Bengaluru Buzz: Low voter turnout in bypolls | Deaths from train accidents high | BBMP standing committee polls postponed..and more

Low voter turnout in bypolls, high rates of train-related deaths in Bengaluru, BMTC runs 'Pink Sarathi' jeeps to help lone women travellers at night - read more on news from the city over the past week, in our roundup

Bypoll voter turnout only around 50%

A large number of Bengalureans, true to tradition, failed to vote in the by-election to the four assembly constituencies – Shivaji Nagar, Mahalakshmi Layout, Yeshvanthapura and KR Puram – on Thursday. The voter turnout was lower than that in the 2018 assembly elections and that in the other 11 constituencies polled on Thursday, as per Election Commission figures.

The constituencies in Bengaluru recorded an average turnout of more than 50 per cent. Yeshwanthpur, at 59 percent, showed the highest polling. Mahalakshmi Layout had a turnout of only 51 percent; Shivajinagar turnout was lower at 48 percent. Turnout was the least at KR Puram – 47 percent.

Voters said they were “fed up” and not assured that the system would give them a stable government. Many voters did not want to miss work, though some BJP party workers had arranged for transport and requested private companies to give their employees permission to take one hour off to vote.

There was brisk polling at Yeshvanthapura, with fairly long queues throughout the day at a few booths. But the media was denied entry despite carrying letters from the Election Commission.

Figures reveal that turnout from the transgender community was quite low too. Of an estimated 413 transgender voters, only 34 turned up. KR Puram has the highest number of transgender voters (164), but none cast their vote.

Source: The Hindu | The Times of India | Deccan Herald 

567 railway deaths in and around Bengaluru this year

About two people die in train-related accidents everyday in and around the city. The Ministry of Railways says that the number of people who died from January 1st to September 30th this year totalled 567. Main reasons for the deaths were footboard accidents and illegal crossing of tracks.

Senior police officials said that railway authorities and the Railway Protection Force (RPF) do not have sufficient personnel or infrastructure to prevent people from trespassing on railway tracks. Though the railway police claims to have taken many measures to minimise deaths, it is difficult to monitor the entire length of the tracks. Officials said there are violations even where foot-over-bridges (FOBs) are available.

There are five GRPS (Government Railway Police Stations) in Bengaluru division. Bengaluru Rural shows the highest number of deaths (191), followed by Bengaluru City Police Station (151), Bengaluru Cantonment (123), Baiyappanahalli (72), and finally Bangarpet which shows the least number of deaths at 30.

On the other hand, urban and railway experts say that the lack of infrastructure such as FOBs and underpasses, along with heavy use of level crossings within the city, are the main reasons for the deaths.

Source: The Hindu

BBMP standing committee polls postponed

BBMP (Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike) has not finalised the 12 standing committees that are needed to take key civic decisions, as elections to the committees have been postponed again. This was because none of the BBMP Council members turned up for the polls scheduled on December 4th.

The Council’s strength is 226 members; it comprises MLAs, MLCs and MPs, in addition to the 198 ward councillors. A BBMP councillor said they didn’t attend the polls as they had been busy with campaigns for the by-elections. Harsh Gupta, Regional Commissioner for BBMP elections, said that a new date for the election would be announced soon. The term of the previous standing committees ended on December 4th.

Source: The Indian Express

Seven of 13 biomethanisation plants revived

BBMP has revived seven biomethanisation plants in West, South and Yelahanka zones to facilitate decentralised waste processing and to reduce dependency on landfills. This is a project under the Namma Kasa Namma Jawabdari (‘Our Waste Our Responsibility’) programme.

These biomethanisation plants have five-tonne capacity each, and were set up in different parts of Bengaluru between April 2014 and July 2015 to process organic waste. The plants – previously managed by two agencies – had shut down due to non-payment of bills to one agency, and end of contract of the other.

The plants will now generate biogas that will power street lights. BBMP Special Commissioner (Solid Waste Management), D Randeep, revealed that seven plants are already functional and would soon start getting five tonnes of waste per day. Six other plants will be restarted by the end of the year. Together, the 13 plants are expected to handle 65 tonnes of organic waste per day.

Source: The Hindu

‘Pink Sarathis’ help lone women commuters

BMTC (Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation) is running ‘Pink Sarathi’ jeeps, in a pilot project to ensure the safety of women stranded at bus stops at night. The jeeps have been inducted through the Nirbhaya Scheme. Since last month, 25 Pink Sarathi jeeps have helped 35 women, especially after 10 pm when bus frequency dips. The fleet operates in three shifts – 6 am to 2 pm, 2 pm to 10 pm, and 10 pm to 6 am.

Source: Deccan Herald

[Compiled by Revathi Siva Kumar]

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