Mandya, Jan 24: With ruling BJP focused on winning more seats in the 'Old Mysuru' region, Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Tuesday appointed Revenue Minister R Ashoka as the Mandya district in-charge Minister.

The Vokkaliga dominated Mandya district is a major constituent of the Old Mysuru region, and Ashoka is considered to be a prominent BJP leader hailing from the community.

Ashoka will replace Excise Minister K Gopalaiah, who was in-charge of the district along with Hassan.

Stating that Gopalaiah was appointed as district in-charge Minister for Mandya on January 24, 2022, an official notification said, Minister R Ashoka has been appointed replacing him, with immediate effect.

It said, the notification has been issued on the directions of the Chief Minister.

The BJP is considered to be weak in the Old Mysuru region, especially in Mandya district, and is focusing on this belt to gain complete majority in the Assembly polls scheduled in May.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah during his recent visit to Mandya had asked BJP leaders and workers to work towards winning more seats in the region and the district, which is the bastion of JD(S), where Congress too is considerably strong.

Out of seven Assembly constituencies in Mandya district, presently six are represented by the JD(S), and BJP one.

Narayanagowda, who had won 2018 Assembly polls on Congress' ticket from Krishnarajpet (K R Pet), later defected to the BJP and won the 2019 bypolls on its ticket from the same segment, giving the first ever win for the saffron party in the district. He is now a Minister in Bommai-led government.

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Tumakuru (K'taka), Feb 6: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday inaugurated the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited's helicopter factory -- the country's largest chopper manufacturing facility -- in Tumakuru district of Karnataka.

Bengaluru-headquartered HAL plans to produce more than 1,000 helicopters in the range of 3-15 tonne with a total business of more than Rs 4 lakh crore over a period of 20 years at this facility in Gubbi taluk, officials said.

The factory, spread across 615 acres for which the Prime Minister laid the foundation stone in 2016, would initially manufacture Light Utility Helicopters (LUH)).

It will enable India to meet its entire requirement of helicopters without import and giving much-needed fillip to the Prime Minister's vision of 'Aatmanirbhar Bharat' in helicopter design, development, and manufacture, they said.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai and senior officials of Ministry of Defence were among those present on the occasion.

"It is a dedicated new greenfield helicopter factory which will enhance India's capacity and ecosystem to build helicopters," Singh said.
Assembly polls in Karnataka are due by May.

PM Modi unveiled the LUH, which has been flight tested. The LUH is an indigenously designed and developed three-tonne class, single-engine multipurpose utility helicopter. Initially, the factory will produce around 30 helicopters per year and can be enhanced to 60 and then 90 every year in a phased manner, according to the Defence Ministry.

The factory will be augmented to produce other helicopters such as Light Combat Helicopters (LCHs) and Indian Multirole Helicopters (IMRHs). It will also be used for maintenance, repair and overhaul of LCH, LUH, Civil Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) and IMRH in the future.

Potential exports of civil LUH will also be catered to from this factory, which is being equipped with state-of-the-art Industry 4.0 standard tools and techniques for its operations, officials said.

The proximity of the factory, with the existing HAL facilities in Bengaluru, will boost the aerospace manufacturing ecosystem in the region and support skill and infrastructure development such as schools, colleges and residential areas, it was noted.

The factory is fully operational after the establishment of facilities like heli-runway, flight hangar, final assembly hangar, structure assembly hangar, air traffic control and various supporting service facilities, officials said.