Sunday, June 20, 2010

Mayor dwells on his plans for Mysore's development

Our new Mayor Sandesh Swamy wants to set an example by taking up several initiatives for city's development. In a candid tête-à-tête with Star of Mysore, he shared some of his dreams for city's growth. Excerpts:

SOM: What is your vision for Mysore? How do you hope to achieve this?

Mayor: My vision is to make Mysore a green and pothole-free city. In future, roads will be designed with a slight curvature at the centre so that rain water flows off at the sides and enters the drainage without stagnating on the road. I am thinking of handing over the maintenance of roads to contractors by making them sign a contract for a certain period. Money will be paid to them in installments. Half the amount will be paid as first installment; after successful maintenance, the next installment of 25% will be paid and the last installment will be paid at the end of contract period. The contractors will be held responsible for maintaining the roads. They have to ensure the roads are free of potholes and all necessary repair works are done in time. I am planning to introduce this scheme during my term.

SOM: How do you propose to make people responsible for maintaining clean city?

Mayor: Seeking help from prominent people in the respective locality, I am planning to conduct door-to-door campaign to create awareness among the residents about environmental issues. Awareness programmes will be held for school children also to plant saplings by the roadside and practice hygiene.

It is the responsibility of every resident to ensure the road at least in front of their house is free from garbage and see that garbage is not thrown and water does not stagnate. The residents should also think that they too are partly responsible for maintaining cleanliness of roads.

SOM: Your ambition?

Mayor: I want to do good things during my tenure so that people remember me even after I demit office. The initiatives that I have started should be continued. Like Nalwadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar, who was the architect of Mysore, I want to do things in the same way.

I want to make Mysore a clean city so that it becomes a model for other cities and it should reach top place with regard to cleanliness. I want to do everything possible in my limits so that the city becomes self-sustained in the coming years.

SOM: There are some roads that cannot be widened unless the shops and houses are demolished. How will you deal with this problem?

Mayor: We have all the powers under the Town Planning Act to acquire buildings that come in the way of widening of roads. We have plans to widen even the prominent roads like Sayyaji Rao Road and Ashoka Road. Though it incurs expenditure involving crores of rupees, it will be taken up in the coming days.

SOM: Any plans to attract more tourists?

Mayor: Mysore city should become a role model for other countries. Just as people visit Switzerland, London and New York, they should be visiting Mysore too. Our city, being already a tourist hub, we have several spots for tourists to visit within a radius of 30-km making it more attractive.

The name of Mysore should become synonymous with Karnataka. Our city's name should be heard in international circles. I want to make arrangements so that visiting tourists get easy accommodation with a clean and hygienic environment. Every tourist coming to the city should rate Mysore as the cleanest city. All this will be done without affecting the heritage status the city already enjoys.

SOM: You have initiated planting of many saplings. But have you appointed anyone to monitor the plants and nurture them?

Mayor: Yes. In future all road widening works will be undertaken without disturbing the road-side trees; the saplings are planted accordingly. We already have 60,000 saplings ready to be planted on road sides. One thousand saplings will be given to each Ward. As the monsoon has just begun, planting the saplings has been taken up.

The Forest Department which provides saplings will issue instructions to the various departments where these saplings have to be planted and the money for planting and maintaining these saplings will be paid only after 4 months of successful planting.

Employees of Vikrant Tyre factory have come forward to plant trees in their neighbourhood. Other factories too should follow this initiative and plant saplings in their surroundings. This will help greening of Mysore.

SOM: Your future plans?

Mayor: At present 350 tonnes of garbage per day is being produced in the city of which 250 tonnes is being recycled. The remaining 100 tonnes is compacted and used for landfill. In the coming days, garbage will be cleared using sweeping machines which will be introduced shortly. The lands will be cleared of all garbage within two months of their accumulation. Plans are afoot to set up four solid waste management plants in four directions of city. One will be shortly set up at Kesare.

Planning to modernise the Devaraja Market at a cost of Rs. 1 crore retaining the heritage structure. Around 1,500 shops will be relocated in the new building. Even the present mutton market will be demolished and the reconstruction work will begin in the next 3 to 4 months.

The Slum Board will take up construction of 6,835 houses spending Rs.160 crores. The construction of houses will be taken up in three stages. It is estimated that each house costs about Rs.3 to 4 lakh.

A tatal of 1,30,000 new pipelines will be laid under JUSCO for providing drinking water. The digging work for laying these pipes has already begun in all the wards and will be completed by 2012.

SOM: How do you propose to tackle cattle menace?

Mayor: On the busy Devaraja Urs and Sayyaji Rao Roads due to cattle menace several vehicles have met with accidents. Through an agreement with Gopalakara Sangha, we have instructed them not to let the cattle's out. If they fail to remove the cattle straying on the roads, they will be sent to Pinjrapole immediately and there will be no compromise on this issue.

SOM: What kind of a person is Sandesh Swamy? What does he do in his free time?

Mayor: I come from a humble village family. Being brought up in a joint family, I have deep family attachments. I am married and blessed with two children. I love playing golf in my free time, reading books, touring and watching movies.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Connecting children with nature

World Environment Day was celebrated across the country and continents yesterday (June 5). NGOs, educational institutions and government bodies come together on this one day to prepare banners or other forms of advertisements to create awareness' about the state of the world. In the midst of all this, here is D.M. Prabhuswamy from the city, who is doing his bit to sensitise people about the steady loss in the country’s biodiversity.
Prabhuswamy has done his M.Sc in zoology, and working as a Second Division Assistant in the court of Principal Senior Civil Judge and C.J.M at Mysore.
In a tête-à-tête with SOM, this nature lover spoke thus:
The landmark report of Intergovernment Panel on Climate Change headed by R.K Pachauri revealed that the average global surface temperature will rise between 1.4 degrees and 5.8 degrees Celsius by the end on this century.
"Mark Lynas, in his book Six degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet revealed that six degrees increase would eliminate most of the life on earth including much of humanity.
That was the turning point. I, with some friends, have initiated a Green Village Panchayat Movement in my native place in Dugganahalli Malavalli taluk, Mandya based on the concept of A local solution to a global problem.
We began by planting indigenous saplings in our land. Our commitment is to plant more saplings in our land first.
Everyone should initiate a green movement at the place of their residence, place of work or any other convenient place; it may be Green Street movement, Green Campus movement, Green Mohalla movement, Green City movement or even Green Window Sill movement to fight global warming and to protect biodiversity.
We have distributed booklets among High School children of Dugganahalli Gram Panchayat area for assessing the saplings planted and trees cut down in their land for the year 2010.
A green library has also been opened in Dugganahalli where newspapers and magazines related to environment are kept to help students develop knowledge and create awareness.
We encourage people, especially children to plant more saplings in their land, particularly plantation trees. We are planning to form self help groups to raise saplings in farmer’s land by working on the Gandhian concept of ‘Now or Never’ and ‘Do or Die’. We also encourage farmers to harvest rain water, recharge ground water and to promote use of renewable energy. In future days, we are opening a nursery to supply saplings to people of our Gram Panchayat. The Vision Document 2025 has been prepared and set to implementation in collaboration with local bodies.
"First, the children should be taught about the benefits of planting tree. Later, they should be taught to dig the earth and plant a sapling. As they dig they come across variety of soils, rocks and insects which the children will examine, discuss and discover. They should be taught about preserving and caring for plants". Prabhuswamy can be contacted on Mob: 9886365350.
Aims of the project
• Minimum 50% land of farmers should be covered with trees, particularly plantation trees that are indigenous.
• Solid waste management system should be implemented.
• Total literacy should be achieved involving students of Gram Panchayat areas.
• Rain water harvesting should be promoted in the land of farmers.
• Create awareness among masses to minimise carbon foot print and to lead eco-friendly life.
• Renewable energy sources like solar energy and wind energy must be utilised for energy needs of a village.
• Bio-gas plants should be installed in every house or community in Gram Panchayat areas.

The magic of water colours

If one were to have had that rarest of opportunities, that of watching an expert water-colour painter wielding a variety of brushes, a touch of colour here, a touch of colour there, that white space left, a hint of grey and Voila! You are now mesmerised by the life-like painting of the facets of the Mysore Palace, a scene at the market, the few houses in a hamlet, then late afternoon sun climbing over the walls. The master who created such marvels was late N.S. Subbakrishna (NSS), the artist who created wonders through his water colour and sketch paintings.

Sharing her memories about her artistic father, Karnatak vocalist Srinidhi says: "Unlike many artists, my father was also soft, less talkative and used to enjoy serenity of his own thoughts. He never lost his self-respect and faced all problems all alone, quite boldly.

"My grandparents had a desire to make him (NSS) a great musician. But my father wanted to pursue art. He used to observe keenly the clay works done by my grandmother and that inspired him to take up art as a career," recalls Srinidhi.

"He would get up daily at 6 am and play violin for about two hours. It was a ritual. Later he would paint till evening. The colours used by my father were manufactured abroad (Winson and Newton makes). Red was his favorite colour. He used to say that red covers the defects and he would not paint without using red colour at least in a corner. He was an expert in water and oil colours. He had drawn many portraits and sketches of Gandhiji, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Lal Bahadur Shastri etc.," adds Srinidhi.

Subbakrishna's many water colours are quite lyrical — clouds borne by the wind, a wisp of hair across a woman's forehead —you pass from one painting to the other and look back, wondering if the figures in the landscape had moved. The landscape of his life is as airy, lyrical and subtle as any of his paintings.

Nanjangud Srinivasa Rao Subbakrishna was born in Nanjangud in May, 1914. He was the only son of Srinivasa Rao and Padmavathi. He desired to draw right from childhood. As though to help himself realise this dream, he was unsuccessful in passing the lower secondary exam. This was a blessing in disguise for his achievements in the world of art.

Mysore, in those days, had a host of teachers who had been 'brought’ by the Maharajas to teach in various schools. One of them made him pursue art seriously. It seems he spoke to Subbakrishna's parents and made them allow their son to follow his muse in an art school and in 1927 he joined Chamaraja Technical Institute under the guidance of the then Principal Alderton.

After pursuing art training under great masters K. Keshavaiah and N.G. Pavanje, for five years from 1927, he started drawing landscapes and portraits in oil and water colours. Apart from learning finer nuances of his craft, NSS started learning violin under musician Nanjangud Ramaswamy (father of R.R. Keshava Murthy). Later, during his stay in Chamarajanagar, he used to ‘ do the same riyaz everyday so much so his Coimbatore neighbour Ponnuswamy who was fed up, taught him music in a meticulous manner for three years.

After 1932, NSS started participating in art exhibitions. Those days, art exhibitions used to be held every year in Kodaikanal, Madras and Kollur. It was his great achievement that every year he used to bag the first prize in the art exhibitions. Most of his paintings focus on rural life with all its ingredients.

To catch the fall of light and the play of shadows, one of paintings of the Ghats of Varanasi had NSS waiting for two hours so that the shadows would fall exactly the way he wanted. This is almost photographic!

Subbakrishna persisted in painting even after his father’s transfer to Malavalli. First, he drew a painting of Malavalli Fort. This painting won him the first prize in the exhibition held over there. The then Municipal President Srinivasan bought this painting and got a portrait of his wife made by NSS which also got the first prize. A painting of a herdsman herding sheep was sold to the industrialist Gyansham Das Birla and it is still in the Birla collection.

NSS joined Mysore Porcelain factory at Bangalore as an artist in 1940. His job was to draw on the porcelain plates, cups and other items. When Srinivasan, the then Municipal President went to Gwalior, he took Subbakrishna with him. There, at Gwalior Potteries, NSS served as an artist till 1971 on a monthly salary of Rs. 200.

In his long colourful journey, NSS bagged many awards — A silver jar from the Mysore Maharaja in the Dasara Exhibition (1946), State Award (1964) and Karnataka Lalithakala Academy award (1980). About 600 works of Subbakrishna have been exhibited in many countries far and wide.

The Reserve Bank of India selected a painting of Subbakrishna and printed on the currency notes of denominations Rs.100, Rs.10 and Rs. 5. Though NSS is from Karnataka, his base for a long time was north India.

His talent was not limited to just landscapes, NSS has also done portraits and his series of every President graces the Parliament to this day. It was much later that he returned to Mysore, still wielding his brushes till his last days. NSS passed away on 18th Sept. 1993. NSS is survived by his wife Leela Bai and a son. Among his two daughters, Sreeroopa S. Madhav is no more. All the three children were well-exposed to art.
Over 35 art works of NSS will be on display at Pratima Art Gallery in front of Zoo for a day today (May 31), the day chosen to launch a website devoted to NSS' art. Apart from water-colours, there will also be his pen and ink sketches of Gandhiji.

On the same occasion, Suttur Seer Sri Shivaratri Deshikendra Swamiji will launch, a website which profiles the artist, his life and times and will serve to showcase his art besides enabling art communities to be formed.

The website has been designed by InfoTech Media, Mysore. Leela Bai will also be present. The expo will be inaugurated today at 6.30 pm.