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    Alyia Phelps-Gardiner Krumbiegel   | Photo Credit: Bhagya Prakash K

    Alyia Phelps-Gardiner Krumbiegel | Photo Credit: Bhagya Prakash K

    Following a report in The Hindu about the crumbling state of Krumbiegel Hall, Alyia Phelps-Gardiner Krumbiegel, Gustav Hermann Krumbiegel’s great granddaughter, expresses her displeasure over the neglect of the historical structure.

    In her letter to The Hindu, Ms. Krumbiegel writes about how her forefather realised that he had found home when he first touched Indian soil at the age of 26. Excerpts from the letter:

    My great grandfather was a master at economic botanyencouraging the exchange of plants and seeds. He continued this at Lalbagh Botanical Garden. His very last planning assignment for the Indian government when he was 90-years-old was to plan the Rajghat memorial gardens (New Delhi). Royalty protected him when the British saw an enemy in every German. He gave Karnataka so much.

    The lecture hall which he spent so much time in was renamed Krumbiegel Hall in his honour. Which now brings me to the sad state of how Lalbagh (authorities) have treated a building named in honour of one of the five superintendents who made substantial differences to Lalbagh and Bangalore.

    Was Krumbiegel Hall a heritage building or was is it not a heritage building? In 2013, it seemed to be a heritage building.

    I really have heard it all ….. assurance that it was under restoration. Broken promises.

    ‘Whatever he touched he adorned’ is written on his tombstone. But, a man who gave so much to the country he found a home in – he always wanted independence for India and was never afraid to voice these views while he lived and breathed India — his life’s work is slowly being wiped away to be memories in the wind.

    Krumbiegel Hall runs deep in my veins. I’m very hopeful that the department will recognise that Krumbiegel Hall needs to be rebuilt with the original frontage restored and reinstated once again.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Bengaluru / November 16th, 2017

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    Soliga tribal community at MM Hills have been trained to use the invasive Lantana species to make furniture.   | Photo Credit: Bhagya Prakash K

    Soliga tribal community at MM Hills have been trained to use the invasive Lantana species to make furniture. | Photo Credit: Bhagya Prakash K

    Members of the Soliga tribal community on M.M. Hills use the plant to earn a livelihood by making furniture from them

    Behind the innocuous, little, bright flowers that pepper much of the country’s landscape, lies a sinister tale that threatens to tip the fragile balance of the eco-sensitive forests.

    The near-omnipresent Lantana Camara, originally from South America but introduced in the country during the British Raj, has invaded much of the country’s habitats. The “lantana problem” has forest officials stretched to contain the “invasion” that is blamed for increasing forest fires and choking out native grass and tree species which provide fodder for herbivores.

    For the unassuming Mahadeva, 34, however, the “toxic” weed is now a resource to fuel his livelihood. For seven days in a month, he and around 16 others from the Soliga tribal community set off into the forests of M.M. Hills Wildlife Sanctuary in south Karnataka in search of lantana. The plant is uprooted, and the sticks collected in neat bundles weighing more than 30 kg each. The bundles are then boiled and the bark peeled off. In the next few weeks, the sticks are fashioned, bent, nailed, tied and glued on to form furniture — stools, sofas, beds, bookshelves and more — before the process is repeated.

    “It not only resembles cane furniture, but matches it in durability and quality,” Mr. Mahadeva says.

    His tryst with lantana started a decade ago when the concept of lantana furniture first entered the undulating forests of M.M. Hills — a key part of the contiguous forests that now host among the densest tiger populations in the world. Envisioned by researchers at Asoka Trust for Research into Ecology and the Environment (ATREE), Bengaluru, over 50 villagers were trained since 2004 to use lantana and develop market linkages for the furniture.

    “At the time we started, the tribal community had lost their livelihood as the Forest Department had prohibited the extraction of bamboo. We taught them how to use lantana instead and helped form a society to market the products. Now, nearly 80% of their livelihood comes out of lantana itself,” says Harisha R.P. from ATREE who is coordinating the project.

    For 30-year-old Madu, who has been working with lantana for over a decade, furniture-making has seen him settle down in his village rather than move around in an uncertain search for daily wage labour. “As demand rises, fewer people are going out to find work. Before, we would be affected when drought hits the farmlands. Now, we have work throughout the year,” he says.

    The centres are set to expand, as workers are now struggling to complete an order to make 50 large elephant statues with lantana. “We are guaranteed ₹500 per day, and are even taking labourers for ₹300 a day. This sort of earning is unheard of in our tribal village,” says Narayana, who has taken charge of processing orders.

    Though away from retailers for now, the demand — placed through direct orders only — is soaring, and production is only constricted by the logistics of transporting furniture from forests. At the three centres in M.M. Hills, over 50 types of products are made that eventually make their way to offices and resorts in urban centres.

    Controlling lantana

    While there have been no scientific studies on the ecological benefit of this work, anecdotal evidence suggests that lantana spread may have been contained locally.

    There are now three centres at M.M. Hills itself, and Mr. Harisha estimates that more than three tonnes of lantana is extracted yearly. “Once uprooted, it takes lantana at least three years to come again. This window may give a chance for native species to thrive again,” he says.

    In many patches of M.M. Hills, this “window” is evident. Ravi, a worker at Anehola centre, says during the early years, lantana could be extracted almost at their doorstep. “Now, we have to go 3 km into the forests to find usable lantana,” he says.

    The expensive alternative would be to mechanically uproot the plant, which has become a threat second only to poachers in deciduous forests.

    During the summer, the weed becomes brittle, turning forests into tinderboxes where fires spread with alarming rapidity. The fast-growing, near-drought-resistant lantana dominates the landscape, gradually outcompeting native plants that are crucial cogs in the forest biodiversity. To top off the seeming villainy of the plant, lantana is toxic to grazers and is actively avoided by elephants. The Forest Department states that in Bandipur Tiger Reserve — which is home to over 100 tigers and thousands of elephants, sambars, gaurs and deer — lantana is found in 80% of its nearly expanse. The cost of uprooting lantana in just 5 has been estimated to be ₹1.8 crore — or, if one were to extrapolate for the entire reserve, more than ₹250 crore for what is still a temporary solution. It is easy to understand why ATREE pushes for this low-cost innovation that deals with two socio-ecological problems in forests: livelihood and containing lantana. So, why not profit through this proliferation?

    Spreading the innovation

    The success of the M.M. Hills experiment has seen the concept spread among other tribal hamlets. Over the years, ATREE as well as Soliga tribals are called to forests of south India to train others in making furniture. In 2009, The Shola Trust helped set up two lantana furniture centres in Mudumalai Forests — where lantana is found in more than 200 of forests. Lantana furniture is being made in the forests on the foothills of the Himalayas in Uttarakhand; while, a little more than a year ago, 70 persons from four tribal hamlets in forests of Siruvani Hills near Coimbatore were trained by Amrita University.

    “This is just in the training phase now, but there has been considerable success. Just through exhibitions, we have sold ₹1.7 lakh worth of furniture already. We just can’t keep up with the demand,” said Maya Mahajan, Associate Professor, Centre for Sustainable Future at Amrita University. The university plans to expand this to other hamlets in the region, hoping to capitalise on the increasing demand from tourists.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> News> States> Karnataka / by Mohit M Rao / M.M Hills (South Karnataka) – April 29th, 2017

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    Annamma with her new truck   | Photo Credit: Handout E Mail

    Annamma with her new truck | Photo Credit: Handout E Mail

    Buys truck to increase volume with door-to-door collection to make up for decrease in price of plastic & paper waste

    She was a 10 years old when she started following her grandmother as she picked up waste from the city’s streets. Thirty years later, Annamma has established herself as an entrepreneur. She has become the first waste picker in the city to buy a truck for door-to-door collection of dry waste, and is already looking to purchase a second vehicle in the near future.

    For somebody who was picking waste from the streets as late as 2013, Annamma’s rise is nothing less than phenomenal. “When the civic body wanted waste pickers to start manning dry waste collection centres (DWCC), I was not confident about taking up the task. I lived in a hut with no electricity and had saved ₹50,000 to build a house. But I invested the money and started a DWCC. This centre has grown into a business today,” she says, beaming with pride.

    She has been running the DWCC for ward 101, Kamakshipalya for four years now. She now deals with nearly two tonnes of dry waste every day.

    She was able to avail a loan to build a three-bedroom house in Ullal Upanagar, where her hut once stood. “My daughters used to read sitting under a street light or read all night on the new moon day, as there was no electricity. Today, they have a study room,” says Annamma.

    Recently, the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) gave the responsibility of door-step collection of dry waste twice a week to DWCCs, mostly run by former waste pickers in their respective wards. This entails expansion of DWCC operations and capital investment on vehicles and personnel.

    Annamma, who is one of the more successful entrepreneurs in the sector, acted decisively and purchased a truck to start door-step collection of waste. “I don’t know how to read or write. But I am good at math because of the business I run. These are tough times as the prices of plastic and paper waste have fallen. The only way to survive is to increase the volume, which is what I expect will happen with door-step collection,” Annamma explained her strategy.

    High price to pay

    Nalini Shekhar of the NGO Hasirudala, who has been working with Annamma for the past four years, said that it is a challenge for people like her to become entrepreneurs, as the waste sector is not considered an industry by banks.

    “The rate of interest on the loan availed by Annamma is 18%. We are looking for some other institution that will charge a lower rate of interest,” she said.

    Annamma is worried about the cost of expansion and the need to hire more people. “We need six men to run the show. But we have employed only four with my husband and me doing the jobs of the other two to reduce costs,” she said.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Bengaluru / by K.V. Aditya Bharadwaj / February 27th, 2017

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    Ayyappa Masagi has turned almost 26,000 hectares of dryland into wetland, rejuvenated thousands of ponds, lakes and borewells, and successfully executed rainwater harvesting projects for nearly 170 industries in and around Bengaluru. A look by M.A. Siraj

    “India gets enough rains to fulfill its needs — domestic, agricultural, industrial, commercial — provided water conservation efforts are taken on a war footing. Even with the utmost efficiency, we can conserve only 40% of water the rains brings to us annually. Another 50% will inevitably run off into the water bodies to enable navigation, fishing, boating, religious rituals and all other activities conceivable with water.”

    The statement inspires hope, given the reports of water scarcity from diverse areas. This comes from Ayyappa Masagi, who has come to be known as ‘Water Gandhi’ in villages skirting the Karnataka-Andhra Pradesh border. Masagi, an engineer by training, has turned almost 26,000 hectares of dryland into wetland, rejuvenated thousands of ponds, lakes and borewells and successfully executed rainwater harvesting projects for nearly 170 industries in and around Bengaluru.

    For nearly 15 years, Masagi has been leading a crusade aimed at making India a ‘water-efficient nation’. According to him, if all the rainwater that pours over Bengaluru (i.e., 827 sq. km. BBMP area with 100 cm annual rainfall) could be collected for a year, it could be sufficient for meeting the needs of the city and its people for three years. “Suppose we raise a boundary wall over the entire municipal area and allow no water to run off or percolate, the water level would go up to one metre in the obtaining large well,” he visualises.

    An unassuming man, Masagi says India is currently categorised under ‘water stressed’ countries with several areas being perpetually drought-prone. But the country has enough potential to emerge as a water-rich nation. “Currently 2 to 3% of rainwater percolates into the ground nationally. If we can harvest around 35% of the annual precipitation and reuse or recycle grey water from homes, we need not look for grandiose river-linking projects or billion-dollar irrigation schemes,” he claims.

    Water sufficiency

    Charity begins at home. And Masagi who worked for Larsen & Toubro for 26 years (he took VRS to realise his dream of making people ‘water-literate’), applied his ideas on his own 23 x 33 ft. house in Sahakarnagar in Amrutahalli suburbs of the city. The three-storeyed building that currently accommodates five families, survives on just a 68-feet borewell since 1986 when the house was constructed. Besides the borewell and harvested rainwater, he recycles grey water.


    Masagi’s techniques involve collecting, pre-filtering and filtering rainwater underground to recharge the subsoil natural springs. He first supervises the land and constructs ponds and filtration wells in keeping with the gradient. The ponds are laid with stones, gravel and sand and if necessary polypropylene sheet underneath to stop percolation. In order to minimise waste, he advises drip irrigation through a maze of tubes that take the water to the roots of the plants. He dug 32 soak pits (10ft. x 10ft. x 10ft.) and constructed 11 infiltration wells in his four-acre farm in Holavanahalli (in Koratagere taluk) in Tumakuru district, 82 km north of Bengaluru. This arrangement allows him to conserve enough water to draw 80,000 litres of the precious liquid everyday throughout the year whereby nearly 7,000 trees are irrigated through drip network and sprinklers.

    Masagi has honed his skills through practice and has perfected numbers. According to him 4,000 litres of water if collected over an acre (i.e., around 44,000 sq. ft. area) will fill it ankle-deep (i.e., 4 inches deep). So all that water he draws in a day can fill up a nearly two-acre farm with ankle-deep water.

    Island of greenery

    Move over 80 km east to another farm in Subbrayapet village in Hindupur taluk across the border from Karnataka. Masagi’s water conservation techniques have turned an 85-acre farm in the perennially drought-prone area into an island of greenery amid vast stretches of dry farms. The annual precipitation in the area which is part of Rayalaseema, is just around 35 cm. But four ponds and 10,000 pits dug by Masagi harvest nearly 18 to 20 crore litres of water annually. Masagi and his group of friends bought this land in 2014 which is located 40 km from Hindupur town. They are now raising 25,000 saplings into trees, of which 60% fall into the category of forestry (i.e., mahogany, Arjuna terminalia, rosewood, jamun etc) while the remaining are orchard trees. Looking at the massive effort at greening the drought-prone land, the Andhra Pradesh Government has offered him two solar-operated pumps of 5 horsepower. Besides the trees, the farm is being used for animal husbandry with dozens of cattle heads and sheep being reared on it. The ten labourers who work on the farm use a gobar gas plant for their cooking needs.

    Own expertise

    Ayyappa Masagi’s family hails from Nagaral village in Gadag district. He recalls his childhood days when his mother would rise at 3 a.m. to fetch a few pails of water from a well three km away. Raised in dire poverty, Masagi would see the roots of problem in lack of access to sustainable supplies of water and slowly grew aware of the ways to ensure stable supplies. His first appointment was at BEML in Bengaluru after he earned a diploma in mechanical engineering. Still later while working at Larsen & Toubro, he studied the problem closely and developed his own expertise to conserve, store and recycle water.

    Water literacy

    It was in 2003 that he plunged into water conservation headlong despite his family’s opposition. He formed the NGO Water Literacy Foundation in 2005 and took up programmes for educating farmers, industries and urban households. He has conducted 7,000 programmes in 13 States in 14 years. He was helped by the Deshpande Foundation in Hubballi to develop water resources in 18 villages. In 2009, he was conferred Jamnalal Bajaj National Award for Application of Science and Technology for Rural Development. He helped several developers (Sobha, Mangalya Suryodaya, Mahaveer Zephyr etc), IT companies (Wipro, Tata Elexi, Tyco Electronics etc), apartments and educational institutions in implementing rainwater harvesting techniques. He has been honoured with titles like ‘Indian Water Doctor’, ‘Water Gandhi’ and ‘Doctor of Barren Borewells’ by various organisations.

    Masagi says the City today requires 130 crore litres of water a day but the BWSSB supplies just about 90 crore litres. The City could harvest 34 crore litres of rainwater falling on 42 km track of the Namma Metro itself.

    (Masagi can be reached at

    source: / The Hindu / Home> Life & Style> Homes and Gardens / February 03rd, 2017

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    Mysuru :

    M.K. Shankarguru of Madralli and M. Rachanna from Hosa Malangi, both from T. Narasipur taluk, have been selected for the prestigious ‘Plant Genome Saviour Farmer Recognition’ awarded by the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Right Authority (PPV & FRA), New Delhi. The recognition comes as an encouragement to all the farmers involved in conservation and development of plant varieties.

    Shankarguru is recognised for developing his own paddy variety, NMS 2, which thrives under minimum management practices and is a high yielder whereas Rachanna has been conserving over 300 paddy varieties most of them being very rare indigenous varieties, with medicinal value.

    JSS Krishi Vigyan Kendra in Suttur had sent their nominations to PPV & FRA in 2014, the results of which have been announced this week. The farmers will be receiving the award from the Union Minister for Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers’ welfare, Radha Mohan Singh, on Dec. 21 in New Delhi. Each farmer will get a cash prize of rupees one lakh, a memento and a certificate.

    The recognition, sponsored by the ‘National Gene Fund’, is being given to farmers, farmer/ tribal communities annually by the PPV & FRA to encourage protection of indigenous land races and farmers seed sovereignty.

    source: / Star of Mysore / Home> General News / Dec 14th, 2016

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    Mangaluru :

    Where there’s a will there’s a way. Odduru Farm at Ganji Mutt in Bantwal Taluk, located nearly 25 km away from Mangaluru, is a classic example of this.


    A once barren land where one could only find laterite rocks is now home to lush greenery, all thanks to the sheer determination and perseverance of a progressive farmer Ulepadyguttu Rajesh Naik. When Bantwal taluk was declared a grey area owing to deficient water, Naik decided to do the unthinkable and turned his 120-acre arid land lush green through organic farming.


    A BSc graduate, Naik (58) had never hankered after a routine job. He had his interests deep-rooted in agriculture. His family had a large patch of land, but it was never cultivated as it was situated on a plate of laterite stone. The barren land and lack of water, however, failed to dry out his enthusiasm. He used the laterite plate for cutting out stones for construction, and soon water started oozing from the bottom of the plate. A water tank was thus formed. He has two such large tanks today that never go dry.
    The bigger challenge was to transform the barren land into thriving farm land, which took Rajesh to several places in search of models. But none impressed him. Finally, in 1986, he decided to go with his own model of a fully developed organic farm on a dry patch of 120 acres. “It has not been an easy journey. Organic fertilisers enrich soil slowly, but my patience and perseverance paid off finally,” says Rajesh.

    On his 120 acres of land, he now grows arecanut, coconut, banana, cashew, different types of vegetables, pepper and fruits among others by using organic manure. The farm has as many as 10,000 arecanut and 1,500 coconut trees. Two artificial lakes, 50-ft deep at the centre, provide water to the entire land. His land has yielded great results and products.

    Over 650 litres of milk are also produced at his farmland. The bio-gas slurry produced by over 180 cows, is used for plantation of coconut, arecanut, vegetable plants among others. He also generates electricity from bio-gas, which almost meets his requirement of power. Naik’s multi-farming activities can provide an idea or two to those, who always complain against less income by agriculture.

    “Small land holders must always opt for multi-crop plantation. Loss is inevitable in case of single-crop farming in times of erratic monsoons. With technological advancement and organic solutions, it is not difficult to earn profits,” said Naik.

    source: / The New Indian Express / Home> States> Karnataka / by Ganesh Mavanji / Express News Service / November 27th, 2016

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    Ornamental garden is the dream of plant-loving urban dwellers. Plants, foliage and flowering of different hues in various combination can express the beauty of nature around the living area. It is not the size that matters as one can landscape even a small home ground in the same way as done for larger estates or public parks. When done in the best form it is the pride of the house.

    An ‘ornamental garden’ developed by a woman falls into this category. The owner, gardener and executor is none other than the winner of the first prize in the Annual Dasara Flower Show under ornamental garden category: Ms. Hashmath Fathima. It is an artistic outdoor garden developed around her little dwelling place in a plot of land in Kalyanagiri, all on her own. The garden has all the ingredients of a modern ornamental garden with display of choicest flowering and foliage plants in the form of annuals and perennials (herbs, shrubs, climbers, trees, ornamental grasses, bulbs etc.) embellished with various design elements.

    The special feature is most part of the garden is developed using containers of various size, shape and hues. The entrance gate opens up into a path leading to the garage, beautifully paved with lawn grass in the crevices which makes up for the absence of a lawn (due to lack of space). On entry into the garden you can notice the potted plants stacked up in multiple rows in various colour combination of foliage and flowers & height along side the wooden wall. The half wall of the verandah has been decked up with colourful overhanging Lantanas, besides the hanging pots at the entrance of the house.

    For embellishment valuable objects of artefacts in the form of figurines of various objects, birds nests etc., are placed at vantage points. The northern wall of the house is fully green, a breathing wall completely covered with creeping fig (Ficus repens). The perennial climbers (Allamanda, Quisqualis, Bougainvillea etc.) with their foothold on the northern edge ramble on the wooden barricade. The garlic vine (Mansoa alliacea) overarching the garage makes spectacular display with purple coloured blooms and attracts the onlookers. A small pond is also designed in the backyard with water lily (Nymphae sps) in it. In addition to being pleasant to look at, this ornamental garden is also enjoyable to use with a recreation area to sit and enjoy reading etc., in the form of a bench decorated with an arch covered with a climber in the front yard and an aviary with plenty of beautiful birds in the backyard.

    Another eye-catching addition is the bottle garden (hanging) created using soft drink bottles planted with variegated Alternantheras. This impressed me a lot. In general the display of plants is such that as soon as one enters one can experience the burst of flowers of all hues amidst the colourful foliage. Above all, with innumerable flowering and foliage plants (Acalypha, Althea rosea, Asparagus, Aglonema, Alternanthera, Anthuriums, Asters, Coleus, Catharanthus, Chrysanthemums, Cocks comb, Begonias, Cosmos, Calendulas, Chlorophytum, Duranta, Euphorbia milii, Gamphrena, Gazania, Gerberas, Day lily, Ferns, Marigolds, Pentas, Petunias, Zinnias etc., etc.) this little paradise looked like a “mini flower show.”

    Ms. Hashmath is into gardening for more than a decade and has won several first prizes in the past too. I understand that she herself carries out most of her gardening work and uses only organic manure. Most of her earnings are spent on maintaining the garden. A dress designer by profession, she has put her heart and soul in designing the beautiful and attractive garden as well! Furthermore, she has shown the ability and imagination of the gardener in her in the best form besides the woman power.

    Text & photographs by Dr. Mahadeswara Swamy, Scientist, Mob: 97429-91057, e-mail:

    source: / Star of Mysore / Home> Feature Articles / November 06th, 2016

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    Bengaluru  :

    Amid cries of protest over the steel flyover, which could sound the death knell for over 800 trees in the heart of Bengaluru, a ringing message to protect green spaces reverberates across the pages of the city’s past. Gustav Hermann Krumbiegel, the German botanist who was largely responsible for turning Lalbagh into the wonder it is today, often cycled around the city with his oldest daughter, Hilda, their baskets leaden with plants to raise awareness on the importance of trees.



    As the city’s lung spaces shrink, Krumbeigel’s greatgranddaughter, Alyia PhelpsGardner, 55, is all set to resurrect her forbear’s legacy . In a bid to restore the dilapidated Krumbiegel Hall, Alyia too will cycle around Bengaluru. The cost of restoration comes up to £32,000, and Alyia is being helped in her endeavour by Intech Bangalore. The plan is to have the house restored in a traditional manner, with lathe and plaster.

    Pointing out that her greatgrandfather was described to her in heroic terms, Alyia said, “He was affectionately known as Krumbie, and his wife as Great Granny Krumbie.”

    Seated on the Lalbagh wall, Krumbiegel sipped his coffee along with a cigarette – a ritual in itself – while his family members relaxed in the garden. This will be Alyia’s first visit to the Garden City . Her tryst with Lalbagh too, is confined to pictures. “The hall, once restored, can be used as a media library for all horticultural students. He had a special love for Lalbagh. He also loved books. In this day and age, I would like to offer books and internet access. His work, and mode of thinking will come alive,” she said. She attributes the image of Krumbiegel that she carries around in her head to the many tales and anecdotes that her grandmother, Hilda Gustav’s daughter used to narrate. “One story that makes me giggle even to this day is of a tiger jumping through a window of their house in Vadodara, when the family was having a dinner party . Only Granny Krumbie saw it. She left the room, and it jumped out again.She didn’t say anything, since she did not wish to alarm anyone,” she said.

    Alyia recalled that Maharaja Wadiyar had intervened twice to prevent Krumbiegel from being sent back to Germany by the British.

    “He always wanted independence for India. One of his last planning assignments was Mahatma Gandhi’s tomb. One of his greatest wishes was to start a horticultural school, a dream not many were aware of,” she added.

    Alyia’s granddaughter, Sofia too shares her love for planting flowers and other planting.Alyia said that she is regaling her grandchildren with Krumbie’s any adventures in India.

    Krumbiegel Hall
    Previously a horticulture lecture hall, it was named Krumbiegel Hall to honour the German botanist. Built in accordance with the classical principles of Greek architecture, one of the distinctive features of the structure is the Gandaberunda – the two-headed mythological bird, which is believed to possess magical strength.

    The many years of neglect have rendered restoration both difficult and expensive. The lime and mortar that the British builders used cannot be replaced with regular cement or plaster of Paris.

    source: / The Times of India / News Home> City News> Bangalore / by Aditi Sequeira / TNN / October 27th, 2016

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    The Belgaum Rose Society was inaugurated here on Sunday to encourage, create and develop a love for roses and disseminate systematic knowledge about the flower to the people. It was inaugurated by M.R. Kulkarni, chairman, Karnataka Law Society.

    Suresh Patil, president of the society, said that the organisation would organise awareness and training programmes on the cultivation of rose. Growers would be trained in budding, pruning, fertigation, plant protection and disease control as per local climatic conditions. It would establish nurseries, gardens and trial grounds for rose plants and carry out scientific research on hybridisation and development of new varieties of rose plants.

    It has plans to organise national and international-level rose exhibitions; take up exchange programmes with sister societies; set up a library on roses for the benefit of its members; and organise seminars, discussions, conferences, demonstrations, refresher courses, and lectures.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> National> Karnataka / by Special Correspondent / Belgavi – October 18th, 2016

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    Thondebhavi (Chikkaballapur District) :

    The last time Thondebhavi came under the spotlight was almost a year ago when a cloud of ash from a nearby cement plant enveloped it. Now, this nondescript village is grabbing headlines for becoming the first in the country to have a self-repairing road.

    Thondebhavi, 65km from Bengaluru and with a population of about 1,200 people, has a 700-metre road with a crack healing capability. This road is the brainchild of Prof Nemkumar Banthia of the civil engineering department at the University of British Columbia, Canada.

    This will be a game-changer in road-building, especially in a country where roads are dotted with cracks and potholes. M Suresh of the National Institute of Engineering-Mysuru, who coordinated with Thondebhavi village authorities and University of British Columbia, said: “This road has been built with high strength concrete supplemented with fibres which have a hydrophilic nano-coating. This coating absorbs water. Since most road cracks develop because of unhydrated cement, the hydrophilic coating produces silicates that closes the cracks.”

    The lifespan of these roads is 15-20 years. The road, about 100 mm thick and comparatively less than the usual cement road, would go a long way in reducing road-laying cost. Since fly ash is used for these roads, the carbon output is low.

    The 700-metre stretch, which connects the village with the road to nearby Gauribidanur town, has enthused residents. Kantharaj, a resident and also president of Kolar Chikkaballapur Districts Co-operative Milk Union Ltd (KOMUL), said: “Earlier, people used to have a tough time on the slushy road. This stretch has come as a boon to villagers and they can transport their agricultural commodities to various places without any hassles.”

    Jyothi Reddy, president, Thondebhavi gram panchayat, said the road has been of great help to people of the village. She said she’ll convince nearby cement factory authorities to take up many more roads in the village panchayat. Aswathachar, manager, Pragathi Krishna Gramina Bank, Thondebavi branch said the quality and finish of the road is fine and it’s expected to last longer compared to the normal cement one.

    source: / The Times of India / News Home> City News> Bangalore / TNN / October 18th, 2016

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