Bengaluru Buzz: BBMP takes steps to raise revenue | Voter list revision … and more

Other news of the week: Activists decry forest amendment bill, drones to survey dogs, and body to study accidents on Expressway.

BBMP’s steps to raise revenue

The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) targets increasing its revenue through property tax collection by 50% this year. It collected Rs 2,300 crore in 2022-23, but aims to collect Rs 4,600 crore for the ongoing financial year. BBMP Chief Commissioner Tushar Giri Nath said that they have set weekly targets for every zone and are reviewing the progress on tax collection every week.

He added that those who fail to meet the revenue collection targets will be shunted out. They might either get transferred to other zones or to non-executive posts. Though the current target is 50%, it might get enhanced further.

Moreover, BBMP plans to crack down on illegal conversion of ‘B’ khata properties to ‘A’ khata. It has detected more than 12,000 cases of illegal conversion. Unlike ‘A’ khata properties, ‘B’ khata properties do not have legal standing, are on encroached land and have flouted bylaws among other issues.

Giri Nath added that tenders for the Indira canteens are under process. It has to go to the Cabinet for clearance. In the last two years, BBMP spent Rs 80 crore annually on the canteens.

Meanwhile, a couple of illegal buildings violating the sanctioned plan were demolished by the BBMP in the south zone. There are purportedly 80 such buildings in the zone, against which officials have already served notices.

Source: Indian Express

Activists decry forest amendment bill

Representatives of Bengaluru-based institutions like Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE), National Institute of Advanced Studies, Indian Institute of Science, and National Centre for Biological Sciences have signed the petition by a collective of environmentalists, students and academicians. They have written to the Union Environment Minister, Bhupender Yadav, opposing the Forest (Conservation) Amendment Bill, 2023, which will be tabled during the Monsoon session of Parliament.

Foreign institutions such as National University of Singapore and Trinity College, Dublin, have also signed the petition, which objects to reclassifying forest areas as proposed in the Bill.

The proposed Bill’s section 1A sub-section 1 has stated that the FCA will only apply to areas recorded as ‘forest’ in government records as on or after 25 October 1980. It might invalidate the Supreme Court’s 1996 interpretation of a ‘forest’ through its dictionary definition. If thousands of areas get declassified, it would mean the loss of protection for thousands of square kilometres of forests. The ecologists have highlighted four major concerns with the Bill – and said that instead of amending the existing Act, it seems to seek to change it entirely.

Source: Indian Express, The Wire

Read more: How 15 citizens are building about 8000 sq m of forests in Bengaluru

Voter list revision

The BBMP is said to have begun its annual special voter list revision from July 21st, for a month. Chief Commissioner Tushar Giri Nath asked the Block Level Officers (BLOs) to check for zero errors. They have been trained to visit houses to include, delete, and correct names in the voter list with software.

Representative image. Prominent environmental bodies, institutions and activists raised issue with the Forest Bill. Pic Courtesy: Facebook/United Conservation Movement

The BLOs will also have to check for changes in the addresses of voters in 28 assembly constituencies and make necessary changes. After this process ends on August 20th, the BBMP will begin revision of booths in the assembly segments on August 28th. 

Source: The Hindu

Read more: Criminalising routine traffic offences could seriously impact citizens

Body to study accidents on Expressway

The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) had set up a three-member committee on July 14th, to study the rising number of accidents on the Bengaluru-Mysuru Expressway from July 17th to July 20th and submit a report within ten days. It included Sudarshan K Popli, adviser for Road Safety; Praveen Kumar, deputy general manager of Road Safety Office in Bengaluru; and Jaivardhan Singh from the Sohna project implementation unit.

Public Works Department Minister Satish Jarkiholi said that the number of accidents up to June was 512. Of these, 245 accidents occurred on the Bengaluru to Nidaghatta section and 267 on the Nidaghatta to Mysuru section. The total number of deaths was 123, and the highest number of accidents in a month was reported in May (110), as per the minister.

Source: Indian Express

Drones to survey dogs near lakes

On July 19th, BBMP and the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), will survey street dogs around the city’s lakes using drones. It began on July 11th. VayDyn, a startup at ARTPark (AI and Robotics Technology Park), the IISc-supported non-profit organisation, will use its drones. BBMP officials explained that the use of drones for canine surveys is perhaps the first of its kind in India.

Hulimavu, Sarakki, Seegehalli and Yele Mallappa Shetty lakes have been selected as proof of concept. The drones can capture images of dogs through AI, collect and analyse the data and cross-validate it with the data collected through the conventional ground survey team. If the data correlates, then all the safe and open flying spaces can be checked through drones in future and would be more time and cost-efficient. As surveys can be conducted during the day as well as the night, the specificity would be enhanced.

Source: Bangalore Mirror, Indian Express

Rebuild India meet in Bengaluru

The Rebuild India Fund, comprising 74 NGOs working to improve lives of over six million across India, organised a four-day workshop in the city that brought together 18 NGOs from nine states. It aimed to develop the institutional capacity of people working with marginalised communities and empower organisations affected by the pandemic, with limited access to funds.

Source: Indian Express

[Compiled by Revathi Siva Kumar]

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