members. The public and NGOs can give their representation on ESAs to the district level committee.

    The Additional DC said, if need be, the survey would be undertaken after consulting Horticulture and Agriculture departments.

    The villages identified as ESAs are Ayyangeri, Bettathooru, Bhagamandala, Chelavara, Cherangala, Galibeedu, Hammiyala, Kalooru, Karada, Karike, Kolagadalu, Kopatti, Kundachery, Made, Melchembu, Monnangeri, Mukkodlu, Naladi, Peroor, Sampaje, Sannapolikotu, Tannimani and Yavakapady in Madikeri taluk; Aanekadu, Athoor forest, Bageri forest, Jainkalabetta, Yadavanadu, Jainkalabetta 2, Kattepura, Kumaralli, Maralli, Malambi, Mavinahalla, Mulluru, Nidta, Soorlabbu and Yadavanadu forest -2 in Somwarpet taluk and Arekeri forest-1, Arekere forest-3, Badaga, Badagarakeri, Chennayana Kote, Devamacchi forest, Devanooru Hathugattu, Teggalli, Karadigodu, Kedamullur, Kurchi, Kutta, Kuttandi, Maldare, Manchalli, Nalakeri forest, Palangala forest, Parakattageri and Badaga in Virajpet taluk.

    source: http://www.deccanherald.com / Deccan Herald / Home> District / Madikeri – DHNS, November 11th, 2014

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    Kodagu Circle Chief Conservator of Forest Jagmohan Varma has clarified that coffee plantation in Kodagu can not be considered as deemed forest. This is based on the government’s order that plantation in private property should not be considered as deemed forest.

    Speaking to Deccan Herald, the officer said that the process of identifying deemed forest is under progress in the district, in the backdrop of the Supreme Court and State government’s order.

    It is a common notion that a land with features of forest is deemed forest. But, as per the government order dated May 15, 2014, private plantation with any number of forest will not be considered as deemed forest. Therefore, there is no reason for coffee, cardamom, pepper and rubber planters to worry about, he assured.

    Private forest

    Explaining the word ‘private forest’ as defined in the government order, the Chief Conservator of Forest said that private forest is the land comprising of more than 50 trees per hectare land and each tree with a width of more than 30 cm. “The forest department along with revenue department is collecting details about private forests in the district. A district-level meeting chaired by Deputy Commissioner Anurag Tewari too has been convened. Village level inspection will be carried out soon,” he said.

    Further, Jagmohan Varma said that the State government’s order describes a wide range of forests that exist in Kodagu, including Forest-Paisari which is considered as forest land.

    According to Coorg Land and Revenue Regulation 1899, Section 143, Sub Section (1) (F), Forest-Paisari land has been notified as forest in 1901. Therefore, the recent order too considers Forest-Paisari as forest land.

    The land that is mentioned as forest in government documents, will be considered as deemed forest. The government has given the instruction to all district administration to submit a detailed report on deemed forest in every district, within May 15.

    What is deemed forest?

    Deemed forest is the private and paisari land with forest like features. The Supreme Court while hearing Godavarman Thirumalapad case in 1995, had directed all the States to collect information about deemed forest. Following the order, the State government polled information about forest land and deemed forest.

    However, the survey was not concrete, as the deemed forest list also comprised of paisari and empty (khulla) land and details like survey number and map too was not appropriate.

    Therefore, re-survey has been taken up to prepare a comprehensive report on deemed forest in the State.
    DH News Service

    source: http://www.deccanherald.com / Deccan Herald / Home> District / by Shrikanth Kallammanavar / Madikeri – DHNS, November 06th, 2014

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    With this, Mysore–Madikeri project has taken a step forward

    The Mysore–Madikeri railway line project has taken a step forward with the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) issuing clearance for the survey work between Kushalnagar and Madikeri.

    This was disclosed by Railway officials at the Divisional Railway Users’ Consultative Committee meeting here on Wednesday.

    The environmental clearance was received last week and the authorities plan to complete the survey and submit the report to the Railway Board by March 31, 2015.

    The preliminary engineering-cum-traffic survey for the railway line was launched in December 2011, but was taken up only between Mysuru and Kushalnagar and the partial survey report was submitted to the Railway Board. Though the project was shelved by the Railway Board on grounds of being commercially unviable, the State government has evinced interest in the project and has agreed to take it up on a cost-sharing basis, apart from providing land to the Railways.

    The first phase of the project entails providing railway link between Mysuru and Kushalnagar at a cost of Rs. 660 crore. It will also connect Hunsur and Periyapatna.

    Interestingly, the project was included in the Railway Budget 2010–11 under the ‘socially desirable rail connectivity’.

    The first proposal for providing a rail link between Mysuru and Madikeri was mooted in 1881-82, according to the Mysore Gazetteer.

    Another project

    On the Shivamogga–Harihar railway line project, it was pointed out that the detailed survey for the new broad-gauge line had been completed. The 76-km project is expected to cost Rs. 832 crore and will be taken up on a cost-sharing basis between the Railways and the State government. Though the Railway authorities had sought 1,000 acres of land, it is yet to be acquired.

    The work can commence, provided the State government hands over adequate land to take up the work on at least a 40-km stretch, according to the officials.

    Divisional Railway Manager Rajkumar Lal, Senior Divisional Commercial Manager Anil Kumar, senior officials of different departments from the Railways, and stakeholders from various districts coming under the Mysore Railway Division were present.

    source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> National> Karnataka / by R. Krishna Kumar / Mysuru – November 06th, 2014

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    Cottabetta Bungalow. Tata owns seven bungalows in Coorg, and every bungalow is set amidst a 1,000 acre plantation.

    Cottabetta Bungalow. Tata owns seven bungalows in Coorg, and every bungalow is set amidst a 1,000 acre plantation.



    USP: Live the planter’s life

    There is freshness in the crisp air caressing your face. Picture-postcard greenery fills your senses. Add to it a welcome shower. There is magic in Coorg, the coffee country.

    SMELL THE BEANS At Cottabetta Bungalow. Photos: Special Arrangement

    SMELL THE BEANS At Cottabetta Bungalow. Photos: Special Arrangement

    The escape to the Tata plantation coffee trails in Coorg during the monsoon turns out to be a bonanza. After a six-hour drive from Bangalore, past the Mysore Highway, Ranganathittu bird sanctuary, bamboo forests, cinnamon trees interspersed with teak trees on which pepper vines climb to great heights, and the ubiquitous coffee plantations, we reach Tata’s bungalow in Cottabetta (meaning cold mountain).

    Tata owns seven bungalows in Coorg, and every bungalow is set amidst a 1,000 acre plantation. The three-bedroom and five-bedroom bungalows, occupied by the managers of Tata, have been converted into cottages, superior, luxury and heritage rooms and heritage suites. “The bungalows went vacant after the managers took VRS. As the butlers, cooks and gardeners continued working to maintain the bungalows, our management came up with the idea of homestays,” says K.C. Poovaiah, head of Plantation Trails, Tata Coffee.

    Once occupied by British planters, the bungalows are more than 100 years old, but modified suitably for modern-day needs. Every bungalow is built on a higher elevation, overlooking the mountains and the plantations. Cottabetta is one of them. And, what a view! The majestic mountains open up — on the south is Kerala and to the North is Periyapatna, Kushal Nagar and the Madikeri hills.

    Once occupied by British planters, the bungalows are more than 100 years old, but modified suitably for modern-day needs.

    Once occupied by British planters, the bungalows are more than 100 years old, but modified suitably for modern-day needs.

    As you take in the picturesque landscape from the portico, a curved road amidst the Tithimathi forests catches your eye. “It is a part of the Mysore Road,” Poovaiah explains. “When the British planters used to drive down, they would dim and dip the headlights at this point to alert the cooks.”

    I check into one of the luxury rooms — the decoration is minimal but it has the comfort of a home. However, the bathroom is lavish with a bath tub. And, there is a beautiful balcony to sit and soak in the silence.

    Barbets, drongos, golden orioles, parakeets, red whiskered bulbuls, flower peckers and sunbirds flutter by and feast on the jamuns, guavas, chikkus, mangoes and gooseberries, the inter-crops supported by the plantations.

    Our tour of the bungalows begin with Woshulli, known for the spectacular view it offers of the Durbeen (binoculars) Road snaking through the plantations. (Vishal Bhardwaj has shot here for his new film “Saat Khoon Maaf”, starring Neil Nitin Mukesh, Priyanka Chopra and John Abraham.)

    At the manicured 25-acre, nine-hole golf course in Polibetta, it is monsoon magic again. As it buckets down, we take cover under the majestic ficus tree, watch the rain pour down in sheets and sprint back to the car.

    Then, we set off to Surgi bungalow and the plantation trail at Taneerhulla and Woshulli plantations spread across a sprawling 1,340 acres. “We get tonnes of litchis every year,” says plantation guide M.K. Umesh, pointing to the giant litchi tree (planted by the British) at the bungalow.

    Umesh peppers the trail with scary elephant stories, and we stop at intervals to touch and smell coffee beans, pepper and vanilla. The Robusta coffee bushes here are 130 years old. Back at the bungalow, biting into crisp, hot onion pakodas served by the courteous staff, sipping coffee and watching the mist-capped hills is just the perfect way to end a beautiful outing in the hills.

    source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> Features> Metroplus> Travel / by K. Jeshi / August 26th, 2010

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    Madikeri :

    Chief Minister Siddharamaiah will inaugurate the new Kodagu District Administration Complex here on Nov. 3.

    The CM will arrive from Bangalore by a helicopter and land at the Golf Ground Helipad, Madikeri at 12.25 pm, following which he will inaugurate the newly built District Administration complex constructed near the Gandhi Maidan at a cost of Rs. 14.45 crore. Several developmental programmes will be launched after which a progress review meeting will be held at 1.30 pm.

    More than 20 government offices which were functioning from the Fort premises for decades, are all set to move to the new building.

    The new structure is a 4 storeyed building (including the ground floor), featuring spacious rooms for functioning of the offices.

    The Archaeology Department had served several notices to the District Administration, asking it to evacuate the government offices from the Fort premises. But as there were no alternate arrangement, the offices continued to function from the Fort premises.

    Continued efforts by the District Administration and the people’s organisations have ultimately bore fruit with the new District Administration complex coming up at the sprawling 2.20 acre area of the central workshop at Gandhi Maidan in the town.

    Once the location for the new structure was finalised, the State government released Rs. 3 crore in 2009. The construction contract was awarded to Bangalore-based Gadiraju construction company.

    The District Administration complex, having a built up area of 90,000 sq.ft., facilitates vehicle parking and records store room in the ground floor.

    The first-floor provides for housing 22 departments apart from separate rooms for the Lok Sabha MP and District in-Charge Minister.

    The second-floor houses the Assistant Commissioner’s office and the office of the Sub-Divisional Magistrate.

    The third-floor houses the DC office, the additional DC’s office, court hall and video conference hall.

    Lift facility: The 4-storeyed building will have a lift facility for the benefit of public.

    As students of St. Michael’s school, adjoining the District Administration complex, may find it difficult to walk freely on account of the heavy traffic density with most of the government offices all set to shift to the new complex, the authorities have taken up construction of a flyover running from the school to the Church, at a cost of about Rs. 10 lakh. MLC T. John has released Rs.10 lakh out of his Legislator’s fund for its construction.

    In order to secure the building from natural disasters, the Karnataka Housing Board has sent a proposal of Rs.256 lakh to the government for construction of retaining wall at the eastern side of the building facing the Madikeri-Mangalore highway.

    Experts feel that the construction of a retaining wall is vital from the geological point of view, for the protection of the structure from landslips, landslides etc.

    The dreams of the people of Kodagu for a new complex has finally been realised with the new building all set for inauguration by the CM on Nov.3.

    source: http://www.starofmysore.com / Star of Mysore / Home> General News / Friday, October 31st, 2014

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