Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Don't miss to taste Bangarpet Pani Puri

This small town has served Pani Puri in weddings of Chiranjeevi daughter and other VVIps

A city need not be identified only by the historic monuments or scenic landscapes that lie in its surroundings but added to this list one can enjoy Bangarpet Pani Puri in Palace City.

There is a outlet In Mysore, where one can get the real taste of Bangarpete Pani Puri. Though a native of Bangarpet in Kolar district, Ramesh Babu came and settled in Mysore 25 years ago, bringing with him the recipe of preparing the Pani Puri which he is now serving to Mysoreans. Right opposite Mahaani's Junior College, near Thindi Bidhi he has set up his shop selling Bangarpet Pani Puri.

He prepares varieties of chats like Masala Puri, Sev Puri, Aloo Puri, Sukkha Puri, Dahi Puri, Nippat Masala, Ompudi Masala, chowchow masala, tomato slice, though peas used for the Masala is all mashed up into a paste unlike the conventional way where it is served separately.

But what is quite distinct is the colourful pani served with Pani Puri. Daily two flavoured panis are served, selecting among the lemon pani, pineapple pani, grape pani, watermelon pani, pudina pani and jain pan, which happen to be the popular ones. The shop is also famous for his dry fruits gulkan.

Exclusively for Dasara, Ramesh plans to introduce, Congress Masala, Bhel Puri, Pudina Bhel, Coriander Bhel, Ghee Bhel, Garlic Bhel in order to provide additional taste for tourists.

When questioned what's special about his Bangarpet Pani Puri, he said that the pani was prepared using Bisleri water and puri's are being brought in daily from Bangarpet through Transport. Women employed under Self Help Groups make this puri. Even the Puri used for Bhel is also brought from Bangarpet as they are very crispy.

`The puris made in Bangarpet are sold in buckets. Every day I need about ten buckets of puri, of which about one bucket of puris are broken during transportation. These broken pieces of puri cannot be used and is fed to cows,' says Ramesh and adds, "Due to some reason if I do not get the Puris, he will close the shop for the day".

The Gulkan made of Dry Fruits sells like hot cake in this shop. The Gulkan sold here is stored in a small earthen pot and kept for a while in the fridge before serving it to customers. All varieties of puri's and Gulkan sold here are priced at just Rs 15.

Ramesh says he will be selling the Bangarpet Pani Puri in the Dasara Food Mela. He has even served them during wedding of Chiranjeevi's daughters and also during former CM Yeddyurappa's Maha Samellan that was heli in Belgaum two years ago. Even actors Mandya Ramesh and Sihi Kahi Chandra have also tasted and given good opinion.

His assistant, 35-year-old Manju, who makes Pani's, says he has 20 years of experience making Bangarpet Puri. He says pani should not be made using tap water and there is a separate procedure to prepare puri.

Road side eateries too gear up with traditional dishes

Come this Dasara, you can taste varieties of food and chat items across the Palace city in Palace City Mysore. While on one hand the District Administration has organized Food Mela and Hotel Owner's Association deciding to provide Dasara Thali, tastier food at affordable rates to benefit the tourists visiting the city for Dasara, on the other hand the street side food vendors are also busy gearing up for Dasara .

Popular as Thindi Beedi, this small stretch on Krishna Vilas Road, adjacent to Jagan Mohan Palace Art Gallery, can be seen lined up with eateries of all sorts on one side of the footpath. Even opposite Town Hall there are about a dozen push cart vendors, mostly selling chat items. These two places are quite famous in the heart of the city where one can have a quick bite at a reasonable price.

Some of the eatery owners near Town Hall have been doing business started by their grandfather. The most sought after food items are Idli, Vada, Dosa, Ricebath Puri and Gobi.

The range of items is more on Thindi Beedhi where freshly boiled or fried food items are prepared and served on the spot. Apart from the usual food items mentioned above one can savour, Dry Gobi Manchuri, Noodles, Fried Rice, varieties of Vegetable Pulaos, Akki Roti, Pav Bhaji, Paddus and even Rice and Sambar. Varieties of egg dishes are also available at a separate stall.

As tourists from all over India are expected to visit Mysore to watch Dasara, they are planning to introduce Baby Corn masala, Chinese Gobi Manchuri, Mumbai's famous Vada Pav and Gobi 65, garnished with cut chilli pieces, lemon, ginger and coriander leaves. The fastest selling is are the varieties of Dosa, where apart from the usual plain and masala are the Rava and Ragi dosas.

There is a heavy crowd during weekends, when entire families come out and can be seen standing and savouring the hot dishes. However, the specialty of food street is varieties of dosa from usual plan, masala and rava, ragi dosa.

Some of the other popular joints selling fast food on the streets are Vidyaranyapuram circle near Syndicate Bank, Matrumandali Circle near KD Road, place Opp. St.Thomas School in Industrial Suburb and KD Circle Double Road in Vijayanagar.

The prices too are quite reasonable and costs between Rs 15 to 25 for a hearty fill. Vendors are expecting the Dasara crowd will boost their sales.

Pani Puri sellers Ramesh and Dharmendar are expecting good business in the next 15 days during Dasara and are confident of daily making Rs 1500-2000 extra than usual. Dharmendar sales varieties of Baby Corn Mushroom soups, Chinese and American Chopsuey and many more.

Come dasara , feel the eating experience of Multi-cuisine dishes

Ramesh Babu who sells Gobi 65 claims that his preparation is unique and tastes different when compared to others? Though Five Star hotels charge Rs 120 for one he sells Baby Corn for just Rs 20 a plate.

Speaking to Express Sowmya a housewife said that 'In hotels they keep it prepared and when customer orders they re-heat it and serve. Where as here they serve fresh and hot which, will be prepared in front of us.

Plea for officials

Most of the push cart vendors struggle hard to lead their livelihood. Amidst all this, during Dasara they start cutting required things for their dish from and start serving after 4 pm.

Most of the hawkers are living with a sense of afraid, as Corporation has thought to make city surrounding free of street vendors. Most of them have opposed it and without giving chance for officials to identify mistake on their part, they are cleaning the surrounding places daily.

'Every time officials ask us to vacate place. We are completely dependent on this and we don't know any other work. During Dasara we have good business, which helps us to clear out debt. We request officials not to throw our life into street,' says Kirthana Chart Center Gobi Raju who sells Gobi, noodles, fried rice, baby corn and Chili Gobi near Town Hall.

'There will be very good response during Dasara and we prepare more apart from usual what we do. This is the only time we have very good business, which helps to solve our problems,’ says Uma who sells Dosa.

Panipuri maker Srinivas Says 'business has severely affected and its very hard to survive. Officials have placed No Parking Board in this zone and people afraid to park their vehicles. If anyone parks the vehicle Tiger comes and lift the vehicles. Now-a-days people come only after 7 pm. The officials should hear our grievances and not trouble our business.'

About 50 per cent of staff shortage at RTO, vehicles goes unchecked

In addition to this the emission testing equipment kit in RTO is under repair.
Regional Transport Office (RTO) is running short of manpower. As the shortage of staff in city RTO is less than 50 percent, vehicle owners are being asked to get emission test done from private Emission Testing centers. In addition to this the emission testing equipment kit in RTO is under repair and the vehicles which enters city during Dasara will go unchecked.

There is a severe shortage of technicians to operate these machines which comes mounted in a separate vehicle. In addition to dedicated technicians drivers are also required. According to sources the vehicle provided for Emission Test is being used for office works. Meantime, it can be witnessed many three-wheelers and four-wheelers vehicles are emitting thick smoke spoiling the quality of air.

As it was not feasible for the RTOs to conduct emission testing on their own due to the logistics involved, permission was given to private parties to conduct emission tests and issue certificates. The RTOs were equipped with mobile testing vans to verify vehicles suspicious of violating the emission norms.

Regional Transport Officer Siddappa Kallera said that RTO has less than 50 per cent of staff and they are working on the existence staff and can’t comment on the policy matters. As more than 60 per cent of vehicles are presently running on LPG, the pollution levels have come down drastically compared to earlier, he added.

But according to a sample survey conducted by Express visiting various places and collected public opinion, the pollution levels in the city is still high and some vehicle owners of goods tempos, lorries and old autos are using adulterated fuel resulting in pollution. The practice of mixing kerosene with petrol has not completely come down, and sale of adulterated petrol goes on unhindered in some areas and the RTOs cannot check them due to lack of staff and equipments.

When Express contacted a couple of emission testing centers in city, they said `vehicles running on LPG still need lubricating oil, especially the earlier two stroke engines as most of autos in the city are. But they use reconditioned oil that is sold cheaply, resulting in these vehicles emitting more smoke and causing pollution.'

`RTO officials should check vehicular emissions to keep city's pollution under control. As these pollutants are released into the atmosphere, the pollution levels increase', said Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (Mysore) Environmental Officer Dr Niranjan.

Number of vehicles plying in the city is 6,11,904 of which 2,14,927 comes under East RTO and 3,05,340 under West RTO and the remaining 91,637 under Hunsur RTO. Daily around 110 to120 new vehicles are registered in city.

Speaking to Express, Advocate Suma said, `all these emission tests are being done just for the sake of formality as most of the public are unaware for what the readings actually mean. Creating awareness is the need of the hour.'

'Now-a-days we see more number of vehicles plying on the roads emitting smoke including government owned buses. Officials should curb this menace that result in affecting the health of the public, said Savitha a resident of Agrahara.

Emission Test report filed on-line : Reminders will be sent to mobile

Earlier vehicle emission tests were being done at the respective centers which issued the test certificate. But most of these centres blindly issued the certificates without conducting tests properly.

To curb this, the Transport Department recently introduced on-line verification system, in which the emission readings of all the vehicles being tested along with a photo of the vehicle with it's Registration number plate clearly visible will be sent to Bangalore through e-mail.

This is stored in a server and can be retrieved anytime for verification. Once approved, hologram stickers will be affixed on the certificate before issuing them to the vehicle owner to avoid counterfeiting. Reminders will be sent to their mobile phones asking them renew after the due date. The procedure of emission test takes 2 to 3 minutes for petrol vehicles while it takes about 15 to 20 minutes for diesel vehicles.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Missing cases increasing in city form past two years

When compared to past two years, the number of complaints of missing people in the city has seen a steady increase. In 2009 and 2010, 1076 people were reported missing, of which 538 were under 18-years-old. Of these, 812 cases have been traced by Police.

According to missing complaints received from January 2009 to June 2011, 449 women and 260 girls (total 709) were reported missing. Of these, 520 cases have been solved and the missing persons were restored back to their families. In the same period there were a total of 660 cases of men, including boys (278) were reported missing, of which 451 cases have been successfully traced, of which 206 are under eighteen.

Under 18
In 2009, the number of people below 18 years of age who were reported missing was 201, of which 102 were girls.156 of them were subsequently were traced. In 2010, there was a slight increase in the number of missing youth, with 236 people reported missing, of which 103 were girls. 188 cases were solved. This year, the number of missing complaints registered till the end of June was 101 (31 girls) of which 57 have been traced.

Above 18
When it comes people who went missing who were above 18 years of age, in 2009, 270 were reported missing, of which 138 were women. Except for 65 missing persons all of them were traced. Again 369 people were reported missing in 2010, of which 216 were women. 263 cases have been solved. In the current year 192 cases have been registered till June 30, of which 95 were women. 102 cases have been already solved.

Speaking to Express, Nodal Officer for Human Trafficking, DCP Rajendra Prasad said, `due to stress and various domestic pressures many children, even those hailing from rich families, are running away'.

'Touts will be hunting for such missing children, especially at Railway Station and Bus Stands. They are quick to identify them and take them into their net after winning their confidence. Most of the young girls end up as domestic maids or pushed into flesh trade by selling them off to brothels at far away places. They don't hesitate to inflict violence if they don't obey,' he said and added, "But most of the cases reported are eloping with their lovers." Referring to the unsolved cases he said, 'Many a times we find parents not informing us of their kids safe return fearing social stigma.'

'As Under-18 cases are very sensitive, we will be more empathetic when dealing with them. A special Juvenile Police Officer will look after these children for which he is specially trained," confided Rajendra Prasad.

Immediately after a missing child is traced, it will be reported to the Child Welfare Committee. The child will be provided counselling there. Small girls are immediately sent to Women Juvenile Center.

To reduce incidents of children running away, he called upon parents to pay special attention to their children in addition to providing them mere physical comforts. Parents, especially those belonging to affluent classes, does not find time to spend with their children, making them to spend whole day only in studies. This weakens the bond with their parents making them to flee homes, he observed.

About tracing

To ensure quick detection, a Missing Persons Detection Squad has been formed comprising four members, Assistant Sub Inspector, Head Constable, Police constable and WPC. Investigations will be conducted as per the guidelines given by Supreme Court and National Human Rights Commission confirming to the Standard Operating Procedure.

Immediately upon registration of a missing complaint case in a Police Station, the case will be handled by the concerned Sub-Inspector for six month. If the case remains unsolved even after six months then the Inspector while resume the investigations for another six month. If the person is not traced even after one year, the file will be closed stating 'not traced'.

It was only in 1977 the practice of registering a regular complaint of missing persons came into effect. Earlier to this police, made a record in the Stationary House Diary.

Raja Marga still a distance dream to Mysoreans

Work has come to halt on the city's ambitious project
With Mysore Dasara fast approaching and the city sporting a heritage tag, the number of tourists visiting the city to witness the Nada Habba has been steadily on the rise year after year. But is the city geared up for hosting this annual event. All repair works that are being undertaken are going on in a snail's pace and neither the City Corporation nor the District Administration seem to be worried.
It was during last year's Dasara that the Mysore City Corporation (MCC) had prepared an ambitious project to develop the stretch of four kilometer road between Hardinge Circle and Bannimantap to be converted into a 'Raja Marga' (Royal Path) and took up the road widening work in Bannimantap, but with another Dasara fast approaching the work on the road is far from completion. They have not even bothered to clear the heap of debris lying on the side of the road for over an year.
`To make Raja Marga, road widening work began last year. But the officials have neither completed the road nor have cleared the debris. During night the commuters have to step very carefully. Specially if they are accompanied with children its more dangerous,' says Lakshmi an employee.
No 'Raja Marga' for this Dasara: Raikar
Though work on the Raja Marga between Hardinge and Chamaraja Circles has been going on for the past several months, the work has not been completed for this year Dasara.
District in-charge Minister SA Ramdas had announced completion of Raja marga connection Chamraja circle and Hoarding circle before dasara nothing concrete has taken shape to keep up the assurance . There are no proper parking facilities for the tourists coming in their own vehicles or hired buses as the proposed parking lots at several places in the city are still on the drawing board.
When Express contacted City Commissioner Commissioner KS Raikar, he said that during Dasara portion of Raja Marga will be kept open for commuters. He further added that the present design for the stone barricade is expensive and the Corporation is trying to find other companies to get done the work.
`To make Raja Marge before Dasara, all traffic was diverted resulting in lot of hardship for the commuters. If the work has not complete means that all the time and money spent on working on this road in addition to the fuel lost while commuters had to take circuitous routes to reach their destinations has all gone waste,' says Auto Drivers Venkatesh and Mahadevappa.
'Knowing their responsibilities the concerned authorities should work for the development of city, but the civic authorities are only worried about getting awards. Not a single road in the city is in good condition. The authorities have failed to maintain good road at least in Dasara Procession route, said Senior Citizen Govindappa.

Bicycle track before Dasara

In a bid to keep heart of the city free of pollution and reduce the traffic density, plans have been from JNNURM Task Force to introduce Cycle Track in the Heritage Zone before this Dasara. The Cycle Track will pass through the 30 heritage buildings including the Amba Vilas Palace.

Urban Development Department Secretary Shivakumar said that Bicycle Path in city will be a pilot project and the paths have been divided into three classes like Bike Path, Bike Lane and Bike Route.

Bike Path will be Completely separate from traffic, while in Bike Lane a separate lane will be set aside and in Bike Route purportedly city streets will be connected from one place to another.

Fisherman Co-operative Society at Hampapura is in a dilapidated condition

The Fisherman Co-operative Society Limited in Hampapura, KR Nagar Taluk, situated at 50 kms from Mysore, is in a dilapidated condition and is crying for attention.

The wall and the ceiling are dampened due to water seepage and asbestos roofing, mud footsteps and there is no power supply for this society. Apart this, the iron beams used in the concrete are completely exposed to the elements of nature and have begun to rust.

The society was constructed past ten year ago and has become a bleeding ground for mosquito due to the growth of weeds all around and also the place infected with flees and fly due to the smell of fish. The dilapidated and hazardous condition of the society pose a danger to villagers.

Speaking to Express several members of KR Taluk Fishermen Welfare Society, Hampapura said that 'We have complain several time to Society President Muddegowda, but the officials have failed to take any initiate action. Even after several rounds of visit to the Society, Karnataka Cooperative Fisheries Federation (Mysore) President Nanjegowda has also not taken any action,' they alleged.

Society Member Raju and BJP Leader Ramesh stated that `from past three years society has obtained a profit of Rs 54.8 crore but no developmental works have been taken and quoted `Nanjegowda conduct society meeting in Muddegowda's residence and take decision themselves and paste the minutes to the society wall (which can be seen in the picture).

Former Director of the Society Nagendra said that `there is no chairs to sit in the society and the building has not been painted from past eight years. When it rains water will be sopping all over the building and the underneath of the ceiling is always wet and damp and there is no proper roofing. Many of them attend nature call here only.'

He further alleged the Society President Muddegowda is uneducated and no proper records is maintained and for everything he contacts his Secretary Seenappa and even signs blindly for the documents and there are 150 members in the society.

When Express contacted Society President Muddegowda, he refused to answer and asked to contact his Secretary, while Federation President Nanjegowda stated that shortly the society will be repaired and a meeting will be held in next week.

Will GM Foods ever make in to our dining tables ?

While heated debates on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) is going on throughout the world, Express contacted PV Satheesh, National Convenor, Southern Action on Genetic Engineering (SAGE), Hyderabad to know more about it. He was in city for three-days to attend the SAGE campaign to declare Mysore City as GMO Free city. Here are the excerpts:

What exactly are GMO and GM Foods?
Any organism whose basic genetic structure, DNA, has been artificially altered is known as GMO or Genetically Modified Organism or sometimes Genetically Engineered (GE) organisms. The technology allows selected individual genes to be transferred from one organism to another as also between non-related species.

Genetic Engineering artificially forces genetic material between species. This completely alters the genetic make up of the host organism thereby destroying its biological integrity. The method used is to force a selected gene [say a virus or a bacteria] into the DNA of the host plant [say tomato, brinjal or rice] using a 'gene gun' or through bacterial infection.

To quote a few examples: Inactivated Hepatitis or Cholera viruses are transferred into a banana plant which then produce bananas which are edible vaccines. Similarly a silkworm gene is introduced into a grape seed to protect grapevines from a disease called Pierce’s disease. Unlike Hybrids where plants from same family are used [wheat to wheat], GE technology allows genes of plants to be implanted with animals, insects and bacteria to produce what the detractors of the technology call a Frankenstein food.

While scientists developing GMO foods claim such methods increase crop yields, provide resistance against pests, enhance nutritional qualities in foods and so on, these have been proved false by opposing scientists, environmentalists and farmers organizations all over the world.

It seems there are some advantages in this new technology. Why then so much opposition?
When proponents of GE crops claim that they withstand pest attacks they are showing only one side of the story. The most famous of these claims in India is that of Bt Cotton which is a cotton crop into which the gene of a soil bacteria called Bacillus Thurengisis has been forced. The Bt gene produces the Bt toxin which is produced from every part of the Bt cotton plant. Though as a result the most dreaded cotton pest, Helicoverpa Armigera, is contained, a sudden spurt in the attack of other pests like Aphids is observed.

We from the Deccan Development Society [an environmental NGO working in Andhra Pradesh] have ourselves done continuous research on hundreds of Bt cotton fields in AP for the last nine years and found that the soil in which Bt cotton was gown gradually turns turns toxic. In 2003 this was about 2 per cent of the soil on which Bt cotton was grown, but by 2007 it had grown to 40 per cent, a 20 fold increase. Thousands of animals which grazed on Bt cotton fields started dying.

People who had worked on Bt cotton fields were complaining of skin allergies and breathing disorders. Small and marginal farmers who cultivated Bt cotton in drylands suffered crop failures forcing several of them to commit suicide. Therefore the negative dimensions of the Bt cotton were so many that a large number of farmers had desparately tried to stop growing it. But by then all non Bt cotton had been withdrawn from the market by the Bt seed syndicate, as such farmers were forced to reluctantly continue growing Bt cotton.

Several countries have already enacted laws to display GM Foods on separate shelves in shops and Supermarkets along with a prominent sign to display that it contains GM ingredients. Will it be implemented here?
The contention here is that if the producers and sellers of GE crops feel that they are safe to be consumed by human beings and animals, let them label their produces that these are Genetically Engineered. Just the way organically grown foods are labeled as Organic, since that helps buyers to know what they are eating. But the GE industry has fought this practice tooth and nail as they fear that once consumers know that a produce is GE they might refuse to eat it. This is held out against the GE industry that if they are so confident of the safety of their produce why then should they oppose to its labeling?

In India, GE products are not allowed officially to be sold in the market. But there are suspicions that they are sold clandestinely. The most suspect products are the imported Soyabean and Corn products. Soyabean oils imported from abroad are used in popular food chains. As we don’t have an effective regulatory mechanism to screen GE foods, Indian consumers are forced to eat them unknowingly.

What is the present research status on the dangers of growing and consuming GM Foods.
There are several scientists who have studied and documented many harmful effects of consuming GE foods. In a seminal book titled, 'Genetic Roulette', one Prof Jeffrey Smith working with more than 30 scientists around the world, has documented 65 health risks caused by consuming GM foods.

His studies have documented several cases of toxic or allergic-type reactions in humans who grow and frequently come in contact with them, as also livestock falling sick and becoming sterile when they consumed such plants. Genetic contamination of other plants around these fields is the greatest threat, which is quite dangerous because genetic pollution cannot be reversed. Even organically grown crops can be affected if a GE crop is grown in its vicinity. Organic farmers in Seskachwan, a region of Canada have sued agrobiotech corporations for growing GE crops and polluting their crops.

Recently farmers here in Mysore went on a strike urging authorities to provide long staple varieties of Bt cotton seeds. How this sudden change was possible?
As illustrated earlier, Bt cotton has been a false messiah for farmers. The farmers are desperate to grow cotton because of the sudden increase in the market price. The non Bt cotton seeds have been more or less withdrawn by seed companies from the market since they can sell Bt seeds at higher rates and make fatter profits. That was the main reason for farmers’ demand for Bt cotton seeds.

Besides they still have not experienced the negative effects of Bt cotton, which begins to show after 3 to 5 years of its cultivation. In countries such as Indonesia and South Africa farmers who have been growing Bt cotton for over a decade are now incurring heavy losses because of soil erosion. It is the similar case with thousands of small farmers in Andhra Pradesh. They have all been caught in a web of deception and manipulation.

How to identify in market which vegetable grown using GM technology
There is no technology in India to do this. A Bt Brinjal or a Bt Cotton does not appear different from its non GE counterpart for sight. In Europe, where there is the highest consumer opposition to genetically engineered products, there are small detection kits that consumers can carry and detect which of the products has been infected by GE and which has not been. This device has not yet been made available in India.

The USA which is the largest consumer of GE foods is also a nation known for the highest obesity among its population. There are many evidences to say that nearly 25% of children in USA suffer from diabetes, BP, Autism. Many thinkers and scientists want serious research to see whether this is related to consumption of GE foods. But since large research funds are with biotech corporations, they are hardly interested to look into this area. The governments are too beholden to biotech corporations for their electoral funds, national incomes and employment generation etc. Hence they are not ready to fund research to uncover truth. That is why much of the world is kept ignorant about the dangers of GE foods.

Will there be a legislation to conduct field trials and use GM Foods by the Centre, noting so many advantages it has?
Alarmed by the strong opposition from farmers groups, scientists and environmentalists against the introduction of GE crops in the country, the Centre withdrew its plans of introducing GE Brinjal in the market with the result progressive environment ministers such as Jairam Ramesh. Eminent scientists such as Dr P M Bhargava and Dr Vijayan have been able to lead an enlightened debate on the issue and have argued that until India is capable of establishing its own reliable world standard bio-safety assessment systems, it should not allow field trials.